For Love or Money?   Leave a comment

Ursula bustled along the gravel path that ran between the old stone wall and the hedge. She was on her way to the boat-house that sat on the edge of the lake. The boat-house was hidden by trees. Ursula hurried as much as she could, without drawing attention to herself. She looked back quickly to see if anybody had seen her.

Theodore Hunkley was waiting impatiently for her. Ursula slipped through the boat-house door and quietly closed it behind her.

“Oh Teddy I’m sorry, I couldn’t get away until now. I’m so scared we’re going to be found out.”

“Hush my darling, let’s savour every second we have.”

Teddy held Ursula close and brushed a loose piece of hair away from her face. She nestled close to his chest and wished she could stay there forever. He put his forefinger under her chin and lifted her face up gently to meet his. He kissed her softly on the lips and lingered there for a few minutes.

“I wish we could be together forever,” whispered Ursula. A tear trickled out of the corner of her eye and Teddy wiped it away with his hand.

The moment was interrupted by the sound of footsteps crunching along the gravel path. The couple froze.

“What if it’s Miranda?” mouthed Ursula. Teddy put his finger to her lips and kissed her silently on her cheek to calm her. They waited anxiously until the foot-steps had passed and left them alone again.

“We have to be together,” Teddy avowed squeezing Ursula so tightly, she could barely breathe. “I will think of a plan… I will.”

 

Ursula stole back to the big house that was Moore Hall.  As she entered the main vestibule from the back kitchen, she heard Miranda scolding one of the maids.

“What do you mean that Miss Ursula isn’t in the study?  She was practicing her French verbs just a while    ago!”

“It’s not Ivy’s fault. I just nipped out for a constitutional to clear my head after conjugating all those verbs.”

“Oh for heaven’s sake do you have to burst through doors like that!” exclaimed Ursula’s step-mother. “Ivy, you can go.”

Goodness knows what Miranda would say if she knew that I was meeting Theodore Hunckley, thought Ursula. The Hunckley name was not allowed to be mentioned in Moore Hall. It went back generations. There had been some ancient feud between the Moore’s and the Hunkleys ending with a Moore being killed by a Hunckley. Ursula’s father Arthur had even had it written into his will that if Ursula married a Hunckley she would be disinherited, and the house and all the money would go to his wife Miranda. If Ursula married anyone but a Hunckley, she would inherit everything, but her step-mother would get an allowance, and would be allowed to stay in the house until her death. I suppose she is loyal to my father anyway and isn’t encouraging me to marry a Hunckley so she can grab everything, Ursula mused.

The next time Ursula and Teddy met he picked Ursula up and swung her around. Ursula had to try and stifle her cry of surprise as the boat-house swirled about her.

“I have a plan,” Teddy declared as he placed Ursula back on the floor. Ursula looked up at him in hope.

“If we can get Miranda to marry my father than we can both get our in heritance when they both die. We must make my father so irresistible to Miranda that she will be desperate to marry him and agree to our marriage and passing on some inheritance to you then, and the rest when she dies.”

“I know, we can bump into you and your father accidentally at The Hunters’ Ball. Your father is a handsome man, in need of company, with prestige, and Miranda is a good-looking woman even if her tongue is sharp. Maybe, just maybe it will work.”

 

Unbeknownst to Ursula and Teddy, Miranda had heard every word. Suspicious about Ursula’s many disappearances, she had followed Ursula down to the boat-house, as Ivy had admitted that Miss Ursula often walked down that way. Miranda smiled to herself. Little did Teddy and Ursula know that she and Hector Hunckley had been making clandestine trysts too.

Miranda and Hector seemed very interested in each other when introduced at The Hunters’ Ball. Ursula and Teddy shared a furtive glance, happy that their scheme was going to plan. Hector winked at Miranda as he asked her for a dance.

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Posted October 9, 2016 by eileenmoynihan in Uncategorized

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