Chapter 11

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"Oh I must write to dear Diana at once and inform her," Lady Beaumont exclaimed, letting her disappointment clearly show. After having received the good news about her sister-in-law's healthy delivery and everyone else's well being that afternoon at Bellevue Hall as she sat with Lady Kirkpatrick sipping tea, little did the ladies expect another letter, which bore a rather different news, much to Lady Beaumont's dismay.

"Ruth, you worry too much, surely Diana is more than capable of handling the situation," Lady Kirkpatrick stated.

"She is, Hyacinth, but I hate the fact that she'd have to face her alone," Lady Beaumont sighed, "Out of all the times and places, The Countess of Brockenhurst had to be coming back to Portsmouth to her husband's estate. Why can't the Count keep his business and his wife in London like he had done the year before? How tedious must one be if they are to always be travelling here and there."

"Awfully tedious, people like them simply get bored of knowing everything around them that they venture out to disturb others' peace. But I daresay, the woman adores Diana, surely it will be alright."

"Hyacinth you know how Lord Beaumont's eldest sister is," Lady Beaumont paused, taking a sip of her tea, "She's the most disagreeable woman I've ever had to tolerate. I tell it to Lord Beaumont every time, but of course, he doesn't see it. I don't blame him too, that woman changes colors once he leaves the room."

"And to think that she would most likely come across Diana, such a way from home, serving as a help to none other than my own brother and his wife! There's no end to what The Countess might think!"

"Accusations of making a slave out of her niece, of trying to ruin Diana's reputation and much more will soon follow timely," Lady Kirkpatrick shook her head, "I knew this was a horrible idea, agreeing to send off our daughters to that miserable part of Hampshire. Why, I still worry what my mother-in-law would think, I still haven't informed that part of the family yet, and I don't plan to."

Lady Beaumont sighed anxiously, as she set her tea cup on the intricate glass coffee table and made her way to the letter writing desk in the drawing room. Quickly pulling out a fresh parchment, dipping a pen into the wooden ink pot and began to write a rather frantic warning letter to her daughter to be dispatched off to Portsmouth moments after.

"My employer called me to his office last week," Arthur Fleming announced at dinner, as the family sat down around the dining table to eat.

Diana and Alicia turned to look at their uncle, and so did the rest of the family, eager to hear what he had to say. Diana and Alicia were the most curious at this sudden statement. Last week, was when that unpleasant encounter had occurred between Diana and Lord Edward Buxton and when her uncle had come home with nothing but pleasantries, Diana had thought nothing of it.

He had come home happily to a new born son, and a weak wife, who was instantly a lot better at having her husband home.

"I was surprised, actually," Arthur Fleming paused, as he chewed on a spoonful of peas, "Usually it takes me weeks to get an appointment to see him privately in his office, and that too after countless times of requesting a meeting with Porter."

"What did he want?" Diana blurted out, her impatience getting the best of her. As she was met with confused pairs of eyes at her outburst, she cleared her throat and put on her usual genuine smile, "I'm sorry, I just hope nothing unpleasant happened."

"On the contrary actually," Uncle Arthur responded, making nothing out of his niece's sudden outburst, "He only wanted to talk to me, which was quite surprising. He offered me a glass of wine, and we talked about all things, really, I felt as though I was conversing with a friend, not my boss."

Diana and Alicia exchanged looks as they listened.

"As much as I am happy, my dear husband, I am surprised as well, what was this friendly conversation about?" Mrs Fleming asked curiously, dabbing her 'kerchief on her lips softly. It pleased her greatly that her husband was finally getting along with his employer, but what caused this sudden shift was a really intriguing question to ponder on.

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