“English heroine,” it said in the newspapers but I think they were talking poppycock. Who wouldn’t go and help people stranded off a wrecked steamship? After the Forfarshire went down, they were clinging onto the rocks for dear life, so I never really thought twice about it. It must have been the few survivors Father and I rescued who broke the story, because round these parts you are supposed to do that sort of thing without a fuss. I am after all a lighthouse keeper’s daughter. I sometimes think it’s having a name like Darling that makes people inclined to write me letters and paint my portrait, or maybe it is just the thought of a young woman rowing through a storm. When I try and work it out, it must have been about that year, 1838, when my cough started.

Now I have a much more difficult journey to make, and this time one that won’t get me a silver medal, nor would it be eased by another fifty pounds from the queen. At least with that I have something to leave my family, as well as these little gifts I have made for those who can get to see me. Thomasin is already here – ‘Grace’s chief nurse’ she calls herself. I really wanted to carry on living at the lighthouse, but conditions can be bleak out there, and Father wanted to see if some country air might help. Even a bracing breeze and wonderful Cheviot scenery couldn’t shake off this awful consumption, so it was decided I should return to coastal parts to be nearer to home. I do hope mam arrives in time. She’s normally reluctant to leave Longstone island and has hung on too long for news of me, so I pray the stormy weather allows the coble to get across before the end.

They are going to bring the box bed from grandad’s old cottage along to Uncle’s house for me. Strangely enough, it was the one in which I was born, so it has come full circle, and somehow that brings me peace.

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2 years ago

What a great story! You had me doing Google searches to find out more about Grace Darling. The name sounded like one we writers would make up, but amazingly enough, it was her real name. You managed to tell us a lot about Grace in just a few words – excellent writing.

Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
2 years ago

I liked this story, I couldn’t think of anything more terrifying than going out in a boat, any boat, into a raging sea. I felt the danger in this story, and also the matter of fact way that it just had to be done. Well done.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
2 years ago

A sad but lovely story and like Fuji I was fascinated to find Grace Darling was real. And, that here in Australia there is a hotel named after her. I’m so glad you brought her story to life again so many years later. She deserves it and you’ve written it so beautifully!

musing mind
musing mind(@musing-mind)
2 years ago

I loved reading your story. The character is so courageous. The lighthouse has always been a mysterious place for me.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
2 years ago

Hi Susan, what an amazing story. It was fascinating and full of mystery especially the lighthouse ❤️. But what I loved and appreciated most is the courage it emphasized.

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
2 years ago

This is quite beautiful Susan, a real treat to read. I thoroughly enjoyed every word. Thank you!

Katy Bizi
Katy Bizi(@katy-bizi)
Reply to  Susan Dawson
2 years ago

Really? That is truly strange.

1 year ago

Hi Susan – I just ran across this story via the “Featured Recording” on the sidebar. I really enjoyed closing my eyes and listening to your story being read aloud. Your writing always makes my day more enjoyable, and I look forward to your new posts.

This story subtly paints a beautiful picture of a timeless and admirable heroine.
Congrats on being featured, well deserved!

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