The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 32

Cast of characters dressed in 18th Century clothing stand in front of white cottage

“Dorcas.” Ethel scurried from the inn and across the yard into the wash-house, where her elder daughters were dollying a mound of bed linen. “A groom from the Grange brought this for you.” 

Pushing aside the dolly, Dorcas hastily dried her hands on her apron and rushed to open her letter. 

“It’s an invitation to a ball at Haddonsell Grange.” She excitedly held out the card, then her face fell. “I haven’t a ballgown, Ma. Whatever am I to wear?” 

“There isn’t time for us to make a ballgown,” Ethel began, racking her brains. “But with a few changes and embellishments, your ivory muslin will be perfect. Mr Adam won’t be able to take his eyes from you.” 

With that, Ethel hurried from the wash-house. 

“Dorcas,” Amaryllis began hesitantly. “About Adam Whitlock . . .” 

“What about him?” Dorcas demanded crossly. 

“I saw him in St Agnes. With a lady,” Amaryllis related in a low voice. “She was on his arm.” 

Dorcas gave a derisive laugh. 

“Am, you’re priceless. Adam’s told me about her. Her name’s Lydia. She’s a spinster who’s visiting the Grange. Adam’s simply being chivalrous toward his sister’s old friend.” 

“I know what I saw,” Amaryllis persisted. “You need to be careful.” 

* * * * 

“Are you going into town?” Sandy queried, spotting Ethel hurrying from the inn-house wearing her best hat and coat. “I thought Am got the errands in St Agnes yesterday?” 

“So she did,” Ethel replied. “I’m off to the draper’s.” 

“There’s no sense fussing about Dorcas’s frock,” he said. “I’ll not let her go to that do at the Grange.” 

Ethel froze, glaring at him. Her lips compressed into a hard, thin line. 

When she did reply, her voice was very quiet. 

“Why would that be, Sandy?” 

“It’ll be too grand by half, and filling the girl’s head with such nonsense is asking for trouble,” he went on. “There will be plenty people at that do who’ll look down their noses at Dorcas because they’ll know she dun’t fit in there.” 

“You’re wrong,” Ethel snapped, anger igniting deep within her. “The Grange is exactly the sort of place Dorcas belongs.” 

“I like the Whitlocks and it was good of them to invite her, but their sort aren’t our class,” Sandy retorted, his patience wearing thin. “No good will come of Dorcas getting ideas above her station. Surely you must see that?” 

“Why is it fitting for your son to be courting a Whitlock,” she lashed out, the simmering hurt, anger and resentment of recent weeks boiling over, “but my daughter isn’t good enough to attend a dance at their home?” 

“That’s not what I meant.” 

“Adam is the best prospect our girl will have,” Ethel persisted, her fury spent as swiftly as it erupted. “You aren’t going to ruin her chances of making a fine marriage, Sandy. I’ll not allow it.” 

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.