|Beatrice got to the hilltop a little too |
early on Midsummer's morning.
Beatrice's life is anything but exciting. Instead of training to be a veterinarian like her father, she is his assistant. Lots of on-the-job training, but no room for advancement either. Her lack of career leaves her open and available to take on such mundane jobs such as 'Acting Companion' to Great-Aunt Sybil - who she is not fond of (the feeling is mutual). Great-Auntie should probably have been set adrift on a convenient iceberg years ago, but failing that, she spends her time bad-mouthing her family and medical professionals. After a visit to a noted cardiologist in London (that would be our boy Oliver), a suitable companion is found. Or rather, a suitable companion is sent. Oliver just so happened to know someone.
Papa Browning, the village veterinarian, has a heart attack. It's sure a handy and convenient thing that Oliver is a cardiologist. Oliver suggests to Beatrice that she hire a locum. It's really a shame that he doesn't know a handy vet who happens to be at loose ends for a few weeks, because, well, you'll see.
The agency sends a man. I suppose we must call him a man, although he is more closely related to the reptile kingdom. Think of a snake with opposable thumbs.
Colin Wood, he of the showy yellow sports car with lots of luggage, several tennis rackets and a set of golf clubs.
Colin Wood, young and exciting. Danger, danger, danger...(I'm saying this with a fake Australian accent).
Colin Wood, sniffing around the veterinary practice account books.
Colin Wood, plotter of mercenary marriage to the unsuspecting Beatrice...until she overhears the Phone Conversation O' Doom wherein he outs his true mercenary motive for chatting up Beatrice.
Colin Wood, stalker extraordinaire.
Papa Browning takes on a new partner. NOT Colin. Colin stays on in the village - much more handy for his new hobby - stalking Beatrice. It gets so bad that Beatrice can barely stick her nose out the door. What's a girl to do? Oliver suggests a pretend engagement! Beatrice demurs - what will his fiancee think? What fiancee, you ask? Yup, there isn't one, it's that hoary old plot device wherein the hero states he plans to marry soon...zzzz.
Colin practically attacks Beatrice in the middle of the village - Beatrice is saved by Oliver - whom she calls her 'fiancee'. Oliver assures Colin that the announcement will be in the Telegraph the very next day. Which it is.
Oliver invites Beatrice to go on a two-week lecture tour with him (and his assistant, the delightful Miss Ethel Cross).
Colin has taken to writing impassioned letters to Beatrice. Beatrice is so over him by this time - the letters don't even mean anything to her.
Lecture Tour O' Liking or Great Hotels of Europe. Two weeks at the finest hotels in Utrecht, Cologne, Copenhagen and Brussels...Just as Oliver drives away from dropping her back at her house - finally, finally! Beatrice realizes she's in love - but since she has endowed Oliver with an imaginary fiancee, there's nothing she can do about it.
|Chasing burglars was just a way to let off|
a little excess steam, after all, she couldn't
bring herself to chase Oliver.
If she wasn't already in love, two weeks of forced Oliver Drought would have certainly make her heart grow fonder...as it is, she's in such a muddle about her feelings for him, the faux engagement, his imaginary fiancee and life in general that she scampers into hiding the next time she hears the gentle purr of his Rolls. Two can play the sneaky game...Oliver pops up unexpectedly and asks her why she hid. Em-bar-ass-ing, much?
|Sorry Colin, the better man is going to win this time.|
Time to wrap it up:
- Visit to Aunt Polly in Cornwall (a whole 3 pages worth).
- Kissing on the street.
- Takes her home...thorough kissing in front of the whole family. Muddled thoughts for Beatrice.
- Proposal on the hilltop where they met. 'I promised myself when we met that one day I would ask you to marry me on this very spot...'
|Miss Ethel always wore her little black|
number when she received her employee
of the month award.