The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 21

Josh didn’t visit the kitchen garden or the greenhouses. Instead, he made his way back towards the sycamore tree, where Kirsty was struggling with a tablecover that was threatening to take flight in a sudden breeze.“Let me help!” He laughed, adding, “If that’s allowed!” as he gave a wary glance at the windows of the Grange.Kirsty set her frilled cap more firmly on her curls and smoothed down her apron.“Dinna worry, Josh. The drawing-room’s at the front. I brought them tea a wee while since, an’ they’re a’ talk aboot the portrait.”Looking at the twinkle in her eye, Josh felt a sudden surge of feeling for her.“I hated having to pretend I didn’t know you today, Kirsty. It’s not right. You should be given your rightful place!”Folding the tablecloth, they were standing very close together. Kirsty flushed scarlet.“Rightful place, is it? My rightful place is as a servant, and it always will be, Josh. I’m no’ like Adam. He’ll make his way in life, maybe be famous some day. And you can see that he and Miss Constance . . .” She hesitated for a moment. “They’re gey fond o’ each ither. Adam’s never gone courtin’, but frae the moment he met her, well . . .”She looked away.“It’s hard for him. A’ this ” She made a sweeping gesture. “ an’ he has nothin’ to offer but his talent. I have to help him.”There was silence for a moment as Josh handed the folded cloth to her.“I have no sister or brother. No mother or father, for that matter,” he said quietly. “But if I could have a sister, I’d wish for one like you, Kirsty. And I’m honoured that you’re my friend.”Kirsty looked away, blushing.“Away wi’ you. I’ve saved some o’ that chicken for your supper. Wait there an’ I’ll bring it!”She rushed off, red curls bouncing, with a beaming smile on her face.Meanwhile, Adam was feeling the slightest chill of disappointment. He had taken off his jacket so that Constance could sit down on a grassy bank beneath one of the great beech trees. It was a romantic place, the only sound the faint rustle of leaves in the gentle breeze. But Constance seemed in no mood for romance. Instead, she began to talk of the light slanting through the trees, the dappled patterns it made, the places she was selecting for her summer painting.“I’ve set up my easel in the orangery so that I can paint there in the morning,” she enthused. “It faces north, so the light’s wonderful!”Adam didn’t reply, and she turned to look at him.“You’re very quiet.”The look he gave her made her quiver.“I’m listening to you, and looking at you. And waiting.”She looked up at him, her gaze tear-filled.“And I’m talking to fill up the silence, Adam, because what I feel is making me afraid.”He gathered her into his arms and stroked her hair.“Don’t be afraid, Constance. Be happy with me,” he murmured, and the afternoon sun slanted down, warm and smiling, on their lingering kiss . . .Moments later, their idyll was shattered by Josh, who tactfully gave warning of his approach by whistling and crashing through the trees.“Mrs Tarrant-Smyth’s waiting for the leave-taking,” he announced to a rather flustered Constance and Adam.“Leave-taking?” Constance laughed and tugged Adam’s arm.“Of course! Mama thinks it proper etiquette for guests to take leave of their hostess in the drawing-room.”“But we’ve already thanked her.”“I know. It’s just how we do things at the Grange!” Constance laughed, but there was no reply as Adam Gray reflected that he had much to learn about the gentry.


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