Beggars Can’t Be Choosier

1) A Crowded Affair

The Earl of Aftlake, stepped gingerly onto the pavement in front of 6 Wimpole Street. Brian Forbes Pangentier, shivered. It was not cold, since it was late May, but the mere thought of being in Wimpole Street at number six would make any man shiver.

Best to not think about it greatly and go in. Mrs. Hadding would have the place warm. She always had the place warm, and as he rented half a floor of her, he could not do aught but endure the heat until he reached his floor, one below the top of the building. The second floor.

Up two flights of stairs, and then thankfully the door to his room. Mrs. Hadding though, once he opened the door would, as per usual, certainly be close enough at hand to ask him many questions of his day. A day spent looking for blunt.

Four generations before, the Aftlakes were quite prosperous. It was an ill-witted Earl who thought to loan money to King James. Then foolishly did not appease the daughter Mary thereafter. Queen Mary and her husband William did not think kindly of the Forbes family at that time for it. Marrying into the Pangentier family during the first George helped to remedy that for a number of years. Years that ended when all their holdings in the Americas were destroyed by the little war they had there.

After his father had finished idling at the university too, so the family went to rack and ruin. Not before he had finished his studies could they have lost all, no. When father might have had a chance to actually learn a thing, instead of how to read poetry. Even should he have learned to write poetry, then perhaps there would have been the ready in the Forbes Pangentier coffers. Instead father paid to publish his one book of verse and sold seven copies. The Countess would not let Brian even burn the near two hundred copies they had remaining in lieu of coal.

Brian quickly opened the door and hurriedly crossed the four paces to the stairs. His foot hit the first tread and he was on his way.

“Ah my lord.” He heard Mrs. Hadding before he saw her, but that was her skill. To move so quietly that her lodgers had no idea she was about. She was always about. Especially when it was the first of the month and rents were due.

“Mrs. Hadding. So good to see you this night.”

“Night? Why there still be two good hours of daylight left, my lord.”

“Why you are quite correct Mrs. Hadding. As always.”

“About such things, mayhap, but your lordship knows best, I tell all the other tenants so.” There were two others, Mr. Fitch and Lady Stanley. 

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© Regency Assembly Press 2014