The Final Chapter of this book of more than 60,000 words.
Adele certainly looked refreshed and she was free of the pained expression and the colour in her cheeks had returned. She greeted Robert with a kiss and a short embrace and noticed the medical book on the table beside the leather chair. She assured him that she felt much better and that the pressure on her lower stomach had ceased after she’d had chance to bathe and that she’d managed to pass the obstruction with some gentle massaging of her stomach.
Robert asked if there had been any passing of blood in case she was injured inside advising that he’d been reading the medical book and he was concerned in case by dressing in female garb and behaving as a woman would cause a similar infection.
Adele burst out laughing and shook her head and she could hardly answer Robert. It took her a few minutes to recover her composure and she asked Robert to show her the information in the medical book that he’d been reading. They sat together on the sofa and Robert opened the book to the chapter he’d been reading. It referred to regular bleeding that occurred frequently in young women that required rest and protection with bandages or clean cloths held securely in place. Adele was quite embarrassed because, whilst Robert looked and behaved as any good mannered young woman would, he was masquerading as a young woman so wasn’t entitled to discuss such delicate matters even discreetly. She had to find a way to satisfy his concerns and curiosity without offending him.
Robert only had the one experience of intimacy on which to call that had been with Adele in the room at the Club and he only saw a glimpse of her lower body and had to rely on his recollection of the contact between them between the bedsheets, such as it was, whilst they were both in a happy mood after the drinks they had consumed.
Adele explained that women were open in an area of their bodies below their skirts and therefore prone to infection so from time to time this resulted in a build-up of body fluids to provide a resistance and the fluids needed to be released from time to time. It made Robert sit and think and he held Adele’s hand looking at her groin area in her breeches that seemed the same as any man. Perhaps he needed to take extra care not to become infected by Adele until she had recovered.
Robert replaced the book on the shelf seemingly satisfied with the explanation but in reality he intended to read it in more detail in case he needed some lotions or medicines from a pharmacist.
At 6pm Polly arrived to serve a pre-dinner glass of sherry and shortly afterwards Aunt Roberta entered and sat in the leather chair with the two of them facing her. She appeared quite relaxed and Robert felt she looked a few years younger and seemed to be benefiting from more social contact since his arrival. She was interested to hear of their trip to Richmond and even asked if they’d visited the Royal Gardens at Kew that she knew well.
Arthur interjected and explained that her purpose for visiting Richmond had in fact been to meet with a shareholder of the Club who had been causing him problems and making threats. He had coaxed Roberta to accompany him but only because she felt that having a lady present as attractive as her would distract this man, Sir Henry Tancred with the hope that he didn’t become aggressive and rude.
Aunt Roberta seemed to react but Adele wasn’t sure so she asked if she knew the family or the name. She did know the name and had met Sir Henry and others in the Tancred family who were originally from Cheltenham and owned large areas of land and properties. Sir Henry’s father was Sir George Tancred who had been an original shareholder in the Club along with Judge Fleming and her betrothed, William Hudson, but he had lost his shares whilst gambling that caused a massive fight in the Club and a fallout between the three of them.
According to the records that Arthur had seen during his meetings at the Club Sir Henry had managed to take back control of some of the shares but not sufficient to have an influence or benefit significantly if the property was ever sold or used as security for his business.
Aunt Roberta then expressed concern and asked that they both take care and she didn’t think it was wise that Roberta be introduced to this man because he might realise the family connection and cause trouble. It was already too late so Roberta intervened to explain what Arthur had said that caused him to storm out of the hotel.
Aunt Roberta explained that William had 2 children by Mary Fitzgerald after he went back to Bristol and was forced into marriage by his parents. He did it to save his father’s business but the Fitzgerald family were clearly trying to get hold of the Hudson family businesses and they had some sort of hold over William’s father.
The eldest child was a son, Frank Hudson and the youngest was a daughter Florence and neither of them had the opportunity to get to know their father that at least their own daughter had done in her early years. Frank Hudson married Florence O’Connor and the O’Connor family who were prominent in the Bristol area. The daughter Grace Hudson married into the Tancred family and there was the link that Arthur was looking for because her husband was Sir Henry Tancred. She referred to herself as Lady Tancred and was more like her mother than her father. Frank was different but Aunt Roberta had never met either of them to confirm what she had been told.
The O’Connor family were also large investors in the floating dock in Bristol that was a poor investment since it was not fully operational and the port of Bristol was being developed at the same time. They were from Cork in Ireland and owned several sailing ships and properties in Dublin as did the Fitzgerald’s. They were all ambitious and dangerous people with a bad reputation based upon information that Aunt Roberta had gathered through her business contacts and they made some bad investments. Hence the Fitzgerald family had caused a lot of trouble to Aunt Roberta and they wanted William Hudson’s share of the profits on his investments in London that included his shares in the Gentleman’s club.
Neither Adele nor Robert could believe what they were hearing since these families seemed to be completely out of their depth in business in England and using crude practices they’d probably found that worked in Southern Ireland. Aunt Roberta went very quiet as she reflected on these past events. William had agreed to help save his father’s business but should have stayed in London where he was highly respected.
Robert looked at Aunt Roberta and for the first time since meeting her saw a softness and vulnerability and tears filled his eyes. Adele reached forward with a handkerchief that he was grateful to receive. Tears continued for a while as he couldn’t believe that the love between his true grandparents had been destroyed by these people and his own mother had lost her life giving birth to him. How could these people live with themselves and how could they get away with it. Adele took his hand and comforted him as best she could and then Robert stood up and crossed to Aunt Roberta to hug her sinking his head into her shoulder where she consoled him.
‘Grandma Roberta I love you. I’m sorry that you lost my grandfather and then my mother. I didn’t even know you were alive until recently and I’m sorry that I never came to see you or get to know you.’
‘Child don’t feel bad or sorry. You are alive and I have survived because of the memories I have of your grandfather and all this and the Club that Arthur wants to save are part of his legacy. I’ve carried the guilt of losing your mother to try to keep her safe and I never met the man she loved and I wasn’t there was she needed me.’
‘But life is so unfair.’
‘No it’s not unfair it is sometimes cruel but not unfair. You have to be brave and strong and take your chances in life. I had to be strong and I learned where I made my mistakes.’
‘Yes grandma but these people won’t stop. They still seem intent on revenge or stealing everything. Who can stop them?’
Adele stood up and put her hands on their shoulders. ‘We can stop them. We are better than them and the law is on our side. Let me help.’
Aunt Roberta looked at Arthur and smiled. ‘Yes young man I believe that we can and I still have enough strength to help you as I already promised.’
‘But Grandma you insisted that Arthur and I become engaged to marry and then go through with it when I have my next birthday and inherit Grandpa’s shares in the Club.’
‘Yes I did press you to commit together because you need much more than a written contract between you. Marriage is a demonstration of a true partnership that I never had and neither did your mother.’
‘But Grandma you asked me to live with you and let you teach me how to follow in your footsteps. I have only been in London a few days and it is a big decision to completely change my life.’
‘Yes but then think of the sacrifices that have been made and the offer in front of you. A true gentleman here is on offer as well as financial security and a life of enjoyment that none of your ancestors had within their grasp.
‘But Grandma I will disappoint you and so will Arthur since you know nothing about us or our true relationship.’
‘Really? Nothing has ever surprised me in my life and is it so wrong to want to see my beautiful granddaughter get married in a church with a handsome suitor at her side.’
‘But I don’t even own the clothes that I wear and the ones I arrived in have been removed. I am penniless and I rely on your kindness and the support of your personal maid Polly.’
‘Is it kindness to look after your own flesh and blood and the granddaughter of the man I fell in love with? What do you think he would expect me to do in these circumstances?’
‘He would agree with you I believe. Not to spite these horrible people but to make you happy.’
‘Yes exactly right Roberta. In you I see myself as a young woman with an air of confidence and a person who recognises she is beautiful. You are more like me than your own mother.’
‘But I haven’t been asked. You gave your instructions for us to follow.’
Adele touched his shoulder and went down on one knee. ‘Roberta Deane I love you more than anything. Will you marry me and make my life complete?’
Robert looked into her eyes and whispered. ‘Thank you Arthur Fleming. You know I will.’
‘Can a relationship develop and can it survive with the changes in role and the struggle to hold on to family assets and inheritances for the two of them.’
The Visit to London had been successful for Robert. His relationship with Adele had developed considerably and had survived the changes in role resulting in marriage proposal. Aunt Roberta had offered a solution that enabled Robert and Adele to come together and hold onto both family assets and inheritances.
Now they had a plan and a commitment by all three to implement it so the story of the Visit is concluded.
I have decided to write the follow up story in due course.
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