Arabella sighed softly and glanced around at her surroundings. For the moment, she was back in England but was expecting to return to France on another mission soon. In the meantime, she was staying with a friends of Lady Hastings'. Their town home was quite elegant and extravagant, but Arabella just couldn't bring herself to be completely at ease. Restlessly, she stood and approached the nearest window. While gazing out the window, Arabella felt her eyes mist over.  Below the window lay a bounteous garden. Flowers of every color and shape grew riotously from every plant. By now, Arabella sadly thought, I would have had a garden of my own and very likely a house quite similar to this.

   "Oh, Jean-Luc, my dearest. I so greatly miss you. If only I'd known of the Violet Guild or the League of the Scarlet Pimpernel when you were first arrested. Perhaps there was something they could have done for you,", came the tortured whisper.

    Turning away from the window before true tears began, Arabella decided that it was time to contact Lady Hastings to see if there was another mission being planned for her soon. Sitting here in England feeling melancholy was doing no good for anyone, her least of all. With this in mind, she approached the writing desk determined to dispatch the note immediately.

    Before she could take more than two steps, however, there came a knock at the parlor door. Turning slowly toward the door, she called, "Qui, ummm, I mean Yes. Enter". At her words, the door was thrown open and before her stood, not the maid she'd been expecting, but a complete stranger, and a rather good-looking one at that.

   With a somewhat puzzled look on her face, Arabella inquired softly, "May I help you, sir?"

   "Oh, I am sorry, my lady. I apologize for the intrusion. Please allow me to introduce myself. I am Lord Julian Wellsford Whitfield. I count myself a friend to your host and hostess. In fact, I had been expecting one of them to be here in the parlor, not such a lovely lady as you."

   While he was speaking, Arabella was able to examine his features a bit more closely. His hair was quite blond, and if she wasn't mistaken, his eyes appeared to be green. Above his wide smile reposed a nicely-shaped nose and of all things, a moustache. When he recited his comment about her being lovely, Arabella could feel herself begin to blush.

   "Please, m'sieur, you embarrass me."

   Lord Whitfield strode farther into the room and came to stand directly in front of Arabella. She was tempted to step back for she did not realize from a distance that he would be so tall or so imposing.

   "May I inquire as to your name, mi'lady?"

     Intrigued in spite of herself she replied, "I am Mademoiselle Arabella Catrine Marie St. Just. Late of Paris, France but now a grateful guest of English hospitality."

   "Ahh, a refugee from the Reign of Terror, no doubt."

   "Yes, my Lord, but it is not a subject I care to discuss."

   "Again, mi'lady, my sincerest apologies. I did not mean to bring up so painful a subject. I merely expressed my thoughts aloud."

   Arabella turned and finally continued on toward the writing desk. "My lord, I fear my host and hostess are not in at the moment. They did not inform me there was to be a guest calling this afternoon. Is there something I may do for you? Perhaps ring for some refreshment?"

   "Not at all, my dear. I had some rather critical business to discuss with your host, but since he is not here, I will have to return at another time. If you would care to just tell him that I stopped by I would be most grateful."

   Arabella was surprised at the thread of disappointment she felt when he turned to leave. "Indeed, my lord, I will be sure he gets the message."

   After Lord Whitfield had departed, Arabella found herself wishing for the quick return of her hosts. Surely Percy or Marguerite would be able to provide her with more information about this Julian Wellsford Whitfield.

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