The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 39

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

Amaryllis was always first up at the Bell. 

She lit the shaded candle, washed and dressed without Betsy stirring and went noiselessly down the stairs. 

After raking out the cold ashes and lighting the inn-house’s fires, she set fresh water to boil for tea and the family’s porridge to cook before returning upstairs to waken Dorcas. 

Dorcas never liked getting up in the morning, but when Amaryllis had twice tapped upon her door without hearing a response from within, she went inside and saw the room was empty. 

Lighting the candle, she saw that, although the quilt was rumpled, the bed had not been slept in. 

The candle’s soft, flickering light fell upon the looking-glass on Dorcas’s little dressing-table and Amaryllis spotted the note wedged into its corner. 

Without hesitation, she flew past her parents’ room and downstairs, racing through the inn-house and into the inn itself, up the staircase and along to Kit’s rooms. 

“Dorcas has run off,” she whispered the instant Kit’s door opened. 

*  *  *  * 

Kit lost no time joining Amaryllis in the stables, where she was hastily saddling Patch in readiness for Kit’s giving chase to the eloping lovers. 

“I’m riding to Haddonsell. I don’t believe Whitlock will have taken Dorcas to the Grange,” he explained, seeing the question spring to his sister’s eyes. “I intend asking Penny to accompany me. 

“When we catch up with them, another woman’s presence will be needed.” 

“Yes, I can see that,” Amaryllis agreed. “In the note, Dorcas says they’re getting married, but what if Adam . . .” 

“Try not to worry,” Kit murmured, taking Patch’s reins from her hands. “Get on with the day as usual, and do all you can to reassure your parents. 

“I promise you that no harm will come to Dorcas.” 

*  *  *  * 

“It happens I do know something of Gretna Green,” Penelope remarked thoughtfully. 

Still clad in nightclothes, she was reading Dorcas’s note for a second time. 

She and Kit were in her sitting-room at the Grange, and Penelope’s maid had already gone out to the stables to ascertain whether Adam had taken horses or was driving the Whitlock carriage. 

“When we were young, my friend Lydia had a fancy about eloping and told me a great deal about Gretna Green,” Penelope went on, returning the note to Kit. “Couples can be married immediately by the blacksmith at his forge. 

“It’s a hand-fasting ceremony and the marriage is declared when the blacksmith strikes his hammer on the anvil.” 

“I’m impressed.” Kit raised an eyebrow. “Miss Unsworth is a fount of information.” 

“You don’t know the half of it.” She returned his smile. “It’s a long journey, Kit. Even travelling in haste, Dorcas and Adam will have need to overnight somewhere at least once before crossing the border into Scotland.” 

“Miss, I knocked the groom up and he says Mr Adam’s horse and one other have gone.” Margaret darted into the sitting-room, a coat over her nightgown. “I told him to get Sorrel ready. 

“I’ll pack your valise and set out your travelling clothes.” The maid hovered in the doorway, glancing back to Penelope. “When the master and missus wake up, what’ll I tell them?” 

“Tell them that Adam and Miss Macgregor have eloped to Gretna Green and Kit and I are joining them to bear witness at their marriage,” Penelope replied. “Thanks for your help, Margaret.” 

Bobbing her head, the maid scurried out, leaving Kit and Penelope alone. 

“I’ll dress.” She paused, kissing him. “And we’ll be on our way to Scotland.” 

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.