The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 19

Constance slept fitfully and rose at first light. She scanned the hills, which were wreathed in mist, holding the shimmer of morning sun. She smiled. It would be a fine day.“I thought we might have lunch in the garden, under the sycamore tree,” her mama said surprisingly as they breakfasted together. “Al fresco, as it were, would be more artistic, in honour of our guests.”Constance shot a suspicious glance at her, but she seemed in earnest.“That would be lovely, Mama, if it isn’t too much trouble.”“Not at all. Your aunt Letty will be joining us, and you know how she hates formality. She has always been quite bohemian. She is very keen to meet your, your artist friends.”Her daughter stifled a smile. So that was it Aunt Letty had a hand in all this. Dear Aunt Letty!Mrs Tarrant-Smyth toyed with her breakfast, remembering Letty’s final words to her.“Tell Constance she can’t go back to Glasgow and she’ll defy you,” she had warned. “Her inheritance will come to her in two years time, remember. She will be independent then, beyond your influence. Far better, surely, to meet her Glasgow friends, and let her see for herself how they fit in with her way of life.” While her mother was still deep in thought, Constance rose from the table.“I’ll look in at the kitchen and see if I can help Kirsty and Mrs Butchart. They’ll have lots to do before our guests arrive.”Louisa Tarrant-Smyth bit back an objection. Her daughter helping servants unthinkable! Still, to see her happy after days of moping was a relief. She smiled a tight little smile and nodded.“As you please, Constance.”In the kitchen, Kirsty was pink with exertion and Mrs Butchart was grumbling under her breath.“Cartin’ a’ thing ootside! I never heard the like. Makin’ work for folk . . .”Constance helped Kirsty lay the table under the big sycamore tree.“Mama is certainly going to a lot of trouble. I can’t quite understand it.”“Mebbe she’s tryin’ to show the boys that they dinna belong here,” Kirsty ventured.Constance paused in setting out the dainty china and crystal.“I never thought of that,” she said quietly.They worked in silence for a few moments before she spoke again.“But then, l won’t be living this sort of life for much longer. I’ll be in a garret in Paris or Florence, and my lunch will be bread and a bit of cheese, I expect. This isn’t the life I want.”Kirsty nodded.“Aye. An’ it’ll tak’ mair than yer ma’s best china tae pit oor Adam off, Miss Constance,” she murmured. “Kirsty Gray! Whatever do you mean?” A mischievous look from Kirsty made the two of them collapse into giggles.Josh and Adam arrived at the appointed time, both bearing gifts.“For our hostess.” With a courtly bow, Josh presented Mrs Tarrant-Smyth with a posy of sweet peas bedecked with ribbon.She thawed visibly.Adam had brought a little sketch of the front of the Grange viewed from the river bank.“If you like it this, I’d be happy to paint it in watercolour for you.”Aunt Letty made approving noises.“Goodness, what a talented young man, Louisa!”“How very thoughtful,” his hostess murmured, obviously charmed.


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