The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 16

MATTHEW was driving his lordship to Waterloo Railway Station. Lord Carmichael sat beside him, talking about his golf handicap without, Matthew decided, expecting any kind of comment.

“But enough of that.” His lordship peered out at the lines of cars. “It’s a good job we left plenty of time, Matthew. I don’t know what we can do about all this congestion. We’ll end up with one gigantic traffic jam one day, you mark my words. Which reminds me, how is my daughter getting on with this driving fad of hers? Is it an absolute nightmare for you?”

Matt cleared his throat.

“We’ve done three or four short trips around the area. I hope you don’t mind me speaking my mind but your daughter has a good feel for the car. She rarely misses a gear.”

“Good heavens. Who’d have thought it? So you think she might develop into a safe driver?”

“I do – although I’d hate to think I’d be out of a job!”

“We couldn’t do without you, Matthew. We’re very pleased with your progress here though I can’t really offer you a proper promotion. Your uncle would have something to say about that.”

“He would indeed but thank you, my lord. Uncle Alfred will be pleased to hear what you’ve said.”

“Come to think of it, when we set off for the coast for our family weekend, maybe you could allow Miss Rowena to take the wheel for a few miles? Only if you feel it appropriate, of course.”

Matt was giving a hand signal, prior to turning right and dropping off his passenger at the station entrance. He swelled with pride at the thought of chauffeuring family members all that way but did that mean Grace would be in the car too? Did he hope this would be the case or did he not? Her rejection had hurt him but maybe he shouldn’t have accused her of looking to better herself by marrying someone from a higher class than him.

He parked as close to the entrance as he could and switched off the engine before going round to open the passenger door.

“Thank you, Matthew.” Lord Carmichael stepped on to the pavement and Matt handed him his briefcase and hat.

“I’ll be here at five o’clock, my lord.”

He watched his employer make his way to his platform and wondered what it must be like to have an important job, people you paid to do your bidding and a house stuffed with magnificent furniture and paintings. He’d stood in as caddy for his lordship on occasion and knew the kind of gentlemen he socialised with.

For the first time, Matt understood how difficult it would be for Grace to find the right husband. She was used to eating good quality food. She always looked good, whatever she wore and, every time Grace opened her mouth, she couldn’t help sounding like a lady.

Much as it pained him to admit it, if you put her in the East End, where he’d been brought up, she’d be as out of place as a turnip in a fruit salad. Maybe he didn’t love her as much as he thought he had. Maybe he was suffering from a case of hurt pride.

He jumped as another chauffeur sounded his horn, and drove back to Seymour House in reflective mood. When he swung the big car through the gates, young Polly was bringing in a basket of washing. He noticed how her face lit up as she saw him. That had never, ever happened with Grace.

He brought the Daimler to a halt and hopped out.

“Let me take that basket,” he called.

She put it down beside her feet.

“Miss Rowena’s asking for you, Matt.”

He groaned.

“Not another driving lesson?”

She laughed. Polly had a great laugh, he thought. With a voice like hers, that was only to be expected. He found himself wanting to hear her laugh again.

“Your uncle’s coming back tomorrow,” she said. “I expect you’ll be pleased to see Grace back too.”

“Not especially,” he said, picking up the basket. “We’re going our separate ways, if you really want to know.”

“I’m sorry.”

Polly looked so woebegone, Matt burst out laughing.

“Do you know what I’d like best in the world?”

She shook her head.

“To live in a castle?”

“No fear! I’d like a nice girl to sing to me and make me laugh.”

He watched a very fetching blush spread over her cheeks. After only a few days of eating Mrs Potter’s wholesome meals, the Cockney sparrow already seemed to be blossoming. And when he heard Polly’s peal of mirth and watched her eyes sparkle, Matt wondered if he truly had found what he wanted out of life.


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!