The Duchess Returns from The Drinkwaters

Comets, importing change of times and states,
Brandish your crystal tresses in the sky.

~ William Shakespeare

I stood in the doorway of the kitchen of the Drinkwater family home in Brighton, dressed in my traveling suit. I surveyed the state of the counters and the kitchen table...stacked with loaves upon loaves of Christmas Bread - loaves of the Drinkwater family's recipe, and those of the Throckmorton's. I smiled to myself and thought, "My work here is done."

I turned and went down the hall and into the Salon, where Madame Dowager Drinkwater was sitting and reading, although she stood immediately upon my entrance. "All set dear?", she queried. "Yes.", I looked into the sun dappled garden, light reflecting off the leaves of the various fruit trees. "It is time for me to return to Caledon...although I hate to leave, I have has *such* a marvelous time, in great part thanks to you Madame!"

"It was my pleasure dear.", said my generous hostess, "I am so happy that I was able to meet someone from Caledon, and I know you will look out for JJ - I do worry that he does not eat well or rest enough! I know he likely spends all of his time buried working in that Library of his!" I laughed, "Indeed! Well, I *promise* you that I will make sure he is taking care of himself! He knows that I will dash a missive off to his mother right quick if I suspect he is not!" Mrs. Drinkwater laughed and hugged me.

I stepped out of the front door into the bright sunlight. Oh - I will miss this warmth! Caledon will be blanketed in snow when I arrive home. Mr. Piedpiper had finished loading my luggage into the carriage and was checking to see that it was secure for the trip to the docks, where the Venture was waiting to bring me home to Caledon, and Mr. Drinkwater was assisting him.

Mr. Drinkwater left the packing process and approached me as I stood at the door of my carriage. He, in his true courtly fashion, opened the carriage door for me. I smiled up at him. "Thank you for a most wonderful time Mr. Drinkwater. I am honored that you hosted me here in your home, and introduced me to your family." He grinned, "It was nothing Your Grace, especially as I put the Duchess of Carntaigh to work in my kitchen for several days." I laughed.

Mr. Drinkwater held out his hand in order to assist me into the carriage, but as I placed my hand in his, he held it for just a moment. "It was wonderful to have this time with you Gabi.", he said as he squeezed my hand in his. "Yes...it was magical, my dear friend.", I smiled as he assisted me up and in to the carriage.

From the streets of Brighton - to the Venture - to an easy journey home over the sea back to Caledon - to the Caledon Rail - to the Cay Trolley.....

I smiled happily as I closed the door of my cottage behind me. Oh Caledon and Caledon Cay! How lovely it is to be home!

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