“Matron Lerriet Scower,” he said, taking her hand gently. “It’s so nice to have you here, at Moulde Hall. Please enter, and I hope you enjoy your stay.”
Matron Scower’s eyebrow raised sharply, and then fell almost as quickly. Edmund smiled internally, pleased he had made an impression. He couldn’t tell if it was a good one or not, but that almost didn’t matter–he needed to be noticed first. Matron Scower gave a sharp nod, and stalked through the door, completely ignoring Ung and Mrs. Kippling, who both kept their heads bowed respectfully as she passed.
The second family head had a full mane of brown curly hair that fell from under his cap like a muddy waterfall. He had a patch over one eye that barely covered a vicious scar that ran down towards his jaw, and he walked clumsily, leaning heavily on his thick black cane. He reminded Edmund a little of Kolb, though there was no glint in his eye nor spring in his step.
“Patron Samsuel Vanndegaar, it’s so nice to have you here, at Moulde Hall,” Edmund stuck out his hand, only to withdraw it lamely when no hand was returned. “Please enter, and I hope you enjoy your stay.”
“Poorly said,” Patron Vanndegaar said, sniffing disinterestedly. “But you may deliver my thanks to Mander before dinner. I doubt I shall offer them again this evening.”
Edmund nodded as Patron Vanndegaar slowly walked up the steps to the front door, his large black cane loudly punching the ground.
The pleasure Edmund had felt at making an impression was quickly shifting to dread–while mere seconds ago impressions had been all well and good, now he was concerned that a poor showing would not help him any. He knew he was going to have a long way to convince the other family heads of his legitimacy, but it was not going well so far and that distance seemed longer then ever.
He put another smile on his face as the third and final family head approached.
“Matron Hagetha Cromley,” he said to the enormously fat woman who was waddling towards him. “It’s so nice-”
“Yes, yes,” she puffed, wiping her brow with her white blouse’s sleeve. “I heard you the first two times. You must be Mander’s new heir, I suppose? And she must be just too busy to come down and say hello? Busy looking for some stone to draw blood from?”
“Not at all,” Edmund said, trying to decide if he should extend a hand or bow. He decided on neither. “She is feeling ill and won’t be joining us for dinner. She asked me to host instead.”
“Did she now?” Matron Cromley smiled. “How kind of her. I’m sure you’ll be an excellent host.”
Edmund followed as Matron Cromley began to pull herself clumsily up the steps. He hoped she was correct.