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.” Ivy grabbed a scone off the tray and made a place for herself on the settee.“I saw a darling little cameo brooch in Loyer’s window and couldn’t resist getting it for Mrs.Maguire.” She laughed.“That one purchase put me in the mood for shopping, and the next thing I knew, I had bought all this.”She nibbled the scone and dusted off her fingers.“I got something for you, Sutton.”“Well, don’t tell me now.” An amused smile played on his lips.“I like to be surprised on Christmas.”“Oh, this isn’t for Christmas.It’s something I ran across that put me in mind of you.” She sifted through the packages and handed him one.“Open it.”He shifted in his chair.“You’re very kind, but really, you shouldn’t have.You made that lovely scarf for my homecoming and that was quite enough.”“Please.I insist.”He tore away the brown wrapping paper and lifted the lid on a small box.“A compass.Very useful indeed.Thank you.”“I thought you could use it when you sail to England,” Ivy said, “and it might put you in mind of me.Of all of us, really.All of us who will be waiting here at home for you.”Sutton set the compass aside.“Actually there will be one less person waiting for me.Celia and I have just this moment decided to wed in January.She will be going to England with me.”Sutton smiled into Celia’s eyes, and his look warmed her heart.How had she been so lucky to have this man fall in love with her?Ivy frowned.“You’re getting married in the dead of winter? What will our friends say?”Celia laughed.“I hope they will say congratulations.”“It’s true that January is not the ideal time for a society wedding, nor for a honeymoon voyage,” Sutton said.“But Celia and I don’t want to be apart any longer.”Ivy fell back against the settee.“But, Celia, what about your dress? And—you simply can’t get married so soon!”“Of course we can.” Sutton grinned.“All we need is a ring and a minister.”Ivy got to her feet.“I think you’re both being very selfish.Uncle David will be terribly disappointed.”“Papa will be happy that I’m happy.” Celia clasped Sutton’s hand.“And all I want is to marry Sutton Mackay.”Ivy huffed out a noisy breath.“Well, all I can say is that this is surely a surprise.”Sutton rose and held out his hand to Celia.“Speaking of surprises, can you take another one today, darling?”“That depends.Is it a good one or a bad one?”“A good one, I hope.”“Then by all means tell me.”“Remember the night of our engagement, when I told you I was working on another surprise?”She nodded, thinking again of the bracelet.“I thought once I had guessed what it was, but I was mistaken.”“Come with me.”He crossed the foyer and went through the French doors and into the terrace, Celia and Ivy trailing in his wake.He crossed the garden to the toolshed, ducked inside, and emerged with a golden-haired, roly-poly puppy tucked under his arm.Celia gave a little cry of delight and held out her arms.“Is she mine?”“She’s a he.But yes, he’s yours.” Sutton handed her the pup, who looked up at Celia with adoring brown eyes and licked her face.Sutton laughed.“He loves you already.”“Everybody loves Celia.” Ivy reached over to scratch the puppy’s ears.Celia cradled the warm little body in her arms.“We should get him out of this cold.”They started back along the garden path toward the house.“How did you get him here without my knowing?” Celia asked Sutton.“I brought the little fellow over this morning, and Joseph agreed to look after him for me.” Sutton smiled down at the pup.“He’s a good boy.Aren’t you?”The dog’s tail thumped against Celia’s arm.She nuzzled his face, taking in the warm, milky puppy smell.“He’s beautiful.”“I remembered your letter about old Jack dying last year—how heartbroken you were over losing him.So I thought it was time you got a new companion.And I like the idea of your having someone around to protect you when I can’t be here.”“I thought I never wanted another dog after Jack.But now I’m so happy to have this little baby.” Celia stroked the puppy, and he snuggled against her and closed his eyes.“I’ll have to think of a name for him.”As they continued along the path, her skirt snagged on a low bush.She bent to free it and spotted a palm-size remnant of white fabric beneath the thick leaves.She retrieved it, thinking she had torn her petticoat without realizing it.Or perhaps Mrs.Maguire had.If it belonged to the housekeeper, Mrs.Maguire would insist on patching the tear.She didn’t believe in wasting perfectly serviceable linens any more than she believed in wasting lard and flour.Or words.Celia tucked the bit of cloth in to her pocket, and they returned to the house.Ivy gathered her purchases.“I should take these things up to my room [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]