Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 30

Merlyn gazed out over the bows of Daughter Of Conwy towards the walls of the castle as the paddle steamer made her way up river towards the bridge and the journey up the Conwy Valley to Trefriw.

“Well, now, that’s better,” Taid remarked, leaving the boat to the tender care of Martin, his assistant, and joining his granddaughter on deck. “There are even more passengers on this journey than on the last. Those stories you are telling of the castle and the river must have got around. That was a good idea of yours. I’m proud of you, cariad.”

“Thank you,” Merlyn replied, kissing his cheek. “But never forget the boat was your idea in the first place.”

Owain rubbed his hands.

“And now that rail bridge of Mr Stephenson’s is nearly finished, we can look forward to hordes of visitors arriving by steam train.” He sent a scowl towards their rival boat, still at Conwy quay, swaying in the tide as she awaited the last of her passengers. “Enough for as many paddle steamers as the river can hold!”

“Of course.” Merlyn smiled at him.

She glanced up at the bridge. Taid was right. It was nearly finished. Soon there would be no need for the engineers to remain.

There was already talk of Robert Stephenson undertaking an even more ambitious railway crossing – this time across the narrow strip of perilous water of the Menai Straits, over to Anglesey, to take the mail train straight to Holyhead and the boat to Ireland. If it was true, then his young engineer, David Ross, would be one of the first to go, she was sure. He was young and ambitious and had been tireless in ensuring the bridge was completed.

Merlyn sighed to herself. What was there that would keep him in Conwy?

“Well, I never.” Taid was gazing back towards the quay with a look of great enjoyment on his face. “Looks like that Harris is no longer the blue-eyed boy of the Tudors!” He gave a wry chuckle. “I haven’t seen Hugh Tudor that animated in years. Perhaps there’s blood flowing through the old dog yet!”

Merlyn followed his gaze. Next to the paddle steamer, Hugh Tudor was engaged in a furious exchange with Jack Harris. Their raised voices drifted across the river to reach the Daughter Of Conwy while the visitors waiting to board stood, agog. As Merlyn watched, two couples and a family with five children turned to make their way hastily back into the town, clearly regarding a viewing of the castle a safer excursion.

“That looks serious.” Twm, the old fisherman, was off to visit his new grandson in Trefriw. “Mind, I always knew that Harris was no good. My cousin Wyn worked on the docks in Liverpool. He said Jack Harris had a certain reputation, and not a good one, at that. Couldn’t work out how he was taken on by the Tudors.

“Mind you, Mr Rhodri never did listen to anything anyone tried to tell him. Too full of himself.”

“He might have to listen now, Twm.” Owain watched as the exchange grew ever more heated, sending a stream of passengers retreating towards the castle while a larger crowd clustered around the railings of the Daughter Of Conwy to witness the spectacle. “I can’t see Hugh Tudor backing down from that in a hurry.”

He frowned, the enjoyment fading from his voice.

“I wonder what brought it on. I hope no-one’s been stirring up the past. I wouldn’t like to think I’d be the cause of any trouble to anyone.”

“Trouble?” Merlyn looked at him in astonishment. “How could you possibly cause any trouble, Taid? It’s Harris that’s been causing trouble for you.”

“They’ll be ending up in the river if this carries on!” Twm’s faded blue eyes gleamed. He lowered his voice. “You know what they’ve been saying about that manager of the Snowdon View?”

He met Owain’s eyes.

“Yes, well, I suppose you would.”

“I trust that’s not the reason for this sudden eagerness to visit your grandson, Twm. Tittle-tattling in the Liverpool Arms did no-one any good.”

“Of course not,” Twm replied indignantly. “The thought had never crossed my mind.” He sniffed loudly. “A man can go for quiet drink in the hostelry of his choice, I should hope? Especially one who has braved the seas all his life, risking life and limb to bring in the finest mussels that can be found.”

“Just no gossiping,” Owain growled.


Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.