Together We Stand – Episode 34

As they passed the small group of tables set out for tea, Gwendolyn, still waving leaflets, was engaged in yet another skirmish with Councillor Banks.

“Madam, you are causing an obstruction. I have had a number of complaints from the businesses on the pier.

“You really cannot engage in this most indecorous demonstration. Is this the reputation you wish Llandudno to offer to visitors?” Mr Banks demanded.

“This is not a demonstration, Mr Banks,” was Gwendolyn’s reply. “This is the democratic process.

“If you are so certain I am wasting my time, I suggest you come to my meeting tonight. I shall be laying down exactly what I stand for. Feel free to question me then.”

“Unseemly,” he muttered, scowling. “A woman making a spectacle of herself.

“Not to mention dragging respectable young ladies from good families into becoming a subject of public comment. Who knows what damage to their futures you may be causing?”

He glared at Tanni as she passed.

“And into what unsuitable occupations you may be luring them?” he added.

“There’s no shame in a woman earning an honest trade to enable her to support herself and keep her out of the clutches of a dishonest trade,” Gwendolyn retorted.

A ripple of applause went up around her.

“Hear, hear,” the mother of the engaged couple said, following behind Tanni and her charges.

“Back home in Derbyshire, I’m on the board of a charitable institution for the most wretched of women.

“I’ve never met one who would not, given the chance, have taken a different course to feeding herself and those dependent on her. You, sir, have a positively mediaeval approach to womanhood.”

Mr Banks stared, open mouthed, as his unexpected opponent swept by, feathers nodding in the breeze.

“Mama is very forthright in her opinions,” her daughter whispered apologetically to Tanni.

“She sounds very sensible,” Tanni replied.

The young woman smiled, losing some of her shyness and revealing a pretty face.

“I’m afraid my own mother is even more radical in her views,” the young man confided, sending an adoring glance at his fiancée. “We weren’t certain if she would allow the engagement.”

Tanni smiled.

“Well, it seems to me you’ve won your most important battle.

“At least now you’ll be able to support each other, and not do what either of them tell you.”

The young couple exchanged a thoughtful glance.

Tanni set up her camera with a sense of enjoyment.

“That looks as if it will be a very happy picture,” Henry commented as Tanni returned to the little booth.

“I’m sure they will always be happy.” Tanni smiled.

“So they will,” Henry agreed, watching them as they disappeared amongst the crowds. “I’m certain that picture will be passed down to their children and grandchildren, who will marvel at the strangeness of their clothes and the youth of those they have known only as bent and wrinkled.”

“I like that idea.” Tanni smiled.

He turned his gaze back towards her.

“So do I.”

“I’d better get this printed,” Tanni mumbled, turning away to hide the colour rising to her cheeks.

Henry cleared his throat, inwardly cursing himself for having revealed too much.

“I’ve promised to take Madeleine to Mrs Humphries’s rally,” he said. “Perhaps you would like to come, too?”

“I should get home. Mam will be expecting me.”

An awkward silence fell between them, broken only by Madeleine weaving through the crowds with a slab of fruitcake, which she pressed into Tanni’s hands.

“This is delicious,” she said, brushing crumbs from her blouse. “Come on, let’s get down to the tearooms. Evan should be there.”

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.