a/n okay, this chapter has beem in drafts a while, sorry, but it was just to keep me moving with writing.

Chapter Six

It was near lunchtime when we arrived in the train station. A carriage and driver stood waiting for us.

“Good to see you again, Marcus,” the detective said as he helped me into the carriage.

“Mr. Holmes,” was the reply.

Thomas sat beside me while the detective sat with the driver. Mama was silent, but she smiled as though she knew a secret, again.

“Thomas,” said Papa; his expression was neutral and calm. “If you do not mind me asking: What are your plans for the future?”

Thomas hesitated; I could feel the tension in his arm beside me. I looked out at the scenery, hoping to give him more freedom to speak.

“My thoughts are not all together as of yet,” he replied slowly; our hands were between us, entwined, but hidden from the eyes of my parents. “I do not, exactly, know what I want to do with my life. However, my life is set before me. I have an income, a roof over my head, and clothes on my back. I suppose all I’ve left to do is marry, when the time is right.”

I caught a glimpse of my father’s eyes as he glanced at me briefly.

“This discussion is postponed for the present,” Papa said with a gentle smile.

~       *       ~

“Mr. Holmes!” exclaimed Mrs. Steiner upon our arrival at Plum Field Manor. “Hoe wonderful to see you again!”

“Mrs. Steiner,” greeted the detective, kissing her hand. “And where might that daughter of yours be?”

“Out riding with her cousin, your apprentice. I see your son has a woman friend. Are they courting?”

“In a sense,” my father replied, helping Mama from the carriage. “They are always together, anyhow.”

To hear this statement was quite a shock, specifically because it was my own father who said it.

“Are we courting?” I whispered to Thomas as he helped me from the carriage. “Thomas, do we appear as a courting couple to others?”

“Your father just said ‘in a sense’,” he whispered back. “I would have asked him to court you, later this week.”

“Why not ask now?” I smiled as we followed my parents into the mansion. “Did you think I would say no?”

“No, but your father might have, if he had not made that statement just now.”

We were led into a corridor where we were offered to rest while waiting for the meal to be served.

“Miss Watson,” said Mrs. Steiner; Mrs. Steiner looked quite pleased to see me next to Thomas. “Do you fancy the arts? What is your source of entertainment?”

“You will need to forgive me,” I replied, “but I find comfort and entertainment in reading.”

“Oh! And what authors do you prefer?”

“Presently, I am enjoying Louise May Alcott, Jane Austin, and Charles Dickens.”

We continued conversation until we were called for the afternoon meal. Thomas and I sat together at the large table.

“You must forgive us, Mama,” said Miss Steiner as she and Mr. Waters entered. “We lost track of the time. We rode past the Plum Field boundaries.”

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