Cathcart the Intrepid part 15 by John Linney

The vaulted chamber was illuminated with flashes of bright light as shells pinged off the roof and barrels. I could make the faces of the mob baying for our blood. Templeton returned fire and floored one of the doorman from the club. He grabbed Harold and I and threw us against the end wall of the chamber. In an instant, we were flung backwards and down a wide slope into some canvas covered bales. It appeared we were in a Thames barge moored at the quayside. The barge rumbled and swung out away from the quayside towards the open gates and out onto the river. I felt bruised, winded and my head was spinning. Uncle Harold sat upright and dusted himself off, whilst I remained laying flat on my back. The cold air bit at my face with flecks of snow wafting across my visage. The riverside was dark, only lit up by taverns, houses and factories. The buildings jostled for frontage even as we drifted down stream towards the open estuary.
“You two! Get down here and warm up, now!” said the now familiar tones of Templeton.
He was standing at the hatch, in front of the wheel. We made our way towards Templeton, passing two crewmen who were setting the sails. The vast dark canvas billowed as it unfurled and the barge lurched forward in response. We passed other vessels moored along the embankments next to other wharfs and quays.
Templeton led us down a few steps into a small galley and dining area lit by hurricane lamps. We sat at the table as Templeton produced a bottle of whisky from a cupboard behind him. There was a small but glowing pot bellied stove in the corner of the room radiating much need heat to the cabin.
“So where to Templeton? I assume we have a plan. I have been dragged along in a state of perpetual bewilderment ever since that fateful morning at home all those weeks ago. You have recruited me, lied to me, nearly had me killed not to mention half frozen and hidden like a common criminal. I cannot fathom the logic as to why me?”
Templeton sat back and took a long drink of his whisky.
“Contrary to your belief of your father, he sees great promise in you. We have been friends for many years and he has always highlighted your potential and innate bravery. He recounted the tale of you rescuing Digby from an icy river. He spoke of your selfless assistance to the estate workers in all weathers, to help save livestock and crops. He is very proud of you Cathcart” Templeton said. Harold nodded fervently showing family solidarity.
“As to your question, we are headed out towards Kent and the Isle of Sheppey. We have friends there who can hide us very well” he continued.
The heat of the stove and the whisky had a soporific effect. My eyelids suddenly felt heavy, my limbs became leaden and then