The Glens of Stone – Episode 45

Raised angry voices came from nearby. Stepping into the passageway, Robert saw Malcolm Porteous struggling with the two guards. Behind him, also trying to push past, was his mother.

“How dare you arrest my father?” Malcolm shouted. “He’s done nothing wrong.”

“You think not? Why not ask Mr McAllan here?”

He glanced at at the forlorn figure of Kirsty’s father, which told its own story.

“Please, Captain, John’s a good husband and father,” Agnes pleaded. “He would never . . .”

“Your husband’s innocence or otherwise will be determined by General Guest, ma’am. After interrogation he will either go free or be severely punished.”

“Severely punished?” Duncan cried. “What might that mean, Captain?”

“If found guilty of treason, Mr McAllan, your friend will surely hang.”

Cries of dismay greeted his words and Robert felt stirrings of guilt. After all, Porteous was but one of hundreds of Jacobite sympathisers in the city.

“Hopefully it will not come to that,” he finished.

Malcolm made one last attempt.

“My sister was injured during the commotion,” he said. “Should her father not be here in case her condition worsens?”

“I know of her injury,” Robert replied. “I helped carry her back to her room. Rest assured, she is not in any danger.”

He turned to Agnes.

“You and your family will be informed of our findings in due course, ma’am. Now it would be best if you all return to Miss Porteous’s bedside rather than bandying words with me.”

As they turned to go, Malcolm glared at Robert.

“If anything happens to my father you will surely suffer for it.”

Robert raised his eyebrows haughtily.

“Be glad I do not take offence easily, Master Porteous, else you would find yourself alongside your father in the vaults!”

*  *  *  *

When they’d gone, Robert stalked into the adjoining kitchen where he espied Ellie stacking dishes. He was in a foul mood now, brought about by a headache and the mounting feeling that he’d botched matters.

“Ah,” he said, “Miss Chalmers. The very person. I wish you to know of my anger at your friend’s attack on my sergeant earlier.”

Ellie’s eyes widened.

“I wouldn’t call him a friend. I know little of him.”

“Enough!” Robert roared. “I do not wish to hear your lies. We know what’s been going on here. You must know it amounts to treason. That’s why I’m placing you under arrest, too. For consorting with the enemy.”

Kirsty, who had come down for warm water to bathe Alison, overheard.

“Captain, you can’t mean that!”

“Oh, I can, Miss McAllan. This girl . . .” Robert pointed to Ellie, whose mouth hung open in shock “. . . will be imprisoned at the castle for dallying with a known traitor.” He signalled to the guards.

“Take her away,” he ordered.

He tried to ignore his feeling of unease as he recalled the burly preacher who had assaulted him following his previous ill-treatment of Ellie. Increasingly he wished he had chosen another profession.

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.