Unfortunately the passionate spell was broken when Cecelia charged through the door with Millicent on her heels.
“Do you feel that burp coming on yet?”
“Mother’s humor has evolved into something quite bizarre lately. You must forgive her.” Millicent motioned to the liquor cabinet. “Andy, would you care for a drink?”
Turning from his close proximity to Bedelia, he clapped his hands as though his mother had just offered him ice cream. “Ooh, I want something with lots and lots of grenadine.”
Cecelia, stuck in the middle of the room with Bedelia, kept reminding herself she must be a cordial hostess even though she was totally mystified by the young lady standing in front of her. The only comment that came to her mind was about Andy.
“I simply cannot believe the change in Lord Taylor.”
“Neither can I.”
Cecelia realized that conversation was going nowhere fast so she appraised Bedelia’s attire. “Well, you must be an accomplished horsewoman.”
“Oh, I don’t ride.” She blushed. “I’m afraid of horses, actually. No, I wear these clothes because I think they look smashing on me. Don’t you think? And mother is so pleased to see me in pants.
Cecelia, who was a champion in small talk, decided to throw in the towel on this conversation. As she walked away to nowhere in particular, Cecelia threw over her should, “She would.”
Bedelia, though beautiful, could be dense at times. Not realizing she was being sloughed off, she followed Cecelia across the room. “And I love this riding crop. I can crack it on my pants any time—you know it really doesn’t hurt—to emphasize a point in a conversation. See, like this.” She slapped her smart mauve riding pants with the crop.
“You ninny.” Cecelia rolled her eyes.
“Oh no. I’d never take a position caring for other people’s children.” Bedelia shook her head with a laugh. “I don’t know yet what I want to have as a profession, but I would never—“
“I said ninny, not nanny, you ninny!” After giving Bedelia an appropriately haughty glare, Cecelia swirled around and went into the ballroom.
Bedelia collapsed on the lounge and melted into tears. Across the room, Millicent finished concocting Andy’s cocktail which, per his instructions, had lots and lots of grenadine in it. She handed it to him and excused herself. “Poor Bedelia. I’ll be back in a minute, Andy.”
“Of course,” he replied, sipping his drink. Immediately Andy grimaced, spit the contents back in the glass, put it on the cabinet, wandered back to the oriental screen and pulled out his monocle on a stick for another inspection.
“Bedelia, please don’t let mother upset you.” Millicent sat next to her and patted her hand.
“I try so hard to be nice to her. Why doesn’t she like me?”
“Sometimes, dear, it’s not so smart to be smart.” She paused to give a knowing little smile. “Or, shall I say, a Smart?”