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DaleL

 

 

Answers

An entry to the Vice Versa challenge on Lancer Writers, March 2020

The artist had been a master of his craft, skillfully capturing his subject’s porcelain skin, demure smile and elaborate coiffure secured by sapphire-studded combs. Even the tantalizing play of light and shadow amid the folds of the blue satin gown had not escaped his notice.

Catherine Elizabeth Garrett.

Lancer.

“You must always make her proud, Scotty. Your dear mother loved you very much.”

Mother.

A word. One with no overt emotional attachment for him.

He did love her of course but it was the love of a dutiful son. She was a stranger to him after all. His knowledge of her was second hand. He knew she was beautiful and kind, intelligent and graceful. Well-meaning platitudes to be sure but merely attributes, admirable though they may be. They did not tell him *who* she was.

According to grandfather she had been the epitome of female breeding and gentility. The most eligible bachelors, the cream of Boston society, had sought her hand. As the only child and sole heir of Harlan Garrett of Beacon Hill, the world had been her oyster.

And she threw it all away.

On a nobody.

A man with nothing to his name but a half-baked dream.

A dream that resulted in her death by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

Alone.

Scott turned to stare out the window at the rain-washed cobblestones.

And where had he been, his father?

Seeing to the safety of his so-called ranch instead of the wellbeing of his wife and unborn child.

There had never been a reason to question grandfather’s statement; he had been there after all. And his father’s subsequent actions—or inaction—had only solidified his opinion.

But his mother had loved Murdoch Lancer enough to defy her father and marry him. Not only marry him but go willingly into the unknown. Leave everyone and everything behind to embrace a new life in a new land.

Not for the first time did he wish there had been letters. There had to have been; the Garretts were prolific letter writers. To have been privy to her thoughts, to read what she had seen and experienced in her own words. To have some sense of the essence of Catherine Lancer would have been such a gift. Unfortunately, grandfather had never shared them. Perhaps he had disposed of them once read, little dreaming they would be one of the last tangible links he would have with a cherished daughter.

Instead her son had grown up with photographs and portraits. Static images that were remote and aloof. No wonder it had been hard to see her as a person who loved and laughed and lived.

“Your dear mother is watching over you from heaven, Scotty.”

Or that a small boy often confused his mother with angels complete with wings and halo.

Perhaps it was time to get another perspective. To see not only his mother but the entire chain of events that led to the appearance of the Pinkerton from another point of view.

To leave everyone and everything behind.

Scott turned around, hands clasped behind his back.

Ever since the war, since… he had been at loose ends. Life had suddenly seemed frivolous, unsatisfying, dull. What he needed was a challenge, one that engaged every aspect of his being. Perhaps this invitation from his father was exactly what he needed. A chance to gain a new perspective on his own life.

While he had been lost in thought a soft-footed maid had replaced the vase of hothouse flowers on the mantlepiece with a fresh one, their delicate fragrance perfuming the air.

It seems fate had stepped in and offered him this opportunity.

Time Murdoch Lancer provided Catherine Garrett’s son with some answers.

 

 

~ end ~

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