Chapter LXX

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Mrs. Hall began by instructing me to give an immediate excuse to Mr. Henry as to why the engagement was not to be announced by any newspaper. After I was to go away for some time without the ring, for people would expect to see me back in London making preparations but if I was not there then rumors of a breakup would surface. This was well timed as I was to go with Edna to see mother which meant I would be away for a week at least. It was also crucial before I left to give back Mr. Henry's ring using the excuse of it being too lose or tight, as to not keep on carrying a family heirloom.

Finally when I was back in London the engagement was to be ended at once without any reason other than mistaken sentiments. I was not to give him any impression of being in love with someone else, for Mrs. Hall said men hated to be replaced. It would only instigate someone like Henry she called him, to fight harder to keep me if he thought I saw him as inferior to another.

"Thank you Mrs. Hall," I kissed her angel hands, "I will owe my future happiness to you."

"Now go play the coy fiancé to Henry, do not touch him, let others see how uncomfortable you are, it is best they speculate and see it coming."

"And you will not tell me of the story between Mr. Howard and Lydia?"

"I cannot betray my master's confidence but I do hope one day you learn the truth in the meantme promise me you will not under any circumstances give in to Mr. Howard, you shall not bend to his stubbornness for his own good."

"His own good?"

"Yes now promise me child."

"I promise you Mrs. Hall."

"Good now follow through what we have spoken on for your sake."

"Yes Mrs. Hall..."

Readily I went to go meet Mr. Henry downstairs at the wedding party and relieved to be making my way out of the tunnel I was stuck in for so long without realizing it. The clouds of confusion had cleared out a bit for I was good at playing the part but with a goal it was the much clearer, Mr. Henry would be let down at last. Putting my emotions for Mr. Howard aside to fix my life was easy to do when it felt like the rope around my neck was no longer there, even Cynthia might rejoice and be my friend once more after hearing I was to remain an old maid.

"Lady Cynthia may we talk?" I knocked on Cynthia's door on my way up to get ready to say goodbye to Stanley Hall.

"Please Lady Alice I believe our affiliation has come to a conclusion now that you have what you need."

"Please let me talk."

"Now you wish to talk?"

"Yes please."

"Why now? Why did you never mention your attachment to Mr. Henry before?"

It had been a horrible shock to Cynthia understandably so, to me it was still as well for unlike Martha who could catch things from the side of her eye Cynthia would not have noticed how close Mr. Henry and I were last dinner at Stanley Hall. Therefore making me a complete farce as her friend in her own right for she had not seen or heard from me since I was away with my mother, if only I had mentioned Mr. Henry earlier before she thought me only a societal leech.

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