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Prologue: The Umbria Collection: Vol I: The Lord, the Lady and the Duke
The long standing chauffeur has recently retired and a replacement has been found through friends of friends in London. The chauffeur of a fellow member of the House of Lords has become available. This man is said to be extremely reliable and well versed in the etiquette of the job. His references are excellent but the earl has heard rumours about this man that he finds disturbing and discusses this with Her Ladyship over sherry before dinner.
Lord Swinbury is not very tall, about 5ft 8in with grey to white hair, or what is left of it. He has a high forehead and aristocratic nose, a family feature. His eyes are a brilliant blue and can transfix a person in seconds. Lady Melanie is also of small stature, being little over 5ft 3in, but she carries immense presence. Her hair is auburn and her eyes are a similar blue to that of her husband. Her nose is also aristocratic, but in a very feminine way. Her figure is amazing. She is slender, but the perfect hour glass. In fact, no-one would believe that she is forty five. She looks at least ten years younger. She has a classic beauty. She knows it and is not averse to showing it and using it to her distinct advantage.
The couple is seated in Her Ladyship’s private boudoir which adjoins her bedchamber. The room is lined with stone like most of the castle, but with wooden panelling on each wall from floor to a height of six feet. A crystal chandelier is suspended in the centre of the room from a beautiful rosette which is four feet wide. There is a side table of teak that is so highly polished it is like a mirror. His Lordship is seated in a buttoned leather chair, beautiful to look at and very valuable but not exactly relaxing. Her Ladyship, on the other hand, is reclining in a somewhat provocative manner on her chaise lounge. The silk of her dress accentuates her curves, leaving one shoulder uncovered and revealing the swell of her breast. The room is heated by a charming log fire which reflects off the mirrors and gilded paintings and casts interesting shadows over the frescoes on the ceiling.
“Melanie, my pet, what have you heard on the grapevine about this new chap who is coming to drive us? We don’t want some young lout who will clear off at the drop of a hat.”
Lady Melanie, in her sweetest and most seductive voice assures her husband: “Oh no, darling Regie, nothing like that. I have been told by ‘Ladies from the Lords’ and been assured by our trusty housekeeper that, as far as work goes, the man is irreproachable. As far as I can ascertain, he is tired of driving most of his time in London, and who can blame him for that? No, the rumour that concerns me, especially with Penelope coming home from school for the summer, is that the young gals where he is currently employed refer to him as ‘The New Casanova’. What do you make of that, eh?”
Lord Reginald replies: “As long as he works well and knows his place he will do well. First time he lets his personal desires outside his pants I’ll thrash him within an inch of his life.”
“Regie darling, you know you can’t do that any more. Times have changed and we are no longer above the law.”
“I don’t care”, replied His Lordship, “My father did it, my grandfather, and my great grandfather too! It is our sort that makes this country what it is and these locals would do well to remember their place.”
Lady Melanie gets up from her favourite chaise lounge and kisses her husband tenderly on the cheek: “Don’t be so stuffy, Regie, you know times have changed and getting worked up is bad for your blood pressure.”
His Lordship grumbles away to himself, but as Lady Melanie gets up to recharge their glasses, he pats her affectionately on her noble bottom and gets a seductive smile in return.
“Later my darling, later” replied her noble ladyship, smiling to herself and blushing slightly.
The lord and his lady really are quite devoted to each other, in spite of the twenty five year age difference, and in spite of each straying from time to time. Staff no longer seems to notice the little shows of affection between the lord and his lady, a sign of ‘their way’. Then in a teasing manner Lady Melanie strolls over to her husband and sits on his knee.
“I do so love you My Lord, you do know that, don’t you?”
“Of course I do, My Lady, now get of my knee and let’s dress for dinner.”
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