Together We Stand – Episode 51

Gwendolyn sighed.

“My dear girl, you need a serious education, rather than having your nose in one of those cheap novels from the lending library.

“Now listen to me. You tell the inspector all you know. You could well save Tanni’s life if you do.”

“He won’t put me in prison?”

“I very much doubt it, my dear. What would be the point?”

Fear shone in Edith’s eyes.

“But where am I to go?”

“You are coming with me,” Gwendolyn said firmly. “You are clearly a young woman who needs taking in hand.

“You can work at the tearooms to earn your keep, and I shall oversee your education, and make sure you learn a useful skill.”

“Yes, Mrs Humphries,” Edith said meekly. She swallowed. “I’m afraid I’ve come to the conclusion that my grandfather may not be a very nice man.”

“I rather suspect you are right, my dear.”

Edith bit her lip.

“I should have realised before. Grandfather hired that man to look for something. I overheard them talking last night. That’s when I knew I had to escape.

“They were trying to find something that could link Grandfather with Mr Samuel, and your father, Tanni.”

“With my dad?” Tanni exclaimed.

Edith nodded.

“Grandfather said it was something that could lead him to the gallows, and send the family to ruin.” She swallowed hard. “He said he’d killed once already to prevent it from being found.

“I suppose he’d have killed me, too, if I hadn’t done what he’d told me.”

“Fear can make a man do strange things,” a voice said from the door.

Edith gave a muffled shriek as the inspector made his way inside.

“I met Cassie on my way here,” he explained. “The results of the paper you found, Miss Phillips, confirm what we had expected.

“The journalist who went to the Crimea with Mr Samuel, and who was nursed at Scutari with Mr Phillips, had rather more profitable motives, I’m afraid.

“He changed his name when he went back to Scotland, but there is no doubt that your grandfather must have been desperate to find that coded message, Miss McGovern.

“Turning double agent and spying for the Russians was treachery enough. The fact that he has continued his career over the long years since the ending of the war is even worse.”

“You’ll be all right now, Edith,” Tanni said reassuringly.

“You’re a brave woman, Miss McGovern.” Inspector Williams nodded. “But you’ll be safe now. Your grandfather won’t return.

“He knows he has been exposed for what he is, despite all his efforts to silence anyone who might damage him.

“I suspect when he heard that Mari Jones survived the fire he realised the game was up. He must have known the government would not rest until he had been identified.”

“And Mari’s husband has paid the price!” Gwendolyn exclaimed.

“Not quite, I’m thankful to say. We’ve managed to locate him. It took a while, but we’ve found him. Our colleagues in Russia have no wish to cause a diplomatic incident.” He eyed the ceiling. “He should be home in no time.”

He cleared his throat.

“Now, Miss McGovern, I need to ask you a few questions. Tanni and Mrs Humphries will stay with you, and there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Yes.” Edith nodded tearfully. “I promise I’ll tell you everything I can.”

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.