Hold Fast To Your Dreams – Episode 48

The main characters from the story Illustration: Sailesh Thakrar

Jenny tucked sprigs of holly and pine boughs along the mantel, the scarlet berries jewel-like amongst the greenery.  

She still had presents to wrap, but she lowered herself into the chair in front of the fire, too weary from the morning’s exertions to do anything more.  

When she’d told Ben that he was going to become a father, it had been the crowning glory of that extraordinary day, back in September, when the diamonds had been found in a wooden box on the hill.  

Sarah had been right, of course. As her tummy grew, she would find the housework tiring. 

“Make sure you pace yourself, sweetheart. Ben will understand, and won’t mind a jot if the cottage is a bit untidy and his meals are simpler than usual.” 

Ben had understood, along with exploding with jubilation with her news.  

She’d been keeping it from him for the entire week, even after the village midwife had assured her that all was well. 

“Are you sure? Oh, my darling! When? Sit down!” 

She’d hardly been able to get a word in to tell him that their baby would be born in the spring.  

In between making plans, and thinking of names, they’d marvelled at all that had happened that day. 

“Eleanor told me that, despite uncovering the fortune, Robert felt terrible, knowing that his father had cheated Hugh Farrington.”  

“Well, he’s certainly making up for it,” Ben pointed out. “Isn’t it mysterious about his father hiding the diamonds? I wonder when he’d planned to dig them up.” 

“Putting the story all together, it seemed that he was going to wait a year, maybe to let suspicion die down. But why go to all that trouble, etching the picture of the eland into the rock?” 

“Bracken said . . .” Ben began. 

“You mean Robert!” 

“Hard to get used to that. Robert said that his father was given to odd flights of fancy, like practical jokes – and nice things, too.  

“One year, his wife’s birthday present was at the end of a treasure hunt. He’d gone to enormous trouble, making up clues and things, all for the fun of it. Robert said his mother loved it.  

“Who knows, maybe he’d planned to surprise her that way, with the diamonds.” 

“Well, although he was dishonest, in the end everything has certainly worked out happily.” 

“Hugh Farrington has been immensely generous, sharing it all out. And I suppose he’s right, that the fortune would never have been uncovered if it hadn’t been for the Brackens. I wonder how it will be divided?” 

“Who knows. But there’s plenty to go round.” 

Ben gathered her into his arms.  

“Even without the rise in salary that Robert promised, it seems we already have our fortune,” he said, tenderly cradling her face in his hands and kissing her. 

Jenny rested her head against the back of the chair, the firelight warming her as she thought back to all that had happened that day.  

A minute later she was startled by a knock on the door. 

“Come in,” she called, too tired to get up. 

“Hello, Jenny. How are you feeling?” 

“Eleanor! You’ve caught me.” 

“Well, I should hope you’re resting. You really must stop working so hard! And you are not to worry about money. We owe you such a debt of gratitude, and Robert and I are thrilled about the baby!” 

“You’re such a wonderful friend.” Jenny smiled. “Thank you for everything.”   

“Not a bit of it. Look, something came for you. I’ll let you get on – it looks exciting!”  

She gave Jenny an envelope. 

“Thank you, Eleanor. Oh, my goodness – it’s from Emily!” 

Eleanor left and Jenny opened the pretty card. How she admired and missed her sister, who was so talented and accomplished, with such a spirit of adventure.  

She was glad that they’d begun to correspond more frequently. 

Dearest Jenny, 

I hope and pray that you and Ben have been well. As I wrote in my last letter, I’m overcome with happiness about your baby! I also admit I feel envious. Imagine, my little sister starting a family.  

I’m looking forward to becoming an auntie and having a new little member of the family to love. I’ve heard from Sarah all about the Countess and their new baby, and the races, too!  

It seems that there are always surprises in store, so I suppose anything could happen to me in the future. 

But life has been enormously fulfilling, running my own shop. And now, the chaps that rented the rooms to me moved their businesses to another part of the city. With James backing me, I’ve actually bought them out!  

I know it’s taking a risk, but I need more space, and must take on more employees to keep up with demand. But everyone tells me I need a holiday, and that they can keep the shop for a while without me.  

That brings me to my biggest news. How would you feel about my coming for a visit? I’ll be longing to meet my little niece or nephew, and to spend lots of time with you, dearest Jenny, and the family.  

I miss you all so very much. And it’s my dearest desire that I will soon be reunited with you again . . . 

Jenny read on through happy tears. She closed her eyes, thinking of Emily, and all the family together once more. 

She remembered the day that she and Ben had arrived at Orchard End, and had made their way up the tangled path, with no idea what lay ahead.  

Together, they’d created a new life for themselves. As had they all – Emily, her family, the Farringtons, Eleanor and Robert.  

She felt a kick, and smiled to herself. It was going to be a very special Christmas, and a New Year more sparkling than the brightest of diamonds. 


The End. 

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