Fallibility, A Regency RomanceeBook - 2010
"Oh no, my dear, you must not!" Lady Penelope Albright exclaimed this as Faith leaned forward to look out of the carriage window. "Those men are positively indecent, virtually naked. Brown as savages, they are and the whole lot of them! You should not cast your eyes upon such things."Actually, Lady Faith Heaton would have very much liked to do just that. The trip so far had been a boring and tedious affair. The sight of some nearly naked men would have been a bon divertissement, a good diversion, but her aunt's out-flung arm barred her way. So, with a profound reluctance and a loud resentful sigh, Faith settled back into her leather-upholstered seat. However, she couldn't help noticing that the sight did not seem to offend her aunt's sensibilities overly much. That good woman continued to stare with an expression of avid curiosity. Lady Penelope Albright kept her beady eyes trained on the spectacle ahead. Suddenly, she leaned her head out of the open window. One hand clutched her black bonnet as she did so, for the wind always seemed to blow briskly in Devonshire, or so it seemed from Faith's limited experience. She had never been to this area of England before now."Driver!" the older woman shouted. "Stop by those men up there. We need directions. You are going the wrong way. I am sure of it!"She said all this in a loud voice, one so stentorian it made Faith wince. If anyone had the capability of using voice alone to shatter glass and without having to hit a high-pitched note to do it, it was Faith's Aunt Penelope. Now seemingly satisfied, her aunt leaned back in her seat.The coach lurched to a stop amid a cloud of dust and loud snorts from the horses. Now, Lady Albright once more popped her head out of the window. She was again careful to hang onto her bonnet, lest that treacherous breeze snatch it from her and this despite the broad ribbon that bound the hat to her head."You there!" she shouted in a deafening voice, although Faith still couldn't see at whom she directed this lion-like roar."One of you men--yes you! Come over here at once, this instant, I say!"Faith heard the distant murmur of deep male voices in conversation, the abrupt sound of barked laughter. Then there came a shouted response, one Faith didn't quite catch. Realizing all this occupied her aunt's full attention, and so she probably wouldn't notice, Faith used the opportunity to try to catch a glimpse of what was happening.She leaned forward. Through a corner of the coach window, a small portion not blocked by her aunt's head and outsized hat, Faith saw several men. They were dressed as common day-labourers. All of them stood some ways from the road, either holding their shovels in hand or leaning casually against them, using them as supporting props. A long, low pile of fresh-dug earth showed the results of their recent efforts.Two of the men had removed their shirts, stripped themselves to the waist. These then must be the "virtually naked" men to whom her Aunt Penelope had referred. Both men's nude torsos gleamed with a sweaty sheen.Only the younger and taller of the two had a physique well worth noting, though. He was lean and well proportioned, slim hipped, for his breeches barely hung on them. In fact, they rode very low there, held on only by a wide leather belt. His upper arms were taut with corded muscles. From his narrow waist rose a tapered chest, which even now still heaved for breath, no doubt from the young man's recent exertions.Faith guessed they must have worked long and on more than one occasion to achieve such bronzed skins. Her Aunt Penelope was right. They were "as brown as savages," as dark as common field hands were."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Rob Shelsky, 2010.
Branch Call Number: EBOOK
Characteristics: data file 1 online resource
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