The Mystery Of Mcgregor’s Cove – Episode 09

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

“It’s been a queer old day and no mistake,” Iain Macgregor ruminated, staring out into the dark night.

“Can’t argue with that,” Kit reflected.

That afternoon, when he’d been riding from Haddonsell Grange, Kit had had Marietta’s letters very much in his thoughts, together with the knowledge Alexander Macgregor had lived at his family’s boatyard in the cove.

Upon sight of a grey-haired man working there and entering the boatyard cottage, Kit had assumed he might be Alexander Macgregor.

Now, he knew differently.

“I’d best make tracks,” Iain commented. “Sandy said you’re staying here tonight?”

“Yes.” Kit nodded.

He and Sandy Macgregor had met briefly after the commotion following the rescue had subsided.

“Yes,” he repeated, and not for the first time that evening his gaze strayed towards Sandy Macgregor, genially waiting upon locals, regulars, travellers and strangers alike as the inn gradually settled back into its bustling, homely routine.

“I’m putting up here for a few days,” Kit continued with his quick smile. “It’s a most agreeable and hospitable establishment.”

“You should have seen the Bell when me and Sandy were lads!” Iain exclaimed.

“Why so?”

“The Bell was a den of smugglers, wreckers and cut-throats,” he answered grimly. “Terrible, it was. No honest folk dared set foot anywhere near.

“It wasn’t until Elias Whitlock moved into Haddonsell Grange and become magistrate that things started changing. He swore he’d bring the thieves and murderers to justice and stamp out smuggling and wrecking along this stretch of coast.

“Elias would have nowt to do with taking back-handers to turn a blind eye, like many before him had done, so that made him powerful enemies,” Iain recalled soberly. “It near cost him his life more than once, but he finally rid this cove of villainy.”

“Was that when your brother took over the inn?”

Iain shook his head, drawing on his pipe.

“The place stood empty for years. Because of the evil goings-on, nobody would touch it. Then, after Sandy got home from the Navy, he surprised us by turning innkeeper.”

“The Navy, you say?”

“Aye, that’s right. He’s done a grand job,” Iain went on, and there was no mistaking the pride in his voice. “The Bell’s a fine inn, and Sandy’s made a good life and home for his family here, too. After everything he went through, there’s nobody deserves it more.”

Iain lapsed into silence, and Kit was left pondering. So Sandy had served in the King’s Navy. But had he ever sailed to Jamaica?

“Your room’s ready, sir.” Sandy Macgregor’s voice broke into Kit’s deliberations.

“You mentioned you’ll be working while you’re here,” Sandy went on. “We’ve put you in the big corner room. It has a little parlour adjoining with a writing table and suchlike.”

“That’s thoughtful,” Kit replied, clearing his throat. “I’m obliged.”

“You’re welcome, sir. If you need anything, just let us know.”

Sandy turned to Iain, grinning.

“We can put you up an’ all. Save ye the long walk home.”

“Nay, I like my own bed.” Iain rose stiffly, offering his hand to Kit. “I’ll say goodnight, Mr Chesterton. Thanks for coming out in the boat today.”

Talking as they went, the brothers crossed the inn from Kit’s sight.

He expelled a measured breath. Had he met his father? If so, what on earth was he to do?

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.