The storm had thrashed itself out but the rain persisted throughout
the day, finally clearing as the Crest was sighted off The Point.
“What’s the Point?” Sue wondered aloud to one of the waiting
“That be Rosmerryn Point.” He nodded towards the shoulder of
cliffs jutting out from the sea. “It be treacherous in a gale but like a
lover’s welcoming arms in this weather.”
Rosmerryn Point. She had stood on the edge of that cliff, the rain
beating against her face while below the rocks pierced the broiling sea.
Tom sat on the bench, his gnarled hand lifted in greeting. By the
time Sue reached him, he had folded away his newspaper. “Good day,
me ‘andsome”. He grinned.” Where’s that good looking fella of your’s. You been
showing him the Rosmerryn place?”.
It was weird how Tom seemed to know everything. He grinned at her, wrinkling his
nose. “Why don’t you come and visit later. We be just back-
along the hill. Number thirtyseven, near the old beach road. We don’t get many visitors.
You bring your Liam tonight, about seven.”
Tom Pearce lived with his friend Emma Dyer whose husband had
been a mate of Tom’s and who died in a wreck around the Lizard. Tom
had been injured trying to save him. That had been many years ago
and ever since Emma had cared for the lame Tom, finally moving in
with him. She left him now to his pipe and his visitors, slipping out to
“Em enjoys cooking for company”. He turned to Liam “What do you think of our
“It’s very pretty … interesting …”
Tom nodded, sucking on his pipe stem, his ageless eyes
intent upon the bearded, handsome face of the younger man. “You
have the look of a Cornishman”. His words were unexpected and Liam’s
face lost its habitual blandness. “You wear the look of the sea, man. Where your folks
Liam exchanged an amused glance with Sue. “Canada”.
Tom was shaking his head. “I know that – but before Canada?Everybody in Canada
comes from somewhere else”
Laughing, Liam agreed. “My ancestors did come from Britain but I don’t know from
Ol’ Tom was nodding. “The Merediths – they be a Falmouth family once”. Liam’s eyes
grew wary. He had not mentioned his surname. Neither had Sue, not even to Peverell,
and she doubted these simple fisher folk had ever heard of Liam Meredith, the
“The Merediths didn’t last past the l800s – family died out then”.
“How did you know?”
The old man frowned. “Why it be in the history books, lover”.
“I mean – how did you know Liam’s name?”
Tom bent low poking the ashes in the pipe bowl. “Must have heard talk
in the village”.
Emma returned with the freshly baked pie and home-made
bread, the aroma teasing their appetite as Tom mentioned last night’s storm. “Did you
happen see the Lady up on the cliffs last night?”
Sue’s fork cluttered to the ground and Emma, pink with
embarrassment, apologised. “Tom is such a worry. He thinks every
visitor is in a fever to hear about the legends and fairy tales about this
place. Now, Tom, you stop this minute. You’ve frightened Sue …”
Replacing a clean fork beside Sue’s plate, Emma refilled their
glasses but Tom was arguing. “Its no fairy tale, woman. I’ve seen her
meself – many times …”.
The room seemed to close in on Sue. “I saw her”, meeting Liam’s
gaze. “I saw her, Liam. Up on the Point. She was there … ”
She grew hot, embarrassed. “P’haps it was the rain and the
dark, the shadows … I mean, I thought I saw something …”. Forcing a
smile, she turned to Emma.”Probably just seeing things”
Tom watched her closely. “Not every visitor sees her” then “She comes
every time there’s a storm, looking out across the sea. She been doing
it for years. My grandfather used to tell me how he saw her too. And if
you talk to the folk who live near the ruins, they’ll say the same”.
Tom’s gaze settled on Liam. “Did you happen to see her, son?”
“No”. He wore a cynical grin “I’m not the right material for
Tom muttered. “You be surprised, Liam Meredith.”
Sue broke in. “Tom, are there any books written on the old Manor House – a history of
the family perhaps?”
“Maybe in Truro Library. A few years back there be that couple
from London – They live on the Penvale Road. He be a writer –
reckoned he was writing about the Rosmerryns but that be before the
accident. What’s their name, Em?”
“You mean the Lewis’. Richard and Sally. Lovely couple. They
have a flower farm just a few miles out of the village”.
Tom talked about the Monestary which was along the cliffs from the ruins. In the
summer months it was used by a charitable foundation as a holiday home for homeless
children but during the rest of the year, the old priory remained empty. He had kindled
Sue’s interest with snatches of information about the place that had once been a
Franciscan Order and which had, in Rosmerryn times, been equally
famous for its wine, made by the monks of the abbey. He believed the
vines were still there.
Breakfast followed a strange night for Sue who shared her bed
with Liam once again. But he kept to his side, never attempting to
touch her and when she woke, he was gone.
He joined her now and she eyed him warily. “Are you leaving?”
Leaning back against the stone wall, his gaze shifted. “I just talked with Ray.”
Ray Turner was Meredith’s manager in Toronto. “I told him I was taking a bit of a
Relief coloured her cheeks. She dropped her gaze but he had already seen the truth
there and when she suggested driving up to the old Monestary he agreed without
Parking the Mini, they walked over the cliffs to where the old
Monastary stood among the rugged splendour of the wild cliffs. The
high walls trailed clusters of roses and wild blooms trickled over and
down the crumbling masonry. Following the walls they came to the
gate where beyond the path curved and twisted up to the Abbey, a
large square building totally lacking in character or imagination. A
notice on the wall declared simply: MONKS CEMETARY, and a black
arrow pointed boldly.
Treading the path to a small squared-off site that the years had
robbed of its original serenity, they entered what was left of the simple
resting place. Where once had stood modest tombstones, in their place
now were cracked and broken remnants and massively overgrown
She followed him moving slowly, stopping occasionally to read
a worn inscription. He stooped low over an overgrown mound and
she stood next to him. The stone, green with mildew and rot,
was badly cracked, the wording hardly visable, yet she read aloud
Moving on, she climbed a slight incline. At the top, the
mound was rough with weeds and yellow gorse. Admiring the wide
panoramic view across the Atlantic she stepped forward, her toe
stubbing against something hard. The earth had once been
moulded over the casket but now weeds spouted vigorously amid the
rocks and the low headstone rose up some two feet, its wording
chiselled for eternity.
Countess of Rosmerryn
Finally at Peace 1794
Within her, a sense of panic began to rise until it overwhelmed her and she fled.
When Liam found her she was bending over, gasping for breath. Unable to
pacify her, Liam slapped her across the face. Sue cried out, her hand
cradling her smarting cheek. “You hit me again!” He laughed, but Sue
struck him back. He caught her wrist, still laughing. ” Gimme a break! Are you trying to
send me as flakey as you”. He frowned, studying her ashen face. “You okay ?”
“Did you see ?”
He turned away with a groan. “Oh, no! Geez, not another ghost!”
“No” Sue was shaking her head “Her grave. Did you see Carenza’s grave?”
“All I saw was you going like the wind with the devil on your tail”.
Sue shuddered. “I was standing on her. I felt like … I dunno what I
felt. I panicked …had to get away but … ” She placed her icy palms to her
burning cheeks.” She is so unhappy – to die so tormented.”
Liam’s smile had long faded. “How the hell can you know that?” Sue straightened up.
“Its all there – on the stone. It was like she was reaching out to me … for help”.
He turned away in irritation, already searching in his pockets for the
“Liam, if I don’t go back I shall be haunted by that feeling. I don’t
want to be afraid of her. She’s been dead over two hundred years”.
He groaned, exasperation in the sound. “You’re letting all this stuff get
into your blood. You should leave here before you start believing all
Facing him, Sue questioned his words. “Is it rubbish?” then “Come with
“I can’t let you go back alone, can I? You’ll probably throw
yourself over the edge”
He stared down at the old stone. It was as broken and indefinable as the monk’s had
been and yet Sue had said it had been clearly inscribed. In fact, she was reading out
the inscription. He bent low, peering closely. He could not make out any wording.
Suddenly the sight of him bending over the grave, gently brushing the
headstone clear of dirt, sent a sharp slither of pain through her.
“LYAM, YOU CAME BACK”.
She had spoken those same words last night – in that same voice. Straightening
up, Liam glanced at the old grave and for the first time allowed his secret fears to
crytallise, while feeling the most extraordinary sense of closeness to the dead girl. In a
flash of clarity,he saw her before him: her face pale, hypnotic green eyes pleading
with him. In a gown of many greens with full skirts, her golden hair draped into silky
curls and ringlets, she was as real as Sue who stood before him. It was as if one
photograph was merging with the other to become one. Closing his eyes tightly, Liam
shook his head and when he looked again, Sue was clutching his arm, her bright red
shirt and denims familiar. They did not speak until they reached the car. Only
then did Sue ask. “What happened?” Ironically, their positions had reversed.
“We have to leave this place. We have to pack up and leave NOW.”
“What happened?” Her voice was calm, patient. But he was distracted, reluctant to
relate what had occurred. “Come on, let’s get our stuff and go”.
Sue shook her head. “You know we can’t do that”
He stared at her. “Maybe you cant, but I sure as hell can”.
Sue climbed into the car. “Did you see something? Hear something?”
Liam stared at her. “Something weird happened but it was just in my
mind, that’s all.”
“Tell me, Liam?”
He shrugged” It was just the shadows but for a second up there I
thought I saw something …” Then he banged his hands hard against the steering wheel
. “Its crazy! Its worse then being stoned. Its the atmosphere up here.’ Then almost to
himself muttered ‘ how can a girl who’s been dead for two hundred years suddenly
show up and look like you. Is that crazy or what?’
Sue’s exclamation cut across his words. “Like ME!”
Astonishment was diminishing as her own insane theory, which she
had been afraid to put into words, was now unintentionally done so by
“Carenza looked like me?”
Sanity returned to his stunned brain. “If she looked like you its because
you’re the one who’s obsessed with this lunacy. Who else would she
look like! Me? And who said it was Carenza? Cant you see what I’m
getting at? Now I’m seeing things but its all in our heads. We’re
IMAGINING we see ghosts but there is no such thing as ghosts, The
only ghosts around here are the ones right there inside your
skull, and now one’s crept into mine. Well, I’m heading out.”
Furtively, she glanced at him as he swung the car back onto the
road. He would ridicule her, call her insane, but she had to say it aloud.
“Do you believe in reincarnation?”
“No!” His tone discouraged further discussion but she would not be
intimidated. “I can describe that Manor House in detail yet I’ve never seen it
before. I’ve sketched it in its full splendor. And Lady Annaline. I know so much
about her! And Brother Dom …”,
Liam’s reaction to the Franciscan’s name cut short her fervent argument.
Pulling over into a lay-by, Liam turned. “Brother Who?”
“Dominic. I feel certain Brother Dominic and Carenza were connected “.
Liam’s eyes were blue ice. “Whatever”.
Sue pressed on, wanting him to understand. “It’s like I know him – as a very
dear friend.” A frown creased her brow. “Why should I feel this for a man who
died centuries ago?” Deadly serious she insisted quietly. “And you feel
something too, I know you do.”
When he refused to answer, she gripped his arm. “I KNOW we are both involved
in this thing, whatever it is, and you have to stop fighting it or we’ll never
discover the truth”. His laugh was cruel. “What truth? You know, you’re
beginning to sound seriously unstable. You talk like it’s all fact – the most natural
happening in the world yet it’s all insane. ”
She ignored his sarcasm. “If you leave Portmerryn now, you’ll be leaving it as
unsettled as it was then besides …” she stared ahead “I need you”
“Why?” He challenged her. “I remember you were pretty keen to see the back of me”.
For a long time, Liam stared at her as the colour flooded her face. “You
don’t need me.You have all your ghosts” . But as she gazed at him sadly, Liam was
shaken to see Carenza’s face merge with Sue’s until he was forced to recognise them
as one. Immediately he rebelled against such a thought. NEVER! Sue and the long
dead Carenza, one and the same? Lunacy lay in that line of reasoning.
Back in the village they saw Dave talking with Tom. The villagers were
growing alarmed because a small band of gypsies were camping up on the cliffs.
At that moment, the local committee were gathering together to draw up an
eviction order. Tom asked Sue if they had found the Monastery.
“We found Carenza’s grave. Why is she buried there and not with her
The old man stuck his pipe into his mouth again. “Legend say it be
because she forfeited all claims to her legacy and retired to the Abbey. The Lady
“She was so young”
“That be true, me lover, but who knows the whole story”. adding with a
twinkle “It be a wee bit before my time, you know” and chuckled.
Dave, who had joined them, took up the story. “Some say she died of a
broken heart. You should read that book – the one the American wrote. You
remember him, Tom? Said he was a professor, had a link with the Rosmerryns,
so he reckoned. Anyways, he did write a book. Called it “The Curse of the
“Why “The Curse”?”
“Because the entire lot came to a sticky end, that’s why. They were a ripe
mob, you know. Father down to son, to daughter. Only good ‘un was the
mother and she was dead before her time too. You should look it up in the
library. What was his name … foreign sounding , it was. French or something”.
Then with a bright grin, Dave turned to Liam. “Hey, skipper, how about coming
out with us tonight. I’ll show you how to catch some mackerel – maybe some
sole and who knows what else. We’re leaving at midnight, to catch the tide.”
Liam hesitated then suddenly laughed. ‘Why not.’
The Crest left as planned, on a clear moonlit night, and Sue watching
from the quay steps, laughed at the sight of Liam, in his oilskins, the fisherman.
Colin, however, decided the Canadian musician looked very much at home on
the boat. She was certain Liam had gone to get away from all the ‘ghost stuff’,
as he mockingly called it and she did not sleep well.
Waking at six she went to run a bath. Below she could hear Colin moving
about. Crossing back to her own room she paused. Leaning over the bannisters
she could hear muted voices below. Colin WAS up to something! The mens
voices droned on but she could not make out what they were saying. Some
instinct warned her not to be caught eavesdropping and she tiptoed away, but instead
of making for her bedroom, Sue opened the door to the storeroom.
In the soft light she saw the rumpled bed which had obviously been
recently slept in and felt the breeze coming from the open window. Beside the
bed, on a small wooden table, stood a half burnt down candle. Candle! Had the
electricity failed during the night? Carelessly draped over the chair was a gown.
A gown of rich black satin, trimmed in soft black velvet. The silk slippers were tight
on her feet and turning she caught sight of her reflection in the darkened
window. Her nightgown had been replaced by a simple sheer silk and lace shift.
Fear increased as she realised she was unable to move. No matter how hard she
tried, nothing happened. She was paralysed, while outside voices, then footsteps,
came closer. Her heart thumped wildly as the men stopped outside the
door. Struggling to make her limbs obey her brain she washelpless, incapable of
moving a finger. While outside the door strange voices spoke strange words. They
talked of riding to Newquay and of the Troopers and a Judge tracking them. Fear
duelled with common sense. Fear won, as she fought to release the sudden
paralysis only to have her feet walk her back to the bed.
Then the door crashed back against the wall and in the shadows he stood tall
and broad. He wore the same beigecoloured shirt. A wide leather belt encircled his
waist, topping the tight fitting breeches which did little to disguise his virility. His face,
shadowed by the beard and the bad light, was hard to see yet she knew him. At
the same time, he bellowed: WHAT IS THIS DOING IN MY ROOM?” while behind
him a man murmured nervously. “Good’s blood, Cap’n, keep yer voice down.
Would ye be wanting the customs men to find ye here. I had to put her
someplace. She came alooking for ye. I had no choice”.
The Captain came fully into the room where she could see the vicious glint
in his eyes. “Good thinking, my friend. This one is best kept under an eye, and I
reckon I can find some use for her until I leave”. His coarse laughter sending a
chill through Sue. Stepping back, she stumbled onto the bed as he threw the
door shut with a crash, closing them in together.
The sharp thud of the door brought Sue back to her senses sprawling on a
crate by the window of the storeroom. The bedroom had disappeared! Dazed,
she looked about, slowly staggering to her feet and making her way unsteadily to
the bathroom where the water was perilously close to overspilling. Swiftly closing
the taps, she took her time confirming that she was indeed wearing the cotton
nightgown before she stepped out of it to sink down into the hot, soothing
Closing her eyes, she let the tears come. “I am going crazy …”
Sitting alone by the window overlooking the sea, Sue sipped at her black
coffee, only half aware of the general chatter in the Fishermens Rest. Open as
usual for breakfast trade among the fishermen, it remained local custom for the
fishermen who were not out at sea to congregate in the stone and beamed tap
room, as they had done in those long ago days when Portmerryn was a thriving
yet infamous smugglers port of call. Now, in the twentieth first century, the
smugglers were no longer but the fishermen remained, with their giant size
mugs of tea, to eat a hearty breakfast and discuss the current prices of fish, or
just to swap tales of a catch, and this morning was no exception. But their
good humoured chatter did little to ease the anxiety caused by Sue’s latest
experience – one she dare not confide to anyone.
In her mind Sue saw again the bearded stranger in the bedroom version
of the Peverells store room and shivered.
Tom limped in, calling out his cheery greeting to everybody and seeing Sue he
came unevenly towards her. “Shall I join you, me lover, or you waiting for the
“Captain?” Her voice sounded unnatural, her look startled.
The old man positioned himself comfortably. “That lad of yours wears the look of
the sea natural like. Seems to me he should be on a ship somewhere”.
“He is”. Sue was unnaturally brisk and he eyed her shrewdly while she
explained. “He went out with the Crest last night”. Tom settled himself more
comfortably, grinning while puffing on his pipe “And you feel his absence”.
“I do not!” Sue’s indignation amused him and he chuckled. But she
leaned towards him. “Tom, do you know much about this place? ”
“Is it very old?”
He nodded “More then three hundred years. Maybe more.”
She lowered her head, concentrating on her coffee. “How about the upstairs
Tom sat back ” One time it was a stage rest. In the old times, stagecoaches
would come by and change horses here before continuing their journey. In those
days all the rooms were let to coach passengers. The stables were back of the
building then. Its gone now. Used to be where you park your car”.
Her interest glittered in her eyes. “Must have been very exciting around here in
those days. All types of folk coming and going; staying at the Inn?”
Tom puffed on his pipe a few times. “Years back the Rest was sold to some London
gent. He never came here. Then he sold it to some property tycoon who came to look it
over. Reckoned it would make a fine amusement club. Peverell heard about it and
fought for it. He finally bought it. Reopened it as the original Fishermens Rest. For the
first time in years, the Inn was back to what it used to be in the beginning.’
“Tom”. Sue turned to the old man. “Did anything particularly sensational
He grinned at her “Not lately”.
He frowned into his memories. “Stories have gilded its history for years. Once it
was said to be a smugglers hide-out. A very long time ago”.
Sue heard again those strange voices outside what was now the Storeroom.
Tom was smiling. “You keep nosing about, my lover, and you’ll know enough to
write a book yourself”.
Later, Sue set out to find the Lewis’s. She had not walked far when a
small van pulled in ahead of her. The driver was a young man, in his late teens,
with a tanned face and intense dark eyes. His black hair tumbled over his eyes
as he pulled the door closed on her. “Where you heading?”
“Do you know the Lewis farm?”
“Going right by their gate”.
He glanced at her. “On holiday?”
There was a sly look about the boy and Sue, generally open and friendly, felt ill
at ease in his presence. “You live locally?”
“We’ve a farm about three mile back there. Name’s Owen.”
He dropped her at the end of a lane, pointing in the general direction of
the Lewis farm and she was unreasonably relieved when the van drove off.
Walking along the tiny lane, she put the driver, from her mind but after
ten minutes began to worry that he had dropped her off at the wrong place.
There was no sign of a farmhouse. Crossing a dust road and some cattle grids
she walked beyond the bend then through the trees ahead caught sight of a
small stone cottage. Her steps quickened until out of the sunny stillness she
heard a yell . A man was waving, striding towards her. He was carrying a
massive basket of freshly trimmed flowers. “Got yourself lost?”.
“I hope not” Sue smiled. “Are you Richard Lewis?”
He was in his early forties, of medium height, with sandy- brown crisp hair,
slightly greying. Surprised, he nodded. “You have me at a disadvantage.”
“I’m staying at Portmerryn and I’m assured you are the local authority on the
Rosmerryns” Still smiling, Sue offered her hand. “I’ve read the Guide Book. It’s
fascinating. I’m Sue Graham”.
Richard Lewis was smiling, his hand grubby with earth, clasping hers. “Come in,
Sue Graham. Sal’ll be back soon ”
Richard Lewis stood before her. “What brings you to Portmerryn?”
“I followed my nose” she admitted, asking “And you?”.
” We were on holiday and took a wrong turn. Never wanted to leave. It
took us a while to get accepted but I think they like us now”. Turning from the
window, he smiled. “Here’s Sally. My wife is blind but she’s perfectly capable, as
you’ll see. I didn’t want you to feel awkward when suddenly confronted with
Sally’s blindness. Some people behave very strangely, you know”.
The pretty dark haired woman, holding to the steel framed harness on
the black Labrador, and wearing a cotton smock over dusty jeans, entered the
cottage and paused immediately. “We have a visitor?”
“Darling, come and meet Sue Graham”.
Sue’s astonishment increased as Sally Lewis crossed the room easily, weaving
her way through the furniture to where Sue was standing.
“I’ve dropped by without invitation. I hope you don’t mind”.
“We don’t get too many visitors, which is entirely our own fault. We
insulted all our city friends when we first moved here because they could not see
what we saw. Now they never visit us” Sally Lewis gave a merry little laugh,
reaching back to find her husband’s hand. They sat on the sofa opposite their
visitor. “Where are you from, Sue?”
“I’ve been living in Canada for several years”
Sally fired question after question and Sue found herself smiling across at
Richard. He wrinkled his nose in a satisfied grin.
“I was telling your husband, I’m fascinated by the Rosmerryns”.
Sally half turned towards her husband. “Richard had planned to write a
book about the Rosmerryns once but had to give up.”
“That’s a pity. I was hoping to read it”.
When Richard suggested coffee, Sally stood up. “I’ll get it. Excuse me, Sue”
Sue exclaimed. “She is incredible”.
“Yes, she is” he agreed “Especially as it has only been a mere four years
since the accident”
“What happened?” .
“She was walking on the cliffs and fell. We live in constant hope that all
the doctors and specialists are wrong and wait for the miracle they tell us to
forget about. Apparently, Sally is something of a medical mystery.”
Sensing Sue’s compassion he continued. “We’d only been here a few
months. Everything had been going so well until that day. But as you can see,
she adapted marvellously. Now it is as though she sees as well as you and I.
We have the farm, she works right alongside me.”
Sally was returning carrying a loaded tray. “Richard, be a dear and take this.”
Then to Sue: “You sound lovely. Is she, Richard?”
“Stunning” he teased taking the tray and placing it carefully on the table beside
Sue. “She has a mane of gorgeous blonde hair, and I bet naturally curly, and big
green eyes. Magnificent eyes, Sal’.” Glibly ignoring Sue’s wriggle of
embarrassment, he continued. “And she’s wearing jeans and a shirt. Pretty floral
print shirt. …” and looking up, stopped pouring the coffee, to wink at Sue.” …
she’s probably a few years younger then you but I dare not ask, and right now
she looks about to explode”.
“Your husband, is a great tease”
Sally smiled gently “Would you care for some cake. Home made. Richard’s quite a dab
hand in the kitchen”.When they pressed her to stay to lunch Sue declined, not wanting
to outstay her welcome.
“What rot.” argued Richard, taking more cake.
“Another time. I’ll bring Liam, if I may”.
“Liam?” Sally’s head lifted, her sightless eyes wide. Sue waited but Sally merely said.
“Liam. That’s a nice name”.
Richard interrupted. “This is our number. Give us a call”. Keeping her eyes on the
small white card, Sue asked. “Did you ever see a painting, or a drawing, of the
“Once I did. There was a pen sketch in a book I loaned from Truro library
when I was researching mine. Why d’you ask?”
“I dreamt … I had a dream once … “.
Sally’s voice seemed unsteady. “Describe it, Sue”.
Had she stayed too long, worried Sue. But the blind girl pressed her. “Please –
“It was beautiful. A white, sparkling palace of a place. Twin pointed
towers. Masses of flowers and shrubs and over the main entrance, the main
door, was a carving; a crest, I think …”
Sally whispered. “That’s uncanny”. Richard was laughing. “You must have sixth
sense. You better help me with my book”
It was past one as she approached the village. Sue’s disjointed thoughts
returned to the Lewis’s. Because she had been correct about the Towers she was
afraid, and she had lied to the Lewis’. She had not dreamt it. The Towers had
appeared to her in a flash of illusion, in the middle of the day!