The woman hesitated, forcing Abigail to improvise. “We have a mutual friend, Mr. Daniel Ridgeway.”

The name seemed to unlock a door of another kind. The housekeeper nodded and bid Abigail go through to a small, but neat and tidy drawing room. The furnishings were old but well kept. There was no obvious display of wealth, no paintings on display, and no liquor on the sideboard offering hospitality. The only thing out of place was a small well-thumbed red leather-bound book which sat on a diminutive upholstered chair by the window. What there was of the winter’s sunlight streamed through the panes.

Abigail was drawn to the book. She picked it up and read the spine; it was a volume of Shakespeare’s sonnets. She opened the cover and read the inscription.

My dearest Rachel,

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.”

Yours always,


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