The morning was clear and dewy with the edge of the northern winds drifting in the nooks and crannies of Percival Farringley's manor estate. A dark brown coach was parked outside, the horses reined and the driver standing aside the lead horse, feeding her a few pieces of diced carrots.
"M'lord, are you sure about leaving this soon? The funeral was only yesterday and I'm sure there are other duties you have to attend to here."
"Kalvins, if I wanted your advice I'd ask for it. Now get in the coach, I doubt they'll have a decent butler and I'll need your services."
"Very well m'lord." Fredrick Kalvins wiped his shoes off on the grate and stepped into the coach, being careful not to jostle it too much.
"Driver, put the rest of the luggage on the top and let's get going - and don't lolly gaggle about it!"
The driver obediently placed the heavy cases atop the coach, climbed up to the seat, tapped the horses in turn with the whip and with a quick shout they started the journey.
"So how long will it be until we get there Kalvins?"
"Well if we make good time we'll be there by lunch, if not supper."
"Have you sent a message ahead of us?"
"Of course - I sent specific orders about your dietary needs, how you like the room to be presented and how you wish the servants to behave, although I heard your uncle was keeping a his castle very well despite his age."
"Good on the old boy, but I might make some changes - it is legally mine now."
Kalvins looked out the window and pondered saying what he thought. "But not yet, you need the deeds transferred to your name. And what about Hildreth Manor?"
"What about it? When I get Grittoch I can sell it for all I care. In fact when we get to Grittoch find the local laywer and get his opinion on selling the place."
Sunlight streamed in through the window on the third bedroom on the first floor of the Grittoch Manor. There was a knock at the door and Joan Andrews stepped briskly in with a tray of breakfast.
"Good morning Miss Parks? Sleep well?"
"Quite well Mrs Andrews."
"Didin't go off gallavanting in the woods with any local boys?"
Lucinda looked down at the bedsheets and thought about her answer.
"There isn't much that gets past me, I saw you come in last night, brought a rat in at the same time so I had to catch it before he got into tthe pantry."
"I'm sorry Mrs Andrews. You won't tell my father will you?"
"Tell him what? I don't know what you did, but you seemed happier then than you did at that god-awful wake."
"You noticed that too?"
"My dear, I told you; nothing gets past me, and if it does it's not really important."
"I see. What's the time?"
"According to my watch it's half past seven and time for you to eat your breakfast. Scrambled eggs, porridge and a cup of tea. If there's anything else you need just shout and someone will be here soon." She left the tray at the foot of the bed and walked briskly out again, closing the door with a gentle thud.