“When your Uncle Walter and I got married we never had relations because I found out that he like me was looking for an escape in a sense.
“What was that?’
“Walter was a practicing homosexual; he married me knowing that on our wedding day. It was a disaster from the start.’
“I agreed to keep his secret from the Lyndrop family and in return he left me everything in his will.’
“He would have many friends as he called them come and stay with us. We were sleeping in different rooms by then. This is why my room is down stairs and your room up the stairs. I couldn’t bear to hear him and his lovers in the room upstairs so I moved.
“Now I understand Aunt Ester.’
“I wanted children Muriel but your Uncle Walter didn’t; he was afraid that they would turn out like him and have to live a lie as he did all his life.
So when the chance came to adopt Abigail I had Walter go through all the legal channels so we could bring her here with us. Did Abigail know of Walter’s sexuality?’
“No.’ and as I said I want no one to find out.’
“You have my word Aunt; no one will ever know.
“Good; now would you go and tell Abigail about the party on Sunday she will be so excited to be going.’
Muriel went up to Abigail’s room where she was sketching a picture of the stables from her window.’
“Guess what said Muriel excitedly.’
“What replied Abigail not bothering to turn around; Abigail had a real talent for art and her sketches were very good. Looking through the pages after she had put the book down Muriel came across pictures of herself before and after she had been transformed.
“Tell me then said Abigail as she sat on the edge of the bed.’ now facing Muriel.’
“We are going to a party this Sunday at Drayton Manor.’
“But it is Christmas Eve and mother never lets me go out on Christmas Eve.’
“Well I have talked my Aunt into taking you.’
“Oh Muriel you are wonderful; I thought I was going to be left with Andrews and Mrs Williamson.
“Will you fix my hair for me?’
“Yes if you want me to.’
“Can I wear a new party dress as well?’ I mean like a grown ups dress; you know, like the one’s that you wear.’
“Come along I will ask Tomkins if he will drive us to Brundles and see if we can pick you out a nice party dress.’
They came down stairs and told Ester that they were going out.
Charles had Tomkins bring the car around and off they went Muriel hadn’t seen Abigail so happy.’
She was smiling the whole way and never stopped talking.’
Once inside Brundles Muriel asked for Christine Smith to serve them. They sat in the chairs until Christine came through.’
“My Miss Marshbanks I hardly recognised you; how can I help?’
“I would like modern a party dress for my cousin here. We are going to a party this Christmas Eve at Drayton Manor and I want Abigail to look pretty.’
“I have just the thing; it has just come in this morning and it is perfect for Abigail.