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Excerpt: The Summer Bride

Excerpt: The Summer Bride

Book 4: The Chance Sisters

Chapter One

London March 1817

“It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
— Jane Austen
Sense & Sensibility

“I can make anyfing out of anyfing, but even I can’t make a silk purse out of a bloomin’ sow’s ear!” Daisy Chance declared. “I was born in the gutter, raised in an ‘orehouse and I got a gimpy leg. I don’t look like a lady or speak like a lady and I ain’t never gunna be a lady, so what’s the point of—”

Lady Beatrice cut her off. “Nonsense! You can do anything you set your mind to!”

Daisy rolled her eyes. “Maybe, but I don’t want to be a lady! I want to be a dress maker—and not just any dressmaker. I aim to become the most fashionable modiste in London—fashion to the top nobs.”

The old lady shrugged. “No reason why you can’t be a modiste and a lady.”

Daisy stared at the old lady incredulously. “You don’t have no idea, do you? What it’s gunna take—”

“Any idea. It’s any idea.

Daisy rolled her eyes. “Work, that’s what it takes—hard work, never-endin’ work. I’m workin’ every hour God sends as it is, and even so I’m barely managin’. There ain’t no time for me to prance around pretendin’ to be a lady!”

“You are a lady!”

Daisy snorted, and Lady Beatrice went on, “Your entire nature declares it. Inside, you are a lady, Daisy—loyal, loving, honest, sensitive to others’ needs—all we have to do is teach you to be ladylike on the outside as well!”

“Bugger that,” said the budding lady. “Apart from the fact I ain’t got time for all that, the thing is I don’t care about it. And there’s no point! All the lessons in the world ain’t goin’ to make me the kind of lady that Abby or Jane or Damaris is. They was born with lovely manners and a sweet way of speakin’—I was born in the gutter and brung up rough.”

“Brought up not brung, and they were born not was. But that is immaterial—”

“No it’s not. I’ve got a chance now—thanks to you and Abby and the girls—to make somef-something of meself.”

“Yes, a lady.”

No, a modiste, wiv a shop of me own. I want to dress fine ladies, not ape them.”

Lady Beatrice drew herself up stiffly. “With me conducting your lessons, thereis no question of aping anyone—and please do not use such a vulgar expression!”

“Yeah, well, I’m from the vulgar classes, me, and I call a spade a bloomin’ spade, but if that’s too blunt for you, I’ll say it different— I ain’t a lady and I don’t like fakery.”