British period drama writer, Victorian England theatre


of a Girl

This monologue is based on a real life abduction that occurred in 1827. The piece was commissioned by The National Trust and Creative Industries Trafford in 2017 and its performance was accompanied by a stop motion film at Lyme Park in Disley.

CW: Abduction, subtle allusions to statutory rape

ELLEN: On the third day, we wandered out from our hotel along the soft grey sand of the beach, a chill March breeze rippling our clothing.

As we turned and made our approach to the town, my husband stopped.

A short string of dark shapes approached us at speed, swiftly growing in size and accompanied by the lolloping thud of hooves.

Three horses, side by side, dashed an approach to our stretch of sand, kicking up wet clods with their hooves, breath harrumphing in white clouds from their open mouths.

Astride each great beast sat a man.

Each man bore a cold look.

I glanced up at Edward. He matched their gaze, straight as a pin.

As his shape became clearer, I recognised the man on the right flank.

He was my uncle.

Perhaps they sought my father too.

Speaking simply and with chilling calm, he instructed us to walk with the small company back to our hotel.

They alighted and led their horses, my uncle gripping my arm with his other hand.

We walked in silence. I looked at my husband again. He looked ahead.

When in the hotel, the steward allowed the party use of two rooms. My husband was escorted into one by the two men I did not know.

I went with my uncle into another.

I asked to be allowed to explain. I was not.

I asked my uncle if he knew where my father was.

He was at home. In Pott Shrigley. With my mother.

Surprised, I asked how long he had been there.

He had never left.

His business was thriving. He did not know Edward Gibbon Wakefield, nor had he ever spoken with Edward’s brother.

I, unwittingly, had been stolen.

A valuable asset, I was the key to my family’s fortune.

Edward had written to my family expecting our union to be accepted.

After all, should they object to it, they faced great shame. I had been alone with him for a week.

My uncle later told me that my husband at first refused to let me leave. His wife by law, they could not take me home without his permission.

But after further questioning, Edward admitted that our marriage contract had not been sealed indelibly.

I asked my uncle why not.

It was very


He said.

© Caroline Lamb 2017