Gretna Green - A Victorian Novella (London May 4th, 1832, page 1 of 7)


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London - May 4th, 1832

They took the stage as far as Manchester, where Amelia's longing glances at a locomotive and his aching joints persuaded Patrick that they ought to indulge in the wonder of rail travel. A trip up and back to Scotland was one thing, when there were days in between for recovering or a reasonable pace allowing rest at each station. Eager to return Amelia and her crate safely back to London, they had traveled at break-neck speed. Plush, red velveteen seats cushioned his smarting backside, and the view was infinitely better through the train's high windows. Amelia must have felt the strain, too. Just beyond the city's borders, she tipped into him, nestled her cheek to the breast of his coat, and slept.

He'd been relieved in Scotland, when she'd changed her mind, grateful that he'd reasoned her out of her mad highland adventure. Now it was bitter sweet. He'd dared to imagine how their connection might have changed over time, years from now when she'd seen the world and grown up, and he'd settled his own affairs. A thin but unbreakable thread would have connected them, perhaps drawn them together. But Amelia had wanted her perfect joining of two souls and heā€¦Patrick shook his head to a half-empty rail car. He didn't know what he wanted.

Wheels ground against the rails, and brakes shrieked a protest after so many miles unused, and by short lurches they arrived in London. Along the river bank he could just spy the collection of beams and girders which would perhaps someday, years off, form a railway station. For now, they held in a wide, dusty clearing where ship's cargo was once stacked, and Patrick mused on the progress of time in order to keep Amelia in the crook of his arm and spare waking her for a little longer. Then a blue-suited usher marched in and began sweeping everyone to the door with flicks of his gloved hands, and Patrick relented, rolling his shoulder and whispering her name.

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