No. 4, Whitehall Gardens – Episode 14

No. 4 Whitehall Gardens illustration by Sailesh Thakrar

Molly drew a circle in the dirt with her shoe.

“After the laundry, when they hauled me up, I never breathed your name to the uniforms, Clem. They did mention your name, and I said you had nothing to do with me.”

It was true. Molly had often lectured the other girls on what she called “the honour of the game”, and when she had been uncovered she had taken all the blame on herself.

Clementine felt a great sadness that Molly would use this against her. But she knew that she would have to give in, and help Molly in as small a way as possible.

Of course she could persuade Griff to look in a particular direction when bloodstock was to be purchased, and No. 4 had a growing need for horses.

Mrs Peel was considering a new carriage for taking the children on trips.

She sighed.

“We will see,” she said.

Molly flung her arms around Clementine’s neck.

It made Clementine’s heart sink. But the matter would soon be over, and Molly was right – neither she nor Jones could ever be charged with a crime.

“I will talk to Griff,” she said.

Perhaps, she thought, she could take herself entirely out of the picture.

“The Peels will get a fine set of horses, remember that,” Molly declared. “I must go, and you must away to the little darlings.”

Molly skipped off, and Clementine watched her narrow back jiggle up and down as she opened and closed the back gate.

Molly was to be pitied, of course – she was a misguided creature who did not think before she acted, a girl with inaccurate ideas of her abilities and also of the feckless father she elevated to a hero.

Her life had not been easy. Clementine had hoped that Silas would have quit the scene by now, but apparently he was still very much in evidence.

Clementine hurried back to try to salvage the green sludge and the sieve.

She found Griff in the kitchen. It was the time of day when he came to the warm kitchen for several cups of tea and slices of bread and dripping.

As Clementine walked through the door she saw him slam a book shut and slide it under his thigh.

She went straight to the table and pulled the sieve from the mush.

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.