Hold Fast To Your Dreams – Episode 33

The main characters from the story Illustration: Sailesh Thakrar

Reginald’s research into the possibility of there being a safe deposit box in Charles Bracken’s name had drawn a blank. 

“It was a preposterous idea. Really, dear, I think we must forget about this whole sorry situation. I’ve put myself in a position of some embarrassment, asking questions and prying into these affairs.  

“I don’t like using what connections I have left in the city to such suspicious ends. That’s the end of it.” 

She’d opened her mouth to argue, but the dark look on Reginald’s face stopped her in her tracks.  

He left the room and she walked disconsolately to the window. Everything he had said made sense, so why did she find herself unable to let go of it all?  

Was it simply because the idea of hidden diamonds was romantic and exciting?  

Perhaps it was simply a distraction from everything that felt so disappointing and worrying. Life would never be the same again.  

They were nearly bankrupt, and they must rely on Thea, with her racing track and big wheel.  

She gazed vacantly out of the window to the rose garden encircled by luxuriant sprays of lavender. With Thea supporting them, they could go on living here. In many ways it would be just the same.  

Yet what good was any of it – the house, the gardens, the parties and shooting weekends – when her dear Reginald, once so strong and dependable, was close to being a broken man? 

In the garden below she saw Mr Mott with his wheelbarrow. Her heart ached, knowing that Reginald must tell the people who had served them for so long that they would have to find jobs elsewhere.  

For even with Thea’s support, he was unsure if they would be able to keep them on. 

The gardener dead-headed a few roses before he disappeared round the side of the house.  

Like Perkins and Mrs Wiggan, he was not in the prime of life. If Reginald had to let them all go, would they be able to find other work? It was unthinkable. 

She made her way across the room and down the corridor to the staircase. 

“Mott! I beg your pardon, running after you . . .” 

“My lady, it is for me to apologise. I didn’t hear you.” He took off his cap. 

“Not at all,” she said breathlessly. 

“Is everything all right, my lady? Let me help you to a bench.” 

He set down the wheelbarrow heaped with flower heads, wiped his hand on his apron, then put out his arm to her. 

“I’m quite all right, really,” she said. “I saw you from the window and I wondered if I might have a word.” 

They reached a wooden bench at the side of the garden and she sank on to the edge of it. 

“Please do sit down, Mott.” 

He lowered himself to the bench, wincing a little as he put a hand behind his hip. 

“The garden is looking beautiful,” she said. “It is such a joy to us.”   

“Thank you, my lady,” he said. 

She was quiet for a moment as she struggled with her conscience, divided loyalties battling with each other.  

At last she turned to him. 

“I’m not sure if you are aware, Mott, but Lord Farrington has had to make some, shall we say, adjustments with the running of the house.” 

She saw his puzzlement and continued.  

“What I mean to say is, there are some financial difficulties that have become more acute since our journey to California.  

“I am sorry to say that some additional changes will have to be made.” 

He said nothing, but looked uneasy. 

“We are so grateful to you all, and I want you to know that Lord Farrington is doing everything he possibly can.” 

“I see, my lady.” His voice was barely a whisper. 

She wanted to reassure him, but knew that she couldn’t. 

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.