“Father would want us to carry on, Philomena. You know he would.” I rolled up my sleeves as I spoke, adjusting the black armband. We had no money for full mourning outfits.
“You are a cold-hearted fish – shame on you!”
“The field will not plough itself. Father and Jem are – gone. We have to survive on our own now.”
We faced each other, hands on hips, both insistent that we were right. Stubborn as Father, I thought.
Major whickered impatiently in the background. He wanted to work too, and the brassware and buckles jangled as he strained his harness against the weight of the plough. I pictured Jem rubbing Major’s nose softly on the day he and Father left. It had been a lifetime ago, or so it seemed.
“Philomena! Louisa! Please read this, for I cannot!”
We both turned, our impasse forgotten. Mother was running across the field, hair falling loose from its pins, skirts held high above the mud. She waved a piece of paper, shining white against the grey sky.
‘REFUSED PASSAGE <STOP> TITANIC TICKETS SOLD TWICE <STOP> BOTH ARE SAFE <STOP> RETURNING ON SOUTHAMPTON TRAIN SOONEST <STOP> LOVE TO ALL FATHER <STOP>’
15 thoughts on “Double-edged sword”
This vignette was a wonderful read, Freya…and from your own family history, how cool is that?!
Thank you! Yes, this kind of family history is a treasure, indeed.
Knowing the background to the story, gives it an extra poignancy. I’d love to know what happened next!
Thank you, Steve. Well, one one side of the family, I know that the Titanic experience didn’t put them off and they did make it to Canada later on, and then came back. I’m not sure about the other side.
Good to see you back Freya. This is an excellent story, the joy at the end is amazing.
Thank you! I’m not great at writing happy endings in the way others are – so this is quite effusive for me! The photo just seemed to tell the story – serendipity!
I like it when they do that 🙂
This a great story and a very interesting look at things. It’s all the more poignant to me because of the ferry disaster here in Korea where parents were originally told that everyone was safe, and then found out later that . . . no. Luckily your story is the opposite and has a happy ending.
Those poor, poor parents. A living nightmare indeed. Yes, my ancestors were much luckier. Thank you for reading and commenting!
Ah, that’s so fortunate! And a very interesting piece of family history!
Indeed! Thank you, Miss K!
I’m glad the story had a happy ending! My first time visiting, but from people’s remarks, it sounds like the story was a piece of your family history! Wow.
My great-grandfather was a schooner captain who went down with his ship (one of his sons did too) when 20th technology (a steamer) rammed 19th century technology — a masted, wooden sailing vessel.
Thank you for visiting and commenting! Yes, a slice of real family history there. Goodness me – your poor great-grandfather. Life was far more risky not so long ago…