A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

By Mary Balogh

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Move closer? Farther away? All the way out onto the landing? Should he smile? Frown? Look contrite? Amorous? Grateful? Humble? Dignified? Triumphant? Defeated? Defiant? Compliant? Supercilious? Good Lord, his mind was babbling, and he was missing what the Countess of Havercroft was saying. She had risen to her feet to say it, and Reggie scrambled to his again. “Mr. Mason, William,” she said, looking from Reggie’s father to Havercroft, “how can you possibly expect the young people to come to any sort of amicable agreement unless they are given the chance to speak privately with each other?

She clenched her hands, digging her fingernails painfully into her tingling palms, willing herself not to collapse in an insensible heap at their feet. “You think to marry me to Mr. ” she asked, staring at her father. Because he was rich. Or his father was, anyway. There could be no other possible reason. Papa’s hatred of Mr. Mason was almost an obsession. Her father’s smile was grim. “A coalminer’s son,” he said. “Expensively educated but with coal dust clogging his veins. A wild young rogue, with a reputation for unbridled extravagance and vicious depravity.

And pointless too since the weather did what it pleased no matter what they wished. Which was a good thing since everyone wanted different weather for different reasons and might end up fighting wars over it if they were able to control it. As if there were not enough things already to fight wars over. His father pronounced flat out that the king was mad, which was a pity since the Prince Regent was even more of an idiot, and that if men had been meant to fly, the good Lord would surely have given them wings.

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