Handbag Monday welcomes
My favorite handbag was given to me by a family friend called Pat who'd been my mother's best friend when we lived in Lesotho, an African mountain kingdom landlocked by South Africa where dad spent most of his career.
It's a beautiful bag in reds, golds and browns, with a lustrous sheen, made from treated leather and it cost much more than I'd have been able to pay for it. I never expected to receive it as a gift.
However last year, when Pat and her husband visited us from England, she must have seen me admiring it in a shop after we'd had lunch at a pretty tourist town near us.
Imagine my surprise - and delight! - when she presented this gorgeous handbag to me, beautifully wrapped, after we'd got home. She told me that I - and my two sisters - were the daughters she'd never had. Pat has four sons; really lovely boys, one of whom I played with as a child and another who was my sister's age, and I keep in touch with both of them through intermittent emails from England to Australia.
So my enjoyment of this handbag is primarily due to the fact that even though I am fifty, and my mother died twenty years ago, the bonds of friendship between our families have remained so strong through decades and generations living on opposite sides of the globe.
Oh, Beverley! What a wonderful gift from a friend. Treasure it always.
Shy, plain Hetty was the wallflower beneath his notice…until a terrible mistake has one dangerous, delicious rake believing she's the prostitute he ordered.
Heart hammering, Hetty closed the door behind her and went to pick up the cane.
How fortunate to have stumbled into Sir Aubrey’s room, she thought when she observed the fine coat lying upon the bed, apparently discarded in favor of what he was wearing tonight.
He really was a nonpareil, wearing his clothes as if they were an extension of his athletic physique.
Yet he was dangerous, she had to remind herself. Meaning she should not be here, which of course she shouldn’t, regardless of whether he was dangerous or not.
But how such a scion of good breeding and genteel society could be guilty of such a heinous crime as treason, Hetty could not imagine. And surely the story of the runaway wife was a gilded one. It was all the stuff of make-believe and Cousin Stephen was only telling Hetty he was dangerous to curb her schoolroom daydreams.
Turning, she saw half protruding from beneath the suit of clothes what appeared to be the edge of a silver, filigreed box. It was partly obscured by the overhang of the counterpane, as if it hadn’t properly been returned to its hiding place.
A moment’s indecision made her pause but soon Hetty was crouching on the floor, closing clammy fingers around the box. Might it contain secrets? Ones that would reveal, conclusively, what Cousin Stephen claimed was true?
Alternatively, proof that would exonerate Sir Aubrey?
Hetty fumbled for the catch. Dear Lord, this was too exciting for words. Perhaps Sir Aubrey was a secret agent working for the English, and Stephen had no idea.
Perhaps he was—
Protesting door hinges made her squeal as the door was flung wide.
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