Winter Wonder – a Story for the Darker Days

Mary stared hard at her husband. The words rattled around her brain and made a mystery even more muddling.

“How can you be sure, Lennox? How can you know?” she asked, finally.

“I have been unhappy for the last few days, maybe as much as a week, about the amount of laudanum, Mama persuaded Wilson to offer you and I have been substituting a lesser preparation and then a cordial with no sleeping draught at all,” Lennox said. Mary heard the words with little understanding.

“What business has Lady Grizel telling such a distinguished physician how to minister to his patients?” she said at last. The idea forming in her mind lowered her spirits and scared her equally.

“What business indeed? However, it seems my mama and Doctor Wilson are both known to one Hazeldean, a moneylender. This individual keeps his premises in the Grassmarket.”  Lennox paused and Mary realised the servants had all melted away.

She lifted a shaky hand and brushed back her hair. Its thick mass felt matted and uncomfortable. Why did the Grassmarket cause icy shivers? Surely her earlier memory was of a shadow in woods?. Nausea rose in her throat and she sank onto a chair.

“The Grassmarket?” she questioned. “I sometimes go to visit my school friend in the Lawnmarket. Mistress Bailey, she is now.”

“Indeed, you do, my love,” Lennox was watching her closely. “And do you remember your last visit there?”

Mary sought his loving glance and tried to hold it, but the world went black once more and she slid to the floor.

BELLA’S BETROTHAL an entertaining romance with humour and a touch of thematic mystery.


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