Conscious of Hugh’s gaze fixed on her, Letty’s hand shook just a little as she dispensed tea in front of a blazing fire in the library. He wasted no time on small talk but came straight to the point.“Letitia, you wrote to me on your return from Paris, and I sensed that you were troubled. It worried me, and I cancelled meetings to come here after I spoke to Josh one evening last week. He had been worried, too, and had confronted Constance about what exactly happened.”Her eyes were suspiciously bright when she looked at him.“Can you tell me what happened, Hugh? It would be such a relief. I’ve been so worried, so regretful that I suggested going to Paris in the first place. Whatever has happened is all my fault.” Her voice began to tremble.Concerned, her companion rose and took both of her hands in his.“Come and sit by me, for I will not see you upset, my dearest Letitia.”****There was a little sofa placed between the two fireside chairs. As he had done on their first meeting, he drew Letty to it and sat side by side with her. He told her about the girl Constance had seen with Adam, about her shock.Letty bit her lip.“Now, she’s left art school, thrown everything away, and Louisa tells me they’re going to London to finish the season! And, Hugh, she’s avoiding me. She must be blaming me for it all. If only I hadn’t taken her to Paris.”Hugh Glenavon put his arm around her shoulders. When he spoke, his voice was firm.“Now, listen to me. Constance is avoiding you because she knows that you’ll talk sense to her good sense that she will be unable to disregard because she loves you so dearly and relies on you. And while she is waiting for this, this whirlwind of emotions to pass, she is as well to please her mama. If she does, Louisa will accept her final decision all the more easily.“You did the right thing in taking her to Paris. It has brought the situation to a head, which is no bad thing. And now, well, who knows what will happen?”He squeezed her hands and she managed a tremulous smile in return. Before she could speak, he forged on.“While I was visiting Josh at Mrs Dinnimont’s, who should pay a visit but Peregrine Scoular! He had good news about Constance’s work.”Letty’s face lit up as Hugh told her about Peregrine’s friend, a gallery owner from London, who had seen Constance’s “Four Seasons” panels in Peregrine’s storeroom, and who had been so impressed by them that he had secured several good commissions for her.“He is going to write to her with the news. You mark my words, she’ll be back in Glasgow in a trice,” he finished.“But she and Louisa are leaving for London very soon. She may not get his letter in time!” Letty was still fretting.“All the better,” Hugh said firmly. “Wait and see. After a few weeks of enduring the chatter of those silly young fellows who hang around London salons, she’ll be glad to get back to art school!”She was smiling now and, for a few moments, silence fell. Then Hugh gave Letty’s shoulders a little squeeze.“You know, I think you have spent enough time worrying about these young folk and the mistakes they make along the way! Let them settle their affairs and learn from it all themselves.”She looked up at him and his gaze locked into hers.“As you know, I am a practical man, and you, my dearest Letitia, are a true romantic. It must be catching, because when I am with you, I, too, become romantically inclined!”He went down on one knee, holding both of her hands and fixing her with a gaze so intense that she could not look away.“Dear Letitia, since I met you, you have lightened my heart and brightened my days. I can wait no longer. Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?”There was the slightest of silences before Letty replied, her eyes shining.“Oh, yes, dearest Hugh!”He beamed and reached into his pocket.“I always come to meetings well prepared.” He chuckled, producing a little leather box. As he slipped the largest diamond Letty had ever seen on to her finger, he kissed her, and she felt as if she was drowning in sheer happiness.