The Mystery Of Macgregor’s Cove – Episode 54

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

The August afternoon was warm and balmy, and Dorothy Whitlock arranged a family get-together in the gardens at Haddonsell to bid farewell to Adam and Dorcas. 

After the picnic, Dorothy and Ethel plumped for settling down on the terrace with fresh cups of tea. 

“When Adam came home from India,” Dorothy mused, “I never thought he’d up sticks again so soon. Especially with him and Dorcas only newly wed.” 

“I know,” Ethel agreed. “And fancy giving up that beautiful house in Rishton Place! It came right out of the blue, too. When Dorcas told us and I asked her where they were going, she said they hadn’t decided yet. 

“She said they wanted to see the world; have you ever heard the like?” 

Dorothy turned to her companion.  

“Do you think they’ll ever come back, Ethel? Come home again, I mean?” 

“I don’t know.” She sighed, looking across the gardens to her daughter. 

These past few weeks, Ethel hadn’t been able to quell the dread she might never see Dorcas again; nor ever see the grandchildren who would surely come along in time. 

“We’ve no say about it, have we?” 

With a shake of her head, Dorothy gazed out upon the garden, to the furthest corner and the old swing beneath the horse chestnut tree. 

“Adam loved that swing when he was a little lad,” she murmured. “It’s nice seeing somebody swinging on it again.” 

*  *  *  * 

“Why aren’t Dorcas and Adam staying for Kit and Penny’s wedding?” Betsy asked, stretched out beneath the horse chestnut’s great, leafy umbrella. 

Amaryllis slid from the swing and dropped down on to the grass beside her young sister. 

“I expect they’re impatient to set off on their travels.” 

“They don’t even know where they’re going,” Betsy declared indignantly. “Kit and Penny have decided to go to Scotland on their trip.” 

Amaryllis tried to look aghast. 

“They’re not secretly eloping to Gretna Green, are they?” 

“Of course not!” Betsy laughed. “Penny asked me to tell her about how our family came from a Scottish village to Macgregor’s Cove, and I showed her the map I’d drawn of their journey. 

“She and Kit are travelling by road up to the village and staying in Scotland for their honeymoon.  

“Afterwards they’ll sail down to the cove exactly like the old Macgregors did.” 

*  *  *  * 

“Kit’s asked me to be his best man,” Sandy remarked, offering his tobacco pouch to Elias. 

“Aye, Penny said. You and me’ll need to smarten ourselves up.” He grinned, helping himself to the strong, dark tobacco. 

“Are you all right going this far?” Sandy queried. 

They’d left the garden and were walking at a snail’s pace through Haddonsell’s woodland. 

“Now I can get out under my own steam,” Elias returned, indicating his stout stick, “I’m making the most of it!” 

Sandy nodded, lighting his pipe. 

“How’s work on the canal going?” 

“It’ll be finished early next year,” Elias replied proudly. “Then that lad of yours will be full speed ahead building his lighthouse.” 

“A permanent light can’t come soon enough to the cove,” Sandy commented soberly.  

“God willing, we’ve heard the inn’s tolling bell ring out for the last time, Elias. Too many lives have already been lost.” 

They turned, slowly retracing their path through the wood. 

“You were right about that Dutchman aboard the Wilhelmina carrying summat particular,” Elias related breathlessly, leaning heavily on the stick. “Yesterday, an old pal from Liverpool visited me. He’s very thick with Cyril Protheroe. 

“Harry told me Protheroe commissioned a jeweller in Amsterdam to make a necklace for his wife. That’s what the Dutchman was bringing to Liverpool. A diamond necklace, with sapphires big as robins’ eggs.” 

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.