Chapter XXXVII

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"What do you think of those two? Are you ready to have a new papa?" Martha asked

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"What do you think of those two? Are you ready to have a new papa?" Martha asked.

"Martha," I scolded her at how the mere future picture turned my empty and tight stomach.

"Look I am only repeating what mama thinks, and you know her." Martha meant to say her mother was the keeper of secrets, of course from time to time she would let them slip by but Martha never missed a chance to catch them.

"Yes but I think you are mistaken."

"Maybe but if I was your mother I would not choose the man even if his title is noble and his riches seem endless."

"Martha I am not recognizing you, has this proposal messed with your mind? In what world would you ever oppose a rich, noble and handsome man?"

"I admit this proposal is driving me up the walls but that is not the point here!"

Although Martha did not shout she said it with enough ardor she might as well have been shouting at me for not taking her seriously. Though this type of behavior had been exactly the opposite of who Martha was, she was carefree, not one to think of consequences or boundaries which might otherwise restrain her from taking the easy way out and the girl talking to me was worried, careful and sober.

"My apologies, you must tell me though what is bothering you."

"You are forgiven and well... I recently heard some stories about him, the mad Earl, stories I was not very happy to hear."

"Rumors or stories?"

"Only if it were rumors I would not tell you with such apprehension as I feel now, but what I heard could bring the mad Earl's reputation to a new low and it would do you nor your mother any good to be associated with him."

"Then what did you hear?"

"You must not repeat this, the story was not told directly to me," Martha meant to say she had eavesdropped like my brother loved to do.

"I promise, now please go on."

"Have you ever heard the story of Lady Lydia?"

"Joseph's mother?"

"Exactly."

"Well that is all I know, what do you know of her?"

The room with the initals L. H. entered my mind immediately and I braced hopefully not for some story but the truth at last.

"More than I should care to."

"Martha say it please."

"I am getting there."

"Get there quicker then."

"Fine, I heard the end of a private conversation between Lady Scott and my mother the other day while they were having tea in the drawing room."

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