Holiday in Bath

Holiday in Bath by Laura Matthews

Book: Holiday in Bath by Laura Matthews Read Free Book Online
Authors: Laura Matthews
Tags: Regency Romance
sitting in a carriage all morning, but I’m famished.”
    Throughout their meal she was particularly gay, cheering her mother with talk of the shops and assemblies in Bath, and teasing Cranford with made-up tales of careless Romans who mislaid their money, their baths, and most probably (she said) their wives.
    When they resumed their journey Cranford had his revenge, or at least that is how Trelenny saw the matter. They sat side by side with their backs to the horses and once they were out of town he drew a book from a pocket on the wall. The pocket on the opposite side, he assured her, contained a pistol which was loaded and primed in the event of an emergency. The book, however, proved to be the more powerful weapon, as it was purported to be a book of sermons that he suggested he read to them.
    Even Mrs. Storwood gazed at him with astonishment, and Trelenny gasped, “You wouldn’t!”
    "No," he laughed, “I wouldn’t. Really it’s Fanny Burney’s Evelina .”
    “That’s an antiquarian’s idea of a joke,” Trelenny murmured scornfully to her mother. “And I’ve never heard of Evelina , either.”
    “Surely you must have,” her mother protested. “It was written the year I was born but it was still the rage when I was young. How we loved it! It’s the story of a young lady’s entrance into society.”
    Trelenny eyed Cranford reproachfully. “So you are intent on schooling me, are you? A more palatable lesson than the sermons, perhaps, but a lesson all the same.”
    With an exasperated sigh, Mrs. Storwood said, “It’s a delightful book, my dear, and very thoughtful of Cranford to have brought it.”
    “Yes, he might have brought Plutarch’s Lives .” But it took very little time for her to become engrossed in the story, though she told Cranford she thought Evelina a rather weak-spirited damsel and not quite so well possessed of understanding as the author seemed to imply. “I would never get in a carriage alone with the likes of Sir Clement. She might have known he would behave precisely as he did.”
    Fortunately Trelenny did not intercept the amused glance which passed between Mrs. Storwood and Cranford when the latter said, “I’m sure you would never do anything so improper.” He replaced the book in its pocket. “The light is failing and we’ll be in Preston soon, where we should be able to find accommodation at the Bull and Royal.”
    “We’re stopping already?” Trelenny asked with astonishment. “But Preston cannot be more than sixty miles from home. At this rate it will take us forever to get to Bath.”
    “Four days,” Cranford informed her.
    “Oh, no! All of our time will be spent traveling! Surely it need not take so long. We could start earlier each day and not find an inn until well into the evening. Then it would be only three days and we would have a longer stay in town.”
    Cranford regarded her coldly. “I doubt your mother would appreciate our bumping along the roads for ten hours a day, Trelenny.”
    In the fading light of the carriage he could just barely perceive the blush which rose to her cheeks as she lowered her eyes to her hands. “No. No, of course not. And our journey can be interesting in itself, Mama, for I have brought some guidebooks on the counties we will pass through. Tomorrow I shall get them out and read to you about Lancashire and. . . and any other counties we might reach during the day.”
    Mrs. Storwood regarded her daughter fondly. “That is thoughtful of you, my dear. I think we might plan to be on the road by nine tomorrow, Cranford, and decide as we see our progress where we might stay the night.”
    “As you wish, ma’am.”
Chapter 7
    “There is room for you and Trelenny here, Mrs. Storwood,” Cranford informed them when he emerged from the Bull and Royal, “but I shall have to find another hostelry. The innkeeper says the Castle is likely to have space for me, as it’s not such a quality establishment as his.” He grinned at

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