The Linnet's Wings :Take All My Loves, My Love - Page 74

The Linnet´s Wings a mourning widow for the rest of my life. Please try to be understanding, Duncan; I am still a relatively young woman and I knew your father well enough to know he would want me to find happiness with someone else if I could; in fact, he said as much to me on more than one occasion; in his profession, it is something we did need to talk about from time to time’. Yes, I thought, trying not to crumple the paper in my hand, but whether or not he had Stuart in mind I doubt. She went on, pages and pages of it, attempting to appease after dropping that thunderbolt into my life, and all she succeeded in doing was to confirm my every suspicion, once again with that scene in my mind, stand- ing in the near-dark, wet and cold, while she and Stuart got it together. I knew people who were staying in Durham for the summer, either because they rented all the year round or because they had fixed themselves up summer jobs, so I teamed up with a house share and got hold of a bar job in the city. Letters flew between my mother and I, long and plaintive on her part, brief and evasive on mine – I needed to earn money until I had a good job, I’d taken a liking to Durham etc.. Josie was going home to her family on the coast at Scarborough, and I promised to go and see her when the opportunity arose, but by then there were tensions between us; this sullen, taciturn boy, racked by suspicion and resentment, was not the one she had originally known and she was a girl, not a saint. It was in September when the real evil grew in me. The Scottish shooting season starts on Septem- ber 1st , and one of the biggest in our area was on the Lessiter estate, which did holiday accommodation and well-organised shoots, the main one in October, when the pheasants were in season as well as everything else. When the golden eagle carried a lamb away from the farm part of the Lessiter estate and my uncle predict- ed that Ian Lessiter would shoot it if he saw it, I had no problem believing him; Lessiter was an ex-military man and a crack shot. His shoot also had an admired range of 74 guns available for their guests. I had no doubt that Stuart would be going to the Lessiter shoot. Apart from neighbourly duties, he was keen on shooting, as was my father, if not quite as much, and my father had less time to spare. I used to shoot my- self, in the days when everything my father did I had to do, so my confidence in my ability just served to feed the plot my fevered mind was concocting. I made myself be- lieve that Uncle Stuart was a cancer in my family who had plotted to dispose of my father, his very own broth- er, in order to claim my mother in marriage. Predictably, my father’s will had left everything to my mother, mean- ing Stuart had not only stepped into my father’s matri- monial shoes, he had also effectively disinherited his sons. I planned to dispose of Uncle Stuart with the same kind of well-planned apparent accident he had used to kill my father. Everyone would mourn again, complain- ing of the viciousness of fate, the injustice of events, but my family would be free of Stuart and able to take our future back into our own hands. The most immediate problem was the inter- im period, when I would have to find some way of at least appearing to come to terms with the family situa- tion. I wrote to my mother, one of the most careful and thought about pieces of writing I’d ever done, and even then, I’d done a few. The tone was that of the son accept- ing the inevitable, and I got it down, even if I was gritting my teeth as I wrote it. ‘Nothing can bring Dad back now, and I’m sure he wouldn’t want those of us who remain to spend the rest of our lives at each other’s throats. I cannot prom- ise that it will be easy for me, but I will come home and stay for the length of the shoot and perhaps a few days afterwards. The shoot will mean many friends and neighbours will be about and we can cover the initial awkwardness with socialising and allowing people to sympathise and console’. She wrote back a long letter so full of warmth and affection that I almost abandoned the whole plan. But that scene on the television, which had been so am-