Daughter Of Conwy – Episode 39


Sara turned back towards Hugh. In the gleam of the moonlight, he could see she was frowning.

“Giving up all that I already have? You forget, Hugh, I have made myself a good life without you. I’m a wealthy woman in my own right. I enjoy my work. I was not made for idleness and polite chatter with the ladies of Conwy as they look down their noses at me. I have friends, and I have my son, and one day I hope to have grandchildren and watch new lives beginning.”

Her voice softened slightly.

“You broke my heart, Hugh. You caused me more pain than I think you can imagine. But I was young. My heart was able to heal, and I found new love and a new life. I could never forget you, but you have not been a part of my existence, nor my heart, for over twenty years. I am too old to have my heart broken, and too old to start again.”

“I won’t give up,” he argued.

She suppressed a sigh.

“I know. That is why . . .” She came to a halt. “Excuse me, I must see to my guests.”

He stepped back to let her past, watching her shadow striding through the darkness, back towards the Snowdon View.

*  *  *  *

Hugh retrieved his horse and made his way along the deserted lanes towards Conwy, his mind deep in thought.

The moon was high by the time he arrived back at Plas Arthur. As he made his way up the driveway a muttering of voices reached his ears. The maids were clustered on the steps of the house overlooking Conwy quay, chattering excitedly.

“Have there been intruders?” he demanded as he swung down from the saddle.

“No, sir.” The butler, Phillips, appeared like magic at the sound of horse’s hooves and shooed the maids back inside. “It appears there was some trouble in Conwy, but all is quiet now.” He cleared his throat. “We wondered if it was that which had delayed Miss Iona.”

“Delayed?” Hugh glared at him. “What on earth do you mean, man?”

“It’s just that, when her mare was returned . . .”

“Returned?”

“From the railway station, sir. Miss Iona hired a boy to return her horse to the stables. We would have had no idea until morning had there not been all that fuss over the water, and it being impossible to prevent the staff from coming out to look. Several have families in the cottages on the front there, and at one point it looked as if half the town had gone up in flames.”

“Yes, yes.” Hugh brushed his words away, barely listening. “But where did Miss Iona say she was going?”

Phillips cleared his throat.

“She did not say, sir. She mentioned a midnight ride with Sir Edward to one of the stable hands, but nothing more. There is, however, a note for you on the mantelpiece in the drawing-room.”

Hugh hastened inside. The letter on the mantelpiece bore Iona’s familiar scrawl next to the seal.

Hugh held it for a moment. The house was silent. No footsteps tapping down the stairs to greet him. Not even Rhodri’s clumsy stride, accompanied by the familiar demand for one of the grooms to attend to him. Nothing at all. Even the servants were silent, as if deliberately keeping out of his way. As if they, too, were waiting.

Slowly, with a feeling of dread settling into his heart, Hugh broke the seal of his daughter’s letter.

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 aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.