Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 32

It was a few hours later that Rhodri arrived at the Snowdon View.

Visitors walked in the grounds and by the river, and inside he could make out the tables being busily laid in preparation for the next paddle steamer bringing its eager and hungry passengers. Before long, the place would be thronging with people.

The blood raced to Rhodri’s head once more. His father’s words, dismissing his mother – dismissing him, just as he had known Hugh had always done – rang in his ears.

No wonder the old man had been so eager to shuffle him off to that fearful school, deaf to his pleadings to be allowed home.

Well, he wasn’t going to stand for it any longer. Taking a deep breath, Rhodri pushed his way inside.

The staff paused in laying the tables to send curious glances in his direction. This visit would be all around Conwy before the day was out, he could feel it.

“Can I help you?” It was Alice, motioning to the maids to continue with their task, and making her way towards him. “Mr Tudor,” she said as she drew nearer. “I’m afraid we will not be ready for another half an hour or so. I can offer you tea in the conservatory until then.”

Rhodri shook his head.

“I need to speak to Mrs Appleford.”

“She is very much engaged at present. Let me order tea, and she will speak to you when she is free.”

“I need to speak to her now!”

Rhodri pushed past her, aware of the stares of the maids who were now making no pretence of having any interest in forks and wine glasses.

He was not sure where he was going, except that he needed action, and he needed to be away from the curious stares of the maids.

He pushed through the door into the heat and noise of the kitchens.

“You can’t go in there.” Alice grabbed his arm without ceremony. “I don’t care who you are, you can’t disturb the kitchen staff.”

She looked up in relief as Sara, her attention caught by the abrupt opening of the door, turned from her discussion with the chef and came to join them.

“I’m sorry, Aunt Sara . . .”

“That’s quite all right, Alice,” Sara said. “I’ve finished here. If you can take over for a few minutes, I’ll speak to Mr Tudor.”

She indicated to Rhodri to follow her and took him through a side door into a small office. As the door to the kitchens shut behind them, silence reigned.

“I take it this is not a social call.”

Rhodri swallowed. Her office was small, but neat, almost like that of a man. He found it a little unnerving.

The fury and the hurt that had carried him all the way from his father’s study died in an instant.

“No,” he muttered.

“You needn’t be concerned.” Sara’s voice was weary. “I’ve already handed in my notice here. I will be leaving at the end of the week.

“If you are afraid I have any designs on your father’s money, you can rest assured you will never see me again.”

“I didn’t come for that reason!” Rhodri scowled at her. “I haven’t sunk that low.” He sighed. “Or maybe I have.”

“Feeling sorry for yourself won’t help matters.” Sara’s voice was tart. “You have money and education and all the advantages that both can buy. You are the master of your own destiny. How you choose to act, or to be, is entirely up to you. Don’t blame your father for anything, Rhodri.

“Oh, I’m not defending him,” she added to his sharp intake of breath. “For all that I once loved him. But don’t make his actions the excuse for yours.”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.