The Ladies Of Eastgarrow – Episode 02

Celestine’s tutor was a tall, slender man with a look of intelligence and a strong profile. Em had noticed long ago that Celestine was smitten by him. Lady Louisa had employed Mr Meredith soon after the death of her husband. The word in the household was that she had extended the hand of friendship to a man who needed employment very much, and who had been an acquaintance of Sir Wesley’s favourite nephew and had fallen on hard times. A match between Celestine and a tutor was impossible, as Celestine knew well. But a girlish infatuation had begun the very day Mr Meredith arrived at Eastgarrow and it had grown into something stronger. Em did not know the tutor well it was a huge house and he lived mostly above stairs so their paths did not cross much but she was certain that he did not love her mistress back. Celestine was bold and intelligent, but young for her age.“I know he feels the same, Em,” Celestine said firmly one night when Em was helping her dress for a party at Brighton. “I know he does. He waits for me in the classroom so very promptly every morning.”Em said nothing; it seemed to her that Mr Meredith had always been prompt prompt for meals, prompt for his evening walk. He was a calm, efficient person, managing his pupil’s moods almost as well as Em did. The way he spoke of Celestine was of fondness but no more. But Em reflected that she had no great knowledge of men. She’d never been courted. Thomas Meredith seemed to her a good example of his type: kind, manly, a gentleman (although obviously penniless). Em felt she would like him if they had a chance to meet more often on the stairs, or in the garden when she went to fetch flowers for Celestine’s room. He was certainly more handsome than the young men she knew in the village of Garrow, or the friends of her brothers who were fishermen at Hastings.Mr Meredith taught Celestine drawing and music, as well as a little philosophy and the Latin and mathematics she demanded, to make her, she said, “just as clever as a man”.“He has such an intellect, Em,” Celestine told her maid. “I am going to make sure I become his equal and that he loves me as I love him. You know that beauty is not enough for a man like Thomas.”Em saw trouble ahead.“But Mr Meredith will leave us next year, Miss Celestine,” she said.Celestine turned her face towards Em. “Not if I have anything to do with it,” she said. “My father said, even before I was ten, that I should have whichever man I choose. And I shall!”


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