Chapter XXII

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As I packed a small case to go to London I wondered why ever since Joseph arrived nothing remotely eerie had come to pass

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As I packed a small case to go to London I wondered why ever since Joseph arrived nothing remotely eerie had come to pass. Was Joseph some kind of good luck amulet for Stanley Hall? If it were so, Mr. Howard should never let his son depart this place. And while I picked up my Bible something familiar glided out of it, it was Mr. Howard's neckwear which he used to tie my cut hand. I picked it up and stored it away in one of the drawers of the dresser of my maid's room and as I was thinking how silly it was to think someone had taken it my door opened by itself.

"Mrs. Hall?" I asked turning around to see who it was, "Mrs. Hall... Joseph?" I changed the name maybe it was him following me and when I saw no one in the halls I closed the door behind me to finish packing.

Then once more the door swung open as if urging me to go, or waiting on me to leave, this house or whatever it was certainly did not want me to remain and I obeyed by grabbing my suitcase at once to take it down to the carriage. There were just two things to do before I went and it was to write a letter for my aunt Mrs. Green to find me work and to say goodbye to Joseph.

"Miss Stewart?" Joseph asked as I finished the letter for my aunt.

"I was coming to say goodbye Joseph."

"So you are going to London?"

"Yes to my grandfather's funeral."

"I am sorry for your loss."

"Thank you, but..."

"What is it?"

"I... I well, I lost my grandfather it is a fact but... Is it really loss if I never knew my grandfather? Not that I did not wish to, family should be together but it is sad that I do not have any memories with him."

"Yes it is sad," Joseph sat by me, "I have no memories of my mother either."

"Your mother?" Mr. Howard must have been a very young father for Joseph was only twenty years of age and Mr. Howard did not look a day over forty.

"Yes, there is a room locked upstairs, it belonged to her but my father never let me visit it so maybe it is merely an empty room." I knew it was not empty but if I told him he might feel offended or that I violated her memory in some way. "Not once did I go in there so that I might catch a glimpse of who she was, what she looked like. In fact it is as if she never existed at all sometimes, no one ever talks about her, no stories were told of her. She could have been anyone, either way she is dead and I have nothing from her to help me know her."

"Joseph," I got up at once to comfort him in an embrace, if only it had been him who went in the room he might get the photo that fell on me and see his mother.

"Sorry, I apologize I am not trying to coerce into anything," we enjoyed the embrace for a moment and then he let me go.

"I would never think that, and I am sorry for your loss."

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