Wild Bells – two 1800s novellas that I’ve got the rights back for and am re-publishing – is available for pre-order. Here’s a bit from The Shade on a Fine Day.
Benjamin nodded. “I wanted to enquire whether I had in some way offended you.” He kept his eyes fixed on the graves. A robin sang from the yew hedge, the faint sound of organ music came from the church, and the answer seemed to take forever to come.
“Mr. Swann, if I have in any way given you that impression, then I apologise unreservedly. I’m racking my brains to think of what I could have done…”
“My father’s walking stick. I was in Harmington yesterday, visiting a friend near the almshouses by St. Benedict’s. One of the residents was out in the lane, using that stick. It is quite unmistakable.”
William took a long appraisal of the man beside him. Benjamin had a fine profile, featuring an elegant nose which was clearly a family trait. On his sister it looked too forceful—on him it gave an air of gravitas. “I didn’t realise it was your father’s. If I’d been aware of what it meant I wouldn’t have been so insensitive. I’m sorry if your sister was offended.”
“My sister? I’m not sure she even knows it’s gone.”
“But she gave it to me, last Saturday, or I thought she did.” William ran his hands through his fair hair, leaving a trail of little, green leaf fragments. “I’ve made an awful mistake somewhere, but I can’t work out what.”