The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 47

As the days blurred one into the next, the Grays politely declined the little notes of invitation to come up to the big house for tea and freshly baked scones. Tillie had left several of these in the basket which appeared each morning. But the holidaymakers were content to spend their days walking or sitting down by the water, and their evenings talking as they hadn’t talked for many years.Mirren gathered wild flowers and put them in a jug on the window-sill. Thomas insisted that she have a leisurely start to the day, but rose at his usual time to have a walk in the morning air, before making breakfast for both of them.It was almost as if they were living in their own little golden bubble, young again, rediscovering what had brought them together all those years before.In addition, Mirren knew that to venture up to the big house would be to remind Thomas Gray that he was beholden to Sir Hugh Glenavon.One evening, as they sat in companionable silence by the fire, Thomas took his pipe from his mouth and looked across at his wife.“Freedom. The most precious thing in this world is freedom, Mirren. That’s what oor Adam wanted an’ why he thrawed sae hard agin me tae get it!”She felt tears well up, and fought them to smile at her husband and nod her agreement. For her, this was the most precious gift of all. In tasting freedom for the first time in his life, Thomas Gray had come to understand his son.****Josh was surprised when Kirsty brought a message from Constance.“She says can ye call round for a minute this morning, if ye have the time,” Kirsty reported, adding, “I think she needs yer help.”“What’s wrong?” Josh dried the last of his breakfast dishes, thinking for a fleeting moment that there might have been a letter from Paris.Kirsty sighed.“I’m no’ sure. But it might be somethin’ tae dae wi’ her mama. She’s here for the weekend, steyin’ over at Miss Constance’s uncle’s place in the West End. What a stir it’s causin’, Josh! I’ve been up since the crack o’ dawn, polishin’ and dustin’.”Josh put down the tea towel.“I’ll go now,” he said.****Constance looked almost feverish, cheeks flushed and eyes almost too bright. Her sitting- room was in perfect order, smelling of beeswax and with fresh antimacassars on chairs and sofa.“Josh, I need something to divert Mama,” she said, coming straight to the point. “She intends to spend the whole day with me, and I know that it may end in an argument again. And I . . .” Her voice faltered, tearful. “I just don’t feel strong enough to face that just now.”Josh could see her struggle to compose herself.“You want her to enjoy her visit? Then we must make sure that she does, Constance.”Josh sat down beside her and patted her arm reassuringly. He was thinking rapidly. His friend was in no fit state to confront an emotionally charged situation.“I’ve got it,” he cried after a moment or two. “Tonight, I’m due to have dinner with my father at his club. Why don’t you and your mama join us? I’m sure she would enjoy that.”Constance threw her arms around him.“Josh, you’re a marvel! That would be perfect, thank you.”


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