Chapter 14

Secret Scandal

Selwyn held her until her sobs died down. Madeline's face was flush with tears, he felt useless as he wanted to kiss them away but he knew that she would shy away.

Madeline must have sensed this for she moved out of his embrace and, shifted over and curled up finally contented to sleep.

Selwyn sighed and tried to do the same.

The next morning he was awoken by a feather light caress on his cheek. He opened his eyes to find Madeline staring lovingly at him. He gave her a reassuring smile as the sudden opening of his eyes caused her to gasp.

"I'm sorry for waking you, I didn't mean to."

"That's perfectly fine, I couldn't have wished for a more pleasant awakening," he answered as he sat up and reached for her hand.

"C Could I ask a favour of you?" She asked timidly.

"Of course, name it."

"I have written a letter to Annie, that's why I was going to the village when you found me, could you post it for me, I only ask because I now realise that it was fruitless me doing it as I have no money."

"Well why didn't you tell me, if it's money that you want I have it for you, you only had to ask, you're my wife know Madeline, what's mine is yours."

Madeline looked at him and smiled, "Of course, but you understand that I didn't wish to."

"Yes, I know, you don't have to be discrete around me Madeline, I don't know how your Father managed his affairs but I can assure you that they are not the same as mine." He interrupted as he took note of one of her many blushes.

"I was also going to ask you another small favour."

"Well two favours in one day, you are pushing it," he said, his face trying to hide the sarcasm.

"Don't jest," she said playfully as she rewarded him with a smile.

"I never jest," he responded, as he earned a laugh.

"Well, I was wondering if Annie, Tom and Willoughby could come and live with us here, Mina told me of a few cottages you own in this vast estate, she mentioned that she used to live in one."

"Ahh did she now?"

"Yes, she told me that she and her father lived there until he died two years ago."

"And your wondering if I could rent out the cottages for your friends back home?"

"Yes that's exactly it," she gushed betraying her calm composure for one of excitement.

"And maybe, you were also thinking that I could put them in my employ?"

"Yes, will you think about it?"

"No," he said sharply.

Madeline's face of Joy turned to one of despair. Her hands clenched in to fists and she turned from his cold gaze. "Why?" she spat.

"Because I have already thought about it and decided that after my father leaves I will put your favour in to action."

Madeline again turned to him and studied his features. She did not yet know him well enough to sense a lie but she knew that he liked to tease her. When he smiled at her, she gave him a puzzled look.

"Truly?" She inquired.

"Truly," he replied as he reached for her hand and brought it to his lips, causing her to gasp again as she let his lips brush her hand.

"Oh thank you so much Augustus," she exclaimed as she threw her arms around his neck causing him to expel a gasp.

"Oh this is the best news, can I write an additional letter and tell them?" she asked eagerly.

"Not yet, I'd much rather we wait a while."

"Oh," she replied as she released him from her arms. "What are you to do today?"

"Well I have to see to our guest David, he is staying for a few more days, so he shouldn't occupy much of my time."

"Why is he here?" she asked.

"Family matters, and to meet you of course."

"Oh, I see, but do you need me for long as I want to walk to the village with Mina."

"No, not long."

After an informal breakfast which was declined by the Duke and his three guests, Madeline left for the village with Mina, and Selwyn and David were left alone discussing trivial matters at court and of course Madeline.

"So what happened to 'I'll never get married, all that nonsense, love and such.'"?

"Oh don't start David, you know very well why."

"Well I suppose the Duke, but I'd never thought I'd see you smitten. I can't denigh it she is immensely charming and dare I say it beautiful, and there even seems to be some intelligence knocking around in that fair head of hers."

"Well, I suppose that's all true but she's not smitten with me, I can tell you."

"Oh rubbish, I've seen her look at you, she's head over heels you mark my words."

"And what makes you the expert all of a sudden," teased Selwyn.

"Maybe there is a girl, maybe she's not too far off."

"So my lad, what's her name then."

"Mina." David replied quietly.

"Not my Mina."

"The very same, I caught her yesterday in my chamber, she was asleep."

"In your chamber?" he repeated suddenly getting angry."

"Yes, don't lets get angry now Augustus, I noticed a note on the bedside form your wife, she had obviously put her there."

Selwyn calmed down a tad. "Madeline, ah yes I suppose, she's awfully fond of her, even though they only met a few days ago."

"Don't be such a hypocrite you only met Madeline a few days ago and already you've fallen for her charms, so out with it then who is this Mina?"

"If I tell you then it can go no further than this room, do you understand." He said in a serious tone.

"Yes perfectly." David answered waiting with bated breath to hear the scandal that was about to unfold.

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