I Killed Him – pt 10

Chapter Ten Captain Hartford returned to post with explanations to his Commander. He had entered his Commander’s office with great hesitancy only to be buoyed by the fact that nothing seemed out of order. Surely, there would be a severe questioning session if Miss Hale or Detective Boyle had come to him with any suspicions. Grant wondered how long it would be before Miss Hale was found, dead or alive. She had to have taken her own life as she admitted she had been thinking of doing. There could be little hope of reconciliation after all this time, if she … Read more

I Killed Him – pt 6

Chapter Six “Branson, I will be here for two hours. You may hitch the team and come to Miss Hale’s room if you wish, or just wait for me.” John looked at his pocket watch and proceeded up the steps to the hospital doors. As he walked the corridors, he thought he would bring flowers the next time. She may not be awake, but they would be there welcoming her back when her eyes opened. He prayed for good news. Walking into her room, Donaldson was discussing her condition with a hospital doctor. John decided to wait outside and listen … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Six

Chapter Six   Longpré was reached in the late afternoon, and the travellers were all exhausted, hungry and downtrodden. They hid in the surrounding woods while Jake went into the village. He was the least conspicuous of them all; he could pass as a harmless farmhand. Jéhan was fast asleep, his head on Manon’s lap. She gently brushed the boy’s auburn hair from his brow, a gesture that went straight to Richard’s heart. “You both have Lily’s colouring, Manon,” he said, his voice a bit hoarse, “and she was the image of her own mother, Lady Elizabeth. There is a … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Five

Chapter Five   Five days and four nights later, Richard and his companions reached Amiens. The journey had been relatively easy, with one checkpoint in Beauvais after twenty-one miles of travelling through the lush Picardie countryside. The farther they moved away from Paris, the less people seemed affected by the Revolution. At least, the farmers were still at their work; the fields had been sowed and the pastures had cattle grazing on them. Even at the Beauvais checkpoint, the guards seemed lax and did not question the travellers. Apparently, a small family of what looked like farmers was not prone … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Four

Chapter Four   The company set off at dawn, as was agreed, in a cart drawn by a large horse, one that de Briers had purchased from a brewer. He had paid handsomely for the horse, as well as for the cart, and had asked the brewer and the landlady to keep quiet about himself and his charges. As a precaution, he had let slip that their destination was Le Havre, instead of Boulogne. It was an insurance that meant whoever followed them would take the wrong road, heading due west instead of north. Jake and Manon sat on the … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Three

Chapter Three   The band of fugitives made its way to the quays aligning the river Seine without being spotted by members of the Garde Révolutionaire. A small boat was moored at the bottom of the steps. They got on board, Manon and Jéhan at the stern and Jake at the bow, while de Briers took the oars. He began rowing downstream in a steady rhythm, the heavy oaken shafts cutting the water in silence. They slid along the riverbank, and de Briers kept the boat as close to the quay wall as he could without crashing into it. Their … Read more

Hearts Adrift – Part Two

  Chapter Two   “Are you certain, sir, that you want to pursue this matter? The streets are extremely dangerous in Paris right now.” The young man’s pleasant countenance grew serious, causing Richard de Briers to turn a sharp eye on him. “What is it that you are saying, Jake? Are the streets barred? Bridges over the Seine destroyed, maybe?” Jake Davies had been acting as Richard’s business man in Paris for the last four years. He had begun his life as a London street urchin and Robert de Briers had caught the boy trying to steal his handkerchief one … Read more

The Reform of John Thornton – Part Sixteen

Chapter Sixteen   Soon thereafter, I took my leave of the sanctimonious couple. They had infuriated me more than I could stomach. I would have had a row if I had stayed any longer. How dared they criticize Mr Hale’s honest doubts in his faith when the poor man had been tried the way he had been? His son was banished from England’s shores, for heaven’s sake! And then the manner in which they treated their children! They were nothing but unpaid servants, no, they were treated like slaves! At least, the children in my mill had been paid for … Read more

The Reform of John Thornton – Part Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen For the next three months, I fought tooth and nail to keep my business afloat. I travelled to Birmingham, Leeds and even London to find some new investors, but alas, to no avail. Latimer would not see me again when I applied for an interview about a new loan. Needless to say I did not pursue Ann Latimer further. I was relieved about that, at least. On one day in late spring, I received a visit from Mr Bell, my landlord. He was an Oxford academic from a wealthy family, who had invested and still was investing money … Read more

The Reform of John Thornton – Part Thirteen

Chapter Thirteen   I rose from my chair behind my desk, all my limbs stiff with fatigue. It was late, I guessed. Just then the whistle blew, indicating the end of the evening shift. Ten o’ clock. I went to the window. Little Tom Boucher sat on the rough wooden planks of the loading bank, his feet in their scuffed boots dangling from it. He was reading aloud from a book. That was a most intelligent lad, I mused, while I donned my coat. I went to stand beside him, reading over his shoulder. He was spelling the words diligently, … Read more