Echoes From The Past – Episode 34

Holly laughed.

“Well, the hanging would be more impressive. Much larger, for a start. You’ve got a lot of wall there.”

Anne nodded.

“True. So tell me what you’ve got here. I can see the castle, and the landscape. Is this the King?”

Holly nodded.

“I didn’t think you’d want scenes of battle and blood, but you would definitely want the Bruce somewhere, wouldn’t you? So there he is, and there are the standards of the army and a representation of the troops. Over here,” she indicated another section of the drawing, “there are the modern gardens, and the Victorian crenellations. It’s still lacking a bit of detail, but that’s the general idea.”

“Oh, my goodness – the beech tree!”

Holly smiled.

“It’s such a feature of the place, I was sure you would want it in.”

The design was such a mixture of themes, mediaeval and modern, that one could look at it for hours and still be seduced by its atmosphere.

Anne suddenly got to her feet.

“The men will have to see this.”

Lewis came down from his study in a matter of minutes, but it was five minutes before Dan appeared from his office.

“This had better be good,” he said, disgruntled.

“Look at it, Dan,” his mother said, her wide gesture indicating the painting. “Isn’t it gorgeous?”

Although Holly suspected that Daniel was a reluctant participant in all this, he did do a double take as he looked at the painting. She thought she could see him revising his opinion of what a mere decoration might look like.

“Hmm,” he said, raising his brows. “Interesting.”

It was his father who chastised him.

“It’s a lot more than interesting. I think it’s fascinating, and I admit I didn’t expect to.”

Holly felt a glow of accomplishment before she’d even set needle to fabric.

“So how long would it take to finish, Holly?” Anne asked.

“At the size we agreed, it will take about a month. If I’m not here, I’ll take it back to my studio and finish it there.”

“You live in the Lakes, don’t you?”

Holly nodded.

“Yes, but I must admit, I’m enjoying Stirlingshire. It’s so beautiful, and I do feel at home.”

Anne smiled.

“That’s good to know.” She moved to accommodate Daniel, who was taking a closer look at the design.

“There’s quite a lot in there that reminds me of your gardens, Dan,” his mother said. “Don’t you think?”

“I don’t often design castles and battlefields,” he said dryly.

“I meant the general look of the thing. You’re both designers. You must have quite a bit in common.”

Holly glanced at Daniel to see his reaction. She found herself surprised at how much his opinion mattered, considering how little she knew him.

Daniel said nothing, and Anne carried on.

“You should show Holly your ideas book. You might even be able to swap some suggestions. Don’t you think so, Dan?”

Daniel looked at Holly, and then cast his eyes to heaven, as if enlisting her agreement about how embarrassing mothers could be.

“Designs are very personal things,” she said with a smile. “They are also things one keeps very close to one’s chest.”

Dan nodded, and then said, “You’re welcome to look at some of my productions.”

“That’s fixed, then,” Anne said complacently. “Just as soon as we’ve sorted out the details on the patchwork. We’d love you to go ahead with it, Holly.”

Holly was delighted, not only for the commission, but also because she liked the Hepburns. They were a strangely appealing family.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!