The Gardener's Daughter

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Chapter 37

David couldn’t sleep. He sat up into the early hours just looking through Violet’s notebook. When he wasn’t hugging it to him, that is and thinking how wonderful it felt to kiss her lips. He was trying to think of a plan which would enable him to still work with her and see her. He had to somehow delay for as long as possible the engagement to Caroline. In the meantime he probably had until Christmas to get this wonderful idea of hers up and running. The more he thought about it the more sure he was that it could work. He intended to go to see the craftsmen with Violet’s drawings and get them transferred into proper plans, with accurate measurements. Then they could start on their manufacture. He felt that while he was working towards this he was doing something positive for her.

He’d found out from Tom that his father had arranged for Violet to start at the home of a Glass factory owner at the beginning of December. This meant that he would be able to get a message to her whenever he needed to and this made him feel better. He just wished that he could see her to reassure her that everything would be alright. He would try to seek her out tomorrow.

He stretched out his weary body on his bed and tried to sleep. He was drifting off into dreams of leaving the country on a tall ship with Violet by his side, when he heard a crescendo of crashes against his window. He woke, his heart beating fast as he wondered what had disturbed him. He lay still and he heard it again. It sounded like someone was throwing gravel against his bedroom window.

He jumped out of bed and opened the curtains. He opened to window to look out into the pink-breaking dawn. There below in the driveway was one of the under-gardeners. He shouted down

“What are you doing?”

Edgar held his finger up to his mouth and beckoned him to come down to him. David pulled his dressing gown round him and picked his way carefully down the stairs, trying not to wake the rest of the family.

He opened the front door and as the cold air hit him he clutched his gown round him tighter.

“What is it? Something happened?” he asked Edgar.

“Sorry to disturb you sir, but I have a message from Violet.”

David looked at him eagerly “Tell me!”

“She wishes to speak to you sir, one more time, if you can think of somewhere to meet her.”

David thought about it or a while. It would be better for her to stay away from the estate for the moment, as he did not know who he could trust.

“May I make a suggestion?” Edgar enquired

“Of course, what do you think?”

“How about at the blacksmiths sir? I’m sure you can think of some business that would take you there alone.”

“Good idea! So Violet will be able to get there too?”

“She can run some errand in the village for her mother, I am sure.”

“Very well, how about eleven in the morning?”

“I’ll tell her, sir.”

“Thank-you.” David replied “What is your name?”

“Edgar, sir, my father used to be head gardener here.”

“Ah yes, I believe that Mr Dean has taken you on?”

“That is right. Sir. I am grateful for the chance.”

“Well, I thank you for your loyalty, Edgar.” He smiled at the young man.

David went back to his room and dressed quickly. He had a lot to do before eleven. He was determined to get another project up and running and he asked for Mr Dean to come and see him as soon as he started work.

He was eating his scrambled eggs when Mr Dean was shown into the morning room.

“Ah Mr Dean” he greeted him “I want this fountain project started as soon as possible. If we get the building work started we should get the bulk of it done before winter really sets in.”

“Of course sir, the plans are finalised?”

“Yes, I’ve been working on them all night. Call in to my study on your way out, I have left them on the desk for you. Order the materials you need and put it all on the account.”

“Yes sir,” he was surprised to see David looking so cheerful.

He looked at him and spoke gently “And how is Violet?”

“I am not sure that I should really talk about her,” he started to say, when he saw his expression change.

“She is sad, but I know that she is strong, she’ll get over it.”

It wasn’t what David wanted to hear.

He left the room and David pushed his plate away, he had lost his appetite.

He put on his outdoor coat and went out into the morning determined to get a lot done before he saw Violet. He hoped fervently that she turned up for their meeting and he intended to have much to tell her.

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