Her Grace

Her Grace is the pampered pug of Great-Aunt Elvina in Lord of Darkness. When we first meet Her Grace she’s in an Interesting Condition which soon produces three pug puppies.

Here is a scene featuring Her Grace from Lord of Darkness:

Godric peered bemusedly over his half-moon spectacles as Her Grace trotted into his bedroom with a curled puppy hanging from her mouth. The pug glanced at him warily but seemed to dismiss him—rather insultingly—as no threat before she disappeared into the open door of his dressing room. After a pause of five minutes or so, she trotted out again, sans offspring.

Godric raised a brow as the pug bustled out of his room again. This didn’t bode well.

He shrugged and went back to the political and philosophical pamphlets that Moulder had brought him. A week of enforced bed rest followed by a week more when all the females of his household seemed to have conspired to keep him homebound was making him damnably bored. True, each of his sisters, stepmother, and wife in turn had made a point of spending time with him, reading aloud or simply chatting. Even Great-Aunt Elvina had deigned to sit with him and had only disparaged him—halfheartedly—twice. He’d tempted Megs with a walk in Spring Gardens—one of the many public gardens in London. But not even the promise of gravel walks and exotic blooms had made her waver in her determination to keep him inside.

He hadn’t fulfilled either of his parts of the bargain with Megs in those two weeks either. At first the pain from his broken wrist had been too debilitating for any physical exercise. Now he was nearly well enough to resume his Ghostly duties, he thought, and certainly able to bed her tonight—purely as his matrimonial duty, of course.

Godric frowned down at the political pamphlet that he’d read twice now without remembering a word. A gentleman should not let self-delusion control him. He wanted to bed his wife, true, but it wasn’t entirely because of duty.

Or even partially.

Her Grace trotted purposely back into the room, a different puppy held in her jaws. This one was a glossy chocolate, and Godric wondered exactly who her paramour was. He could’ve sworn that Great-Aunt Elvina had said Her Grace had been bred to another fawn pug.

The bitch disappeared into his dressing room and Megs appeared in his doorway. She wore a rather frivolous pink and yellow confection that he’d not noticed on her before.

“There are puppies in my dressing room,” Godric said, lowering the pamphlet to his desktop.

Megs sighed gustily but seemed unsurprised. “I was afraid of that. We keep putting Her Grace and her puppies in Great-Aunt Elvina’s room, but she insists on moving them elsewhere. Last week Mrs. Crumb found them in the linen cupboard and was not at all pleased.”

Her Grace emerged from the dressing room, detoured around Megs, and vanished into the outer hallway.

“I can understand Mrs. Crumb’s consternation,” Godric said gravely. “She seems a very orderly woman and puppies in the clean linens is the antithesis of orderly.”

“Mmm,” Megs murmured distractedly, glancing into the hallway again. Was she looking for the pug?

Godric felt a pang at the thought of her leaving him again. “Is that a new frock?”

“Yes.” Megs’s cheeks warmed prettily. She looked down at her skirts, smoothing one hand over them. “We’ve received our order of new gowns from the modiste. Do you like it? I wasn’t sure about the yellow. It so often makes one look jaundiced.”

“Not you,” he replied truthfully.

The spring colors made the peach of her cheeks glow against the dark mass of her hair. A lock was working itself free of her coiffure, slowly tumbling down her elegant neck, and oddly the sight made him want to pull the pins from her hair, tug the mass down, spread it with his fingers, and bury his face in the glossy waves.

He casually flipped the skirt of his coat over his lap. “You’re beautiful.”

“Oh,” she said softly, glancing up and catching his intent gaze. “Oh, thank you.”

Her Grace came into the room with her last puppy and headed directly to the dressing room.

Godric smiled. “You should shut the door to my bedroom so that she doesn’t move them again.