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Only one person seemed to notice Clytie’s discomfort: a physician named Samuel Whittington. A cousin of Isabel’s, he had recently resigned his Army commission and worked with his fellow veterans of the Napoleonic Wars. He was lean and handsome, with dark hair and brown eyes, and many a young woman had set her cap for the dashing doctor.
When he saw Archie and Isabel chatting with Clytie, Samuel sought an introduction … and noticed Clytie’s tension ratchet up all the further.
“I must go,” she choked out, and ran out the door with Susan at her heels.
“You’ll have to excuse my sister,” Archie apologized. “She does not do well at routs any more.”
Samuel shook his head. “Not at all. I’ve seen that look on many a soldier’s face. It’s as though she has battle fatigue. Tell me, has she stopped doing things she used to enjoy?”
“Why, yes!” Archie was surprised. “She keeps to her rooms, reading her books. She used to love balls and dinner parties, but not any more.”
“Introduce me to your parents, Mister Preston. I think I may be able to help that a lovely sister of yours.”
So it was that Doctor Whittington was welcomed to call at the Preston townhouse.