Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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The Fateful Croquet Game Tale 44

An old flame comes to town......
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The hot and sultry August weather continued.
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A buzzing sound eventually reached ears that did not hear so keenly as in the past.
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A pony-tailed gentleman was riding the beast. The ladies crowded forward.
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"Howdy folks" he greeted them as he leapt nimbly off his smart steed.
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Ignoring this question, Captn. Ahab and some of the others came forward to give all their envious attention to the abandoned steed.
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Wordlessly the others motioned towards Rose in her deckchair with her faithful husband John
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Undeterred by this, the stranger strode forwards and kissed her full on the lips.
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Luckily just then a diversion occurred -Ahab and Grandpa Crimple..were about to "road test" the splendid scooter.
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Behind her closed lids, she was thinking fast.
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Guiltily they hopped off- curiosity had almost got the better of them.
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Rose's heart was palpitating and her mouth was dry
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At last she was settled in the matrimonial bed at home,
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Now everyone had gone and dear John was safely tucked up beside her, she returned to her thoughts.
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So it had been between leafy Surrey and the Austrian mountains that Marianne had spent her childhood. Despite the magnificent wedding Rose had already sensed a malaise within Marianne.
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At Knaresbro' Lodge, Edith's voice could be heard above the clattering tea cups. "Did you notice? The moment she set eyes on the American stranger, she fainted.
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The ladies glanced at each other. Edith could go "over the top" and they knew that there was no love lost between herself and Rose.
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"Edith" she thought to herself" was a disappointed woman!.
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Meanwhile at the Towers things were NOT going smoothly.
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Marianne was enjoying herself. She adored Sophie  - her two little girls were being entertained by cook in kitchen so as not to interrupt the grown-ups.
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The Library door opened and there was the strange man she had seen in the woods, shyly proffering her a bunch of what she thought were wild flowers.
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All eyes were upon the stranger..........
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When Thomas had settled into his first class train compartment
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Back in the library, everybody clustered around - a ripple of excitement ran around the room. This was due to the fact that no-one had ever seen a blonde beard.
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Marianne threw a hasty glance at the bookcase.
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After all the guests had left
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She started reading, turning the pages slowly.....
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"Where is my husband?" she asked Sarah.
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The two little Dorset girls had persuaded their mother, Sophie, to allow them to stay for a while and "help" Michelle to tidy up Marianne's bedroom.
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They arranged the shoes in a circle and then began on the box of chocolates.
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What a mess. Michelle began to feel that she really couldn't cope. Had Basil still been there....it was so difficult without his help.
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Luckily Bathsheba came around to collect the girls and started to help Michelle with the tidying up.
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The next day Marianne set out for Charleston.
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Marianne considered all this as she stumbled along.
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They arrived at the farmhouse and pushed open the gate.
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Inside, in the kitchen, they found Vanessa struggling with a casserole dish .
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At the sight of Marianne coming in through the door, Dave's face lit up......
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Marianne made her usual dramatic entry.
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Vanessa brought in a freshly brewed pot of tea - amazingly a Clarice Cliff creation, not a Charleston effort.
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As he entered the room, he saw Virginia and Roger reading a book together.
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No sooner had Marianne and her coat been separated, that Dave, ignoring the cups of tea being proffered by Vanessa, took Marianne's arm
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