“Emily . . .” Florence’s whine reminded Emily of the bleating sheep that grazed the fields outside Stockwood.
She tore her gaze from the hotel window with its view of the glittering bay.
“Yes, Lady Florence?”
“I cannot bear it,” she whispered. “My head!”
“A doctor is coming. I expect he’ll give you some medicine.”
“How could Mama and Papa go off and leave me?”
Emily tucked the blankets round Florence.
“Lord Farrington was eager for your mother to see where the new railroad is to be. When your cold is better, I expect they will take you on a journey down the coast as well.”
“But it’s nothing but sea and rocks.” Florence sighed heavily. “I’m so bored, and I hate this endless moving between people’s houses and hotels, and those terrifying cable cars.”
Emily didn’t know what to say. She did miss her family and home with all her heart, and she sometimes felt pangs of longing for her life at Farrington House, which had become as familiar to her as the cottage had been.
But San Francisco was breathtaking – a city of swirling sea fogs that suddenly cleared to golden sunlight and blue skies. Florence’s dreaded cable-car rides delighted Emily as they clanged their way between the bustling financial district and the mansion-studded hills. New York had been thrilling, but San Francisco seemed to bubble over with a liveliness of spirit as exhilarating as the sparkling, white-capped bay.
There was a knock, and Emily walked through the parlour that adjoined the suite of bedrooms and opened the door to a hotel steward.
“A Doctor Campbell is waiting in the foyer for Lady Florence Farrington.” He was clearly intrigued by the title.
“Thank you. The doctor is expected.”
“And a letter.” He handed her an envelope as Florence called out again.
“Working for royalty, are you?” he asked.
But she was oblivious to his question, for the letter was addressed to her! She ripped it open.
So much has happened at Farrington House and at home that I hardly know where to begin.
Little Joey is turning into quite a character. The best news is of Davey. Last Sunday when I had my afternoon off, he appeared at the cottage driving his own motor car! At first Dad was, as Sarah put it, like a bear with a sore head. But she brought him round somehow, and in the end Davey took us all for a spin – and just imagine, Dad had a go behind the wheel!
“I hate to interrupt, but . . .”
Emily looked up to see a flicker of amusement in the blue eyes that met hers.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!”
“James Campbell.” The doctor smiled, a shock of curly dark hair falling over his forehead.
“Please come in,” she said, shoving the letter into her apron pocket. “Lord and Lady Farrington are away, and I have been looking after their daughter.”
“Lady Farrington explained the situation,” he said. “What is your name?” His voice was gentle but commanding.
“Emily, sir.” She knocked on Florence’s door. “The doctor is here,” she called softly.