After she left James and Iris, Hyacinth retired to the parlor where the rest of the guests were gossiping and sipping brandy. She caught the attention of Gerald Constantine when she stopped to close the wooden sliding doors to the parlor. “Why, that did not take you very long.” Gerald remarked.
“They have only been married for nine months. My company just would have been a distraction.” Hy laughed lightly as she sat down on the davenport next to Virginia. “So, when do we get to meet this mystery couple?” Nigel inquired. “I suppose they will be joining us for dinner. Newlyweds have to eat some time.” Hy giggled. “Where do you know them from?” He asked. “Nigel darling, I told you that Lady Chamberlain would be here this evening.” Olivia replied as she poured herself another glass of brandy. “Laurence is here? If my memory serves me correctly I do not recall Laurence being very romantic.” Nigel remarked. “She has not been married to Laurence since that incident last year. Iris is married to someone else now.” Virginia interjected. When she replied she noticed Hy glancing at her disdainfully. Virginia suddenly sat back against the davenport and did not say another word. “Then who is the lucky gentleman?” Ethan asked. “He is a nice young man. You all would like him. James is very pleasant and sweet.”
“If you ask me they would not find him quite so amiable.” Beau interjected arrogantly. “And just what is it that you have against James?” Hyacinth asked sullenly.”I do not have to have a reason for not liking someone. I just happen to think that he is not good enough for her. Now Laurence was an appropriate husband. At least he did not have to pretend that he belonged.”
“What do you know about people? Isn’t it you who gets along with no one.” Hyacinth rebuked. “I am just looking out for Iris’ best interests. I have known her since she was seventeen years old. Is it a crime to look out for her best interests?” Hyacinth ignored his remark and quickly changed the subject.”Are you gentlemen planning on going fox hunting this weekend?” Hy asked.
“I brought my hunting attire, so as long as it does not rain I am prepared to catch as many foxes as I can.” Nigel boasted. “Oh please Nigel, you could not even catch me when we first met! How do you suppose you can catch a fox!” Olivia teased. “I for one am always up for a little fox hunting.” Beau replied cunningly as he glanced at Virginia from across the room. The room suddenly became quiet when James and Iris walked in to the parlor. All the attention seemed to be on them or at least on James since he was the only stranger in the room. “Why, Lady Chamberlain. . .forgive me I mean Iris, we did not think we would be seeing you so soon.” Ethan remarked jokingly from his seat. “We finished unpacking so, I thought I would come down here and introduce you to my James.” Iris replied sweetly. Olivia stepped away from the bar and made her way over to James and Iris. “So, this is the new husband? I was not aware that you even remarried.” Olivia said congenially.
“James, this is my friend Olivia Calloway and this is her husband Nigel.” Iris replied motioning over to the distinguished man sitting in the chair near the fireplace. “It is a pleasure to meet you. After all you are married to our precious Iris.” Olivia replied as she took both of Iris’ hands in hers. “Aren’t you going to introduce your new husband to the rest of us?” Gerald asked.”Of course, how rude of me. Honey, this is Gerald Constantine and his wife Hedy. You already know Hy and you have already met Virginia and Beau. Sitting on the other davenport is Ethan and Eva Radcliffe. Everyone this is my husband James Knight.”
“Hello.” James replied awkwardly. “You do not have to feel so ungainly with us. You are among friends.” Nigel replied reassuringly. “Thank you very much, Sir.” James replied. “Not only is he handsome, but he is mannerly too.” Olivia replied flirtatiously. “If you do not mind me asking, James, what do you do for a living?” Ethan asked. “I am a Police Inspector in Westerbury.”
“So that is where I know you from! Weren’t you the one who solved those gruesome murders last year in Westerbury?” Gerald asked. Before James could reply Beau sighed loudly. “I do not know about the rest of you, but I am utterly bored. Anyone up for some fox hunting now?” He interrupted rudely as he rose from his chair. James immediately noticed Beau’s abrupt reaction. He could tell by the wrathful expression in Beau’s eyes that his presence was unwanted. He could not figure out why someone would hate him so much when they had only just met. “Fox hunting? At this early hour?” Ethan inquired. “There is no time like the present.” Beau replied. “Give me a moment to change my wardrobe.” Nigel asserted. “James, would you care to join us?” Gerald asked as the men were about to exit the parlor. “I do not care much for hunting.” James replied. “You do not care for hunting! You can not be serious! Every man lives to hunt!” Nigel declared in disbelief. “Now there is a man with some intelligence.” Olivia remarked giggling. “There is nothing wrong with a man who does not hunt.” Ethan replied. “This spoken from a man who has never even held a gun. At least James carries a revolver with him while he is on the job.” Nigel criticized. “Now gentlemen, leave my husband alone.” Eva said as she kissed Ethan on the cheek lightly. “Eva please.” He replied pushing his wife away gently. A dejected look suddenly appeared in Eva’s eyes as she slinked away.