The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 04

MATTHEW pushed his back against the sturdy wooden chair, tipping it so it balanced on its two back legs.

“I’ll thank you to sit like a gentleman at my table, young Matt!” Mrs Potter glowered at him, one hand poised to cut a slice of gingerbread.

“I beg your pardon, I’m sure.” Hastily he adjusted his position. “I wouldn’t want to risk your displeasure, Mrs Potter.”

A slow grin spread across Matt’s face as he watched the cook’s lips twitch.

“Soon as we’ve had our elevenses, I’d like you to check the dining room.”

“Again? Do you think someone’s broken in and messed things up since Uncle Alf gave it the once over?”

“Even the best of us can forget something when there’s other things on our mind.” She sat down opposite Matthew and spooned sugar into her tea.

“What sort of things?” He was counting the hours until he and Grace walked out together for the first time. With his dream about to come true, his attention wasn’t exactly focused on whatever his uncle may or may not be contemplating.

Mrs Potter leaned across the table.

“Truth is, I caught him reading a paper yesterday. I came up behind him and couldn’t help noticing he was looking at a photograph of a property.”

“What kind of property?” Matt was intrigued.

“A lodging house or small hotel, by the looks. I couldn’t see whereabouts because he closed up the paper in a flash and started talking about some play or other.”

Matt frowned.

“He might be thinking about his holiday.”

“Of course. It’s just… I don’t know. Something in my water tells me there’s change afoot.”


Upstairs, Grace’s nimble fingers flew as she tried to make sense of Emma’s strange remark. Had she meant her own past coming back to haunt her? Grace knew Emma had been Grace’s late mother’s best friend. Could it be she felt somehow to blame for what had happened? Surely not, given that particularly vicious influenza epidemic had continued and wiped out a huge section of the population.

Grace had almost finished weaving azure ribbon through the openings in the luxurious green fabric when the workroom door burst open.

“Well, what do you think?” Rowena asked.

“Oh, my goodness, Ro, what have you done?”

Twirling around, Rowena began singing a few bars of the Charleston song currently all the rage, before bending and placing each of her hands upon each dimpled knee and crossing them back and forth. Her gleaming blonde hair, newly shaped in a flapper style bob, swung either side of her lovely, oval face.

“So, do you approve?” Rowena laughed.

“It suits you, no doubt about that.” Grace walked around her, admiring the sleek coiffure. “Miss Phipps has excelled herself but what on earth will her ladyship say?”

“She’ll either have to put up with my new look or leave me at home and tell everyone I’m indisposed. Either way, I couldn’t care less. Don’t you think, at twenty years of age, I should be able to choose my own hairstyle?”

Grace selected her words carefully.

“Well, yes, but wouldn’t it have been better to mention it first?”

“Definitely not. Ma would’ve ordered the hairdresser to stick to the old, boring style. Now, listen. Miss Phipps is waiting in my bedroom. She says she’ll bob your hair too. But you have to get a move on because she’s due round the corner at a house in Manchester Square at two o’clock.”

“Are you trying to get me dismissed, Ro?”

“Don’t be silly. Ma would turn me out before she got rid of you!”

“I must admit, it would be good not to have to put my hair up every morning. But how much will this cost? I don’t like to think of her ladyship footing the bill.”

“Don’t worry about that. Just come with me and be transformed. I bet Matt will adore your new look, especially if you wear that red and white two-piece costume.”

She grabbed Grace’s hand.

“That should settle into place nicely, after your next shampoo,” the hairdresser said, after she’d given Grace her new look. “Why don’t you take a peek at yourself in Miss Rowena’s looking glass?”

Grace held her breath. Her dark, glossy hair, swinging either side of her heart-shaped face, accentuated solemn, grey eyes beneath a fringe. As Grace turned her head from side to side, Miss Phipps passed her a silver-backed hand mirror.

“Goodness knows what her ladyship and Emma will say. But, thank you. I like my new hair. I like it very much.”


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!