The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 22

In the drawing-room, Louisa Tarrant-Smyth was all smiles.“And when is my first sitting?” she asked Josh, who looked puzzled.“For the portrait,” Miss Letty supplied.“My friends will be envious, you know.” Louisa became almost animated.“Yes. Being a patron of the arts is a great thing, isn’t it?” Miss Letty twinkled.“Clever old Josh,” Constance murmured.After thanks were expressed by both guests, their hostess had a surprise for them.“I hope you will both join us for dinner one evening, and tell us more about art and artists. You have quite caught my imagination with all your talk of Paris and Florence!”As the young men walked back to the village, Josh’s attempts at conversation fell on stony ground. Adam seemed deep in thought, and spoke only once.“It’s a different world.”He walked on ahead, his shoulders hunched and collar turned up against the unexpected rain which had begun to fall.There was little talk of the al fresco luncheon in the days that followed. Her mama seemed to have lost her enthusiasm for things artistic, Constance reflected as she watched Louisa pore over the household accounts.“It’s time you took an interest in all of this, Constance.” She looked up from her accounts book. “You really have no idea about running a household, have you?”“I have no interest in it, Mama,” was the response.“Well, you must take an interest in it. Some day you will have responsibility for a house of your own. Certainly, if you marry well you will have a full staff . . . but even then, you must be able to supervise them.”“I might never marry, like Aunt Letty.”Mrs Tarrant-Smyth disregarded that remark.“You will be nineteen soon, Constance. Time is getting on. In fact, I’m considering taking you to London over the winter, so that you can be properly introduced into society.”“I’ll be in Glasgow over the winter, Mama, at the Art School.” Constance felt her voice rise in anger. Why wouldn’t her mother listen?“Then, in the spring, I shall take you to Europe on the Grand Tour. We will visit Paris, Florence and Rome. You will learn far more about art and culture than you will in Glasgow.”The tone of her voice indicated that she would accept no argument.Constance bridled.“I shall be out till dinner.” She walked off before further enquiries could be made, meeting Kirsty struggling up the stairs with a huge pile of sheets.“Beds to make up,” she told Constance. “The house guests come the morra, an’ there’s that much to be done!”Constance saw the fatigue in Kirsty’s face her pallor, the dark circles under her eyes.“When did you get up this morning?” she asked, firmly taking half of the girl’s burden from her.“Five. I wis blackleadin’ the range in the kitchen at half past.”“Come on. I’ll help you with the beds. And I’ll tell Mama we need another girl to come in and help.”Ignoring Kirsty’s protests, she marched upstairs. When the beds had been made, she went downstairs and demanded that another girl be brought in to help Kirsty.Her mama smiled.“I’m glad to see you take an interest in the household at last.”Constance said nothing.She spent the afternoon on the river bank with her sketch pad, but drew little, lost as she was in thought. She had a sudden overpowering need to see Adam. As the afternoon drew to a close, she made her way to the farm.Blossom and Ebony were in the paddock, and a familiar figure was forking hay into the stables. She watched him for a few moments, marvelling at how the tall, lean Adam Gray had lost his city pallor and had grown into a bronzed, muscular fellow, his hair bleached almost white by the sun.She watched him for a while, and marvelled at the way her steps had become trembling and unsure as she approached him at last . . .


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