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Did it never stop raining in England? Consuela rose and stalked to the window for the tenth time in as many minutes.
“If you do not sit down I declare you will wear a path in the carpet my dear.” Lady Sitwell looked up from her embroidery and stifled a sigh. “I am sure you have nothing to worry about.” In truth she shared her guest’s unease. Juan had insisted on returning to Spain, returning to fight against Napoleon Bonaparte and his brother Joseph, now King of Spain.
“You do not understand.” Consuela spun round, her eyes bleak with fear, her face pale and the dark circles beneath her eyes quite plain to see in the candle light my lady insisted on using because, as she said to her butler less than half-an-hour ago, “How am I supposed to see to stitch in this gloom?”
“It is Phillipe’s brother I fear.”
“His brother?” Lady Sitwell laid the embroidery frame in her lap and waited. It was true she thought, trying to remember what her husband had said; something about a wicked brother when he’d tried to persuade Juan to work with the English government without leaving for Spain.
“He has vowed to kill Juan.” Consuela let the statement hang in the air before returning to the sofa, and clenching her hands in her lap. In an effort to prevent a scream of frustration she looked at her host and saw the concern in her eyes.
“You must realise, it was Juan’s brother who killed his wife and child.”
“Surely not, you misunderstood.” Her sewing forgotten Lady Sitwell grasped one of Consuela’s hands in hers.
“No. According to Juan his brother boasted of it.”
“I am surprised Juan told you. It is not the sort of conversation I would expect a man to discuss when ladies are present.” Censure laced the duchess’s tone.
“He did not—“ she hesitated, “—well he did, but it was because of something that occurred during our escape from Spain.
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