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Chapter 29: Facade of the Marquess and Reality of the Father
Takes place after Julianna decrypts Elizabeth’s diary and flees home.
“Ah, you say Anna stormed out of the mansion!?”
“That’s what I’ve heard from Howard.”
“Why was she not stopped, Steward!?”
“Even if you asked me that, there was nothing much we could do — According to Howard, Lady Julianna had been sporting an expression of terrible despair… thus it was decided that the young lady be allowed to do as she wished for the time being.”
“It’s dangerous for adorable Anna to be outdoors! She’ll be kidnapped!”
“We have bodyguards tailing her closely. Above all, Lady Julianna is clever and brilliant, so she certainly won’t cause the bodyguards any trouble either. She has likely taken after Lady Elizabeth, not you, which is truly a joyous thing.”
“Sigh… If you’re going to put on such a shameful display when your daughter is absent, how about facing up to her properly instead? Although it’s also been getting slightly harder to obtain information on the matter of House Macmillan’s spy, it’s not as if we’ve exhausted our options. Furthermore, this time’s incident is completely the Master’s fault. Reacting in that way despite Lady Julianna going to the effort of writing a birthday card…”
“Jacob was present at that time…”
“Even so, there had to have been a better way of going about it. Master, this isn’t something you can be forgiven for by blaming it on your tactlessness. It’s a miracle that Lady Julianna has grown up to become such a wonderful lady.”
I ran my hand over the birthday card that I had received from Julianna.
Neat and beautiful writing. At what point had that child become capable of writing as tidily as this?
Her curtsy had also been perfect, devoid of the awkwardness of the past.
She had grown up into a lady that, as a member of House Lewis, I could be proud of… Yet I hadn’t been privy to that growth.
“Even though he used to have such a weak constitution, it seems Vincent has gotten good grades in military school. And Julianna, too, is growing up into a fine lady.”
“Naturally. The two of them are House Lewis’ pride and joy, you know. They have both learned the languages of the neighboring countries, and their etiquette is flawless. Frankly speaking, they’re more brilliant than Master was at their age.”
“You… You’re merciless, Steward.”
“I may be your butler, but I’m also your foster brother… Hence, there is no need to hold back.”
“And that makes things easier for me. I’m glad that you and Grace are around.”
It was precisely because Grace and Steward, whom I’d known since childhood, were with me that I could stand firmly as Marquess Lewis. The two of them continued to support my pathetic self, even as they protected my beloved children where I was unable to do so… What could be more reassuring than that?
“For your information, Grace is beside herself about this incident. She was the one who had proposed the idea of writing a birthday card, after all… There’ll be a talking-to in store for you, no doubt.”
“Urgh… I’ll just resign myself to that fate.”
I had caused Julianna — my beloved daughter — to shoulder many heavy burdens.
I was well aware that I, who was often called the flawless and cool-headed Prime Minister, was the absolute worst sort of father.
I couldn’t wrap them up in my arms even though I desperately wanted to.
If House Macmillan was to find out that I loved those children, they would pounce on them without hesitation despite their innocence, with the mindset that they could be useful in the future.
As Steward had mentioned, it was possible to evict House Macmillan’s spies from House Lewis.
But even more capable spies would be sent in in lieu of that, which would heighten the probability of exposing the children to danger.
I wished to avoid that at all costs, because my act of scorning House Macmillan had already caused Karen’s death and put my children in peril.
“Also, the Lady and Young Master aren’t the sort of children that will allow themselves to always be protected by Master. That’s because as young as they are now, they are still a part of House Lewis. Master’s protection will no longer be necessary in the near future… You sent the Young Master Lady Karen’s letter because you thought the same, did you not?”
“Well. If he’s able to polish up his grades in military school, he’ll probably grow into someone capable of protecting this family from now on, even if it proves impossible now.”
“But you’re overprotective of Lady Julianna, Master. I’m telling you now, but appearance isn’t the only aspect in which Lady Julianna perfectly resembles Lady Elizabeth.”
“Their personalities may differ, but Lady Julianna is not the type of lady who will be content with merely being protected. On the contrary, she’s more likely to gleefully throw herself onto the proverbial battlefield.”
“As opposed to Elizabeth whose constitution was weak which forced her to tearfully limit her actions, Anna’s health is sound! If she were to get caught up in something dangerous… I have to rethink Anna’s security precautions…”
“I’d say it’s a little too late for that. That crotchety Howard also seems to have been helping Lady Julianna out with all sorts of matters. Lady Julianna is rather attached to him as well.”
“That sly Howard is getting along well with Anna!? Even though I want to get along with Anna too…”
“This is why dads are… if that’s what you wish, you’ll have to execute your revenge as soon as possible.”
Lifeless knocks reverberated throughout the office.
“Master, it’s Jacob.”
Steward promptly reverted back to the calm and collected butler he usually was and opened the door.
Elizabeth and Karen, who had placed their lives on the line to protect those children.
My greatest confidante and my most beloved person.
If my two wives were to see me now, they would probably chew me out.
However, if it protected those children, I would continue to don this mask.
Up until the day we achieved our revenge—
Thank you for all the bookmarks and comments.
When I checked in on them for the first time in a long while, I was shocked to see how much they have increased.
It’s a title I wrote while thinking that it’s probably not catered to general audiences, so I’m happy that it’s been seen by an unexpectedly large number of people.
The reason Gerald refers to Julianna (secretly) as “Anna” but doesn’t address Vincent by a pet name is because of that characteristic specific to dads — being firm with their sons but having a soft spot for their daughters (lol)
With this, the flashback arc has come to an end.
Because this chapter was quite the struggle to write, I’ve actually written out some of the next chapters ahead of time.
As such, there’ll be continuous updates, albeit just for the next few days.
Please look forward to it.