Chapter LXIX

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"Of course, though it took me a while to see it, I wish I would have known sooner for I fear this might have started long ago right?"

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"Of course, though it took me a while to see it, I wish I would have known sooner for I fear this might have started long ago right?"

"Yes..." I declared ashamed of how long I had hidden it yet glad Mrs. Hall knew of it, for she was fair and a decent human being who was likely to be capable of wisdom I could not attain for myself.

"It was not until you were gone I was sure of it, one day I delivered his food and saw his sketches in great detail of your lovely face."

"So the staff knows, everybody knows?"

"No, I took good care for them to not see anything, as far as they are concerned there is nothing to it. I wish you would have come to me with this sooner child, I might have been able to warn you about the master. We might have discussed how he was not ready to reciprocate any sentimental attachment you might have had..."

"Well I learned it rather quickly before I took off as a lady, Mr. Howard rejected me with words I try to burn out of my mind..."

"Oh of course he did, I never thought he would approach another woman during his lifetime. I know it is to be expected but Mr. Howard could have gone on to become a priest and none of us would have been surprised. His lot in life was cast and none who knew him ever dared expect he'd ever change, he is too good at being this way."

"It's because of his marriage to Lydia right?"

"You know about Lydia?"

"Yes and so do you."

"How could I not child?"

The mention of Lydia brought out no reaction from Mrs. Hall this meant I was missing some key element in the relationship between Mr. Howard and Lydia for she was not altered by the name.

"Come Mrs. Hall do you have nothing to say on the matter?"

"It is not my place to tell you his secrets, but I will say this his engagement with the outer world was not for his own pleasure for it brings him none. All this going on about like an earl from circle to circle, hosting dinner parties, being in London are very off the character for the master I know. Indeed any observer who'd look beyond the proprieties of society and it's set ways understanding who he is would understand the trail of crumbs lead back to you."

"Please do not say that, it will only make it worse, I will only regret what has taken place today," I began to cry again and Mrs. Hall held me in her arms.

"Oh dear, your feelings are much more rooted than I imagined them to be."

"Yes and I... I cannot seem to..." in between the words were the gulps of crying while trying to breathe as well. "To stop them... They grow rooted deeply into my bones and Mr. Howard is..."

"A complicated man, with a stubborn ideology, and his own set of past tales which have turned him into the man you struggle with today, oh it would have been so much easier if it were you and Joseph."

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