A Lady in the Smoke 3 (Chapters 15-21)



Elizabeth finds out some shocking truths about her family. In her mother’s cabinet she finds an old letter. The man who writes to her mother is her uncle Charles, and in the letter the man explains that after thinking that he and Margaret had been engaged for nine months, she has stopped writing to him and asks for an explanation. Elizabeth is more than surprised, and when she asks her aunt Catherine, the woman tells her that twenty years ago her mother and Charles were fond of each other, but that fondness fizzled eventually. Elizabeth feels that her aunt is not telling her the whole truth, so she asks her maid Sally, who does tell her the story.

According to Sally, Elizabeth’s mother and her uncle were in love, and they were engaged secretly. This didn’t agree with his mother. As Charles was a second son, Margaret’s dowry wouldn’t go to the family’s estate, so the woman wanted Margaret to marry her first son. So she sent Charles to Switzerland and intercepted Margaret’s and Charles’s letters, and feigning to be very sick, she asked her first son, Samuel, to woo Margaret, which he did, and since Margaret had heard that Charles was engaged to someone else, she let Samuel court her, and they eventually marry. It was only after the wedding when Charles learnt about her mother’s antics and got furious, and that was the last time he was in England.

As for her father, Elizabeth never saw him being affectionate to her mother, and even once she saw her mother trying to hug him but he pushed him away. Through Sally, Elizabeth learns that her father was in love with Lady Shaw, and then after Samuel married Margaret, and the woman married Lord Shaw, Elizabeth’s father saw Lady Shaw in secret. That is why her father never liked Lord Shaw because he had the woman he wanted.

Now Elizabeth understands why her mother is the way she is. With this information she decides to talk to Lord Shaw as she knows he was also in the board of the railway company. Yet, he doesn’t learn much, only that he was voted off the board at the time, but he doesn’t seem to hold a grudge against the company.

The following day Elizabeth finds her cousin James in the dining room early in the morning. He tells her that he has been talking to the lawyer, and it is true that her fortune is diminished. Her dowry is invested in shares in some mining company in South American, which is a total failure, and those shares in the railway company. Apart from that, he tells her that her uncle Charles left her 300 pounds in his will, which she can use any way she wants. Then despite her promise to Tom and Paul, she tells her cousin James about the accident, the real cause why the train derailed, the sabotage, the murder, and she even tells him that the government could close the company. James is not happy with her being involved in this business, and makes her promise she won’t talk to Tom Flynn again.

Elizabeth doesn’t keep her promise when later that day Tom comes to see her. She is disappointed that Paul hasn’t turned up, and Tom tells her something shocking. Tom is in jail, accused of manslaughter. Apparently, the family of one of his patients during the accident think that he didn’t treat this person right. Tom asks Elizabeth a favour. Paul needs a barrister, and Tom says that he would like James to be Paul’s barrister, and Elizabeth says that she will talk to James. I don’t know why, but I don’t like James very much, and I have a strong suspicion. Maybe James has something to do with the railway business, and that is why he got so upset when Elizabeth told him about she knew. Maybe I am wrong.


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