Stepping out into the shimmering grey morning, sidewalks and streets washed clean by a recent rain shower and wrapped gently in mist, Miss Pemsley took a deep and cleansing breath and left the dark and menacing doorway of the Yard. She’d taken the job because it “offered great promise,” or so her Uncle had assured her. But the work! All those tedious little rules to remember-yellow form here, bone white reports there. . . and everything in triplicate. Goodness, it was a wonder the Yard got anything done.
But she could see the promise in the position, too. Sir Crothall was very dashing. And Mr. Newberry, he seemed nice in his own quiet way. There was something tortured about the man. Something that intrigued her even more than Crothall’s brilliant smile and coy flirtations. Giles was off limits and nothing appealed more to a woman like Gertrude Pemsley than a challenge . . . so long as the challenge wasn’t keeping paperwork organized and-
And what else was she supposed to be remembering?
Lost in her daydreaming, Gertrude had made it a full three city blocks from the Yard offices before she remembered she was on a mission. But what was it? Something to do with food, she believed. Breakfast? Lunch? Afternoon tea? Tea!
Glowing with pride that she’d remembered, Miss Pemsley set off down the street in search of the perfect tea pot. If there was one thing at which she excelled, it was shopping.
But nothing would do. Every teapot on the market today seemed to require at least some level of input on the part of he who made the tea. Five stores later and Miss Pemsley was going to have to admit defeat. It was in the process of learning about the tea making process from the purveyor of this fifth and final shop that Gertrude found herself the object of attention of a fellow shopper.
Used to the glances, nay the unabashed stares, of gentlemen wherever she went, Gertrude was prepared to ignore the fellow after a quick coy smile. But instead of tipping his hat and moving onward, the gentleman approached. He even dared to address her!
But annoyance faded quickly as the tall, dark stranger offered, “Deepest apologies, Madame. But I could not overhear your speech with the shopkeeper here.” He turned to the shopkeep with a small bow, “No offense to you, dear sir, but you are decidedly wrong. There is such a teapot as madame seeks. There’s a shop not twenty minutes walk from here that has all manner of modern conveniences. I know the purveyor personally. Machines that wash clothes - and even fold them! Gadgets for the garden. And yes, teapots such as the lady here seeks . . .” He turned back to Gertrude, “All conveniences to free Madame for more pleasurable tasks. And that preserve her ladylike features, such as white, delicate hands-”
Said delicate hands were offered. And, arm in arm, the two left the shop.
Unfortunately, the teapot was not available for immediate purchase, prompting a frown to cross Miss Pemsley’s lovely face. But, for the inconvenience, a discount was offered. The item would be personally delivered the following week. The gentlemen of MDOPFGIASA would simply have to wait their cuppa until then.