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In the Land of the Long White Cloud

In the Land of the Long White Cloud

Titel: In the Land of the Long White Cloud
Autoren: Sarah Lark
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ink-stained school uniform and into a presentable suit. Helen was grateful that she was not responsible for looking after William’s presentability. A nanny saw to that.
    The young governess ended the lesson with a few general remarks on the importance of grammar, to which the two boys listened only halfheartedly. Immediately afterward, William leaped up excitedly, without giving his schoolwork a backward glance.
    “I have to show Mummy, real quick, what I’ve made!” he declared, successfully foisting the work of cleaning up on Helen. She couldn’t risk having him flee in tears to his mother, telling her about some outrageous injustice on the part of his teacher. George cast a glance at William’s poorly executed drawing, which his mother would no doubt praise with cries of delight. Then he quickly packed his things. Helen noticed that he cast an almost sympathetic look her way as he left. She caught herself thinking about George's comment from earlier that, if she never found a husband, she would have to wrestle with hopeless cases like Willy the rest of her days.
    Helen reached for the church leaflet. She had meant to throw it away but then thought better of it. She snuck it into her bag and took it with her to her room.

    Robert Greenwood did not have much time for his family, but dinnertime with his wife and children was sacred to him. The presence of the young governess did not bother him a bit. On the contrary, he often found it stimulating to include Helen Davenport in conversation and learn her views on current events, literature, and music. She clearlyhad a better understanding of these matters than his spouse, whose classical education was somewhat lacking in this regard. Lucinda’s interests were limited to keeping house, idolizing her younger son, and working on the ladies’ committees of various charitable organizations.
    So on this particular evening, Robert Greenwood smiled amiably as Helen entered, and pulled out a chair for her after formally greeting the young instructor. Helen returned the smile, taking care, however, to include Lucinda Greenwood. Under no circumstances did she want to arouse the suspicion that she was flirting with her employer, even if Robert Greenwood was an undeniably attractive man. Tall and slim, he had a thin, intelligent face and inquisitive brown eyes. His brown three-piece suit and gold watch chain suited him admirably, and his manners were second to none—even those of the gentlemen from the noble families in whose social circles the Greenwoods moved. Nevertheless, they were not entirely recognized in these circles and were still regarded as parvenus. Robert Greenwood’s father had built his flourishing company from practically nothing, and his son worked hard to increase their prosperity and social standing. Which explained his marriage to Lucinda Raiford, who came from an impoverished noble family. The Raifords’ poverty could be easily traced to Lucinda’s father’s penchant for gambling and horses, or so the rumors went. Lucinda had only grudgingly accepted her bourgeois status and tended a bit toward showing off. Thus the Greenwoods’ receptions and garden parties were always a touch more opulent than those of other London society notables. Though the other ladies enjoyed them, they criticized them nevertheless.
    Even this evening, Lucinda had once again over-primped for a simple dinner with her family. She wore an elegant dress of lilac-colored silk, and her maid must have been busy for hours with her hair. Lucinda chatted on about a meeting of the ladies’ committee for the local orphanage that she’d attended that afternoon, but she did not get much of a response; neither Helen nor Robert Greenwood were especially interested.
    “And what have you all done with this lovely day?” Lucinda Greenwood asked, finally turning her attention to her family. “I don’tneed to ask you, Robert; presumably, it was work, work, work.” She showered her husband with a gaze that was no doubt meant to convey loving indulgence.
    Lucinda Greenwood was of the opinion that her spouse paid too little attention to her and her social obligations. Now he grimaced unintentionally. Robert likely had an unkind response on the tip of his tongue, for his work not only provided for the family but also made Lucinda’s involvement in the various ladies’ committees possible in the first place. Helen doubted that Lucinda Greenwood’s organizational abilities had secured her
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