The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 63

Constance set the direction of the conversation as the two began to eat. She knew that her mother liked nothing better than to describe in detail her stay at Sir Hugh Glenavon’s house.While doing so, her daughter reflected, she would not be making elaborate plans for Constance’s future. There lay safety.“I’m sure the furniture in the dining-room was Chippendale. And the escritoire in the corner of my bedroom was a French antique, though I cannot be sure of its provenance …”“Mama, you are naughty. You sound like a dealer, going round the house, preparing it for an auction!” Constance spoke with mock severity.“No, no, Constance. The point I am making is that Sir Hugh’s money is new money, and, of course, that sort of money does not always bring with it good taste.”Constance overlooked the snobbery and seized on the diversion.“New money? Whatever do you mean, Mama?”“He is what is called a ‘self-made man’, Constance. Humble beginnings, you know.”“But he was a childhood friend of our neighbour, wasn’t he?”“Lochan spent his summers on his grandfather’s estate in Perthshire.” Louisa lowered her voice. “His mother was delicate, you see. And Hugh was the gamekeeper’s son on the estate. According to Lochan, the two of them ran wild all summer, in company with the sons of other estate employees.”“Lochan must have loved that.” Constance smiled to think of their neighbour as a young lad.“It all ended when Lochan went off to boarding-school, and shortly after that Hugh went off to seek his fortune. Now, he owns a shipping line and has a knighthood . . .”“And Chippendale furniture in his dining-room!” Constance finished, and they both laughed.But there was a small leaden place in her heart when Constance thought of the ,snobbery that lay behind the conversation, that same snobbery that had refused to make Adam welcome when it had mattered. Only, now, none of it mattered at all.She pushed her plate to the side, no longer hungry.“Talking of Sir Hugh, you really must invite Josh to the Grange for a visit before winter sets in,” Louisa offered with a penetrating look at her daughter.Her daughter avoided her inquiring glance. How could she convince her mama that there was nothing between her and Josh Glenavon?She decided on a diversion.“I was reading a magazine the other day,” she said, “and I saw a picture of your old friend, Lady Charlesworth. She seems to be very well-known in London social circles.”Louisa’s face was suddenly alight with interest.“Dear Agatha? Do you know, I was on the point of arranging a visit to her when you arrived home! London is so very alive at this time of year.”“Then why don’t we go there together, Mama? The season has a few weeks to run. I think I might enjoy the excitement of London as a complete change of scene.”Louisa stared at her, at first uncomprehending. Was this the daughter who had resolutely refused either to go to London or to take the Grand Tour? It was clear that she had decided to make big changes in her life.Her mother seized the moment.“Of course we can go together, Constance, dear. Nothing would please me more! We will be welcome to stay with dear Agatha, of course. I will write to her tonight. And anything you need ball dresses, for instance can be bought in London.”Supper ended in a flurry of excitement, with Constance smiling at her mama’s high spirits.Later, as Louisa composed her letter to Lady Charlesworth, she reflected that part of a season spent in London, meeting other eligible young men, might well make Josh Glenavon keen to secure the hand of her daughter before she was snapped up by anyone else!Constance lay in the darkness of her room, sleep eluding her. A door had slammed behind her, and several stood before her, all closed, all mysterious.Which one would she choose to open? As sleep came at last, she tried vainly to escape the image of the tall, fair-haired young man called Adam who haunted her dreams.


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