London was not at all what Olivia had expected. While her meetings with her lawyers was fruitful when it came to receiving the inheritance that had been promised to her from Daniel’s estate, her wish to find herself and her sister among society was not fulfilled. She found that the scandal between Daniel and John had not been forgotten, and its reach went as far as to wrap itself around her good name. She received no visits or calls at the town house, and found that when she was about in town, all eyes were on her, tongues wagged and she received many looks of pity but was offered no kind words.
It was another dreary rainy day in London and Eugie was whining, begging for Olivia to read to her. It was a task that Olivia had found tedious, and she found herself resenting Eugie’s dependence on her for entertainment. Eugie’s malaise and melancholy had followed her from Brookington Hall to London, and although she was no longer prone to hysterics or theatrics, she had resisted any efforts that Olivia had made to leave the town home and explore the city. Her manners were much improved due to Cordelia’s influence, but there was still much to learn. Eugie, however, was content to spend her days sighing, eating sweets, lying about, complaining of headaches and begging Olivia to read to her.
“Why can’t you just read on your own?” Olivia finally lashed out against her sister.
At the bitterness in Olivia’s words, Eugie sat up and a shocked and hurt expression grew over her face. She reached for the novel Olivia had been reading to her and opened it, and began reading aloud. Olivia was sitting at a desk, shuffling through papers and writing letters and notes. Her meetings with the lawyers had been fruitful in gaining access to the funds promised her by John and Daniel, however, she was still frustrated with her lack of power with regards to helping her siblings and her mother, and Eugie’s malaise and dependence upon her grated at her soul.
Her resentment faltered when she saw that her sister struggled at reading. Olivia’s education contrasted deeply with the lack of refinement and education that her sister had, and Olivia was once again reminded of the hardships of her sister’s life. As Eugie’s wavering voice broke into tears, Olivia stood up from her sheath of papers to embrace her sister.
“We need to get you out of this house.” Olivia reasoned, once the river of tears had subsided.
“I don’t want to go anywhere.” Eugie shook her head.
“Cordelia gave us both a task, to visit her very dear friend, and I am afraid we are disappointing her in being in town several weeks and not having done so.”
“Oh, that is really bad, isn’t it?” Eugie sat up straighter now, wiping her eyes.
And so it was that Olivia was able to cajole her sister into finally leaving their abode to re-enter society. Though it was not without anxiety on both their parts. The sisters dressed carefully, picking lovely yet modest dresses, and taking special care in arranging their hair. They were sure that this Captain Wedmore was a very fine gentleman, if the lovely Cordelia viewed him as a very special friend.
They were not disappointed when they visited the Captain. He was a genial and handsome man, who received them with genuine sincerity.
“And how is our grace, the Duchess?” Andrew asked.
“As lovely as ever.” Eugie answered.
Andrew was kind and patient with her sister, who had many nerves, but after noting that she doted on Cordelia as much as he, they spoke animatedly of Cordelia, and her son, and when Andrew saw that Eugie had enthusiasm about children, he offered to introduce her to his own two beloved children, who were in the nursery, and Eugie jumped at the offer, leaving to spend some time with the lovely little girl, named Sarah, and the boy, Christopher. Sarah animatedly spoke to Eugie about her dolls, and Eugie genuinely seemed to be enjoying playing with the lovely little girl.
It was then that Andrew and Olivia retired to have tea, with Eugie and the children being occupied. Olivia’s heart felt lighter now, seeing her sister happy, and the kindness that Andrew had shown the both of them. She had been so alone for so many days, that she had not realized how much she needed the comfort and kindness of good society.