In today’s blog I would like to once again take a look at my horror novel ‘The Cornwall Ghost Story.’ This time, though, I will be moving away from the 19th century romance between Esmeralda and George Avine and turning my attention instead to the companion romance in the storyline. To do this I will go yet further back in time to the 17th century. Here I will introduce you to an enduring love story between a man and a woman who very much belonged to two opposing sides of the class spectrum. James Forbisher was born of noble blood while Emily Ratchett belonged to the lower classes being no more than a servant girl.
As I mentioned in my original blog on the novel, Fiona Noble and her family visit a series of caves during their stay in Cornwall which brings this long-ago romance under their attention. The caves as a whole are very interesting, but one of them stands out. This is the one which is given the title of ‘The Sweethearts’ cave.’ While they explore this cave, Fiona reads from a pamphlet which tells her all about the relations between James and Emily.
She is soon drawn to their story. James falls in love with Emily’s country charms, her innocent beauty and her sweet way of expressing herself. She casts a spell on him from the first. He did not care if they were poles apart in terms of their social standing, nor if his family would have been angered by his choice of sweetheart. He knew he would be cut off from his family if he married this woman of his dreams but what of that? When love comes calling there is a choice to be made. The decision was clear to him on this matter. He loved Emily to distraction and found he could not do without her. If he was to become impoverished because of his choice of love then so be it. His mindset was that there were some things in life much more important than money.
Whilst touched by the love James was unreservedly showing her, Emily needed to be reassured by him that he was in earnest. To begin with she needed a lot of convincing that he was for real regarding his feelings for her. She wondered why he would choose a simple servant girl over all of the beautiful society ladies he would have come across in his time. But he made it crystal clear that none of these ladies could hold a candle to her.
As their romance blossomed, James wanted to give Emily a lasting testimony of his love for her. After marrying in secret, he sets down plans for their new home which will be way beyond Emily’s expectations. Soon building work begins on this home which turns out to be a mansion. Emily, while delighted at the prospect of living in such a resplendent home, wonders where the money is going to come from. To Emily’s repeated questions on this subject James offers nothing but vague replies. However, as she becomes more insistent he finally relents and tells her he has a close friend who is funding the operation. He says he merely has to provide this friend with a small favour in return.
This admission merely heightens Emily’s sense of worry. Why would this friend put forward so much money for a small favour in return? And what was this favour? Was there an element of risk involved in it? James assures her this is not so, but this does nothing to ease Emily’s concerns.
Ultimately, it turns out that James has some political connections and the request his friend has made of him is to use his influence so as to allow him to enter the political arena. James is happy to do this but as it turns out there does indeed seem to be some danger involved in the scheme. There are some unsavoury people in politics around this time and James’s friend could very well find himself at the mercy of these individuals. Indeed, if it gets out that James had played a part in finding his friend a position in the political sphere he could very well place himself in peril.
This, then, is the intriguing switch in the plot which I brought in when introducing this 17th century couple into the storyline. It will transpire that the legend that has passed down through time surrounding James and Emily is very far removed from the truth. Supposedly Emily slipped on some rocks in the sweethearts’ cave and drowned in the sea. When James could not save her he also drowned, although in his case it was a deliberate choice as he could not bear to live without his one true love. However, as Fiona digs deeper into what really happened via some additional visions she experiences it soon turns out there was a much darker meaning behind their deaths and it revolved around James’s decision to agree to do this favour for a close friend.