The Lady Bernadette sits on the verandah, fanning herself and sipping lemonade. It is a warm day, and her suitor has come to call. Lady Bernadette has yet to decide about Mr. W. His black hair and bright eyes are charming to be certain. And flirtatious! My, my. With what boldness he seeks affection!
Mr. W. has been enjoying the morning in Lady Bernadette’s company (her mother is chaperoning from just inside the house, so there is no impropriety.) Movement in the grasses catches his eye.
He has brought his hunting gear with him, as he has planned to go for a hunt today after calling upon Lady Bernadette. Her beauty kept him transfixed longer than he anticipated, so his start is delayed. The lady sees his eyes flit to the quarry in the field.
“Please,” Lady Bernadette intones. “Go on with your hunt. I will not be offended in the least.” He gives her a questioning look, as if to be sure she means what she says. “Oh, sir. I am not one of those English noblewomen who plays games with her suitors. If you wish to hunt, by all means, track your prey! Fret not about my feelings, for I assure you I do not wish to keep you when you desire to go. You have, after all, left me in no doubt of your attachment to me, if I may be so bold as to mention it.”
Mr. W. bows to her; then he bounds off the verandah and begins stalking the animal. Lady Bernadette, having not the keen eye of a hunter, can not see what he is tracking; she can see only the intensity with which he tracks it.
Soon, Mr. W. is so deep in the tall grasses of the meadow that Lady Bernadette can no longer see him at all, though she observes his movements by the way the vegetation bends and sways as he pushes it aside.
The lady adjusts her sunhat and takes another sip of lemonade. She knows she is fortunate to have such a devoted suitor as Mr. W. She does not even mind his preoccupation with hunting. “Every gentleman should have a hobby to keep him occupied,” she says to herself. “Noblemen who are bored are simply unbearable.” She enjoys his company, adores his affection, is enamored by his good looks. “Still,” she wonders. “Do I love him?”
A quick, sharp movement in the grass catches her eye. She watches as a brief tussle ensues. Lady Bernadette watches as Mr. W. emerges from the meadow with his catch and trots directly toward her.
Obviously terribly pleased with himself, Mr. W. deposits his game at the lady’s feet just as her mother exits the house onto the verandah.
“Ah, Mr. Wiggles brings you the spoils once again,” Mama observes.
The young gentleman has eyes only for Lady Bernadette, but the lady looks at her mother over his head as he sits at her feet. “Yes. He seems to believe he must earn my affection with such gifts.”
The older woman smiles. “Shall I dispose of it?”
“If you don’t mind,” Lady Bernadette replies. “I would be ever so grateful.”
Bernadette scoops up the cat to give him the appreciation he seeks, keeping his head turned so he doesn’t see Mama pick up the dead mouse by its tail and hurl it back into the meadow.
Mr. Wiggles purrs with satisfaction.