“He’s a charmer, that one.” Mrs. Griffin smiled broadly, her eyes following his retreat. “It’ll be a lucky woman who gets him to the altar.” A speculative gleam entered her blue eyes when she turned her regard to Meghan.
Given the vein of her recent thoughts, her chaperone’s remark struck Meghan as uproariously amusing and wholly ironic. She managed to swallow down a burst of laughter that came a hairsbreadth from escaping and fought to maintain a straight face. “Mrs. Griffin, if there’s one thing I can assure you, that lucky woman will never be me.”
Her chaperone patted her hand as if placating a fretful child. “Don’t despair, my dear. Anything could happen. You’re a beautiful girl. Any man would be happy to have you.”
Don’t despair? Don’t Despair!?
A cut from Lady Cranford—a notorious gossip and all-around busybody—would have offended her less. Had she not intoned lucky with the proper amount of derision? Clearly there was no virtue in subtlety.
“No, I don’t think you quite understand. I—” me, Meghan Anne Townsend “—have no desire to marry him—Lord Granville. None at all.” She tacked on the latter should her tone be misconstrued for expressing anything other than her unequivocal rejection of the notion. The mere idea.
Now caught in the grip of a heightened sense of alertness, Mrs. Griffin stilled and stared deeply into her eyes. Her fingertips rested ever so lightly on the white silk of Meghan’s gloved hand, the patting halting completely. After a lengthy pause and much intense scrutiny, an indulgent smile stretched across her face. When she spoke it was with enough gentle patronization to grate several nerves. “Of course you don’t, my dear. Of course you don’t.”