On Angel Mountain
house of angels
rebecca and the angels
FLYING WITH ANGELS
Conspiracy of Angels
An extract from Chapter 8 of “Conspiracy of Angels"
Martha is seeking to help the anti-slavery campaign by handling donations from wealthy benefactors and passing them on to the West Indies where they will be used to but freedom for as many slaves as possible. Unfortunately she gets mixed up with a gang of men whose concerns for the suffering poor are questionable, to say the least -- and a certain black leader is not best pleased when some money goes missing from one of the parcels handled by Martha.
I was well along the Cilgwyn Road when I saw a coach which I did not recognize coming towards me. I stood on the roadside verge to let it pass, but suddenly it stopped. The door opened and two fellows leaped out, and before I could react I had been grabbed and bundled inside. There were curtains over the windows, but in any case a blanket was thrown over me and my arms were clamped at my sides. I thought of screaming, but decided that in the circumstances that might not be very wise. The horses were whipped up and the coach was then driven at high speed, and from the frequent turns to left and right I assumed that we must have passed through the streets of Newport before heading out along the turnpike road to Cardigan.
At last, with the coach still travelling at the gallop, the blanket was taken off me by my two captors, who continued to hold me tightly by my arms. When my eyes had adjusted to the darkness inside the coach, I was greatly surprised to be confronted by a huge black man who filled the whole of the opposite seat, which should have been ample for two. He was dressed entirely in black, apart from a vivid blue cloak over his shoulders. He had very pronounced features, a flattish nose, a grizzled chin, and a touch of grey in his tightly curled hair. In a voice as deep as the pit of Hell he asked me if I was Martha Morgan of Plas Ingli. I confirmed that I was, and said: “Sir, your behaviour is an outrage! If you think that you can drive about the place, grabbing innocent people from the roadside......................”
“Silence, Madam!” he said, with a strange smile on his face. “I will do whatever I think is appropriate. Do not worry -- it is not my intention to harm you, unless you bring harm upon yourself. Now, I have something to say to you. Will you listen to me?” I was terrified, but I managed to keep my composure. I nodded.
“Very well, sir. I will listen, but I hope you will inform me, as a matter of courtesy, who you are and what you are doing in this area.”
The black man refused to say anything about his name or his intentions, but then he said: “Madam, I think you owe me £50. It was missing from a parcel in which I have a certain interest.”
It dawned on me that this must be the man who was orchestrating all of the deliveries and collections of parcels at the Plas. I also recalled that the fellow called Bobby Franks, who had collected the last parcel, had been very frightened indeed when he had become aware that the seal on it was broken. This black man was clearly someone who demanded, and got, respect from his confederates. Great care was needed in dealing with him, but I had to tell him the truth. So I explained that my children had found the last parcel of money in the attic and had opened it, and had become convinced that they had discovered some long-lost treasure. They had even thrown the money about, I said, but I confirmed that every banknote had been replaced in the parcel, having been counted out to the correct sum of £250.
“Madam,” said the big black man with venom in his voice, “there were banknotes to the value of £300 inside that parcel. Your children have stolen £50, and our benefactors will be very disappointed......”