The Earl of Hawkshead looked down at Baptista. Her face was hidden against his shoulder.
"I am... sorry," she said in a muffled voice. "It was... my fault." He asked me if I... had ever been... kissed," Baptista said in a hesitating little voice, "and I told him... I thought it... would be very... wonderful... but I was thinking of you... not him."
The Earl stiffened, but he did not speak and after a moment she lifted her face to look up at him.
He looked at her, thinking it would be impossible for any woman to look more lovely or so pure and untouched.
Then, as if he could not help himself, his arms tightened and slowly, as if it was a moment he would savour and remember, his lips came down on hers.
He could feel the ecstasy she was experiencing vibrate from her lips to his, and awaken in him sensations he had never known before.
It was so perfect that for a moment he was dazzled by it, as if they were both. enveloped by a light that was divine.