This is the final card and therefore the final chapter of Ophelia's adventure.
I didn't know how this was going to work out when Darcy first made the challenge back in December 2011, but I am so glad I chose to join in. I started by choosing an era to set my story in, and 1895 was the year my Grandfather Henry was born. So it was then a matter of weaving a story around his birthdate...7th November. All other characters and circumstances relating to Henry's birth are totally fictitious.
THANK YOU to Darcy for the challenge, and all the others who started the challenge too, even if they didn't manage to finish. They all had the most amazing and individual ideas of how to handle this challenge, and have been a pleasure to read :D
The national flower of Mexico is the Dahlia.
"My dear Lillian,
Well would you believe it! Our last trip and Richard is working! It seems every other country we have visited is at war, or is about to be at war with the Americans. Miss Francesca is very cross with Richard for bringing us to another potentially dangerous country. But it smells so warm and inviting. The food is extremely spicy, and there is so much colour every where you look. We can't go anywhere without an armed guard, and Miss Francesca looks like she is going to start a fight with everyone who even talks to us. Not exactly the joyful conclusion to our adventure I was hoping for.
It is lovely to relax in the evening in our hotel room. I can hear music playing in the canteena across the street. It makes me want to dance, and the sound of crickets chirping at dusk is so pretty. There is no need to send a reply, as we should be home by the time you read this.
your ever loving friend, Ophelia xxx"
Lillian stands by her window, card in hand, wishing her friend would arrive soon.
A carriage pulls up at the gate of Peartree cottage. A couple, wrapped up against the inclement weather, carrying a baby, hurry up the path as Lillian rushes to open the door.
When Geoffrey gets back with Marcus they find the 3 adults sitting in silence, Lillian nursing the infant Henry on her lap.
"What's wrong?" Marcus' quiet question goes unanswered for what seems like an awfully long time.
"Where's Ophelia?" asked Geoffrey.
"She won't be coming" Miss Francesca gently replied. "There was an accident. The Clipper was caught in a storm off the Cornish coastline. A wave took her."
Geoffrey looked towards Sir Richard, he saw the pain he recognised in his own father's eyes.
Lillian cleared her throat, "Sir Richard wants us to look after Henry", she said in a clear matter of fact voice. "He feels, at least for the early years, he will be better suited in a stable home. Sir Richard is going to continue travelling abroad as an Ambassador to the nation." She paused a little before announcing, "I have agreed of course."
Again Miss Francesca's gentle voice explained that Sir Richard knew how much Ophelia loved and respected her Governess, and that monies would be provided to cover any material needs while he was overseas. He would call in whenever he was able to check on the boys progress etc. etc....
Sir Richard never spoke a word, kissed his son, and left.....
December 31st 1899
After a joyful and festive week, Henry is bathed and ready for bed, and while his big brother Geoffrey helps Aunt Francesca bring in hot chocolate and biscuits for supper, he snuggles up against Aunt Lillian. Tonight, as on every New Years eve, she gets out her special picture book, and tells the story of a marvellous adventure. Of a happy smiling Lady, with hair as red as his own, and the countries she travelled to before he was born. And in the morning, his father will be coming to visit, bringing him toys and sweets, and tell him of the countries he will be visiting this year.
"When I get big, can I go to other countries too?" he asks Aunt Lillian with a yawn. "Absolutely you can" she replies, just like she has every year.
"You can be my assistant." chips in Geoffrey,"When I qualify as a Doctor, I am going to travel the world and help people less fortunate than ourselves."
And Lillian smiles, content that she has done a good job.
Now I know some of you will have been shocked by the ending to my story, but I knew this was going to be the ending right from week 1. This is not Ophelia's story, but Lillian's. The story began when she was offended by Sir Richards comments at the wedding
"When Sir Richard married Effie on Christmas Day 1894, he surprised everyone by announcing that they would be leaving immediately, as he had planned the grandest of all Grand Tours for his new bride, and that it would be a great addition to her education.
Miss Lillian was quite taken aback, at the suggestion that she had been lacking in her duties, and promptly left the celebrations. She gave notice of her retirement the next morning."
I hope you have enjoyed the journey, and I wish you all strength to continue and grow on yours
Blessed be :D XXX