Chapter Thirty-Four

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I followed James through the crowd and out into the hallway, turning back to see Kitty rounding up the twins and Sebastian and taking them down to the kitchen. No one wanted the twins to be anywhere near another confrontation with their mother, they were still struggling after the last one. Once they were out of earshot, James and Doctor Ealing exchanged glances with neither of them looking too pleased with the current predicament. Everyone wanted a peaceful night but with Mrs Ealing, that would never be possible.

James opened the front door, my eyes instantly drawn to the carriage outside. No one had stepped out of the carriage but one look at it told us all we needed to know, and we all knew it was only going to end badly. The group of us ready to confront Mrs Ealing – myself, Robert, James and Doctor Ealing – stepped out into the street and closed the door behind us to keep from disturbing everyone else. I sort of hoped other people would watch through the window. Mrs Ealing's image was too important for her to act out in front of other people.

Mrs Ealing descended from the carriage two minutes later, Matilda close at her heels and both of them looking as though they had come for a fight. Beside me I felt Robert tense slightly, my hand seeking out his behind his back which I gave a reassuring squeeze. No one should fear their own parent but after all of the recent altercations, I had a feeling that Robert and the twins were all heading in that general direction.

Robert turned to me and smiled slightly, but it was almost unnoticeable and there was a trace of fear in his eyes. Part of me wanted him to go back into the house and down to the kitchen with the twins, but he would never do that. He still thought of himself responsible for his mother's actions. After all, he had been the one to stop and help me that day on the street and it had been that simple action that put us in the situation we were in.

"What are you doing here, Elizabeth? You were told to stay away," Doctor Ealing said.

"I am here for my children and I won't leave without them," she said.

"We've discussed this, on more than one occasion. You are not in the right state of mind to take care of the twins and they're both struggling after the incident in Mr Greyson's shop a few weeks ago and the fight we had the other day. They need to be in a stable environment and that isn't with you and Matilda."

"What do you know about raising children, Albert? You have been off working for a good portion of their lives and the only one you seem to care about is Robert purely because he is to follow in your footsteps. Our other children were merely an inconvenience to you, including Zachariah who should be following you into the medical profession. Why should you suddenly show an interest in them and their lives when you focused more on a servant than on either of our two girls?"

"I seem to recall you telling me that raising Charlotte and Matilda was to be your duty and not mine. However, recent events have proven just how effective your parenting really is. You have turned Matilda into a spiteful and violent young lady whose mood can change at the drop of a hat and I will not allow you to do the same to Charlotte. Until you and Matilda can figure out a way to co-exist with Rosie without feeling the need to ger violent, they will be staying with me. You are free to remain in the house or you may move in with your sister and allow the children and me to return to the house. It is your choice."

"And what will people say of the two of us living apart? People will talk!"

"Perhaps, but in this instance, I believe it is for the best. You must change your attitude if we are to reconcile. Matilda as well. This environment is not healthy for anyone, especially the twins."

"So, you take her side? The side of a girl who is the cause of all our troubles? Who has somehow manipulated everyone around her including you and my seemingly intelligent sister? I thought you were smarter than that, Albert."

The Apprentice Girl // Book 3 in the Rosie Grey seriesWhere stories live. Discover now