Chapter 21

4.6K 335 31
                                    

Kat had not expected to do anything the morning after Christmas, in the future she and her mum would spend boxing day sitting and eating leftovers whilst watching the replays of Christmas specials. However she was woken up early in the morning and told to get ready. When she furrowed her brows and asked what for, the elderly maid looked at her as if she was the daftest person in the world and then she smiled kindly and explained that it was 'St Stephens's day.' This didn't explain anything but rather made Kat even more confused. She obeyed the maids orders and made her way down to breakfast where the rest of the family sat, their scraps cold on their plates.

"Well look who decided to grace us with her presence."

Eric lowered the newspaper he was reading and grinned at her, Kat playfully ignored him and turned her attention to Lady Hartford as she sat next to her.

"My maid told me it is St. Stephen's day but I do not know what that is."

Kat said, before tucking in to her food.

"Well first we box up all our old things to give to the poor."

Began the kindly old lady.

"Oh so Boxing Day?"

Kat finally saw the connection to the modern day equivalent. Lady Hartford nodded and was about to continue on with her explanation before a snort came from the other end of the table.

"If you want to be crass about it like a common peddler."

Everyone turned to see Lady Abigail who had been unusually quiet until now, put down her teacup and glare.

"You shall say St. Stephens day like an educated woman an-"

Before she could continue with her lecture she was cut off by Eric, everyone was extremely grateful.

"And then midday we shall travel to Lord Richmond's estate just outside of the city for some fox hunting."

Kat's mouth formed a small 'O'. She didn't really approve of the slaughter of animals for fun but she knew if she voiced her opinions she would be the odd one out, her sentiment was a rather modern one. 

~~~

Bang!

Kat jumped and covered her ears a bit too late to protect her from going deaf. There was a ringing in her ears but even then she could still hear Eric laughing, almost falling over from laughter.

"Laugh all you want but I'm not the one who missed the fox am I!?"

Eric's laughter died down, his face sobering up and her turned back to try again. Kat crossed her arms tightly around her her torso both to protect herself from the frequent gunfire and the cold, everyone's breath was a puff of condensation.

"Katherine!"

Lady Abigail was storming over, her brows furrowed. A frantic Lady Hartford was in tow trying to catch up. Lady Abigail grabbed Kats arm tightly, pulling her closer to whisper angrily.

"Don't humiliate your husband like that!"

Kat removed her mothers hand from her arm, still feeling her steely grip through her coat.

"Lady Abigail!"

Lady Hartford finally caught up, puffed and red faced.

"Lady Abigail it really is fine, they were just playing!"

Kat was glad her mother in law came to her rescue and was about to thank her when everyone was distracted by another gunshot and shout of joy from the men.

"Good one Richmond!"

Eric pat him on his back as the servants rushed forward to collect the poor diseased animal.

"Oh my Lord Richmond! What an impressive feat!"

Lady Abigail turned to her younger daughter who sat on a rock a fair bit away reading a book, she lifted her head.

"Look what Lord Richmond achieved!"

Lady Abigail gestured to the man in question who flashed a smile at Adelaide. She took one look at the lifeless animal hanging by its back paws then went back to her book leaving Lord Richmond looking dejected and running a hand through his black and grey streaked hair. Lady Abigail 'tsked' and muttered under her breath to Lord Richmond. Kat couldnt hear everything but she tried, all she could hear of their conversation was;

"Shell come around soon enough.

Kat was worried and rushed up to her mother before she could go over and scold Adelaide.

"Mother whats going on?"

Her voice was hushed.

"Oh look at you trying to get in on the gossip!"

Lady Abigail chucked.

"I shall tell you but only because I know you will be as joyful in the news as I was."

She paused for dramatic effect.

"Lord Richmond wishes to marry your darling sister."

Lady Abigail started to giggle but Kat could not react the same, she felt all the air leave her lungs as she knew this would crush Adelaide, she had clearly said she did not like Lord Richmond's advances but she would have no other choice but to accept.

"Oh my, what a wonderful event this is for us!"

Kat's voice was dripping with sarcasm but Lady Abigail didn't notice as she was too busy clapping and chuckling with glee. When she was sure that her mother would not notice her leaving, she walked as inconspicuously as possible over to her poor unsuspecting sister.

"Adelaide!"

She whispered forcefully. The girls head shot up from her book with a worried look.

"Is something wrong?"

Kat crouched down next to the rock, trying to keep as quiet as possible to avoid the attention of Lady Abigail.

"I have to warn you, Lord Richmond has asked our mother and brother for your hand and I think he shall propose soon, maybe in a few minutes"

Adelaide's eyes widened and her face paled and she inhaled sharply. She began to fidget with the ring necklace she usually wore and she blinked fast as if trying to rationalize with herself. As if listening in on the conversation, Lady Abigail all of a sudden called over Adelaide, who grabbed Kats hands in panic.

"Please don't let her make me!"

Kat shook her head and let go of her hands, she felt helpless.

The dejected Adelaide made her way over to her mother who grabbed her hands joyfully and she began to talk to her though Kat could not hear what about. Adelaide's face turned red and her face crinkled up as she pulled her hands out of Lady Abigail's and shook her head.

"Insolent child!"

Everyone heard the roar of Lady Abigail and watched in fear of what she was to do next, unconsciously creeping forward to hear the conversation.

"Im sorry mother I cannot marry him."

Adelaide was almost sobbing and only the wind could be heard in this moment.



"I am engaged to Mr Johnston." 

Emma made me do itWhere stories live. Discover now