157 Love is A Maze - The Eternal Collection
75 Pages
English

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157 Love is A Maze - The Eternal Collection

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Gain access to the library to view online
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75 Pages
English

You can change the print size of this book

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With her mother ailing in the long absence of her father, Sir Terence Brantforde, who is abroad on a Top Secret Government mission, beautiful young Davina does not have enough money to buy the food her mother needs if she is to recover. So she seeks work with a family friend and Society fashion designer, Lucy Crofton.And is sent by Lucy to fit a new creation for the brash Lady Brant, which is a showpiece for the prestigious Marlborough House Ball, Davina is crushed to find that her Ladyship is indisposed and unable to attend. Worse still she has no intention of paying Lucy, who is counting on the dress’s public appearance to inspire more orders for her salon. In the heat of the moment Davina decides to take the daring step to go the Marlborough House Ball in Lady Brantforde’s place and in her dress and in an instant her life is changed forever.Posing as the widowed lady at the ball she meets the dashing and rakish Duke of Norminster, who sweeps her off her feet and urges her to attend another ball at his own magnificent and beautiful house in the country, Nore. There Davina meets Lady Lucille Hedley, the Duke’s current fancy, who sees her at once as a potential rival.When exploring the Duke’s mysterious maze in moonlight as she cannot sleep, Davina overhears a dastardly plot by Lady Lucille and her husband, who everyone thinks is dead, to blackmail the Duke for many thousands of pounds. How Davina manages to warn the Duke and is then threatened with death, but is rescued by the Duke and, despite her deep feeling of guilt at impersonating Lady Brant, finds true love is all told in this exciting romance by BARBARA CARTLAND. "Barbara Cartland was the world’s most prolific novelist who wrote an amazing 723 books in her lifetime, of which no less than 644 were romantic novels with worldwide sales of over 1 billion copies and her books were translated into 36 different languages.As well as romantic novels, she wrote historical biographies, 6 autobiographies, theatrical plays and books of advice on life, love, vitamins and cookery.She wrote her first book at the age of 21 and it was called Jigsaw. It became an immediate bestseller and sold 100,000 copies in hardback in England and all over Europe in translation.Between the ages of 77 and 97 she increased her output and wrote an incredible 400 romances as the demand for her romances was so strong all over the world.She wrote her last book at the age of 97 and it was entitled perhaps prophetically The Way to Heaven. Her books have always been immensely popular in the United States where in 1976 her current books were at numbers 1 & 2 in the B. Dalton bestsellers list, a feat never achieved before or since by any author.Barbara Cartland became a legend in her own lifetime and will be best remembered for her wonderful romantic novels so loved by her millions of readers throughout the world, who have always collected her books to read again and again, especially when they feel miserable or depressed.Her books will always be treasured for their moral message, her pure and innocent heroines, her handsome and dashing heroes, her blissful happy endings and above all for her belief that the power of love is more important than anything else in everyone’s life."

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Published 01 December 2016
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EAN13 9781782138969
Language English

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Author’s Note
Puzzles and conundrums are very fashionable and perhaps they started with the maze, which has been
a timeless source of enchantment and bewilderment.
The earliest and the biggest maze was made four thousand years ago by Amenemhet III of Egypt.
It was described as ‘greater than the Pyramids’ by Herodotus. Remnants of it survived until the end of
the last century.
Great Britain has more mazes open to the public than any other country in the world. Many of
the newer ones show imagination and have a special meaning and symbolism.
The Dragon Maze at Newquay Zoo depicts animals as they might be after another fifty million
years of evolution.
A maze in a private garden in Gloucester is in the shape of the footprint of a giant. It contains
the well-known symbols of man. These are the four elements, the five senses and the twelve signs of
the Zodiac.
At Floors Castle in Kelso, the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe’s Coat of Arms and dramatic
incidents of the family’s history are woven into the copper beech and green beech hedges of the maze.
These include an exploding cannon complete with a representation of flying hot metal. It recalls
the death of James II of Scotland. He was killed when Scotland’s first cannon blew up as he aimed it at
the Castle in 1460.
By the twelfth century the labyrinth, or maze, had acquired a Christian meaning representing
the spiritual journey of man. The Chartres Maze in France is the best example. It has a pavement
built of stone within the Cathedral. Penitents make the one hundred and fifty yard journey through it
on their knees.
The Angles, Saxons and Vikings are believed to have cut about two hundred turf mazes in
Southern Britain when they invaded and conquered us.
Once mazes served an important ritual purpose and historians speculate about the significance of
the ancient labyrinths, where there were mystical dances. They had some spiritual or functional
meaning.
Whatever they meant or still mean, the maze is an enchantment and a mystery that nothing else
in a garden can supply.Chapter One ~ 1871
“I am afraid, Miss Brantforde,” Sir William Jenner said, “that your mother is in very poor health.”
It was what Davina had expected to hear, but she waited silently.
Her eyes were on the Royal doctor’s face as he continued,
“It is the culmination of doing too much and anxiety for your father.”
“If we could only hear from Papa,” Davina murmured, “but we have not had a letter for two
months.”
“It must be very disturbing,” Sir William agreed. “In the meantime we must do all we can to keep
your mother optimistic and prevent her from worrying.”
Davina thought that it was impossible, but there was no point in saying so.
“I have spoken to her maid,” Sir William went on, “who seems an excellent woman and she has
promised to see that your mother rests as much as possible, entertains few visitors and takes the
medicine which I will send her later in the day.”
“You have been very kind,” Davina said, “and I really am very worried about Mama.”
“See that she has good nourishing food,” Sir William added.
He moved towards the door as he spoke and Davina followed him.
His top hat, kid gloves and cane were all waiting for him in the hall.
With a gentle pat on Davina’s shoulder he said,
“Now, cheer up, my dear! I am sure that, as soon as your father returns, everything will be
different.”
“I am sure it will and thank you very much for calling, Sir William.”
Davina opened the front door.
Sir William walked out of the small house in Islington Square to step into his very smart
brougham drawn by two horses. There was a coachman on the box and a footman to close the door
behind him.
Then, as he raised his hat, he drove away.
Davina sighed.
She watched the brougham until it was out of sight and then she walked back into the house and
closed the door.
She knew that the fee they would have to pay Sir William Jenner for his visit would be a very
large one.
But she had been so worried over her mother that she felt that the expense was definitely worth
it.
He had in fact told her nothing she did not already know.
All that was wrong was that Lady Brantforde missed her husband desperately.
Having no news from him when he was on one of the secret and dangerous missions that he
undertook on behalf of the Foreign Office always made her fear the worst.
‘What can I do?’ Davina asked herself.
Then she remembered that she had another problem and it was indeed a very pressing one, they
were short of money.
Sir Terence had been in the Diplomatic Service before he retired when he had married.
He had an enormous knowledge of languages and that was why the Foreign Office, when they
were desperate, regularly called on him for assistance.
Her father never talked about his exploits. He just disappeared into some strange foreign
country, so Davina was never quite certain what he did.
She knew, however, that the Earl Granville, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, had sent
for her father four months before.
A week later he had disappeared as if into thin air.
Davina, now that she was eighteen, had been promised a Season in London.
In her father’s absence it had been left to her mother and herself to close up the small Manor
House where they lived in the country.Sir Terence had early in the New Year arranged to rent an inexpensive but quite attractive
house in Islington Square.
He had planned all sorts of events for his daughter, whom he adored, and the night before he left
he had said to her,
“I am sorry, dearest, but duty must come first, at least it always has in my life.”
“Of course you must do what they ask of you, Papa,” Davina had replied. “But please come back as
quickly as you can. It will not be the same being in London without you.”
“I promise I will not stay away one more day than I have to,” Sir Terence answered her.
It was now July, the Season was practically over and she had not been to one ball or one
Reception.
At first her mother had just waited, believing that Sir Terence would reappear at any moment
and she had felt incapable of facing the Social world without him.
It was always Sir Terence who knew the right people. He had kept in touch with those who, if
he had asked them to, would willingly entertain his wife and daughter.
Without him they did not even know how to begin.
Now two months had dragged by in London and Davina was wishing fervently that they had not
left the country.
There, at least, she could ride and she was always happy with her mother and their neighbours.
The days certainly seemed long when her mother grew more and more despondent and took no
interest in anything outside the house.
She only waited day after day for the postman, hoping that there would be a letter from her
husband.
“What can be keeping him?” she asked again and again, but there was no answer.
Now Davina walked into the small sitting room, which was where they sat when her mother
was downstairs.
Her eyes automatically went towards a pile of bills that were on the writing table that stood in
the window.
Sir William had been insistent that her mother should have the best food, but that she knew was
expensive.
Tender chickens and young ducklings, which cost very little in the country, were, she thought,
an astronomical price in London. So were fresh eggs, good butter and rich cream.
As if the bills drew her like a magnet, she walked across the room to stand staring at them.
Sir Terence, when he left, had given them quite a considerable sum for housekeeping.
But he had expected, Davina knew, that he would be home in a month and certainly not more
than two.
He had talked of taking her to Royal Ascot, which was held at the beginning of June, and was
arranging for her to be presented to Queen Victoria at a ‘Drawing Room’ at the end of May.
‘What can have happened to him?’ she asked and felt herself shiver at her own thoughts.
Then she told herself sharply that she had to keep up her mother’s spirits, so the first thing she
must do was to keep up her own.
The question of money, however, was always pressing.
The household was quite small. Their cook, Bessie, had been with them for twelve years, and
they certainly could not dispense with her.
Then there was Amy, who was getting on for fifty. She had come to them in the country two
years later.
The only other member of the household was her mother’s maid, who had been Davina’s Nanny
when she was small.
Nanny was one of the family and it was impossible to think of ever doing without her.
‘We could go home,’ she reasoned to herself, ‘but if Papa arrives, he will be angry not to find us
waiting here for him as he told us to do.’
She walked away from the bills to the other side of the room.
She stood gazing at a watercolour that she thought must have been painted by, or given to, the
owner of the house.It was not a very prepossessing picture and Davina found herself saying,
“I could do one better than that.”
Then she had an idea.
She wondered, as she thought about it, why it had not occurred to her before.
She had two talents, she could paint and she could sew.
As she thought of her painting, she remembered her teacher.
It was very foolish that, since she had come to London, she had not contacted Lucy. She had
always meant to do so.
She had, however, been waiting for her mother to be well enough so that they could hire a
carriage and drive to where Lucy Crofton had a shop just off Bond Street.
‘I will go to see Lucy at once,’ Davina decided.
As she thought about it, she ran up the stairs.
She found, as she expected, Amy tidying her bedroom.
“Put on your bonnet, Amy,” she said. “We are going out!”
“I’ve no time for that, Miss Davina,” Amy muttered, “and where would you be goin’ anyway?”
“I am going to see Miss Lucy Crofton,” Davina replied. “You remember her?”
“’Course I remembers her,” Amy growled, “and very grand she be now or so I ’ears! Too grand, I
daresay, to want to see country folks like us!”
Amy was speaking with the familiarity of an old servant. She never remembered that Davina
was now grown up.
“Nonsense!” Davina exclaimed. “Lucy will want to see me and that is where I am going. So, if
you don’t come with me, Amy, I shall go alone!”
This was a threat that Davina knew would be effective.
Her mother had insisted that, when she was in London, she was not to go anywhere without
somebody accompanying her.
Grumbling beneath her breath, Amy left the bedroom and Davina went to her wardrobe.
She chose her prettiest gown, which she had made herself and which had a very elegant bustle.
With it there was an attractive bonnet with ribbons, which she tied under her chin.
She looked at herself critically in the mirror.
It would have been difficult for any observer to think that a young girl could be more attractive
or more beautiful.
Davina was slender from the large amount of exercise she took in the country.
She galloped her father’s horses over the fields and helped the old groom to rub them down
when she returned home.
Her face was heart-shaped and dominated by two very large eyes, the soft grey of a pigeon’s
breast.
Their colour was somewhat surprising, it would have been more normal with her fair hair and
the translucence of her skin for her eyes to be blue.
They had remarkable depths in them which made anyone who looked at Davina closely realise
that she was different from other beautiful women.
She had an irresistible smile and two dimples that appeared when she laughed.
It was her father who had said to her unexpectedly one day,
“You look like the Spirit of Spring and that, my darling, is the greatest compliment I can pay
you.”
Davina did not understand, but Sir Terence was thinking how spring always lifted his heart into
the skies. He loved the first gentle green of the leaves on the trees, the innocence of the snowdrops,
the purity of the primroses and the soft seductive scent of the wood violets.
Every year when spring came round, he felt as if he was young again and the world was waiting
for him to conquer it.
He was very intelligent and also very wise.
He thought that that was the feeling his daughter would one day arouse in a man.
He would love her forever because she would inspire him and make him aware of horizons he
had never known before.To Davina the whole world was new, exciting and at times very wonderful.
It was only now that she was afraid because her father was not there to guide her. Her mother
was ill and London seemed very large and frightening to be alone in.
But, as Amy came down the stairs, she felt excited at what she was about to do.
Her eyes were shining as she said,
“Come along, Amy, it is too far to walk and we are going to take a Hackney carriage as soon as
we can find one.
“And what’s wrong with our feet?” Amy asked rather petulantly.
“It’s a question of time,” Davina replied.
She did not explain what she meant by that.
Amy was still muttering when they found a Hackney carriage and Davina told the driver to drive
to Maddox Street just off Bond Street.
“I don’t remember the number,” she said, “but the shop belongs to Madame D’Arcy.”
“I knows it!” the driver volunteered.
Davina and Amy climbed into the carriage.
As they set off, Davina lowered the windows to look out at the houses they were passing.
“London is so big!” she remarked.
“Too big for the likes of us!” Amy replied. “And without your father we’d be much better orf in
the country among our own kith and kin.”
This was what Davina thought herself, but she knew that it would be a mistake for them to
move, especially while her mother was ill.
It seemed to take a long time before finally the Hackney carriage drew up outside a shop.
Davina looked at it with anticipation.
The window was not very large and in it was displayed only one very elegantly decorated bonnet
and a pair of long suede gloves.
She gave the driver a generous tip, which he accepted without thanks.
Then, as he drove off, she went into the shop with Amy following her.
A saleswoman in black came forward at once to say in a somewhat affected voice,
“Good morning, madame, what can I do for you?”
“I have come to see Madame D’Arcy.”
The saleswoman hesitated.
“I am afraid that Madame D’Arcy is very busy, but I can show Madame anything she requires.”
“Will you please tell Madame D’Arcy that Miss Davina Brantforde is here?”
Again the saleswoman hesitated. Then, as if she was impressed by Davina’s firmness, she walked
to the far end of the shop, which was not a very large one.
As she disappeared through a door at the back, Davina looked around her.
She had expected that there would be quite a number of gowns on show, but there were only
two.
One was an elegant creation for the evening with quite a large bustle and she thought that the
décolletage would be very low on the wearer.
The other was a day dress that she would have loved to own herself.
The saleswoman returned to say in a much more affable tone than she had used before,
“Will you please come this way, madame?”
Davina indicated a chair and said to Amy,
“You wait here, Amy. I am sure that Miss Lucy will want to see you later.”
She then followed the saleswoman to the end of the shop.
As she opened the door, Davina saw Lucy Crofton looking very different from when she had last
seen her.
Lucy’s father had been, when he was alive, a schoolteacher in the small village where Sir
Terence and Lady Brantforde lived.
He was an intelligent well educated man, who could have had a far more superior appointment if
he had wished.
However, he had two main interests in life, historical research and painting.