She Never Told Her Love
A/N: For those who are following my other Cranford story, The Steward of Hanbury, have no fear; this is just a little something which popped into my head when I was listening to a wonderful rendition of Haydn's 'She never told her love' this evening. Apologies in advance if this ends up being soppy or completely out of character!
As always, Cranford belongs to the BBC and Elizabeth Gaskell.
'Good night, Harry.'
'Good night, Miss Galindo.'
Laurentia Galindo paused at the door, hearing the gentle click of Harry's own closing down the narrow corridor, before opening it and entering her room. Moving to her dressing table, she set down the book they had been reading a few minutes ago.
Twelfth Night. It was a play that she had always enjoyed and when Harry had asked for the both of them to pass the evenings by acting out the scenes, even her natural reserve gave way and the hours flew by in which they read, smiled and laughed by turns.
Such nightly diversions made life in Manchester more bearable. It was not that the city was wholly bad but it was a far cry from Cranford where Miss Galindo had spent most of her years and for Harry, his entire life until a year ago. They had taken the town by surprise when they had left but that had been unavoidable. Harry's education was the priority at hand and it relieved her a great deal when it was clear that he was much happier at school here than at Shrewsbury and that Mr Carter's plans for his future had not entirely gone awry.
She sat down on her bed, a sigh escaping her as it always did whenever her thoughts dwelt on him. It had been three years since Mr Carter's premature passing and yet she found herself still thinking of him. That gruff, stern presence of his which she had initially resented was something she often yearned for now, particularly when she was entirely at a loss at what to do with Harry. She had never expected to be a mother, or at least, a surrogate one and the past two years had been ones of trial and error in that regard. She wondered what his opinion would have been of her efforts thus far; perhaps one of derision, she thought but when her eyes fell on the dried flowers placed on her dressing table, she knew that she was doing him an injustice.
The flowers he had brought her that afternoon when he visited her parlour still remained with her. After his death, she had not the heart to throw them away, wilted as they were, and had preserved them. She was a woman of little sentimentality and of few worldly possessions but she had seen to it that they had been carefully kept in her valise when they had moved to Manchester. It was the only token left now of that fateful afternoon, an afternoon when she had realised what a splendid man he was. But even then it was too late for within two weeks, he had died and in the most terrible way imaginable.
His death alone had been almost unbearable; even the remotest thought, she knew, of what might have happened between them had he survived or had never been at the railway works at all that day would have been the undoing of her. One of a resolute and determined mind, she never allowed herself to think of it for the past three years but tonight the Bard clearly had other ideas. When it was her turn to read Viola in the fourth scene of the second act, a particular passage caused the words to stick in her throat and she found that she could not continue.
'Miss Galindo, are you all right?' asked Harry, his expression one of great concern.
'Yes, Harry,' she replied when she had managed to breathe again. 'I am quite all right though a little tired.' She closed the book and looked apologetically at him. 'I'm sorry but perhaps we may continue tomorrow?'
Despite appearing slightly bewildered, he raised no objection to this and after she had finally convinced him that all was well, they soon said their goodnights and retired to their rooms.
She sat awhile longer, indecision rankling at her as she thought of the book in front of her and eying it warily. She had escaped reading it for now but tomorrow evening, Harry would no doubt be eager to continue with the play and she would have no choice but to confront her fears, regardless of her distress. If she was to be emotional, she would infinitely prefer to do so in the privacy of her room rather than in front of him.
Slowly she took up the volume and flicking through the pages, she finally found what she was seeking.
She never told her love,
But let concealment, like a worm i' the bud,
Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
A solitary tear trickled down her cheek as the last of the words left her lips, those of a woman smiling at grief.