Thursday, April 7, 2016
E is for Espionage Fiction
Finally the chance I've been waiting all night for thought Alice as she was led onto the dance floor by a kind gentleman with her conveniently weighted handkerchief in hand. The Handkerchief Chase would be a good excuse to dance with Mr. Sterling without appearing too forward and drawing attention to herself.
The ladies waited in a circle with backs together waving their handkerchiefs as the men circle them. A loud note from the flute was the signal to release handkerchiefs. Alice’s practice with aiming her handkerchief paid off as it sailed easily toward Mr. Sterling and he caught it deftly. If he noticed the weight of it he gave no notice and he stepped forward to claim his dance.
“Are you enjoying the ball Miss Cadman?” Mr. Sterling asked as they danced around the floor.
“Quite, it’s not so often I have the privilege of being a guest at such an elegant and well attended ball as your aunt puts on,” said Alice.
“Yes, Aunt Clarissa commands a considerable turnout.”
“A commanding presence does seem to run in your family,” she said and quickly averted her eyes blushing at her own forwardness. He didn't say anything and she started to worry, but when she looked back up he was smirking and almost seemed like he was standing taller.
The music ended and Aunt Clarissa signaled for the orchestra to wait as she began to address her guests. Mr. Sterling walked her back to her table as she silently cursed Aunt Clarissa.
Alice found an out of the way niche and waited for Mr. Sterling to leave the library. Luck was on her side and he left alone. She pulled out that handkerchief and strolled toward him seeming not to notice him. She purposely dropped the handkerchief and continued walking toward the French doors that look out onto the patio and the beautifully sculpted garden beyond. She heard him hurry after her and jumped for joy on the inside while not acknowledging his presence on the outside, not an easy thing for a young lady to do, but a skill that must be mastered in today’s polite society.
“Miss Cadman,” he called after her. “I believe I am in the possession of your handkerchief yet again this evening.”
She stopped just before the doors and turned smiling kindly. “Then suppose I owe you another dance Mr. Sterling,” she said.
He caught up with her and handed her the handkerchief back, “A fine position to find myself in. May I ask what has you out so late?”
“I presume you can, because you just did,” she responded turning her head slightly and feigning surprise, but rushing on before he could think better of his inquiry. “I would like to walk in the lovely garden and get a bit of fresh air.”
“I hope the room is not unsatisfactory,” he said frowning slightly.
“Not at all Mr. Sterling. I was simply still stimulated from all the excitement at the ball and thought a peaceful walk would sooth.”
“Quite right,” he agreed as he inclined his head. “Perhaps I would settle for an invitation to join you on your peaceful walk in lieu of a dance.”
“I was hoping you might and would be most grateful for the company,” she said.
He moved to the door and held it open for her. She smiled and proceeded out onto the patio gazing up at the full moon. “What an exquisite night,” she said and sighed.
He came around in front of her and backed a few paces into the gazebo extending his hand. “I think I will claim that dance now,” he said with a wide smile on his face.
“I thought you traded your dance for a peaceful moonlit stroll,” she said with a small smile and turning to look down before glancing at him through her lashes.
“I said perhaps and I am not sure that was a good trade. Will you honor me with another dance?” He said with his hand still out waiting for her to take it.
Alice smiled more broadly. She made a curtsy in ascent and as she did she flung a knife into his throat rendering him unable to call out and dying. “You Mr. Sterling are orally gifted and must not be allowed to deliver your speech to the Queen tomorrow. It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time," she said and turned and walked off into the night.
Do you like espionage fiction? Who should I be sure to check out in this genre? Let me know in the comments.
The ending came from the prompt I found on Pinterest.
The Handkerchief Chase I found a demonstration of on a YouTube video at 2:46 and it was exactly what I was looking for.
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Photos by Pixabay.