The Ladies Of Eastgarrow – Episode 04

Celestine often sent her maid to the village on errands. Sometimes Em wondered if she did so to get her out of the way while she tried to woo her tutor. But Em loved the walk along the lane between the house and the village. It ran near the top of the cliff, and she liked the wind in her hair, and the way the gorse bushes and hawthorn trees were permanently bent one way by the prevailing south-east wind. Em had been born on this stretch of coast and loved it.One morning in early August she set forth to the shoemaker whose workshop was in Garrow village, to deliver a repair for her mistress. She was setting off on the return journey when she heard raised voices, and stopped to look down a lane that ran between the houses, their upper windows close together above the cobbles. The two men in discussion were in profile, and unaware of their surroundings, so Em was sure that Mr Delaine had not seen her. His companion or, Em thought, more likely his enemy was a rough-looking sort, with a filthy neckerchief and a hat with a great tear in it. His stout legs were bound in cloths against the mud, and his boots caked. Em thought that she could also see a scar on the cheek that faced her, a livid welt in the skin, healed by time but disfiguring. Mr Delaine kept raising his hands as if in frustration, and the man would prod a finger in front of his adversary’s eyes, whereupon Mr Delaine would start back.A woman whom Em knew a little passed by and nodded to her.“Mrs Renny!” Em called her back in a soft voice. “Do you know that man?”Mrs Renny peered down the lane and then looked at Em, puzzled.“Why, that’s Mr Delaine, your lady’s betrothed, and such a good man as ”“No, I mean the other one,” Em said.Mrs Renny shook her head. “No, and I don’t hope to make his acquaintance, dirty-looking fellow that he is. I don’t think he should be accosting Mr Delaine like that.”Em walked home wondering who the man might be, but when she met Mr Delaine in the house she did not dare ask. It was not her place to question the movements of her superiors. It was known locally, however, that Mr Delaine had humble origins, even if his family might be aristocracy. Em had learned that he was once a gunsmith a skilled trade, but one from which a man did not usually aspire to marry the widow of a peer!


Used to make posts more anonymous, eg a criminal case where you don’t want to expose the actual journalist.