A Lady in the Smoke 5 (Chapters 28-33)

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SPOILERS!!!

After her venture in London, Elizabeth has to face the music at home. Her aunt is not pleased at all, so she tells her that from now on she is not to leave the house. Aunt Catherine even suggests Elizabeth should go on a trip when Catherine and her husband return. Elizabeth is not happy but she knows that protesting will only get her into big trouble.

While her aunt and uncle are away, Elizabeth behaves and stays at home. She gets the visit of Tom Flynn, who tells her that he has discovered that Mr Hayes and his partner have secretly managed to get hold of more than half the shares of the railway company, which means that they plan to take over. Flynn also reveals that Mr Shaw is involved, and he did have a grudge against Elizabeth’s father when he was kicked out of the board of the railway company. Tom also tells her that it was Mr Shaw who started the rumours about Elizabeth’s precarious situation.

Paul’s trial starts in a couple of days, and then Anne summons Elizabeth to talk about Philip. As soon as Elizabeth sees her friend, she knows what Philip’s answer is. He won’t testify at the trial. What Anne advises is that if she loves Paul, she needs to go and see him. So using Anne as a cover, Elizabeth travels to the prison and gets admittance. When she sees Paul, they finally speak openly about their feelings. She confesses that she almost turned to laudanum when he hardly looked at her when he visited her in her house. Paul tells her that she is wrong; he was very upset when he realised that she was out of her league, and the dreams he had after meeting her had been crushed. The conversation between them is beautiful and very emotional. It is a pity that apparently their love is ruined because of conventions.

Then Elizabeth is allowed to go to the trial. Paul explains clearly what he tried to do with Felix Benedict, and Elizabeth is hopeful that things will work out fine. However, the other barrister manages to knock down his testimony, putting his actions in question. Then he calls a woman whose son Paul treated previously, and she accuses Paul of killing her son. Poor Paul, and poor Elizabeth. She is now afraid for him because it seems he is going to lose and get a sentence, which will mean either fifteen years in jail or transportation. I hope that James can fix the damage the woman’s testimony has caused, and I really hope that Anne’s brother eventually changes his mind and comes forward with his testimony.

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