The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 36

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

It was late. Noah had brought in the Manx packet hours ago; the last coach of the night had been and gone long since. 

The passengers and travellers were fed and watered, and either gone on their way continuing their journeys, or been shown up to their rooms at the Bell. 

In the stillness of the night, the Macgregor brothers, Noah and Kit were seated in the window alcove, lingering over their ale and the game of bonesticks playing out across the table between them. 

In the inn’s big kitchen, Amaryllis, Ethel and Widow Watkins were putting away the newly washed crockery, cleaning and tidying and making ready for a new day. 

Amaryllis was watching over chocolate heating on the hob, but not for the first time that evening she glanced with increasing concern at her mother. 

Ma looked worn out, her thin face pale and drawn. She worked too hard and Amaryllis guessed these past weeks must have been very difficult for her. 

“I’ll finish in here.” She smiled, pouring the hot chocolate into large earthenware mugs. “Why not take yours and go on up to bed, Ma? You, too, Mrs Watkins.” 

Ethel shook her head. 

“I’m fine, Am. Besides, with Dorcas out with Mr Adam, everything’s been left to you today.” 

“There isn’t much left to do,” Amaryllis persisted cheerfully. “And I’m not tired at all tonight. I’m so excited about Simon’s asking me to the theatre.” 

“Me and my Archie went to a theatre once,” Freda Watkins recalled. “It was about a young lass and lad who fell in love during olden times. They died at the end. It were very sad.” 

“I hope Simon and I see a happier play.” Amaryllis laughed, placing mugs into her mother and Mrs Watkins’s hands. “Away you both go. Sleep well.” 

After Ethel had gone through to the inn-house and Widow Watkins climbed the stairs to her rooms above the kitchen, Amaryllis finished the chores and fetched in fresh water for the morning, lest the pump freeze during the night. 

Ethel had retired, but Amaryllis didn’t follow suit. Instead, she went along into the back parlour, lighting the lamp and taking the silk dress-length Simon had given her from the sideboard drawer. 

Removing the material from its wrappings, she smoothed it out across the walnut table and stood back, considering. 

Simon had told her they were attending the opening night of the new season at the Castlebridge Playhouse. 

That was weeks away, so there would be enough time to make a dress from the silk, but was such a pale colour and sheer fabric suitable for the theatre? 


She turned to see Noah in the doorway. 

“Your pa said it was all right for me to come through.” 

“Of course!” she exclaimed with a smile. “How did the bonesticks turn out?” 

“It was Kit and I against your pa and Iain.” Noah grinned. “The Macgregor brothers had the beating of us, but Iain said it was age before beauty.” 

“Sounds like something Uncle Iain would say.” She laughed, returning her attention to the length of silk. “Simon’s taking me to opening night at the Castlebridge Playhouse. I’m wondering whether to make a new dress for the occasion.” 

“While we were playing tonight, we were talking about contraband being brought ashore,” Noah began, watching her smoothing the sheer silk.  

“Simon told you he bought your presents in Liverpool, but have you wondered how he really came by that silk and lace?” 

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.