Meanwhile, back in the ballroom, Lord Julian was still carrying Lady Georgiana down the staircase, as slowly as possible to maximise her embarrassment.
The crowd played their part, jeering and laughing at the young lady’s wafting skirts, despite Julian’s gallant attempts to hold them down.
At last, he arrived at her parents’ side. All the young ladies were swooning and blushing, as was Georgiana, at his manly strength and masterful ways.
“What is the meaning of this?” boomed Lord Everard Everard, the father of the innocent maiden. “Lord Julian, you sweep into the county boasting of your father’s money, and then prove you are not a gentleman by treating my daughter like this! Explain yourself!”
The ladies, old as well as young, waited, hearts beating, fanning themselves frantically, as the swarthy yet handsome Lord Julian took a breath to speak.
“I caught your daughter painting a discourteous painting of her sister and fiancé,” he began, but everyone fell into gales of laughter at his high pitched tones.
Lord Everard Everard glared at him, suppressing his own smiles.
“And you thought to punish her by carrying her here in an improper manner, young man?” He loomed over the young lord.
“She should not mock her sister like that,” he said, ignored the peals of merriment surrounding him.
“Where is this painting?” interrupted Lady Everard. “Pray show us.”
Lord Julian led the Everards into the library, cursing his squeaky voice, inherited from his father. If only his studies of time had led him to invent a time machine, so he could go back to his youth and enjoy elocution lessons to make his voice more manly…
When they reached the library, the easel was empty and the painting was gone!