The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 37

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

Amaryllis did not spend a restful night. 

She’d been angry and shocked at Noah’s accusation, and the childhood pals had had their first falling out. 

Amaryllis was certain Simon wouldn’t have anything to do with contraband. Yet the notion nagged at the edges of her mind. 

Hurrying through her early chores at the Bell, Amaryllis asked her mother if she might be spared for a couple of hours so she could go into St Agnes. 

Simon was travelling to York this morning, and would be away for days. Amaryllis desperately needed to see him and as she sped into town, she willed she get there before he left. 

*  *  *  * 

A housemaid showed Amaryllis into a well-appointed reception room of the Baldwin family home, where Simon was occupied, hurriedly making ready for his trip to York. 

Despite his kiss of welcome, Amaryllis could not help but feel Simon was less than pleased at her being there. 

“What’s that?” He frowned, indicating the parcel in her arms. 

“The presents you gave me for Christmas.” She anxiously gazed up at him. “Simon, I know you’re busy, but I must speak –” 

“Sorry, Am. Whatever it is must wait,” he interrupted, resuming his preparations. “I have an important meeting in Castlebridge, then board the York coach on company business.” 

“This can’t wait.” she blurted out, the carefully rehearsed words forgotten in her urgency for Simon’s reassurance. “My presents aren’t contraband, are they?” 

Amaryllis searched Simon’s face; fearful he’d be wounded she could doubt his integrity, but to her horror Simon laughed out loud, not even pausing with his packing. 

“Of course they are. How else but by way of free-traders would one acquire luxury goods in these times of high duties?” 

“You got my Christmas presents from smugglers?” she cried in disbelief. 

“Don’t be naïve, Am. I don’t know the who, where or when, but I do have a friend who knows one or two useful contacts. It’s the way of the world.” 

“It’s against the law, Simon,” she retorted, holding the gifts out to him. “I can’t accept these.” 

“Judges, parsons, school teachers, the finest families and the most reputable merchants in the land purchase contraband,” he argued, pushing the parcel into her arms. “It makes sense never to pay more for goods than necessary.” 

“You lied to me. This changes everything,” she mumbled, spinning away from him before Simon could see her tears. “It’s best we don’t see one another again.” 

“Are you telling me you no longer love me?” 

With a single stride Simon reached out, lightly catching her shoulders and arresting Amaryllis’s flight through the open doorway. 

“All I did was buy a present because I wanted to make you happy.” 

Simon took a step closer; his hands soothing and caressing Amaryllis’s shoulders as he stood behind her, his lips against her ear when he whispered, “Was that wrong of me?” 

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.