Under The Streets Of London – Episode 27

“Now, Violet,” Niall protested, though he looked pleased all the same.

Eliza moved back as the girl – Violet – looked the posters up and down, then turned her dark eyes appraisingly on Niall.

She was standing very close to him and now she put a hand on his chest in a most familiar way. Eliza’s heart sank. This was a business meeting, she reminded herself and even if, for a glorious moment, it had felt like something more, it had no right to be.

“Here.” She thrust the posters at the girl, who took them delightedly. “I must be going. Thank you again, Mr McMenamy.”


“Yes. Well, thank you. We’ll be in touch.”

“Do, please, Miss Rutherford.”

Violet was hanging off his arm and as he glanced down at her, Eliza turned away.

Forcing herself not to run, she strode past the mud and the girders and the gangs of men, then she turned gratefully up a side street.

It was the wrong direction for the offices but right now she didn’t care. She just wanted to get away before she made a fool of herself, mooning over a handsome navvy in front of his dark-eyed sweetheart.

She had come to London to get away from men. She’d do well to remember that.

*  *  *  *

Niall McMenamy stared down the street as Eliza Rutherford disappeared from view. He longed to shake Violet off his arm and run after her, but what would he say?

He’d been idiot enough, asking her out for afternoon tea. Him, afternoon tea? She’d been trying to work out how to refuse politely, and had escaped as soon as she could.

And yet . . . Niall was no expert when it came to women but it had felt, for a moment, as if there was something between them, as if she liked him. Certainly she’d been happy to talk to him until Violet had come along.

He felt angry suddenly and pulled back from the girl’s cloying grasp. Violet staggered and almost fell, crumpling one of the posters as she caught at a fence-post to steady herself.

“Oh, no, I’m sorry.”

Tears sprang to her pretty eyes and Niall felt bad.

“It wasn’t your fault, it was mine. Here, let me take them.”

She surrendered the posters, pouting up at him, but he focused on rolling them back up tight and tying them with string. Surely Miss Rutherford hadn’t needed to bring them here herself?

Had she wanted to see him?

“Niall? Are you listening?”

“Sorry, I was miles away.”

“I noticed. I said, how about a drink in the George tonight to celebrate your new-found fame?”

“A drink?”

“Yes, you know – a drink, a beer. I thought you Irish were good at that?”

He shook himself.

“Normally we are, but Seamus and I, we’re saving up.”


“To bring Seamus’s wife and child over to England.”

Violet tipped her pretty head on one side.

“I can see why he’d be saving for that, but why should you?”

“Why? Because he’s my brother, Violet. Do you not have a brother?”

The girl flushed.

“I do. William. He’s very dear to me.”

“Well, then.”

She nodded slowly, but then looked up at him from under her lashes.

“It’s very commendable of you, Niall, but really, what difference would one drink make? I’ve seen you in the George before.”

It was true. Niall had been in the George many times and drunk his fair share of the grumpy landlord’s ale, but he wasn’t in the mood today.

Mainly he was worried about Seamus, but ridiculous though it might be, he was also caught up in dreams of afternoon tea with a beautiful lady.

“Not tonight,” he said quietly, turning to go.

But she caught at his arm, yanking him back.

“Think you’re too good for the likes of me now you’ve been photographed?”

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.