The Glens of Stone – Episode 21

Ellie Chalmers knew she had really fallen in love when, for the fifth time within an hour, she peered anxiously up the wynd leading to the Mission House, hoping to glimpse the man she had come to adore.

As she waited she compared her feelings for Robert Marshall with those she nurtured for a man whose full name she didn’t even know. Oh, the dashing captain intrigued her, but somehow his presence had not kindled flames of passion within her. Sparks, rather than Cupid’s arrows, had flown between them.

Not so with the stranger who one evening had come into her life a month previously. He’d appeared at the serving hatch, bowl in hand, softly whistling as he watched her ladle out the soup.

“Thank you, pretty maiden,” he’d said.

“You’ll find bread on the tables.”

She’d watched as he made his way to the far corner of the room where he’d taken a seat with his back to the wall. There was something familiar . . . Had she seen him before?

The stranger had appeared regularly thereafter. One night, she had summoned up enough courage to smile at him.

“Is everything tae yer liking?”

“No complaints at all, I assure you.”

She had sensed his power and confidence, yet she felt that he was lonely, too. He was handsome, though not perhaps as elegant as Captain Marshall.

She had seen Alison and Sandy enter and take seats, holding hands and whispering. The lovebirds were oblivious to their surroundings.

“Miss Porteous has an admirer, I see,” the stranger had observed.

“Aye. His name’s Sandy McCrae.” A thought struck her. “You called her Miss Porteous,” she said. “You know her, then?”

“That I do,” the man had replied, “and I know you, too, Miss Chalmers.”

Seeing her perplexed expression, he went on.

“I’m fond of reading and have oft patronised Mr Porteous’s bookshop. Both Miss Alison and her father have mentioned your services to their household.”

“Then, if you know my name, sir, would ye tell me yours?”

“Call me Ewan,” the man replied. “A handsome couple,” he observed, looking again at Alison.

Ewan had appeared regularly after that and Ellie enjoyed speaking with him.

“You’re not a religious man, are you, Ewan?” she dared to venture once. “You never attend the services here.”

“I’d like to find God’s grace,” he’d said, “but he wouldn’t approve of some of the things I’ve done, I fear.”

Somehow his words added to the mounting attraction she felt for him.

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.