- Part Eighteen
Angelique was in the study the next morning
when there was a light tap on the door and she looked up to find
Willie there. "Excuse me, Angelique -"
"Mrs. Stoddard is here to see you.
She's in the parlour."
"Thank you. Would you bring some
coffee in to us?"
"Sure." He turned and took
the back way into the kitchen.
Elizabeth was looking at Barnabas' portrait
when Angelique entered the room. "This is a pleasant
"I wanted to discuss something with
you. And I didn't feel comfortable discussing it at Collinwood."
"Please sit down. Willie's making
Elizabeth sat in one of the chairs.
"It never ceases to amaze me how Barnabas restored this house.
It was on the verge of falling into comeplete ruin before he arrived."
"So he told me. You mentioned
wanting to discuss something-?"
"Yes. It's only an idea - Are
you and Barnabas still intending to hire a governess for Sarah?"
"I interviewed a young woman yesterday,"
Angelique told her. "Barnabas was very impressed by
her credentials -"
"But you weren't?" Elizabeth
guessed. "Do you remember Maggie Evans?"
Willie entered the room carrying a tray.
"Thank you, Willie," Angelique said, pouring the dark
liquid. She handed Elizabeth a cup, and sat back, hoping
she looked suitably thoughtful. "Maggie? Oh,
yes. Wasn't she David's governess during my last visit here?
I think Barnabas mentioned that she had run off with an - astrologer?"
"Sebastian Shaw," Elizabeth confirmed.
"The reason I brought it up - I recieved a letter from her
this morning. She's returning to Collinsport. David's
doing very well at Edgewood, and doesn't really need a governess
- so I thought of Sarah."
"Maggie Evans," Angelique said,
rising to cross the room as she considered the idea.
"Hiring her would be better than hiring
a stranger, wouldn't it? Maggie's very good with children.
David adored her - "
"As did - several other people,"
Angelique reminded the older woman. "I believe she
and Barnabas were seeing each other during my last visit -"
"There was never anything serious between
them, Angelique. She was seeing more of Quentin than Barnabas
when Shaw swept her off her feet. As I said, it was only
an idea. We Collinses have never been comfortable with a
stranger in our midst. The other young woman might work
"When is she arriving?"
Sensing victory, Elizabeth relaxed.
"I'll speak to Barnabas about it,"
"I'm sure he'll agree. Maggie's
bus arrives at four."
- After asking Willie to watch Sarah,
Angelique drove into Collinsport. The middle-aged woman
behind the desk at the Collins shipyard looked up as she entered.
"May I help you?"
"I'm Angelique Collins. Is my
The gaze was assessing. "Mrs.
Collins. I'm Janet Davis. Mr. Collins is in the yard.
I'm sure he won't mind your waiting in his office. He won't
be long." She led Angelique into the office.
"Would you care for some coffee - or some tea?"
"No, thank you." Angelique
moved to the window and looked out, searching for a glimpse of
Barnabas as Mrs. Davis continued to talk.
"Everyone was surprised when Mr. Collins
got married. Most thought he'd never find a wife."
"And if he did," Angelique finished,
"It would be a local girl."
"Mrs. Davis, I know that I'm an unknown
quantity, but all that matters is that I love Barnabas and want
him to be happy. He's a very special person."
"Yes," the secretary agreed.
"He is." The telephone rang. "I'd
better get that. Make yourself comfortable, Mrs. Collins."
"Thank you." She caught
sight of Barnabas at last, in conversation with another man.
He was in his shirt sleeves, his vest unbuttoned. Finally,
the other man nodded, smiling, and Barnabas moved toward the
office. He must have seen Angelique in the window, because
his pace quickened.
She heard him enter the outer office, heard
Mrs. Davis say, "Mrs. Collins is waiting for you in your
"Mr. Forest called. He'll be here
a ten on Monday morning."
"Your schedule is clear until after
"Hold my calls."
Barnabas closed the door behind him, then
crossed to meet Angelique half way, taking her in his arms.
"I havena't been able to concentrate all morning,
worrying about you. About what Nicholas might be planning
to do to you."
"He hasn't been by. Elizabeth
told me that he had come into Collinsport with Carolyn."
"When did you see Elizabeth?"
"She came over this morning offering
a possible solution to your dilema about a governess. Have
you called the agency in Ellsworth yet?"
"I planned to do it this afternoon.
What was Elizabeth's solution?"
Angelique watched him carefully as she
answered. "Maggie Evans."
Barnabas frowned. "Maggie?"
"She's evidently grown tired of traveling
with Sebastian Shaw and is coming back to Collinsport.
Elizabeth thought that we might be willing to hire her to be
Now it was Barnabas' turn to search Angelique's
face. "You wouldn't mind having Maggie around?"
"No, darling," Angelique assured
him, putting her arms around his neck. "I've no reason
to be jealous of anyone now that I know that you love me."
Barnabas smiled tightly. "Claire
Maxwell DID trouble you, didn't she? If you are willing
to accept Maggie at the Old House, taking care of Sarah--"
he frowned suddenly.
"What's wrong, Barnabas?"
"Right after Willie released me, I
kidnapped Maggie -"
"Because of her resemblance to Josette.
I know all about that, Barnabas."
"Not all of it. She escaped
with the help of my sister's ghost."
"And you're afraid that seeing Sarah
- our Sarah, might cause her to remember."
"It's a possiblity."
"Barnabas, Nicholas erased that memory."
"He could also return it - and don't
forget that he very nearly killed Maggie."
Angelique moved away. "Very
well, Barnabas. I'll leave the decision up to you.
I just thought that I could more easily trust Maggie with Sarah
than I could a perfect stranger. And she COULD be a help
to our plan."
Barnabas turned her to face him.
"This is important to you, isn't it?"
"Yes. It concerns Sarah's safety.
And the possible survival of the Collins family."
"Very well. I'll call Ellsworth
and tell them that the position is filled."
Angelique's blue eyes filled with gratitude.
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