The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 42

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

Shocked and humiliated, Ethel stood stock still. 

Passing the tip of her tongue across dry lips, she was scarce able to draw breath. 

Snatching her shopping list from the counter, she turned on her heel and marched from the store. 

Once outside, Ethel’s trembling hand flew to her mouth, her composure crumbling as she scurried blindly along the market town’s busy high street. 

“Ma!” Emerging from Great-aunt Macgregor’s bookshop, Amaryllis caught sight of her mother and ran to her side. “Whatever’s wrong?” 

“They all know,” Ethel mumbled. “The whole of  

St Agnes is tittle-tattling about us!” 

“I’ll fetch Noah to drive you home,” Amaryllis was saying. “Wait here, Ma. I shan’t be long!” 

She found Noah in the chandler’s, hurriedly explaining while they sped back across town.     

“Will you take Ma home, please?” Amaryllis finished as they approached the cart and she turned away. 

“Of course, but aren’t you coming with us?” 

Amaryllis shook her head. 

“There’s somebody I must see in town. I’ll make my own way home.” 

*  *  *  * 

“What an unexpected pleasure!” Simon beamed, rising to greet Amaryllis with hands outstretched. “To what do I owe –” 

“When I told you Kit was my brother, you gave your word it would go no further,” Amaryllis cried, stepping clear of his embrace. “Yet all of St Agnes knows. Only you can be responsible, Simon!” 

“I had no idea people were gossiping.” He slapped his head with the heel of his hand. “I was playing cards in town with some of the chaps. We were having a rare night, talking as fellows will . . .” 

Simon appeared genuinely abashed and reached out, touching Amaryllis’s hand. 

For the first time, she did not respond to his touch. 

“You haven’t any notion of the distress you’ve caused, have you?” 

“I’m sorry, but the truth was bound to come out sooner or later, wasn’t it?” he murmured persuasively.  

Without another word, Simon moved nearer. 

“I never want to see you again.” Amaryllis stood fast before the man she’d believed herself in love with, meeting his gaze. “It is over between us, Simon.” 

*  *  *  * 

As soon as the hand-fasting ceremony bound Adam and Dorcas as man and wife, the couple set off for Harrogate. 

In contrast, Kit and Penelope weren’t in any hurry to resume travelling. They chose to put up at the village inn, crossing the Scottish border the next day and setting out upon the long road south. 

“I’m declining the Birmingham investors’ commission,” Kit said as he and Penelope rode. They’d decided to break their journey and rest the horses at the Tarleton Hall Hotel. “I’ll write with my decision directly we’re home.” 

“You’re an engineer,” Penelope concluded simply. “You must go wherever work takes you.”  

“I design and build things.” Kit shrugged. “I’ll find something to design and build in Lancashire. 

“That’s where I want to be, Penny.” He turned, gazing into blue eyes that seemed even bluer in the brightness of this morning. “I want to be with you, helping you with your work as you’re supporting me.” 

“My work?” Penelope echoed, an uncharacteristic flash of anger and resentment flaring. “When Adam was setting off for Harrogate, did you hear what he said to me?” 

“Not really. I guessed he was discussing your managing Whitlock’s during his lengthy wedding trip.” 

“My brother told me to enjoy queening it over the pot-works, because this is the last chance I’ll have!” 

Reading Kit’s disquieted expression, she went on. 

“I assumed it was his way of saying he’d no longer allow me to be there, but now I can’t help suspecting it’s far more than that. 

“Something concerning Whitlock’s that Adam knows. Something that’s pleasing him, because he never stopped smiling.” Penelope’s brow creased into a frown. “I don’t trust my brother, Kit. Adam’s up to no good!” 

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.