Annette Curtis Klause by The Silver Kiss

Annette Curtis Klause by The Silver Kiss

Author:The Silver Kiss
Format: epub
Published: 2013-07-01T16:00:00+00:00

10 Simon

Simon turned off the radio. No distractions now, he thought, no matter how much I like the music. Motorhead was abruptly silenced. He settled back on the couch next to Zoë and began his tale.

"I was born in a village outside Bristol—that's in the west of England. My father owned a fair amount of land, upon which he raised sheep, and he sold cloth locally. But he was ambitious." Simon saw Zoë sink into the cushions, relaxing into the tale.

"In those days Parliament ruled. The old king was dead, and the king-to-be still in exile. They were grim times, when the slightest hint of pleasure was condemned as sin. The maypole was cut down, and Christmas was forbidden except as a fast. This made life difficult for my mother, because she had a happy nature, and was fond of dance and song, but was forced to wear dark colors and keep a solemn look on her face in public. Yet in her own home she sang to her children at night, and the neighbors be damned. She had a merry laugh, and all who knew her said it was hard not to join her in a prank." Simon reached over the arm of the couch and stroked the picture frame gently as he talked. It was all he had left of her.

"My father's business was just starting to do well when I was an infant, so he commissioned this portrait to record his good fortune. It was shortly after this portrait was painted that Wulfram von Grab came into our lives." Simon's spine stiffened. He saw Zoë look at him curiously, and tried to relax.

"My father would always say that, whatever else the faults of puritan rule, the Lord Protector had opened up more chance of trade in Europe than any of the Stuart kings. Businessmen with political good sense were offered a golden opportunity to succeed, and my father took more and more trips to the city. On one of those trips he met von Grab. Von Grab said he could help my father take advantage of the thriving market for British broadcloth on the Continent, in return for a percentage, of course. Since he had contacts my father could benefit from, my father brought him home to discuss it further."

Simon saw the question on Zoë's face before she voiced it. How would he know all this? "Of course, I only heard of this when I was older, and in dribs and drabs, but I gathered enough to put the story together.

"Von Grab was a tall, pale man, with a mane of dark hair—rumored to be a frivolous wig—and darker eyes. He moved gracefully and punctuated his animated conversation with quick gestures of his long, elegant hands. He made himself a pleasant guest and won my mother over quickly with jokes and songs. He was, in turn, quite taken with my brother, Christopher.

"No matter how charming my parents found von Grab, the servants thought him odd. Whether this


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