A Pond Near Quantock Hall, late Aug 1848
“Please wait here with Bonny?”
“Are you sure, my lady?”
“Yes.” Kate peered through the tree branches and down a hill to a pond not far off. “You can see me from here. Rest on that log if you like, and keep a hold of Bonny. She swims around me, and gets in the way. After I’ve practised for a while, I’ll wave, then you can let her join me.”
“It would be easier to hold her with a rope,” Isabel muttered.
“I loathe seeing her with a collar,” Kate replied with feeling. “I only used a leash when I had to in London.” She turned her attention to Ebony. “Sit. Good girl!”
Hinton House, Somersetshire, 12th Aug 1848
Kate peered down the corridors from where she circled impatiently within the front hall of Hinton House. Where is everyone? She knew the ladies would still be in bed, but the gentlemen should have risen to go shooting. If I had gone to breakfast, instead of eating in my room… maybe they’re in the dining room, or morning room. Perhaps there’s a breakfast room? She cradled her shotgun and marched towards the dining room. On her way she discerned male voices and hard-soled footwear resonating from a back hall. That sounded like Father and Lord Poulett. Kate followed the noises and found the men at a side entrance to the house: John…
Swansea, Glamorganshire, late July 1848
Kate ran to the quayside, joining a growing crowd.
“Katelyn!” Earl Beaufort called.
“Someone is in distress, Father!” Kate said over her shoulder. She looked down at the grey choppy water. “What’s happened?” she asked no one in particular.
“A lad fell in!” a woman replied. “And the tide is goin’ out!”
Kate instantly felt her heartbeat thumping in her throat. She scanned the waves for any sign of a boy. Someone must save him! Why isn’t anyone moving? I’ll go in! She set down her handbag and started removing her bonnet.
“What are you doing?” Earl Beaufort demanded, having reached Kate’s side.
“A boy! He’s drowning! Someone must–
“There ‘e is!” a gruff voice exclaimed.
Kate spotted a boy…
Chatsworth House, Derbyshire, mid July 1848
“Would you like to join us in quoits or skittles, Lady Kate?”
Kate spun around to face Spencer, Lord Cavendish of Keighly, a boy her age. She felt embarrassed about being caught searching for secret cupboards among the intricate oak panelling of the breakfast room. Since arriving at Chatsworth House two days previously a steady rain had fallen, so Kate spent much of her time exploring and reading, when not otherwise occupied by the niceties of the visit. The rain had finally stopped during the night.
“We’re playing on the south lawn,” Spencer said
As Kate approached a window to consider the invitation, sunshine lancing into the room, motes hanging in the light, Spencer disappeared…