Two For Mirth - Book 3

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Chapter 1

 Copyright Protect 2014 

The City of London – Spring 1855

Seth glanced up from his papers a number of times to watch a string of agitated servants running up and down the staircase to the upper chambers. He only paid close attention when he heard an ear-piercing scream from the bedroom overhead and then all was quiet.  The maid carrying towels stopped mounting the stairs in mid-step to listen and proceeded quickly again at the end of the scream.  The house was finally quiet and Seth rose and went to the side table to pour himself a sniffer of brandy.

Deep in thought, Seth walked to the fireplace, and rested his arm across the mantle. He glazed at the flickers through the brandy glass. The red liquid danced in the fire’s flames. When the glass felt inviting to his touch, he lifted the sniffer to his lips and poured the warmed fluid down his throat.

He wasn’t really interested in the activities going on in the upper chambers, but he was certainly curious. Thirty minutes passed before another scream broke the silence of the household.

Seth returned to his desk and endeavored to come to terms with the legal documents spread out on the polished table in front of him. He received the papers from his deceased father’s solicitor. They included his Will, deeds to properties, businesses and other investments.

 Surprised would be an understatement. Seth never thought for one moment that his father had such wealth and now it was almost entirely his. Feeling generous, he would honour his father’s wishes, Edith would receive a portion. The thought of finally pleasing his father made him chuckle aloud.

The greatest revelation, outside of the total amount of his father’s wealth, was what was left to him from his mother estate. He never was told that his mother was independently wealthy and left him an estate in Lower Canada. According to his father’s solicitor, Mr. Carwright, John Shaw never mentioned it to younger son as he fancied instead instilling some values in him before his Twenty-First birthday and then surprising him with the gift. His father knew that once Seth was aware of his estate that he would be gone to the colonies and never look back.

Father and son had their differences, to say the least but he was angry that this news was not revealed to him. He had been leaded to believe that as the second son he would not inherit any real wealth and would have to make his way in the world. Well, the joke was certainly on his father; perhaps recent events would have been different if he knew that he was independently wealthy. Seth reached inside his jacket pocket and pulls out a cigar and lit it, smoke encircling his head and leaned back in his chair.

The maid came to the parlour door and meekly uttered, “Pardon me, Sir, the doctor wishes to speak to you upstairs in the Mistress’s chambers.” She gave a little genuflect but did not make eye contact with the young Master.

Slowly Seth gathered his papers placing them in some order before ascending the staircase to be greeted by the doctor at the top of the stairs. Doctor Durry appeared exhausted and was eager to be on his way. “Yes, yes, your step-mother is doing well under these sad circumstances. The birth was difficult especially due to her age and it was her first pregnancy.  She wishes to see you and introduce you to your new sibling. I will see myself out and return in the morning. Good Night to you, Sir."

 “Thank you Doctor. I am so relieved that Mother is doing well.” As an afterthought he added, “And the baby, as well.” Smiling he shook the doctor’s outstretched hand saying, “Yes indeed this is good news that we so desperately needed to hear. We will see you then in the morning.”

Seth watched the doctor descend the stairs before placing his hand on the door knob. He knocked softly before hearing Edith's call to enter.   

The door opened to a warm, large bedroom with Edith up against the stiffen pillows. She was dressed in black honouring the dead, even at this time of birth. She looked tired but radiated as she smiled a greeting to him. Maids were preparing to leave the room, their arms filled with towels, basins and bedding. Their faces looked relieved as well.

Seth didn’t speak until they left the room. Now alone he went to the bed and leaned in to kiss Edith on the forehead. “How are you dear? Was it very bad?” as he sat on the edge of the bed. “Motherhood becomes you dear.”

“Yes, it was but so worth the trouble Seth, go over there and say hello to our new addition to the family.” She smiled a secret smile, as he walked over to the cradle and looked inside. Two little faces with their eyes wide opened looked back him.

“Two babies?” He was surprised.

“Yes two, a little girl and boy, aren’t they beautiful Seth.”

Looking down into their faces he could not see any beauty as they looked like little rats but part of him was pleased.

“Yes Mother, they are beautiful.” He replied knowing that was the answer she wanted to hear from him.

“We have to name them, do you have a preference?”

“Well we could name the boy after father, that would be expected, wouldn’t you say.”

Edith faced darken a deep read, “No, I do not want a constant reminder of what we did to John.

“Now calm yourself Mother, it was just a bit of dark humour. I didn’t want to upset you.”

“Yes you did Seth you wanted to remind me of the secrets we both share. Do not threaten me Seth! I know the consequences of my actions so very well, all I have to do is look at the cradle. I will do nothing to endanger my babies or should I say our babies.”

“Just remember to keep our bedroom romps a secret, as well as your assistance in the murders of Zach and father and all will be well Edith. You will see, I will be the best older brother that two children will ever have.”

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