Together We Stand – Episode 37

“Was that necessary?” Edith gazed at her grandfather in dismay as he rejoined her on the path down to Llandudno. “To be quite so harsh?”

“You were listening?”

Edith shook her head.

“The door was open. I heard a little. Both she and her husband seem very respectable.”

“Don’t be fooled by them,” her grandfather said harshly. “Those sorts of people are quite capable of destroying us for their own gain. Reputation is all any of us have. Lose that . . .”

He turned to face her.

“Do you want to lose everything, Edith? Is that what you desire? To be out on the streets with not a penny to your name?

“Without McGovern’s Shipping you have no standing. You would not last a day. Is it your desire to end up the lowest and most despised of women?”

Edith bit her lip.

“No, Grandfather.”

“At least then you have some sense.”

“But surely –”

“There are some things you should not know. Your father was a fool, getting himself drowned like that, and your mother can barely look after herself, let alone two young girls like you and your sister. Without me you have nothing. Your loyalty is to me and to the firm.”

Edith swallowed.

“Yes, Grandfather.” She hesitated. “Do you wish me to return to the suffrage ladies now the tearooms have been closed?”

“Of course.” Mr McGovern smiled. “You are my eyes and ears, Edith. At least you have sense enough for that.”

He fell silent as a group of men and women approached them, laughing at the novelty of being out in the fresh air, and greeting the old man and his granddaughter.

“This has been a good place,” he remarked as the walkers’ voices faded into the distance.

He gazed out over the bay, with the distant line of mountains stretching back to Snowdonia, and the gleam of the River Conwy making its way past Conwy Castle, inland towards Snowdon.

“Perhaps it might be as well to look elsewhere.” He turned, as if having forgotten Edith was in earshot. “What do you say to trying our chances further south? One of my business partners lives near St Ives. I believe his son is still unmarried. It could be a good prospect for you. No more nonsense of ladies’ tearooms. You could have a proper establishment of your own.”

“Yes, Grandfather,” Edith murmured.

As he turned out of the wind to light his cigar, she glanced up briefly towards the little cottage.

She swallowed hard.

“So tell me,” she said, slipping her arm through her grandfather’s as they resumed their stroll towards the town, “is St Ives a pleasant place? I would like to hear all about it.”

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.