The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 62

Constance closed her book and stared into the fire. Since she had returned to the Grange a book had been her only defence against Mama’s endless questions. A book, any book, was a useful prop, and she could pretend to be absorbed in a wide selection of them.Questions troubled her, because she simply didn’t have the answers. Not yet.She sighed as she thought of her sudden departure from Glasgow. She had let them down, all of them. Aunt Letty, Kirsty, Josh, Uncle William and Aunt Emmeline even Peregrine Scoular, her teacher, who had been shocked and saddened by her decision.“But why are you doing this? You simply cannot squander your undoubted talent in this way, young lady! You are telling me that you are throwing away everything I have taught you?” Peregrine’s voice had risen to an outraged bellow when she had told him she was leaving art school. But when she had explained her reasons were personal, he seemed to understand, and had offered to store her work for her in the hope that she might reconsider.Constance had been glad of that. Her paintings were a reminder to her of happy times.***Josh had been a completely different prospect. He had simply burst into her drawing-room one afternoon.“I thought you trusted me, Constance! I thought we were friends.”He had got no further, because Constance had thrown herself into his arms at that point and had let it all pour out.“Adam has found someone else. I saw them together! And now, everything’s changed for me. I have to get away, away from all the memories.”Putting everything into words about Adam somehow made it real, and she was glad of his arms round her. Josh understood better than anyone else ever could.They had spoken about Kirsty.“How can I make it up to her, Josh? How could I have repaid her kindness and care in this way?”Her tears at the thought of Kirsty had been the most bitter of all. It had been a relief when Josh had offered to smooth the way for her, to tell Kirsty the whole story. But telling Josh had somehow set Constance free to move on and to make decisions. She had not delayed.And now here she was . . .She looked round the drawing-room, taking comfort from the familiarity of her surroundings. Everything was as she had always remembered it the plum-coloured walls, the little tables with their fringed skirts and silver-framed photographs, the wing chairs flanking the fireplace and great bay window.A framed photograph of a boy with flaxen hair smiled at her from a fireside table. Constance’s father, in his youth.She reached out and touched it.“How I wish you were here, Papa,” she whispered. “You could tell me what to do.”Her musings were cut short by the arrival of Mrs Butchart, the servant, with a supper tray.“Madam says you both prefer to eat supper here in the drawing-room, Miss Constance. She’ll join you directly.”Constance smiled her thanks. Neither Mrs Butchart nor her husband favoured small talk. They were efficient, almost monosyllabic at times, though in her present mood that suited Constance. She had much to think about, decisions to make about the way ahead. Silence and routine were welcome.Her mama joined her as she lifted the cover from the serving dish.“An omelette and toast,” she said, smiling at her daughter. “Nourishing but light. If I might say so, my dear, you are just a little too thin. But I can assure you that I will make it my business to get the roses back into your cheeks in no time at all.”“Tell me more about Sir Hugh’s country residence, Mama. It sounds quite lovely.”


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