From Chapter 18
The four of them trooped through the great house like a band of ants, Charlie and Evie carrying their bags, their feet tapping on tiled floors and their eyes flying up to colossal oils and tapestries upon the walls. The staircase was laid with a carpet so thick that Evie could feel its luxury through the thin sole of her ballet pumps. On all sides, faces in antiquated costumes stared out at them. Men, young and old, were pictured holding books or sitting atop horses or standing in fields and brandishing guns. Amongst the women, there were wigs, beauty spots, bustles, ruffs, and skirts so wide they looked like sails. There were ringlets, buns, and creamy shoulders rising above shiny bodices of all colours. Where is Fitzwilliam? Evie found herself wondering. Where is Elizabeth?
She had been in her room for about ten minutes when there came a knock on the door. She jumped up. “Come in.”
The door creaked open, and Charlie’s face appeared. His eyes widened as he looked around the room. “Wow, you lucked out here. This is twice the size of my room…more than.”
“I know, it’s huge, isn’t it?” She glanced up to the great, silk paper-clad walls and the vast curtains. “And as for the bed…” Pausing, she looked at the enormous, mahogany four-poster and wondered that it didn’t have a stepladder to help her into it. Charlie’s eyes rested on the massive pillows and layers of blanket and counterpane. They each stared for a second too long before turning to each other and then, blinking, turned away. Evie’s face felt hot as she watched him walk towards the long windows and gaze out. Before him was a perfect view of the back of the estate: a lake glistening in the sunshine, rippled by ducks, a folly, wood bordering green. Continue reading