The Glens of Stone – Episode 50

Kirsty and Agnes Porteous approached the castle guardhouse as daylight began to fail. As they walked up the steep street and chatted about wedding plans, Kirsty was glad to see Agnes cheering up. It was clearly a welcome relief from her worries over John.

A surly sentry demanded to know their business.

“We’ve come to see two prisoners,” Kirsty said firmly. “Mr Porteous and Miss Chalmers.”

The soldier scratched his stubbly chin.

“The rebel sympathisers? That won’t be possible. I’ve no orders to let you pass.”

“We insist on seeing them,” Kirsty said firmly.

“Insist all you like,” the sentry scoffed. “Now, take yourselves away before I sound the alarm and have you both arrested.”

Though Kirsty would have argued, Agnes pulled her away.

“Come, my dear, it’s no use.”

“What is no use, pray?” Robert Marshall appeared at their side.

The guard stepped forward.

“If you please, sir, these two women wanted to see the rebel prisoners. I told them they could not.”

“Quite right, Private, as per my orders.” Robert cast a defiant look at Agnes and Kirsty. “By the command of General Guest, I may add.”

“You’ve no right to . . .” Kirsty’s protest was cut off.

“I have every right,” Robert insisted. “Look,” he said, noticing their rising distress, “it may be that they’ll be released shortly, provided no evidence is found. Much will depend on what Sergeant McCrae might discover.”

“That’s another thing!” Agnes blurted out at the mention of Sandy’s name. “My daughter requests that he visit her, tomorrow if suitable. She is anxious to see him.”

“Then Miss Porteous is to be disappointed, I’m afraid.” He smiled ruefully at Agnes. “At this moment the good fellow is rummaging through your husband’s personal effects.”

“How dare you, sir!” Agnes exclaimed. “You have no right to invade our privacy in this way.”

“Ah, but we’re not invading it, dear lady. Your husband was most helpful, for it was he who surrendered his keys.” Robert grinned. “We act with his approval.”

Kirsty and Agnes exchanged glances.

“Then perhaps when the sergeant returns he’ll be able to see Alison,” Kirsty suggested hopefully.

“Alas, no. McCrae allowed a certain gentleman to escape. As punishment he reports for active service immediately on his return, which should be within the hour.”

“Active service?” Kirsty’s hand flew to her mouth.

“Yes. He will join a regiment intent on engaging the rebel forces as they approach Edinburgh.”

“Then – then he could be killed,” she whispered.

“There is that possibility.”

Robert could have added his personal doubts about the effectiveness of Colonel Gardiner’s forces against the advancing rebel army, but instead he placed an arm around Kirsty’s shoulders.

“It would be best if you let matters be,” he suggested. “Go back to the Canongate and wait to see what happens.”

As they turned away Agnes tried one last appeal.

“How are they? My husband and Miss Chalmers?”

“In good spirits, I assure you,” Robert said. “Mr Porteous is most comfortable: he has books to read, regular meals . . . and the solace of his Bible.”

“And Ellie?” Kirsty asked.

“She is her usual cheerful self. Doubtless she awaits the arrival of the brave Ogilvie, dashing to her rescue.” He laughed scornfully. “No fear of that, ladies. The wretch is likely many miles from here, seeking his masters in the rebel force. Now,” he said impatiently, “kindly remove yourselves from these precincts lest I’m tempted to have you sample our hospitality, too.”

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.