Sitting by the fire in Mrs Dinnimont’s parlour, Josh was ill at ease. The reason for his discomfiture sat in the other fireside chair, contentedly puffing at a cigar. He was smiling at Kirsty who was busying herself dispensing tea and cake.“This is most kind of you, Kirsty.” Sir Hugh Glenavon beamed.“It’s naethin’ at a’, Sir Hugh, considerin’ yer ain kindness tae the Gray family.”She shot a ferocious glance at Josh, to whom this meeting with his father had come as something of a shock. Sir Hugh had driven Adam back from a visit to his parents after meeting him there. Kirsty had, of course, pressed him to come in and warm himself. She had then sought out Josh and had driven him into the parlour with some ferocity, prodding him in the back with her loaded tea-tray.“I’ve telt ye a hundred times how good yer faither’s been tae us. He’s a great man, an’ ye should be proud tae be his son. So, get intae that parlour, Josh Glenavon, right this minute!”His father seized this opportunity.“It’s good that we can sit down together at last, Josh. I’d love to hear all your news.”And so, after the long estrangement, the two men began to talk. They spoke for a while about the exhibition, the sales and commissions that had come from it. Hugh Glenavon showed more than just an interest in art.“Young Adam, now,” he mused. “His paintings aren’t just about Glasgow and the Clyde. They’re about Adam Gray himself. There’s independence and pride in those bold brush strokes aye, and a flash of anger here and there.”He spoke of Constance, too, but when he came to Josh’s own paintings, he hesitated.“As for you, Josh, well, the talent’s plain to see, but I wouldn’t want to intrude any further for fear of offending you.”“I do not offend easily.” Josh’s smile faded. His father leaned forward.“I did once give offence to you grievous offence, which I know you cannot forgive. Josh, you must let me explain . . . because I would like your forgiveness.”For a long moment a silence hung between the two, then Josh spoke.“You sent me away. I was just a child, I had lost my mother . . . and you sent me away!” His voice held pent-up anger. Hugh Glenavon’s steady gaze met his, and would not let him look away.“You have your mother’s eyes, Josh. You are like her in many ways. After I we lost her, every time I looked at you, I saw my Ailie.”There was silence, broken only by the ticking of the clock.“That’s why I sent you away to boarding-school. I couldn’t explain it to you. You were too young to understand. It was grief.” He paused, and cleared his throat. “Grief and regret. Given another chance I would have done things differently treasured what I had. But that chance had gone for ever.”When he looked again at his son, his eyes were bright.“Is that an apology?” Josh’s voice was stiff, his hands clenched on the arms of his chair.Hugh shook his head.“There are some things for which an apology is not nearly enough. No, late in the day as it is, I am just asking you to let us make a new beginning. Let us put our differences behind us, be father and son. Let me be proud of you, Josh. Because I am proud of the man you’ve turned out to be.”At last, Josh held out his hand to his father.“A new beginning it is.” And after all the years apart, a firm handshake set things to rights.As he left, Hugh Glenavon turned at the door.“Will you dine with me, perhaps some evening next week? I intend to make a short visit to Abbeylands soon, and . . .” He flushed slightly. “I should be glad of your advice. You see, I intend to visit Letitia Primrose.”As Josh stared at him, astonished, he explained.“I met her recently at William and Emmeline’s residence, and I find her company very pleasant . . .” He seemed suddenly as ill at ease as a lovestruck boy, and Josh rushed to cover his awkwardness.“Miss Letty? She’s a lovely lady. And yes, I would like to dine with you next week.”After Sir Hugh had left, Josh sat for a long time in the parlour, content in the company of his thoughts.