The Fading Twilight
Arabella, Lady Rutherford
Saturday, May 1st (later the same day) – Arabella
As you enter the room Elspeth, the Baroness Van Zuylen van Nijevelt, rises from the couch where she has been reading.
“Arabella, thank you for joining me.” She sits back down and pats the seat next to her. “Please do sit down. Would you like something to drink? A glass of wine, perhaps?”
You nod agreement and sit down, as the maid, discreetly standing to one side, disappears from the room on her errand.
Elspeth looks at you and smiles. “I hope that my asking you here didn’t disturb you or drag you away from something important?”
You smile back, “no, indeed not. I was just practising my French a little.”
“How is it coming along?” Asks Elspeth in impeccable French.
“It is still awful” you respond in the same, laughing as you do so.
“Don’t be so modest, my dear. You improve greatly with each day. See how comfortable you are speaking with me in Dutch, when only a few months ago you knew only a few words.
You share a companionable silence for a few moments and then Elspeth says, “The reason I asked you to come to me, is that I have a small favour to ask of you.”
“Really?” you say, a little surprised. “Whatever it is, I will be more than happy to do what I can to help.”
Elspeth laughs and claps her hands together with a broad smile. “And I haven’t even told you what the favour is yet! You have been such a boon to me over the last months Arabella. I constantly thank the Lord that He has brought you to us, albeit not in the best of circumstances. But let us not dwell on that”, she says as she sees the fleeting look of sorrow cross your face.
“Let me tell you how you can help me….”