The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 30

The long gallery was ablaze with light from glittering chandeliers. A fashionably dressed throng of art lovers had split into small groups, and the room buzzed with animated conversation as they sipped glasses of wine and examined the paintings. All evening, the carriages had created quite a stir in Sauchiehall Street as people had arrived for the art exhibition.And what an exhibition! Adam’s Clydescapes, large canvases full of power and feeling, were attracting much attention. Already, many of them bore a red dot, indicating that they’d been sold. Josh’s gentler landscapes and dreamy scenes drew murmurs of appreciation. Constance’s delicate watercolours and bold still-life canvases made browsers linger, her two panels depicting Summer and Winter creating both interest and speculation because they were so unusual.In the centre of the room, wearing a green velvet dress gifted by Constance, stood Kirsty. Wide-eyed, she looked round the room, and everywhere she saw herself gazing into the fire, pensive and in profile. Sitting in the rose arbour at the Grange; here in a crown of ivy, there in an Indian shawl and dramatic pose; feasting on strawberries, her hair tumbling in red-gold splendour about her shoulders.“Who is that girl?” she heard one lady ask her companion as she passed. “Whoever she is, she’s the Face of this exhibition.”“And very striking, too,” her friend agreed. “Glorious hair. Such a clever idea of the artists to think of it!”As the speakers moved Kirsty felt suddenly dizzy. A hand on her elbow steadied her, and she looked into Josh’s concerned face.“Are you all right, Kirsty? You look pale.”Before waiting for a reply, he steered her through the crowd and into a side room, where he made her sit down on a chair.“Wait there,” he said firmly. “I’ll fetch you a glass of water.”As she sipped the water, Kirsty recovered her composure.“It was just a wee bit of a shock, seein’ mysel’ in a’ those paintin’s. I didnae realise . . .”Josh smiled.“You obviously also don’t realise how much you’ve helped us, then. When Constance’s uncle offered to put on this exhibition for us, we knew we would have to produce as much work as possible for it. All the modelling you did for us helped us get finished in time. It was the same in Abbeylands, Kirsty. No matter how tired you were after work, you were always willing to help us. We’re so grateful, and this is such a wonderful chance for us.”“Och, awa’ wi’ you. I’m no’ tired after work. Miss Constance isnae a bother to me. And I’m well paid.”She leaned forward.“Did you know? Madam up at the Grange gave Miss Constance a bigger allowance so that she could pay me. So they’re still friends. An’ Miss Downie an’ Mrs Dinnimont are no’ much bother.”Josh laughed out loud.“I think Mrs Dinnimont has met her match, at last!”Peregrine Scoular popped his head round the door.“Ah, there you are. There’s someone looking for you, Josh. Best to get back into the gallery. You’ll find your interested party by the rose arbour picture.”Josh glanced at Kirsty.“You all right?”She nodded, struggling to fix her hair which was escaping from a green ribbon.As he passed her, he tugged the ribbon from her hair, and put it in his pocket.“Your hair looks much better like that. Leave it.”Looking after him, Kirsty Gray felt the warmth of a sudden blush . . .


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