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An Uncommon Affair

Excerpt

Mr. Alistair Chapman raised his head to see who had entered. He pushed his wire-rimmed glasses that had slid down his nose back into place and felt his mouth twinge in a grin. He saw a beautiful blond woman attired in the pink of fashion. Her blue riding habit matched her eyes and he thought her quite lovely. He watched as she smoothed her dress, obviously uncomfortable under his scrutiny.

Alistair's grin grew wider. He asked, "May I be of assistance, my lady?"

Lady Catherine did not like the smug look on the man that held her attention. She was used to being admired for her beauty, but this man looked more amused than besotted. She thought he was grinning at her expense. His gaze made her tremble and she did not like the idea that he knew he had discomposed her. Catherine expected since he was in Edward's study, that he must be his man of business, but his fine crafted coat and linen were too superior for one in service. His short crop hair was also indicative that he was a man of fashion, not a dandy, but surely a man used to superior society. Catherine realized she had yet to respond and saw that he had risen and was making his way towards her. He said, "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Lord Felton's man of busniess, Mr. Alistair Chapman. I expect you are Lady Catherine. Your features, especially your blue eyes and regal nose mark you a Brentwood. You are Lord Felton's cousin, are you not?"

Lady Catherine was surprised at the man's confidence in addressing her. She noted he had none of the obsequious nature she was use to expect from servants. He had a commanding presence and a sort of charm that was out of place for a man of his class. She watched him as he came to stand before her. He looked into her eyes and asked, "Are you ill or are you mute?"

 

Discussion Questions for An Uncommon Affair

1.Alistair is concerned what will happen to Beaumont's tenants when looms begin to replace the work of spinning wool that suplements their income. How has today's emerging technology impacted the working man's income?

2. Baroness Litford held custody of the Atwood heirlooms. What do you think of promengeniture, leaving everything to the first son, and not breaking up family wealth and property? How precious do you think it is in today's society to hold onto family herlooms and pass them on?

3. Catherine is remarked as being a hoyden, a tomboy, for her adventurous and competitive spirit, engaging in sporting pursuits like racing, billiards, and fishing. In the 1800's, the term was not flattering, suggesting a woman had less than a feminine nature. Has today's perception changed toward women that engage in masculine sports? What sports have evolved to be considered neutral, neither feminine or masculine?