The Adulteress by Philippa Carr

The Adulteress by Philippa Carr

Author:Philippa Carr
Language: eng
Format: mobi
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00

Mistress of Eversleigh

IT WAS EARLY IN the New Year when we went to Eversleigh. I knew that Jean-Louis did not really want to go. He had been brought up at Clavering and it was home to him; he loved every acre of the place, but he realized that we must go and that Eversleigh, the home of my ancestors, was a property of far greater value. Moreover, he knew that my mother and Sabrina were delighted because Clavering could now reasonably go to Dickon.

“It’s the sensible thing to do,” said my mother, “and I am sure that Zipporah agrees with us.”

I did. One of the reasons why I was pleased to leave Clavering was because I should not have to see Dickon.

I was a considerable heiress for Eversleigh was a wealthy estate, and although Amos Carew and Jessie had stolen a few valuables there was so much left that their loss was scarcely missed. Then a great many articles were brought back from Amos Carew’s house. They had been stored in his attic as he had had to go very carefully in the task of disposing of them. The prime villain in the scheme was dead; his accomplices had disappeared and eventually efforts to trace them were dropped.

Lottie was excited by the move. She was now eight years old—a lovely creature, impulsive, affectionate, volatile, in the highest spirits one moment and the depth of depression the next. She had violet-colored eyes with thick dark lashes and abundant hair—almost black, a rare combination and invariably beautiful.

My mother said of her: “I think she must be the image of her great-grandmother. She’s not like you or Jean-Louis. You were always such calm, sensible little things even when you were babies. It’s like Carlotta born again. Strange that she should have been called Charlotte. You’ll have to keep a watch on her, Zipporah.”

I said I intended to.

“I often wonder how you feel about going to Eversleigh … after all that happened there,” she said.

“Well,” I replied, “it seems that everyone thinks we should go.”

I looked at her a little wistfully. She was ashamed that her love for Dickon was greater than that which she bore me. She had been obsessed by that adventure of her youth when she had loved Dickon’s father and the fact that his child was Sabrina’s made no difference to her love for the boy.

Sometimes I wondered whether people who were predictable like myself—apart from that one lapse—did not inspire the same affection as the wayward ones. Carlotta had evidently made a great impression on everyone and yet her life had been far from orthodox. Dickon inspired love such as I never could, although he acted in a manner which even those who loved him must admit was by no means admirable.

“What Lottie wants is a brother or sister,” said my mother. “It’s a pity …”

“At least,” I said, “we have a child.”

That was a phrase I often used to myself. Whatever wrong I had done, it had given us Lottie.


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