Horatio and Maria: The True Story
An Epic
by Jackie Pena

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Part 3

Chapter 20a

A couple of weeks passed. Maria was recovering nicely from her
injuries well enough for Horatio to take her for short walks around
the manor grounds on fair weather days for fresh air and sunshine.

Archie was doing well with the shipping business. Bridget was proud
of him and asked him to be more involved in it. He was recently
successful in buying fine imported wines from Italy at a good price.

Bridget was still teaching until Maria makes a full recovery. Every
day after school, she brings Maria up to date with what the children
are learning, and Maria helps her with grading papers.

One day Archie and Bridget were taking a stroll in the manor gardens.
The weather was unusually warm for mid-March.

"The gardens are going to be so beautiful this year." Bridget
said. "Mr. Collins takes such good care of them."

"My love, I am planning to write a letter to Mr. Bush. Is it alright
if I ask him to visit here?"

"Yes of course! He may stay in the cottage with you and Horatio."

"Thank you my sweet."

"Have you heard from your dear mother? Is her health improving?"

"Yes, I have. She has her good and bad days. She is anxiously looking
forward for a visit from us after we are married."

"Your mother is such a dear woman. I still remember how sweet she was
to me when I was a child. I wish she were well enough to see us be
married."

"I agree my sweet darling."

"Will your father come and visit?" She asked.

Archie looked down on the ground and let out a soft sigh. "I doubt
it. Father is too busy to visit his third son, even for our own
wedding."

Bridget gave him a sympethic look.

Archie looked around to see if there was anyone else but them.

"May I steal a kiss from you?" He asked with a sly smile.

Bridget giggled. "Yes you may sir."

He gently lifted her chin to bring his lips to hers.

"Your lips are sweeter than honey my redhead."

She blushed. "Thank you, it is because I am deeply in love with a
handsome Leftanant from the Royal Navy."

Archie gave her a sly grin. "Oh really? Who is the lucky fellow? Do I
know him?"

They both chuckled. "Oh Archie, you are so silly!"

They continued walking and Archie noticed a young man working at the
stables who he had never seen before. When the man turned around
towards Archie and Bridget to greet them, Archie froze in his tracks
and turned ashen.

"Archie, what is the matter?"

He did not answer.

"Archie, what is it? Are you unwell?"

Archie's breathing became rapid and his face was flushed. He was wide
eyed and speechless.

**That man, he thought to himself. It could not be! He's dead. Is he
a ghost?**

Archie started to back away. Bridget was still puzzled at his sudden
behavior.

"Archie, what is the matter? You are making me frightened! Please say
something my love!"

The stable help reminded him of someone. Someone who made his life a
living hell. He was staring at the spitting image of Jack Simpson.


To be continued.....