The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 19

ROWENA! You must remember there are four wheels on a car. You’ve just rounded that corner using only two of them.”

“I’m sorry, Matt. I got a bit carried away.”

“We’ll both be carried away on stretchers at this rate.”

Rowena giggled and drove at a sensible speed down the Great Cromwell Road.

“I felt safe though. What about you?”

“Um… well, I hate to admit it but in general, you’re not too bad a driver.”

“For a girl, you mean?”

“I’m not walking into that one, Miss… um, Rowena.”

“Very wise, Matt. I’m not sure what Mr Hicks will say about my driving. They’re due back any time now, aren’t they?”

“So Mrs Potter told us.”

“I imagine they’ll be glad to get back after all that hard work. I must remember to give Grace some peace and quiet even though I’m dying to tell her all about my driving lessons and my new beau.”

“Indeed. I had a brief word with Sir Redvers when he dropped you off after your picnic that time.”

“He’s amazing, Matt. So different from most of his class.”

“I really couldn’t say, Miss Rowena.”

“I suppose you won’t feel right about leaving out the ‘Miss’ bit once the others are back?”

“I think my uncle would flay me alive if he heard me address you so informally, miss.”

She sighed.

“In spite of the fact we live in a changing world?”

“It’s not changing all that fast, as long as there’s people like your mother and my uncle in it. If you don’t mind my saying, miss.”

“My mother can be quite starchy at times. But she likes you, Matthew. Otherwise, I don’t think she’d have allowed me to come out with you on my own to be instructed.”

“You’ve done well, Miss Rowena. I really mean that. You just need more practice.” He decided not to mention what his lordship had said about giving her a chance to drive part of the way to the coast.

“Thank you, Matt. You’re a good teacher. Should we head for home now? I can’t remember if the next road takes us towards Marble Arch or not.”

“It does. You remember what you need to do?”

“Of course.”

Matt watched her begin the safe routine according to his instructions. She slowed the car to a standstill at the right position on the road, giving a hand signal just as he’d taught her. But just as she engaged first gear and drove across the right hand carriageway, she stalled the engine. Waiting to come out of the road she was aiming for was a vehicle driven by a young man who Matt recognised as Sir Redvers Fountain, Rowena’s ardent admirer.

“Cripes,” Rowena said. “That’s torn it. I bet Red’s barnet’s standing on end, seeing me bearing down on him”

Matt looked alarmed.

“Do you think you can pull away and stop blocking the road now, miss?

“Of course.” Cool as a cucumber, she started the engine again, much to Matt’s relief. Her open-mouthed beau, his mother sitting beside him with her eyebrows invisible under the brim of her stylish hat, was still waiting at the junction as Rowena drove by, blowing kisses as she steered the Rolls Royce with her free hand, down the road home.

“Do you mind me saying something, Miss Rowena?”

“Not at all.”

“How much slang do you know? You’ve got me worried that I’ve been learning you bad habits.”

“Don’t worry, Matt. I’ve been checking with the new maid to make sure I’m not learning anything that would make my mother faint!” She shot him a serene smile. “It’s a pity Red’s found out about my driving. I was hoping to surprise him by announcing it in person over dinner.

“I can’t wait for this evening to come so I can hear what Lady Fountain thinks about him having a girlfriend who rackets around London at the wheel of an automobile.”

Matt wondered too. He also found himself wondering what Polly made of Rowena’s efforts to comprehend the kind of slang she’d not usually hear. She was all right, was Miss Rowena, even if she did frighten the daylights out of him now and then.

Rowena drove the Rolls Royce through the courtyard gates just in time to see Alfred Hicks unfolding himself from the driver’s seat of the Daimler.

“Whoops,” she said. “This has been quite an afternoon, don’t you think, Matt? Talk about lambs to the slaughter.”


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!