Susana (to the Reader): I first met Lady Pendleton when I was writing Treasuring Theresa: The Epilogue, where Theresa—now Lady Granville—accompanies her husband to London to take up their social duties. Theresa did not have a successful Season seven years before when she first came out, and she was definitely not looking forward to this one. Her own Great-Aunt Tabitha was elderly and not in health, so Damian’s Aunt Agatha—his mother’s younger sister—came to the rescue. She accompanied Theresa on her rounds to the modiste’s and the linen-draper’s and the other shops in order to acquire a wardrobe suitable for a countess. While Lady Pendleton’s sense of fashion may be a bit on the outrageous side, she did give Theresa much to think about when she suggested that it was her own immaturity that was to blame for her unsuccessful Season.
Lady Pendleton: Well, really, Miss Ellis. Do you consider that a proper introduction? You say my fashion sense is outrageous, when what you are wearing—well, in my day a young lady would never have been seen wearing trousers, let alone skin-tight hose like Henry VIII used to wear—or so I’m told. I’m not quite that old, you know.
Susana: I do apologize, my lady. Please call me Susana. I was simply referring to your… uh… unusual color choices and spectacular headwear. You were rather… ahead of your time, I believe.
Lady P: How would you know? You were not born yet. I lived it!
Susana: Well, I’ve read quite a lot of Regency romance novels, you see, and—
Lady P: Romance novels, indeed! I used to find them in my daughter’s room and took them for myself. (Completely unsuitable for a young girl, doncha know?) Have you read A Sicilian Romance? The Mysteries of Udolpho? No? Mrs. Radcliffe had much more of a sense of the dramatic than your… what was her name… Nora Roberts? Where are the castles? The dark, mysterious barons? The exotic locales? Not to mention innocent young girls. In my day—
Susana: But surely Georgette Heyer’s Regencies—
Lady P: Pshaw. Her stories never had any drama. Although I did rather like that Frederica character a great deal. Had spunk, that girl. Reminds me of my niece-by-marriage, Theresa. And myself, of course, when I was younger. We make our own style, you know, while the others merely follow it.
Susana: I see. Well, if that’s the case, perhaps you could help me in a little sewing project I’m planning. A Regency gown with a matching pelisse. I’ve purchased the pattern already.
Susana: Well, I have a sewing machine, but I’m a better cook than seamstress.
Lady P: A machine? For sewing? Preposterous! In my day, all young ladies could sew a fine seam, although I own that I never made my own gown. Mostly handkerchiefs and doll’s clothing until I got older and worked my own chair covers. But…you say you can cook? I don’t suppose you have some tea and biscuits handy, have you? I’m sharp-set and parched after traveling two centuries through time! Quite exhausting, really.
Susana: Well, I have some chai tea and a package of Oreos…
Lady P: I suppose that will have to do. Although I have to say I have never heard of chai tea, and…what else did you mention?
Susana: Oreos. A sort of cookie…I mean biscuit. Chocolate with vanilla in the center.
Lady P: Chocolate? In a biscuit? Singular. Well, get on with it, girl, and afterward, we shall head for the linen-draper’s to look over his selection of material for your gown. I think bright orange might do well for you…
To be continued
Next installment: Lady Pendleton and Susana search for appropriate fabrics at Joanne’s in Toledo, Ohio. While you’re waiting, take a look at Susana’s “Regency Fabrics” board on Pinterest.
The Lady P Series