"Where is he?" she cried. "Where is he?" and the sound of doors clicking shut echoed about her.
They were all cowards, her sisters, cook, the daily, all slipping out of sight, closing doors, hurrying down hallways. Not that it mattered; it was not them she sought. She caught her father's bedchamber doorknob, threw the door open, and drew some consolation from its crash against the wall. Her father sat in his wide four-poster, his nightshirt tied at the ruffled neck, his nightcap slipped forward over his eyebrows. He peered at her, his watery eyes wide with innocence.
"Sir, you have done it again," Amelia exclaimed, and tossed a snowstorm of billings across his counterpane. A loosened ribbon slid from her hair and fluttered unnoticed to the floor.
"Amelia, my dear," he said softly.
"Don't you dare 'Amelia dear' me! How could you do this to me?"
"What is it that I have done?" he asked.
"What? Begging your indulgence, sir, let me ask this! Did you touch the money box? And if not you, then, pray tell, who did? Are you accusing cook? Are you accusing the daily? The yardman? Dare you accuse one of your own daughters?"
"No, no, my dear, of course I would not."
"Then who took the money from the box?" Amelia's face flushed beneath the shadow of her unruly mass of dark curls. Her large blue eyes glittered. She chewed her lower lip, unknowingly deepening the dimple at her mouth's left corner.
The old man slid down into his pillows until Amelia could see nothing of him but his face, a wrinkled pink ball in a cloud of white cap, ruffles, and tatting- edged bed linens. He whispered, "I suppose I must have done, my dear."
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