Chapter 6

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Cultured in Technicolor

A carriage was organized in no time. Darwin joined us and I had the feeling that he was smitten with Lily. They grew up together and Darwin and his sister were designated to play with the Montecute children. Father Llewelyn, Darwin's dad, was the Abbey's pastor and a good friend of both the King and Queen. Being the pastor's children, they were considered a good influence, but Aland and Darwin soon proved that theory wrong,by giving all the parents sleepless nights.

They were busying themselves with countless mischievous activities each day. There was still that strong bond, as I noticed him and Lily joking and jostling, much to the dismay of the coachman.
He had to yell and even threaten them a few times, as the carriage was tilting quite badly at times, making his job riskier.  a
Darwin pointed out that we were close to Jagger's shop. As we climbed the stairs, I saw the letters,Mortimer's carved on a big flat piece of limestone slab. The slab was on display on the left side of the shop's door. No one had to indicate where Jagger Mortimer was. He portrayed the look of a real designer. He wore a beautiful green brocade, sleeveless surcoat.  It was hanging on the calves of his legs. Under the surcoat, I saw a beige satin shirt with frilly cuffs and golden buttons.

Just a tinge of his black trousers were visible above the long black leather boots, having bundles of strapping on the outside of each leg. As he turned around, I perceived the interesting bands with coloured gems on both ring fingers. He had the presence of a successful employer with the power to convert anyone into a vision to behold.

"Lily darling! If I knew you would come by, I would have cleared my afternoon diary, but I must sadly inform you that the Gathering is approaching and there is just no time!"
His eyes turned to me and the grey, bald man glanced me over, his eyes sparkly as he saw my outfit and shoes. He must have recognized it as Lily's. He introduced himself.

"Say, aren't you Aland's guest, the one who came here a week ago? I heard your boat got lost at sea?"
"I don't know if I am his guest, but I am treated to Montecute hospitality. I will always be grateful for the home they gave me when I had none."

They took my measurements and I knew it was only a matter of time before I had some clothes of my own.
On our way back, Lily filled me in on Jagger and I was astonished as to how this man operated on such large scale. In circumstances that were not ideal but the only way he knew, he made magic and flowered where he was planted...I drank in every word she said about him and his dynasty that began fourty-four years ago. It was only him and five inexperienced seamstresses. Today he was such a success story and the world with all its galaxies were unaware of his existence.

She gave me the facts:
Unmarried. Has a team of eighty seamstresses in a small factory- like hall at the back of his shop. There all the magic happens. Some of the ladies cut the fabric from the patterns and the other do the sewing, embroidery etc.

Back at the castle, it was strange to take a different route to my room. I didn't know how to approach Aldrich, after his ordeal. Lily had our food brought to her room. It was once again a three course meal with pudding included. Lily was showing me a lot of family paintings and I was amazed to see that someone as young as her, also kept paintings of her grand grand grandparents. They were all gracing the walls. Family and tradition was of great importance to these people. I saw a painting of the present Montecutes. I looked, with eyes fixed particularly on Lily's mother, her father and the sisters I haven't met yet.

Farah Montecute was a beautiful woman. She had dark blue eyes, but they looked tired. She was already fairly ill when the painting was done, some ten years ago. Aland,a mere nineteen years of age, was still more of a child than an adult. His face, looking young and untouched by the realities of responsibility and battling with power wars. His father still seemed strong. The handsome man with striking eyes and grayish hair,neatly combed, looked like the leader that he was. I couldn't, however, shake the feeling that those eyes looked harsh and stern.

All the paintings were in different, unusual frames. I couldn't get over how lifelike the paintings were, even with limited means and knowledge of artists in those days.

"Mr Massey is gifted," Lily remarked glancing at them.
For Lily, nothing was sacred. She accepted me as her friend and told me her life story and the circumstances surrounding life in the Montecute family. A complex story unfolded, that could hardly be called a fairytale. 

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