Angela woke to the ringing of the telephone. Glancing at the clock, she saw it was only one thirty in the morning.
“Hello, Angelia, It’s Caroline.” Said the voice on the other end of the line. “I know it’s late, but I just got off the phone with Henry. He was confirming my permission for your, to quote Henry, have live in house guests, which I told them I’d granted.”
“Anyway, I just had to tell you my news! I’ve decided to visit Gilfords Falls after all. It’s funny but I’ve suddenly gotten this overwhelming urge to come home. It’s as if my Cole’s been right here for the past week whispering in my ear, Go home Caroline! You must go home! You must go now!
So, I booked a flight to Canada yesterday, and will book a flight from there to Gilfords Falls. I should be arriving somewhere around the twentieth of November. I’ll call you with all the details once I arrive at the airport in Canada.”
“Now,” said Caroline, “for the big question. How soon can you get a crew out to Gilfords Hall to do some cleaning and repairs? Old man Crowley and his wife are still my caretakers, but at their age, there’s probably not a whole lot they can do.”
“Does Johnny Murdock still own, On the Ball House Cleaning? If so maybe you could get them out there to clean up the place. If not, maybe you can find someone else to do it. While you’re at it, see if Gregory Johnson is still around, if he is, maybe he could start repairs on the roof and the house.”
“If Karr Jackson’s still at the Crowley’s he may be interested in a job as my groundskeeper. I know his brothers and he always enjoyed that kind of work. If so hire him and give him a crew. Start them on cleaning and maintaining the yard, grounds, pastures and paths to a few of the old cabins.”
“There’s not a better horse man then Carl within a thousand miles of Gilfords Falls. I know he moved south with the horses. Find him and see if he’d like his old job back, at least for a while. I want to see Mary’s pony Star Dancer, Maggie’s Coal Black and a few of the other horses in the barns, pastures and corrals, while I’m there.”
“I don’t know why, but I’d love to see Mary’s garden bloom again, even though it's almost winter. Do you think you could find someone to repair the castle and garden as well?”
“Henry sent me several photos of the estate a while back that were quite shocking. Unfortunately you can’t correct twelve years of neglect in a few weeks. I’m hoping you and Myrtle can find enough people needing work to at least repair the roof, walls, grounds, barns and corrals
I’m betting the inside of the house is worse, then the outside. I’ll be staying in the master-suite while I’m in town. Get a crew in there to make repairs to the kitchen, pantries, dining hall, great hall and the south wing.”
“Someone should also check out the servants’ cottages and do any repairs they need. Oh, and before I forget, what are the chances of you finding me a reliable cook, housekeeper and driver?”
“I know this is really short notice, so I took the liberty of tucking a generous check for expenses into your account a couple of weeks ago.”
“I should probably stay with you, but you already have a house full. Then again, I could move everyone from Maggie’s cottage to Gilfords Hall, and might, if it gets too lonely at the manor house.”
“It's strange, I haven’t been home in years and suddenly I can’t sleep for longing to be back there. I don’t understand why Cole thinks it’s so important that I return now. But he just won’t take no for an answer!”
“I haven’t told Jedidiah about my plans. I took your advice and told him I needed a little space to myself, without him in it. He doesn’t like it, but he won’t try to stop me either. Anyway, I’ll call you from Beasley when I get there, see you soon.”
Angelia laughed as she hung up the phone. After spending several months trying to convince her to come home, Caroline was finally coming. She must really be excited, Angelia told herself. Why, she didn’t even give me a chance to squeeze a word in edgewise before she hung up.
Angelia’s last thoughts before falling asleep were of how much her life had changed since Mary and the children had arrived. “I sure hope I’m right,” she whispered to herself as she thought of the treasure she’d found, lying on Billy’s bedroom floor and smiled.