Chapter Thirteen [V]

“We go away leaving a small nine-year-old child,” said Mrs Thimble incredulously, “and return to find our baby grown up and engaged.”

“You’d expect that. She’s older than her years, after all she’s been through these past couple of years, especially since Dymmie died.”

“If we’d realised how badly she felt we’d have been over straight away,” Mrs Thimble said, exchanging a guilty glance with her husband.

“We’ve hardly realised how the time flew. We didn’t see how she could help knowing that she had a brother, for instance, but now I think about it…”

Sir Humphrey nodded. “He’s a very welcome addition to the family. Our good community atmosphere is back, and he will be accepted in no time.”

“I reckon he’s been accepted already,” asserted Daniel.

Mrs Thimble nodded. “I can feel it. Lionel has never had that sort of thing. My husband and I are absent-minded, and often work at odd hours. Lionel is regularly alone. He’s never seemed to mind, but I begin to see that he does want company at home, and if he has cousins and a sister, well…”

“He shouldn’t waste them,” completed her husband.

“I hope Vinzent will not repel my offer,” said Sir Humphrey. “I couldn’t bear to lose Aoife completely, after all she’s done for this family. In fact, I am indebted to you, Geoff and Mariel, for bringing her to us in the first place. We would never have managed without her.”

“You would have managed somehow,” Geoff Thimble said.

Sir Humphrey just smiled. He knew Aoife as her own parents could not, and he knew that, whatever they said, he didn’t see how they could possibly have managed without Aoife over these long three years. He was confident they could manage now, with Daniel a useful member of society, Blaise substantially mellowed and Delia having regained the health of her youth.

Sir Humphrey was glad Aoife had found happiness in the end. Happiness of this type was one of the happiest in the world. The only thing that equalled it was starting a family of one’s own with someone special. He remembered his dear wife Dymmie through his thoughts in the form of a large lump in his throat. What was his Dymmie thinking as she looked down on them from above? Was she as thrilled for Aoife as he was? He thought yes.

The sitting room door swung open, and Aoife came in, blushing, with a tall dark handsome man.

“This is Vinzent,” she said shyly, moving aside for him to step forward. “Vinzent, these are my parents.”

The End

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