The Dividing Tide – Episode 51

Jenna rested her chin on her knees as she gazed at the scene below. She had chosen a picnic rug a little apart from the others so that she could be with her thoughts for a while.

It was Michaelmas Day, the day she was to have returned home, and the pain of not going was like a tight band round her chest.

She glanced at her aunt and uncle who were sitting upon chairs brought up to the moors for the occasion.

Morwenna was bouncing the baby upon her knee whilst Arthek and Lamorna lounged at their feet, talking.

It was her aunt’s first proper outing since George’s arrival, for the birth had been difficult and had left her weak for a long time afterwards. It was good to see her looking so much better.

Jenna was glad to sit quietly and feel the sun upon her. It was a beautiful autumn day, the sky a cloudless blue and the sweep of sea in the distance twinkling with brightness.

Her eyes settled on the roofs and chimneys of St Austell below, and the grey house that stood a little apart at the edge of town. Nankerris House. How familiar its walls and neat lawns had become.

And there was the mine, Wheal Daniel, a little further to the east, with its gouged-out earthworks and low stone buildings.

The sun was reflecting off the settling tanks, turning them to little rectangles of light while the water wheel, so large in reality, lumbered round and round like a toy.

Nothing in the scene eased the heaviness in her heart. Indeed, it served to make it worse. To think that Garren had worked at the mine without her knowing!

Now he had gone and it was too late. She might never see him again.

She should be grateful. Didn’t she have every comfort that money could buy? She no longer had to work in a cold damp fish palace, nor worry where the next meal was coming from.

She had place and purpose at Nankerris, and leisure time to do as she pleased.

Why, then, didn’t she feel happy? Deep down she knew the answer. It was because Nankerris House wasn’t home.

Her heart ached with longing for the little thatched cottage high above the cliffs at Merrick.

She caught her lip between her teeth. She must not cry. Such a display of emotion would spoil the day for everyone.

She turned instead to look behind her to where Nurse and Nancy, under the strict supervision of the butler, were placing plates of cold mutton and pickled pork upon the picnic table.

Normally, it would have piqued her appetite but today she didn’t feel hungry, not even when she saw late raspberries and plums being added to the spread.

If only she hadn’t made that rash promise to stay. She could have been on her way home this very moment!

The thought led to another worry. What if her grandmother hadn’t received the message she’d sent with the captain of the Lucy-Ann? What if she was waiting and watching in vain for her to arrive?

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.