The Duchess of Duke Street: A Lady of Virtue

Previously on The Duchess of Duke Street: Louisa Trotter bought a hotel, worked herself almost to death, and managed to make a success of it after all.

We can hear loud cheering from one of the upstairs rooms as Merriman comes down the steps with some empty champagne bottles. Starr asks what’s up and Merriman says it’s some Liberals celebrating their victory in a Yorkshire by-election, with Louisa in attendance. Merriman shoves off with the recycling, just in time for Fred to start losing his little terrier mind over a basket held by a well-dressed lady who’s just come in. The woman holds the basket out of reach, looking alarmed, and Starr jumps into action, shoving Fred into his little bed and greeting the lady. He snootily asks the woman if there’s an animal in the basket and she tells him there’s a cat in there. Starr says that explains it, because Fred doesn’t usually freak out that way. I think this might be a good time to offer the lady an apology for your dog’s behavior, Starr. He does not, which irks me a bit. I love my dogs to death, but you can be sure I apologize all over the place if they behave badly towards someone. The lady’s a lot nicer than I am towards Starr and tells him she’s there to meet with a Sir James, who’s up with the partying Liberals. The lady, who introduces herself as Mrs. Strickland, asks Starr to tell Sir James that she’s arrived. Apparently, Sir James is lending her his rooms. Starr asks Merriman, who’s passing by on his way back upstairs, to tell Sir James that Mrs. S has arrived.

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