The Glens of Stone – Episode 35

Colonel Alastair Crawford emerged from his tent into the bright September sunshine. A few yards away the 800 men of the Scots Royal, brought from France, stood awaiting his inspection.

His heart swelled with pride at their smart bearing. These were men he could depend on, not like the majority of the ragtag, ill-disciplined men who made up the rest of the Jacobite encampment.

However, those men were not his concern; it fell to Lord George Murray and others to lick them into shape before they met the expected Hanoverian forces at Edinburgh.

A handsome, silver-haired man just turned fifty, Crawford was glad to be back on Scottish soil after years of exile.

During the march from the west coast he had relished the dramatic scenery. Aye, it was great to be home, he thought.

Doubly so, for if Ogilvie had done as ordered, Edinburgh harboured an extra-special welcome which he, Crawford, had been anticipating for 20 years. He had no reason to doubt Ewan’s abilities; the man had never failed him.

Crawford advanced towards the waiting ranks.

“The men look fighting fit, Sergeant. I’m glad I’m not in Johnnie Cope’s shoes.”

*  *  *  *

Sergeant McCrae stood shamefaced before Robert Marshall.

“I’m afraid Miss Porteous and I are no longer seeing each other, sir,” he confessed.

“I take it she recognised you that evening at Lady Catherine’s?”

“Aye, sir. I told her as much as I could, but she demanded to know why I had hidden the truth from her. Did I not trust her? Was I using her, and so on.”

Sandy’s face had a doleful look as he recalled the angry scene with Alison two days previously . . .

“It was you, wasn’t it?” Alison had said accusingly. “There you were, in front of everyone, openly conversing with two officers from the castle. You who professed to have no great political views, yet you were talking with the English military.”

“Yes, but I didn’t . . .”

“Mean to be seen?” Alison had snorted. “Some soldier of fortune you are. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve been spying for them and using me and the others at the Mission for some purpose of your own.”

Angrily, Sandy had grabbed her shoulders.

“I’m no spy, and my friendship and my feelings for you are sincere, Alison, believe me.”

“I don’t know what to believe. I can’t trust you any more, Sandy! That’s what hurts me so. I’d grown very fond of you.”

“And I of you, Alison. Just give me a chance, please!”

But it was too late. Face set in grim determination, the girl had walked away without a backward glance.

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.