Far From The Island – 51

Donald nodded, pulling Euan’s letter from his pocket.

“Reading between the lines, which you have to do with Euan, for he’s modest to a fault, it seems to me that giving Fraser his croft back was probably one of the conditions of his taking on the role of factor. I’m betting there would be a few more.” He grinned. “It strikes me there will be a turning of the tide on Heronsay with Euan in charge. I’m pleased for the islanders. What does your sister have to say?”

Morag opened Isabel’s letter, scanning it quickly.

“More or less the same. And – oh! Now that is a surprise. Louisa Thingy went back to Edinburgh just before Christmas.”

“And who on earth is Louisa Thingy?”

“You know, the girl Euan was walking out with. Honestly, Donald, I told you all about her,” Morag said with mock impatience. “The posh lassie who’s godmother to the laird’s grandson. The wee boy Euan rescued, for goodness’ sake. Isabel says that it seemed certain that she and Euan were to marry.”

“Then more than likely she’ll be back,” Donald said.

Morag shook her head.

“Isabel says that she asked Euan, and he confirmed that she wouldn’t be returning. He wouldn’t say why. You know Euan.”

“And I know your sister. Poor man, she likely put him through the wringer trying to get the truth out of him.”

Ignoring this remark, Morag pursed her lips.

“Fiona Matheson was on Heronsay last November. I wonder if her being there had anything to do with Euan changing his mind. He always did carry a torch for her.”

“More likely that Louisa couldn’t face life on the island,” Donald said. “It’s not for everyone. And did you not say that Fiona was walking out with a doctor?”

“She did not mention him in her last letter. Though, to be fair, she was much taken up with the death of that poor man she nursed when first she went to Glasgow.” Morag put her letter aside, and heaved herself to her feet. “I fancy a cup of tea.”

Donald rushed to help her.

“Here, let me do that,” he said, taking the kettle from her. “It’s too heavy for you to be lifting in your condition. If you don’t mind my saying so, my love, you’re some size! There’s a fine lusty bairn in there, and no mistake.”

Morag rubbed the small of her back.

“I don’t think so,” she said with a teasing smile. “Elizabeth drove over in the pony and trap while you and Jacob were in town. She confirmed my own thoughts on the matter.”

Donald set the teapot on to the hearth to brew.

“What are you looking so secretive about?”

“Not one big lusty bairn, but two smaller ones,” Morag said. “What do you think about that, Donald Macleod?”

*  *  *  *

“You have a visitor, Miss Matheson. I’ve shown them into the parlour.”

“Thank you, Nurse McKinley,” Fiona said to her landlady, casting aside the textbook she was supposed to be studying, though in truth she had merely been staring at the pages.

After a quick check of her reflection in the dressing-table mirror she made her way down the narrow stairs. Could it be Ella? Her cousin had been so busy preparing for her new teaching role that she had not seen her for weeks. But Nurse McKinley knew Ella. Perhaps it was Matthew? But her landlady knew him, too. Besides, Fiona had seen Matthew just the other day at the clinic. Work-wise, things were as they had always been, but as far as friendship was concerned, Matthew had erected a small but perceptible barrier between them. She doubted it would ever be removed, and acknowledged that she had no right to expect it, either. So, if not Matthew, then who?

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”.