The letter was written in a strong, decisive hand and sealed with an impression of Lord Buchanan's arms in thick, red wax. It was attached to a box that bore the insignia of Higgins & Hoare's beneath a simple wrapping of brown paper tied with a white string under which had been tucked a single red camellia.
My dear Lady Atherstone,
You will, I think, consider me a boor to have been so attentive only to fade away without so much as a word. I have not disappeared, however, and have no intention of doing so: I fear that only the requirements of my duty in town could have made me appear so mindless of the great kindness which you showed me on that afternoon when all of court could talk of nothing but your triumphs of wit and art.
I confess that I puzzled somewhat over the best way to express my gratitude for your favor when I had no right to presume. Admittedly our acquaintance is little more than that and yet, something required to be done. You will, I hope, find it to your taste and liking.
And, if we may progress beyond acquaintance to friendship, then I pray you will promise me a dance at this evening's ball. After all, even his majesty cannot forbid you such intercourse as that or he will be the most tyrannous monarch that ever lived.
I beg leave to recommend myself, madam,
Your most humble and affectionate servant,
Inside the box Heather would find a pair of delicate gold earrings fashioned into the leaves of a laurel, and depending from each, a single small but exquisitely fine pear-shaped emerald.