The Last Lantern
Chapter 7 - A Knight from the North
@copyright Jean G Hontz 2009
Molly fidgeted whilst Miss Throckmorton did up her hair. Why she couldn't
just wear it down to dinner she had no idea. She hated having to sit still
for so long. It was worse than ... well, anything.
"You have such lovely hair, Lady Molly. It's your glory. Well, it and your
Molly stared at herself critically in the mirror. Her hair was a mess. It
was too fine, and wouldn't stay curled the way other pretty girls' hair did.
And it was too light. She wished she had black black hair like Phillip. Why
did she have to be stuck with it? And her eyes were boring. She wanted
flashing dark eyes like Nigel's.
Molly caught a movement from Miss Throckmorton's then and focused on her
face. She looked so sad for a brief moment. Miss Throckmorton, though,
realized Molly had seen it and erased the look immediately.
Molly scrunched up her lips and then blurted out, "Why did the priest scare
you?" She'd been dying to ask that all day.
"Don't be silly, Molly. He didn't scare me."
"You went deadfish white," Molly pointed out. "Then fainted."
"I ... " Miss Throckmorton groaned. "I'll have to apologize for that. Poor
Molly wasn't certain why her Grandfather was to be considered poor, but she
kept her attention on the important stuff. "Then if it wasn't fear, what was
Miss Throckmorton sighed in resignation. She knew her pupil all too well.
Molly would keep after her until she told her something.
"I... I thought I knew him. But that's impossible. He reminded me of someone
who died many years ago."
"So you thought he was a ghost?" Molly asked.
Miss Throckmorton looked down and finally nodded. "Yes, perhaps. I'm not
sure what I was actually thinking. I just reacted."
"Who was this man you thought he was?" Molly caught Miss Throckmorton's eyes
in the mirror and wouldn't let go.
"It was a very long time ago, a very long way away from here. Let it go Lady
Molly turned her head and then her body and caught one of Miss
Throckmorton's hands in hers. "Please. You never tell me anything about
yourself. And this was obviously someone important to you. Can't you tell me
please? Was he.. would he have been your lover? Did you want to marry
Tears leaked from Miss Throckmorton shocking Molly to her core. She'd never
seen Miss Throckmorton cry before. Never seen her discomposed even, until
Molly jumped up and wrapped her arms about her governess's generous waist.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you cry. Forgive me? Please?"
"No need, child," Miss Throckmorton said as she pulled out a handkerchief
and wiped at her eyes. With her other hand she stroked Molly's cheek. "Not
your fault at all. I'm just... Old memories I'd thought long faded away to
"Who was he?"
"A knight. From beyond the mountains."
Miss Throckmorton, like Molly's long dead mother, was from the North. Way
beyond the mountains, through the Pass of Sorrow, and beyond the Lake of
Tears. Molly herself had never been beyond the mountains. One day, maybe...
To Molly's utter frustration, the dinner gong rang then, and she perforce
had to stop asking questions. Miss Throckmorton was supposed to be at dinner
tonight too, so the two walked down the grand staircase together, side by
side. Molly, moved by something she didn't really want to name, reached out
for Miss Throckmorton's hand.
They were the last two down. Sir Reginald and Phillip were already with
Grandfather. The priest was standing alone, as if he were purposefully
keeping a distance between himself and the others; or perhaps they from him.
He'd been looking out at the night. The storm had finally ended and a cold
full moon shown down on the silvery-white world revealed beyond the window.
The moonlight was brilliant illuminating the winter sleeping garden and the
fields beyond it as they sloped up to the base of the foothills and then
turned to mountains. The evergreens were white too, their branches bent
under the weight of snow, looking as if they were bowing to the moon.
Molly, entranced, walked over to look out on the sight. The priest seemed
lost in his thoughts.
"Brother Vaal, Granddaughter. Dinner," Grandfather reminded them.