The Primrose Line – Episode 37

Illustration by Ged Fay

“Goodnight, Grandpa, we’re going to bed. Mum said we can look at these books we got from Miss Gurdon’s library.”

“It sounds rather grand, that word. What books have you chosen?”

“This,” Adrienne said, proudly holding up a copy of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”.

“That should keep you quiet for a night or two. Good luck with it. What about you, Emile?”

“It’s about steam engines. I’m going to try to identify the coal tender I found.”

“That could be tricky; tenders can look alike.” Jim felt a warning was best. “Emile, I’m not sure you’ll be able to keep it. It might belong to somebody.”

“I know. Mum says it was probably stolen from the railway shop.

“We met Nicola in town this morning and told her about it. We’ve arranged to meet her tomorrow and show her.

“It’s exciting that I might have found stolen goods. Does that make me what they call an accessory, Grandpa?”

“Not if you take it back.”

Learning that Laura had met with Nicola and arranged a meeting was somehow unsettling.

Obviously the find near the wood made it a natural step, but Jim wondered if his daughter would have found another reason, had this not occurred.

He recalled David’s reaction to his mother’s burgeoning relationship with him. Was he going to get a similar reaction from Laura?

“Perhaps I should choose a book, too.”

“I know just the one, Grandpa!”

Adrienne ran off and returned with what looked like a notebook.

“It’s not a proper book, more like a big diary, but you’re sure to like it. You may even be in it!”

Jim looked at the handwritten title.

Bluebell Cottage, The First Year.

“It’s all about this house, Grandpa, from the day Miss Gurdon moved in. I tried to read some of it but her handwriting is really weird.”

Jim stared at the cover.

“I had no idea that this book existed.”

“Maybe it will say why she left this house to you.”

Jim let out a breath. It was just what he was thinking.

For the first time in his life, he was actually hesitant about opening a book, afraid of the information he might unveil within its pages.

“Well, aren’t you going to open it, Grandpa?”

Did he have a choice? There was some truth about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, and innocence, once lost, was lost for ever.

“Bedtime reading to send me to sleep,” he said.

But he suspected the volume in his hand could well have the opposite effect.

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.