Ring Of Truth – Episode 36

CASSIE had a concussion, Annie reckoned, muttering over the raw lump on the back of her head.

Rest would do her wonders, and a drop of milk to line her stomach.

But more use than both would be the lad she fretted over as she fought Annie to let her be up and about…

Annie, keen to return to the south side of the city, had made it as far as a stone’s throw from the embankment where she was to work with Emma Brody in her lodging house on Thames Street.

She’d seen herself through Cassie’s eyes, she told her. When Emma Brody’s dress had fallen on to the cobbles Annie had seen that Cassie knew it was hers, and she’d been shamed into finding herself some honest work.

Emma might have taken Cassie on, too. But didn’t she have a cookshop to run, her and Ruby?

With a bit of time and patience perhaps Ruby would find her voice at last.

Cassie smiled to herself, remembering the moment that morning when she’d vowed to exchange her ring for Jem’s freedom, and the surprisingly firm grip of Ruby’s hand on hers as she’d whispered to her.

“Cassie, thank you.”

In the meantime, Annie had a pot of mutton stew on the boil. Not half as good as her Cassie could make, granted, but it filled a hole.

And perhaps them Jennings children wouldn’t say no to a bowl apiece!

She was ladling some into a pot for Daisy when the knock on the door came. Knowing full well who it was, she grabbed a rag from its hook on the mantel and lifted the pot, intending to make herself scarce − for Annie Ordish was no gooseberry!

“Good to have you back with us, lad,” she told Jem.

He smiled distractedly, but his eyes were on Cassie and Annie chuckled to herself as she climbed the steps.

Cassie rose from her chair, still a little unsteady on her feet and her head was sore, but none of that mattered.

“Jem,” she whispered.

He hobbled towards her, his leg painful after the hours he’d spent in a cold, damp watch-house, but none of that mattered either.

“Cass,” he murmured, and she reached her arms around him as he held her close.


The End

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!