"My dear Steerforth, Georgiana's gown is stunning. Wherever did she find it?"
"Actually, it is one of Carlotta's creations. She truly outdid herself with this one."
As the music began to play Burl approached Victoria to ask for a dance, despite her obvious attention towards Steerforth.
"Mis Victoria, if I might be so bold as to ask..."
But before he could pose the question Pearl arrived and interrupted.
"Burl! I believe one of the Bunny sisters would like to speak to you about something of great importance. Why don't you stroll over there and see what it is all about."
Disappointed, he made his way across the room to speak with Clara and Zell.
The discontented mohair expression on Pearl's muzzle spoke volumes.
"Victoria, I do not understand your need to lead my poor brother into a sense of false hope regarding a relationship. It is more than obvious that you are merely playing with his affections in an effort to get closer to my cousin Steerforth. I must insist that you stop this behavior immediately!"
"Miss Pearl, I am quite sure I do not know of what you are speaking."
"Oh yes you do you little..."
Steerforth suddenly appeared and readily escorted Pearl from the situation.
"Cousin Pearl, why on earth are you bearating poor Victoria?"
"Poor Victoria? She has never known a poor day in her life. She is spoiled beyond contempt, she is using my brother to get closer to you and your fortune. As if she hasn't enough money already."
"Pearl, be fair. Victoria is a very kind young bear."
Pearl moved closer getting nose to nose with her cousin. Through gritted fangs she spoke firmly,
"Open your button eyes cousin! You are being played as a fool, I assure you! All young wealthy female bears behave in this manner."
"But Pearl, you have been born into wealth and you are also a young bear."
Fumbling for an appropriate response Victoria once again approached Steerforth.
"Forgive my interruption Steerforth, but it looks as though all of the rumors about your sister may be true."
They looked across the room along with all the others as Georgiana strolled towards Dr. Beartholomew. All eyes were averted to the beary special couple.
"Good evening professor." she said sweetly with a curtsey.
Bowing to her curtsey, "Miss Bearton, you are looking lovely this evening. Won't you please sit with me for a while?""
The band played on but no one dared to dance as they watched to see what would happen next. The two bears chattered on, laughing and smiling all the while.
Looking up they realized every eye was upon them.
"Hmph. It appears that none of my guests are dancing to this wonderful music."
"It does seem to be the case, professor."
"Perhaps we should set the example. Would you care to join me for a waltz?
"I would be delighted."
Paw in paw they headed out onto the dance floor.
All eyes watched them glide onto the dance floor. Steerforth smiled, his heart warming at the sight of his sister's joy.
It was at that moment he caught a glimpse of Victoria's silvery gray fur sparkling in the candlelight. It was as if cupid was casting a spell upon him as Steerforth looked upon her in a whole new light.
Victoria returned his glance with a slight smile.
Steerforth escorted Victoria onto the dance floor.
Pearl and Burl watched as the bears and hares paired off and began to waltz.
Poor Burl's heart was broken.
Mrs. Ester Bunny, in all of her meddling wisdom, whispered to Burl.
"No need to fret Burl. I happen to know a very lovely little rabbit that would be more than happy to join you on the dance floor."
Across the room Clara and Zell, grinning like cheshire cats, waved at Burl.
Burl's stuffing turned and his mohair went pale.
"Oh dear," he thought, "What will Pearl think of this?"
As the drama continued at the ball, Hobbs was busy at Bearton Abbey when a noise outside caught his attention...