| Chapter Two
Llewellyn slipped on his black tuxedo, examining himself in the mirror before heading down
the castle's steep cobbled slope and making for the garden where he'd spotted John Gibbings
tending the flowerbeds.
Hands on hips, Llewellyn took a quick look around the spring bedding. 'Good morning
Gibbings, fine job you're doing with the grounds.'
'Thank you sir.' The dark haired young gardener looked up, squinting in the sunlight.
'Bad do last night, by all accounts,' Llewellyn continued, 'though I gather you chaps rescued at
least one poor soul.'
'Aye,' Gibbings straightened, mopping his brow, 'though the crew perished with the ship, I'm
afraid.' He hung his head before glancing up with renewed zest. 'Have you not heard sir?'
'Heard? Heard what?'
'About the young lady we rescued.'
Llewellyn fingered his moustache, interest heightened. 'I've heard nothing Gibbings, - only what
my sister has told me – please be kind enough to elaborate.'
'The whole village is talking sir; it seems the young lady's famous.'
Llewellyn stiffened, was this man deliberately testing his patience? 'Gibbings, just who is this
The gardener scratched his head, 'Verona something, Day I think.'
'Veronica Day you mean? The violinist? Llewelyn was astounded.
'Aye – some kind of musician they say.'
Some kind of musician, Llewellyn bit his lip – how ignorant these chaps were. 'Well thank
you Gibbings, keep up the good work.' Questions finally answered, Llewellyn left him to the
Walking back up the castle slope, Llewellyn was acutely aware of what a precarious task it
could be. The cobbles, still slippery from the overnight rain, glistened in the sunlight but one
faulty step could send a person slithering down, or worse still off the rock face to serious injury
or perhaps death.
What if a fate of this magnitude were to befall his guests? The consequences would be
unthinkable. There was no doubt some kind of rail needed constructing.
Llewellyn paused at the top and turned his attention to the sea, the mountainous waves of the
night before had subsided; it was difficult to believe that such a drama had been played out
little more than twelve hours previously, not far out to sea. A drama that, distastefully, his sister
had followed to its conclusion.
He thought again of the attractive young violinist who had so captivated him as she'd
disembarked from the lifeboat. Veronica Day was a household name in the world of classical
music, was it chance or fate that had caused her to end up here? He wondered whether she was
fully recovered from her ordeal and for how long she'd be in their midst.
Llewellyn joined Dorothea in the dining room where Mrs. Simms was in the process of serving
morning coffee from a tray.
'Mrs. Simms has just presented me with some interesting news,' Dorothea said, accepting a cup
and placing her cigarette holder in a tray, 'though I don't doubt you've elicited the information
from your little chat with Gibbings -'
Llewellyn sighed, taking a seat at the table opposite her; sometimes his sister's tone could be
so tiresome. 'If you're talking about our famed violinist, Gibbings has indeed enlightened me.'
Dorothea gave a coy smile, mainly for Mrs. Simms' benefit. 'And I thought my brother had
suddenly developed a healthy interest in gardening.'
Llewellyn brushed himself down. 'Really, do try to curb your sarcastic wit Dorothea.' He
acknowledged as Mrs. Simms handed his coffee. 'Upon reflection, I'll take this up to my study;
I've some important papers to peruse pending my return to London.'
'Oh, do excuse me, a trifle touchy this morning, aren't we dear?' Dorothea smiled at his
Llewellyn watched smoke mushroom from her cigarette, he was on the point of retribution but
such recourse would be unbecoming in Mrs. Simms' presence.
To reach his study Llewellyn would need to pass through a central feature of the castle, The
Long Gallery, with its stone pillars, its string of fine paintings along one wall, while the other
afforded fine views over the North Sea. It was in The Long Gallery and out on the roof garden
that Llewellyn planned to entertain his affluent guests.
The study consisted of a long rectangular bedroom he'd adapted for his personal use; its
window gave a sweeping view across the island shore, and enabled him to see across to the
It was to this window that Llewellyn went now, cup and saucer in hand, and as he stood there
sipping his coffee he saw the figure of a tall woman taking the coastal path towards the castle –
warmth spread through his veins that wasn't supplied by the liquid.
It was caused by the sight of the woman – that woman was the violinist, Veronica Day.
Llewellyn placed his cup on his desk and put his hands on the window ledge, urging her to
come closer, so close he could establish contact. But she wasn't hurrying; her demeanour was
perfect, refined and elegant; her long legs raking over the rough track that served as a road.
He followed her progress along the shore, watching the wind whip through her red hair, the
shawl of the evening before had disappeared and in the warm spring sunshine she wore a long
green dress, wide in the arms so the wind rippled her sleeves.
She was closer now, so close – midway between village and castle – that there was
excitement building within – he could not forego this opportunity to meet with her.
He checked in the mirror, fingered his finely trimmed black moustache, combed his short dark
hair and then adjusted his tuxedo. That a woman should have this affect on him was unnatural
but he couldn't forget that moment when she'd come ashore, the mere sight of her had been
Llewellyn couldn't get her out of his head.
Down the castle slope he went at some pace, but upon reaching the curve which would bring
him into her sight he slowed, if only to encourage her forward – he didn't want her progress
And there she was, barely thirty yards from him, and he could witness first hand her exquisite
She stopped on his approach, made to turn away as he hurried after her. 'No please,' he called,
trying not to alarm her, 'continue with your walk, do not turn back on my account.'
She looked at him hesitantly, sideways on – in the morning sunlight he thought she looked
magnificent. 'I thought I might be trespassing when I saw you coming towards me -'
'Not at all, the coastal path carries right on by.' He offered his hand, 'I'm Thomas Llewellyn,
owner of the castle, and you are?'
'Veronica Day.' She placed her hand in his and he shook it gently.
Llewellyn cupped his chin, 'The name sounds familiar.' He thought he saw embarrassment in
her smile. 'I play the violin.'
'The Veronica Day – of course, how ignorant of me; what brings you to our small island?'
'A great tragedy, Mr. Llewellyn - a shipwreck -' she shuddered, looked out to sea. 'I'm not sure I
want to talk about it,' then shrugging apologetically, 'it's difficult to believe when you look at
the sea now -'
'Exactly what I was thinking just a few minutes ago -'
'I beg your pardon?'
'Oh I'm sorry Miss Day,' Llewellyn stammered, caught out. 'Well, I've been fed the barest bones
of the incident – you understand on an island like this news travels fast. Might I offer you the
comfort of my castle for a while?'
'No, thanks all the same; I found myself in need of some fresh air, getting out here just calms my
nerves. You know I thought I was going to die, until I saw the lifeboat – one brave man plucked
me out of the sea -'
'Don't distress yourself any further,' seeing the anguish on her face Llewellyn gently
guided Veronica away from the sea; his arm around her back he turned her towards the castle,
'what will you do now – how long will you stay?'
'No longer than it takes to recover from my ordeal, and to await the arrival of my brother in a
few days time. From here we travel to Edinburgh, I have an engagement there you see -'
Llewellyn looked into her solemn green eyes, immediately aware of their clarity, 'Was that
where you were bound?'
She nodded, 'Unfortunately I lost most of my belongings – even my violin.'
'A shame – a great shame,' Llewellyn muttered, then with great conviction, 'but you have
survived my dear, others did not – that is the thing -'
'I feel sorry for those who drowned, but yes – you are right – ah, it is such a fine day after such
an awful night – how strangely disturbed our weather has become.'
'Yes indeed -'
Veronica took a step away. 'I will not detain you any longer Mr. Llewellyn, I feel refreshed
now – the villagers have been kind enough to provide me with lodgings. I shall return there and
rest awhile. It has been a pleasure talking to you.'
'Likewise.' Llewellyn took her hand and kissed it. 'I hope we will meet again.'
'Perhaps, Mr. Llewellyn, we will.' A smile spread quickly across her face, her eyes shone and
Llewellyn felt the warmth in them.
Llewellyn returned to the castle entrance to find Dorothea emerging from its shadows. 'Well
brother, that was a chance encounter, was it not?'
'Will you keep as keen an eye on the household as you do my activities, Dorothea?' Llewellyn
pushed past her, embarrassed and annoyed by her snooping – he felt her eyes burning the back
of his head as he descended the stairs to the lounge.
'Of course I shall, as you well know,' her voice sounded hollow, resounding from the stone
walls of the narrow stairway, 'but one cannot fail to notice your interest in the young Miss Day.'
Llewellyn loosened his tie, Dorothea's words were as sharp as her voice. 'Miss Day has
experienced a troublesome ordeal, she felt the need for a peaceful walk. I merely consoled her
and introduced myself.'
Dorothea followed him to the lounge window, where he stood, hands thrust into the pockets of
his breeches. She stood alongside, drew on her cigarette, gazed across the gardens and fields
beyond. 'A peaceful walk perhaps, but I sense there to be another reason for the path she took-'
'Which is?' Llewellyn turned, inhaling her acrid breath. She gave what he termed her “cocky”
smile, dark eyes alive with mischief. 'Do not concern yourself brother, time will tell.'
Unprepared to indulge himself in his sister's ambiguities, Llewellyn returned to his study. He
longed to re-establish contact with the lovely Miss Day before she left the island, and in so
doing, perhaps he could recompense what he deemed her biggest loss.
He tugged the gold-threaded cord at the side of his desk and soon acknowledged the
presence of his silver haired butler -
'Ah, Hambleton, I wish to avail myself of your infinite London knowledge-'
'Please close the door Hambleton, I wish our conversation to be private.
'Good, now, -whereabouts in London am I to acquire a classical violin fit for the use of a
'Sir – I do not…’
'No Hambleton.' Llewellyn directed a forefinger at his butler. 'Please do not advise me that you
are unaware of the tragic events of last night-'
'No sir, indeed I am not.' Hambleton drew a finger across his lip. 'I was merely going to suggest
that you look in the opposite direction for your musical equipment.'
Llewellyn shook his head – everything of quality derived from the Capital, it was a known fact.
'Sir, if you please – might I suggest Edinburgh as an alternative. Transportation of suitable
merchandise from the City might prove a lengthy business. By selecting Edinburgh you would
not be forfeiting quality and I can arrange delivery of a fine instrument within two days, I have
no doubt of that. But I do doubt that Miss Day will be long on this island – if you wish to
impress her then I suggest Edinburgh sir, a mere seventy miles away – London is many times
'I seek not to impress her,' Llewellyn said loudly, then adjusting both his tone and tuxedo, 'you
understand I seek to address a great misfortune; spare no expense on my account and do all you
can to ensure delivery within two days. Edinburgh it will be.'
'I shall attend to it sir.
' Llewellyn nodded as Hambleton departed, and satisfied with the wisdom of his butler's
suggestion, strode to his dark oak cabinet, whereupon he poured his finest scotch and gazed out
* * *
Two days later, Dorothea sat in the dining room, eyeing her brother from under her heavy
lashes. 'Should you not be making preparation for returning to London, Thomas? Your train is
but one hour away.'
Llewellyn was stirred from his thoughts, eager anticipation of the arrival shortly, of a violin
from Edinburgh. 'My profound apologies for not informing you, dear sister – I shall be staying a
Llewellyn derived satisfaction from a brief flicker of his sister's eyelids and a sudden tic in her
cheek, which often exhibited itself when she was irked.
'What might I ask induced this change in your normally meticulous planning, a certain washed-
'Spare me your humourless taunts, Dorothea, and improve upon your nature. We are to receive a
guest at dinner this evening.'
Llewellyn watched Dorothea's lips tighten and twist. 'Yes, Veronica Day, and we are to be
treated to a private recital in the gallery.'
'Without an instrument, Thomas? From what I understand she lost about everything but the
clothes she wore.'
'It is being arranged.' Llewellyn smiled at Dorothea's discomfort, 'and before you exercise your
razor sharp tongue, I seek to improve Miss Day's fortunes, nothing more.'
Dorothea placed her cup down and tilted her head back, fixing him with a long, unblinking
stare. 'And has Miss Day any knowledge of this?'
'Do not concern yourself on that account.’ Llewellyn took in the tautness of his sister's facial
muscles with pleasure. 'It is as good as done.'
Satisfied with having gained the upper hand over Dorothea, Llewellyn left her to simmer, and
his spirits were further raised when the Stradivarius violin arrived at lunchtime, Hambleton
being as good as his word. Hambleton had established contact with a specialist supplier who
had knowledge of Veronica Day's career and had provided the ideal instrument.
With the violin in his possession Llewellyn immediately set out for the village in his trap,
drawing the pony to a halt in the main street outside the address Mrs. Simms had provided him
He knocked and heard the sound of footsteps within, and was shortly greeted by the violinist,
wearing a long floral dress, her hair tied back so that her refined features were fully displayed.
'Why, Mr. Llewellyn -'
'Miss Day, please excuse my unannounced arrival, but I felt I had to compensate for the tragic
consequences of your demise.'
'I'm not sure I understand you -'
'Please bear with me for an instant.' Llewellyn went to the back of the trap, lifting out the cased
violin. 'Please accept this as a gift from me, a token of my deep sorrow at your
losses and -'
'Oh but I cannot; really I cannot -'
Llewellyn saw her glance down, saw recognition of the manufacturer's label. 'It is too much, I
cannot justify receiving it from you -'
'Oh but you can,' Llewellyn focused on her brown eyes, jewels in her face. 'For I ask
something in return.’ Before she could respond he held his free hand aloft. 'I only ask that you
perform at the castle, a private recital. It would be a privilege and an honour to receive you and
to hear you play.'
Veronica was silent, Llewellyn thought she might not accept, but in a singular graceful
movement she stretched her limbs, relieved him of the instrument and nodded. 'Then I do
accept, if only to express my gratitude. When would you desire my presence, Mr. Llewellyn?'
Llewellyn fingered his moustache, looking directly into her fine features, her soft, flawless skin,
feeling a tremble from head to foot. 'If it pleases you, this evening; following which we will
She raised her brows, looked uncertain. 'Why, such short notice; I need to familiarise with my
new instrument -'
'And I need to return to London at similarly short notice; the opportunity might not arise again.'
'Then I will begin rehearsal immediately, and will attend the castle at?'
'Six o'clock would be excellent.'
Llewellyn bade Veronica Day farewell, for six short hours at least.
But farewell, with regard to her, was not a word which figured prominently in his
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