The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 31

YOU realise she reaches the age of maturity tomorrow? From the sixth of June onwards, she can marry whoever she wishes.” Iona’s hand trembled as she raised her spoon to her lips.

“No! She never said a word. Isn’t that just typical of her?” At once he realised the crassness of his remark but Iona didn’t seem to be offended.

“I gave that silver locket to Amy Walker to give to Grace,” she said quietly. “One of the conditions of handing my baby over to Mr and Mrs Walker was that we wouldn’t contact one another. My husband and I have never met Lord and Lady Carmichael and I had no idea that both Grace’s parents were dead. That’s so very sad.”

“I know. It breaks my heart – for you as well as for Grace.” He reached out and grasped her hand. “Rest assured, Grace’s friend Emma took on the role of substitute mother and there’s plenty of people who care about Grace, believe me. I gather she’s a popular young lady both below and above stairs.”

“Thank you. You’ve no idea how much it means to me to hear you say that.” Iona gently withdrew her hand. “Can tell me what you want from me, Harry. Also, I’d like you to tell me all you can about my lovely daughter.”

“I’ll do my best. And if it’s not too painful for you, I’d be obliged if you could advise me what kind of gift is appropriate for a beautiful twenty-one-year-old woman on her special birthday.”

“You should go to Princes Street and visit Jenners department store,” Iona said.

“Would you accompany me, my lady… I mean, Iona?”

“I’d like that very much,” she said. “But maybe you shouldn’t mention that I was with you when you purchased the gift you’ll be handing to Grace.”

He saw the sadness in her eyes.

“I understand. May I write to you when all this is sorted out?”

“Please do, Harry. I hope and pray all will go well for you and that Grace consents to be your wife. Grace is due to receive news of the money left in trust for her. She may or may not wish to make use of it.” Iona swallowed hard. “It’s hardly recompense for what I did and all I can say is that my mother arranged it with the solicitors.”


Harry managed to travel back on an overnight train service though sleep didn’t come easily, with so many thoughts flitting through his head as he dissected the information received from Iona.

He still didn’t know whether Grace would accept his proposal and a shiver ran down his spine as he wondered what reception he might receive from her when he turned up on the doorstep.

Now that he knew the truth about Grace’s background, it sure did explain lots of things he’d noticed about her. She had a natural elegance and even though he hadn’t spent that much time in her company, when he had, she displayed an air of breeding that didn’t only come from being brought up in the cloistered atmosphere of a well to do, well-born London family.

But who could Grace’s father have been? He hadn’t dared question Iona and she had made no mention of him. Maybe this would always remain a secret, unless Grace took it upon herself to try and find out his identity.

Harry accepted a cup of tea from the white-coated steward as the train ate up more miles. He told Harry they were making good time and would be due into London’s King’s Cross Station at six-thirty in the morning.

He left the train with hope in his heart and headed for the Great Northern Hotel. Carrying his overnight bag, he ordered breakfast from the sleepy waiter on duty in the dining room.

Sustained by a plate of scrambled eggs, sausages and bacon with toast and a large pot of coffee to wake him up, Harry realised that enthusiasm alone was not sufficient reason to arrive at Seymour House before nine o’clock in the morning.

He decided to sit himself down in a quiet corner of the foyer and read a morning paper until at least nine thirty, by which time he reckoned the birthday girl and the rest of the household would have breakfasted and be ready to face the day.

He’d managed to order a bouquet of fresh flowers to be sent to Lady Iona with a brief message of thanks for her hospitality and a plea to say hi to her son for him. The very special gift he’d purchased for Grace, with a little help from Iona, reposed safely in his pocket.


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!