The dinner guest is an earl named Edmund. Ella's heard of him; he's the uncle of Hattie's finishing school friend, Blossom.
He's also old and thin and gray-haired. When he compliments Ella's needlework, comparing it to his mother's, she sees how tiny his teeth are, and gets a funny mental image of him as a toddler in his mother's lap.
The men talk about the proper punishment for bandits; Ella's father favors the death penalty, while the earl is more merciful. Ella sides with the earl, and her father makes a point of saying how well the two of them would go together.
The Elvish mushrooms are served in the first course accompanying quail eggs. Ella eats them, but her father doesn't, nor does the earl (he says mushrooms make him sick). Probably a wise move.
As the evening progresses, Ella starts getting all gooey over the earl. (Thanks, Elvish mushrooms.)
The earl compliments Sir Peter on raising such a lovely daughter. Ella's awkward fifteen-year-old attempts at flirtation become more bold, until she says that she's enamored of the earl and hopes to see him again.
Once Ella's in bed, she gushes to Mandy about how dreamy the earl is and how she can't wait to see him again. Mandy is understandably less than thrilled about all this.
As Ella drifts off to sleep, she imagines stories in which the early is the hero and she's the heroine. But, just before she falls asleep, Char's pretty face pops up.
The next morning, Mandy wakes Ella up, wanting to know why Lucinda updated her curse.
Hey! Turns out, it wasn't a new spell after all—just a command to be happy about being obedient.
Great. All Mandy needs to do is tell Ella to stop being happy about following orders, so she does.
Ugh. Now Ella feels sickened by the way she acted last night. (We would, too.)
There's a letter from her father, and she freaks out when reading it: what if he orders her to marry the earl?
She carries the letter to Mandy, who's gathering chicken eggs, so that Mandy can read the letter without relaying any direct orders.
Fortunately, Sir Peter found out that the earl's wealth had been lost in a fire, so Ella doesn't have to marry him. Phew!
Oh, also? Sir Peter has found a lady who's wealthy enough to save the family. And she just might marry him.