The skating party

In the Radwinter story which I’m writing at present, as usual there are events and incidents in the present day, but there are also mysteries in the past which my main character, Thomas Radwinter is commissioned to investigate. He is looking into a tragedy which happened in 1905, and has come across a letter written by Godfrey McCullough, describing the terrible incident which he witnessed.

I am troubled and grieve most heartily for Kitty Robespierre, but I do truly believe that no-one could have foreseen, nor prevented this terrible event. My brother Rupert has suffered greatly in his mind and cannot now recall all that occurred and I beg that he should be treated with kindness and compassion in his bereavement. He is unable to recall any of the events which befell the party, and becomes sorely distressed when pressed. I have had to ask Kitty’s brothers not to call as their questions cause him much anguish, and indeed I fear that he might lose his mind completely.
I was in the party, but was skating with my mother and my sister Ethel, and Henry and Stanley Robespierre. I heard shouting and I commanded mother and Ethel to wait and Henry and Stanley to take care of them. I skated on and rounded the spinney.  For a moment I could not see the party with my brother, but then I observed they had skated out across the marsh in what I considered a most dangerous situation.
William and Kitty were in the water and my brother was lying on the ice holding her. Two men were on the dyke and one of them shouted to me he was going to get a rope and a ladder. He ran off and the other man stood, leaning on a stick pointing out the thick ice to me. I reached my brother and lay beside him, he had hold of William’s collar but of Kitty there was no sign.
I shouted to the man on the dyke to get help and he threw me his stick which had a leaded head and I used it to break the ice and was able to grasp Kitty’s skirts. Rupert slipped into the water to reach her and he and I were able to pull her from the water. However, most grievously, we were too late for she had perished beneath the ice.
I believe William has stated that the two men on the bank stood by and watched; in my recall, one ran to get help, and the old man with the stick threw it to us to break the ice. I did not see them again and I do not know who they were.
I wish with all my heart that I had been skating with Rupert and William and Kitty, and that I might have warned them not to skate out across the wash.

If you would like to catch up with my other Radwinter books before this one is published, here is a link:


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