Lady Defford

Two days prior Lady Elaine Defford had conversed with Lady Mary Torrington on the odd disappearances of those within their congregation; a farmers boy just out of leading strings the most recent of a series of 6. Without thought they would be a target for such occurrences, their insensitive opinions were spoken without hesitation nor regard for servant proximity. To others of ton this shameless display was deemed crass, especially as their unsavoury uninformed finger-pointing, of which spread quickly, targeted several other notable community figures; Lord Sailforth, Lady Dosset and Le Masse: an infamous Seprano, to name a few.

But, with the disappearance of Lady Torrington that morning no less from her bedroom on West Hale Street, deemed a safe upperclass area, tattle mongering escalated to such a degree that not one escaped suspicion.

Lady Defford’s recollection overmorrow to the unfortunate constable Simon Fansby, whose astute deduction’s considered the now well known finger-pointing the inception of the most recent vanishment, quizzed the greatly affected Lady in her drawing room a mere street over from Hale Street.

“I do not mean to upset you Lady Defford, but if you can give me any leads on who disliked Lady Torrington, any at all, I would be much obliged?” He sat opposite her upon a sofa of questionable taste as she wailed and grasped her hearts horn to her ample bosom. Her staff having prewarned Simon of the state of their mistress, whose lachrymose exertions savoured strongly of the theatre, that she would be to little or no use to him, he pressed on unaffected by her incessant weepings.

“Please Lady Defford, I know it’s difficult,” he prompted, trying to meet her eye. She raised her head in a flourish of pink ruffles.

“Difficult constable. She was one of the good ones I tell you. There was naught one to equal the goodness, the kind, considerate…” she broke off with disconcertion and continued her ode to sadness within the cushions embrace.

Sighing he stood, recognising the fools errand the underlings had so astutely pointed out. One could almost consider her flawed summary of Lady Torrington’s character enough reason for admittance to Bedlam, for all other accounts cast such shade as to even bespeak consideration was on the outside of enough.

As he raised his bowler, and stood to take his leave, her tear stained face reappeared with an affronted sallow look.

With great difficulty he bit back a smile and took on a more somber tone, realising the expectation to play his part.

“My condolences Lady Defford,” he gracefully bowed and donned his hat, “ I cannot expect you to answer questions under such strenuous circumstances. If you wish it, I shall take my leave.”

“No constable, to be sure. We must do our part to find this snatcher,” she sniffed as no lady of quality ever should, “ excuse my follies. I am much affected by such occasions. Many consider my tears common place, for I feel my emotions strongly.” She waved her handkerchief at the couch opposite, gesturing to retake his seat. Doing as bid, he tried again to win her good graces with a different tact.

“I believe I have never met someone with such a refined taste as yours Lady Defford, indeed this,” he gestured vaguely around to the generously applied pink, of which refers to everything shy of the clockface and wainscoting, “would suit a regents abode.”

Her eyes lit up with such flattery, with such a high regard of her own lavish tastes she could not help but sit up and smile. “You believe so, Constable Fansby? For it is generally said that my taste is astute, but I find myself humbled by such a declaration nonetheless.”

Her woes thus forgotten, she began ranting at length on all matters from frills to curtains, cushions and stitchery.

It was sometime before Constable Fansby was provided the opportunity to speak, and even then it is was thankfully due to Elaine’s lack of breath moreso than nothing to say.

“And tell me, did Lady Torrington posses such exquisite taste?”

This statement could not have suited Simon’s need more perfectly, perforce Elaine began to animadvert on Lady Torrington’s complete lack of understanding when it came to fashion, and her earlier summation of her friends spotless character slowly became marred by snippets of ‘she said’s’ and ‘that woman’s’. He sat back and listened, trying to decipher the ramblings into some semblance of use.

“…And that woman, irregardless of my opinion, considered Lady Dosset’s cook superior, which is foolish beyond understanding, for her trifle is commonplace at best, and don’t get me started on her inability to dress a pheasant…”

Simon scratched Lady Dosset from his list of suspects having deduced from her diatribe that jealousy was the overriding theme for blaming thrusting blame at the woman’s door.

She continued on without little encouragement, now set in a rhythm. The Constable having now conceived that Elaine, beside being exceedingly fickle, was probably the most garrulous female he had had the unfortunate experience to come across, and she probably offered very little useful information in regards to his case.

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