Extract from The Welsh Linnet.
“Stand or I fire!”
I flattened myself against Fairy’s neck and urged her into a gallop, praying I could lose them in the fog. I heard the crack of the carbine and a shot whistled by my ear, immediately followed by a crack from the second man’s carbine. I was too far ahead for them to attempt a pistol shot. They must not close that gap.
I galloped back in what I hoped was the direction of Basing, branches whipping at my clothes and clods of earth flying up from Fairy’s hooves. My world had shrunk to the muddy strip of path I could see between the mare’s ears as she pounded steadily towards safety. The only sounds I could hear in the eerie silence were her hooves, the creaking of leather and the horses of my now silent pursuers. Rising above them was the thumping of my heart, louder in my ears than any drum beat.
She was sweating heavily, but her pace did not falter. How much further did we have to go? I lifted my face from Fairy’s mane for a hasty glance ahead. Looming out of the fog were the ramparts of the Old House, the dim outlines of the turrets of the New House beyond it. Behind me I could hear the muffled hoof beats of the two horses. Were they gaining on me? I could not tell.