CHAPTER SEVEN: "Wunderschon"
It was Tuesday evening, and a beautiful evening it was too. At seven o’clock the sky was only just into the sunset, which tinted the heavens with golden and rosy hues. The lake reflected the sky, a gem of topaz and quartz, and the hills were gradually darkening. It was after dinner, and Aoife, looking out of her window, suddenly had the urge to go out painting.
Without a moments’ delay, she crammed the little folding easel, artist’s canvas and watercolour palette she had bought on Saturday in Jenbach into Rob’s big rucksack. She shouted that she was going out to paint, and slammed the front door, walking swiftly along the lake-path to Seespitz and hoping the sunset would hold.
She set up her easel on a tree-stump in the very meadow in which they had picnicked just days before. Then she filled an empty juice carton with lake water, unlatched her palette and gazed out at the view before her with loving eyes. Finally, she could paint!
Not having the time or the patience to sketch in lightly with pencil before she allowed herself to even glance at her paints, she merely dipped her brush in the water, rubbed it into the pasty yellow paint and washed the background with the pale colour. She had not been trained any further than GCSE, but she knew that a little ochre would add depth to her landscape painting. In an hour she had captured the sunset to her content, and while waiting for what she done so far to dry, Aoife wandered to the lakeside and sat down to think.
Dr Kennedy had done a very good and wise thing when she had ordered the family to the lake, even if it meant missing valuable school-time for the younger ones. Already Delia was looking much healthier, despite their unfortunate escapades of the previous week, and was beginning to talk more often and with an inkling of wit seldom to be seen in her rather dry character. Blaise was finding her much more of a companion again, and Daniel was ceasing to whine and begin to accept the situation. He always did that before a holiday, Aoife knew, and then enjoyed himself a great deal when he actually got there.
Rob was finally growing up, and Aoife was developing a friendship with Lindy. Serena would be two years old in less than a fortnight. Nathaniel also was benefiting from the fine air, though he, like Serena, was too much of a baby to be affected in a big way.
Finally, Sir Humphrey, who had always been a family man, rejoiced to see his own family in such a good state, and was spending more and more time with his children, which was usually denied him, having chores and duties many and time-consuming with which he was forced to employ himself back in England. Aoife wondered how much he was missing with business and parish affairs, but saw clearly that even he deserved a much-needed holiday, and would not have given up the time he spent with his dear family for anything in the world.
Finally, she turned to analyse herself and her own benefits here at the lakeside. She knew that there was nowhere she would rather be right now than at the Achensee with the people she loved most, on the shore with the watchful stars as their light grew and flourished in the darkness as it softly enveloped. And yet there was some quantity that was missing from her satisfaction, and she could not place it.