Once Emma had been reclaimed by his sisters David went out into the gardens to see how the fountain project was progressing. He was pleased to see Violet’s father directing workers while they used bricks faced by local dressed stone to form the shape of the huge pool. There were no natural springs nearby so the engineer was going to have to construct an aqueduct to supply enough water gravity to provide the hydraulic head that would be needed to cascade the water high into the air. It would need a constant supply to avoid loss of pressure due to evaporation. David was soon busy devising planting that would hide the pipes and conduits necessary to provide a spectacular show. He was absorbed in this task when Mr Dean came over and asked if he could have a quiet word with him.
“Certainly, Mr Dean” he replied, as he had a lot of respect for this honest, hard-working man. “What can I do for you?”
“I don’t want to pry into private matters, ordinarily” he said as he shifted his weight from foot to foot. “But I can’t help hearing talk that you are to shortly become engaged.” He coughed nervously as he waited to be told off for being too presumptuous. David did not flinch, so he continued:
“It’s just that, well it is Violet. I didn’t want her to hear it from the gossips. I don’t know what passed between you two” he continued “but she is very precious to me and I don’t want her to be hurt.”
“Well,” said David “you may have heard that, and it is the general consensus around here, but between you and me,” he looked around to see if anyone else was within earshot “I will do everything in my power to prevent that happening.”
Then he continued
“She is very precious to me too, Mr Dean, there is no one else like her!”
“You are right there, Master David” he grinned “She can be very headstrong!”
“Mr Dean?” David ventured
“Oh nothing, it’s alright. Please carry on.”
Mr Dean stared after the unhappy young man, as he walked back towards the Grange . He could see by his expression that he hadn’t just been fooling with Violet – he looked as miserable as she did.
He stood there shaking his head as David walked back to the house.
“Life is just so unfair sometimes.” He said to himself as he returned to his work.