Patience gave an inward sigh. Henrietta meant well. She had been Mama’s oldest and dearest friend. They had attended Miss Pringle’s Seminary for Young Ladies during their youth and had maintained a close friendship until Mama’s death a year ago. The childless, widowed, and socially well-connected Henrietta Paisley considered herself in charge of Patience’s life upon her friend’s death, in loco parentis as it were. Sometimes her efforts were interfering, despite her good intentions. Henrietta Paisley was also a self-proclaimed matchmaker, having successfully united no less than fifteen couples in the last two years. Pairing up young ladies with eligible men had become an entertaining diversion for her and she was good at it. Her success lay in her shrewd assessment of the suitability of potential suitors. Several anxious mamas had already engaged Henrietta in intense discussion on the possibility of Viscount So-and-So or Sir Such-and-Such or even Lord What’s-His-Name proposing to their hopeful debutante daughters.
Henrietta laid down the invitation. Her expression indicated how resolutely she was bent on a romantic mission. Like it or not, Patience was Henrietta’s next target for Cupid’s arrows. Her face glowed with an emotion larger than excitement. Elation was perhaps the best description. Or maybe triumph was even better.
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