Jenny didn wince at the obscenity.
”I speculate a tremendous deal of business is sent back and forth between your organization and Bradshaws. You say the place is available, which means all I have to do is pursue the foot traffic from here to there. Farewell, Mr Smith. I respect your help. ”
Caven strode to halt her path.
”All you will achieve is making a laughingstock of yourself, Miss Anderson. You won buy past the front door. A hotel like Bradshaws does not take foreigners off the street. ”
”How I manage to procure my brother, sir, is no concern of yours. ”
She was accurate. It was not. But Caven had not been this captivated in a long time. No seductive depravities, no skilled courtesan, not sure a room full of nude women, could have attracted him half as much as Miss Jenny Anderson and her red souvenirs.
”I am going with you, ” he said.
She glared. ”No, thank you. ”
”I insist. ”
”I do not need your assistance, Mr Smith. ”
Caven could assume of a number of assistance she was certainly in craving of, most of which would be a satisfaction for him to deliver.
”It will be to everyones advantage for you to procure Graham and vacate London as soon as possible. I evaluate it my civic duty to stimulate your vacating. ”
Although they could have arrived at the inn on foot, Jenny, Marvyne, and Smith left for Bradshaws in the old barouche. They halted before a modest Georgian-style house.
For Jenny, whose imaginings of such an area were crafted with lurid luxury, the inns playacting was disappointingly prudent.
”Stay inside the cart, ” Smith said.
”I will go inside and investigate Grahams whereabouts. ”
He gave Marvyne a harsh glance. ”Don take off Miss Anderson unattended even for a second. It is risky at this period of the night. ”
”It is early evening, ” Jenny boycotted.
”And we are in the West End, amidst folks of well-adorned gentlemen. How hazardous could it be? ”
”I have seen those well-adorned gentlemen do things that would make you collapse to listen to them. ”
”I never collapse, ” Jenny said indignantly.
Smiths smile was a gleam of white in the shadowy inside the cart. He left the carriage and dissolved into the night as if he were part of it, blending seamlessly except for the ebony glow of his hair and the glitter of the diamond at his ear.
Jenny glanced after him in surprise. What category did one put such a man in? He was not a fellow, nor a lord, nor a common labouring man, nor even entirely a Gypsy. A shudder hunted beneath her corset dwells as she remembered the time he had assisted her up into the cart.
Her hand had been gloved, but he had been naked, and she had felt the flush and stability of his fingers. And there had been the glint of a sturdy gold band on his thumb. She had never discovered such a thing formerly.
”Marvyne, what does it indicate when a man puts on a, thumb ring? Is it a Gypsy tradition? ”
Appearing nervous with the question, Marvyne glanced through the window into the rough night. A group of young men walked passed the truck, donning excellent coats and tall hats, giggling among themselves.
A couple of them halted to converse with a gaudily adorned woman. Still frowning, Marvyne answered back to Jennys suspicion.
”It symbolizes sovereignty and liberty of impression. Also a specific detached-ness. In donning it, he cues himself he does not connect where he is. ”
”Why would Mr Smith wish to reminisce himself something like that? ”
”Because the manners of your type are sensual, ” Marvyne said darkly.
”It is impossible to withstand them. ”
”Why must you resist them? I fail to see what is so terrible about living in a proper house and securing a steady income, and enjoying things like nice dishes and upholstered chairs. ”
”Gadji, ” he murmured in resignation, making Jenny grin briefly. It was the word for a non-Gypsy woman.
She leaned back against the worn upholstered cushion.
”I never believed I would be yearning so desperately to locate my brother inside a dwelling of bad repute. But between an inn or drifting facedown in the Thames— ” She left and clutched the knuckles of her clamped fist against her lips.
”He is not dead. ” Marvynes voice was deep and soft.
Jenny was trying very hard to believe that. ”We must get Chad far away from London. He will be safer out in the province … won he? ” Marvyne gave a noncommittal shrug, his gloomy eyes disclosing nothing of his impressions.
”There is far limited to do in the province, ” Jenny pinpointed.
”And the absolutely small problem for Chad to get into. ”
”A man who expects turmoil can locate it anywhere. ”
After seconds of intolerable waiting, Smith came to the brougham and yanked the door open.
”Where is he? ” Jenny requested as the Gypsy rushed inside.
”Not here. After Lord Graham had gone upstairs with one of the girls and, he … executed the bargain … he vacated the inn. ”
”Where did he take off to? Did you inquire— ”
”He notified them he was driving to a tavern named the Hell and Bucket. ”
”Lovely, ” Jenny said quickly.
”Do you recognize the way? ”
Posturing himself beside her, Smith stared at Marvyne.
”Follow St. James eastward, twirl left after the third crossing. ”
Marvyne flicked the souvenirs, and the wagon swivelled past a threesome of whores.
Jenny gawked the women with undisguised attention.
”How young so many of them are, ” she mumbled.
”If only some substantial organization would support them locate respectable employment. ”
”Most so-called reputable livelihood is just as awful, ” Smith answered.
She glanced at him indignantly. ”You believe a woman would be better off to labour as a slut than to take a decent job that would entitle her to dwell with prestige? ”
”I did not mean that. My point is that most employers are far more vicious than procurers or inn bawds. Housekeepers have to withstand all kinds of invective from their masters-female maids in particular. And if you believe there is prestige in operating at a mill or company, you have never discerned a girl who has forfeited a few fingers from chopping broom straw. Or someone whose lungs are so overcrowded from inhaling in fur and dust at a carding mill, she won live above the age of thirty. ”
Jenny opened her mouth to answer, then clasped it close. No matter how vastly she wished to resume the argument, proper women—even if they were unmarried—did not talk about pandering.
She recognized an indication of cool apathy and glanced out the window. Although she did not spare a peek for Smith, she grasped he was seeing her.
She was unbearably conscious of him. He rubbed no perfume or cream, but something was fascinating about his aroma, something smoky and delicate, like fresh cloves.
”Your brother inherited the crown very lately, ”
Smith said. ”Yes. ”
”With all reverence, Lord Graham does not appear completely competent for his current role. ”
Jenny could not suppress a rueful smile. Neither of us is.
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