Thursday, 26 August 2010
The staff there were all pleased to see her return safe and sound. The housekeeper had arranged for a lovely “Welcome Home” cake to be baked and decorated; and Theodore asked every member of his staff to gather in the library and enjoy tea and cakes as well as his best vintage wines if they so wished.
He was overjoyed at celebrating the safe homecoming of his beloved wife, and his employees certainly helped him in the celebrations.
In fact Theodore was in such a great mood that he gave all his employees the day off. After they’d finished enjoying his hospitality in the library he arranged for a coach to call at his home and take all his employees, including the butler, to a private party on his boat moored just off shore.
“But Sir …” said Xavier the butler, “who will attend to the house and usher visitors in if we all depart together? Surely I should stay behind …”
“Nonsense … I shall hear nothing of it …” declared Theodore grandiosely, “you all go and enjoy yourselves on the boat … I can open my own front door … what?” he chuckled heartily.
When they had all left and he was alone with Rose, still in the library enjoying her cup of tea, he sat down gingerly beside her on the settee and fumbled his words … “Are you all right … my dear … what?”
“Yes Theodore …” she replied sweetly, “thank you for a lovely welcome home party.”
“Jolly good … jolly good …” he repeated searching for his next words, “is there anything you need … another cup of tea perhaps … shall I make you a sandwich? Are you hungry?”
“No thank you darling … I am fine …” she smiled coyly.
“Are you comfortable … what? Would you prefer another seat … the armchair perhaps …” continued Theodore all tongue tied.
“I am fine Theodore …” she replied gently, “I’m not an invalid you know … it was just a slight bump on the head … I am OK.”
“Jolly good show … no harm done … a slight bump … jolly good … jolly good” he repeated.
“I’m sorry I destroyed the car …” she said after a short pause.
“Oh … think nothing of it …” he declared, “I never liked the color … dark gray doesn’t suit you … what? We’ll have to choose a better color this time …”
She smiled again.
“I have something to say …” he mumbled after a while, “when you were missing … a few days ago that is … the Padre came here for a chat … he had nothing better to do I suppose … so I had to keep him occupied … what? We sat here in the library waiting for your news … The police were all over the house and I was with the Padre here all alone …
“I could see him fretting … so I had to keep his spirits up poor chap … he was worried about you no doubt … as I was too naturally … but I tried not to show it of course … I didn’t want to upset him unduly you know … so I kept him talking to keep his mind off things … We sat here and talked … what?”
“That’s kind of you,” she said, “What did you speak about?”
“Oh business you know …” he mumbled, “I told him how I have to travel a lot sometimes … stay overnight at wretched hotels … all alone in miserable parts of the country …
“I told him how it must be terrible for you here all alone … when I’m away on business. Well … all alone with the staff that is … the butler, the housekeeper, the cook … and the … the maids and …”
“Yes dear … I get the picture …” she interrupted smiling sweetly.
“Yes … quite …” Theodore rambled on, “it must be terrible for you my dear … to be here all alone with the staff when I’m away traveling …
“Do you know something Rose? I always wished you were with me on these business trips. Instead of being here all alone.
“Perhaps you could come along with me next time I’m away and you could go shopping or something like that … or visit museums when I’m on business. Most places have museums … have they not? Yes … I’m sure they have … you could come along with me and visit museums … that’s what!
“Then when I finish my meetings we could have a bite to eat together … I can never decide when I read those menus … you can help me choose … Yes … that’s another advantage of you being there with me … You can select from the menu … should have thought of that all these times I’ve traveled alone …
“Yes … I think you should come with me on business trips … then at least I won’t be alone in the hotel … the rooms are too large you know … and they look empty … you could fill any excess space in the room … what?”
“Thank you dear …” she smiled, “not elegantly put … but I understand what you mean …”
“Jolly good … capital idea …” he went on, “now that this is sorted … I’d like to add something else … I … I … I do miss your presence when I’m on these business trips you know …”
“What a nice thing to say Theodore,” she interrupted.
“Well … It’s just not the same when you’re not there old girl … wouldn’t want you at the business meetings that is … terribly boring you know … but afterwards … your presence would be most welcome at the restaurant … and the hotel …”
“I understand …” she said putting her cup down and blowing him a silent kiss.
“Ehmmm … yes quite … Yes … it would be very nice to have you there with me … I would like that very much …” he hesitated, “yes … I would like it … love it even …
“Because I love you Rose … you know that do you not? I told you I love you just before we got married … did I not … what?”
“Yes my dear …” she smiled, “you told me you love me … and I love you too. What’s led to all this Theodore … you seem very upset … I know you love me and I love you very much … here come sit closer … I need a hug!”
He shuffled a little closer as she held his arm tightly.
“It was a small accident,” she said softly, “don’t be upset … thank God I am all right and all is well … I love you very much Theo and I know you love me too …”
“Oh … well …” he hesitated again, “I’m glad that’s understood … it was that Padre you know … he implied that I don’t tell you I love you often enough … don’t know where he got the idea from … he said it’s important to tell one’s wife that one loves her … as if I didn’t know that.
“He must have been stressed poor chap … worried about you and waiting to hear your news …
“He didn’t say how often I should tell you I love you … he just said it was important to say it … Pretty obvious I thought … what? He must think I’m a fool that needs telling the obvious …”
At this point the front door bell rang and Theodore got up to answer it leaving the library door wide open.
It was Father Ignatius carrying a large bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates to welcome Rose home.
“I told her Padre …” shouted Theodore loud enough for the whole world to hear.
Father Ignatius looked at him in complete bewilderment. Theodore continued in the same loud voice “I told Rose I love her … just like you told me to do the other day …”
Rose smiled silently and pretended not to have heard a thing as the two men entered the library.