Gratitude for support from:
Pauline Campbell, Yvonne Selby, Norma Singleton,
Author Parker (England section)
My much loved family
Thanks and appreciation also to all at Zeus Publications
About the author:
Born, lived and worked most of her life in
Orange, New South Wales.
Lived for some time at Lake Macquarie and Central Coast
Mother of three, with four delightful grandchildren.
Now retired and living at Southport, Queensland.
In the television studio the audience was silenced, lights on cameras flashed, the studio lights dimmed, and a spotlight turned the small stage into a brilliantly lit room. The announcer, Bailey O’Grady smiled, as a voice called ‘Action’, and the cameras rolled.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to tonight’s presentation of Sunday Celebrity. This week, our celebrity is a prominent young man engaged in medical research, who will be interviewed by a young reporter, who is, in her own right, a celebrity, having recently been awarded the Australian Medal for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism.’ He turned and smiled at the two guests who were seated, waiting until the introduction had finished.
‘Tonight’s interview, ladies and gentlemen, will have you sitting on the edge of your seats. It is a journey that touches four generations and their memories, as it travels from New South Wales to Victoria; and from Australia to England, where it reaches its momentous and unexpected conclusion.’
He walked a little closer to the seated guests, and continued. ‘They say there is no such thing as coincidence, that it is really synchronicity, predestined, or even written in the stars. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you will hear first hand, the reality of that statement, as this heart warming story unfolds.
‘This story really encompasses all of those theories, and whether it was synchronicity, predestined, written in the stars, or just a remarkable coincidence that led to chance meetings, life changing decisions, and the totally unexpected good fortune of tonight’s guest, will be for each of you to decide.’
Bailey O’Grady walked back to centre stage. ‘You will hear how a story such as this, with its suffering, determination and extreme good fortune, could only be attributed to all of those theories. So, without further ado, please welcome our two guests who will enthral you with their story which, we have entitled – The Lost Heir of Craigmore.’
Rebecca Bellamy, the reporter, walked forward and faced the studio audience. ‘This is a compelling story that spans four generations. It is a story of love and heartbreak, joy and despair. You will experience the frustrations, anguish, and disappointments, of the people involved, as it twists and turns, with its highs and lows, until it reaches its ultimate climax in England, and its unexpected ending.’ She returned to where the special guest was seated and commenced the interview.
Pregnant! Eve, how could you do such a shameful thing? We’ll be the talk of the town, and think of your reputation!’ Grace Randolph paused briefly, and sat down at the end of the table with a deep sigh.
‘We love each other Mother, you know that. David even did what he thought was right by asking your permission for us to marry…to announce our engagement…’
‘And didn’t your father say you were both too young to be thinking of marriage?’ Grace glared at her daughter. ‘You aren’t going to tell me that David forced himself on you, I hope.’
‘No Mother. David would never do that. It – it – just happened. But now that it has, would you and father agree to let us be married? You know how much you have both been looking forward to grandchildren.’
The back screen door banged. ‘Whatever is going on in here? I can hear you in the back garden.’
‘It’s Eve, Thomas, you’d better sit down. She has something to tell you.’
Thomas pulled out a chair and sat at the opposite side of the table.
‘What is it, Eve?’ He could see by her pale, grief-stricken expression, her hands locked together, trembling, that this was not the usual argument that disrupted his household. It was not about Eve having too much freedom, or spending too much time at Willow Bend with David Forsythe and his parents. This time, he sensed, it was much more serious.
He reached across the table and cupped Eve’s hands between his own. She looked at him with tear filled eyes and answered, ‘I’m pregnant, Father.’ She watched as her father’s expression changed from concern to anger. ‘David and I hope that you will agree to let us be married.’
Thomas let go of his daughter’s hands and leaned back in the chair. He didn’t speak, but sat, looking at his daughter in disbelief.
‘Well, Thomas, say something.’ Then turning to Eve her mother continued before Thomas could utter a word. ‘Have you any idea what this will do to us, Eve? I’ll never be able to show my face at the Country Club again, and think of what this will do to your father’s business...’
‘I hardly think a little baby is going to do much damage to Father’s business, Mother.’ Eve was the bookkeeper at her father’s business – Randolph Construction Company. ‘And as for shame and gossip, if that’s what you are worried about, no one need ever know, unless you tell them. David and I can be married, and living at Springdale by the time the baby arrives, and…’
‘There’ll be no marriage, Eve.’ Thomas masked his anger and spoke gently to his very distressed daughter. ‘You know the reasons, you are both still too young to make that commitment and to raise a child, and there are those other concerns that worry us.’
‘But we discussed it all, Father. We knew that you and David’s parents would worry about the differences we have. Religion doesn’t bother either of us. David respects mine, and I respect his. Mr Forsythe makes sure David is up in time to take me to Mass at Springdale on the Sundays I’m at Willow Bend.’
‘That may be so Eve, but what of the other matters that have to be considered. What would you know about running an English estate, or how to be the wife of an earl? How could you ever hope to live in a foreign country with no family support?’
‘England is hardly a foreign country, Father. Didn’t our ancestors come from there? Besides, David’s family would be there to help, if we ever needed it.’ Eve waited as her mother and father exchanged glances. She wondered what their next argument would be, and whether they had even been listening when she and David told them of the talks they’d had, to ensure that they completely understood all that they would be undertaking, and facing, when they did marry.
‘By the time David inherits the estate, Father, we could be very old people – grandparents even. That will be ample time to learn, don’t you think?’
‘Maybe so, Eve, but you know nothing about this estate. Why do you think Edward is here in Australia, learning our farming techniques? That manor is centuries old. Can you imagine the condition it might be in, not to mention the cost of making it suitable for a young family?’ As always, construction thoughts and costs were uppermost in her father’s mind.
‘We don’t know that, Father, but from what has been said, and what David remembers, it seems to be in good condition, and suitable for a young family. After all, David was raised there.’ She looked at her parents, so serious and stern. ‘Don’t you want me to be happy?’
‘Happiness is something you have to work at all the time, Eve.’ Grace turned to Thomas, ‘There is that other matter Thomas, don’t forget that.’
‘Yes Grace, that worries Edward as well. He gave me to understand that as heir to the estate, David will also inherit the role of Grand Master of the Freemasons – he has some doubts as to your – er, suitability to be the wife of a Freemason, Eve…’
‘Oh, for goodness sake! Do you think we haven’t discussed all of that and know how difficult it might be? But it is so far into the future, David thinks that those old attitudes will change by the time he has to worry about it, and if they haven’t, he will see to it that they do.’
‘Gracious! Look at the time Thomas, we’ll be late if we don’t end this discussion now, and get on our way. Eve, could you make a quick salad while we change, please? It is an important day for our golfers, so we might be a little late home. Perhaps you should rest for the afternoon too. You seem to be rather overwrought by this, but this discussion is not over.’
Eve knew that the discussion was not over, but she prepared the salad and tried to put her parents’ objections to her marriage to David out of her mind. Maybe David would have better luck, and his parents would help hers to see reason.
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