…and the story continues
Lennox set Mary down on the tiles in their vestibule, but she knew his attention was all on the deerhound which hadn’t followed them back as ordered.
“He’s caught a scent,” she said, but it sounded fearful and didn’t sit well with her wish to instil a little light into their dark days. “Probably a rat has stayed out too long after the sun rose.”
“It’ll be a rat, I’m sure,” Lennox said. His teeth ground and gave his face a fearsome expression that made even Mary quail. “Please, my love, go into the parlour and eat. I will return as soon as may be.”
“But, Lennox…” she began before realising she was talking to an empty hall. She stretched a hand out to correct her balance and then moved slowly into the breakfast parlour.
Mary heard noon strike on the hall clock and fidgeted with the book lying open on her lap. She’d remembered something else and was anxious to share it with him. The dank smell of the morning that had so unsettled her, made sense when she saw the shadow moving in the trees. There had been a shadow before. Only, it hadn’t remained a shadow, she thought.
She stood and crossed her drawing room to gaze out over the north of the city. The Forth lay sparkling in winter sunshine. The thriving city went about its daily business. Carts and carriages, beggars and Dukes thronged the streets.
One o’clock, two struck. But, Lennox and Duff did not return. It was looming dark at around three when she heard the confusion downstairs. Rousing from a doze in her chair, Mary crossed the room and when Agnes came pelting in from the landing, stopped.
“Agnes, your frighten me,” she said.
“It’s the maister. ma’am,” Agnes wheezed out the words. “Lady Grizel says ye mon wait here.”