Chapter 5

                                                       Chapter 5

At a magnificent town house in Marlborough Square, a traveling coach had arrived, followed by two baggage coaches. A tall, white-haired woman was helped from the first coach. Although it was a raw, blustery day, her bonnet, tied sturdily under her chin, seemed impervious to the weather as did she herself. She swept into the D’Aellen town house. Her butler, Smithers, bowed low.  “Welcome, my lady.”  He was smiling.

“Smithers.”  Her eye swept the marble foyer, looking for dust and other signs of mismanagement. The staff was lined up to greet her. She was always pleased to see that, although she dismissed them immediately.

“Tea, Smithers,” and she climbed the stairs to the drawing room. She’d hardly entered the room before a footman with a large tray entered, followed by a maid with a tiered plate of hot buttered crumpets and seed cakes.

She sat more abruptly than she’d planned. The long trip had tired her, though she hated to admit it.

The Countess D’Aellen let herself sit back into her chair, once the servants had left. The tea was welcome. She eyed the crumpets and finally allowed herself to take one. The noon stop had been a long time ago and she never ate much on her trips to and from London. Her mind on her niece and her lawyer, Carruthers, she didn’t notice that she ate four crumpets. Then she felt her greasy fingers and snorted. She wiped her hands. Greedy guts, she said to herself. It had been her father’s name for her when, as a little girl, she had once eaten her way through a plateful of cakes.

The Countess D’Aellen was of the old school. She’d given up wearing wigs since they scratched her head and irritated her, but she still wore heavy brocade gowns held tight at the waist with a good corset underneath. She disdained the loose dresses of the day, with everything falling out. With a good corset on, she could sit comfortably all day.

She rang the bell and directed her footman to bring her traveling writing desk. She needed to drop a note to Belcher, her companion. Traveling made Belcher sick, so she stayed behind at Pemberton Park. But she fussed so a letter was needed to show that the Countess was safe.

Next she wrote to Carruthers, telling him to call. She was not pleased with him. He’d sent her no word on Elizabeth since she’d seen him a month and a half ago.

Carruthers arrived the next morning.

“My lady,” he bowed.

“Be seated, Carruthers. Now, what news have you?”

“Your niece was not married in Grandvilles. The vicar knows of no such marriage. Elizabeth seems to have disappeared from Dramlee Park about ten years ago, shortly before her father’s death. No one in the village seems to know where she went, but there is no scandal associated with her disappearance. That is, beyond the usual scandal associated with the family.”

“Surely there is someone at the Park who would know.”

“The grounds of Dramlee Park are sadly overgrown, my lady. No one has lived in the house for ten years. It’s all closed up except for a few rooms in one of the old wings. A few servants reside there.”

“My brother and his wife and those, those daughters of theirs went through that entire fortune. There’s no funds to keep the Park or house going, I imagine.:   She leaned back and regarded Carruthers. “But if there’s servants still, they know of Elizabeth.”

Carruthers sighed. “The man I sent, a young man apprenticing to me, went to the Hall and talked to the servants. He said they were all senile.”

“Senile, my foot! They wouldn”t tell him anything if they knew it. Elizabeth had a nurse. They were very attached. What was her name?

Carruthers put down his plate of half eaten cakes and opened a leather folder he’d brought. “Mrs. Bender was a name young Aurdley was able to get. Seems she was the housekeeper there.”

“Yes, I remember her. I can’t but believe she knows what happened to Elizabeth. Your young man was not very adept.”

“No.” Carruthers sighed. “Aurdley does not have an open nature.”


“Yes, nephew of that Stanton Aurdley who wagered away his estates and promptly died.”

“I remember him. Rather dim.”

“Young Aurdley is bright, I think, but close, very close.”

The Countess finished her tea –she never ate cakes — and sat back in her chair. Perhaps, Carruthers, I should go to Dramlee Park.”

“You, my lady?”

“Yes. A cousin lives in Dracutt which is halfway there. I will overnight with her. I haven’t seen her in years.”

“That’s a tiring trip for…”

“Someone of my advanced years? I need some activity. When one stays in the country for a long time, well, I don’t hear all the gossip.” The Countess smiled. “Besides, now that I’ve started this quest, I’m curious to see Dramlee Park again. Where does the present Duke live?”

“The Duke of Glastonbury lives on Auteil Street.”

“Where is that?”

“Not a good section of town, my lady. There was very little money left, I’m afraid.”

“Still in the lodgings he had before he inherited the title, I assume.”

“Quite. He has no interest in what’s left of the estates. I don’t know what he lives on.”

The two old friends turned to talk of the family estates after that.

The Countess, after several days rest, left for Dramlee Park early one morning. She planned to spend one night at a cousin’s house and descend on Dramlee Park without any warning to the staff early the next day.

As her coach drove through the open gates and down the rutted drive, the Countess gazed at the deserted, overgrown Park. No trees had been trimmed, no grass mown for years. In places, the coach could barely squeeze under limbs of trees. She heard her coachman and footmen cursing as they battled tree limbs and deep ruts in the woody drive.

Although she’d known that there was no money to keep the place up, she was appalled at the look of it — it was a wasteland. Her heart, usually so sturdy in the face of travails, began to sink.

Finally the coach made it to the house.  She called to her coachman to go around the house. Windows were broken, ivy grew through them, into the rooms. As the coach slowly drew around the corner of the east wing, the Countess saw one corner of the roof had caved in. There was no sign of a living soul.

The coach kept going around the house and finally stopped in a cobbled yard by the stables. Before the Countess could alight, a bow-legged, grizzled old man came trotting out of the stables. He saw the crest on the carriage and came to bow down the Countess.

Her footman came and helped the Countess and her maid down the steps of the coach.

“You! What’s your name?”

“Diggins, your grace, Diggins.”

“I’m not your grace. I’m the Countess D’Aellen. Who’s in the house? Anyone?”

“Only Mrs. Bender and old Jessom, the nurse.”

“No other servants?”

“No, your grace. Jus’ them two ol’ biddies.”   The Countess looked around her. Diggins had kept a small area of the stables and stable yard in good shape, clean and tidy. There was also a clear path to a door at the back of the west wing. Nearby was a neat little garden with winter vegetables. All else was overgrown, rank, untended. The back of the house was no better than the front or side except for the end of the west wing. There no windows were broken and someone had made an attempt to tame the grass and bushes. A few late roses bloomed.

Leaning on her footman’s arm, the Countess made her way to the door. By the time she got there, a stout old lady had come out and was bobbing up and down.

“Milady, milady! Oh, to see you again, milady!”

“Bender, is it?”

“Aye, milady, Bender the housekeeper.”

“Who else lives with you, Bender?”

“Just Jessom, Miss Esther’s, I mean, Miss Elizabeth’s old nurse. She’s failin’, she is, milady.”

“But is there no one to oversee the house and grounds?”

Mrs. Bender’s face fell. “There’s no money, milady. T’ solicitor from Lunnon, he came after t’Duke died — God rest his wicked soul! –beggin’ your pardon, milady–. The Countess muttered, “Yes, yes, go on.”

“Aye, well, he came and said there was no money to keep up the house. The Duke William he be now, he just give us enough to live on. An’ he don’t like doin’ that!”

The Countess had gently taken the old woman’s gnarled hands in hers. She felt deep guilt at these poor old people’s situation. She had known that her brother’s estates were bankrupt, but she should have found out if there were any retainers who needed care.

She, her maid and Mrs. Bender went into the house and along to a sunny room where Jessom was sitting. The room was bright and clean. Jessom leaned forward in her chair and called out, “Who’s that, Jane?”

“It’s al’right, Jessom, Countess D’Aellen be here, Esther’s aunt,”and Mrs. Bender hurried to her side. It became clear that Jessom was blind.

The Countess came to take one of Jessom’s hands in hers. “Jessom, how do you do these days?”

Jessom tried to rise but the Countess pressed her back into her chair. “Oh, milady, I’m all right. A little trouble with my eyes.”

Mrs. Bender pulled up a chair for the Countess and she sat down. “I’m sorry to see you all living so poorly here.”

“Oh, we do fine, milady. I’ll make you some tea,: and Mrs. Bender bustled out of the room. The maid followed her.

The two women sitting facing each other in the sun fell into talk about old days and were comfortable when the tea arrived. While Mrs. Bender fussed with the tea cups, the Countess said, “I’m searching for my niece, Elizabeth. What can you tell me of her? Did she marry?”

“Er, our Esther, you mean.” Mrs. Bender shifted uncomfortably. “Iknows the Duke had her christened Elizabeth, milady, but we called her Esther.”

“Yes. What can you tell me?” the Countess settled her skirts and took a sip of her tea.

Jessom and Mrs. Bender shifted and seemed to send an unspoken message to each other.

“Jessom?” The Countess’s voice was sharp.

“Just before she left, Miss Elizabeth was in a right upset. I know she’d not slept at all one night, a night the Duke had some of those…” and her voice wavered.

“Yes! I know the kind of people my brother had here.”

“She’d not slept and she was in a right upset frame of mind. She wouldn’t tell me what had happened though I begged her to.

“She kept with me, in the old nursery all day. I got her to sleep a little if I promised to sit beside her and not leave her. I did and I prayed heavy that afternoon. Poor Miss Elizabeth. She was frightened out of her wits.”

The Countess gripped the handle of her cup tightly and silently cursed her brother–may he spend eternity in Hell.

Jessom was rocking back and forth in her chair, rubbing her hands in rhythm on her knees. In the afternoon, a maid from the kitchen came in. We only had kitchen maids, you know; none would stay here with the Master…. Well, the maid said a Lord Colebrook was below and wanted to speak to Miss Elizabeth. She was awake then and seemed eager to see him but she wouldn’t go downstairs.

“I was that ashamed to have him in the nursery but I wouldn’t make Miss Elizabeth leave. His lordship came up and I left them alone.”

Jessom paused and swallowed a mouthful of her tea. “After awhile, Miss Elizabeth come in and says she’s going away with Lord Colebrook. She says she has to leave but, though she cries, she won’t tell me why. I went with her and helped her pack. Jane here came too. We packed a valise for her to take with her. Jane said we’d pack the rest and send them on to Greenvale, Lord Colebrook’s home.” Jessom looked up in the direction of Mrs. Bender. “Course we’d have to do that without the Master knowing.”

Mrs. Bender patted her shoulder and continued the story. “While we was bringing down Mis Esther’s, pardon, Miss Elizabeth’s valises, we could hear shouts. T’Duke and his lordship were arguing.”   She stopped and pursed her lips.

“It’s all right, Bender. I know you couldn’t help overhear.”

“Well, his lordship was cold and calm. I couldn’t hear him but t’Duke was shoutin’ about Elizabeth bein’ his daughter and by, by golly, he’d do what he wanted with her. Terrible cursin’ and blasphemy, milady.@

The Countess nodded.

“I did hear his lordship finally. He said,’You are no more fit to care for this daughter than you were for your other two,’ and he walks through the hall and out the doors. We tiptoe down with the valises– his lordship’s groom took them. The groom came in with us and together we took Miss Esther out to his lordship’s carriage. She were tremblin’, I’d thought she might faint.” Mrs. Bender was flushed and had to wipe her eyes.

Jessom picked up the story. “Yes, she were white as a sheet. We got her outside the house and she cried and hugged us– oh, my Lord!” Jessom began muttering a prayer.

Mrs. Bender rubbed her shoulder, “Yes, yes, it-s all right, Jessom.”  Then she turned to the Countess. “His lordship hurried Esther into his carriage and they went off. The groom rode separate, I remember.

“She were good enough to send us notice that she was all right and his lordship was taking care of her but never let her father know where she was. As if he ever asked.” Mrs. Bender snorted.

“Then t’Duke died, sudden-like. And everything changed. All the servants dismissed but us and Diggins. And we’re supposed to keep t’ house in order.”  She glared at the Countess.

The Countess put her cup and saucer down. “It’s unconscionable that you continue to stay in this great ruin.”  She got up and began to pace. “William is a fool.”  She looked out the window. “I’ll take you back to Pemberton, all three of you.”

The two women stared at her.

“Oh, milady, I don’t know, we’re used to it here…”

“You need to be where you can be taken care of.  I’ll put you in one of my cottages. There’ll be neighbors, my farm tenants, to watch over you. I’ll see William in town.”

She’d decided. “I’ll send someone for you in a week. I’ll see you at Pemberton after you’re settled.”  She started out the door, then turned. “Why do you insist on calling Elizabeth, Esther?”

Mrs. Bender withdrew slightly and Jessom hemmed and hawed. “When she were born, her mother just dropped her and left. His grace was at a house party somewhere and she joined him. Well, months went by and no one ever came to see her christened. She had no name!

“I took her to chapel and had Mr. Salter christen her Esther, hoping a good woman’s name from the bible would protect her, you know. When his grace came home, he was fit to explode that her grace hadn’t even named her, so he had her christened Elizabeth in the church. Of course, I never told him what I’d done. But we got in the way of calling her Esther.”

“Yes, I see.”  The Countess didn’t enlighten the servants with her own opinion of her deceased sister-in-law. Jessom would have been on her knees for a week praying for the Countess’s soul.

After a brief farewell, the Countess left. Diggins appeared again.

“Diggins! I’ve arranged for you and the two women to come to live at Pemberton where you’ll be cared for. There’s no one else here, is there?”

“No, your grace, much obliged. Could I work in the stables there, your grace?”

“If you want. And I am not your grace!”  She entered her carriage and it slowly left, falling into ruts on one side, then the other until it was out of sight.

“Happen there’s no ruts at Pemberton!”  Diggins laughed with glee and went in to talk to the old ladies.

* * *

Ailesworth made a brief visit to the ladies on Cargill Street to tell Esther he’d be gone for awhile. “But Lord Grainger will visit you.”

“My lord, we aren’t children to require a nursemaid!”

Ailesworth grinned. “No, indeed. Not children at all. But I fear Stables will make you a visit.”

“And what is wrong with that?”

“He’s, um, impulsive. He….”

Esther’s eyes were alight with emotion. Did she want Stables to pay a call?

“He might make advances to you.”

“Oh, my lord Ailesworth! Surely I can deal with him.” Her eyes were dancing.

“But you have no man servant here.”

Now she frowned. “I am sure Lord de Sable is a gentleman. And, after all, I’m no delicate virgin to be protected.”

His eyes grew more yellow. “Yes, I know.”

Ah! The blush again.

“Besides, I have Mrs. Nelson. Alma, you’d protect me, wouldn’t you?”  She turned her gaze away from Ailesworth and looked at Alma.

“Indeed I will. I shall arm myself forthwith. Should it be a carpet beater or a basting spoon, do you suppose?”

They all laughed and Ailesworth took his leave shortly thereafter.

                                                           * * *

George Aurdley found Esther’s house by having someone watch Ailesworth. When the nondescript man came to report to George, he commented, as an afterthought, that another man was watching Ailesworth.

“Describe him.”

“Tall, brown hair, dressed like a gentleman.”  He added, after a moment’s thought, “Looks like Ailesworth.”

George was silent for awhile. “See if you can find him and find out where he lives, or, if he goes to a tavern, use an excuse to talk to him.” He paid his informant who left with a nod.

George sat in his chair in a corner of the tavern, thinking. He didn’t move for some time. It didn’t surprise him that Ailesworth had aggravated someone. He was more arrogant, by all reports, than any other member of the ton. Perhaps there was information that this man had that George could use. No titbit of information was too small for George to collect.

He thought of Mr. Carruthers. Carruthers had no idea of the secrets that the boxes of records in the cellar held. If he had known them once, his job was to keep them buried now. George felt it was his job to dig them out and use them. For his own betterment, of course.

Regarding that trip to Dramlee Park, for example. The two old ladies, Jessom and Mrs. Bender, had been pleased to talk to him. They’d told him that Elizabeth Dramlee married Jacob Beryll and moved. To Portsmouth, one said. No, to Shrewsbury, the other said.

What did Mr. Beryll do?

They had no idea. In fact, it was the wrong question, for they told him no more. He’d checked in the church in the village of Grandvilles for a record of the marriage but there was none there.

So far, he’d been accumulating information. Now, with Alex as his tool, he was getting ready to benefit from his hours in the dirty cellars of Carruthers and Smythe. No woman could resist de Sable with his handsome appearance and polished manners. And his bloodline.

George snorted. Pure bloodlines meant nothing to him, but he knew many of the ton accepted Alex even though he was penniless because of that heritage.

As usual, George sat alone. Even if other tables became crowded, he sat alone. Sometimes men would take all the chairs from his table and he was left sitting, as though stranded on an ice floe. He never noticed.

He left to return to his lodgings and send Alex Mrs. Beryll’s direction.

Alex was pleased to finally have Esther’s address. It took him a few days to discover where Cargill Street was and then another day to decide what to wear. He still frowned when he recalled Ailesworth at the theater. That giant of a man had looked very elegant at Drury Lane theater. Of course, he didn’t have the polish, or the profile of a true aristocrat–his family had held the title for only a few generations. Arrivists!

De Sable finally was ready. His valet was of little use but then, as he hadn’t paid him in months, he didn’t expect much. He’d decided to bring flowers, but what kind?

It took him fifteen minutes to decide on six white roses. Then he followed his directions to Cargill Street. He was dismayed at the sight of the small house. He’d never known anyone to live in such a place.

A street urchin appeared, looking hopefully at his horse.

“All right. You can tend him. Here,” and he gave the boy a penny.

“Yes, m’lord,” and the boy smiled beatifically up at the horse.

De Sable adjusted his cravat and knocked on the door. The door opened wide and a bug-eyed maid stared at him.

De Sable frowned. Not good ton. “Lord de Sable for Mrs. Beryll.”  He had only a few calling cards left and decided not to spend one on Esther.

Jessie left the door open and hurried down the hall to the back stairs.

De Sable came in and closed the door behind himself. Considering the quality of her servants, Mrs. Beryll would be overjoyed at the prospect of her fortune. De Sable smiled.

He heard footsteps on the stairs and Mrs. Beryll appeared, a bit flushed and with a strand of her lustrous hair loose.

“My lord! You’ve caught me unaware. Jessie, show Lord de Sable into the parlor. I will join you shortly, my lord,” and Esther fled upstairs.

Jessie opened the parlor door and stood aside. De Sable went in and looked around. Poor, quite poor. The scarf on the settee was there to hide the wear, he was sure.

The door opened a few minutes later and a calm Esther walked into the room, followed by her friend.

“My lord, my friend, Mrs. Nelson.”

“Delighted.”  He bowed over the ladies’ hands and presented the flowers to Esther.

“How lovely. Thank you, Lord de Sable.” How handsome he was. So perfectly turned out in appropriate day wear, a subdued waistcoat of dark blue with only a faint thread of light blue in it, a dark coat that fit him perfectly and close-fitting breeches.

He bowed again, never taking his eyes from Esther. Surely wooing a wife was the same as wooing any woman into your bed. It was just that there was another step along the way–church.

Esther and Alma sat on the settee, pulling the scarf a little, and de Sable took the chair opposite them, the one Ailesworth sat in. What a difference, Esther thought. Ailesworth would sprawl, looking like a lion after feasting, while de Sable looked like a greyhound–all sleek and elegant and brainless.

Alma began talking of the weather, to which de Sable hardly responded. She then tried books, but he hadn’t read any.

His eyes finally left Esther to slide towards Mrs. Nelson. Really! Did she think him a dried-up scholar, to be reading? But he realized he’d let the conversation lapse and had opened his mouth to talk about his father’s stables, when Jessie crashed through the door. He jumped up in alarm and glared at her.

Esther wanted to giggle. Ailesworth never turned a hair when Jessie clattered in. It was impossible to train her not to run into door frames and tables. Esther and Alma had gotten used to it. But poor de Sable….

He took his seat again as Esther thanked Jessie. Jessie left, staring at the gentleman and nearly walking into the door. Esther shook her head at her and Jessie ducked and closed the door behind her.

“You=ll have to excuse Jessie, my lord. She’s not used to gentlemen like you.”

“Yes, of course.”  De Sable settled his feathers and accepted a cup of tea from Esther. He opened his mouth to talk when Alma asked, “Do you go to many balls, my lord?”

“Ah, yes, I do, as a matter of fact.”  He began dropping names and didn’t notice the ladies’ eyes glazing over. “The Lyndale’s ball last night was a crush. Lady Lyndale didn’t provide enough food for all the guests she’d invited. Really! It was a scene at the buffet tables. That Jerndorf made a pig of himself. As usual.”  When he took a sip of tea, Alma managed to say, “How lovely.”

He put his tea cup down. He’d managed to get through four of the cakes and two cups of tea while describing the decorations of the Lyndale’s come-out ball for their daughter.

Now was the time for action. He stood, pulling his waistcoat down over his flat stomach. “I wonder, Mrs. Beryll, if I might have a private word with you.”

Esther’s heart plummeted. Not another improper proposal!

Alma was looking at her. It was best to get it over with.

“Alma, if you could leave us for a moment.”  She knew Alma wouldn’t go far.

“I=ll put these in water,” and Alma scooped up the roses and left.

As the door closed behind her, de Sable looked down at Esther. She had a slight blush on her cheeks. Damn! She was lovely. He picked up her hand.

Suddenly she thought that she should have stood when Alma left. She started to rise but he pressed her back.

“No, Esther, Esther, my beauty. Let me gaze down at you.”  Perhaps it would be a good idea to drop to his knee. Yes, that would be a good idea.

Suddenly he came down on his right knee in front of her. Esther started and then fell back. He grimaced. He’d forgotten he’d injured that knee by jumping out of Lady Transley’s bed when her husband unexpectedly came home.

“My dearest lady, my thoughts have been full of you since our fateful meeting in Berkshire. I think of you day and night.

“Will you be mine, dearest Esther?”

Esther could only stare at him.

“Oh!”  He took her hand and gripped it painfully. “My offer is honorable. Marriage to me will free you of the attentions of rakes like Ailesworth.”

“Marriage, my lord!”

“Yes.”  He smiled, very pleased with himself and his artful proposal. Surely he needed only his personal charms to win the lady. He need make no mention of her future fortune.

Esther stared at him. She’d never seen anyone so enraptured of his own self. He not only looked like the cat who drank the pitcher of cream but also as though he had milked the cow and skimmed the cream off first.

“My lord, I am flattered at your proposal. It is brave of you to propose to an impoverished widow like me, but I….”

“My dear lady.”

But I must refuse.”

“Refuse? Refuse an offer of marriage?”  He loosened his grip on her hand and leaned back. He looked amazed.

“Lord de Sable, I’m perfectly happy in my little house, with my friend for company. And I fail to see how joining two penniless people could make either one happy.”  She tried to smile at him, but she was annoyed. How foolish he was.

He raised himself from his bent knee and looked down at her. George had not said whether he could tell her about her fortune or not. Should he? No, he had no details and it would be clear that he needed her money if he mentioned it. Wouldn’t it?

He’d hoped his person would be enough to sway her, his person and his lineage. He must get George to agree that he could tell her. He hadn’t thought it through. He’d do better next time.

Esther gazed up at him, wondering what he was thinking of. A whole palette of expressions crossed his face as his eyes were fastened on the window. He did stand gracefully, and he was so handsome. She released a small sigh.

De Sable heard it and looked down at her. He smiled and for a second she saw the man who should have been, without all the affected mannerisms. Then he pulled himself into a posture–brave and noble sufferer–and bowed over her hand.

“Mrs. Beryll, I might have, um, I will call again. Perhaps with some information to benefit you.”

She rose. “f course, you are always welcome, my lord, but further talk of marriage is fruitless.” She sounded as firm as she could.

Suddenly Jessie barged into the room. She goggled at de Sable and said, “eg pardon, ma’m. Thought you was alone,”and barged out again.

De Sable’ posture had stiffened. Really, that maid would have to go.

Esther concealed a smile as she went to the door. “=ll see you out, my lord.”

She did see him out but not easily. He continued to implore her to consider his proposal and hinted of something else, something to her advantage.

As she got the door closed behind him, Alma came out of the dining room. “Esther, I didn’t send Jessie in.”

“No, she’s a devotee of Ailesworth”s and I think she was protecting me.”  Esther gave a little snort of laughter. :He was so incensed over her awkwardness.”

They returned to the parlor. “Alma, he proposed marriage to me!”


“Exactly. What does he think–he’ll join us here in this little house? He has no money, Ailesworth said. Then he hinted about something of benefit to me.”

Alma stared. “Would it be something from your family?”

“How could he know? Besides, there’s not a penny there. Father’s cousin, William, inherited the title but he has no money either. The Destitute Duke. He’s very eccentric as I recall. Father was disgusted with him because he was so shabby and never bathed.

“De Sable said he’d come again. Next time, don’t leave the room. It’ll cut down on the excess flowery language anyway.”

“Was it uncomfortable?”

The two women sat and Esther told her what had happened. Before long, they were both laughing helplessly as Esther acted out de Sable’s proposal



2 thoughts on “Chapter 5

  1. It’s really good, Elinor. I particularly liked the image of the man sitting alone while others take away the empty chairs from his table. DeSable, was it? I find reading fiction from a screen difficult. I’ll have to go back and check.

    • no it was George who accepts being isolated from everyone. that’s the only way one keeps money info secret. Thanks again for the comment. i’m downloading chap 6 today but I have to correct it first. gloomy weather here and fog in Souris. Catherine and boy friend are here. Karen and Steve soon.


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