The  Turtle Run

The Turtle Run by Marie Evelyn Read Free Book Online

Book: The Turtle Run by Marie Evelyn Read Free Book Online
Authors: Marie Evelyn
Effectively, they became white slaves.’
    How ironic that on the day of her second encounter with Matthew Darnley the S-word should come up again. But here was a lady of colour wanting to write about white slaves. Becky was intrigued. ‘I’m up for it.’
    â€˜As I say, I’m packing up here,’ said Clara. ‘So how about you come away with me. Let’s say – I don’t know – for three months?’
    â€˜Away?’ said Becky.
    â€˜We need to be where the primary sources are. I want to rely on the original documents. You do have a passport, don’t you dear?’
    â€˜For Somerset?’
    â€˜No, dear. We’re not going where they came from; we’re going to where they went to.’
    â€˜Where is that exactly?’ said Becky tentatively.
    â€˜My home. Barbados.’
    Barbados. Of all the places in the world Clara would choose the one tiny scrap of land that had claimed Becky’s father’s affections – and from which he never returned. Heaven knows what her mother would say.
    â€˜Are you all right, Becky?’ Clara looked concerned. ‘I thought you’d be pleased but you look like you’ve seen a duppy.’
    â€˜Duppy?’
    â€˜A spirit, a ghost.’
    Becky tried to calm herself with a deep breath. ‘Sorry, I don’t know why but I assumed you were from France. It never occurred to me you live in the West Indies.’
    â€˜I do love France, it’s true, but Barbados is home. Or at least it’s where I’ve made my home.’ Clara gave Becky a stern look. ‘And I hope you’re not worrying about the airfare. All included.’
    Becky could hardly believe it but judging by how much Clara must have spent to create a mature garden in a matter of months, money was not an issue. ‘It sounds very exciting,’ she said. ‘Actually it’s an amazing opportunity. Thank you for offering it to me.’
    â€˜It wasn’t really difficult, dear. I’d been remembering how well we got on and how uncomfortable I’d be if I left the choice to Mr R.’
    â€˜Who on earth is Mr R?’
    â€˜My son. It’s what I call him, which he hates.’ Clara giggled. ‘Anyway, when I did my gardening book, I just wanted a girl to type the thing into a computer, stick in the photographs and sort out the self-publishing. Not much to ask, surely.’
    Becky laughed. ‘Actually Clara, that sounds like a lot of work.’
    â€˜Well, maybe. Anyway, he got me some high-powered young woman with superior airs who thought she knew more about gardening than me; we didn’t gel at all. I think at one point I threw a handful of mimulus seeds at her. That’s why my monkey flowers are all over the place in the west corner of my garden. You probably noticed?’
    â€˜Er, I’m afraid I didn’t.’ If there were patterns to the flowers in Clara’s front or back gardens, they were not apparent to Becky’s untrained eye.
    â€˜Anyway, back to the matter in hand,’ said Clara. ‘It’s a lot to take in so how about coming over on Friday and we’ll talk in more detail? By then I’ll have a better idea of possible dates.’
    The rest of the week passed slowly. Apart from receiving a sweet card signed by Patsy and the other women from work, Becky had little to show for her year with the Essex Gleaner . It was almost as though she had never worked there. Occasionally she would find herself brooding over her unfair dismissal, or her humiliating ejection from Mr Darnley’s hotel, but these miserable thoughts were rather overtaken by worry about how to broach the subject of ‘Barbados’ with her mother. She kept deferring that conversation in favour of lying on her bed and reading up about the Duke of Monmouth.
    Why had she never liked history at school? She had thought it was irrelevant – useless, over and done with. But she recalled

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