“Your Uncle Walter wasn’t my type either but he loved me and provided a good home for me before he died.’
“Did you not marry him for love then Aunt?’
“Don’t be foolish girl; I married him to get away from North Shields and the stink from Tyne brands factory. I was working there when he came to do some business.’
“How did he get to take you out?’
“He knocked me over whilst I was carrying a box full of kippers by accident and my boss was going to fire me but your Uncle Walter spoke up for me, and the boss let me stay. Later that afternoon Walter approached me and asked me to come to dinner with him as way of an apology. He was about ten years older than me and I thought that my father wouldn’t approve of me going out with an older man but my father encouraged it. I was fond of Walter but I did not love him. When he proposed six months after I first met him I accepted.
“Why did you accept when you didn’t love him?’
I married him more out of necessity than love Muriel; he offered security and way out for me. I took it and have not looked back.’
He left me with a considerable fortune when he died and this house. The money is enough for me to live in the manner that I had been accustomed too. “You do not use his name though.’
“Yes, I never liked the Lyndrop family as they looked down on me coming from the lower classes so to speak. So when he died I reverted back to my maiden name and I never spoke of the Lyndrop family in this house again.
“So you see my dear when you wrote to me asking for my help I accepted because I knew how you felt. Now Abigail has been brought up as a lady and we have turned you into a lady of sorts. You now have a choice like I did; you could marry Gerald Sedgemore and live comfortably for the rest of your life or you can marry this man that you say that you are in love with.’
I will never marry Gerald Sedgemore Aunt; I know too much about him now and the way he works.’ I will use him though to better my status.’
“I misjudged you Muriel, you are quite ruthless, but it is your choice.’
“What will you be doing for Christmas Eve; there is to be a party to be held at Drayton Manor; will you come with me?’
“Yes, why not; I am not married yet and I will still go out and enjoy myself.’
“Will we be taking Abigail with us?’
“What ever for; it is for grown ups.’
“I wouldn’t want to be left alone on Christmas Eve Aunt.’
“You may bring her if you wish but she must be home after midnight.’
“She is only ten years old you know.’
“I know that and I will explain that to her.’ don’t worry I will look after her.’
“Can I ask you a personal question Aunt?
“Yes dear, you can ask me anything you like.’
“Why did you and Uncle Walter not have children of your own?
“There was a long silence before her aunt replied.
“Your Uncle Walter couldn’t have children you see; he was different shall we say.’
“What do you mean Aunt said Muriel drawing her eyebrows together.
“What I tell you now stays in this room and is not to be told to a living soul. That includes my brother do you understand?’
“Yes I swear.’