Chapter XXIX

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"Marry when the time is right dear, your father though would insist on Joseph," she kissed my hand

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"Marry when the time is right dear, your father though would insist on Joseph," she kissed my hand.

"Yes he would," my father always wanted the best for us, he took the time to teach me how to write, to read.

From time to time papa would stop with me somewhere the music was fine and twirl me as if he had always expected I would have a need of these things. If father had ever met Joseph he would have arranged the wedding himself, Joseph was just too likable, reserved when needed to be and open when the occasion called for it. Father would list all the reasons why Joseph was perfect and I would not disagree but I was not, I was so far from perfection. There was my past, my less than trained social abilities and Joseph was not a separate entity, his father would always be Mr. Howard for better or for worse. And that part of the story I could not even explain to my father as an excuse to not marry the perfect son in law that Joseph was.

"You should go read before Mrs. Miller sits you at the piano again."

"I will, get better mama" I went over to the study to pick up one of the books I had started and waited for dinner time.

Daniel was doing well at his private academy and had shown great interest in the law as my own father did though prevented by his status to excel at it. This was encouraged by my mother who did not want him to rely only on his inheritance like my father who ended up with nothing in the end. Whenever I caught my mother without her noticing it, she had depressed eyes but what could be the reason for it when she was taken care of well and so were we her children?

"Mama should I get you a doctor?" The next day mother was still not feeling well and I wondered what doctor to call in for her.

"Why would I need a doctor Alice?" She stopped her sewing.

"You have been sleeping so much."

"I guess I have the right to sleep much now that I do not work."

"Yes you do."

"Is my sleeping the only thing bothering you?"

"No you do not bother me; I am only concerned with your happiness."

"You have it wrong then I am the one who needs to be concerned about you, off you go to look for a dress this dinner with the Thomas's tonight promises to be important for the girls."

"Yes mother," I kissed her hand before leaving with a feeling something was amiss with my loving mother.

The lawyer Mr. Lawdon had suggested I leave my mother in the country home or sent her to Bath for the fresh air so that her presence might not make others question my place in society. Though mother cared for it any way I would have I asked to be kept together and brought mama back to London with me. Observing her lack of spirits and light though I prayed this would not turn into a decision I would regret for her health's sake.

We arrived at the Thomas's with a full house waiting for us, the people missing were Cynthia's brothers, Arthur's father and Henry's mother. As I arrived Joseph joined us straightaway and the girls entertained the boys, Cynthia was playing the piano forte and Martha was singing.

"Let me introduce Mrs. Theresa Stewart and her daughter Lady Alice Stewart this is Lord Walker and Lady Scott," Joseph said.

"Very pleased to meet you both," Lord Walker said to my mother and I.

"Yes any friend of Joseph is a friend of mine," Lady Scott said affectionately of Joseph.

"Thank you Lady Scott," mother replied and went away talking to her and Lord Walker.

"You are the prettiest girl in this whole house," Joseph whispered as we made our way to the boys and the girls.

"I will not let your compliments sway me," I tried not be diverted by Joseph but he was far too easy to get along with.

"Ah Lady Alice I have found you out," Arthur said to me.

"How so?" I hoped Arthur's mischievous spirit would not shame me in front all.

"Miss Thomas here has confessed to me that you are a true singing bird, so I propose she plays and you sing" he held my hand and brought me near the piano.

"Sir Arthur are you sure you want to rely on Miss Thomas's word?" I tried to find a way out of it for this would be the first time I would be performing for people other than my household.

"I will bet on it," Arthur said.

"As you wish then," I did not want him to flatter me any longer by insisting to get out of it.

Cynthia picked a song we sang together with Martha over the summer called "The song that reached my heart" by Willis Woodward & Co.

"I sat midst a mighty throng
Within a palace grand,
In a distant foreign land;
My ear had ever heard,
My inmost soul was stirred.
My heart was at her feet,
In accents low and sweet;
That made the teardrops start.
A song that reached my heart."

Martha sang the chorus with me and I took the highest notes:

"Home, home, sweet, sweet home,
That night I shall never forget,
I think of the singer, I think of the song,
In fancy again I recall
The mighty throng, the palace grand,
My fancy it may have been
A song that thrilled me o'er like this,
The memo'ries of that night of bliss
She sang a song of Home, Sweet Home, The song that reached my heart."

As the chorus began again, Joseph joined me with Arthur who sang at the top of his lungs the song.

"Home, home, sweet, sweet home..."

"Bravo," I heard this voice over every clap in the room, over every noise, it was behind me and a cool tremor ran down my spine. "Bravo ladies," the words touched me like fingertips do to each note of the piano by the piano player and my back stiffened.


Copyright: All Rights Reserved to A. Sena Gomes.

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