Arranged Separation

Arranged marriage is not turning out to be what I thought it would. It's more like arranged separation. Mrs Adelin Braithwait doesn't have the ring it used to now that Lawrence is at war. How am I to stay sane, not knowing where on Earth he is? And what am I to do with myself and the children? They miss him so much, as do I.

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2. Working for the London Herald

The boys were not quite so cooperative when I went to wake them- both were still in bed, the curtains drawn and their covers strewn over their bodies. The groans of protest that I received by opening the curtains were not what I'd received in time gone by.

"Cedric, Mungo, get up! I want you dressed and at the breakfast table in half an hour," I said, pulling their bed sheets off of them.

"Mother! Is that really necessary?" Cedric snapped, pulling his legs up to his chest.

"Yes. Up! Now!"

As I left their room, Miss Fox was on her way up the stairs.

"Good morning, Mrs Braithwait. You're up rather early," she said, surprised to see me.

Miss Fox and I very rarely see each other. I rise later than the children, speaking only to Mrs Earl, my chamber maid, until I reach my husband's office where I spend the rest of the day talking to obnoxious journalists who think that their story is far better than those of much better qualified journalists. The one job that I'm quite awful at, Lawrence is brilliant at- publishing. Someone has to man the ship while he's away, and I trust no one other than myself to do it. Lawrence did ask me to work at the London Herald, and I will not disappoint him. We haven't been married for 14 years for nothing. Hard work and cooperation are key in keeping a healthy marriage.

Lawrence and I married through arrangement. Our parents contacted each other and we were wed a year later. At first, it was rather difficult living with someone you barely know, but it becomes less foreign and more fluent as time goes by. Many believe that arranged marriage is loveless, but I beg to differ. I love Lawrence with all of my heart and not a day goes by that I don't wish for him to come home safe. It is also obvious that I love him because I left my seamstress duties to my assistant Genevieve. In normal circumstances, I wouldn't dare leave Genevieve alone with important clients' clothing's, but I have no choice. The London Herald won't print itself.

"Yes. I couldn't sleep. WIll you see to the boys, please? They're not awfully happy this morning," I asked, turning to enter Bridget's bedroom.

"But, Mrs Braithwait, Miss Bridget isn't dressed."

"Don't worry, Miss Fox. I am going to dress my daughter today."

Bridget was already in her under garments when I entered her bedroom. One of her plain dresses lay on the bed. The children's school has recently imposed a new rule of plain clothes. It makes it easier with rationing tickets and on the children who do not have such lavish clothing.   

"Mummy?" Bridget said as I helped her into her dress.

"Yes, sweetheart?"

"Are we going to be evacuated?"

I thought for a moment, trying to pick my words carefully. I knew that my children were to be evacuated within the fortnight, but I had not told them. Leaving it till the last moment would hopefully soften the blow, especially as only Miss Fox would be going with them to the country to stay with Lawrence's mother. Etta is quite capable of looking after the children, but will need Miss Fox's help, and Miss Fox is also a governess, so the children can continue with their schooling while they're away. I hate the thought of sending them away, but I have no choice. All children in the area are being evacuated.

"Perhaps. I don't know yet, darling."

"If we do go, where will we go? Will you come with us?"

"If you're sent away, you'll go to stay with your grandmother."

"But will you come? And what if daddy comes home? How will he know where we are?"

I swiftly buttoned Bridget's dress, pulling down the skirt to cover her legs properly.

"Off to breakfast please."

"But, mummy-"

"Enough!"

Bridget hung her head and sloped out of the room. I waited until the sound of her footsteps was almost non-existent before sitting down on her unmade bed. I hadn't meant to snap at her, but the time was not right to tell her about evacuating. Cedric had to be the first to know. He's the most organised and can work well with Miss Fox. Sadly, Mungo and Bridget have not yet learnt the vital skills of constant cooperation.

I sat for a while longer, biding my time. I still had so much to do before leaving for work: dress, eat breakfast, make sure that the children leave for school, make sure the staff know what they should be doing. But instead I sat in Bridget's room and stared out of her window onto the street and beyond, wondering if I would ever see my husband again.

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