The Captain’s Bride — Episode 30

TABITHA clapped her hands when Kitty confided in her later that she’d consented to become the second Mrs Gingham. But she felt concerned as to who might take over Kitty’s position in the doctor’s house. It was a relief when Kitty drew her aside later.

“I need to talk to you, Tabitha.”

“You look happy about it, whatever it is.”

“I hope everyone will be happy soon. I’m to leave my job two weeks from now and marry from this house before moving into the farmhouse.”

“So soon?” But Tabitha realised there was nothing to keep the lovebirds apart.

“It’d be very satisfactory to leave, knowing my replacement was already known to those left behind.”

“What are you trying to say? Don’t keep me in suspense!” Tabitha felt puzzled.

“I wish to recommend my sister. You’ve met Muriel a few times, of course. She’s not especially happy where she is and I feel sure she’s ideal for the job.”

Tabitha nodded.

“I agree.”

“Now, I must get the potatoes peeled and the meat roasting,” Kitty said. By the way, when do you plan to see my future stepson again?”

“I have no such plan.” Kitty knew her cheeks gave her away. Archie had asked if he might drive her to the beach on the next Sunday she was free. She’d told him she needed time to herself – to mend garments and write letters.

He’d looked so disappointed, so crestfallen, Tabitha almost relented. But she daren’t raise his hopes. He was a kind, considerate young man and would make someone a fine husband. But while she knew how foolish her hopes were, she felt it would be wrong to marry a man whose love she couldn’t return.

* * * *

Jacob stood on the quayside, enjoying the cool evening air. All his passengers had disembarked and items from the hold were being offloaded. With his duties completed, he’d be free to go to his hotel, looking forward to a meal and a stroll before turning in. Next day, he’d have a note sent to the doctor and perhaps an invitation to luncheon or supper would be forthcoming. It would be helpful to discuss his plans with his old friend.

He wondered how Tabitha was enjoying her new life. It would please him immensely to know she was content. But how would she receive his declaration?

“Captain Learman?”

Jacob swung round to face the speaker.

“Compliments of Dr Collins, Captain. He sent me to enquire whether you’d care to be his guest while you’re between voyages. Make a change from the hotel, d’you see?”

“That’s very considerate of the doctor. I remember you now – you’re Mr Mackie, aren’t you?”

“You must meet a lot of people, Captain. Yes, I’m Will and very pleased to drive you back, soon as you say the word.”

Jacob thought.

“Could you make my apologies to the hotelier, Will?”

“Pleased to, sir.”

“If you could tell him I’ll be in tomorrow to settle up for any inconvenience caused? And I’ll meet you here in about an hour.”

Will touched his cap and set off. Jacob walked the length of the quay and back, his experienced eye checking the vessel, the condition of her freight now unloaded and the behaviour of his crew. They would be sleeping on board, under the eagle eye of his officers.

As soon as he could, he climbed up beside Will Mackie. As they headed into the countryside, Jacob wondered if he’d see Tabitha that evening. Probably not.


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!