In a carriage on the way to Thorncliff Manor
“Do you suppose we’ll be arriving soon?” Rachel asked with an edge of impatience. “Before leaving the last posting inn, Mama assured me that it would only be another two hours, but according to my pocket watch it has already been one hundred and twenty-seven minutes. To be exact.”
Christopher gazed across at his younger sister. “I don’t believe Mama has ever visited Thorncliff before,” he said, referring to the Countess of Duncaster’s large estate, which she had turned into a guesthouse. He and his family would be spending the summer there. “This makes her estimate regarding the duration of this journey exactly that—an estimate.”
Rachel didn’t look pleased. “I wish everyone would appreciate the importance of precision as much as I do.”
“Cook does,” Laura said sweetly, directing Christopher’s attention to another sister. He had five in total. “I’m sure she would acknowledge the importance of accuracy. After all, there’s nothing worse than a cake with too much flour in it.”
“Do you have to encourage her?” Fiona asked. As the youngest of the Heartly siblings, she had never developed the sort of patience the rest of the brood possessed.
Christopher frowned, while Rachel’s face beamed with newfound pleasure as she latched onto Laura’s comment. “Life as we know it would be impossible without adhering to mathematical and scientific principles. Buildings would fall to the ground, dough would refuse to rise, your clothing would be ill-fitting . . . why, I could go on forever about the effect a lack of structure would have on us all.”
“Must you?” Fiona asked with an underlying note of dread.
“Why not distract yourself by contemplating the splendor of our destination?” Christopher suggested. As much as he loved Rachel, he had little desire to endure a prolonged lecture on Euclidean geometry or, God forbid, her recent study on the movement of slugs.
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