This is Noah Haskett, the third Marquis of Hesterton and he is a recluse.
Society has pushed him from its warm embrace for the better part of his life and he is perfectly content to no longer attempt to meet their lofty expectations. In fact, he’s more than content, he’s elated.
So much so, in fact, he’s made a list to tout the joys of being a recluse. And so, without further ado, here is Noah’s infamous list:
– As specified by a reclusive marquis
- Nancy’s matchmaking attempts. She’ll never get it right.
- The “Bon Ton” – hypocrites and featherheads.
- Debutantes. They are like riders in a hunt!
- Marriage Minded Mamas. If debutantes are the riders, their mothers are the hounds that have scented the fox!
- Wearing cravats. Who thought tightly wrapping linen around your neck was a good idea?
- Dancing. No explanation needed.
- Almack’s. Watery lemonade, stale buttered bread, and vipers – what’s to miss?
- Almack’s, while I’m thinking on it. The “No trousers” rule is ludicrous!
- Gossip. Further proof that the “Ton” is inhabited by hypocrites and featherheads.
- Social Calls. Vile tea and critical people? No, thank you!
- Reminders that I need an heir. And they are plentiful…
- The Afternoon Promenade in Hyde Park. Same hypocrites and featherheads, just outdoors.
- Feathers in ladies fashions. Reminds me of the awful incident in which I was jabbed in the nostril by a feather thrusting out from Lady Pandamine’s turban.
- Refraining from speaking my mind in public. It’s gossip which should be censored rather that one’s own opinions.
- Dancing. It bears repeating.
- Dressing for Dinner. Really, what is the point? One outfit per day is perfectly sufficient and saves an enormous amount of time.
- Keeping up with fashion. Saves a tremendous amount of money and aggravation!
- Ton ladies. Automatons, the lot of them – they dress the same, talk the same, one is as annoying as the next.
- Shaving Daily. Another time saver!
- Fops and Dandies. More hair than wit, I truly despair the future of the kingdom if these men are our best examples of gentlemen.
- Chaperones. As if being judged and found wanting by debutantes and their mamas wasn’t bad enough.
- Gentlemanly Manners. Such as how men must precede a lady going upstairs and how bloody slow my brace makes me climb. Damnably awkward.
- Getting invitations to social events. I don’t want to go anyway.
- Replying to said invitations. Saves time and foolscap!
- Dancing. It truly deserves a third mention.
- Venetian Breakfasts. Breakfast is kippers and eggs in the morning, NOT at 2 in the afternoon.
- Pretending not to hear comments about my leg. Apparently the ton believes my brace affects my hearing.
- Smiling. Scowling at people in public is frowned upon.
- Picnics. Who in their right mind wants to eat outside? On the ground?
- The Grand Dames. Judgmental, feather-wearing harpies, lying in wait to pounce on the weak and unmarried.
- Musicales. Dante’s first circle of hell.
- Soirees. No dancing, but there are still people.
- Insipid conversations.
- Cadsbury. Not having to see him is reason enough to become a recluse.
- Balls. See items #1-6 and #15 and #25.
I absolutely fell in love with Noah while I was writing Mesmerizing the Marquis and hope all of you do too! I especially loved writing the banter between Noah and Helen. 🙂