Hold Fast To Your Dreams – Episode 47

The main characters from the story Illustration: Sailesh Thakrar

“That is the perfect place,” Eleanor said, her arm in Robert’s as they looked to the top of the little hill. 

Lord and Lady Farrington, Hugh and Malaika had been about to depart, and now lingered in the garden, waiting for a suitable moment to say their goodbyes.  

Jenny had taken a break from clearing up, and now they made their way to watch as Ben began to dig, all marvelling at the view over the house and garden, and the woodland beyond. 

Lady Farrington took her husband’s arm, her heart full as she remembered a similar ceremony in the early days at Farrington House.  

Her youthful happiness and carefree hopes had faded long ago, yet a quieter, deeper serenity had come with all that she and Reginald had experienced.  

So many things no longer felt important – the admiration of other wealthy families; a life of elegant dinners and balls.  

Not only did she and Reginald have their family around them, could it be their true friends would be unconcerned with the style in which they lived and entertained?  

And, though she had dreaded Thea’s racing track and the fun-fair atmosphere, it had been wonderful seeing so many people enjoying themselves.  

Perhaps, along with the annual motor races, they might think about occasionally opening Farrington House to visitors. It would be nice to share it. 

Ben stood back, wiping his forehead as he surveyed the prepared ground. It had been heavy digging, but the rowan would take well. He held the spade out to Robert to do the honours. 

“Thank you, Ben. And may I congratulate you on the garden? You’re the talk of Brackenbury, and my only worry is that now everyone will want to poach you!  

“Eleanor and I hope that you and Jenny will always want to stay with us. We’ll make it worth your while, you can be assured of that.” 

“Thank you, sir.”  

“None of that,” Robert scolded. “Call me Robert.” 

Ben smiled, then lowered the tree, holding it steady as Robert shovelled the earth round it, to cheers from the company.  

Robert turned to acknowledge them, and then caught the eye of Malaika, who stood stock still, gazing into the distance.  

Robert stopped, taken aback by the look on her face. She whispered something to Hugh and he, too, lifted his chin, looking intently beyond. Then the two of them moved forward to join the others. 

“Malaika has noticed something quite extraordinary,” Hugh said. “Do you see that big rock a little way off to the right?” 

They turned to where he was pointing, Jenny hurrying to Ben’s side. 

“What do you see?” Reginald asked. 

“There, across the flat part at the front, do you see a shape?” 

“Oh!” Jenny gasped. “I see it, outlined in the stone.” 

The rays of the lowering sun lit up the indentation etched into the rock. 

“Why, it’s that animal!” Eleanor said. “Just like the painting!” 

Malaika nodded, her astonishment having softened to reverence.  

“The spirit of the eland will always be with you here. It is a good place.”  

Everyone continued to stare, then Robert made his way further up the hill to where the rock stood. 

“Look,” he said, stooping down. “The outline has been chiselled out.” 

Lady Farrington gasped. 

“Good God,” Hugh said. “I don’t suppose . . .?” 

“Suppose what?” Eleanor asked, but Robert had already begun to kick the ground around the rock.  

He went downhill and grabbed the spade, then ran back. As he began to shovel the earth away, the other men moved forward.  

“Help us, Reg,” Hugh said. 

Reginald took off his jacket, and they pushed and heaved until the rock tumbled over. 

Robert began to dig again. They watched, each of them wondering yet already knowing. There was a thud, and he leaned down and picked up a muddy wooden box, cleaning it off with his hands. 

To be continued…

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