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Ellie and I must run.
Mr. Green left it in terrible condition."
"Have you been up to the attic?" she asked eagerly. "Many of these older homes have quite a bit of furniture and so on in the attics, in case you need a few more pieces."
"Yes, we went up to the attic this morning and there is quite a bit of furniture and such up there. We haven't had a chance to sort it all out yet," Virginia said, noticing the woman's odd excitement about the attic. For some reason she didn't want to mention the hidden stairway.
"You...you did? This morning?" she asked, seeming flustered. Recovering herself, she said, "Well, that's wonderful. I hope you're able to fill the place out nicely." She seemed momentarily distracted but then continued on. "You must come to dinner at my brother's house. In two weeks time we're having a dinner party with some of the other land owners in the area and I insist that you come. I won't take no for an answer."
"That's very kind of you Miss Ogilvy. We would be delighted," Virginia replied.
"Wonderful! Well, I shan't take up any more of your time and I really must continue my errands," Doris said, gathering her shawl and moving towards the door. She suddenly seemed in a hurry to leave. "I'll drop by next week with directions to our farm. Good afternoon." She practically ran to her carriage and climbed in.
Billy and Virginia stood on the front porch watching the dust caused by her departure. "Well that was rather odd," Virginia said.
"Ginny, how can we go to a fancy dinner party? I don't have a suit! And if I'm not mistaken you don't have an appropriate gown either," Billy said with despair.
"Well, then we just have to go into town and buy you a suit then. How about we go tomorrow? And as for a gown for myself, I'll need that sewing room sooner than I thought," she said brightly. She loved Billy's company but she longed to be around other people too. A trip into town would be very pleasant.
That afternoon they carried one of the carpets into the ballroom and rolled it out to take a good look at it. It was a beautiful Indian carpet that would be perfect for the music room. As it finished rolling out, a large sheaf of papers appeared. They both stared at them. Billy went over and picked up the roll and laid them out on the floor.
"These look like the plans of the house and grounds Ginny," he said. He found the one of the second floor of the house and laid it out. The hidden staircase was clearly marked. "Now, why couldn't these have been left down here?" he asked with a smile.
The next morning Virginia sat next to Billy in the front of the cart as they went into town. They quickly located the tailor and ordered Billy his first formal suit.
"Let's go to the mercantile Billy. There are few things we need for the house," Virginia said as they stepped out into the sunlight.
The bell jingled merrily as they stepped into the crowded store. Virginia loved the mercantile store. They sold almost anything you could imagine. She was browsing amongst the gloves and bonnets, when one in particular caught her eye. It was a beautiful green velvet with ornate decorations and wide satin ribbons. It reminded her of the one she had bought shortly before running away from Liverpool. She put it on her head and tied the ribbons beneath her chin. "Billy, what do you think?" she asked.
When she didn't receive a response she looked up at him. She gave him a nudge and asked again. He was staring, transfixed, at the front counter. When she turned to see what was holding his attention, she couldn't help but giggle. Behind the counter was lovely young woman. She was about eighteen years old with golden blonde hair and big blue eyes. She had a slim figure and when she smiled at the customer she was tending to, two charming dimples appeared in her rosy cheeks. Virginia could see from the look in Billy's eyes that he was utterly enchanted.
"Billy," she sang quietly to him, giving him a shake.
"Ginny, have you ever see