"....Miss. Grey...Rose...are you listening?"
"Huh?" I blinked, glancing up from the pages of my book. "I'm sorry," I said hastily, lines of poetry seeming to still ring in my head. "What were you saying, Mrs. Horwell?"
Mrs. Horwell had known me for such a long time, and couldn't help treating me like a daughter, or a young child despite being under my, and my father's, service. The woman gave me a firm, exasperated look as if she wasn't even going to bother to repeat herself, before she actually did continue, "After Mr. Drake arrives and is settled, I think you should head to London for vacation..I almost have it arranged for you already."
"Mr. Walter Drake," she blinked. "Your father's heir."
"Oh," I said quietly, a pang in my chest. "Yes."
"Well, he is arriving in a few days. The house is in a flurry of preparation. It will be your duty to great him as a host, until he becomes the host himself and it will be your time to become his guest. At that point, either you stay for a while, that is if he allows it--which I am sure of, it is only common courtesy--or leave."
"Leave for where?"
"London," Mrs. Horwell answered. "I think it would be good for you. Mingle with society, meet new and interesting people, go to parties and threatres.
"And, as I said, I almost already have it worked out for you. At your father's death, a Mrs. Kinslet, an old friend of your mother's that I am familiar with as well, wrote and offered for you to share her London home with her if you desire it. She is a kind-hearted woman with only the best intentions, and good connections that will get you into proper parties," she explained.
I sat, thoughtful. A friend of my mother's. The name did seem familiar....She used to write my father on occasions, every once in a while to check on him after Mother's death. When he received the letters, he would mention her briefly but not in great depth.
"It would be superb experience for you, Rose," Mrs. Horwell said. "I am asking you to think about it. It is about high time you've met a man and married securely."
I looked sharply up at her pun, though seeing her face it revealed her words were not playful, all serious.
Mrs. Horwell curtsied slightly, excusing herself to her many other duties, before leaving the room--leaving me alone with quite a head-full.