Read this first if you have forgotten what happened.
“Dad?” Kathryn asked to her father’s back as he began to leave her room.
“Yes, sweetie?” He turned to look at her.
“How old was Abigail when Mr. Halsey died?” Kathryn gave her dad her best expectant look.
Unable to resist her curiosity he sat on the edge of her bed to answer her, “Just 26. Not very old at all.”
“What did he die of?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did she do?”
“I actually know the answer to that question. I could show you proof of what she did.” Kathryn began to get out of bed. “Whoa, there. Not tonight. Later. This weekend, okay? For now let me tell you.”
With a slump, Kathryn said, “Okay.”
“Abigail and her two children moved in with her newly married brother. It’s kind of neat how your mom figured it out. She found a letter in my great-grandfather’s house to Anna Bruce, Abigail’s sister-in-law. Part of the letter had to do with Abigail and her children moving to her soon-to-be husband’s cottage near Portsmouth, England.
“Abigail had met a young captain in the British Navy through her youngest brothers. During the first year after Mr. Halsey’s death, they had arrived home bringing this young captain. Within a year Abigail and Captain Martin Woods were married.”
“Why didn’t they live at the house where Mr. Halsey lived?”
“Wouldn’t that be nice to know?” Kathryn’s dad patted her leg. “I’m just guessing here, but I’m pretty sure that the house belonged to William, just 8 years old at the time, not Abigail. She probably hoped to marry again and there may have been something in the will about where Abigail could live if she married again. It was probably easier to lease the house until William was old enough to run the estate as a man.”
“That doesn’t seem right. Wasn’t it Abigail’s home as well?”
“It was a very different time for women, Kathryn. Ask your mom for some of that history. She would be better at telling you about it.”
“Trust me, I will. So, do you know more about the marriage to Captain Woods?”
“Not much, really. I know she was married to him for just two years. They spent even less time together. He was on shore for about nine months before heading out to sea again. He died with the rest of his crew in a storm going round Cape Horn. That’s South America before you ask.”
“Did she have any children with him?”
“No, sweetie. And after his death she and her children moved back to Scotland to live with Fergus and Anna.”
“Do you have proof of that, too?”
“There used to be proof. Fergus Bruce kept a diary, and in it he wrote that his sister was at the birth of his son, Wallace.”
“What happened to the diary?”
“Too bad. That would have been cool to read.”
“Yes, it would have been nice to read it. Okay, that’s it. School tomorrow. I love you.”
“Love you too, Dad. Can you ask Mom to give me a kiss when she gets home from teaching?”
“Yes, I will. You know she always does. Now, good night.”
“Hey, that’s too short. There’s got to be more.”
Kathryn laughed. “You don’t know how many times I said the exact same thing to my dad. I always wanted more from that one.”
“You’ve got to tell Trixie about this. There’s tons of information about the British Navy available. She could point you in the right direction.”
“Yeah, I will. That’s what Sunday is all about.”
“So, what’s your next column?"
“Don’t know yet. I could write more about genealogy research, but I want to keep it varied. Why do you ask?”
“Do you have a suggestion?”
“Not really. You could just hop in your car and drive somewhere and write about that.”
“I don’t have a car.”
“How do you expect to get anywhere up here without a car?”
“The train doesn’t go to all the interesting places. You’ll have to get a car.”
“No, no. That driving on the wrong side of the road. Not going to do it.”
“Well, come with me somewhere on Saturday. I’ll drive.”
“Ian,” Kathryn huffed, “no dating. Remember?”
“Nah, not a date. I’ll just drive you somewhere that you want to go.”
Kathryn eyed him suspiciously. “Okay, pick me up at 8am?”
“I live in the apartment above Moira’s Bookstore.”