Going Home

Going Home by Valerie Wood

Book: Going Home by Valerie Wood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Valerie Wood
Tags: Fiction, General, Romance, Sagas
cup o’ tea is there?’
    Elizabeth hesitated, but Harriet interrupted. ‘Oh, dear. No, so sorry! We must be off. Elizabeth are you not ready? The service at the Minster starts in half an hour and there’s sure to be a crowd. Perhaps you would like to join us?’ she asked the visitors.
    ‘No, no.’ He pulled himself out of the chair. ‘Can’t be doing with all that religious rubbish.’
    ‘It is Christmas,’ Elizabeth said quietly. ‘Or had you forgotten?’
    ‘Forgotten! Can hardly forget with Dolly here to remind me.’ He gave his companion a pinch on her cheek. ‘Wanting this and that! Can we give you a ride to the Minster?’ he added. ‘There’s a cabby waiting in the square.’
    ‘No thank you.’ They chorused a refusal of his offer. ‘We like to walk,’ said Harriet. ‘We’re used to walking,’ added a grim-faced Elizabeth.
    ‘We’ll be off then.’ He looked down on them both. His joviality seemed to have disappeared and distaste appeared on his face. ‘You get more like your mother every time I see you, Lizzie. Hope you haven’t inherited her wicked temper?’
    She took a deep breath. ‘Only when I am provoked,’ she answered quietly. ‘When I am ill-used.’
    His eyes narrowed. ‘Glad to hear the school is prospering. You’ll be building up a good reputation. Take care that you don’t lose it.’
    As she closed the door after them, Elizabeth leant her head against it and tried to quell her angry tears.
    ‘Come and sit down, Elizabeth. I’ll make you a cup of tea.’ Harriet led her to the fire and sat her down, then put a dry log and a few pieces of coal on the fire. Soon the flames were dancing high.
    ‘Why do you think he came?’ she asked as she poured the tea. ‘It must be eighteen monthssince he was last here. He came then to tell us that he was marrying again.’
    Elizabeth rubbed her forehead. A dull headache was hovering over her eyes. ‘A wicked whim,’ she said. ‘And also to remind us – as if we needed reminding. His wife,’ she added. ‘Poor woman. They were not married for very long. Do you think she slipped or – ?’
    ‘Don’t think about it,’ Harriet said hastily. ‘It was most unfortunate, as it was with Bella.’ But she shivered and drew nearer to the fire.
    ‘Dolly is still with him,’ she said after a moment or two. ‘At least she is constant.’
    ‘Yes, she’s always there. Always has been.’ Elizabeth sipped her tea. ‘Are we missing the service?’ she asked.
    Harriet shook her head. ‘I told a fib. It starts in an hour. Do you feel like going now?’
    ‘Oh, yes.’ Elizabeth pulled herself together. ‘I need to go now more than ever. I need to get rid of this hatred that’s gnawing away at me.’
    ‘Listen!’ Harriet put her head up. ‘There are the carol-singers. Let’s invite them in and then we’ll get ready.’
    At the Minster, Elizabeth folded her hands together and bent her head. The majesty of the great cathedral always calmed her. We are nothing in the whole scheme of things, she pondered. We have so little time on this earth, so why is it that there are some people who go out of their way to make others unhappy, and who do their best to exert power over them?Such a one is Edward Scott. I should pray for his enlightenment that he might see the error of his ways. But I can’t. I hate him with such intensity that it threatens to ruin me.
    She bent her head lower in contrition, yet still she couldn’t forgive him for ruining her life and that of her sister, her mother and his other wives who had suffered at his hands. Dear God, she prayed. Forgive me for my anger and give me peace. Bless the soul of my dear departed father and bless my mother, wherever she is, in this life or the next.
    On Christmas Day, Thomas Thacker and his father arrived for luncheon. Thomas had brought a bunch of violets for Elizabeth and a pretty scarf for Harriet. Mr Thacker, who leaned heavily on two sticks with his twisted and gnarled hands,

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