At the party I found myself discussing my adventures to a few of the gentlemen. Glancing toward the door, I was startled to see Molly Gibson entering the room with Lady Harriet guiding her toward her mother. Her appearance was so unlike from what I remembered . Gone was the simple girl, who became a sister to me and here was a lady at a ball. She was smiling at me, apparently just as thrilled to see me as shocked and happy I was to see her. Lady Harriet than introduced Molly to a gentleman. She looked back at me and I gave her a small smile. The gentleman immediately captured her in to conversation and she even made him laugh. Why is it that the idea of Molly even conversing to this trouble me a little. I must speak to her for she is like a sister to me.

As the guests were entering the dining room, I positioned myself near the doorway to wait for Molly. As she came closer, I asked "How are you Molly?" We slowly began walking together.

" I'm very well" she paused " I wondered if I'd recognized you. Papa said you had a beard".

I touched my face 'well. I don't". The gentlemen passed me silently claiming Molly as his companion. Throughout the meal I was engaged in conversation about my travels in Africa.

" Mr. Hamley" the young lady beside me inquired. "Were the natives not dangerous? One hears such stories. Did they really eat each other." She asked.

In a serious tone. I told her "Only rarely, the flesh of European is considered the real delicacy".

"Oh" she exclaimed.

I continued " Especially the females". I laughed at the joke and others joined in. The others continued the conversation as I looked back at Molly, who seemed to be interested in whatever the gentleman was saying, but than she glanced at me. If I could just know what they are talking about.

After supper, the evening dance was to begin. I was determined to claim a dance with Molly. She was sitting on a coach conversing with yet another gentleman. I was just about to reach her when the gentleman, whom she sat with dinner, asked her to dance for which she consented. As I watched her dance I wondered if this was her first dinner party at the towers or has she been to many. Surely, this is not the first time that gentleman and Molly have been in contact with each other.

Lady Harriet walked toward me "How do you think my little prodigy is getting along, Mr. Hamley"?. "Very well. She seems just the same, and yet completely different now". Why am I just noticing her this way?

"Good. And?" Lady Harriet coaxed

"I haven't gotten a chance to speak to her" that blasted gentleman keeps showing up. We both turned our gazes to the couple dancing "Who is the gentleman with her" I ask.

"Sir Charles Moorison, my cousin" she replied.

At least I have an a name. "Well" I began, but was interrupted by the arrival of a guest.

The next morning, I returned to the towers to talk to Molly and invite her to stay with us. I had just entered the garden when I saw her slowly strolling at leisurely pace.

walked to wards her "Molly", I called for her attention. Immediately she turned and greeted me "Rodger, how are you".

"Well " I sighed "I have been trying to get to talk to you"

"I know " we continued walking.

"I've been unlucky." I chuckled. "Have you known Charles Moorison long?" I looked toward her. She chuckled. I dreaded her response. What if they have become long-time friends or even dare I consider it begun a courtship.

"Not long at all. Lady Harriet told him to take care of me and he does everything she tells him to" she replied almost laughing at the situation.

Relieved I turn to face her "I see". Taking in a deep breath, I continue "It seem so long since I saw you. She gave me a small smile "yes" she agreed.

"I know how much we are indebted to you. My father says you were like a true daughter to him in the worst of times". I praised her" You helped him to bear it more than anyone else could have". She looked down modestly and continued the stroll. How could I have been so blind, Molly has done so much for my family, asking nothing in return but friendship. Even during my engagement to Cynthia, it wasn't my future bride that my family , particularly my brother , put their trust in, but Molly. Molly, who has kept my brother's family a secret and who has befriended my dear sister. Yes, she has been a true daughter to Father and sister to Osborn. But what of me, would she consent o be my wife or does she only look for friendship.

"I can't tell you how good it is to see you again , Molly" I smiled, rearing the conversation to neutral ground. We need to become friends again, and then I will tell her of my new found love for her. She will probably need convincing, especially after witnessing my boyish love for Cynthia, She laughed "yes". My tone becoming more serious" Your letters meant so much to me while I was in Africa. I think you took more pains in them than Cynthia did". I noticed she began to look away and grow nervous at the sound of her sister's name.

"It's alright. I can speak of her, Molly. " I assured her, wanting to show her that Cynthia has no hold over my heart. . "It's over" I stopped in my tracks "for me as well" Her gaze met mine, still a little unsure. "I think we both made mistakes" I continued, hoping that Molly would understand the hidden meaning. Afraid of scaring her, I moved to another topic "my father is very angry at you.

The declaration took her by surprise "angry at me?".

I chuckled. "Only because you came here instead of to us at Hamley" I assured her. " Well, Lady Harriet wanted me. I don't quite know why, but there s no refusing her" she sounded exasperated. I chuckled "Will you come and stay at The Hall, before I go away to Africa again?". She seemed pleased at the idea, though she looked down. "Aime has been asking for you too" I told her hoping the idea of seeing her new friend would convince her. to come. "May I tell my father that you will come next week" I asked , hoping for the answer.

"Yes, I should like that very much", she smiled.

"Thank you" I smiled. " You don't know what a pleasure it would give him" I paused "give us". 'give me' I silently told her. After I bid her farewell, I left her in peace, planning and dreaming of the future.

Just thought it strange that there aren't a lot of Wives and Daughters' stories. Hope you enjoy the first chapter.