The Secret Of The Silver Locket – Episode 32

WHEN Harry’s taxi pulled up outside Seymour House, he took a deep breath, paid his fare and climbed out, carrying a bunch of pink and white roses, his nerves jangling.

To his relief, the door was opened not by Alfred Hicks but by a pretty young maid with a smile upon her face.

Harry dropped his case beside his feet and whipped off his hat. His other hand clasped the large bunch of flowers.

“Good Morning,” he said. “I’m here to see Miss Grace Walker. Please, if it’s easier, maybe you could tell Miss Rowena who’s calling.”

The maid hurried towards a door at the end of the hallway. Harry stood waiting, hardly able to breathe.

“Mr Gresham!” Rowena was coming towards him, a smile upon her face.

“Miss Rowena, how do you do?”

“Very well indeed, thank you. Is that beautiful bouquet for Grace?”

“No, ma’am, this is for her ladyship. I do however have a birthday gift for Grace. Is it possible you could relieve me of these flowers in exchange for Grace?”

Rowena laughed.

“It’ll be a pleasure, Harry. Good luck!” She scampered up the staircase and ran lightly along the landing.

Grace appeared at the top of the staircase and was descending towards him while he thought his heart was on the verge of bursting with joy…

“Please come into the sitting room, Mr Gresham,” she said.

He followed her, having the presence of mind to place her ladyship’s bouquet upon a nearby chair.

Grace closed the door behind them but kept her distance, her eyes wary.

“I’m here to wish you a very happy birthday, Grace. Congratulations.”

“Thank you, Harry. This is very kind of you but I really can’t accept anything from you. It wouldn’t be proper.”

“What the heck! What could be more proper than a man giving the girl he loves a gift on her birthday?”

She swallowed hard.

“There can be no relationship between us. I thought I made that clear.”

He took a step forward but kept his arms at his sides, even though he longed to embrace her.

“The situation’s changed now. Grace, I know a little more about you and your background than I did when we last met.”

She stood still, staring at him and, to his discomfort, looking petrified.

“How can you possibly know anything about that?”

“Forgive me, my darling. When you sent me away, I arranged to visit Edinburgh. You know what I’m going to say. You’ve no doubt heard the news of your bequest and the circumstances of your birth?”


“I want to put my arms around you and ask you the same question I asked before. My feelings have been the same right from the first moment I clapped eyes on you. But this time, you don’t have the same excuse for turning me down.”

He watched her face contort.

“Grace, whatever is it? You’ve more blue blood running through your veins than I could ever dream of. Tell me you’ll marry me and make me the happiest guy in the world.”

He moved towards her and she allowed him to put his arms around her. But she didn’t hug him back. Harry froze. Whatever was wrong, he needed to convince her that everything would be all right if she’d only trust him.

“You’ve reached the age of twenty-one, my darling. You can marry whoever you wish. Please let that someone be me!”

She gazed at him.

“I can’t bring shame to you, Harry. Despite my changed status, as you seem to regard it, the sad fact remains that my birth was illegitimate.”

He saw tears glisten in her eyes.

“I won’t allow you to marry someone who was born out of wedlock, Harry. I won’t do this to you or to your parents. I love you too much to allow you to ruin your prospects.”

“This is nonsense, Grace. I don’t care two hoots whether your mother was married or not when she had you. Why can’t you believe what I say?”

“I do believe you, Harry. But while you may not care about this scandal, there are plenty of others who will.”

“We don’t need to tell anyone. We don’t even have to tell my folks, if that’s what you want. Marry me and let me give you a new home in America, my darling girl.”

Her wistful smile tore at his heart but something about her expression prevented him from sweeping her off her feet and carrying her away with him.

He stood watching her walk away from him. She’d turned him down for the second time. Her gift still nestled, close to his heart, still wrapped in white tissue paper and all tied up with scarlet ribbon.


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!