“And you have no clue why we’ve been summond, Mr Carson?” She asks as they take the stairs up.
“I do not. Perhaps His Lordship wishes to have another party." Mr Carson looks at her, raises an eyebrow.
"I’d have thought we’d run out of occassions by now." She rolls her eyes, slips through the door he holds open for her. "You don’t suppose there’s been word from Lady Edith?”
“I don’t think so." He says, eyebrows pulling together. "I’d think Anna or Miss Baxter would know if they had.”
“Poor thing. To go through all that and not have a soul to lean on."
"Now now Mrs Hughes, you mustn’t have favourites." She glares at his smug smile, wrinkles her nose at him.
"And if it were Lady Mary?”
“Ah, but it wouldn’t be, Mrs Hughes." She rolls her eyes again, stops by the door as he knocks.
"Of course not.”
They enter when bid and stand before His Lordship in the library, unconciously lining themselves up with the edge of the rug.
“You called for us, milord." Mr Carson says after a prolonged pause.
His Lordship coughs, straightens his jacket. "Yes, uh. Thank you Carson, Mrs Hughes." He hesitates again, looks like he wishes to pace. "Um, it seems, something has been brought to my attention, a rumour, and I’d like to hear the truth of it. From the two of you.” He adds, leans back with one hand on his desk and watches them.
They wait, but he says no more. Sharing a quick look, which only seems to have His Lordship redden, Mr Carson prompts; “Perhaps if you told us the rumour milord…”
“Of course, I was just getting to that. It seems, Mr Wilton saw you and Mrs Hughes looking at property in the village, Thursday afternoon.”
“Yes milord.” Mr Carson says, and she smiles and nods in agreement.
“Together." His Lordship adds, as though this would be news to them.
"Yes, my Lord. We both had a half day, you see." She says, wondering why their answers do not seem to be calming His Lordship, seem instead to be rather unsettling him. Surely he can’t object to them spending their free time in the village.
"So you admit it then.”
She shares another look with Mr Carson, confused at where His Lordship is taking this.
“Yes milord. Mrs Hughes and I were looking at a few cottages.”
“Well then. And your intentions, Carson?”
“To rent the property, milord until we retire." His Lordship shakes his head, waves a hand.
"Your intentions towards Mrs Hughes, Carson." Oh. Oh, that explains it. She hides a smile, fights hard not to laugh.
Reaches out and places a staying hand on Mr Carson’s arm. "It’s a business venture, My Lord. We’ve some savings and after Mrs Patmore used her inheritance on her own property, Mr Carson believes we might make a little money before we retire.”
“Right, of course." His Lordship looks relieved, she wonders though it if is the idea of them retiring or what retiring to a cottage together would mean that he has found so objectionable to think. "So you won’t be moving into the cottage then?" He checks.
She shakes her head, but Mr Carson answers before she can. "Not until we retire, milord, after we marry.”
She’s quite sure she doesn’t know whether she or His Lordship is more surprised by that. Mr Carson simply looks quite smug.