“We must get you straight back into bed.”
“Soon. Bonnie?”
“Yes dear?”
“What would you like to do with the rest of your life?”
“Well, I am very determined to keep myself busy and be of use to others.”
“Very wise. Quite the opposite of what I have done.”
“Now then, you, I think are feeling sorry for yourself. You used to be a magnificent horseman did you not?”
“Perhaps.”
“And you used to play the piano?”
“Yes, yes I did. When I was younger, Mother always used to persuade me to play at dinner parties.”
“I am very impressed, Mr Howard told me that you played beautifully. Can you still play now?”
“I don’t know, most probably. I used to do it by ear most of the time anyway. Now that you mention it, I feel like I have a small notion to play. Silly really.”
“Not at all.”
“Can you play Bonnie?”
“Badly.”
Theodore laughed. “I think you are being too hard on yourself.”
“Coming back to what I was saying, I think I would like to be a school teacher or Governess in a year or so. Here we are now. Mr Howard and I will help you to get back into bed.Your Grace, rest now. I will read in the parlour for a little while if you do not mind.”
“Of course I don’t my dear, you must go and have a little time to yourself. Mr Howard, will you see that Bonnie gets some refreshments. I wouldn’t mind a glass of water myself.”
“Very good your Grace.”

Bonnie sat quite alone in the warmth of the parlour, gazing into the fire as she sipped at the sweet tea which had been placed before her. Sugar was a real luxury, as were the small plate of shortbread, but how hungry she was and much to her dismay, she unintentionally devoured all 3 biscuits. She took off her boots, placing her feet upon the velvet covered footstool, rested her head against the chair arm and closed her heavy eyelids.
**

Theodore slept, wrapped in blankets, his long, butterfly eyelashes resting upon his cheeks. He stirred as he felt the gentle embrace of another and inhaled her sweet perfume, a scent which he had almost forgotten.
“Mother?”
“Yes dear.”
“Oh Mother whatever is the matter? If you are still dwelling on what I said almost a week ago then..”
“Oh no darling, it is not that.”
“Then, what troubles you?”
“Nothing.”
“I can tell that you have something which you would not like to share. A secret perhaps?”
“It is not a secret, not exactly.”
“Here now, sit with me.”
“Yes of course.”
“Please tell me what the matter is. It is nothing horrid I hope.”
“There is a reason why your Father will not come and see you.”
Theodore gasped. “He is not-!”
“Oh darling no. He is very much alive and was in good health when I heard from him last.”
“He is away?”
“Yes, what I wanted to say was; your Father and I have been living separately for a while.”
“What? How long!”
“About one month.”
“A month, and neither of you thought it wise to try to tell me, I am your son!”
“You are ill. I did not want to ail you with our problems. You see, this is why I did not want to tell you. Theodore?”
“Thank you for finally telling me the truth, even though you have lied to me for a month.”
“Saying nothing is not lying Theodore.”
“I suppose not. Will you make it public-ally known?”
“No, of course not!”
“I’d like to talk to Father, would you write to him?”
“For you I will.”
“It needn’t be a long letter Mother, just tell him that I would very much like to see him.”
“I will organise it right away.”
“And Mother?”
“Yes Theodore.”
“I think you and I have misunderstood one another of late. Know that I love you very much.”
He pressed his lips together, to prevent them from quivering. Queen Evangeline took his hand and kissed his cheek. “Theodore, I am sorry for what I did. I took out my anger on you and worse of all Miss McGrath, when she was only trying to help. I was in denial and was dealing with problems of my own, that poor girl. I will make it up to her, I promise. Oh my boy, my only son! How will I cope when we are parted forever. You have lived for two decades, yet I feel that we barley know one another.”
“Then Mother, we must make it our duty to make amends and use the remaining time wisely. Our little family seems to be struggling of late, we must make Father come to his senses.”
“Yes dear. How things have changed this last year, you have always been so energetic, so full of life.”
“And now I am as much use as a chocolate teapot.” Theodore laughed.
“Nonsense! Do you remember the parties?”
“Oh yes. How I miss them, why I have not been to a party since..” Theodore paused and swallowed. “My engagement, how very embarrassing.”
“Come now, that was not your fault.”
“I know. In a way, I am grateful. In the beginning things were dreadful after the Scarlet Fever but…”
“Jane broke your heart.”
“At the time, yes she did, but now I realise that her leaving me was for the best. Things have a strange way of happening. If my engagement with Miss Mallis had not ended, then I would not have met Bonnie and she makes me so happy, I have found a true, best friend. I think if I were to live, we would be best friends for life. Mother, happiness comes from within, we need to find inner peace, we cannot rely on luxury items and lavish parties to make us happy.”
Queen Evangeline patted his hand. “Sensible words, my dear. I do believe that you are becoming quite wise at your grand old age.” She laughed. “I shall leave you to rest, but I’ll come and see you soon.”
“Yes, of course. I have little Aggie for company, so I will be most content.”
“Good natured thing that she is.”
“She is the perfect companion. Bonnie has let me have her on loan for a while.”
“That was a thoughtful gift, she is a beautiful, well-groomed cat.”
“I think Bonnie brushes her every day, whether she needs it or not.”
“Well, sleep well the both of you.”
“Thank you Mother. How nice it is that we can talk like this. Our conversation has meant a great deal to me, more than you could ever know.”

**
Theodore felt a pair of warm hands on each of his cold cheeks and smelt the sweet smell of biscuits.
“Bonnie, how toasty you are.”
“Yes, it is so cosy where I was sat, the fire was so beautiful.”
“Good. I am glad.”
“Did you and your Mother find much to talk about?”
“Oh yes, we talked a great deal and I feel, that at last, I understand her ordeal.”
“Ah, I hope she is alright.”
“And I also, but now that I have seen her, I am feeling contented.”
“Pardon me saying your Grace, but your voice sounds a little raspy.”
“I have the beginnings of a sore throat. It comes and goes.”
“Ah I know a concoction which may help you.”
“Do you?”
“I often find that honey and lemon in hot water soothes the throat.”
“Then, if you or Mr Howard can find the ingredients, I will be willing to try it.”

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