The family gathering for Christmas lunch was over and too many people had heard and seen Millie’s “funny turn” for her to pretend that nothing had happened. “It’s my professional opinion,” Mr Rathbone, the Designated Tutor, explained, “that Mrs Wade is under the effects of a spell and has been since her formative years. The good news is that it appears to be protective in intent.”
It was Catheline who asked, “And the bad news?”
“Depends on exactly what the spell does.” The Designated Tutor shook his head. “If it’s been in place as long as I suspect, it will have helped shape her personality. Removing it might have no effect at all, or it could be like removing a load bearing wall in a building.”
“Why is that, young man?” Millie Wade was feeling snappy again.
“It seems to be amending the way you think, I’m not exactly sure how, which is why I think you need to see an expert. If your mind is a self–supporting structure, then well and good. If your mind is ‘leaning’ on the spell and then we remove it, well, it could get messy.”
“I could have some sort of breakdown, or go insane?” The older woman pursed her lips, considering.
“Essentially, yes. That’s why I’m not going to touch it. I don’t want to go blundering around in something as delicate as this could be. Besides,” he added, “just because you’re under a spell that doesn’t automatically mean it should be lifted. Do you have any older brothers or sisters who might remember what was going on at the time?”
“We hardly talk. You think they might know something?” She was all sharp attention.
“The spell seems to have been put on you with your parents’ consent. It is certainly possible that your siblings might know something about it.”
“Would they remember after all these years?” That was Catheline.
“Violet still brings up that I ate the last cupcake at a party when I was four,” said Millie. “She might. Caroline’s the eldest so it’s worth asking her. Jack always had his head in the clouds or down an anthill, but Dora might be worth a word too, she was always ferreting out things you didn’t necessarily want her to know.”
“I can make the calls in the morning,” offered Catheline.