Excerpts from novel

Chapter 1

August 1867. Wordale Moor

Silas Cartwright looked around at the moorland from the driving seat of his cab, he loved living in Hundersfield one of the subdivisions of Rochdale, it was such a mixture of growth and opportunity in the towns, and yet it was still ringed with breathtaking beauty once you took to the countryside.

He easily recalled the days of his youth when a lot of the area had been just farmland, but the mills and mines had taken a hold and the population had grown enormously. Rochdale was growing too with new civic buildings, parks and amenities complete with the endless rows of terraced houses, often with up to four families living together in separate rooms. He had read that in nearby Spotland alone the number of people living in the area had grown from about eighteen thousand  in 1841 to over  thirty thousand and he reckoned with no little amusement that if his old Pa had been alive he‟d never have believed it.

All of this provided no end of employment for his horse and cab and as far as he could see, there would always be a need for his trade even with the railways spreading ever further across the country. The noisy,
smokey cursed things might have been able to go from town to town quicksticks, but they couldn‟t go door to door like him and old Henry.

He reined the horse in to a walk as they breasted Wordale Moor and the familiar gateposts came into view. Remembering that her name was pronounced “Mariah” and not “Mareeya” he courteously tapped on the roof of the cab with his whip and called, “Drive’s in view Miss Maria; would you like me to turn in or to stop?”
“Stop please Silas, it’s a beautiful day, I’ll walk.”
The cabby stopped at the end of the drive and the elegant figure of Maria Chance stepped onto the roadside.
“You will wait?” she asked politely.
“Of course ma’am, I’ll be here when you return.”
Maria smiled and set off down the long drive. Silas watched as she walked away from him; she wasn‟t exactly beautiful but some hard to define quality simply captivated him each time he saw her.

Maria looked from side to side at the panoramic view of the moors. She considered that it had been no wonder that her forebears had loved this place, it was stunning. From whichever direction she looked, she was confronted by rolling grassy farmland as striking as anywhere the country could offer. Cows and sheep grazed lazily in the warmth of  the sun and  the ubiquitary sound of insects filled the air; she  inhaled  the atmosphere and let it lift her…

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