On Distant Shores – Episode 63

Maggie stood by the kitchen door of her aunt’s townhouse, her heart beating hard. Seamus had agreed to meet her here, so that he could finally talk to her aunt and uncle about his intentions.

His intentions! Maggie hugged those wonderful words to herself, and did a little twirl on her tiptoes. After his reluctantly made confession of love, Seamus had asked her to marry him. Subject, of course, to her aunt and uncle’s approval, as well as that of her own parents.

Still Maggie had no doubts. He’d admitted he loved her – surely her aunt wouldn’t fight against that?

“Maggie.” Seamus appeared by the gate that led to the street and Maggie flew to him.

“Aunt Margaret and Uncle Henry are inside, in the drawing-room.”

“My boots are muddy,” Seamus said, twisting his cap in his hands, and Maggie laughed.

“Seamus! You can hardly conduct the kind of conversation you’re to have in the yard here. Wipe your boots by the door, if you’re so worried.”

“I am worried,” he said in a low voice. “You know that. I don’t feel –”

“I know what you don’t feel,” Maggie interjected. “But I also know what you do feel. You love me. That is all that matters.”

With a sigh and a smile Seamus drew her to him.

“I pray it is so,” he murmured before brushing a kiss across her forehead.

The cook and two kitchen maids were stunned into silence as Maggie led Seamus across the room and to the hall that led to the front rooms of the house. The drawing-room door was slightly ajar, but she knocked anyway.

“Aunt Margaret? Uncle Henry? May we speak with you?”

There was a short silence, and then a rustle of paper. Margaret herself came to the door and opened it, her face tense and pale even before she caught sight of Seamus.

“Of course.” She drew herself up short. “Mr Flanagan.”

Seamus bobbed his head in answer.

“Mrs Moore.”

Maggie came into the well-appointed room, followed by Seamus. Both her aunt and uncle looked unhappy and anxious, and Seamus hadn’t even spoken yet. She supposed his presence here was easily explained.

“I’ve come to speak of your niece,” Seamus began, his Irish brogue more pronounced than ever. “And my intentions towards her.”

“I was not aware that you were sufficiently acquainted with my niece to have any intentions towards her whatsoever,” Margaret said, her tone chilly.

Margaret turned to Maggie, her lips pursed.

“You’ve been deceiving me, Maggie, haven’t you? I asked you not to pursue this ridiculous attachment and yet you clearly have done.”

“I didn’t deceive you,” Maggie protested. “I haven’t met with Seamus outside of the school.”

“And yet you’ve come to know one another well enough that we are all here, in this room?” Margaret finished, her tone rising in angry challenge.

“Yes, we have,” Seamus answered quietly. “And I promise you I have done nothing improper. My intentions towards Maggie are honourable. I wish to make her my wife.”

Margaret stared at them both, her face pale and bloodless. The anger seemed to have drained right out of her.

“Indeed,” she finally said, and turned away.

“I’m pleased to hear of your intentions, Mr Flanagan,” Henry said into the awkward silence that had descended upon the room. “For it is certain we could use some good news about now.”

“Henry –” Margaret turned around, her hands pressed to her face.

Maggie’s bubble of happiness at her uncle’s words seemed to burst right then and there. She stared between the two of them in confusion.

“It’s your father, Maggie,” Henry said gently. “We’ve just received a letter from your mother, and I’m afraid it is not good news. He’s had some kind of trouble with his heart, and the doctor says his chances aren’t very good.”

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”.