The End Of The Rainbow – Episode 71

As Josh brought the Arrol to a halt under a gas lamp, snow was falling gently, dressing the grim streets of the East End in white. Josh took out his pocket watch.“Six o’clock already. We’ll need to watch our time, Kirsty.”Kirsty was looking very small and apprehensive. Swiftly, he put an arm around her.“Why so serious? We’re taking happy news to your mother and father.” She leaned her head on his shoulder.“It’ll be a shock tae them. Mither’ll be pleased, but Faither can be awkward at times.”Josh held her close.“Then I may have to challenge him to a duel, my love. Right there in the kitchen. Wooden spoons at sunset!”His companion giggled and lifted her face for a kiss.“Ye’re daft, Josh Glenavon!”****Mirren was a little flustered but welcoming.“Faither, we have company!” she announced as she let the visitors into the kitchen. Thomas was preparing to light his pipe, his stockinged feet on the fender. “Ye’re there, Kirsty.” He nodded a greeting. “Good evenin’ tae ye, Josh.” Kirsty’s hand slipped into that of her companion. Noticing it, Mirren became even more flustered.“Ye’ll tak’ some tea?” Her voice trembled as she reached for the kettle.At that, Josh took matters in hand.“Kirsty and I have some important news. Good news. Kirsty and I have had an . . . understanding, for some time now.”Mirren sat down suddenly as if her legs had given way under her. Her husband, unlit pipe in his hand, regarded Josh with an unblinking stare.“An understanding?” Thomas’s words dropped into the silence. “Explain yersel’.”“My intentions are honourable, Mr Gray. I have asked Kirsty to marry me, and she has accepted my proposal. I must apologise for failing to ask for your approval first. But, well, we have been friends for a long time, and it grew into something more.”“And I wanted it kept secret for as long as we could manage it. Ye’re the first tae know Josh hasnae told his father yet.” Kirsty’s voice had a defiant edge as she addressed her parent. There was a muffled sob as, shoulders shaking, Mirren covered her eyes with the edge of her apron. Thomas was on his feet and at her side in an instant, crouched by her chair, his arm round her shoulders.“Now see whit ye’ve done, Kirsty Gray! Have ye nae sense? Ye cannae marry above yer station. It’ll no’ work it’s no’ done! Do ye want tae brak’ yer mither’s heart a’thegither?”Mirren suddenly raised her head and looked into her husband’s face. She wore a tremulous smile.“They love each other! Look at them, Thomas. What does station matter? What does anythin’ else matter, where there’s love between a man and a woman? And takin’ a hard road can make love a’ the ?” Her gaze was locked into her husband’s. “I’m greetin’ because I’m happy for the both o’ them.” Mirren got up from her chair. “Let me take yer coat.” She smiled at Josh. “And Kirsty, put on the kettle. There’s cake from Aunt Jenny in the tin.”From that moment on, it all seemed so easy. Kirsty showed her parents the ring Josh had given her.“Now I can wear it when we come to see ye, because this house is the only place where our secret’s out.” As Kirsty spoke, she noticed that Thomas looked almost pleased.Over tea by the fireside, she and Josh told her parents about the little cottage out in the country, describing every detail of it, inside and out.Her mother’s eyes were shining. “Dae ye hear that, Faither? Kirsty’ll be living in the country.”“How dae ye think yer faither’ll tak’ the news?” Thomas poked the fire vigorously. “He might no’ be best pleased at ye marryin’ oot o’ yer class.”“Mr Gray, my father is particularly fond of Kirsty, and holds her in high esteem. As for talk of ‘class’ . . .” He took a deep breath before continuing. “My mother was in service. She was a perfect lady, just like your daughter.”


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