Isobel was quite exhausted to say the least. She had been awake for nearly 48 hours caring for the Dowager. All she wanted to do was take a nice hot bath and then have a lie down. She couldn't remember the last time she been awake this long. Probably not since Matthew was a baby, she thought.

The house was quite as she only had a maid now who did cooking and cleaning. After drawing the bath herself, Isobel slipped in and sighed with relief. How nice the warm water felt.

As she soaked in the bath, her mind began to wander. She liked being useful. She needed to be useful. Of course Isobel was very glad the Dowager was better, but the distraction had been good for her. While the past couple of months had been better, but she was still heartbroken. Not a day, or hour more like it, went by without her thinking about her darling Matthew. Whenever she saw a mother and child in the village, she was reminded of him when he was a small boy. So many of the mothers she knew years ago had a full-time nanny and didn't spend very much time with their children at all. But Isobel had been determined to be different. She fed him and bathed him and put him to bed herself. She would even play with him, games such as hide and seek. Occasionally a nanny would come round and give her the day off, but that was it. As a result, they shared a strong bond with one another. An unbreakable bond.

After an hour or so, she dried off and put on a nightgown. After closing the drapes, Isobel got into her nice, comfortable bed. She thought she would fall asleep immediately, but instead she found herself sobbing her heart out. Her heightened emotions where no doubt the product of terrible exhaustion. However, she felt so very alone right now. She missed Matthew.

The ring of Isobel's silver alarm clock went off. It was nearly dark from what she could see through the gap in the drapes. She felt as though she had slept through an entire decade, yet she was still very tired. Getting up, she began to dress and fix up her hair. She had to check on Cousin Violet.

The two women began to play cards not long after Isobel's arrival.

"Are you alright?"

"Oh yes, I slept and had a little something to eat before I came here."

"No, I mean... is something troubling you?" Violet looked at her seriously.

Isobel sighed. She hated to burden others with her problems. "Well... it's just... it's just, I feel...," Isobel laughed slightly. "I... miss him so very much. Some days are harder than others, and today is... well, hard." She looked down at the cards on the table, her eyes burning.

" You see, Mat... Matthew wasn't just my son, he was my... my best and dearest friend." Her eyes began to well up. "How could this have happened? I never thought in a million years I would be a childless widow." She paused. "Sometimes I think back to the day I had him and held him for the first time. The memory is so clear, it's as if it happened yesterday. I suppose all mothers feel like that. But how is it that I went from having a newborn baby to... nothing?"

Suddenly a tear fell on Isobel's cheek. Violet reached out and placed a hand over he friend's. They stayed like that for a moment.

Isobel sniffed. "Well... I suppose we should get on with the game. Although I have a feeling you will win this one as well" She smiled genuinely. Perhaps she still had a best friend after all.