The story of Feargan and Amelia did not end on that morning, when they held each other as man and wife for the first time. There was still much celebration to be had and the castle rang with joy and happiness in the weeks to come.
Amelia then turned her attentions to the marriage of Philip and Catherine. This was, as had been expected, a far grander affair, held at Workington Hall in Cumberland and at which the Earl spared no expense. Feargan and Amelia traveled there together for the happy day, as did many other of their Jacobite friends.
It felt strange for Amelia to return to Cumberland, a place which held so many memories for her. Some good and some bad, but she was happy for her sister and watched as Catherine and Philip married amidst much pomp and ceremony.
Philip had asked Feargan to act as his best man, a task which the young Laird took very seriously. Not only did he execute this task with diligence and care, he brought his brother a gift which could nor have been more thoughtful.
Philip had no portrait of his mother, an obvious fact given that until a short time ago he didn’t know her true identity. But at the castle of Loch Beira there were several such portraits and Feargan and Amelia brought one as a wedding gift to Philip. He could not have been more delighted and he even shed a tear at the thought that now he could see his dear mother every day.
The wedding feast was a sumptuous affair, with all manner of good things to eat and drink. The Earl had much of his French wine cellar sent over from Paris and there was considerable merriment amongst the guests. They danced long into the night and the next morning Catherine and Philip set off for Paris, where they would spend some of the season.
But the real question was where the couple would eventually live. As Marquess of Torbay, Philip had responsibilities in the south. But so great had his change of heart and mind been at the discovery of his mother’s identity, that he rather felt embittered towards those charges which were his.
He no longer had desire for office or for high rank within the cause of the Jacobites. Instead, he and Catherine wished for a quiet life, one unencumbered by the past, in which they could live happily together. Where could such a life be found? The answer seemed obvious.
Upon their return from Paris, Philip requested that his brother allow them to settle at Loch Beira. This of course suited the sisters very well, for they had been saddened by their separation. Feargan too was delighted by the thought of his brother being close by. He gave permission for Philip to have a house built. It looked out onto the beach and the islands, where first they had declared their love for one another, and here they lived very happily but simply.
The portrait of Philip and Feargan’s mother was hung over the fireplace. They spent their days together in quiet solitude, far from the troubles which were going on in the world around them.
The cause of the Jacobites ended at the battle of Culloden on the 16th April 1746, when Charles Edward Stuart’s forces were decisively defeated by the Duke of Cumberland. It was the last battle fought on English soil and secured the house of Hanover for generations to come.
It was a crushing defeat for the Bonnie Prince and ensured that the hopes of the Stuart cause were dashed forever. What then of Feargan and Amelia, and of the loyal Jacobites they called friends, and the cause so dear to their hearts?
The Laird of Loch Beira was too late in arriving on the field of battle and by the time he set foot at Culloden the Duke of Cumberland had rallied his forces and returned to Edinburgh in victory. Feargan was saddened not to fight and he returned sorrowfully home. There, he and Amelia lived quietly together at the castle at Loch Beira, keeping alive the Jacobite hope, even in the face of defeat.
With her sister so close, Amelia found the constant support and friendship of another woman, and the bonds of sisterly affection grew ever stronger. She and Catherine spent much happy time together and when they both fell pregnant around the same time there was much rejoicing in the glen.
Whilst the local people were bemused by the arrival of these very English ladies, they took them readily to heart. In turn, both Amelia and Catherine worked hard for the good of those around them, encouraging their husbands in good works and deeds.
It was Amelia who was delivered first of her child, and ‘the bairn,’ as the local people referred to the child, was strong and healthy. They christened him Hector Charles Galbreth, the forename having been that of Feargan’s grandfather and the second in honor of the Bonnie Prince.
He was a cheerful baby and Amelia could often be seen walking with him along the shore of the loch towards the home of Philip and Catherine. It was a delightful little house, snug and cozy, and quite unlike those that either lady had been used to in their younger days.
In fact, very little about their new lives in the Highlands was like their younger days. Each could not have been happier and when Catherine was delivered of a little girl, fresh happiness came into the lives of these most happy couples.
The child was christened Isla Elizabeth Yates, named for both mothers, of Philip and Feargan, and of Amelia and Catherine. A boy and a girl was a perfect combination, and each child grew happily, knowing they were greatly loved by all their family.
Amelia later gave birth to another son, followed by a daughter. Edward and Nairne, respectively, and thus the family was complete. Catherine had no further children, one, she said, being quite enough.
The families grew together, sharing friendship and fun. Often, Feargan and Amelia would come to picnic on the beach and the children would swim out to the island, begging to hear the story of Catherine’s proposal to Philip.
Amelia would sit on the shore with her sister and watch as Feargan and Philip accompanied the children on their swim. They would kindle a little fire and cook fish, or enjoy food brought from the abundance of the castle kitchen. Some nights they would stay beneath the stars and camp on the beach with the fire illuminating the scene, as a canopy of stars hung twinkling above and the moon cast its glow down upon them.
The children grew healthy and strong, and it was clear to all that young Hector would one day make a fine Laird. He was every bit his father’s son, a loyal and hardworking young lad, brave, and always willing to put others before himself.
Amelia was rightly proud of all her children, and as she watched them grow, she knew that she and Feargan had set them on the right course through life. Catherine, too, delighted in her little Isla. She was a beautiful little thing, the prettiest wee lass in the glen, or so the good folks in those parts called her.
With children and the responsibilities of the estate Feargan and Amelia were always kept busy. But they kept themselves to themselves, little interested in the affairs of the wider world. The Jacobite cause continued, thought its support was dwindling to a minority who had little interest in anything but harking back to days of glory.
The Earl of Workington was a frequent visitor to his daughters and eventually he gave up the estate in Cumberland to settle permanently in the castle at Loch Beira. He and Alexander Galbreth shared many a dram of whisky long into the night, keeping alive the Jacobite spirit in word rather than deed.
But there were times when, despite the beauty of their Highland existence, Amelia longed for another glimpse of Paris. So, when the children had grown a little older, she and Feargan made the journey south.
They crossed the channel at Dover and arrived into Paris, just as spring was giving way to summer. The Earl of Workington still kept his house there on the Rue di Rivoli, somewhat of a folly perhaps but neither he, nor his daughters, could quite rid themselves of that romantic connection to the country which had so long been their refuge.
Amelia and Feargan stayed in Paris for six weeks, visiting all of Amelia’s favorite haunts. There were many in that great city of light who still remembered the Jacobite cause fondly. Louis XV was no friend to the Hanoverians and after the failure of the Jacobite rising, France became a haven for many of the disenfranchised English and Scottish nobility.
The Galbreths were entertained at court and Amelia hosted all manner of soirees and salon gatherings during their time in the French capital. Feargan was far less of a socialite but he enjoyed once more being in Paris and found himself often riding out with the husbands of equally dismissed men, their wives enjoying one another’s hospitality.
Towards the end of their stay they paid a visit to the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye where they were delighted to discover Hamish McBride, still giving lessons to the children of aristocrats and despairing at just how little of what might be termed ‘common knowledge’ remained.
He told them that things at the château had not been the same since the Jacobite uprising and that the cause was now the preserve of eccentrics and those hankering back to pasts days of glory.
“What became of Philip?” he asked, surprised to find Amelia clearly married to a man who was not Lord Torbay.
Amelia explained the happy tale and Hamish McBride declared that he had not heard of such a marvelous yarn since studying Greek myth. Together they shared a happy supper and the Galbreths stayed a night at the château, before returning to Paris the next morning.
Despite her love for Paris, Amelia missed her children terribly and after six weeks amidst Parisian high society the couple returned to England. They spent a few days in London, where Feargan had business, and then returned to Loch Beira via Edinburgh where they lodged at the home of James Addair.
He had long since retired to obscurity, one of the many Jacobites who now kept themselves to themselves. But upon arrival in Edinburgh, Feargan and Amelia were met with some tragic news. The Earl of Workington had been taken ill and by the time they arrived back at the castle he was close to death.
But there was fight in the elderly aristocrat and he held on until both his daughters were at his bedside. He told them how proud he was of them both and summoning their husbands, he instructed them once more to see to it that Amelia and Catherine were well taken care of. That night he died and was buried by the loch side, as had been his wish. For it was not only Amelia and Catherine who had fallen in love with Scotland, their father too had found his home there.
Amelia and Catherine would often visit their father’s grave. It lay on the path that wound between the castle and the house which Philip had built. In consecrated ground once belonging to the long ruined monastery, a place still echoing with the signs and symbols of the old faith so dear to her father’s heart. Amelia would go there for peace and solitude, sitting in quiet contemplation.
She had grown up such a lot since those early days in Paris, with its parties and grand dinners, balls and soirees. All that now seemed like a dream and the thought of being responsible for the welfare of her children, for the management of the house, and the duties of a Laird’s wife all seemed quite overwhelming at times. But in Feargan she knew she had a husband who would be ever faithful to her and love her just as she loved him.
Such knowledge was all that she needed to be happy and she knew that in his own quiet way, Feargan, too, was happy. Occasionally she would catch him humming or looking wistfully out onto the loch with a smile across his face. On such occasions he would take her in his arms and kiss her, telling her he loved her and promising that they would be together for the rest of their lives.
And so, time passed by and the years rolled on and Feargan and Amelia grew older and wiser, and happier too, in the simplicity of life at the castle. The children grew strong and healthy, the fresh Highland air and love of their parents ensuring that they had everything they needed.
There were tragedies along the way, of course, and after the death of the Earl of Workington it was not too many winters before Alexander Galbreth also took to his bed. Feargan could not say how old his uncle was, the younger brother of his father, though still a great age. There was a sense of timelessness to Alexander. He had always seemed the same age, ever the wise and sensible counsellor.
He caught a chill and died some fifteen years after Feargan and Amelia’s marriage. The castle was in great mourning but at his funeral the Laird reminded the gathered congregation, which included many loyal Jacobites, of his uncle’s words on his deathbed.
“I have led a good life and if a man can say that on his deathbed then nothin’ else matters. Live a good life, lad, and ye will be happy,” Alexander had said, and when Feargan repeated these words it was agreed that Alexander Galbreth had been a wise man.
He was laid to rest not far from the Earl of Workington, the two having forged a strong friendship over their late night drams of whisky. Feargan would accompany Amelia on her visits to the graves and the two would sit in all seasons beneath the ruins of the monastery.
Some days Catherine and Philip would join them, for Alexander had become something of a father figure to Philip and the young man felt his death most acutely. The children, too, were taught to remember their grandfather and Uncle Alexander, and they would come to play in the ruins of the monastery, as their parents sat in quiet contemplation.
One cannot halt the progress of time. It is as certain as the tide, ever marching on. But time can be a joy or a burden, a place in which we dwell or look ahead. The price we pay for having time is the certain knowledge that it will be punctuated by sorrows as well as joys. Amelia and Feargan knew this all too well and as the years drifted by they knew both good times and bad. But in the end the ups and downs of life mattered not—they had each other and that was all that mattered.
Together they would often walk up onto the moorlands above the loch, looking down upon the estates and watching the sun set over the distant horizon. It was a scene that appeared different every time they stood before it, always beautiful but never the same. At times the clouds would roll in threatening rain and at others the sun would shine out brightly.
So it was with life, the same scene ever changing, but there was one constant which always remained and that was the love which each had for the other and which would last until that final sunset and beyond.
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