Lola relented somewhat and agreed to allow one of her best surgeons to fix the damage to Lulu and arranged to have her dispatched to Spain to recover well out of harm’s way.

Branwell sat in a nearby park feeding the ducks in the pond and contemplated his future; a thousand guineas was a lot of money-more than enough to buy Miss Bunty a ring, but he knew in his heart that Miss Bunty was a Lady, and something called a Right Honourable and he didn’t think that he a humble gardener and groom was good enough for her. He had no real prospects and she might think he was after her money.

He weighed the bag of coins in his hand and remembered that there was a nice plot for sale near Ricketts with his newly acquired wealth, he could buy the land, build a anw house and set himself up in business as a florist. What woman could resist that?

Lola booked them both on  a very long cruise on a first class boat called the Empress of Britain which would take them to New York with plenty of stops on the way. They were to fly to Liverpool, the setting of an earlier adventure with the Creature and the button silo.She arranged an overhaul of Bunty’s wardrobe now that she had slimmed down so much, but as her appetite was coming back she also provided a supply of heavy-duty foundation undergarments.

As she was making her inventory, a rather timid Branwell knocked on her office door.

“Excuse me Miss, ” he said quietly, “you being a business lady n’all, I was hoping that you could advise me to what to do with this money that I won.”

Lola looked at him in surprise; she had thought he would spend it on Begonias or something, or bet it on a horse.

“Well Branwell, it’s your money, but I would invest it if I were you, property and land always make a return, and I’ve made a fortune in the hotel trade.” she replied.

“Right then Miss, that’s what I was hoping to hear, there’s a nice plot of land with a sea view, running water in the form of a brook with access to the road, which I’ve got my eye on near Ricketts which I mean to buy.” said Branwell.

“That’s very nice; it sounds like it’s ripe for the development and has the “Wow factor”, now run along little man, I’m sure there’s something that you should be pruning or grooming. Miss Bunty and I are going away for a few months on a big boat on our hols, so you will have to go away.” said Lola.

Thus dismissed a crestfallen Branwell scuttled back to his room to pack.

After saying goodbye to a heavily bandaged Lulu, Bunty went to her room and went through the new clothes that Lola had provided; they were the latest Paris fashions, and although not as extravagant as the outfits favoured by Lola, there were some very stylish pieces. She looked askance at the foundation under garments and had a sudden flash back to her time with the Major and the first time she had caught him wearing women’s under wear.


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