The Marquis sat in silence, with a priceless hand-blown glass in his hand, while around him his guests waded through course after course of exquisite food and bottle after bottle of vintage wine.
He wondered why he had allowed himself to be persuaded to host such an insipid occasion. Then he caught his mother’s eye and remembered.
Tonight he was to choose a bride.
The prospect didn’t appeal.
The insipidity of this season’s debutantes repelled him, as did the despair of those on the shelf.
But the thing must be done. He turned to a random woman and smiled…