I know that this is long, long overdue, so I apologize. Here is some more of Evelyn’s story. We left off, just after Rose had fainted in a very hot tent during a speech.
Evelyn was interrupted from her thoughts as, out of the corner of her right eye, she saw Rose slump forwards and fall off her chair, her eyes closed, yet she still managed to make the fall look graceful, landing on her back with her legs bent to her chest and one of her arms above her head and the other on her heart. Her hat had fallen off, revealing her dark brown hair coiffured in the latest style and her pearl necklace was tightly pressed against her throat.
“Oh my gosh! She’s fainted!”
“Quickly, get her outside!”
“Fan her, someone check her pulse.”
The ladies around Evelyn erupted into a babble of noise, hands fluttering and voices high pitched and hysterical. Evelyn quickly dropped to her knees and wrestled with the pearl necklace to try and make sure that Rose’s airway wasn’t blocked in any way. A crush of people were looking down onto Rose, until Lady Willousby’s low voice was heard and they parted, not unlike the Red Sea for Moses.
“Will someone carry her outside immediately and put her under a tree in the shade?”
It was not a question. Lord Willousby immediately scooped up his daughter as though she were no more than a doll and marched outside, barking orders to servants who ran around frantically, like chickens are often wont to do as well. A reclining garden chair was procured and Rose was gently laid upon a sea of cushions and blankets, with a swarm of chattering ladies still flapping fans in Rose’s direction. A glass of water was thrust towards Lady Willousby, who gingerly put the glass to her daughter’s lips and tried to coax her to drink.
In all the confusion, Evelyn was pushed out of the gaggle and ended up trying to see over the shoulders of the ladies who surrounded Rose. Most of the men were stood at the entrance of the tent, holding their champagne glasses and shifting from one foot to the other awkwardly, probably discussing the fickle and faint natures of the fairer sex. Resigned to waiting for Rose to regain her senses, Evelyn sat under a tree a short distance away, out of sight and hopefully out of mind. With any luck, she wouldn’t have to re-join the assembly to listen to the talks. If only she could slip away unnoticed with Rose to somewhere quiet…
A male voice startled Evelyn and she inwardly cursed herself for being caught unawares. She looked up and squinted against the sun, until the figure shifted to block the light. He was young; probably about twenty, with a kind face and unusually large hands. Scrambling to get to her feet, she expected him to offer her a hand to help, but he casually sat down next to her, his back against the rough bark of the tree.
“You’re not planning on fainting too, are you?” He asked mildly.
“As long as I don’t have to go back into the tent.” She replied, wishing he would go away.
There was a moment of comfortable silence, which he was the first to break.
“I’m George.” He said, as though she should know who he was. His jacket was certainly expensive and he carried himself with the air of a gentleman, but Evelyn was certain she knew of no ‘George’ in her pitaa’s friends.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Master…?” She replied automatically, leaving the sentence unfinished as she was unsure as to how to name him.
“George Cavendish. My father is Lord Cavendish. He’s over there somewhere, complaining about the unreliable nature of the female sex, I’d imagine.”
Evelyn looked at him with curiosity, surprised at how closely his thoughts had matched hers. Upon closer inspection, she supposed he was closer to eighteen than twenty, although he had a boyish face which could make him appear younger, she supposed. His hazel eyes were fixed at a point in the distance, and he seemed uninterested as to who she was.
“I’m Evelyn Mayfair.” She offered, expecting him to apologize for his rudeness. He did not.
“Ah, so your father is hosting this event then.” He replied, still not looking at her and his inattentive indifference to irritated Evelyn. Unsure of what to say, she mutely nodded and turned her head away, trying to ignore him. In honesty, she was a bundle of nerves, having never been so close to a man without a chaperone. If someone saw her sitting with him… Her mind began to race and she made a move to get up and get away from this awkward situation.
“I, I suppose I ought to go and see how Rose is getting on.” She muttered.
“Oh, she’s the one who fainted, is she?” George said, still sitting, but he turned to look at her.
Nodding, Evelyn started to walk away, not feeling too rude at leaving without saying goodbye, for had he not been very impolite to her?
“I’m sure we shall meet again.” He called to her retreating figure, but Evelyn did not reply. The whole encounter had confused her greatly.