The Gardener's Daughter

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Chapter 57

The kitchen was buzzing with activity. There was the low hum of chattering too as the surprising news from above stairs was filtering down, not entirely accurately.

Lottie was instructing Mary on the careful washing of the crystal glasses as they listened to Polly and Agnes.

“Oh Lord, did you see Alexandra running up to her room?” asked Polly

“Well, no” replied Agnes “ But Tom said that she found her wonderful George in bed with another woman!”

“No!” Polly was thrilled “Who was it?”

“I think it was that lady with the dog. The one Master David was going to marry!”

“Oh poor young master!”

Edgar was sat by the fire, having just replenished the log basket. He was stoking the fire, to keep the kettles boiling and all the kitchen staff warm.

He looked over at Lottie and rolled his eyes heavenwards.

“You mean the engagement is off then?” asked Mrs Salt, unable to stop herself from joining in the speculation.

“I think that George will be disinherited now.” Polly continued.

“That can’t happen, he’s already inherited everything when his father died.” Mrs Salt informed them. “Now stop this gossiping – there’s far too much to do. I don’t know if we’ll ever be ready in time!”

Edgar moved over to the scullery sink where Lottie was drying the glasses.

“I am sure that David doesn’t mind at all” she confided to him, “I think that his heart belongs to another.”

Edgar looked at her carefully, trying to work out how much she really knew.

“You know that he is very fond of a friend of ours?” she carried on

“Do you mean Violet?” he whispered to her

“Of course!” Lottie whispered back “Do you think that he’ll be free to marry her now?”

“I don’t know, but I am sure that love always finds a way.” He scowled and returned to the fireplace, brooding on his next move.

Lottie found a clean tea cloth, picked up one of the twinkling diamond cut crystal glasses and tried to get through them in as short a time as possible. She didn’t even notice when Edgar left through the back door and the rest of the staff had departed to finish up their duties elsewhere. She was imagining Violet in a wedding dress and herself as bridesmaid.

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