The Glens Of Stone – Episode 75

Ignoring Robert’s outburst Ewan peered intently at the rear of the kirk as a figure moved in the shadows. Quickly he gathered his papers together and made his way down from the pulpit to take his seat behind the adjacent large communion table.

Aware of the others’ puzzlement, he deliberately stalled for as long as he could.

Finally he spoke.

“To bring things to a more satisfactory conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I am calling upon the services of another – a man known to some of us here. Believe me when I say I do not know what he will tell us. All I can say is that I have acted on his orders over the last few years for a purpose known only to him.”

Standing up, Ewan called out.

“Are you ready, sir?”

“Thank you, Major,” a strong voice answered and a man’s figure emerged from the shadows to climb up into the pulpit.

As the glow from the candles revealed his face, Lady Catherine gave a soft cry.

“Alastair! Is that you?”

Colonel Alastair Crawford smiled down at her.

“Aye, Catherine, my dear, it’s me. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Well nigh twenty-five years, by my reckoning.” He shifted his gaze. “And you, too, McLaurin. The years have been kind to you.”

“Havers,” the old woman retorted. “You’ve still got a flattering tongue in your head. Still,” she conceded, “it’s good to see you again.”

Aware of the air of expectancy, Alastair Crawford glanced around the gathering.

“I apologise for bringing you here like this.” He looked at Robert. “Especially where force was used. However, I hope to prove to you that this clandestine meeting was necessary.” He paused briefly.

“Let me tell you why you are all here. It’s a story which will surprise, even shock, most of you. Perhaps Miss McLaurin will be the least surprised.” He smiled as the old woman nodded.

“Twenty-five years ago,” he began, “to this very month, I was married here in this kirk. The wedding was held in secret and the only witnesses were two kirk elders and a loyal servant. You remember, Ann?”

“That I do, sir.” All eyes turned to stare at McLaurin for a moment.

“My bride was a truly lovely girl,” Crawford continued, “refined and of good breeding. Her name was Catriona. Lady Catriona Crichton, the sister of Lady Catherine here.”

He allowed the resultant babble of voices to subside before continuing.

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.