The Gardener's Daughter

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Chapter 29

The next few weeks passed slowly for Violet. She tried her best to keep busy, so that she didn’t dwell too much on what David may be doing and who he may be doing it with. She spoke to the carpenter on a daily basis to see how he was progressing with the Wardian cases that she’d been entrusted with getting made, in his absence. She checked every detail for herself, from the thickness of the glass to the angles and the curves needed to make strong enough to hold together. They were of varying sizes and she loved the way they looked like miniature glasshouses, as they took shape.

She thought to herself that they would also make fine display cases for grand drawing rooms or hallways. Having living plants in them would make wonderful exotic conversational pieces for people, who maybe did not know much about the species inside.

She imagined how wonderful they would look if fashioned from wrought ironwork in fancy shapes and curls. She took to drawing them in her notebook, with filigree-fine curves and lines. She reasoned that if they were for display they would not need to be as robust as the ones being made for voyages on rough seas that would last months and months.

She resolved to show David her drawings and tell him of her ideas as soon as he returned. She felt sure that he would be interested. She knew that if they could get them made locally, she knew one or two blacksmiths who could produce such fine work, then a good business could possibly spring up from it.

She also knew that she alone would never have the resources to start something like this herself. Who would pay for the glass to be made and the raw iron to be smelted and delivered to them? She would need someone to invest in it financially and she hoped that someone would be David.

If she made sure his cases were ready and waiting for him when he got back she felt sure that he would look favourably on her ideas. She was excited by the thought of this and also the fact that it would mean that she could carry on working with David. His trips abroad could produce enough healthy specimens to propagate here on the estate and she could sell some of them inside her indoor miniature glass houses.

Then one day the thought occurred to her that if they were really successful they could even help with the upkeep of the estate. This pleased her even more as it may make it unnecessary for him to have to marry for money after all.

She cheerfully took pride in overseeing that the existing specimens were being well looked after and made sure that every instruction that David has left was followed to the letter. It felt good to be working alongside her father again, after her drudgery in the kitchens. She was spending less and less time indoors now and thriving in the outdoors, even though the weather was turning chillier and autumn was on its way.

She saw the bushes and trees laden down with berries and fruits and felt that it was a sign of a hard winter on its way.

On one of her rare afternoons spent in the kitchen she heard Katie and Polly gossiping.

“It is said that David is coming home next Tuesday” said Polly “Seems he is bringing someone with him too! She giggled

“So, is it true then?” asked Katie

“It must be, why else would he be asking her to come here? I think wedding bells will soon be ringing”

“How exciting! Will they be holding the celebrations here do you think?”

“Of course, replied Polly “It will be her new home after all.”

“Is Master David engaged?” interrupted Violet

“Well it hasn’t been announced yet, but what other reason would he have for bringing Caroline Fitzroy home with him?”

“They must be announcing it here, that means a party!” exclaimed Katie and they carried on speculating about who the guests would be and when the wedding would take place.

Violet went up to her room with a heavy heart.

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