Chapter LXXX VIII

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The first dinner ended and after the introductions to the extended circle of art friends Mr

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The first dinner ended and after the introductions to the extended circle of art friends Mr. Howard had invited from London to Stanley Hall we moved in to the drawing room and the weather was much warmer than we expected and the heat in the house was enough to open the windows, the guests took off their shoes and most drank unabashedly while dancing as if we were in the tropics.

"Will you sing?" Joseph kindly asked me.

"Well..." I was about to respond when Cynthia answered in my place.

"Oh I already asked Lady Lilly to sing us a tune I hope it is alright," Cynthia smiled at Joseph.

"The next one perhaps?" Joseph rolled his eyes clearly not a fan of Cynthia as his stepmother and Cynthia dragged Lady Lilly over to the piano forte.

Cynthia played proficiently but when Lady Lilly was complimented by the guests she quickly found an entertaining story to draw people's attention away from Lilly, she could not help herself, she could not see another shine. Cynthia acted as though by putting out another's light she would finally become bright but it was not so for she would always find someone else to compete with.

"So are you looking forward to the Earl's private art showing?" One of the men from London asked me.

"Yes quite expectant," I said politely though still bitter from our fight.

"Yes your grandfather owned a small prized collection of the Earl's art right?"

"Yes there are three of them, one in my country home and two in London."

"That is a lot when it comes to his art, I've only had the pleasure of getting one so far, when I heard news that he would be announcing a new collection I wrote to him to ask about it."

"And what did he say?"

"The Earl said it was his biggest collection so I immediately jumped at the chance to buy it but he said the art was to travel for showings the next year so if I wished to buy one of them I would have to talk to the men who are now in possession of them for he no longer holds any right to sell them."

"So he sold them as a collection?"

"Yes."

"Wow that is unusual."

"Yes but once he told me the name he had dubbed his latest work I understood why more people needed to visit this collection instead of hiding it away in our wealthy homes."

"Oh and what is the name?"

"He calls it La Promesse."

"The Promise?"

"Yes and with him being engaged I cannot wait to feast my eyes on what I have no doubt will be the most sentimental set of art he might ever make."

"Yes of course, I cannot wait."

Discouraged by the talk I looked to retire to my chambers after I left Edna to go get ready to sleep I saw Mrs. Hall coming out of one of the chambers no doubt making sure all the guests had what they needed.

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