I left the room and came downstairs. The maid informed me that father went to the royal palace, mother was in the sunroom, and my eldest brother was out. I headed to the sunroom.
“Mother, what places in the city do people of my age frequent these days?” I asked. Mother put down her brush and looked at me. My eyes wandered to it. From the rough sketches, it looked like Wishburn Castle.
“A place that many people your age go to? Popular among young ladies…” my mother pondered for a while. “Oh, I heard that a beautiful tea room has recently opened in the new market. They said a lot of young people go there.”
“Would you like to come with me? I’m a little bored staying at home, so I want to go out.”
Mother smiled broadly. Since Aaron left home, mother looked a little forlorn. But her answer was not what I expected.
“Thank you very much for asking me. But wouldn’t you rather go with someone your age? Take this old mother and everyone will think you have no social life. I can’t do that.”
That’s a problem. After all, I don’t know anyone my age. It’s also not an option for me to take out my suitors who I don’t get along with; It’s much better to go alone. But of course, if you came alone, the store won’t even admit you inside. In this place, the culture of doing things independently, such as dining out alone, does not exist. It would be social suicide. Moreover, it’s a newly-built tea room in the commercial district. I would probably be the subject of ridicule. I used to be ignorant of such matters, but now I have to be conscientious of my image for my family.
“I can’t think of anyone to go with,” I said helplessly.
At my words, mother’s thin, crescent -like eyebrows raised slightly. “How about the Duke of Ayble’s young man, Sir Hugo Duplo? He seems to come by quite often these days. You also treat him more kindly than the others,” my mother said.
Certainly, Hugo is at the top of the list of potential candidates. He comes from a good family and I won’t be ridiculed if I go with him. However, knowing that he has intentions… I feel guilty. But for now, I have to go with Hugo. I gestured to Amy. Mother smiled contentedly.
“The young man seemed to be the best in the family. Oh, and Mrs. Bronson is a good person too.”
My eyes widened. “Do you know Mrs. Bronson well?”
“We just exchanged greetings a few times. I don’t know her well, but I do know that she is an amicable person. Why?”
I wanted to breach the subject of Mrs. Bronson’s sanity, but somehow, it seems mother misunderstood my question. Mother grinned, cheshire-like, and dipped the brush into the paint.
“As the sister for a potential husband, I can’t find a flaw. She has no greed for money, no title to pass on to her husband, no urgency for a successor – it seems that the couple is satisfied with their only daughter. Her husband is also said to be a competent manager within the company.”
“I never thought about that, Mother…”
“Hmm?” Mother looked at me sternly, “You should think about it. One’s household is important. It’s not about title or property, but the character of the family members, how they get along. Especially if there is more than one son, they might fight over properties or titles, so you have to look at the relationship between brothers.”
“Our family also has two sons.”
I regretted my words too late. I should not have talked about Aaron. Mother’s face became cloudy.
“Aaron wasn’t a greedy kid… He always said he wanted to help Alex and oversee the accounts of the estate. He was interested in farming techniques. Now, why all of a sudden…”
Mother sighed. I opened my mouth to soothe her worries. “Perhaps his rebellious stage came late. Do not worry too much, mother. He will come back soon after coming to his senses. Because my brother is… he is a good person.”
Somehow, the words ring true. I remembered him as a person who wouldn’t kill a single rat in the castle, unless it was absolutely necessary. He was someone I couldn’t imagine throwing a knife at me… It was a haunting thought that person could change drastically, and at the hands of another human. I always had the belief that killers were born, not made.
Aaron’s case is a baffling one. I still can’t understand because I couldn’t believe seeing his drastic personality change. I have to talk to the duke about this, too. At least, he might know better than I do.