A Tale of Two Sisters – Episode 25

Miss Lucinda visits Notre-Dame with her new friends

There was silence for a moment.

“You have fallen in love with Miss Halsom,” Oliver declared, grinning.

“She’s a wonderful young lady. Is it really such a disaster?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know how she feels. I was rather obnoxious when we met and she has another admirer – and then there’s Miss Grantham.”

“Ah.” Oliver nodded. “I see your predicament, but you have never proposed to Miss Grantham or formally declared you feelings, have you?”

“No,” Reginald admitted slowly. “But my attentions were marked. I must have raised expectations.”

“Yes,” Oliver agreed. “It’s not easy, but you are not bound as a gentleman.”

“No, I suppose not, but she will be hurt, I fear.”

“That is unavoidable.” Oliver’s face clouded.

“Whatever Millicent’s feelings, your own have changed. Miss Grantham would not wish to marry a man in love with someone else.”

Reginald sighed. His friend was right. He felt horribly guilty but, if any of them were to be happy, he must be true to himself.

He now had a very difficult letter to write to Miss Grantham.

Millicent ascended the stairs, two letters clutched in her hand and a frown on her forehead.

She had gone down several times to see if the post had been delivered.

Now that it had arrived, she was disappointed.

She was delighted to receive a missive from Papa and another from her friend, Maria, but what of Lucinda?

Millicent knew her sister had travelled to France.

Yet she was sure she had allowed sufficient days for her own letter to have arrived and for a reply to make its way back to Lady Margaret Hall.

Could her sister still be angry with her?

“Millicent, good morning! I was just –” Violet stopped and examined her friend’s face. “Is something amiss?”

She noticed the letters in her hand.

“Not bad news, I hope?”

Millicent shook her head.

“It is not bad news,” she replied miserably. “It is no news.”

“Neither of these letters is from Lucinda, I take it.”

“Indeed not.” Millicent sighed. “I do not understand it.”

Her friend linked her arm through Millicent’s.

“Come. I shall make you tea and we shall talk.”

The two made their way to Violet’s room and settled before the fire.

Violet busied herself preparing tea, whilst Millicent sat deep in thought.

It was a dull day outside. Clouds were scudding above the roofs of the red brick houses.

The tops of the trees swayed in a breeze that rattled the sash windows and caused brittle leaves to scurry earthwards.

Millicent wondered what the weather and scenery were like in France. What was her sister doing?

Her friend passed her a delicate china cup. Then she sat down opposite, her eyes fixed on Millicent’s face and a smile on her lips.

Today she was wearing a beautiful emerald dress and had wrapped a black shawl about her shoulders.

“Drink your tea,” Violet ordered, “and tell me about it. You had expected to hear from Lucinda by now?”

“Indeed. I wrote to her the moment I had her address in France,” Millicent replied.

“I could not bear the silence any longer.

“A reply should surely have arrived by this time.”

Violet looked thoughtful.

“It is possible that a letter has gone astray.”

Millicent nodded.

“I suppose so, but I must face facts. It is more likely that she has not written. I do not understand it.

“Lucinda is passionate and was angry, but she is also loving and loyal. It is not like her to hold a grudge.”

“Perhaps she is embarrassed,” her friend suggested. “Unsure what to say.”

Millicent shrugged.

“I do not think so. We have always been close.

“I believe Lucy would happily pour out her feelings to me.

“I wrote expressly to say that I was sorry for distressing her and that I wished her well in marriage.

“All I have ever wanted is her happiness.”

“She knows that, I am certain.” Violet patted her arm. “I imagine that she is as eager for a reconciliation as you are.”

Millicent wrung her hands.

“That is not what distresses me. I am concerned some misfortune has befallen her.

“I don’t know the exact nature of Mr Markington’s illness, but what if she, too, has become ill?” she asked.

“If that is the case, then she will be well taken care of.

“She has servants with her and Mr Markington would certainly call for the best doctors to attend his betrothed.”

Millicent felt comforted. What Violet said was correct and her sister had always been of a strong, healthy constitution.

She wished she was with her, however.

Since Mama died, Millicent had always tended Lucinda if she were unwell. She did not like to think of her alone.

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.