Moreton's Kingdom

Moreton's Kingdom by Jean S. Macleod Read Free Book Online

Book: Moreton's Kingdom by Jean S. Macleod Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jean S. Macleod
carefree, she looked about her at the bright panorama of the Kirkcudbright hills, at Corserine and Merrick with their heads in the clouds and the deep valley of the Doon opening up before her. Surely no one would think of following her along such an unlikely route.
    Sandy stirred and they ate their sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs on a hilltop where they could look down on the loch.
    ‘We’ll stretch our legs,’ she suggested, running down the hill as he followed her. ‘It’s like having wings, Sandy, isn’t it, with all the wind behind us?’
    The blue eyes sparkled.
    ‘I’ve got a kite,’ he said. ‘I can fly it on the moor when we get to Glassary.’
    It was the first time he had spoken of any sort of home environment, a brief reference to the past which had obviously no connection with a London flat, but Katherine thought that the memory of Glassary might disturb him and steered the conversation in another direction. No child, no matter how young, could fail to remain untouched by a broken marriage, and Sandy was a sensitive little boy who evidently remembered his former home. The fact that he had rarely mentioned Coralie also disturbed her, but boys often kept a stiff upper lip even at a tender age, and she decided to amuse Sandy without mentioning his mother.
    When they set off in the car again she followed the course of the Doon to Ayr where they had their first glimpse of the sea. The vast, open Firth of Clyde sparkled in the spring sunshine, delighting Sandy, who gazed out across the blue water to the hills of Arran, pressing his nose close to the window to watch for boats.
    It was his obvious fascination which made her think of the car ferry from Gourock which would take them across the estuary to Dunoon, but the ferry was pulling away from the pier as they rounded the point at the Cloch lighthouse and she knew that she would have an hour or more to wait for the next one. Better, she thought, to press on and put Loch Lomond behind her before she thought of somewhere to spend the night.
    Wondering again about her final destination, she came to the conclusion that there was only one thing to do. She must go ahead with her own plans and take Sandy with her. His small tartan grip was in the boot of the car beside her own suitcase, packed for a lengthy stay with Miss Edgar, who was now in Austria, address unknown, so it was more or less inevitable that she should look after this child till she could eventually contact his mother, who had been so certain that he would be safely installed in Beck Cottage in a remote Lakeland village by now.
    Once or twice during the next hour as she skirted Glasgow by using the Erskine Bridge to cross the river, she wondered if she had any real right to continue her journey in this way, but then she remembered Coralie and the blue eyes which were so like Sandy’s and felt herself justified. She would carry on with her own plans to go to the Trossachs until she could contact Sandy’s mother and ask Coralie to collect her son at a given rendezvous farther north.
    Sandy was delighted with their flight across the bridge which rose in a high, slender arc above the narrowing Clyde, his large, sombre eyes taking in the strange atmosphere with interest.
    ‘Will Mummy come?’ he asked unexpectedly, gazing down at the grey river as they passed.
    Taken by surprise, Katherine hesitated.
    ‘Soon,’ she promised. ‘I’ll phone her when we stop for some tea, just to make sure.’
    An odd reluctance to part with him had made her hesitate, but there really wasn’t any room for sentiment at this stage, she tried to tell herself. Sandy wasn’t hers, although how anyone could part with him as casually as Coralie had done was beyond her comprehension. The word Coralie had used about him was ‘docile’, but it wasn’t quite true. At the tender age of three and a bit there was an odd sort of acceptance about Sandy which had already touched her heart.
    By the time they had reached Loch Lomond

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