Chapter XCI

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"Dear friends every year during the April Stanley Dinner I reveal my latest paintings," Mr

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"Dear friends every year during the April Stanley Dinner I reveal my latest paintings," Mr. Howard stated to the crowd.

"And although I have an artistic inconsistency you still manage to tolerate me," he smiled and some laughed.

"This latest set is the result of those inconsistencies, the years I have spent in silence searching for something with enough meaning, enough weight to be pressed down with the colors which art must form itself with, taking shapes of the unconscious thoughts and hopes we have for the future in other words I hope you do not think the years of wait were wasted on a talentless Earl; so please uncover the paintings," he said to the staff.

Oohs and ahs echoed through the room as the crowd gasped at the unique recited paintings mirroring each other through the room like a grand hall of paintings.

"These are not for sale but they are entirely at the discretion of Lord Morlden the head of the arts in London who bought all of them and will be taking them to London for his students and then to other places open to the public for viewing as an exhibit called La Promesse," he said and Cynthia smiled as if he were talking about her so did everyone else cheer and clap talking amongst themselves circling through the maze of paintings.

It was an immense ocean of paintings and like sea salt hitting my eyes it burned and I was partially senseless for the moment for the paintings were all of a female, as it was called La Promesse I deducted this could only be about Cynthia, she was the one he had committed himself to. At a closer inspection I saw one of them was familiar, and the earl had made his way to me as I tried to figure out who she was, and there were only two options, Cynthia or I, but my hubris was not so much that I could say who.

"Milord," I bowed.

"Lady Alice," he said.

"La Promesse, how French of you" I remarked.

"Yes well I have always enjoyed my travels there."

"Right, well I have a question for you if I may?"


"I see this one is quite familiar but is the subject a constant one or are there more muses to La Promesse?"

"I believe in your good judgment of art so what would you say it is?"

"I believe that this one I may have seen it previously but this one reminds me of someone else," I pointed the dark curls.

"And what do you deduce from that?"

"That your heart..." I was about to say Mr. Howard's heart was torn in two when Cynthia came to take him away once more.

"They want a picture of you next to your painting m'lord," Cynthia said.

"Oh of course, excuse me Lady Alice," he said and I nodded feeling as if my throat had twisted itself all the way to the bottom of my laced up corset.

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