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Georgie did not understand how that would help her. "Where shall I go?"

"Why I believe you have received an invitation to visit your friend Lady Littleton." Grandmamma's countenance showed nothing but the total innocence that made people believe she was nothing more than a sweet older lady.

The duchess gave a sly smile. No one would ever describe her as anything but shrewd. "And Lord Littleton is bound to mention that you are visiting his wife to certain of his friends."

"After a little time, of course," Grandmamma added.

Georgie glanced from her grandmother to the duchess. "You knew this was going to occur."

"Well, one cannot always know certain things for a fact." Grandmamma lifted one shoulder in a very Gallic fashion. "However, I have known the Turley family for a very long time. I will only say that there was a distinct possibility."

That was as clear as mud. But, the ladies had helped others find their true loves. Georgie would have to trust them. "Very well. When do I leave?"

"You must first inform Lady Littleton that you are accepting her kind offer," Grandmamma said.

"I will arrange to have it delivered by messenger," the duchess added.

"I shall have to cancel any invitations Mama has accepted for me." Georgie would consult her mother about those.

"Yes, indeed." Grandmamma nodded. "All must appear to be unexpected, but not too very odd."

Georgie turned to the duchess. "When do you think you will have a response from Lady Littleton?"

"If you write the note immediately, I shall send my groom to Surrey. He can probably be back this evening. I have horses posted along the road for changes if necessary."

"In that event"—Grandmamma placed her cup on the table next to the teapot—"you will be able to depart tomorrow after luncheon." She tilted her head and regarded Georgie. "If you can be ready that soon."

As far as Georgie was concerned, she could leave today and let her maid follow her. "Yes. I will be more than ready to leave by then."

"In that case"—the duchess rose—"we will leave you to write your friend and cancel your appointments. Send your letter to me."

"Thank you, I shall." Georgie bussed the duchess's cheek and hugged her grandmother. "Thank you both. I do not know what I would do without you." "Let us pray it will be a long time before you need to worry about that."

Grandmamma took Georgie's hands. "Remember, we are always happy to assist you."

"Indeed we are, my child," the duchess said. "Whatever occurs I firmly believe that all will end as it should."

Georgie hoped the older woman was right. Still they were her best chance for happiness, and she had complete faith in them. "I am certain you are correct, ma'am."


CHAPTER TWO

After Georgie had accompanied her grandmother and the duchess to the front door, she went to look for her mother, whom she found in her parlor.

Mama glanced up from her curved cherry writing desk when Georgie knocked and entered the room. "I am glad you are here, my dear. I was coming to find you after I finished writing to cancel our engagements. We have a slight dilemma. Your father is insisting I accompany him to Yorkshire. I had hoped your grandmother could take you, but it appears as if you must come with your father and me."

She took a seat on one of the woven-backed chairs in front of her mother's desk. "Adeline Littleton has invited me to visit her whenever I wish. I would rather go there."

After regarding Georgie for a moment, Mama leaned back in her delicate French leather chair, a considering look on her face. "Perhaps you should tell me exactly what happened with Lord Turley. I would not wish you to visit Adeline only to have him show up there when you do not want to see him. As I recall, he and Littleton are particular friends."

Georgie explained to her mother that Lord Turley had not been able to tell her that he loved her. "If he could bring himself to love me, I would marry him."

"I see." A frown marred her mother's smooth forehead, and Georgie thought she saw a bit of silver in Mama's dark tresses. "In that case, you may ask if she is able to have you visit."

Georgie let out the breath she had been holding. "Thank you." If her mother had insisted she travel all the way to Yorkshire, that might have thrown a spoke in her grandmother's plans. Whatever they were. Come to think of it, she actually had no idea what the two ladies were planning. Perhaps she should have asked. "I shall write to her now."

"Do you have any events you have not told me about?"

"Not that I can think of. I should apprise Henrietta and Dorie I will be out of Town."

Mama nodded. "Very well."
...

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