Blogs by Grace Elliot
Excerpt - from Eulogy's Secret.
12/11/2011 1:03:01 PM
Eulogy is a success in the art world, but with fame comes danger....
On the corner of Bond Street, the barouche rumbled to a halt. Huntley drummed his fingers and, after a short eternity, lowered the window to shout to the driver.
“Why the delay?”
“A crowd in the road, Sir. We aint going to get to the door, Sir, least not until this lot clears.”
“What’s causing the disturbance?” With sudden unease, Huntley shifted in his seat.
“From what I sees, there’s a right ol’ fuss outside The Gallery.”
Huntley became alert.
Reaching for his cane, Huntley jumped down. Alarms sounded in his head. Miss Foster was at The Gallery and in danger: he could feel it.
“Keep the carriage close.”
Huntley pushed his way through: past jewelers shops, snuff sellers, tea-dealers and engravers, intent only on getting to The Gallery. Sweat broke across his brow.
If anything happened he’d never forgive himself. He should have warned Eulogy, told her that the phaeton accident was not an accident at all.
He elbowed a stout man in a tail coat aside.
“I say!” The man blustered to Huntley’s back.
Noise pressed in from every side: laughter, chatter and good natured banter. On tip-toe, straining to see above the top hats and bonnets, Huntley glimpsed a red-faced Chaucer. He seemed to be standing on something, waving his hands to get the crowd’s attention. A hush fell as Chaucer started to speak.
“Ladies and gentlemen! Patience, I beg you! The Gallery is currently full. I can allow no more inside. But if you would be so good as to let people out…”
Huntley nearly swooned with relief. Nothing had happened other than Farrell’s exhibition was a wild success. Laughter rattled in his throat.
“Farrell and Foster. A sensation eh?”
As he grew calmer, faces that moments earlier seemed sinister, were now merry and bright. Huntley glanced around. Street vendors plied their trade amongst the well-to-do: selling posies and pies…why even a boy with a performing monkey had arrived. Huntley threw back his head and laughed.
Mopping his brow, Jack edged forward.
“Excuse me, Sir. Thank you, Madam.”
Suddenly, a hush fell. Huntley looked up to see The Gallery door open. Then he saw her and gasped.
Serene in white silk trimmed with green braid, a cashmere shawl about her creamy shoulder, Miss Foster stepped forward and smiled. The crowd let out its breath; the murmur of admiration grew to a crescendo. With natural grace, Miss Foster raised a gloved hand and spoke.
“Please, good people, be so good as to let me through.”
The crowd let out a collective sigh and parted; a path appeared.
Graciously she inclined her head, acknowledging faces in the crowd as she left the Gallery steps. Jack watched spellbound. Gentlemen murmured her name, ladies ogled her gown. Here was the woman: gentle, beautiful and kind… and the Ton loved her! His heart lifted.
“Excuse me.” Jack pushed forward. But as drew near, he saw an unsmiling man making his way to Eulogy’s side. Apprehension clouded his joy. Huntley stared at the man; freshly shaved with brushed hair, he was no vagrant or thief…so why the alarm? Then it came to him. The man’s expression was detached, malice glinting in his eye, studying Miss Foster as if she were prey…
“Miss Foster!” Huntley roared. “Eulogy, danger!”
Still several feet away, his voice carried above the crowd. She glanced up and, recognizing Huntley, her face lit up.
“Not me! Watch out!”
Metal glinted in the autumn sun as the man raised his arm. The blade arced through the air.
‘Behind you!’ Jack bellowed.
Time moved in slow motion as Eulogy twisted and fell.
The crowd paniced; scattering in all directions, blocking the way. Jack’s chest locked as he ran toward the fallen Eulogy. And yet there she was, struggling to her feet; hat askew, hair tumbling from its pins, as again the assailant raised the knife.
Like a charging lion Jack cleared the last few feet. Surprised, the man hesitated, at which moment Jack’s fist made firm contact with his nose. But then Jack saw Eulogy, deathly pale and swaying, if she fainted here she’d be trampled underfoot. Jack lunged forward and caught her limp form just as her knees buckled.
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