Together We Stand – Episode 35

Henry watched them go, hurrying past Mr Banks, now setting a dignified pace as he retreated along the front, their skirts flying in the wind until they vanished into the streets of the town, heading towards the tearooms.

He glanced up at the guest-house as the mill of visitors moved around him.

“A remarkable woman.” He turned to find Mrs Humphries, cheeks pink with the exertions of the day, arriving behind him.

“You mean my sister?”

“No, I do not. Although I would say the same for her, too.”

Despite himself, Henry sighed.

“Yes, she is.”

Gwendolyn gave him a sharp glance.

“If you don’t mind me saying so, young man, a gentleman can overdo the honourable.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“Well, it seems to me, that if a young couple have an understanding, then they can face whatever life throws at them.”

He felt an irresistible tide of scarlet rising towards his scalp.

“I’m not entirely sure I follow you.”

“Of course you do.” She glanced up at the guest-house. “I don’t expect you ever thought you’d find yourself here, and I don’t know if you plan to stay. But I’m sure you can work it out between you.

“When I was young, we never expected to live very far from where we were born. All that is changing.” A twinkle appeared in her eyes. “I can think of worse places to settle down than Llandudno.”

Henry smiled.

“I see your point, Mrs Humphries,” he said. “But it is not my decision alone.”

“My dear young man, you don’t seriously think she will refuse you?”

“I . . .” Now he was scarlet. “I’m not sure

I’d want her to make

the choice.”

Gwendolyn put her head on one side.

“Well, if any young woman demanded that my son give up the profession for which he has worked so hard, I would suggest he says his farewells now, as it isn’t going to last, however much he attempted to become a stockbroker or a lord. I’d say the same of any young woman.

“So the question is,” she continued, “can you live with a wife for whom you will never be the entire centre of her world?”

“I would never expect any woman to give up her passions, or her friendships,” he returned.

“I thought not.” She smiled. “Or else I’d have been sending a string of empty-headed little misses to distract you from breaking Tanni’s heart.”

“I believe you require assistance,” he murmured.

“Yes, indeed,” she replied, releasing him from her scrutiny. “And we’d better hurry. I can see there is going to be an interesting evening ahead.”

“You don’t think Mr Banks is planning to cause trouble?”

“I don’t think – I know. Andrew cannot leave matters alone.” Gwendolyn turned to organise the members of the tearooms to pack away the stall, and make their way down to the town hall.

“I’m glad I had the sense not to marry him when I had the chance,” she muttered under her breath. “The man is irrational. We would not have suited at all.”

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.