The Glens of Stone – Episode 15

“It’s not exactly full,” Duncan McAllan said in disappointment as he peeped through the door of the Mission House meeting room.

“Patience, my friend.” John Porteous was at his side. “All the Lord asks of his followers is faith and humility. Punctuality is low on his list of priorities.”

“Of course, John, you’re right as usual. It’s just that . . .”

“You’d hoped for more, I know,” Porteous interrupted. “Man, you should rejoice! There are thirty souls for saving in there. Take heart.”

Duncan was visibly cheered.

“You’re a great comfort to me, John. And I’m grateful for the help you and your family have given to this venture.”

“You’d do the same for me, I’m sure. Now, then, let’s see how the womenfolk are doing in the kitchen. There’s a rare smell of vegetable broth on the air.”

“But wasn’t it strange how we acquired our first new helper?” Duncan said as the two men proceeded along the passage. “That same lassie we met on the stairs that night we supped with you.”

“Ellie Chalmers.” Porteous nodded. “A fine young woman, if a bit outspoken.”

“We can’t pay her much,” Duncan said, a worried frown on his face.

“She can get bed, food and warmth here – that’ll suffice, I’m sure,” John replied affably. “It’s true we found her useful, but our loss is your gain. And forbye I’ll exact some form of recompense, don’t you fear.”

Duncan still looked puzzled.

“I still can’t understand why she was ordered to leave the castle kitchens by that captain fellow, Marshall. Seems she was as surprised as anyone.”

“I’ve heard the girl caused a bit of trouble. Made slanderous remarks. I did say she was outspoken.”

“I see. I trust she’ll not cause trouble here?”

“Gracious, no! Indeed there was likely a deal of truth in what she said.”

“Then why was she . . .?”

“For another reason, perhaps,” John said. “The dashing captain’s a good-looking fellow and her confidante, a maidservant by the name of Jean Forbes, has indicated the girl Ellie was quite taken with him. That could not be allowed.”

They had reached the kitchen. Agnes Porteous and Ellie were stirring the steaming contents of two vast pots, occasionally sipping from ladles and adding pinches of salt. Kirsty and Alison wielded large knives to slice up great loaves of bread.

As the two men entered, Agnes smiled in greeting.

“Watch out, girls,” she cried, “here’s the men to make sure we’re hard at work.”

Ladle in hand, she marched threateningly towards the two men.

“Out!” she commanded. “Away and attend to the spiritual well-being of our visitors and leave us to cater for their hunger.” Flapping her hands and apron she added, “Go on, shoo!”

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.