A Tale of Two Sisters – Episode 33

The main characters from the serial, including Millicent and Reginald, and Miss Lucinda, with a ship on stormy seas in the background.

The carriage journey to the coast and subsequent voyage across the Channel felt like it had taken weeks.

On arrival, Millicent had wanted to hunt for Lucinda the moment her feet touched solid ground.

Her friends, however, insisted that they all check into the hotel and refresh themselves before venturing any further.

Whilst the ladies freshened up and took luncheon, the gentlemen sent out enquiries as to the whereabouts of the shipwreck survivors.

It soon became apparent that half the passengers had reached safety, thanks to the assistance of the good people of Guernsey.

They were being cared for in another hotel and in the town hall of St Peter Port.

However, when Millicent stood on the threshold of the drawing-room in Grover’s Hotel, she wished to go no further.

What if her sister could not be found there?

She shuddered and stopped in her tracks.

“Millicent, are you all right? Are you able to go on?

“Allow me.” Reginald stepped forward and offered his arm and they entered the room together.

Millicent’s heart pounded in her chest and her stomach did somersaults.

She looked frantically around the crowded space.

Where was Lucinda? Her aching eyes could not see her and she began to panic.

Reginald’s hand covered hers but she hardly noticed. She took another step into the room.

Then she heard a squeal and her sister was racing towards her.

Millicent clasped her in her arms.

Tears flowed down her cheeks, then she stepped back and looked into Lucinda’s face.

“Is it really you?” Millicent laughed through her tears. “Are you hurt?”

“I am quite well, Millicent, and, now you are here, perfectly content.”

The two embraced again, laughing and crying, until Millicent collected herself and introduced her sister to her friends.

When the excitement finally died down, Reginald found them a table in the dining-room where they could sit and catch up on all that had happened.

“I am sorry for everything, Lucinda. I regret speaking to Father behind your back. Will you forgive me?”

Lucinda shook her head.

“Oh, Millicent, there is nothing to forgive. You were right about Herbert.” Her eyes filled with tears.

“I only ever wanted your happiness.”

Lucinda nodded.

“I know that now. Oh, how good it is to see you again.”

The sisters clasped hands and smiled at one another.

“My travels have not been all bad,” Lucinda continued.

“Alice has been wonderful, as I shall explain later, and she is to be married to Jenkin Slater, which makes me very happy.

“I made some wonderful new friends, Thérèse and Emile.” She coloured slightly.

“They are involved with the women’s movement in France and their ideas are fascinating.”

Millicent was delighted to see her sister’s face alive with enthusiasm.

“I hope to set up a similar group once I am home and to campaign for a school in the village,” Lucinda added.

“What a wonderful idea!” Millicent was delighted.

She knew, in time, her sister would heal and, with noble pursuits, all the more quickly.

“And you, Millicent. I believe you have enjoyed your time in Oxford?”

“Very much. The work is fascinating and I have such wonderful friends. I owe them a great deal.”

“I can see.” Lucinda looked around at Violet, Reginald and Oliver.

“It is a pleasure to meet you all.”

“We are delighted to meet you, too,” Violet replied. “Millicent has told us so many things about you.

“I am quite envious, for I have no sister of my own.

“I hope you will allow me to be a benefactor of your school once it is set up.

“It sounds a most noble venture,” she added.

A smile of delight lit Lucinda’s eyes.

“Why, thank you, Miss Penningly. How marvellous that would be.”

Millicent was thrilled. What a wonderful day – her sister was safe, with new purpose in life, and she was in the company of her dear friends.

She felt more at peace than she had for weeks.

She became aware of Lucinda looking from herself to Reginald, a smile on her lips, so she turned towards him, wondering what was going on.

Millicent had been conscious of his eyes on her through much of the day and now she saw such an expression of warmth that she felt colour creeping into her cheeks.

“You must tell me how you gentlemen became acquainted with the ladies,” Lucinda urged.

“I believed the hall to be a women’s college.”

Reginald grinned.

“You are correct, but we have the great fortune to be mentors to these two highly intelligent students.”

“I believe you did not think so at the outset.” Millicent couldn’t resist teasing Reginald.

He shook his head.

“I was unpardonable,” he replied so earnestly that it took her by surprise.

“My opinion of your abilities could not be higher.

“I have never esteemed a woman so greatly.”

Millicent heard Oliver cough, and out of the corner of her eye she saw Violet’s eyebrows rising heavenwards, but she could not tear her gaze away from his.

“And I love you.” He clearly could not help himself, despite the assembled company.

His concern for her had been so great over the preceding days that his feelings spilled out in spite of himself.

“But Miss Grantham . . .” Millicent spluttered.

“I wrote to her many weeks ago now.

“Millicent, I love you. Please say you will be my wife.”

Millicent swallowed, then a smile spread across her face and she nodded joyfully as Reginald swept her into his arms and kissed her, to the applause of all their friends.


The End.


Look out for our next Daily Serial “The Ties That Bind”.

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