To look different from her sisters, her gown was of rose pink gauze over a pale satin, decorated only with small bunches of roses and velvet ribbons.
A number of gentlemen, with lamentable lack of originality had told her she looked like a rose, and she knew without conceit that the gown was very becoming.
But Andrina had in fact hurried over her own toilette when dressing for the Ball and she was supervising Cheryl's when there was a knock at the door and without waiting for an answer Lady Evelyn joined them.
"Can you imagine it possible, girls?" she asked. "I have just received a message from His Grace to say that we can wear any of the family jewels which take our fancy!"
"The family jewels?" Andrina repeated and at that moment Sharon came in from an adjoining room.
'That is just what I was thinking we lacked!" she exclaimed, having overheard what Lady Evelyn had said. "We are all very elegant but we need the extra touch that only gems can give to make us really smart!"
"That is exactly what I thought myself," Lady Evelyn said. "At my age jewels are as important to a woman as the cosmetics with which she embellishes her complexion."
"Where are they?" Sharon asked.
"I will show you," Lady Evelyn answered with a smile.
They all went downstairs to Mr. Robson's office to find him waiting for them having already received his instructions from the Duke.
He opened a heavy iron door that was situated in a corner of the room and they saw what Andrina privately thought of as an Aladdin's cave.
There were shelves on which reposed leather, velvet and satin covered boxes and when each one was opened by Mr. Robson the jewelry they contained made them all gasp in astonishment.
There was a set of sapphires and diamonds which comprised an enormous tiara, a necklace, bracelets, brooches and rings, and there were other sets equally magnificent in emeralds, rubies, diamonds and pearls.
There were other pieces of jewelry, many of them historical, which had been brought into the family either through marriage or by being acquired by the various Dukes on their journeys abroad.
Sharon went into ecstasies over each new jewel she was shown and even Cheryl seemed a little excited by them.
"What shall we choose?" Sharon cried.
"I should have liked to wear the sapphires," Lady Evelyn said, "but alas they will not go with my gown. I always thought they were the finest gems in the Broxbourne collection and I remember His Grace's mother looking absolutely magnificent in them!"
She turned to the secretary.
"Is that not so, Mr. Robson."
"Her Grace was one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen," he answered.
"Will the Duke mind their being worn by anyone else?" Andrina asked.
She was really speaking to Mr. Robson, but Lady Evelyn heard and said:
"I see no reason why he should mind. His mother died when he was six and it is unlikely that he directly remembers her."
Andrina said nothing but she felt quite sure the Duke did remember his mother. After all, she could remember hers long before she was six, and her father too in the years when he had been young and gay and always good-tempered.
"I will wear the diamonds," Lady Evelyn said with a last wistful look at the sapphires. "Now, girls, what is your choice?"
"I think all Cheryl will need is a small string of pearls," Andrina said firmly. "I am sure it would be incorrect for a debutante to wear much jewelry."
Lady Evelyn gave her a little smile.
"You are quite right, Andrina," she said. "I should have said that, not you. It would be ostentatious and in bad taste. A string of pearls would be perfect for Cheryl."
"I want something that glitters," Sharon said firmly.
"Why not these, Miss Sharon?" Mr. Robson suggested.
He opened another box and inside they saw two brooches shaped like stars and glittering with blue-white diamonds.
Andrina fixed them in Sharon's hair and they certainly much enhanced her appearance and were in perfect harmony with the glittering silver of her gown.
"And what about you, Andrina?" Lady Evelyn asked.
Andrina shook her head.
"I have no need for jewelry," she said. "There is a wreath which goes with my gown and that is all I require."
She spoke so firmly that nobody argued. Then having thanked Mr. Robson they returned upstairs.
"Why did you not choose a pretty bracelet?" Cheryl asked when they had reached the bed-rooms.
"It would only be hidden by my gloves," Andrina' said quickly.
She could not explain to Cheryl or to anyone else why she felt a reluctance to accept the Duke's offer of appearing in the Broxbourne jewels.
She somehow felt it was too incongruous to wear something that was so closely connected with him personally when she knew that she disliked him and that he, as he had said himself, had embroiled himself in their 'crazy, senseless scheme' against his better judgment!
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