They had been in Boston for little more than a week, but their passage to Liverpool was already booked.
“Paris?” Mrs. Abington said with a worried frown.
“Yes, Mother,” Sophia said evenly.
But Mrs. Abington turned to her husband, in silent expectation.
Mr. Abington looked at Eden. “Your painting career demands your presence in France, I suppose?”
Eden put down her spoon. “Well, ‘demands’…”
“Yes,” Sophia cut in. “Eden’s work is already quite promising. It has been selling in Europe—all the painting she did in Arizona—and she needs to be in Paris.”
“Dear child,” Mr. Abington turned to his daughter. “However true that may be—however commendable Miss Smith’s work—your own ambitions require you to be in Boston, do they not?”
Sophia shifted her weight and took a breath. “I have decided not to…” Sophia lost her courage.
But Eden broke in. “She will continue her studies at the Ecole Medicine in Paris and take a medical degree there.”
Sophia turned to Eden in confusion, “You know I can’t afford that.”
“Never mind the expense, Sophie.” Eden spoke as if Sophia’s parents weren’t there. She nearly reached out to take Sophia’s hand before she remembered they were. She stopped herself and brought her own hands together instead, and nervously twisted the ring she had finally agreed to take from Eleanor.
“I have some money—enough for two to live on as well as to pay Sophia’s fees at the medical school. It is only on the condition that the Ecole Medicine accepts her as a student that we will stay on in Paris.” Eden smiled at Sophia. “But I am certain they will.”
Mrs. Abington spoke at last. “You accept such dependence on Miss Smith, Sophia?”
Sophia looked at Eden. “I don’t know.”
There was silence for a moment.
“Perhaps it would be best to talk of this again in a few days,” Mr. Abington announced. He picked up a fork and gave his attention to his meal, and the others quietly followed his example.