The Dividing Tide – Episode 46

“It is so wonderful to take the air again,” Morwenna said, leaning heavily on her husband’s arm as he led her slowly and carefully down the steps of the terrace to the garden below. “Four months is a long time to spend in bed.”

Jago smiled down at her.

“Indeed it is, my dear, but what a good reason we have for you doing so.”

She returned his smile, happy just to be in his company as they wandered slowly along the gravel path to the orchard.

The apple trees were in blossom and bees buzzed around the pink and white flowers.

I will never take any of this for granted again, she thought, looking up at the deep blue sky above.

Before her enforced rest, her life had been full with committees and charitable works, tête-à-têtes and soirées, assemblies and balls. She’d had no time to stop and think at all. How sweet everyday things seemed now.

Sunlight freckled the path as they made their way towards a wooden seat.

“You have borne your indisposition admirably,” Jago praised her, pressing her hand which lay upon his arm, “but you will think of it as naught when you hold our son in your arms.”

“What makes you so sure it will be a boy? What if it’s another girl like Lamorna?”

“Then I shall love her just as dearly.” He smiled. “We must take what the good Lord sends us and be grateful.

“But now, I think we should sit for a while. The doctor said you are not to exert yourself.”

“Wandering in the garden is hardly exerting myself, Jago,” she retorted, bending her head to breathe in the fragrant scent of an early rose that grew in the sheltered bed beside the bench.

“Nevertheless, I must insist that we stop our perambulations for a while.”

He hovered solicitously as she sat down.

“Did I tell you about Pasco Buller?” he asked, seating himself beside her.

She turned to him.

“Pasco? No, you did not. What has he done?”

“He is engaged to be married. There was an announcement in the newspapers. His fiancée is a lady of some standing. I hope you are not distressed by the news, my dear?”

She thought about it.

“No, I am not,” she replied, and was surprised by the truth of her words.

Instead of the frustration and annoyance she might once have felt, there was only a feeling of relief.

“Between you and me,” she confessed, “I am pleased to hear it. I have come to the realisation that our daughter is not made for a life of parlours and balls. It was quite wrong of me to have pressed the suit with Pasco. Lamorna would not have been happy married to him.”

“You were simply doing your best for her,” he reassured her. “No mother can do more than that.”

“But I was so caught up with securing a good match for her that I overlooked the importance of her happiness, and that was wrong of me.”

She paused.

“All I wish for her is the same contentment that we have known. So many arranged marriages are empty of warmth. We have been fortunate, have we not, dearest?”

“Fortunate indeed,” he agreed, lifting her hand to his lips and pressing a kiss upon it.

When they had rested, they continued their walk, the gentle bleating of the sheep in the field beside them lifting lazily into the spring air.

“I almost forgot,” he announced, as they reached the ha-ha at the boundary of the property. “I have another piece of news.”

She looked up at him expectantly.

“More news? Do tell, dearest. You know how simply starved of gossip I am.”

“We have new neighbours. A farming family from Devonshire have taken Tregothen Farm.”

“Indeed? Are there sons?”

“I might have known that would be your first concern!” He laughed. “Three, and of marriageable age, too. I understand that the eldest boy is being groomed to take over the estate. The family will reside here for a year to help him settle in and learn the ropes before he takes full charge.”

Morwenna was thoughtful for a moment.

“A farming life would suit our daughter well, don’t you think, dearest?” she asked. “After the baby is born, we must invite them to dinner.”

He laughed again.

“I thought you were not going to meddle any more?”

“We are her parents,” she said, reaching up to dab the beads of perspiration that had gathered on her forehead. “We must consider her happiness, of course. But it is also our duty to see her settled.”

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.