Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 47

“Miss Thomas.” Mr Garamond rose to his feet and held out his hand. He was a tall, dark-haired man in his mid thirties. “I’m very pleased to meet you. I’ve only corresponded with Mr Thomas by letter, but I’m always eager to see what he has sent me.”

Iona returned the handshake firmly, trying to make it look as if she dealt with men of business every day.

“I’ve the set of illustrations of Welsh castles,” she said. “There are two that need completing, but the sketches are there for you to see, and the rest have been finished.”

“Good, good.” Mr Garamond took the precious folder in eager hands. “These are excellent, really excellent.”

His face was beaming as he turned over the illustrations one by one. His hand paused.

“You must be sure to tell Mr Thomas so. This one of Conwy Castle is particularly fine.”

“There’s another view from the river underneath,” Iona said eagerly. “I know the original outline we agreed on was from the land, but the view from the river is so lovely . . .” She came to a halt. Mr Garamond’s eyes had left the illustration and were now scrutinising her face.

“Good Lord.” He sat down heavily on his chair. “Well, I never! Am I to understand that I have finally met the elusive Mr Thomas, about whom no-one seems to know anything? Apart from his excellence as an artist, of course.”

Iona bit her lip. She hadn’t exactly planned to keep her identity a secret, but nor had she intended to rush at it like a bull at a gate, and certainly not at this first meeting.

“They are still the same illustrations,” she said defensively.

Fear gripped her. If she were about to be thrown out, penniless . . .!

Mr Garamond chuckled.

“Miss Thomas, my wife regularly climbs the mountains of Scotland with only a guide to accompany her, and my sister is currently studying the tribes of deepest Africa.” His eyes twinkled. “I seem fated to be surrounded by women of inordinate independence.”

His face grew serious.

“I take it there is a reason for you to take the risk of visiting me in person.”

Slowly, Iona nodded.

“Have you a place to stay?”

“I have a hotel,” she said uncertainly.

“In that case, I think I should introduce you to my younger sister, Lillian. It’s quite in order,” he added, as Iona stiffened. “She’s a respectable widow with a house that is far too large for her, and in urgent need of a project.”

“I’m not sure I want to be a project,” Iona couldn’t help protesting.

Mr Garamond smiled.

“Lillian is very discreet, and I have a feeling she might be just what you need, Miss Thomas.” He gave the bell pull next to him a tug. “Perhaps you would care to join us for luncheon? Then we can discuss matters and see what might suit. I have no wish to let go of Mr Thomas’s services. I have a feeling we will work very well together.”

“Thank you.” Iona found herself smiling. “Thank you. I would like that very much.”

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”.