Emma saw his misery as soon as he walked into the Grand Hall. She grabbed his sleeve and pulled him into the Morning Room.
“What’s happened?” she demanded
“It’s the cases that we were getting made up, someone has sabotaged them. They’ve been ruined!”
“Is this the business idea that you and Violet were planning?” she asked
“Yes, they were beautiful and now they are in pieces and that is not all.” He paused
Emma waited for him to continue.
“Violet wants to know if I had to choose – would I pick her and our life together, or stay here with my family, and my plants.”
“Well, I hope that you reassured her” she said “You did, didn’t you?”
“I told her that it would never come to that!” he told his cousin
“That wasn’t what she was asking you.” Emma replied wisely “She wants to know that she is the most important thing in your life.”
David looked pained “I don’t think I could live without her now. But…”
“I have never thought how life would be if I was disowned and had to leave here to be with her.”
“You would survive!” Emma told him “You have so many skills and contacts.”
“Contacts who wouldn’t want to know me if I brought dishonour on the family” he said
“You could earn a good living.”
“What would I do without my plants to work with? My gardens, they could be almost perfect. I have so many plans; I could picture myself in the new fernery, with Violet by my side and our children running around.” He smiled to himself, lost in reverie.
“So how would it feel if you were there alone?” Emma prompted him “or with Caroline?”
“Ha!” he snorted “Carline would have no interest. Anyway I am doing it all for Violet.”
“So, if she wasn’t here…” he thought aloud “it would hold no pleasure for me.”
“At last!” Emma smiled at him
“What would I do if I didn’t have this place and my inheritance to rely on?”
“Well, you’d find out how strong and how resourceful you really are, when it matters.” Emma said “Have you ever visited Birmingham Botanical gardens?”
“Yes, why do you ask?”
“Well, do you not think that your skills would be welcome at an impressive place like that? In fact I think you would be welcomed at any Public gardens.”
She let that percolate into his brain.
“Yes, they must need someone to go and find their specimens for them. Mr Loudon has done wonders with his glasshouses.”
“Now that we’ve got that sorted, can we please talk about George?”
David laughed, feeling that a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
“Of course” he replied “and thank-you Emma, I don’t know what I would do without your wonderful counsel. Let me ask you just one more question. You’ll still speak to me if I get disowned?”
“Of course, I know that William would agree that you and Violet will be welcome at our home anytime.”
David nodded in satisfaction.
“Now I’ve had an idea that just might work to both our advantages.” He whispered to his favourite cousin.