The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 13

“I’m glad that we’re friends, Kirsty,” Constance said, before they parted. “It’s a bit lonely here for me.”Kirsty knew what she meant. Happy as she was with her new situation, she felt lonely, too, in spite of all the people surrounding her. Mrs Butchart, the cook, was a woman of few words, most of them sharp. Her husband, known simply as Butchart, went about his duties as coachman and gardener in almost complete silence. The two of them withdrew each evening to their quarters by the coach house. Kirsty wondered if they ever spoke to each other!Lily, the girl who came in to help in the mornings, was nosy, constantly asking questions. As for Mrs Tarrant-Smyth, Kirsty sighed at the thought of her. She treated Miss Constance like a naughty little girl.“I want to go to the artists’ summer school for young ladies. Mama doesn’t approve, but I’m going anyway, Kirsty. So, if she asks where I am tomorrow, will you tell a small white lie for me?”Letting sleep overtake her at last, Kirsty felt a warm glow of pleasure at that particular prospect.****Josh was first to rise, getting up as dawn broke, enjoying the silence in the little cottage as he came through to the kitchen and stirred the banked-up fire into life for the big porridge pot. As always, he opened the front door and stood there for a moment, breathing in the cool air, regarding the slumbering village. In the silence, he could stop being good old Josh, who kept conversations going, fuelling them with funny stories. Josh, who never talked about his past, but looked only to the future. Josh, who was searching for the girl of his dreams . . .For the third morning in a row, Adam crept from his bed at first light, dressed, and climbed out of the low casement window at the back of the cottage. Since he had arrived at Abbeylands, he had slept with the window open. The orchard crept right up to the window-sill, and he loved the whisper of the branches and the sounds of little night creatures drifting into his room in the darkness. As an artist, light fascinated him, and he loved the pearliness of dawn, the glitter of dew on the long grass as he walked among the trees. At dawn, he felt as if he alone possessed Abbeylands. City boy though he was, some part of the past had called to him and told him that he belonged here, close to nature. He spent his solitary, early-morning walks looking for the best settings in which he could paint, wandering through the orchards down as far as the river. He’d then return, to climb in the window again and join the others for breakfast as if he’d just risen.Josh seemed to enjoy cooking. Living at Mrs Dinnimont’s, he declared, had given him plenty of practice!As Adam came into the kitchen that third morning, his three companions were seated round the table having a lively discussion. “But if we rent a studio in the big house, we’ll run out of money sooner and we’ll have to go back to Glasgow before the end of the summer,” Marcus was saying.“We can sell some of our work. That’ll keep us going.” Josh the optimist said.“Who’ll buy paintings around here? Not the village folk, surely?” Ben chimed in.Adam felt a twinge of concern.“Why do we need a studio?” he asked at last.“If it rains we can’t work outside, and we need a place to store the art materials, to finish off work, or even to get away on our own sometimes.” By the end of breakfast Marcus was convinced, and Ben, the quiet one, said little but seemed happy enough. Adam lingered after they’d gone. He needed to talk to Josh.“I’m not sure about this,” he told him. “My funds are limited. And then there’s food for the whole summer and other expenses we’ve no’ thought of.”“Adam, you can share the studio. I’ve paid a month in advance. It’s the same with food.”“I’ll pay my way,” Adam said stiffly, getting up from the table.Josh looked at him, stricken.“Wait, Adam! You’re choking on that pride of yours again. You’re in an artists’ enclave now, and there’s one golden rule for artists everything is shared. Normal rules don’t apply. Besides, you’re the really talented one. That means you share that talent with the rest of us, and help us out now and then. Especially me, with life drawing!”


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