Chapter XLVII

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The second dinner proceeded as usual, Henry once again escorted me to dinner and Joseph freely chatted with Miss Lilly for the whole of the night

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The second dinner proceeded as usual, Henry once again escorted me to dinner and Joseph freely chatted with Miss Lilly for the whole of the night. It was starting to become quite clear to mama that Joseph and I would not be the pair she once hoped for and Miss Lilly's mother seemed very attentive to Lord Howard who dismissed her company as much as he could. It was also clear to me by the end of the dinner Mr. Howard and I were long strangers to one another for the only times he looked at me were by accident and his eyes were full of disdain. The second dinner came to a closing, the men stayed behind having brandy and smoking their cigars while the ladies gathered at the piano room.

"Alice I understand now why you did not want to come," mama sat by me while Lady Scott entertained Lady Walker. "I did not think Lord Joseph capable of leading us on only to change in favor of Henry's sister, I am grieved by such careless behavior."

"Mama he is happier with her."

"If you had told me he had broken your heart I would have never put you through this, we never would have come," mama spoke as she knew me but no one knew who had broken my heart.

"We are here and I will get better," I glanced over to Mr. Howard sitting behind her in the background of the room while lighting his pipe, blowing smoke in the air clouding his semblance from sight.

"If you want to retire earlier you may go, I will make sure no one notices," mama said and then Lady Scott waved over for her to join them.

"Thank you mama, I will do that," I gave her a smile without any incentive of staying there anymore when Miss Lilly sat next to me.

"Lady Alice Stewart," Miss Lilly acknowledged me.

"Good evening Miss Lillian," I said noticing how her and Joseph looked alike in features.

"Joseph told me," she called him by his first name without a second thought and I waited for her to tell me what they'd spoken of, "of what you did for him and I extend to you my sincere gratitude."

"Oh Miss Lilly my papa used to say: count it as nothing when it is right," I said the words my father taught me, he said one could never praise oneself for simply doing what one must do, and if it was your duty to look for no reward, for the reward was in keeping a hold of goodness when the whole world was comfortably cruel.

"It is not nothing when it makes the happiness of two people but Lady Alice I have no doubt your reward is on its way. May your kindness and righteousness be paid in full by God," her voice was weak and she beamed with genuineness.

"Thank you, I wish Lord Joseph and yourself much happiness, though it takes no fortune teller to see that you will already have it."

"I have a great idea sister," Mr. Henry said as some of the party began playing the cards and Joseph came along with him.

"My brother and his ideas, what is it now?" Miss Lilly laughed.

"You will play the piano and Lady Alice will sing," Mr. Henry showed me half of his white teeth.

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