Together We Stand – Episode 28

The tearooms continued to thrive. Henry managed to get the battered second camera, complete with the graze of a bullet along one side, into working order, and the photographs from the pier brought along the eager and the curious.

Soon Tanni had no time to be nervous, such was her need to focus on getting the photographs taken and the prints printed.

There was no sign of trouble. Sometimes Tanni wondered if it had all been her imagination. But every sight of the old camera was a reminder of the one that was missing.

She was grateful for Madeleine taking both cameras home at night to be kept under lock and key within the Bron Derw.

On her first afternoon off, Tanni made her way through Llandudno to a little cottage tucked away on the Little Orme at the far end of Llandudno.

“Miss Phillips! Come in!” Mari Jones exclaimed as saw her visitor.

“I brought you this.” Tanni held out a copy of the photograph within a wooden frame that she had taken the other day. “I know Mrs Humphries arranged for one to go to your husband before he sailed. I thought you might like a copy, too. You won’t even have seen it.”

“Thank you.” Mari unwrapped the cloth from the portrait, and gazed down at it. “The baby has changed already,” she said. “It’s strange how you forget when you have no reminder.” She looked up with tears in her eyes.

“Thank you.”

“It was my pleasure,” Tanni said. “But I do have another reason as well. I wanted to ask you more about Mr Samuel.”

“I heard about the break-in.” Mari nodded.

“I didn’t think the police had made it official!” Tanni exclaimed in surprise.

“They haven’t, but you know what Llandudno is like. Word spreads.”

“I’m glad they didn’t get into the basement and damage your photograph,” Tanni said earnestly. “That would have been awful.”

“But they stole your camera.”

“Yes. Mr Samuel’s camera – the one he used in the Crimea.”

“I see.”

“It can’t be a coincidence, that all someone was took was that particular camera. There was plenty of other equipment about, and the camera is old. No-one would pay much for such a thing,” Tanni continued.

“You think it’s to do with Mr Samuel, then, rather than someone wanting just to steal or to close the tearooms?”


“It’s possible.” Mari frowned. “There was talk. It could be nothing, but on the other hand . . . How much did you know of Mr Samuel’s work in the Crimea, Tanni?”

“Not much. He told me stories, especially about Miss Nightingale and her nurses, and how grateful he was still to be alive. But little else.

“I thought, because I was a child, he didn’t want to burden me. But maybe it wasn’t that at all.”

“Did he ever talk about a journalist he went out with to the Crimea?”

Tanni shook her head.

“He never mentioned travelling with anyone.”

“There was someone. I asked my grandfather. He doesn’t remember much, but he did say that Mr Samuel set out with a colleague. He thought it was someone Mr Samuel had worked with before, in London.

“Everyone was so certain they would never see him again. He could have taken the wagon to London, I suppose, or maybe they set sail from Liverpool and met up there.

“But I’m sure there was a man working for the newspapers who shared the cost of the wagon and journey to the Crimea. Who he was, and if he survived, I’ve no idea.”

“Someone must know!” Tanni exclaimed.

“Try not to worry,” Mari assured her. “Whoever it is must know Mr Samuel would never tell a child any of his secrets. Maybe they have what they want and have fled the country.”

“I hope so,” Tanni replied with a shiver. “I don’t like looking over my shoulder all the time, wondering who might be watching me.”

“It’s probably as well if you aren’t alone,” Mari replied thoughtfully. “At least not until the police come up with some answers. I’ll talk to my grandfather again.”

She smiled.

“Now, the least I can do to thank you for the photograph is to make you tea. I’ll put the kettle on.”

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.