The Gardener's Daughter

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Chapter 51

Violet was moving around the parlour, despondently dusting the china and rearranging the cushions and smoothing down the drapes. Her mind was occupied by one thing only. She was dreading seeing David’s sad face reflecting her own misery.

When she heard a knock at the front door she knew it would be him.

She let him in and she made him a hot drink in the kitchen while they talked.

“You’ve seen them, then?” she asked him, pain in her eyes as she sought his

“I have,” he replied “do you really think it was Agnes’ brother who did this?”

“I don’t know” she sighed “It doesn’t matter who – it just means that our plans are ruined.”

“No, of course they aren’t!” he was determined “just delayed a little that’s all”

She looked doubtful “How can you afford to get more done? We are going to need lots of money and quick if we are to make it in time for the Exhibition. These could have made our dreams come true. They would have sold so well, I am sure of it!”

David had no answers for her. He looked at her bandaged hand and took it in his.

“What happened here?” he asked tenderly

“I just picked up a piece of the broken glass last night, “she shrugged unhappily,

“David, we are going to be all right aren’t we?”

“I am sure of it” he replied

“But, how?” she asked

“I don’t know how. I just know that everything will be perfect for us one day.”

She hesitated for a moment before asking

“Would you give up your family for me? How about The Grange and all the gardens?”

“I won’t have to, really…” he began

“But if you DID have to, would you?”

“I won’t have to.” He was getting angry.

“Just answer me, if you had to leave your family and your big comfortable house with all its servants, could you do it?”

“Well…”

“and the gardens, and your plants and hothouses and the money your father gives you to go on your voyages.”

David could not look at her. He could not imagine being away from The Grange. His plants were his life. Well, they had been up to now.

“You couldn’t live with being poor. I don’t think that you have any idea what it would be like.”

He looked at her with her flaming cheeks and red eyes. He knew that she had been crying.

“Violet, I have to go now, but ..”

“Very well” she answered coldly “but get back to me when you’ve decided.”

He looked at her as she turned and left the room, leaving him there with his thoughts.

He couldn’t imagine not being at The Grange, but equally, he could not imagine being without Violet. He left by the back door and returned home.

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