The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 14

Adam let the talk veer to Kirsty and her new situation.“When you go to see her, of course, you’ll see Constance as well.” Josh shot a curious glance at his friend, making Adam colour slightly.“I might.”“You could invite her over to the village to do some painting with us,” Josh persisted.The other shook his head.“Against the rules, I expect. Her mother’s rules, those rules that girls like Constance have to live by.”There was bitterness in his voice. Then Josh spoke quietly.“But there are no rules where love’s concerned, Adam. Don’t forget that. I know what I’ve seen by watching the two of you together in Glasgow. I have eyes in my head . . .”As Adam left, he put his hand on the other man’s shoulder.“Thanks, Josh,” he said quietly. “You’re a good friend.”As Adam made his way through the orchard, he was thinking only of practical matters. Despite his friend’s generosity, he was determined to pay his way. A few swift calculations confirmed his need for a part-time job of some sort. But where?Coming out at the edge of the orchard, he looked over rolling pasture stretching towards the hills. In a slight hollow stood farm buildings. Beyond that, he could see figures working in a hayfield. Adam smiled. The answer to his problem was right in front of his eyes . . .“I aye need guid workers, right enough.” The farmer didn’t pause in forking hay. Two men were working further up the field. “Tenpence a day, a’ found, if ye’re a worker.”Adam’s heart sank. The men looked well muscled and weather-beaten. They made the work look effortless.“All found?” he asked at last.“Bread, cheese an’ a bottle o’ cauld tea at nine o’clock an’ three. Start at six.”“Till when?” Adam’s heart was sinking at the thought that there would be no daylight left for painting.“Till the work’s feenished.”“I need more money than that. I can work morning and evening, but . . .”The farmer threw down his hayfork and stared.“Ye’ve got a cheek on ye, laddie, Ah’ll gie ye that,” he said at last, with just the hint of a twinkle. “Can ye work horses?” Adam remembered his acquaintance with old Ramage’s horse, and took a chance.“I’ve a wee bit experience of them.”The farmer’s weatherbeaten face crinkled into a smile.“I might hae a job for ye, then. I need a man tae see tae the Clydesdales an’ the twa horses stabled here. Dae a guid job an’ there’s mair money in it. Dae a bad job, an’ the horses’ll let ye ken afore Ah will!”The lamps were lit in the cottage by the time Adam got back from the farm. His evening meal had been kept warm for him on the range. Ravenous, he finished every scrap before answering the barrage of questions from his companions.“I’m to be in charge of Samson and Goliath, the two Clydesdales. And the farmer has another two horses stabled there a wee bay, Blossom, and Ebony, a black one. I’ve to look after them as well.”The others were incredulous.“What do you know about horses? You’re a city boy!” Josh laughed.“You’ll be found out after five minutes,” Marcus added.“It’s downright dangerous,” was Ben’s contribution. “I’ve seen those Clydesdales, they’re enormous. What if one of them steps on you?”Adam laughed.“Tam, the man who’s been looking after them, showed me what I have to do. He’s needed elsewhere right now. I’m a fast learner, and my work is in the early morning and the evening, when the horses’ work is finished.”That night, sleep eluded Adam. At last, he got up and sat by the open window, watching the stars. In the course of this eventful day, he had discovered one thing which had robbed him of sleep. He’d asked Tam about the Grange.“My wee sister works there, and I was wondering if it’s anywhere near here?”Tam had taken him to the open side of the yard, and had pointed to an imposing house at the foot of the crag, less than a mile distant from the farm.“That’s the Grange. Miss Constance, the dochter, comes by whiles. The bay is her horse, and the black yin’s the carriage horse. She was in Glasgow for a while there . . .”Adam hadn’t heard the rest. Fate had brought him to a place familiar to Constance, to a place where the formalities of the Grange couldn’t reach them. A place where they could meet, unseen, by her mama.


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