Prudence had been away much longer than planned and the extended absence was causing quite a temper in her sister. Once the newlyweds settled, letters started arriving regularly which told Temperance of all the happenings in Prudence’s life, of Paris, of her beautiful little shop, of a life that was quite happy and content despite the absence of her sister. The relief of having an address at which to respond to her sister’s letters was short-lived when Temperance realized what it meant. It was clear that a metamorphosis was taking place all those thousands of miles away, a metamorphosis which, Temperance knew was jeopardizing her detailed plans.
Though she spoke of nothing but well-wishes to any and all who inquired, on the inside her anger boiled. She could not understand why the couple was still abroad, especially given the special measures she had taken to insure a timely return. A hat store? A new social circle? What did those things offer that in any way trumped the love of a sister; of family? As far as Temperance was concerned, Prudence was just feeding her snobbery, an offense that would surely be punished by God. And Temperance’s suspicions were confirmed when Prudence began penning her updates in French, a language her spinster sister never could master. The feeling of exclusion only served to deepen Temperance’s bitterness, never mind what it did to her dislike for Henry.
Knowing that self pity was generally restricted to a party of one, Temperance decided that from lemons, one must always try to make lemonade. So, every time a new letter arrived, she channeled her upset into a new creation that was, in a way, a collaboration between she and her sister, for that was the way things should be.
It occurred to her that she could not save Prudence from herself and she most certainly could not save her from the impending punishment that is so often visited upon those who ruefully shirk their blessings. But she could be there to ease the inevitable pain of retribution. She could be the one to nurse Prudence to repentance. She could open her sister’s eyes to where her blessings truly lie! In fact, it was her mission to be the guiding hand that her sister so obviously needed. No measure was too great as long as it was in the name of doing what was best for her wayward sibling.
Now she needed only to figure out a way of bringing her sister back home. She knew it would have to be convincing; something beyond a claim of sickness or catastrophe. Though her sister no longer seemed to value her, she most certainly valued her thief of a husband. Perhaps that was the key? Clearly, the man refused to fall to a well-placed poison. He had a criminal constitution for sure. But if he was as bad as Temperance believed, then he must have made enemies in his dealings! Why didn’t she see it before? How could she have been so complacent! The time for a thorough investigation was upon her. She would pluck this giant thorn from her side and, in doing so, she would bring her sister home.