"Well, here we are!" Lady Anne Phillips said with a broad smile. She bounced onto the Southampton dock and made straight for the two-horse cab parked at their end of the street.

Sarah surveyed the scene before her and sighed inwardly. England just wasn't the same for her any more—it was too stiff, too tradition-heavy. She already felt as though she had to put on her best manners just to walk around in the city.

She had been missing the freshness of New York for the whole duration of the voyage across the Atlantic. Seeing the overly precise order of the busy dock only made her homesickness worse.

From the look on his face, her father felt the same way. Sarah slipped her hand into his and squeezed it. "Don't worry, Father," she said softly. "It's only for a little while until the land sale goes through."

Samuel Phillips smiled wryly. "You don't know your mother like I do," she said. "We'll be lucky if we're back home by Christmas."

"Father, don't exaggerate," Sarah chided. "It's June."

Her father's expression did not change. "I know."

They reached her mother, who was happily telling the coachman about their plans for the visit. "Sam! Sarah!" she exclaimed. "This gentleman has kindly offered to drive us to the Lambeth estate tomorrow." She turned back to the coachman and picked up their earlier conversation. "And then on Monday we simply must call on Alice Pembroke, the war was so upsetting to her, poor darling, I hope she's managing all right, and then there's Mary Stewart with whom I haven't talked in ever so long..."

Sarah looked up at her father. "I think you may be right," she murmured.


One good thing had come out of the Phillips' extended visit to England: Sarah was now in possession of three beautiful new fancy gowns. Her mother, realizing that their stay in London coincided with the ball season, had decided that it would be a lovely way of introducing Sarah to fashionable society if they were to make an appearance at the most important parties of the year. So off to the clothier's they went, and a month later the most dazzling clothing Sarah had ever seen arrived on their doorstep.

Tonight was the first of the parties, and Lady Phillips was in a bustle over the preparations. (Major Phillips was, wisely, staying downstairs and out of the women's way.)

Sarah was in her dressing room with her mother and Maggie, her lady's maid.

"I'll wear the yellow one tonight," Sarah decided, fingering the bright silk. "I like it with my hair."

"Your hair!" her mother exclaimed suddenly. "We must do something with it! I'd completely forgotten!"

"Um," Sarah said, looking in the mirror.

"Have Maggie see what she can do," her mother said. "Maybe something curled?"

"Yes, ma'am," Maggie said. "I'll heat the iron."

"And maybe some of my pins in it, too," Lady Phillips said. She looked at Sarah appraisingly. "Yes. The butterflies will do nicely."

"Er," Sarah said.

"I will go find your father," her mother said. "We should be prepared to leave in two hours."

"Yes, ma'am," Maggie repeated.

Lady Phillips swept out the door . Maggie curtsied and left to heat the irons.

"Well, I think this will be delightful," Sarah said to the empty room.

** end Chapter One

A/N: Hope you enjoyed! This was really the intro chapter—we'll be seeing some more actual plot soon. If you read it, please leave a bit of feedback! It's not that hard, look! There's even a little box, right there at the bottom! Every little bit helps; even a "um, dude, how OOC was Major Phillips?" or a "OMG WTF Henri/Lafayette 4EVAR!!!" is appreciated. (But mostly feedback of the first sort. :D)