My dear, I have just heard the most scandalous thing, but you cannot tell a soul. Do you remember me speaking of Lady Selby? A poor little dab of a woman. Wouldn’t say boo to a goose. Of course, I befriended the countess. It was an act of charity, for she was not at all up to snuff.
How she captured herself an earl is beyond me, especially a rogue like Selby.
Not that he was faithful to her, for of course he wasn’t. She told me herself that one of his mistresses had the audacity to visit her in her own home. Can you imagine! Of course, the woman claimed that Selby had tricked her with a false marriage ceremony.
“Nonsense, dear,” I told her. “You mark my words; it’ll be a scheme to inveigle money out of you.”
Well, dear, it turns out that I may have been wrong, for I met the unfortunate female just as she was about to leave the manor with her two daughters in a cart bound for who knows where.
She seems to believe that Selby played the same trick on her, and if that is true, then she is not the countess at all, but just another fallen woman!
It is such a pity, for I am known to have been a friend of the countess, insofar as she had friends. To discover that I have been so taken in! I am deeply upset, as you must imagine. I tell you, next time I see Selby, I shall be very inclined to tell him precisely what I think of him, whatever his rank in Society.
The female who thought she was Lady Selby has left the neighbourhood, thank goodness. It would have been unpleasant to give her the cut direct, for it appears to have been not her fault at all, poor creature.
I won’t add to her burdens by spreading her story about, but I just had to tell you, my dear friend. And do show my letter to your sister, for I know she will be interested.
But apart from that, don’t tell a soul.
Lord Selby’s shocking behaviour is a subplot in the historical mystery novel Revealed in Mist, by Jude Knight. The former Lady Selby and Chastity Virtue, the other false wife mentioned, will one day also have their stories told. So many stories, so little time.