Emma glanced out the carriage window at the congested traffic waiting to deliver passengers to the ball. It seemed that everyone was determined to make an appearance tonight. Emma would have gladly given her spot in the crush to anyone who wished to be there.
Crush it would be, with this long line the ballroom would be packed and hot. Brushing a straight-again strand behind her ear, she sat back and closed her eyes. Just smile, nod, dance, and if lucky, have decent conversation, then she could leave and retreat to her library and her books. The thought of the quiet comfort of her library made her smile, but for now, she must endure the loud crowd of the ball.
The ballroom was packed and the sound was to a loud roar, each person speaking louder to be heard over their neighbor. Emma pasted an amiable smile and greeted the Duke and Duchess in the receiving line, thanking them for the invite. She looked across the sea of people, all dressed resplendently. The young debutantes were in their pale pastels, the matrons and widows in darker shades. The younger men were dressed in the latest fashions of bright colors, strutting about like peacocks, while the older men wore the traditional grays and blacks.
Emma could see that she would fade with the crowd as usual, her soft blue dress with its fashionable high waist and low bodice was not extraordinaire, the best it did was bring out her eyes. Her mother ushered her into the crush and began greeting people. The earlier pasted smile remained as she returned greetings and nods. She looked around for Miranda, her companion in the dislike of balls, but she could not see her in the crowd. Perhaps Miranda had discovered a clever ruse in escaping the torture of tonight.
Suddenly she heard her name called and groaned, recognizing the voice. Schooling her features to re-paste the smile, she turned to see Rosamond Thorton, the Earl of Summerfield’s daughter. Rosamond was a veritable beauty that all the men fawned over and who had not one drop of intelligence in her head. She was, of course, in the Fashion with her blonde curls, bright blue eyes, and petite form. Emma suffered through a friendship with her because although Emma disliked the silliness of the girl; she had not the heart to be mean.
“Oh Emma, I am so glad you are here. You absolutely must hear the latest news. Katherine Stamford was caught in a compromising situation with Lord Cameron and they are to be wed! Isn’t that deliciously scandalous?” Rosamund said with cheshire delight. Emma murmured something unintelligible and inwardly sighed, this was going to be a long night.