Eden 47

Eden carefully opened the tube and drew out a heavy roll of paper.

“Look Pearl, see what Bette has sent you,” she told the little girl who was trying to coax a cat from beneath a chair.

Pearl left the animal in hiding and stepped to Eden’s side. Eden crouched to the little girl’s level and unrolled a bright watercolor.

“It’s Bette’s garden!” Pearl said, pointing to the middle of the picture. “There is the arbor.”

Eden recognized the view of the garden from the piazza of Eleanor’s house in Provence. Sophia and Eden had taken Pearl to Paris only a few weeks after the guardianship had been completed, and had stayed during much of the visit in the country house.

Pearl had loved the garden right away, and Eden had made many of her own sketches of the child and Bette, exploring the flowerbeds and collecting smooth stones from the paths.

“I’ll get this framed and we’ll put it up in the nursery, all right?” Eden smiled.

Mrs. Williams appeared in the doorway. “They’re here, Miss,” she said.

Eden put the picture down and took Pearl’s hand. Together they walked into the hall, dodging Jack, who was carrying a trunk up the stairs.

Before she even entered the parlor, Eden spied her mother, warming her hands by the hearth. Sophia was handing a shawl to Jenny. Joe, hands in pockets, was standing at the window, watching the carriage roll away to the stable.

Eden stepped into the room. Pearl hung behind her, holding onto her whole leg now, rather than just her hand.

Joe’s face broke out in a wide smile. “Eden,” her father said, and reached out to embrace her.

Eden looked back at Pearl. “Come on,” she said, “meet your grandpapa,” and lifted the little girl into Joe’s arms.




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