Hastings, early September 1848
“For how long?”
“Don’t talk,” Kate insisted, steadying the device on her knee. “It causes a blur. All right… one, two, three, four… there. You may move now.”
“My word.” Phoebe looked up from her needlepoint. “You managed to do this with the children?”
“I did.” Kate smiled at her sister-in-law. “Little Jack was very good. I captured Connie whilst she slept.”
“She’s my sweet angel,” Phoebe sighed. “Are you still going to the workshop this morning?”
“Yes.” Kate glanced at the mantle clock. “Now.” She eased the plate from the device and slipped it into a special envelope. “Maybe we could talk about Hugh Grosvenor later?”
“Of course. I’m sorry we haven’t had time yet. You can tell…
A Pond Near Quantock Hall, late August 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 August 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…