Life At Babcock Manor – Episode 31

“Well, if you’re sure you don’t mind,” Emily said.

“Not at all. We shall have a wonderful time, shan’t we, Elizabeth?”

“In that case, Mr Thomas, would you please show Doctor Upton in.”

Taking Lizzie by the hand, Belinda led her out of the library and Emily stood up and composed herself, running a hand over her hair to make sure it was sitting smoothly in its bun.

James Upton came into the room and bowed, his serious face breaking into a smile.

“Miss Osborne. Emily. It is good to see you again.”

“And you, James. It has been a while since you were last at Babcock Manor and I have missed our conversations.”

“Please, don’t stand on my account,” James said, indicating a seat by the fire. “I have brought you a book to read, and some pamphlets.”

Handing her the books, he waited until Emily was seated and then, flipping up the tails of his coat, sat down in a chair opposite.

“Miss Nightingale is an example to us all,” Emily said, opening up one of the pamphlets. “Nursing those poor young men in the hospital in Scutari when the conditions are so grim.”

“She is indeed. It is refreshing to read of a nurse who has been properly trained, rather than just providing comfort and a basic level of care. I’ve heard she studied many books on medicine before she did her training and has acquired a lot of skill.”

Emily felt a strange surge of excitement.

“Where did she train, James? In London?”

“I’m afraid not.” Dr Upton handed her another book. “She studied for four years in Germany. They are very modern in their thinking there.”

Emily turned the pages of the book.

“I should like to learn more of the new developments in medicine. It is fascinating.”

“Well, for a start, I know that John Snow has discovered that cholera is not airborne as we had first thought.”

Emily leant forward, her eyes shining.

“Really? That is surprising.”

“It is indeed. How nice it is to be able to talk of matters such as this with you. Many women would soon lose interest and find me a bore, I’m afraid.”

Emily felt her cheeks redden, wondering why it was that she was so pleased to hear this.

“Oh, I am sure that it is not so.”

The doctor gave an embarrassed smile.

“That is kind of you to say, Emily, but I can assure you that it is. I will leave these leaflets with you and you may look at them at your leisure. There will be of much to interest you, I am sure.

“Now, if you will excuse me, I have to call on Mrs Cavendish on my way home. She has had triplets and I would like to see for myself that they are well.”

“Of course, James,” Emily said. “It was nice of you to come.”

James stood up and took her hand.

“I hope to see you again soon.”

As the doctor was leaving, he hesitated at the library door.

“I presume you have heard about the young man you were talking to at the ball.
Mr Jupp, I think his name was. I saw him in London and hear he is engaged to be married to Lord Barnsley’s niece. She’s very wealthy, I hear, but I can’t help wondering at the haste of their marriage.”

“No, I had not heard,” Emily said, hiding a smile behind her hand.

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”.