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The Moon for Lavinia

The Moon for Lavinia

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Published by kavimini

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Published by: kavimini on Mar 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Moon for Lavinia
Page 1 of 812/24/2010file://C:\Users\Amanda\Desktop\ebooks\Betty_Neels\Betty Neels - The Moon for Lavinia\...
 Betty Neels
 An offer she couldn't refuse...a nursing job in Holland was the only way Lavinia Hawkings could ensurea home and security for herself and her young sister Peta. Yet within weeks of arriving she was marriedto the devastating Professor Radmer ter Bavinck! Radmer had assured Lavinia that the marriage wouldbe on a friendly basis only--he needed a kind stepmother for his daughter and a competent housekeeper to run his home. It seemed to be the ideal arrangement-- for everyone except Lavinia!
 IT WAS QUIET now that the day's lists were over; the operating theatre, gleaming with near-sterilecleanliness and no longer lighted by its great shadowless lamp, looked a very different place from thehive of ordered activity it had been since early morning, for now the surgeons and anaesthetists hadgone, as well as Theatre Sister and most of her staff; indeed, the department held but one occupant, anurse sitting on a stool in front of one of the trolleys, sorting instruments with swift precision.She was a small, neat person, a little plump, and with a face which was neither plain nor pretty, althoughwhen she laughed her hazel eyes widened and twinkled and her too large mouth curved charmingly. Itwas a pity that she laughed all too seldom, and now, deep in thought as she worked, she looked rather onthe plain side and sad with it. She finished her task, tidied everything away neatly and began a finalinspection of the theatre before she went off duty. It was a Sunday evening, and for some reason onestaff nurse was considered sufficient to be on duty after six o'clock; presumably on the principle that itbeing a Sunday, people would be less prone to require emergency surgery, and for once this had beenproved right; the evening hours, spent in doing the necessary chores had been too quiet, so that LaviniaHawkins had had time to think, which was a pity, for she had nothing pleasant to think about.She went along to take off her gown, threw it into the laundry bin, and then sat down again, this time onthe only chair the changing room possessed. The June sun, still warm and bright, streamed in throughthe window, and she could hear, very faintly, the subdued hum of the London evening traffic, most of itreturning from an outing to the sea. It would have been a perfect day for them, thought Lavinia withoutenvy, although she wasn't very happy herself; it was a good thing that she was going to Aunt Gwyneth'sin two days' time and would have the chance to talk to Peta, her young sister-perhaps they would be ableto plan something. Quite forgetful of the time, she took Peta's letter from her pocket and read it oncemore.Peta was dreadfully unhappy; when their mother had died, more than a year ago now, and AuntGwyneth had offered her a home, Lavinia had been gratefull for her help. There was no money, thePage 2 of 812/24/2010file://C:\Users\Amanda\Desktop\ebooks\Betty_Neels\Betty Neels - The Moon for Lavinia\...
annuity her mother had lived upon died with her; her father had died a number of years earlier, andalthough she herself had been self-supporting and had even been able to help out with Peta's school fees,her sister's education had been at a stage when to make changes in it would have been nothing short of criminal. For one thing, Peta was clever and working for her 0 levels, and for another, Lavinia was onlytoo well aware that a sound education for her sister was essential if she was to be self-supporting too, sothat when her mother died Lavinia accepted her aunt's offer with an eager gratitude which she had sincecome to regret.It hadn't worked out at all. Aunt Gwyneth was a widow and comfortably off, living in a large house onthe outskirts of Cuckfield which was run by a highly efficient housekeeper, leaving her free to indulgeher passion for bridge and committee meetings. Lavinia had honestly thought that she would be glad tohave Peta to live with her; she had no children of her own and Peta was a darling, pretty and sweet-tempered and anxious to please. It was after she had been at Cuckfield for several months that Laviniabegan to sense that something was wrong, but it had taken her a long time to persuade Peta to tell her what was amiss and when, at last, she had got her to talk about it it was to discover that it wasn't just thenatural unhappiness she felt at the loss of her mother-life wasn't fun, she confided to Lavinia; her aunthad discovered that having a teenager in the house had its drawbacks. True, Peta was at school all day,but at the week-ends and during the holidays she was made to feel a nuisance, and whenever shesuggested that she might spend a few days with Lavinia, there were always good reasons why sheshouldn't...Lavinia, her arm round her sister's slim shoulders, had frowned. `Darling, you should have told me,' shehad said. `I could have spoken to Aunt Gwyneth,' but even as she uttered the words she had known thatit wasn't going to be as easy as all that. Peta was due to take her 0 levels in a week or two's time, and theplan had been for her to stay on at school and try for her A levels in a couple of years. Even if Laviniahad had a flat of her own, which she hadn't, it would still be difficult, for there would still be thequestion of where Peta should go to school and how would she ever afford the fees? `Look,' she hadadvised, could you hang on for another year or two, love just until you've got those A levels? I'm to haveSister Drew's job when she retires, and that's less than a year now; I'll save every penny I can and find aflat.'And Peta had agreed. That had been barely a week ago, and now here was her letter, begging Lavinia totake her away from Aunt Gwyneth, promising incoherently to stay until the exam results were out, if only she would take her away... Lavinia folded the letter up once more and put it in her pocket. She hada headache from worrying about what was to be done, for whatever it was, it would have to be donequickly, and at the moment she had no ideas at all. She went down to supper, turning over in her mind avariety of ideas, none of which, unfortunately, stood up to close scrutiny.Most of her friends were already in the canteen, queueing for baked beans on toast and cups of tea. Theyshared a table, making the beans last as long as possible while they discussed the day's work. It was asthey lingered over the last dregs of their tea that Shirley Thompson from Women's Surgical declaredherself to be completely fed up with that ward, its Sister, the patients, and indeed the whole hospital.`I'm sick of Jerrold's,' she declared.`I'm going to look for another job. I've got the Nursing Mirror in my room, let's go and make a pot of teaand find me a new job.'No one quite believed her; for one thing, she was going steady with one of the house surgeons; and for another, she made this same announcement every few months, but it was too soon for bed and therewasn't much else to do; they trooped from the canteen and across to the Nurses' Home, where theycrowded into the Sisters' lift, strictly forbidden, but no one was likely to see them on a Sunday evening,Page 3 of 812/24/2010file://C:\Users\Amanda\Desktop\ebooks\Betty_Neels\Betty Neels - The Moon for Lavinia\...

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