The Glens Of Stone – Episode 81

“May I speak?” McLaurin raised a hand.

“Of course, Ann.” Crawford stood back.

In loud, clear tones, the old woman began.

“McLaurin is my wedded name, though why I kept it only the Lord knows.” She sniffed and clenched her cane tightly. “My husband, Angus McLaurin, was a useless, idle, drunken wretch. Our marriage lasted a bare two years afore he was killed – stabbit in a brawl outside a tavern. ’Twas after that I sought a position with the colonel and his lady.”

She looked around, aware of the air of expectancy.

“My maiden name was Fraser. Aye,” she said as Kirsty and Duncan stared at her. “It’s a name known to some o’ you. Jamie Fraser was my brother.”

“Continue, Ann,” Crawford urged gently.

“Well, sir, as you know, it fell to me and Meg Lawson to find homes for the bairns afore McLean took it into his head to seek us out again. What better than to beg the help of my kin? Meg and I sought out my brother Jamie, who had married and was the village dominie.”

She gave one of her rare smiles.

“I was so proud of him. He and Elizabeth, his wife, were childless.”

“You placed Kirsty with them!” Duncan McAllan cried.

“Aye, though it was them as named her.” The old woman licked her lips. “They could only take one bairn, though. Jamie suggested that John and Agnes, his old friends, might be willing. Although they already had a baby son, Malcolm, they wanted a lassie, too. It was Meg who took the babe to John and Agnes.”

“Meg!” Alison breathed. “I don’t remember her, but she must have given me the doll I called Meggie.”

Agnes Porteous nodded.

“We really wanted a wee lassie and were grateful for the chance.”

Alison’s eyes glistened and she took one of Agnes’s hands in hers.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

Ann McLaurin glanced across at Ellie.

“That left you.” Her voice trembled. “As the colonel has said, I felt I had placed you well, as they were a good, kindly couple. I was not to know they would die o’ that dread disease. I feel I failed you, Ellie. Can you ever forgive me?”

Ellie smiled softly.

“You did your best,” she said. “It must have been hard for you.”

“It was,” Crawford agreed. “Doubly so when we thought we’d lost you after your adoptive parents died. Thanks to Ewan’s tenaciousness, however, we eventually learned you were in service, and he arranged for you to come to Edinburgh.”

“The colonel ordered me to get you – all his children, as I’ve now learned – here to the capital in readiness for his arrival,” Ewan stepped in to explain. “Alison was already here with John and Agnes, of course; then Robert’s transfer was arranged.”

He smiled at Ellie.

“You were lured here, and it only remained for me to suggest to John Porteous that he invite his old friend Duncan McAllan to set up his Mission House. Of course, John had no idea of the real reason. He thought it only a ploy of mine to further the network of Jacobite supporters.”

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.