rowan tree blossom

Extract from the current novel in progress. Working title Boer War Girl. (and that will change.)

By the time they had reached the dockside Richard and Daniel had arranged a cart for their trunks and found their bags.    

  Richard tipped his hat in greeting, Daniel raised his cap.

“We’ll carry these for you ladies,” Richard announced with a bow, as one conferring a great favour. Melisande laughed, even Charlotte smiled. Daniel reached over the cart and picked up Charlotte’s carpet bag.

“Did I find the correct trunks and is this all, my dear?” Richard asked.

Melisande nodded and stood as close to him as she dared in public to touch his hand. “I’ve missed you.” She spoke softly.

“And I you.” Richard raised her gloved hand to his lips. “Pardon me, Miss Charlotte,” he added, giving Melisande’s hand a gentle squeeze as he released it, placing it under his elbow. “Would you allow me to escort you too?” He offered her his other arm. “Daniel kindly promised to play at porter as he had an errand about a missing shipment of building supplies down here at the port.”

Oh, phut, Melisande nearly said aloud. She exchanged a stricken glance with Charlotte.
Richard, usually so quick to observe and understand any undercurrents, failed to do so. He tucked Charlotte on to his left side and with Melisande on his right, led them along the dock and onto the pavement.

“We can enjoy a gentle stroll home and you ladies can tell me of the wonders you have seen on this fabled trip. I’m most envious.”

They proceeded up the hill with Daniel a step behind them, following with all the bags.
Melisande sought some way to partner Charlotte with Daniel. “Richard?”

“Yes, my dear?”

“Ought Daniel be carrying my bags when you are here. Is it fair? “Oughtn’t you be helping as he has Miss Polson’s bags as well?”

Richard opened his mouth, felt a quick squeeze, noted the meaningful look and realised something was occurring, some happening of concern to his Lisa, about which he knew nothing. He stopped, released both of his ladies, and turned to Daniel.

“Miggsy,” a sharp dig made him remember. “No, I’m to be more civil and remember that your name is Mr Daniel Miggs. It’s my wife’s command.” He was grinning, Daniel appeared bemused. “Mr Miggs, Daniel, Daniel if I may. If you would be kind enough to carry Miss Charlotte’s bags, I really should carry my wife’s.”

“Nay,” Daniel began, but Charlotte turned her head towards him, Melisande thought she whispered to him. He stared at her, noticed something in her face for he nodded, handing over Melisande’s bag.

Melisande caught her husband’s arm as he released Charlotte to grasp the bag. She propelled him forward so that they walked a few paces ahead.
“What…?” began Richard. 

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