The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 18

WHERE are we going?” Grace sat back in the leather seat and looked across at him.

He reached out and patted her hand.

“A little place called Kingdown which has a hotel called The Lobster Pot.”

“That sounds lovely. Have you been there before?”

“Two or three times because it was recommended to me.”

In his turn, he shot her a glance.

“You know I want to see you again,” he continued.

“We leave tomorrow after breakfast.”

“I know. Alfred told me. He’s a fine fellow. That’s not all he told me either.”

Suddenly Grace felt a frisson of fear.

“From what I hear, there could be changes ahead. Alfred has plans. Maybe you could be part of those plans, if you wished,” Harry said.

“This is the dream of owning a little hotel?”

“Yep.” Harry nodded. “And when your Miss Rowena marries and leaves the family home, your life will change again, isn’t that right?”

“My word, Alfred and you have been having an interesting discussion.”

“We both of us have your best interests at heart,” he said at last.

“We’re almost at Kingdown and I intend buying you a glass of best champagne,” he said.

She spent the rest of the evening in a kind of daze, afraid to believe he meant what he said and afraid to contemplate that he didn’t. She drank champagne, giggling with Harry, flirting with Harry and listening, fascinated, as he described his upbringing in New England.

Suddenly Harry leaned forward.

“That locket. It has an unusual design, doesn’t it? The engraving in particular stands out.”

“Yes. I believe it must be a family coat of arms. I imagine my father bought it from a second-hand jewellery shop or pawnbroker. I love it because my mother gave it to me.”

“Why do you say it must be second-hand?”

“Because, Harry, my parents would never have been able to afford silver jewellery. And they certainly didn’t have a family coat of arms.”

“I’d forgotten the coat of arms,” he breathed.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that my friend Alexander’s family coat of arms looks very much like the one on your locket.”

Horrified, Grace put down her knife and fork. Her suspicions must have been accurate after all, despite the fact she’d tried to remain positive and forget them. If Harry was right, this locket must have belonged to Lady Maxwell.

Grace’s mother must have stolen it, but why? What would Harry think of her, if he realised the truth of her heritage?

“So many coats of arms have similarities,” she said at last. “Lord Carmichael has a book in the library at Admiral’s Rest. The colours represent different qualities, professions and so on. Sometimes a family is granted a coat of arms for services to the realm or for saving someone’s life. Wavy lines and mythical beasts and olive branches all crop up regularly, it seems to me.”

To her relief he seemed to swallow her argument and backed off.

When he escorted her out of the hotel and back to the car, she felt a twinge of regret that she couldn’t expect to see him again after that evening. It had been a magical couple of days but, like Cinderella, she could not expect the handsome prince to seek her out and whisk her off to his castle.

“So, ma’am, do I get to know your London address or telephone number?”

“Oh Harry, you know I can’t see you in London. Lady Cressida would be horrified if you turned up on her doorstep.”

“She hasn’t met me yet. We’ll see about all this nonsense,” he muttered.

When he pulled up outside Admiral’s Rest, Harry seemed strangely cheerful for a man who’d professed love to a girl who insisted she was out of bounds. He leaped from the car and opened her door for her. Then he shook hands very properly and kissed her on the cheek.

“I have to drive further down the coast tomorrow to visit Lyme Regis so I shan’t be able to wave goodbye to you.”

“I understand. I hope all goes well for you, Harry, with your fossil research, I mean.”

“Thank you. I wish I had something to give you as a token of how I feel about you but it kind of happened all in a rush…”

“Oh, Harry, please don’t say another word.”

But as Alfred opened the front door, Harry whispered, “I love you” in her ear before calling a cheerful, “Goodnight and please give my best wishes to Emma,” and hopping back behind the wheel and driving away.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, I have found my perfect place on the “Friend” as I’m obsessed with reading and never go anywhere without a book! I read all of our stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!