Tears of the Moon

Free Tears of the Moon by Di Morrissey

Book: Tears of the Moon by Di Morrissey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Di Morrissey
Lily, dismayed to find her voice was choking up.
    Muriel passed her a plate of homemade Anzac biscuits. ‘I’ve read about a lot of strange family histories since I’ve been running this place I can tell you. Nothing would surprise me. Skeletons fall out of cupboards all over the place.’ She gave a chuckle. ‘Some families haven’t been too thrilled to find out about the shenanigans of their antecedents. This was a bit of a free and easy place back then.’
    Lily gave a small smile. ‘But at least having the pieces of the puzzle is a help.’
    Muriel took Lily’s mug and bent over to pick up the tray. ‘I think I might have more than that for you. If indeed Captain Tyndall is a relative.’ She smiled mysteriously and left the little room.
    Lily went and gazed up at the portrait once more. ‘So just who are you?’ She suddenly grinned back at the man whose face was becoming very familiar to her. ‘And what do you know about “Tears of the Moon”, eh?’ she said out loud.
    Muriel spoke to her back. ‘I know what that means … I read it in some of the pearling material.’
    Lily spun around. ‘What, Tears of the Moon?’
    ‘Yes. It comes from some old Indian saying, you know all those Hindu myths and stuff. It’s what they believed pearls to be … the tears of the moon that drop into the sea and become pearls. It’s why some people think pearls are unlucky. But this is what youshould be interested in.’ She placed four fat leather-bound journals on the table with a grunt. ‘Whew. A lot of reading in there. These are Olivia’s diaries. There are a lot of photos, too. I can’t let you take them away but come as often as you like. You can camp in here while you read. Did you know all this furniture came from Captain Tyndall’s house?’ She pointed to a straightbacked worn leather chair. ‘I can just see him sitting in that chair with a gin and tonic’ She chuckled at the thought.
    Lily was trying to take all this in. ‘Who was Olivia? Was she his wife?’
    ‘Ah, it’s a long, involved story from what I gather. You start at the beginning. Make yourself comfortable and yell for coffee at any time. The odd visitor wanders around now and then but they shouldn’t disturb you. We don’t get coachloads of tourists in here!’ She chuckled again and gave Lily a warm smile. ‘I hope you find what you’re looking for.’
    ‘Thank you, Muriel.’ Lily swallowed hard. It had all happened so swiftly. In learning about Captain John Tyndall’s life was she also going to find her own story?
    She picked up the first of the heavy books and ran her hands over it. The leather was soft and the book seemed alive, as if the covers were forcibly pinning down the living characters who peopled its pages. Her heart was beating and Lily knew that as simply and as easily as this her family had been placed in her hands.
    She turned to the first entry—thin flowing writing on a thick ivory page.

The north-west coast of Nickol Bay, 1893

    I n the faint water-light of the moon, the sturdy schooner, Lady Charlotte , heaved as it moved slowly through the great breasts of waves, white crested and surging in a thick sea mist. When they reached the lee of a deep cove, the breaking of the waves on the reef was regular and rhythmic, like the hoarse breathing of some sea monster.
    The dawn gave way to morning light and the grey clouds lifted as the ship’s lifeboat ploughed gamely through the narrow channel now visible between the arms of the reef. The passage was safe and the crew pulling at the long oars kept a steady course, but Olivia Hennessy was too aware of the danger that lay on either side. Her arms were folded across her swollen belly and she held onto her shawl as if it were her salvation. Conrad Hennessy glanced at his pregnant wife in the stern surrounded by their possessions. He tried to give her acomforting smile, but her gaze was fixed on the desolate shore.
    It had been a carefully reasoned decision

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