After Martin left for the airport…

"What was that about?" Henry asked the Colonel, better known as James when by the pool.

"Hmm," James hesitated a moment, "Permission to speak freely about your relatives?"


James was obliged to pause his video game.

"Well, apparently your Jane decided to report the old lech after all, so the puppet master sent Martin to persuade her otherwise."

"Since she's not – was never – my Jane," Henry said with great effort, "and I was just a stand-in, I see why my aunt wouldn't send me, but why Martin? Didn't she figure out what he's been up to all this time? Shouldn't he have been sacked by now?"

"Sacked? Oh, my boy, you really are in the dark about how things work here," James realized, "Martin was only doing exactly what the old girl pays him to do."

Henry looked at James in disbelief, but James' countenance was firm on this. There was no joke.

"She assigned Martin to Jane?" Henry said, unable to leave the question mark off the end of the statement just yet.

James nodded.

"But - but - the saxophone, the singing, all the rule-breaking – "

"Your dear aunt, in her monetary wisdom, has often said, 'Only a true Austen fan should get a true Austen experience.' And she measures truth in pounds. So, the Copper Packages, generally, get the lying, 21st century, cad experience."

James paused to shake his head sympathetically, "They could get that at home… for free… and minus the corsets…"

Jane's words from last night were echoing in Henry's ears, I want something real. He couldn't let Martin and his aunt manipulate her again. And, maybe, then there would be an opportunity to convince her…

"Humph!" James was going on, "Your aunt wouldn't know a true Austen fan if they hit her in the face – and, at times, I certainly wished Jane would have – sorry, Henry."

Henry stood there mute, oblivious to James' apology and the reason for it. His mind raced. James finally looked up at the statue that was Henry Nobley.

"Good God, man!" James rebuked him, standing suddenly as the formidable Colonel Andrews, though in a cowboy hat with flames on it, "What are you still doing here? Get your arse to the airport and find your lady before bloody Martin does!"

With an appreciative slap to the Colonel's shoulder, and a hearty look of resolve on his face, Henry Nobley was off.