Every Step of the Way, Part 2
“Hugh, Samuel, go to Lyon Quay immediately.” She whispered, referring to the harbor in London. “You are to meet the boat there. Head to the Netherlands and meet Richard. The girls and I will go a different direction.” Her voice shook with fear. Hugh and Samuel raced out a back entrance and into the blackness of the night.
“Come on,” she whispered. We followed her out the door. She ran to the front of the house, and onto the street. We stopped, and looked down below. Tears filled my eyes. The dark figures of London reached out and touched the starlit sky. Catherine gave a weary sigh. We all knew there was a difficult journey ahead of us. But we also knew that God would take care of us. Catherine took a deep breath and walked down the dusty road. We followed, looking up into the beautiful night sky.
Dressed in merchant’s wife’s clothing that Agnes had brought along, we made our way through the streets of London. Rats scampered past us. It smelled awful. Catherine had no idea where Lyon Quay was, so we wondered in circles. The light of daybreak began to shine. We were tired, weary, and hungry. Little Susan cried.
“Edith, do you have the bottle of milk?” Catherine asked. Edith’s eyes grew big.
“No, mam. I think I left it in the stable!” she cried.
“Oh, no! And I left the valise, too!” Catherine exclaimed. She looked at Susan. Susan whined and cried.
“We need to find something to eat,” she said. “And now that we’ve left those things behind, they will surely find out that we’ve escaped,” she said.
“Should we hurry and find Lyon Quay, then?” Agnes asked.
“Yes, but let’s find some food first,” she replied. My stomach growled at the mention of food. I hoped we could find someone who would give us something. Catherine was a wealthy person, but she was not able to take much money with her.
It was now full morning, and the streets were crowded with people-young, and old. A boy and his dog played with sticks, and peddler woman sold flowers. Catherine pushed her way through. We came across a little bakery. The smell of freshly baked bread filled the interior and spilled out the front door. I so badly wanted some of it, but Catherine didn’t have enough money. She was able to buy a bottle of milk for Susan however, from a lady in the street. We wandered on, not knowing whether we were going in the right direction.
“Miss Catherine?” Agnes asked.
“May we take a rest?” Agnes puffed. Her shoulders sagged from the bundles on her back. Catherine looked around.
“We can sit there,” she replied, pointing to a small bench. Catherine sat down, and I sat at her feet. It felt wonderful to sit, after wandering all morning. We had been walking all over London, and we still hadn’t found Lyon Quay.
“We better get going,” Catherine stood up. I sighed. Already? Catherine always wanted to be on the move. I didn’t blame her though. I would too, if I was being hunted down.
We followed closely behind her as she made her way through the crowd of people. We had almost reached the end of the street when Catherine bumped a lady carrying a sack of bread.
“Oh! I’m so sorry,” Catherine apologized. The woman said nothing but stared at Catherine’s old and worn clothing. Her soft, blue eyes looked compassionately at little Susan.
“That’s all right,” she said. She reached into her bag and pulled out 2 loaves of bread.
“Please take this. You need it more than I do,” she whispered, placing the bread in Catherine’s hands.
“Oh, no. We could never take it,” she said, trying to give it back.
“Nonsense. I have plenty of food at home. Take it, please,” she said. Catherine’s eyes filled with tears.
“Oh, bless you Madame! Bless you!”
“You are very welcome.” The woman placed her hands on Catherine’s shoulder.
“Do you have a place to stay?” she asked.
“I’m on my way to Lyon Quay, but I’m not exactly sure where it is,” Catherine sighed.
“It’s that way. Head straight, and you’ll eventually meet up with it,” she replied.
“Thank you so much,” Catherine said, squeezing the woman’s hand. We rushed away, heading toward he wharf.
“You found these things where?”
“In the stable,” Atkinson replied to the head of the Privy Council. “This bottle of milk and this valise are sheer evidence that Duchess Catherine has escaped,” he said.
“Issue a warrant for Catherine’s arrest and tell everyone to be on the lookout for her,” a man said.
“She shouldn’t be too hard to find. She has a baby and five servants with her.” Another said. The leader rubbed his chin. He looked around.
“All right,” he said, nodding his head. “Issue a warrant immediately. I want her found and delivered to her Majesty at once!”
Kathryn (aka Chatty Kathy)