Chapter LII

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It was night still when my eyes opened as of having dreamed the news but the letter was by my bedside to ensure the truth

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It was night still when my eyes opened as of having dreamed the news but the letter was by my bedside to ensure the truth. Where was everyone? Stanley Hall was quiet, so quiet one could hear the waves crashing on the sea nearby, or the hoot of the owl in the gardens that had grown so beautifully in the past year. And my Joan where was she? Or her funny little words to warm my heart? Joan, I would never see her again, I would never speak to or tell bed stories to her again, I would never put her on my back when Mrs. Miller was not looking because it was not a lady like thing to do. The pain was there but instead of taking it in I splattered back into the bed consciously deciding not to feel it.

Instead I thought of the joy on my father's face when she was born; how she was the closest thing to bliss in our every day. Our family had been more prepared by my father's passing for it took some time but Joan's death was like getting struck by lightning in the middle of a sunny day. I heard a knock and then saw a note slip under the door to which I walked over to pick up.

Dearest Lady Alice,

I wish to be of comfort to you but cannot find words to console your heart other than this; I will be by your side. Come hell or high waters I know if we lean on each other in our low moments we are bound to come out on the other side. I sincerely ask you to cry but to not give into despair remembering I am waiting for you to be mine and we are family.

Sincerely,

Mr. Henry.

"Mr. Henry?" I opened the door to catch him but he was gone though and when I walked back into my room Mr. Howard stood there like some ghost of the night.

"Alice."

"Lord Bridgeston what are you doing in my bedchamber?"

"Come Alice," he complained of my civil disdainful manner, "do not talk to me as if we were strangers."

"If you have come to see how I am, I am well and you may go sir."

"You just lost your youngest sister and then you fainted right in front of me, you are not well do you understand?" Mr. Howard asked as if waiting to see if I would cry and lament in his arms.

"Yes, I understand the situation."

"Then go back to bed Alice," Mr. Howard demanded and seeing I would not obey him he said, "please."

In my night gown I sat back on the bed propping my legs up and Mr. Howard came to help cover me with the many warm bed linens.

"Are you warm enough?"

"Yes sir," I was taken back by his care I did not think him capable of it, of stopping himself from being the center of the universe but here he was doing the opposite of what I always expected.

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