The Glens of Stone – Episode 49


Lady Catherine pirouetted before a full-length mirror in her dressing-room.

“I hope I look the part,” she murmured, her voice full of doubt.

“Better than the original,” McLaurin assured her, though Anne Boleyn had never graced Edinburgh’s streets.

Lady Catherine turned to the old woman.

“I can’t understand why you won’t don a costume for this assembly,” she complained.

Her companion raised a protesting hand.

“Me, in costume? What garb would suit me? That of a North Berwick witch, perhaps – them as plagued the old King!”

“The very thing,” Lady Catherine declared. “Most apt.”

Huffily, McLaurin tottered to her feet.

“I’d best away and ensure the sedans are ordered.”

She pulled open the door and stumped, her cane tapping, into the passage. Her thoughts turned to Robert Marshall, locked away upstairs. Her mistress had been both annoyed and fearful to find that the young captain was being held in her home.

“We could all be hung for this!” she’d shouted at Ewan. “We can’t take an officer of the King’s army prisoner.”

“It’s only a temporary abduction, ma’am,” Ewan had assured her. “He will be free to return to the castle in due course – if he wishes.”

His last words had held a guarded message which Lady Catherine had missed.

Later, she had once again tackled Ewan, who had lost his temper.

“The city is in the hands of the Prince’s forces. As an officer in his army I have certain powers. Indeed, if I wished it I could commandeer this building for military use and have you cast out into the street! So have a care, madam!”

He’d been bluffing, of course, but his words had had the desired effect.

McLaurin peered upwards through the dark of the stairwell and heard the low voices of the two guards. Poor lad, she thought, picturing Robert. Then she allowed herself a sly grin.

“But it’s for his own good.”

*  *  *  *

Thomas McLean’s mood was one of impatience. The day had dragged but now, at last, resplendent in the uniform of a Roundhead captain, he was ready to leave for the Assembly Rooms.

Tonight, at last, if the old woman was the one he sought, he could learn the full extent of her treachery all those years ago.

It was doubtful if the old wifie – or Lady Catherine herself – would recognise him after all this time, but the mask would ensure his anonymity.

He lifted the loaded pistol from the bed and placed it in his belt. Next he donned the silver mask, smoothed his straggly hair and clamped the heavy helmet on his head.

He was ready.

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.