The piping of a thrush rises high and pure and sweet in the pale winter sunlight as the last of the morning mist begins to dissolve. The chill breeze ruffles Anne’s black skirts as she stands leaning heavily on her stick. Her pale face is blank as she looks down on the raw turned earth, frozen clumps melting gently where the sun has touched them.
Charlotte arrives quietly, gliding delicately and almost soundlessly through the headstones- a skill polished through endless years of serving her husband’s tea in his study without disturbing him. Nonetheless, Anne looks up as she reaches the row of stones behind her. 
The faintest touch of colour touches her cheeks, a faint warmth to her bloodless lips as their eyes meet. The breeze whispers Anne’s silk skirts as Charlotte stops within arm’s reach of her, her square-chinned, plain-featured face quietly luminous. Anne closes her eyes on a momentary urge to bury her raw face in the soft, lavender-scented wool of her skirts. 
“Oh, Anne. My dear…”
Charlotte’s voice is soft and low, pitched for Anne’s ears alone, and Anne closes her eyes for a moment as her eyes for the first time sting with unshed tears. 
Instead, she turns her face blankly back to the grave-earth, and, without looking, slips one small cold hand out of her soft black muff and extends it out of her cloak. The relief she feels when it is enveloped by Charlotte’s larger warm one almost fells her, and she leans harder on her stick for a moment until her head clears. 
The two black-gowned figures, the tall, bonneted one standing protectively close tithe smaller black-veiled one, stand, hands clasped, looking down at the newly-covered grave as the sunrise slowly turns the world from grey to pink to a gentle blue. It is going to be a beautiful day. 
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