Chapter LXXX

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"Miss Lydia was a very special kind of girl from what Lady Scott described her

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"Miss Lydia was a very special kind of girl from what Lady Scott described her."

"Yes she is beautiful."

"Yes... Wait! How would you know?" Martha caught me so I confided in her.

"Well I saw her one night with the Earl in Stanley Hall."

"And you never told me! How dare you keep such a thing from me?" She talked bewildered though not mad or angry in the least with me.

"Well what was I supposed to say, Lady Lydia is alive, beautiful, and in Mr. Howard's company while her son thinks her dead? It was too much even for me to keep as a secret."

"I can imagine, but I really did not imagine she was so close to us, they are taking a great risk of keeping her near."

"Why? I keep hoping Joseph will bump into her or that he will finally find out about his mother because I do not have the courage to tell him but..."

"But nothing! Do not dare to meddle in such family affairs, let them do as they will, they have their reasons and we are not to be the judge of what they do with them."

"My Lord are you alright Miss Campbell? Did you have too much sherry on the way here?"

"I told you I am beginning to be a very sensible person, and I am not sure I like it myself," she teased taking a piece of cake into her mouth before we continued the unraveling of the story of the mad Earl which I anxiously waited to hear every single detail.

"Please continue the tale? What do you know? What have you heard?"

"Oh why the hurry we have all afternoon?"

"Miss Martha Campbell..."

"Alright so Miss Lydia, did not wed the Earl, though she was engaged to him for sure."

"How long ago was this?"

"Oh he was seventeen years young when they met, Lady Scott says the Earl fell in love instantly, I mean can you imagine him barely twenty and in love? Of all the men in England..."

"Right..." I thought of Mr. Howard and his face and there was no way to imagine a young and bright eyed boy in love with a girl.

"I mean Mr. Howard is not the worst grump in the world but he never ventures into a conversation with anyone outside his strict circle of friends," she took another bite and it felt like we would never reach the end of this story.

"A very truthful observation."

"Well Lady Scott described Miss Lydia as happy, young, the perfect muse for the young artist and soon to be Earl. In fact back in the day he was almost as good as marrying a Prince, his family was la crème de la crème... Apparently his father the Earl and his mother used to roam in the circles of royalty!" Martha said still easily impressed by such society accomplishments although I had no interest in this part of the story.

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