Conversation with Valerie Hempstead (cont’d)

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“Well, my conversation with Miss Parker led to a most astounding revelation. I am to go abroad! I shall not only get out from under my mother’s thumb, but will see new places and meet new people. I find myself astonished as I never would have ventured out had it not been for Miss Parker’s prompting.”

I swallowed the bite I’d taken of a scrumptious cucumber and watercress sandwich. “You have your itinerary set, then?”

“Just this morning, I sent off a letter to my relation, a cousin in France by the name of Claire Venett. I have a plan in mind, but will need the companionship of someone who knows the lay of the land, so to speak.”

“So you’ve decided not to bring Rennie with you as a chaperone?”

“As much as I love Rennie, I instantly knew I couldn’t possibly drag her off to some foreign land. She’s older and,” she lowered her voice again, “to be quite frank, takes at least two naps a day.”

I chuckled. “God bless her.”

“Indeed.” Valerie agreed.

“The most difficult part of all this is waiting to hear back from Claire!”

I took the last sip of my tea and set the cup upon the saucer. “Promise me you’ll be careful and use your head. There are many unfriendly elements of human nature you haven’t been privy to, and I’d hate for you to put yourself in the hands of someone who might do you harm.”

“That’s very kind of you, Ms. deGrey, but I’m sure Claire will watch over me well enough.”

“Very well.” I stood as it was rude to extend a call beyond your welcome. “Thank you so very much for tea.”

“ Of course.” Valerie stood as well. “Upon my return, I shall let you know, so look for my letter. I’ll have much to share with you then.”

“Oh, I’m quite certain you will, my dear.”

Valerie walked me to the front door and we bid each other a good day.

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Until next time —
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