13 Treasures
as if there were tears in her voice. “I don’t want to, but I don’t see any other way.”
    “But you love this house. I thought you’d never part with it.”
    “I do love this house—I always will. When she was born I had such dreams… how all this would be hers one day. But now… how can it be? How can I let Tanya inherit?”
    “Have you ever thought about telling her the truth?” Warwick asked.
    “How can I?” Florence was flustered now. “I’m a coward. I know I am. I was a coward then and I’m a coward now…”
    Footsteps neared the door. Tanya crept back to the stairs in stunned silence. She remembered once hearing a saying that eavesdroppers seldom heard any good of themselves, and it had proved right. She wished with all her heart that she had not heard what had been said, but now she knew she would never forget.
    She wasn’t welcome. She had pretty much guessed that anyway, but to hear it actually being said was a different thing altogether. There was no going back. It could never be unsaid. She was not wanted. She was a nuisance. An inconvenience. Her grandmother hated her. Hated her to the extent that she was willing to give up a house she loved rather than see her only granddaughter inherit.
    The landing was silent as she made her way upstairs, her walk forgotten. Even the lodgers in the grandfather clock did not utter their usual insults. Above, on the second floor, she could hear Amos pacing, as he often did at that time of day. She shut herself in her room and lay down.
    Her head swam with her grandmother’s words. She hugged her knees to her chest, trying to squash the sickening feeling away, but it remained, along with the haunted sensation she had brought back with her from the two rooms she and Fabian had seen.
    Lifting her wrist, she studied the bracelet miserably, wondering why her grandmother had given it to her if she disliked her so. She remembered her grandmother’s words about the belief that charms such as these would offer protection. In turn, she studied them, imagining that each had a story to tell about its original owner, and allowed her to glimpse through a window into the past.
    Tanya picked through them one by one. Some were easy enough to make associations with; a heart for love, and a ring for marriage. A key for home, or security, perhaps. A mask… a love of the theater? Most were odd and a little unsettling, a sword and a dagger among them. And one made Tanya’s throat constrict as though a strand of the manor’s ivy had snaked around it: a tiny, engraved cauldron, for which there was only one association she could think of: witchcraft.
    Whatever the mysteries behind the bracelet, there was one thing Tanya was certain of: that it could not have granted Elizabeth Elvesden any protection or luck at all.

     
    At dinner, Tanya ate with a good appetite that was unexpected given the events of the day. Afterward, her grandmother transferred the plates to the sink and replaced them with a huge basin of fresh strawberries and a jug of thick cream.
    “Oh,” Warwick groaned, prodding his stomach but eyeing the strawberries longingly. “I couldn’t eat another thing.”
    “Nonsense,” said Florence. She set a bowl of strawberries in front of him and ladled cream over them.
    Out of the corner of her eye Tanya noticed the lid to the tea caddy lifting, and then the wizened little brownie that lived there peered out. His screwed-up face was like a walnut, half hidden beneath a pile of shaggy, matted hair. The clattering of the dishes had woken him. He shot a disgruntled look in Tanya’s direction, then leaned over and stirred the contents of the sugar pot with his cane before vanishing back into the tea caddy.
    To Tanya’s dismay, Florence then turned and reached for the sugar, sprinkling some on her strawberries and cream before passing it around the table. Tanya immediately handed it to Fabian. There was no way she was using it after the brownie had touched it—and no

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