The Edinburgh Grail

About the author

John Bottrill Ph.D. is a former professor - author of learned papers in Psychology and several books.

Apart from writing and genealogical research, he enjoys renovating houses, furniture and paintings.  He currently lives in Spain with his partner and a naughty cat, called Porage.
Information about living in Spain can be found at

Historical information about the Boterel family (the original spelling!) can be found at and

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or distributed without permission, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.

©2013 Copyright John Bottrill



          Now what had she done?  The whole class was looking at her.  Clarissa had been staring out of the window, while old Miss Binns droned on about coincidence in Thomas Hardy’s novels – a background buzz.  As if Clarissa’s life were one of Hardy’s novels, coincidence then found its way into her life too.  A girl had entered, bearing a note.  Irritated at being interrupted while in full flow, Miss Binns had kept her waiting.  Eventually, having read the note, she had pursed her lips and spat out, “Clarissa - my compliments to Miss Jennings.  It seems she wants to see you.  Clarissa, Clarissa!”

Suddenly jolted out of her reverie, Clarissa’s mind whirled.  What could the old bat want?  “Yes, Miss Binns?”

          “To Miss Jennings – immediately!”

          “Yes, ma’am.”

          In not too much of a hurry - she might as well enjoy this unexpected break - she made her way down the main stairs, normally off bounds to the pupils.  The sun streamed through the huge stained-glass window where the stairs divided, staining the carpet and carved balustrade red, blue, green.  She tapped on the polished, mahogany door – the remains of a once-living tree,

          "Come in!” 

 “You sent for me, Ma’am.”

“Ah, Clarissa."   The headmistress glanced up at the fair-haired girl entering her study.   "I'll be with you in a minute", and she returned to the letter she was reading.   "This is from your mother, lady Lockerbie."   Her mouth pursed slightly.

          The girl's face lit up.   "Oh yes?"

          "Yes.   You're no doubt wondering why it wasn't given out to you this morning.   Mother Superior read it as usual, and it was passed on to me as requiring special attention."   She went on reading, and the girl shifted in embarrassment.   What could  have said to warrant this special treatment?   Last time she'd been called to the head's study had been the previous summer when her flirtation with one of the village lads had been discovered. 

          She sat, waiting, on the edge of the faded green sofa.  In her first interview, an unusually expansive head had confided to her and her mother, “I had it put in specially - the seat slopes backward.  Many parents sit back when I give them tea, and then find it difficult to get out.  They end up making swimming motions trying.  Ho, ho, ho.”

          Always wary of strange sofas, her mother had smiled slightly having avoided the trap, and stood up to go.  An inexperienced Clarissa had waved her arms about making swimming motions, and slid forward.  Miss Jennings had nodded approvingly – the mother a worthy opponent, the girl put in her place.

           She jolted again back to the present.  "It seems that your mother wishes to see you as soon as possible - she doesn't say why.   Very inconvenient in the middle of term, and so near your 'A' levels.   As you know, I disapprove of your mother's lifestyle," her lips pursed again.   "Nevertheless, it would have been more convenient had she come here instead."

          "Perhaps she has important engagements that prevent her, ma'am."

          "No doubt," drily.   The headmistress scrutinised her pupil.   How long had she been here - five years?   Who would have thought that sullen, bespectacled child would have developed into such a flower?   No wonder there'd been trouble in the village.   She evidently took after her mother.   And now this request from London.   Heaven knew what the girl would get up to in a few days there.   And just when she should be cramming hard for her A levels.

          Still, the head admitted to herself, the girl had proved a good scholar - erratic, but good if firmly guided.  Steepling her fingers, she recalled past escapades....... the time when Clarissa had been detected teaching herself German - just before her 'O' levels of course.   And the time she'd experimented with injecting flowers in the school grounds with ink - where had she got the syringe?   And the time she's experimented with nitrogen tri-iodide.   It had got all over the classroom floor and crackled alarmingly at every step.   Her teacher had been furious.  Miss Jennings smiled to herself - she'd enjoyed that interview.

          She brought her thoughts firmly back to the present.   Should she refuse the request?   No question with a younger or sillier girl, but it would be hard to refuse that blue-eyed, level gaze waiting patiently for her decision.   No, she'd seen little enough of her mother over the years, not even the holidays.   And she was surely reliable enough.   How old was she now - eighteen?

          "Well, Clarissa, you may go to London, but only for three days.   I'll let you know the arrangements.   Would you like me to find someone to go with you?"

          "Oh no, ma'am, I'll be all right on my own."

          "Very well then."   Relief showed on both faces.   "But make sure you're back by Sunday.   You must impress on your mother how unwise it is to disrupt your schedule at this juncture."

          "Oh, I will, ma'am.   I do hope nothing's wrong."

          "Mmph.   Well, here's your letter.   You'd better get back to your lesson.   What is it?"

          "Double English, ma'am."

          "Yes, well, my compliments to Miss Binns.   You may go."

          Outwardly decorously, Clarissa wended her way back to the classroom.   But inside, she hugged herself in delight.   Three days away from prison......... three days with her beloved mother.   And tea at the Ritz, and the theatre, and shopping, and Uncle Tony......... was it still Tony?    She couldn't quite remember.   Who cared?   What on earth could she wear?   Everything she had here was so frumpy.   Shopping!   Her face lit up, and she later recalled nothing of the rest of the lesson.

* * *

          The London train pulled into Norwich.   Unfamiliar with the journey, Clarissa had misjudged the position of the first class carriages and had had to run down the platform, her bulging briefcase banging against her legs.   Ah, this one would do.   Oh bother, there was someone in it.   Well, no time now to find another.   She'd intended to change her ghastly uniform in the ladies room for something more becoming.   But she couldn't help being aware that the ‘something more becoming’, squashed into the briefcase, would be less becoming every minute.

In the corner seat, Clarissa watched the scenery rush past, and lost herself in a reverie.  What could that dream about her brother mean?  Why did she keep having it?  She had no brother, or could there be something her mother hadn’t told her?  There was so much about her mother’s life she didn’t know.  She resolved to quiz her about it at the first opportunity, whenever that might be.  She became aware that that old freak in the corner was smiling at her.  He'd obviously spotted her as a schoolgirl.   Dare she change clothes now?            Schoolgirls didn't normally change clothes between stations, even in the loo.   Still, there was nothing else for it.   She moved toward the corridor door, which the elderly gentleman held open for her with a smile.   He seemed familiar somehow, his eyes as blue as her own.   She hoped he wouldn't become too familiar.  Well, she could solve that problem.  She threw him an apologetic smile, and went off to the loo to change.

          The organza wasn't quite as bad as she'd feared - better than the uniform at any rate.   She applied what little make-up she had as best she could.   Why didn't they teach useful things at school?   The blond and wavy hair, fluffed up, would have to do.   All in all, the image in the glass didn't look too bad.

          She would have passed the compartment door in search of another, but the old gentleman was there holding it open again.   She felt trapped, but there hadn’t been much room in any other compartment anyway.  She sat down at the other end of the carriage, and stared pointedly out of the window.  Silence reigned for at least two minutes before he suddenly gasped and sat looking at her with his mouth open.   In an attempt to make amends for the solecism, he muttered something inaudible.

          'Prole', she thought.

          He stared at her openly.   She affected not to notice, but began to get irritated.   Did they never give up?   "Haven't we met before?" he ventured.

          'Ye gods, how corny can you get?' she wondered.   The school hadn't taught her how to avoid unwanted attention, though she’d had some experience at the school dances when the boys’ school came over.  God, those dances!  She’d rather subscribed to Oscar Wilde's idea - the only thing worse than unwanted attention was no unwanted attention, though there were limits.   Anyway, she'd learned a thing or two about dealing with the village boys, not to mention Old Bull, the sports mistress.

          "I hardly think so," she murmured frigidly.

          Wrong move.   Affecting not to be able to hear well, he got up and sat down opposite her.   What to do?   She didn't look up - where was the communication cord?   A past master at pick-ups, the old gentleman moved in for the kill.   Muttering quietly so she'd have to lean forward to hear him, he put out his hand to touch her knee.

          She gave him a sudden, freezing, ice-blue glare.   The old gentleman recoiled in shock, searching her face intently.   "Bless my soul!   It can't be.   Clarissa?   Clarissa Brent?"

          Distinctly at a disadvantage, Clarissa froze.   He evidently knew her, though she didn't remember him.   And he'd witnessed the change of clothes.   She blushed involuntarily, looking even lovelier.   But the old gentleman was no longer on the make.   He looked concerned.   "It is Clarissa, isn't it?"

          She nodded, unwilling to vouchsafe further information.

          "I'm Uncle Freddie.   Don't you remember........ Cowes....... the yacht?"

          Suddenly it all came back.   Yes, Freddie - she'd liked him.   "Yes, now I remember you.   But........ it was all years ago.   How are you?   What have you been doing all this time?"   Safe now, impulsively she reached out and squeezed his hand.

          "Ah, that's a long story.   Last time I saw you, you were a dimpled charmer of twelve.   But since your  Mama and I went our separate ways, I've seen nothing of you.   Nor heard, for that matter."

          "Oh, I was packed off to school - spent the last five years there, including the holidays."   She fought to quell a moment of resentment.   " Mama does come down sometimes.   Not often enough for me, though."

          "My dear girl!"

          "It's partly the school's fault.   They've made it clear they disapprove of her lifestyle - she'll upset the other girls!   After all, she's not exactly low profile.   So she doesn't come."   Clarissa sounded bitter.

          "How dreadful!   How do you cope?   Do you never get away?"

          "The school does have the usual educational trips - to broaden one's education, don't you know.   And I'm never alone, even in the holidays.   Sometimes parents are busy - otherwise engaged, they call it and they leave their daughters in the care of the nuns..   And there are several foreigners who have nowhere to go."

          "But surely your mother's not that busy.   She adores you, I know."

          "Adoration's all very well, but it's often a substitute for love.   I read that somewhere.   The captain of hockey adores me too, she says - too boring.   No, I don't blame Mama.   But when she took up with Nicky Lothian, he demanded all her time.

          "Mm, yes - he would."   A wry smile.

          "Do you know him?"

          "Rather.   We were in the guards together."

          "Really!   You seem much........," she didn't quite know how to put it.   "That is, I wouldn't have placed you as contemporaries."

          "We are though.   I'm afraid I've been burning the candle too much at both ends."

          Remembering his earlier intentions, "Mm."

          "Touché," he laughed easily.

          Clarissa began to feel more relaxed.   "I suppose, if you're a society beauty, it can't be much fun toting a plain, gangly teenager around."

          He laughed again.   "Come off it.   You're neither plain nor gangly, as you well know.   In fact you may well go on to outshine even your Mama.

          Clarissa dimpled - this was the response she'd wanted.   Oh yes, she could handle men.

          "And now what, young lady?   What's this trip to London?"

          Her face lit up.   "Mama's sent for me.   I can't think why - she's never done it before.   I'm going to stay for three days, then back to school for 'A' levels."

          "In that frock?"

          "Don't you dare say a word about that.   It's all I've got at school.   I can't very well go around London in uniform, can I?"

          "I think perhaps we'd better go to Harrods first, don't you?   It's all right - I have an account there."

          She flashed a smile of such impact that momentarily he was knocked off balance.   Perhaps there could still.........   No, such fruit was not for him, delectable though it was.   Instead, he patted her hand avuncularly.

* * *

          Meanwhile in London her mother, Viscountess Lockerbie, was also having trouble with a man – her latest.   Sebastian was in a foul mood, dragooned into rising early to meet 'the brat', as he called her.   Over a glass of Yquem, she eyed him slumped on the sofa.   From experience she knew nothing she could do would bring him out of it.   Sighing inwardly, she wished that her years of experience had left her better able to deal with the awkward ones.   How would he behave?   How would her beloved Clarissa react with no experience of men at all?

          Perhaps Sebastian, handsome and amusing though he was, had had his day.   For a moment, she allowed herself to contemplate some alternatives.   No, this wouldn't do.   She wouldn't think about that today:  she'd think about that tomorrow, or perhaps next week.   The rest of this one would be taken up spending time with her daughter.

          Pity about Sebastian.   He had such a talent for pleasing her - more than Alasdair, Tony, or any of the others.   She really couldn't keep track of them all.   Anyway, she didn't want to.   She thought of herself as a unique butterfly sipping from each flower in turn, and each a new Spring - unlike herself unfortunately.

          "The brat's late, ain't she, Sarah?"  Sebastian interrupted her reverie.

          "It's a woman's privilege, dear.   Besides, she has to find her way here, and she's not used to London.   I've always kept her away so as not to intrude on you."

          "Don't see why she has to appear now.   Damned inconvenient."

          She sighed softly.   Slumped on the sofa like a dozing cat, his red-gold hair rumpled and his shirt open, his sheer animal attraction threatened to overwhelm her.   And for all that, there was also a certain helplessness - rather like a boy with an injury.   Did she really want it to end?   She felt desire beginning to have its usual effect.   'No, Sarah - not now.'   Evoking old nurse's favourite admonition still had the power to bring her down to earth.

          She sighed again.   "You know why.   She finishes school this term, and we must now look to her future."

          "We?   She's your brat."   Then feeling perhaps a bit remorseful, "I mean to say, I'll help if I can, but what have I to do with it?   We've never even met.   And there's Ascot and Cowes coming up."

          "She can hardly appear there with us.   After all, she's not even out.   Besides, I promised you that, while we're together, I'd keep her out of your way."   She thought she'd slip that in to test the waters.

          "Are we to end then?"

          She felt a twinge of regret.   It meant that the thought had crossed his mind too, or he wouldn't have said it.   She shrugged.   "If you feel we should.   I hadn't realised you wanted to."  

          Somehow she'd always hated putting an end to her relationships, and usually contrived to have her partner do it.   But she didn't want it to happen just yet.   The thing had to be planned properly.   She remembered nursie again - 'never leave one stepping stone till you're sure of your footing on the next.'   Good grounding, those aphorisms of nursie's.  "But I hope you won't go off.   We have such an exciting season before us.   Let's not row now."

          He looked up and grinned suddenly - the way he had at Klosters two years ago.   She felt her tension dissolve, and went over and kissed his wavy hair.   Old Spice!   Desire began to rise again, and she reached down to fondle the hair on his chest.   Catching her wrist, he brought her hand onto his nipple.   She felt control flying out of the open window, overpowered by his masculine scent.

          Just then, the doorbell rang downstairs - a faint sound almost lost in the hum of the traffic outside.   A deep breath for both of them.   "Darling, I think it best if she doesn't meet you en déshabille.   Could you.......?"

          He rose in one fluid motion, like a great cat, and grinned again.   "Absolutely, old thing," he agreed, and bounded off.

          She walked over to the window and looked out, fighting to regain her poise.   Outside, the river was a ribbon of white-hot metal in the May sun.   The smells of the river and the sounds of the traffic and the few aristocratic birds that clung to their homes in Cheyne Walk drifted in through the casement window.   It all felt just right.   Her life was flowing with the Chi.   How could this meeting of the people she loved best take place at any better time?

          A knock at the door.   "Enter!"

          "Miss Clarissa has arrived, your ladyship."

          Totally in command again - "Send her in, please."

* * *

          The maid had scarcely announced her and left, before Clarissa, able to contain herself no longer, ran forward.   "Mama, oh , it's been so long."

          Sarah beamed and held open her arms.   They hugged.   "My dear daughter!   What an exhibition!   Come and sit down and let me look at you."

          They sank onto the sofa that Sarah had hastily plumped up after Sebastian had left.   There was a moment's silence while each searched for a suitable opening.

          "My dear, you're quite beautiful!"  The Harrods trip had been a success, though it had taken over an hour to choose something suitable.  Uncle Freddie had been an unexpected treasure trove of taste.

          "Oh Mama, how you do run on."   Clarissa's tastes paralleled her mother’s, not least in their estimation of  'Gone with the Wind'.   "It's you who's the beauty here - as always."

          "Thank you, darling.   But what a change in you!   I would never have thought you'd develop so.   And in just....... how long is it since last we met?"

          "Just before Christmas.   Oh Mama, it's too long.   Why haven't you been to see me?"

          "I've been away most of the time, as you know.   You did get my letters, didn't you?   And when I was free to motor down, I never seemed to be able to find anyone to drive me.”

          Clarissa knew her mother preferred not to drive and, with a neurotic fear of tunnels, preferred not to go anywhere by train.

          "But all that will change now.   You'll be leaving St. Winifred's soon.   In fact, that's why I sent for you - to make plans for your immediate future."

          "Here, with you, ?   Oh joy!   And this beautiful house.   Why, oh why haven't you let me come before?"   She almost sang the words from sheer joy, and caught her mother's hands impetuously.

          Attempting to calm the situation, Sarah patted her daughter's hands.   "You run too fast, young lady."   She paused and took a breath, trying frantically to recall the speech she'd been rehearsing.   But it had flown out of the window into the dreamy golden light of a spring day.  Fortunately, her control had passed it on the way back in.

          "Things can't always be as we would wish.   You know that.   I'm afraid I can't be here.   I'm going off cruising in the Med. for a month or two."

          "Oh !"   Clarissa stared at the floor.   "Are you saying you don't want me with you?   I'm surely old enough, and I've served my time at that place."   She sounded bitter.

          The viscountess gazed at her concerned, but with softness in her eyes.   "No, it's not that I don't want you.   Please never believe that.   But my kind of life is not for you.   Believe me, I'm thinking of you rather than of myself.   Don't think, even for a moment, I wouldn't love to have you with me."

          "Then why may I not come with you?   I wouldn't impose - I never have.   And we could have such fun together - like we used to when I was little."

          "And we shall spend time together.   I'm coming to that."   A sigh.   "Yes, we did have fun, didn't we?   And we will again - lots and lots of fun.   I've missed being with you these past years.   If only.......   But my life being what it is, I had to send you away.   A child would not have fitted in at all, and your upbringing would have been most........ irregular."

          "But I'm not a child any more. .   And I do understand, and I want to be with you more than anything."   On the journey up, Clarissa had talked herself into believing this was the start of a new life, in which she would no longer feel unwanted.   "Remember all the outings, and shopping, and goings on - all the warmth and laughter of those days?"

          But on cue came the sort of response she had anticipated.   "Don't look back, dear, don't look back.   It will tug at your heart, as it has mine, till you can't do anything but look back."   The viscountess rose and went over to the window to collect herself.   "What we have to think of now is your future."

          Clarissa hung silent on her mother's every word.   This was why she had been brought here.  Pray God the future wouldn't be as desolate as the past few years.

          "I've arranged for you to move to Edinburgh......."

          "But ......."

          "....... where you have relations - your cousin and your great-uncle, Peter, for instance.   You can stay with him, and he'll bring you out.   It won't be a proper coming out like I had, but that doesn't seem to matter so much nowadays."

          "I would much prefer that you bring me out."

          "So would I, but that's quite out of the question."

          "But why?"

          "My dear girl, anyone who's anyone can't afford to know me.   There are very few houses where I'm still accepted.   I used to mind dreadfully.   After all, I'm only doing as everyone else does.   The difference is that I don't dissemble.   And for that they'd condemn you too."

          "How dare they condemn you!"   Clarissa flew to the defence of her beloved mother.   "You needn't worry about my feelings.   I've already crossed that bridge many times at school.   I'm not ashamed of you, even though lord Lockerbie and society repudiate you.   I repudiate them!"

          The viscountess's eyes twinkled.   How like herself her daughter was - in temperament as in looks.   "So do I, dear.   But there's a price to pay for being independent in love, and I won't have you paying it for me.   I don't regret the path I've chosen, but I would if it harmed you."

          Clarissa thought a while.   It all seemed so unfair.   Her beautiful mother only lived for love, and for that she was condemned.   "Would Papa help me?   I know he's never shown any interest in me, but he's never repudiated me.   Could I not stay with him?   He's accepted."

          "Lord Brent, as you say, has never been interested in you or any other child.   It's not in him.   I'm not aware that he has any children by anyone else, though I've rather lost touch since the divorce.   No. you may be his heir, but you'll get no sympathy from that quarter."

          "What's to become of me then?"

          "I'm determined you shall take your rightful place in society.   The doors that are closed to me shall open for you.   It is your right.   But it must be accomplished subtly."

          "In Edinburgh…..?"

          "I'm not well known in Scotland - haven't been home for years, so no one need connect you with me.   Your uncle Peter is only my half-brother, so he bears a different name.   You need not be handicapped by your background."

          Clarissa surprised herself with the murderous resentment she felt for those who would harm her or her mother.   "What shall I do in Edinburgh?"

          "Oh, that's the fun part.   I've arranged for you to be enrolled at the university.   You can spend a happy three or four years there, just as I did.   I've arranged a decent allowance, but you can always call on your uncle in need."

          "Uncle Peter!   I hardly remember him."

          "Oh, he'll know you, though he won't be expecting such a beauty.   You'll find him quite....... individual - not like other men."   She hesitated, wondering what Clarissa might have picked up about the uncle Peters of this world.

          "You mean he's gay?   I know all about that."   Clarissa brushed all that aside.   "When am I to go?   Will you come with me?   What about clothes?"

          "Ho, ho - enough.   Yes, I'll come and see you.   It's high time I made my peace there myself.   But it's not immediate.   So first you'll take your 'A' levels, then we'll take a holiday together this summer."

          Her daughter's face lit up.   "You mean it?   Oh joy!   Where will we go."

          "I thought a trip exploring the Cathar castles in the Languedoc, unless of course you've some ideas of your own.   And we......"

          The door opened to reveal Sebastian, dressed and groomed, looking his most radiant.   Retaining her poise, Sarah broke off.   "Clarissa, I'd like you to meet Lord Ludlow.   Sebastian, this is my daughter, Clarissa."

          Sebastian bore down on her, his body moving powerfully and sinuously, and his eyes looking her up and down.   "How charming!   Very, very charming.   And how very like you, my dear.   You could be sisters."

          Sarah smiled at the compliment.   He could be so agreeable when he chose.   And evidently he so chose now.   She began to relax.

          Sebastian kissed Clarissa decorously on the forehead.   She felt the least trace of stubble on his chin, and breathed his scent.   Unused to being kissed at all, she was aware of his maleness, and her whole body screamed to respond.   "What a charming ensemble!   Any schoolgirls I've ever come across have been swathed in a uniform."

          "Oh, I don't wear things like this at school.   It's new actually - I found it at Harrods before I got here."

          "At Harrods?"   Sarah’s mind whirled.   Where had the girl got the money?

          "Yes.   Oh, Mama, I forgot to tell you in all the excitement.   I met uncle Freddie on the train.   He remembered me.   We had an interesting chat, and he took me off to Harrods to buy me 'something worthy of your mother,' as he put it."

          "Freddie."   Somehow things seemed to be going too fast for Sarah.   She needed to think.  Which one was Freddie?   What on earth was happening?   "Do excuse me a moment."

          Left alone with a stranger, Clarissa began to gear up for some small talk.   Sebastian smiled.   "Feel like some champers?"

          "Uh, yes, thank you."   She wasn't used to champagne, or indeed anything else, but perhaps this was the custom of the house.

          Sebastian rang and gave the order to the maid.   He smiled again and sat down beside her on the sofa.   How could he have called her 'brat'?   She was fully the most desirable thing he'd met in years, and he'd never paid more than lip service to the conventional restraints.

          "Sarah's told me so much about you, but never suggested we meet.   I can understand why.   You'd turn any man's head."

          Clarissa blushed faintly, but lapped it up.   No one had ever spoken to her like this before.   Was this what being adult was all about?   Starved of affection, her whole being welcomed this god.

          A knock at the door announced the champagne on ice.   "No, I'll do it."   He sent the maid off and opened the bottle himself, grinning at her.   She admired the polished ease with which he did it, and smiled back.   Back on the sofa they both sipped their champagne formally - a little too formally for him.   "Will you stay with us long?"

          'With us?'   Oh, so that was it.   "Till Sunday, I think, lord Ludlow."

          "Call me Sebastian."   Swiftly he reached over and squeezed her hand.

          "Champagne!   It's almost time for luncheon."   Sarah, entering quietly, missed nothing.   Well she could deal with this - another nail in his coffin.   She'd intended the three of them to tour Europe.   Under the circumstances, though.......

          "My dear, a glass for you?"   He got up to get one, and Sarah took his place beside her daughter, thus restoring the social order.   "Thank you, Sebastian.   Clarissa and I were discussing our European trip before you arrived."

          "Oh?   What trip?"

          "Surely I mentioned it.   The two of us are off to France as soon as her examinations are done."

          "Shall I come too?   You'll need a driver."

          "Thank you for the offer, Sebastian, but this is a chance for my daughter and I to get to know each other.   Clarissa will drive.   She had lessons this year.   You did pass the thing, didn't you?   Then now you need to gain some experience."

          Clarissa looked radiant, Sebastian grumpy, and Sarah satisfied.   'Game, set, and match,' she thought.
* * *