My third Third Sentence Thursday

The Masque of the Black Tulip, Lauren Willig, p. 65:

“If Miles could have also stripped himself of his white silk stockings and knee breeches, he would have, but somehow, he thought he’d arouse more attention striding in there buck-naked than he would clad as though for a court audience.”

Got your attention yet? We’re in the midst of a Regency spy story. Miles Dorrington, an undercover agent of His Majesty’s government in the war against Napoleon, is following a suspicious gentleman through the slums of London, and he’s dressed to kill because the chase started from an elegant evening at Almack’s. The suspect has just slipped into a low-life pub, and Miles has removed and hidden his jeweled shoe buckles before following. Even without jewels, he’s going to be obviously out of place. But there really isn’t much more he can do to change his appearance without making things even worse.

A page or two earlier, we get treated to a wonderful mangling of one of those detective story cliches. The suspect left Almack’s in a sedan chair carried by two strong men (a fairly common type of London transportation in those days). Miles jumps into the next available one and orders the front-end carrier, “Follow that chair!”

(The carrier just says, “That’ll be extra if you want me to run.”)

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