The Secret of Trefusis Cove – Episode 29

The following morning Val told her friend about the previous evening. Betty listened attentively.

“The evening was much better than I expected. I thought there would be awkward moments, but there weren’t. I wish you’d come, too.”

“It sounds as if you did well on your own. I might have been too outspoken.”

“I’m sure you wouldn’t,” Val replied. “Alex was so nice and friendly. He’d hoped you’d come, too.”

Betty shook her head.

“What we have to remember is that he wants to make Peter an offer for Tangara. Peter may be tempted to agree to sell and then regret it later. Alex may think we could influence him.”

“Let’s hope that the art exhibition in London goes well for him, then.”

“Hear, hear! But the rest of the land belongs to Alexander Grey and he’ll change all that.”

Val grinned.

“We’ll be carrying protest banners next!”

“By the way, Kit called in while you were out. Aircut wants us to go to his place this evening for a rehearsal. He’s worked out new harmonies for the shanties. We’re to sing again!”

“Do we have to? I really wanted to have an early night.” Val sighed.

“Yes, we do. Come on, it’ll be fun. You enjoyed it before. We can relax this afternoon and do artwork.”

“OK. I want to take my camera and have a good look at that rock while the tide’s out. Whatever it was may have left some clues.”

“I don’t think seals leave many clues.” Betty smiled.

*  *  *  *

The evening was fine, though cloudy, as they walked to Aircut’s cottage. Val declared she was looking forward to the rehearsal now.

She hoped Aircut wouldn’t spike the coffee with his special cordial. Comforting though it was, they still had to walk all the way back to Tangara afterwards.

Reaching the gate, they went down the path to the front door and knocked.

“Ladies, how nice to see you both. I hope you’re in fine voice tonight.” Aircut led them into the parlour.

All the Shantymen were there, including Kit.

Aircut indicated an addition to the company.

“I’d like you to meet my niece. She’s here for a few days’ holiday to stay with her old uncle.”

The girl came forward and extended a hand. She was tall and slender with long blonde hair and her voice was soft and gentle. They shook hands with her.

“Do you sing, too?”

Aircut laughed.

“Sally?” He looked around at the Shantymen, who grinned. “Sally couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket. She’ll just listen and enjoy.”

“Aircut!” Betty was shocked. “That’s unkind.”

“Don’t worry.” Sally assured Betty. “I know I’ve got a singing voice like a foghorn. I’m happy to listen, or even conduct if needed.”

She settled herself on a stool by the stove.

The rehearsal went very well. At one point Aircut had to ask Sally to conduct.

“Kit’s coming in too soon on the harmony.”

It was dark when the rehearsal was over. Some of the Shantymen stayed for coffee and biscuits but Betty and Val decided to go back to the cottage.

Kit walked with them. As they reached the turning that overlooked Tangara, Betty could see the headlights of a vehicle coming along the top road above the cottage from the direction of the old mine.

“Might be Alexander Grey,” Kit said. “Strange, he’s usually on his horse going the other way.”

“If it’s him, maybe he didn’t go to the inn tonight,” Betty said.

As they watched, the vehicle suddenly swerved to the left and they heard a screech of brakes as it went over the edge above Tangara.

The three were transfixed for a moment as it came to a halt halfway down the slope, caught up in a jumble of roots and bushes.

Then the hooter started as if someone had a hand on it or had fallen over it.

“It’s Alexander’s pick-up!” Kit ran to the scene.

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.