It was half past six on a snowy evening when an attractive young lady with a very bad head cold could be seen driving home in a coach. Her usually creamy complexion now reddened to an unnatural color, deep chocolate eyes rather puffy, and nose rubbed raw, she clutched a sodden handkerchief with desperate gloved fingers.
Yesterday had been quite different. It was an uncharacteristically fine spring day, full of sun and birdsong and the promise of picnics. Now the world was transformed into a cold, blustery gray thing with every tree and hedge covered in a thin sheet of wind-whipped white. Our young lady thought Nature's tricks quite disgusting.
Bumping and jolting over rutted roads, she couldn't think what to do with herself after this. The party at Lady Langdon's being cut short, there would be no end of dullness waiting at home. Mother would be sitting in the corner, covered in black lace, pointing accusatory eyes at her needlework. John would be locked in his room, studying (as usual). Why on earth did this horrid weather have to come at this time of all times? The pathetic lady blew noisily into her handkerchief, disturbing the sleep of a fat gentleman seated in the opposite corner of the coach. With a sigh, she turned once more to the foggy window, a glass which obscured a world she would rather not see.
Suddenly, she heard a rather alarming noise...