Today we are joined by Miss Priscilla Tate, the most fashionable member of La Petite Four, who is interviewing a very special guest. Miss Tate, I shall leave things in your capable hands.
PT: Thank you. I am thrilled to be given this prestigious honor of interviewing Alexander Thornton-Hawke, Duke of Harksbury. Welcome to Nineteen Teen, Your Grace! I must say you are the most presentable gentleman we’ve had to visit. Lady Emily reminded me that you are the only gentleman who has visited, but that is beside the point. I have researched the aristocracy quite extensively, and I can safely say that no one has your unique set of credentials.
How exactly did you manage to be so handsome er so young and still be a duke?
ATH: I must thank you for your kindness, for not all are awed by my title. Miss Rebecca, an American visitor at Harksbury, was rather unmoved by my credentials. She seems to think inheriting a title is unimpressive. I have to confess I was flummoxed by her reaction.
PT: I should think so! Imagine not being impressed by your muscles, er title. And you have quite an estate too. Please tell us about Harksbury and what you love most it.
ATH: Harksbury is a grand estate of 12,000 acres. Much if it is rolling meadows, but there is also quite a bit of forested land ripe for hunting, a favorite pastime of mine.
The home itself is made of exquisite stonework, though much of the eastern wing is covered in ivy. It is nestled on a hill and centered around a large courtyard. My mother enjoys roses, and the courts are positively brimming with them. If you asked her, she would say her favorite part is the large ballroom, for she is constantly finding occasions to host a dance or ball. As for me, I prefer the grounds rather than the home, and I intend to ride every acre of the estate before I turn twenty.
PT: And where do you get those stunningly handsome jackets of yours made?
ATH: I employ a very talented tailor, of course. He is in high demand but worth his exorbitant prices.
PT: I am rather impressed with how seriously you take your duties. What do you think a duke’s most important duty might be?
ATH: I must take my duties seriously, for it is my responsibility to see that Harksbury prospers. It is vital that I make the correct investments and choices. I am the seventh Duke of Harksbury, and I must ensure that there will be a eighth and ninth.
PT: Your dear cousin, I believe, was recently threatened with an arranged marriage. Do you have an idea of the young lady you would see as your duchess? And is she by any chance blond?
ATH: Oh, I am far too busy to think of such matters, though my mother would like to disagree. Perhaps in another few years I’ll enter the marriage mart. For now, I indulge her whims by dancing with an eligible lady or two, but I do not intend to settle just yet.
PT: [Grumbling is heard in the background, something to the effect of the good ones being unwilling to commit.] Ahem, well, I understand you are considered an expert horseman. What is your favorite mount and why?
ATH: I have a new and spirited thoroughbred stallion named Ghost. He is a challenge, but faster than any other horse at Harksbury. I’ll be taking him on his first hunt soon.
PT: Now, I must know, when Rebecca returned to Harksbury for the first time in years, what did you think?
ATH: She seemed quite out of place! Her English accent had disappeared. I’ve not had the chance to meet many Americans, but I have to wonder if the rest are like her. She’s quite outspoken. Is that the way of Americans? I must confess that the two of us did not get along well in the beginning.
PT: No, no, no. What did you think of her shoes? I understand they were amazing!
ATH: She does have odd taste in shoes, does she not? I’d never seen anything like them.
PT: Neither had I! Ah, well, our time has gone all too quickly. Thank you so much for this interview. If you, dear reader, would like to know more about our delightful duke and the shoes that brought a certain young lady to his attention, please look for him in Mandy Hubbard’s Prada and Prejudice, out this week from Penguin Razorbill!