Author's Notes: I wrote this one after "Foundation Day" aired. Now that we had learned about Emily's mother, I thought it would be fun to explore what it would be like for Emily to be reunited with her father as well. I have no idea if anyone is finding or reading these, but I wrote about 10 of them when the series aired, and I am determined to find a home for them. If you are out there, let me know.
It is raining outside. Colin comes into the house and bumps into Emily, who is just preparing to go outside.
COLIN: Hold on there. Where are you going in this weather?
EMILY: I want to post a letter before the stage goes out this afternoon.
COLIN: You stay in. No sense both of us getting wet. I'll take it.
Emily hands him the letter and Colin looks at it and frowns.
EMILY: I know what you're going to say. Just post it, Colin. Please.
Colin takes off his coat and hat and puts them on the coat tree. He takes Emily by the shoulders and leads her to the sofa.
COLIN: Sit down for a minute.
Emily sits and Colin sits next to her.
EMILY: Don't say it.
COLIN: I think you need to hear it. Again. Emily, all the pictures and letters you've sent him. And you've never heard from him. You don't even know where he is. You have to send them general delivery.
EMILY: If he wasn't getting them, the Adelaide office would forward them back here, wouldn't they?
COLIN: Yes, I suppose they would. But that just makes it worse, doesn't it? If he gets them, why doesn't he answer you?
EMILY: I guess he has his reasons.
COLIN: I just hate to see you disappointed again when there's no reply to this.
EMILY: He's my father, Colin. I have to try. Reconciling with Mother has made me realize that it's not too late. If I can have her back in my life, perhaps I can have him, too.
COLIN: This letter you wrote him. Did you tell him your mother is here?
Emily looks away evasively.
EMILY: He wouldn't come if he knew that. I just want to tell him about the baby. Maybe if he knows he's going to be a grandfather, he'll...
Colin takes her hand and looks at her intently.
COLIN: You know I'm happy for you…for us…that you and your mother have made amends. But sometimes, Emily, things don't work out the way we want them to. I don't want to see you hurt.
EMILY: I'll be all right, Colin. I promise. Please take it to the post office.
Colin sighs, but then kisses her and retrieves his coat and hat and goes outside with the letter.
Several weeks later. Several men are sitting around a table in a shack at a mining camp. They are playing cards. One of the men is in his fifties, the other two much younger. One of the men puts some bills on the table.
YOUNG MAN #1: Well, Cornish. I guess this is it for you. Call 'em or fold 'em. It doesn't look like you have anything else to bet.
Cornish, the older man, takes a drink directly from the whiskey bottle at his elbow.
CORNISH: No. I'm still in.
MAN #2: How can you be? There's two hundred pounds on the table. What have you got to match that?
Cornish reaches into his coat pocket and takes out a piece of paper.
One of the men takes it from him and reads it.
MAN #1: The deed to your mine?
CORNISH: It's a good mine. Worth well over two hundred pounds.
MAN #2: That must be some hand you're holding.
CORNISH: It will cost you to find out.
Cornish throws the deed onto the pile of bills.
MAN #2: You're drunk.
CORNISH: No doubt I am. Are you adding money to the pot or not?
The man folds his hand and Cornish looks expectantly at the other man.
MAN #1: Okay, Cornish. Here's ten pounds. Let's see them.
Cornish places his cards face up on the table. It is a good hand. He begins to gather in the pile of money, but the other player places his hand on Cornish's arm.
MAN #1: Not so fast.
The man places his cards on the table. It is a better hand than Cornish's. He takes the money off of the table, including the deed.
The two men get up from the table. Cornish attempts to rise also, but is unsteady on his feet. One of the men tosses a coin to him.
MAN #2: Here, old man. Buy yourself another bottle.
Cornish lays his head on his arms and the other two men leave.
The next day. Cornish is in a shack next to a mine. He is lying on a cot, an empty bottle of whiskey on the floor behind him. He is still wearing his clothes and coat. Two men come into the shack. One of the men rolls Cornish off of the cot and Cornish lands roughly on the floor. He groans and rouses himself.
FIRST MAN: Get up, Cornish. You've got some explaining to do. There are two blokes outside who say this mine is theirs. You want to explain that?
CORNISH: I...I lost it. I put it up last night in a game.
FIRST MAN: That's what they said. I just wanted to hear you say it.
He punches Cornish hard in the stomach and Cornish staggers against the wall.
SECOND MAN: We were partners. The three of us. That mine was feeding my family. Do you know what you've done? You lousy drunk!
He also punches Cornish. Cornish sags onto the cot.
CORNISH: I'm sorry. I'll get it back.
FIRST MAN: And just how are you going to do that? The two outside said they'd sell it back-for three hundred pounds.
CORNISH: Three hundred! I can't get three hundred pounds.
SECOND MAN: Of course not. You don't have the mine any more.
FIRST MAN: Then he'll get it some other way. Because if you don't, I promise you'll regret it.
CORNISH: Regret it? What can you possibly do to me? You want to harm me, kill me even? That won't get the mine back. I'm sorry, I'm terribly sorry I lost it. But I can't get it back for you. I have nothing.
SECOND MAN: Ah, but that's not true. Every man has treasures. And here's yours.
He takes a box from a shelf and opens it. Inside are a packet of letters and pictures. The man takes a letter and looks at the envelope.
CORNISH: Give me that.
The man ignores him. He reads the envelope.
SECOND MAN: It's from someone named Emily McGregor.
He looks at more envelopes.
SECOND MAN: They all are. Who is that, Cornish? A lover?
He opens an envelope and reads the letter. The first man grabs it from him and begins to read it aloud.
FIRST MAN: "Dear Dad..."
FIRST MAN: Well, well. So you do have a family. Emily McGregor. McGregor. Why does that sound so familiar?
He looks at the envelope again.
FIRST MAN: Paterson's Ridge, is it?
SECOND MAN: The man from Snowy River.
FIRST MAN: What?
SECOND MAN: You know. Matt McGregor of Paterson's Ridge. The legend. The man from Snowy River.
FIRST MAN: Well, Cornish. It turns out you do have something of value. What does your daughter have to do with this legend, this Matt McGregor?
Cornish ignores them and the second man grabs him by the coat and pulls him off the cot. He holds him up while the first man punches him again.
FIRST MAN: Speak up!
CORNISH: She married his son.
SECOND MAN: It looks like you're off the hook. Get her to give you the three hundred pounds, we get the mine back, and we'll forget your drunken bet. We'll pretend none of this ever happened.
CORNISH: I can't. Her husband's a preacher. He has nothing.
FIRST MAN: That may be, but his father has plenty. And he's going to share it with you.
CORNISH: No. I'm not involving her in this. And you can't force me to. I don't care what you do to me.
The second man rummages through the letter box and pulls out a photo of Emily.
SECOND MAN: Do to you? Don't worry. We're not going to do anything to you. Is this her, your daughter? A pretty girl. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to her.
CORNISH: You stay away from her.
FIRST MAN: We will. For a week. If you don't get the three hundred pounds from her by then, we'll get it from her ourselves.
The man tosses the picture on the floor and the two men leave. Cornish picks up the picture and looks at it. He gets a bag from under the cot and begins to put clothes in it. He puts the picture of Emily in it, then closes it.
A few days later. It is morning. Colin, Emily, and Josh are standing on the platform at the train station. The train approaches.
JOSH: Here it comes!
Emily touches her hair and adjusts her dress.
EMILY: Do I look all right?
COLIN: You look beautiful.
EMILY: Five years is a long time.
COLIN: Emily, you're going to wear yourself out before he even gets here. Relax.
Emily smiles nervously and the train pulls up to the platform. Passengers begin to disembark. Emily's father gets off and Emily sees him.
EMILY: He looks so...old.
COLIN: Come on.
The three of them greet Cornish.
Emily and her father look at each other uncertainly, and then Emily gives her father a hug.
CORNISH: Emily! How wonderful you look. Oh, it's so good to see you.
Emily has tears in her eyes and turns to Colin.
EMILY: Dad, this is my husband, Colin.
CORNISH: I feel as though I know you already. Emily's letters are full of you.
COLIN: I'm pleased to meet you, Mr. Cornish.
CORNISH: Call me Charles, please. And you must be Josh.
JOSH: Did Emily write you about me, too?
CORNISH: Of course she did.
Josh smiles and gets a bag that an attendant has put on the platform.
COLIN: I'll take that, Josh. Is this all?
CORNISH: I'm traveling light this trip.
He looks across the street to the hotel.
CORNISH: Is that the hotel? Let me just get settled in and washed up, and then we can have a nice long visit.
EMILY: But you're staying with us.
CORNISH: I don't want to be any trouble, Emily. The hotel is fine.
COLIN: No use arguing with her. It's all arranged.
JOSH: You'd better come. She's been fussing for days.
EMILY: Josh! I haven't gone to any trouble, really. Please stay with us.
CORNISH: Well, I don't see how I can say no. Lead the way.
That evening, at dinner. Colin, Emily, Cornish, and Josh are sitting around the kitchen table.
CORNISH: That was delicious, Emily. All my favorite things. Emily was always a good cook, Josh.
JOSH: What else was she like? When she was little, I mean?
EMILY: I think we'd better clear the table and serve dessert. I'll make some tea.
COLIN: Not so fast. I want to hear this, too. My past holds no secrets, but we don't too often get to hear about Emily's, do we, Josh?
CORNISH: Well, let's see. She was...
He looks at Emily tenderly.
CORNISH: She got into mischief. Oh, nothing bad. But she was always curious. She liked to play pranks. To make me laugh. She liked to make people feel happy.
JOSH: What kind of pranks?
CORNISH: Oh, all right. I won't give away your secrets.
EMILY: Thank goodness.
She rises and begins to gather plates. Colin gets up and takes the plates from Emily.
COLIN: You've done enough work for one day. You go rest. We'll call you when the tea's ready.
EMILY: I can...
COLIN: No arguments, please.
Emily sighs and goes into the parlor.
CORNISH: Thank you.
COLIN: For what?
CORNISH: For taking such good care of her.
COLIN: No. What I do for her comes easy. I love her.
CORNISH: I can see that. And I'm glad for her. I was afraid she'd find someone like...well, I'm glad she found you. I can see she's happy.
COLIN: We both are.
JOSH: How long are you staying?
CORNISH: Not longer than a week.
JOSH: But if you stay longer, you can meet…
COLIN: Josh, it's not polite to argue. You know that. We'll just have to be satisfied and grateful to have Mr. Cornish here for even a short time.
CORNISH: Well, it can't be helped. I'll have business to conduct at the end of the week. But in the meantime, we can get to know each other, eh, Josh?
JOSH: Colin, can we take Mr. Cornish to Langara tomorrow?
COLIN: My father's cattle station. It's a beautiful place.
CORNISH: I'd like to see it. And to meet the man from Snowy River.
COLIN: Tomorrow it is, then.
The next day. Rob is breaking a horse inside the yard. The rest of the family, including Colin, Emily, Josh, and Mr. Cornish, are watching. Rob is thrown from the horse and climbs to his feet slowly.
COLIN: That wasn't too impressive, Rob.
ROB: And I suppose you could do better?
MATT: Sounds like a challenge to me, Colin.
Colin looks at Rob and climbs over the fence into the yard. He approaches the horse slowly, then gets in the saddle. The horse bucks, but Colin hangs on. The others cheer, Josh and Emily the loudest.
CORNISH: He's a man of many talents.
EMILY: He'll never give this up.
Emily watches Colin fondly and Cornish looks at her watching him. Colin gets the horse to quit bucking and trots it around the yard. He slows it to a walk and rides over to Rob. He dismounts and hands the reins to Rob.
COLIN: Even you should be able to ride him now.
Rob scowls and the others laugh. Colin winks at Josh and comes over and puts his arm around Emily.
CORNISH: Well done.
COLIN: Well, Rob has to be reminded sometimes that he's not the only McGregor son who can break a horse.
CORNISH: But you're good friends, aren't you?
COLIN: Rob and I? Yes. Yes, we are.
CORNISH: I've always regretted that Emily didn't have a brother or sister.
Cornish looks away and Emily puts her hand on her father's arm.
EMILY: Let's go for a walk.
The two of them walk away and Colin watches them with concern. Matt sees the expression on his face and comes over.
MATT: Everything all right?
COLIN: Yes. Emily and her father just went for a walk.
MATT: I've never heard her talk about him. Not even once.
COLIN: Emily's childhood still holds many secrets. Until Emily's mother arrived, I thought Emily grew up happily in a stable home. There's still so much she won't talk about. But she never gave up on seeing him again.
MATT: Looks like she got her wish.
COLIN: Yes. I hope it turns out the way she wants it to.
Emily and her father are walking by the waterfall on the property.
EMILY: Isn't it wonderful here?
CORNISH: Yes, it is. And you're so much a part of it. Funny, I never pictured this for you. But I can see that it's right. These mountains, Colin and Josh. And the baby. I'm very happy for you, Emily, happy that you have a family.
EMILY: I do have a family here. But it's not just the McGregors. I have a mother, too.
CORNISH: I'm not sure I…
EMILY: Dad, Mother has come to Paterson's Ridge.
Cornish looks at her in obvious astonishment.
CORNISH: What? Jessie Cornish here?
EMILY: She goes by Jessie McClusky.
CORNISH: I know what she goes by. Tales of her…exploits…are known far and wide. I wouldn't think a small mountain town would be suited to a woman with the ambitions of Jessie McClusky.
Cornish eyes Emily carefully.
CORNISH: But she didn't come for the town. She came for you. After almost twenty years, she's come for you.
CORNISH: Emily. Surely after what she's done to you…to us…leaving you without a mother, leaving me to raise a daughter alone. Just like that, you've accepted her into your life?
Emily shakes her head.
EMILY: No. Not "just like that." It wasn't easy. There was so much anger, so much bitterness. It was hard to work through, hard to forgive. Maybe I'm still working through it, I don't know. But I know I'm glad she's here, and I'd rather have her the way she is, no matter what she's done, than not have her at all.
CORNISH: Do you expect me to feel that way about her? Is that why you asked me to come here?
EMILY: No. I've been asking you here ever since I got married. It has nothing to do with Mother. I've missed you, Dad. I wanted you to meet my family, to be a part of it. And when the baby's born, I want it to know its grandparents. All of them. Having you here makes me happy.
CORNISH: It makes me happy, too. I'm glad I came. But don't expect me to see your mother, Emily. Just how does a woman like Jessie McClusky keep herself occupied when she's not having tea with her daughter?
EMILY: She owns the Railway Hotel.
CORNISH: Ah, so that's why you were so keen on not having me stay there.
EMILY: No. I wanted…want… you to stay with me and Colin. So we can spend time together. It has nothing to do with Mother. Besides, she's away in Melbourne arranging some supplies for the hotel and then visiting friends. She won't be back for a week.
CORNISH: You know I'll be gone by then. Even if I could stay, I wouldn't stay in this town with her here. You need to know that, Emily.
EMILY: Your feelings for Mother are your own, just like mine for her are mine alone. I know you can't understand what's between us now, and I'm not asking you to. But I do need to understand something from you. Something that will help me work through all this.
CORNSIH: If I can.
EMILY: I never understood why she didn't want to have anything to do with me. I knew she left me. I knew the other children teased me with rumors about her. But I thought she would at least write to me, at least want some connection with me, her child. But there was nothing. I didn't even know if she was alive or dead.
Emily looks hard at her father.
EMILY: But you knew. You knew that she sent me letters, sent me presents. You knew that she was sending money to be put away for my education. But you never told me. You never told me, Dad. You let me believe that she didn't care about me. You let me grow up thinking I had done something to make her abandon me.
CORNISH hangs his head and then meets Emily's eyes.
CORNISH: Oh, Emily. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking of what it was doing to you. I was selfish. I wanted to get back at her, to hurt her. The one way I had to do it was to keep you from her, to let her think you didn't want to answer her letters or have any contact with her. I knew shutting you out of her life would hurt her more than anything else could. I took satisfaction from that. I won't put you in the position of asking for your forgiveness, and I'm not deserving of it. But you asked for an explanation, and that's it, as ugly as it is. I took satisfaction from it.
Emily does not respond, and the two of them look silently at the waterfall for a moment.
EMILY: Dad, why did you wait so long? I wanted so much for you to see my life here, to meet Colin. Why didn't you come?
CORNISH: I wanted to, but I thought it would be better for you, starting a new life, if I wasn't a part of it this time. After you got married, and I was satisfied from your letters that you were loved and taken care of, I didn't think I should drift in and out of your life.
EMILY: I wanted you at my wedding. I needed you there.
CORNISH: No, you didn't. You had your new family, friends. You didn't need me.
EMILY: Don't tell me what I needed. I did need you. You had no right to decide for me what would be best. I had a say, too.
CORNISH: I know you did. Let's not argue, Emily. I can't put right what's in the past, but I hope we can enjoy each other's company for now. Can we?
Emily looks at him earnestly and then kisses his cheek.
EMILY: I've always wanted you here. Come on. Let's go join the others.
The two of them walk back to the house and join the rest of the family on the veranda. Danni is serving tea.
CORNISH: It's a beautiful property, Mr. McGregor. I can see why Emily never wanted to go back to the city.
MATT: She's a mountain girl now for sure.
DANNI: How about you, Mr. Cornish? Is your home in Adelaide?
CORNISH: It's wherever my itchy feet take me, I'm afraid.
DANNI: It must be wonderful to wander about so freely.
ROB: It just seems that way to you right now because you don't want to get up early tomorrow and bring those cattle down.
CORNISH: Why are you moving them?
ROB: There will be buyers in from Melbourne on Saturday. We'll bring a hundred head to the sale yards.
CORNISH: Just out of curiosity, what does a head of cattle bring at the sale yards?
MATT: We should get eight pounds each for them. That is, if Rob's any kind of negotiator.
ROB: You're letting me do the sale?
MATT: Sure. Of course, if you can't get eight pounds a head, you're never doing another one.
Everyone laughs and Cornish watches them, as if he's thinking about something.
The next day, in town. Colin and Josh are in the office at the stables. Colin is sitting at the desk, writing in a ledger, and Josh is standing next to him.
JOSH: Can't we leave now?
COLIN: In a few minutes.
JOSH: But you already said that.
Colin smiles and ruffles his hair.
COLIN: I did, didn't I?
Colin closes the book and stands up. He takes Josh's hand and the two of them leave the stable and walk toward the store. They see Matt in front of the store, slinging some bags onto his horse.
COLIN: I thought you'd be with the cattle today.
MATT: Rob's about got it done. It's just a hundred head. Your sister gave me instructions on some things to get for Emily's birthday celebration.
COLIN: You know, I think this is going to be really special for Emily. With her father here, I mean.
MATT: It's going okay then, having him here?
COLIN: It's fine. Why?
Matt looks at Josh and Colin catches his look.
COLIN: Josh, you go inside and see if you can pick something out. I'll be in soon.
Colin and Matt wait for Josh to enter the store.
MATT: There's something about him that makes me a little uneasy.
COLIN: He seems pleasant enough.
MATT: It's not that. He's just so closed about himself. Did you notice how he wouldn't tell Danni where he lives?
COLIN: I don't think Emily even knows.
MATT: And you don't think that's odd?
COLIN: Of course I do. But she doesn't ask him, so I don't either. She seems to accept him as he is. I think she's just thankful that he's here.
MATT: But why is he here?
COLIN: Well, to see Emily. She asked him to come.
MATT: But why now? She's asked him before.
COLIN: I don't know, Dad. Can't we just be happy for Emily's sake that he's finally come?
MATT: You're right. Well, I'd better get going before Danni comes out for me. She can be quite a task master.
Matt mounts his horse.
MATT: Are you coming to the cattle sale tomorrow?
COLIN: I thought I might. It will be fun to see Rob in action.
MATT: Well, go easy on him if he doesn't get eight pounds a head. The market's really only bearing seven right now.
COLIN: But he'll get eight. See you tomorrow.
Colin waives him off and goes into the store. He sees Josh in front of a counter. Josh picks up a case holding a pair of hair combs and holds it out to Colin.
JOSH: What about these? I've seen her looking at them.
COLIN: So have I. Let's have a look.
Colin picks up the case and looks at the price tag. He sighs and sets the case back on the counter.
COLIN: Sorry, Josh. We can't afford them.
Miss Kirov comes over to them.
MISS KIROV: May I help you find something?
JOSH: Emily's birthday is tomorrow.
MISS KIROV: And you'd like to get her something special?
Josh looks longingly at the combs.
MISS KIROV: I have just the thing.
She brings a locket over and hands it to Colin.
COLIN: What do you think, Josh? We could put pictures in it. One of you and one of me. She'd like that.
JOSH: Can't we get her the combs for her hair?
COLIN: Not this time.
Colin hands the locket and some bills to Miss Kirov.
COLIN: Thanks, Hannah. We'll take this.
MISS KIROV: Do you want me to wrap it up for you? I have some pretty paper in the back.
COLIN: Thanks. We'll come back for it.
JOSH: I'll wait for it.
COLIN: Okay. I've got some more things to do at the stables. Remember, don't let Emily see you come into the house with it.
JOSH: I won't.
MISS KIROV: I'll just be a moment, Josh.
Colin is on the street, walking toward the stables. He sees Emily's father on the street and greets him.
CORNISH: Hello. I thought I'd just take a walk. Emily's napping.
COLIN: Good. Josh is at the store if you want some company.
Colin continues and Cornish goes the opposite direction. He approaches the store. Across the street, the two men who were Cornish's mining partners watch him. They cross the street and each grab him by an arm and drag him around the corner.
CORNISH: What are you doing here? I still have a few days.
FIRST MAN: We know. We just thought that us being here might move things along a bit.
SECOND MAN: So, how's your daughter? Have you asked her for the money yet?
CORNISH: No, and I'm not going to.
FIRST MAN: That's not a good choice, Cornish. I'd hate to see an accident happen to her.
CORNISH: You'll get your money. I'll have it by tomorrow night.
SECOND MAN: You'd better.
They leave and Cornish leans against the wall, catching his breath.
That evening, at Colin and Emily's home. Emily gets up from her chair and goes to look out the window.
Colin comes and puts an arm around her.
COLIN: Do you want me to go look for him?
EMILY: No. He was just restless after supper. I'm sure he'll be back soon. Let's go to bed.
COLIN: Are you sure?
EMILY: Yes. It's fine.
The two of them go into the bedroom.
Later. Cornish is in the bar. He has a nearly-empty bottle beside him. He drains the rest of it into a glass and drinks it. His two mining partners come into the bar and buy a new bottle. They sit down with Cornish.
FIRST MAN: Old habits die hard, huh, Cornish? Well, drink up. Some liquid courage for your task tomorrow, don't you think?
Cornish doesn't answer, but takes the drink offered.
Same time, in Colin and Emily's room. Emily is awake, but Colin is asleep. Emily lights the lamp and gets some things from the dresser and a dress from the wardrobe. She takes the lamp into the other room.
In the bar. Cornish is at a table, his head nodding drunkenly. His two partners are laughing. Emily enters the bar and they look up, as does the bartender and the other patrons. The bartender gets up and goes to greet her.
BARTENDER: Mrs. McGregor. You shouldn't be here.
EMILY: I'm sorry. I...I'm looking for my father.
The bartender nods toward Cornish.
BARTENDER: Is that him?
BARTENDER: I'm sorry, Mrs. McGregor. I didn't know he was your father. I'll get someone to help you get him home.
He goes to the table and helps Cornish up. The two men with him get up also.
FIRST MAN: We'll take him home.
They stand on either side of Cornish and drape his arms across their shoulders.
SECOND MAN: Where to, ma'am? Mrs. McGregor, isn't it?
EMILY: Yes. I'll show you. It's just up the road.
The three of them walk up the deserted street to the house. Emily opens the door.
EMILY: I can take him now. Thank you.
FIRST MAN: Our pleasure. Perhaps we'll meet again under more pleasant circumstances.
EMILY: Yes. Good night.
She goes inside, maneuvering Cornish in with her. The two men leave and slap each other on the backs as soon as Emily closes the door.
Inside, Emily is trying to get Cornish into a chair.
EMILY: Dad. Please. Sit down.
Cornish misses the chair and lands on the floor with a thud. He laughs.
CORNISH: What do you think, Emily, my girl? Just like old times.
EMILY: Please get up, Dad.
CORNISH: Did you bring me a bottle? Go back and get me a bottle. There's a good girl.
Colin comes out of the bedroom, wearing his night clothes and a robe. He stands in the doorway uncertainly.
Cornish staggers to his feet and sways in front of Emily.
CORNISH: Emily! Emily Cornish, I want that bottle now!
EMILY: Dad, don't do this. Don't do this now. Not here.
CORNISH: You do as I say or you'll see the back of this hand.
He raises his hand to strike her and Colin quickly runs to him.
Colin steps between Cornish and Emily and pushes Cornish into the chair.
COLIN: Emily, leave the room.
EMILY: He doesn't mean anything, Colin. He doesn't even know what he's doing.
COLIN: We'll talk about it later. Please go back to bed. Please.
Emily reluctantly goes back into the bedroom.
Later. Colin enters the bedroom. The lamp is out. He lights it and sees Emily in the bed. She is in her nightgown. She is lying on her side, facing the wall. She is crying. Colin takes off his robe and goes to Emily. He takes her gently by the shoulders and helps her sit up. He holds her. She is crying hard.
COLIN: Shh. It's all right. I put him to bed.
EMILY: I'm sorry, Colin. I didn't want this to happen here. I prayed it wouldn't.
COLIN: It's happened before?
EMILY: I grew up with it.
Colin puts the pillows against the headboard. He lies next to Emily, propped up against the pillows.
COLIN: Come here.
Emily turns to him and puts her head on his chest. Colin puts his arm around her.
COLIN: Talk to me, Emily. Tell me about him. About you, growing up.
EMILY: After Mother left, it was just the two of us. Dad changed. He started drinking. I was little, not even seven, and I never questioned why, never put it together then. I always knew what her leaving did to me, but it wasn't until I was much older that I saw what it had done to him. But when I was young, growing up with him, his drinking was just how it was. It was just a part of him. But not all of him. When he wasn't drinking, he was kind, funny, loving. He liked to laugh. I liked to make him laugh. I thought if I could make him happier, he'd quit drinking.
COLIN: But he didn't.
EMILY: No. I know he tried sometimes. But he never could. It just got worse as time went on. He couldn't hold down a job, lost his investments. When I got older, I realized he gambled quite a bit. Sometimes money would come in and I learned how to hide it, to set some of it aside so he wouldn't buy whiskey with it or gamble it away. We did all right. It wasn't so bad, really. Until he'd drink again.
COLIN: And then?
EMILY: He was mean. He'd lose his temper. He'd… hit me sometimes.
COLIN: Oh, Emily.
Emily has quit crying and shakes her head firmly.
EMILY: No. I don't want you to feel sorry for me. And I don't want you to judge him. You don't know what it must have been like for him. Mother's leaving destroyed him.
COLIN: He destroyed himself. He was responsible for his own actions, and he was responsible for bringing up a child. Had it not been for your strength of character, your determination to strike out on your own and make a life for yourself, he would have destroyed you, too.
EMILY: You know, when he showed up here, after all this time, I thought it was because he was sober. I thought he had stayed away until he wasn't drinking any more. Now I don't know what to think.
COLIN: Do you want him to leave?
EMILY: Do you want him to?
COLIN: It's not my decision.
EMILY: I'm asking you what you think, Colin.
COLIN: I just don't want you to be hurt. He was going to hit you tonight, Emily. I can't accept that. Or understand it. Or, God help me, forgive it. And I don't want Josh exposed to it.
EMILY: He won't do it again while he's here. It will be better for a while.
COLIN: Is this how it was? A night like this, and then…what? You go on as if nothing has happened?
EMILY: Oh, Colin. It's what I know to do. I used to try to be angry with him. But all I could feel was hurt. And confused. I didn't understand any of it. I knew he loved me. But how could he love me and then want to harm me? I thought if I could feel angry at him, really angry, it would be better than the hurt. But I couldn't feel it.
Colin kisses her forehead.
COLIN: And you still can't, can you?
Emily shakes her head.
EMILY: I spent my entire childhood trying to understand him and make him happy. But I know only he can do that. For now, I'll take him the way he is. I've missed him so much.
COLIN: You love him very much.
COLIN: That's what you had instead of anger. You had love.
EMILY: It didn't stop the hurt.
COLIN: I know.
Colin kisses her and turns out the lamp.
The next day. Several hundred cattle are penned in the yard by the rail head. All of the McGregors are standing outside the fence. Cornish is also there. Rob shakes hands with a cattle buyer and the man hands Rob a roll of bills and leaves. Matt comes up to Rob and shakes his hand.
MATT: Well done, son. Eight pounds a head. I knew you could do it.
ROB: No, you didn't.
Matt smiles and looks at the roll of bills in Rob's hand.
MATT: They didn't give you a bank draft?
ROB: No. Does it matter?
MATT: It makes me a little bit uneasy having eight hundred pounds about. We can't get it in the bank until Monday. Why don't you get on home with it, huh?
DANNI: I'll ride with you. I want to help Mi Lei get Emily's birthday dinner ready.
The two of them get on their horses and ride away. Cornish watches them and is startled when his two partners come up behind him. Matt, who is standing a short distance away, watches curiously.
FIRST MAN: Feeling better this morning, I see.
SECOND MAN: I've never been to a cattle sale before. It was very interesting.
CORNISH: Let it go. I said I'd take care of it.
Emily comes over to them.
EMILY: Dad, these are the men who helped you. I wanted to thank you again.
FIRST MAN: Think nothing of it, ma'am.
He tips his hat to her and the two men leave. Cornish turns to Emily.
CORNISH: I want you to stay away from those men, Emily.
EMILY: Why? Do you know them?
CORNISH: Just do as I say.
EMILY: But I don't understand.
Cornish turns to her angrily.
CORNISH: Always trying to understand. Some things you don't need to understand. Sometimes you just do what your dad asks you to do. Now you listen to me, girl. I don't want you going near those men. You understand that?
Emily's eyes tear and she turns quickly away from him and leaves the area. Matt comes to Cornish.
MATT: No one here ever raises a voice to her. I don't think you need to, either.
CORNISH: I don't need you to tell me how to talk to my daughter, McGregor.
MATT: Who are those men? Why is it so important to keep Emily away from them?
CORNISH: It's no concern of yours.
MATT: If it involves Emily, it is. She's a very special girl, and she's a part of my family. She means a lot to all of us. I'd hate to see her hurt in any way.
CORNISH: So would I, believe me. And I can take care of her. She's my daughter, not yours.
Matt starts to say something, but turns away instead.
Later that evening, at Langara. All of the McGregors and Cornish are seated at the table. Emily blows out the candles on a cake.
JOSH: Did you make a wish, Emily?
EMILY: Yes, I did. But if I tell you what it is, it won't come true.
DANNI: Are you going to open your presents before we serve the cake?
EMILY: If you'd like.
DANNI: Good. Mine first.
Danni hands Emily a package and she opens it. It is a shawl.
DANNI: I hope it's all right. I crocheted it myself, but I'm not very good at it.
ROB: I'll say. You've never seen such a production here as Danni and all that yarn.
EMILY: It's lovely, Danni. Truly.
Matt hands Emily a package.
MATT: And this is from the rest of us.
Emily opens it. It is a book. Emily reads the cover and then looks at a few pages. She hands it to Colin.
EMILY: Look, Colin. Nursery rhymes and lullabies.
MATT: Kathleen picked it out before she left. You'll need it when you put your little one to bed.
EMILY: Thanks, Matt. Thank you all.
JOSH: What about me?
EMILY: What about you?
JOSH: Aren't you going to open mine?
EMILY: Did you get me something?
JOSH: Well, it's from Colin, too.
Josh hands Emily a present and Emily unwraps the locket. She opens it, but there are no pictures in it.
JOSH: Colin and I are going to have our pictures taken, and then you can put them inside.
EMILY: That's a wonderful idea, Josh. Then I can have my two best fellows with me all the time. Thank you. Thank you, Colin.
JOSH: I wanted to get you the combs for your hair. The ones you look at all the time. But Colin said they cost too much.
COLIN: That will be enough from you.
Everyone laughs and Cornish tousles Josh's hair.
CORNISH: I didn't get you anything yet, Emily. I wasn't sure what you wanted. But now Josh has let me know, haven't you, Josh?
EMILY: You've already given me the best present ever just by being here. It's been too long since I've celebrated a birthday with you, Dad.
Cornish smiles at her and Danni begins to serve cake.
Later. Colin, Emily, and Josh are at their buggy and the family is gathered around to say good-bye.
CORNISH: I think I've left my coat inside. I'll be right back.
Cornish goes inside the house and begins to open drawers in the cabinet in the drawing room. He goes quickly into Matt's room and looks in a box on the dresser, then begins to open drawers. He finds nothing and goes back into the front room. Danni is there, holding his coat.
DANNI: Here it is, Mr. Cornish.
CORNISH: Of course. Thank you, Danni.
Later that night. Colin and Emily are in their room. Colin takes off his jacket and hangs it in the wardrobe. He begins unbuttoning Emily's dress for her.
COLIN: Did you have a nice birthday?
EMILY: One of the best ever. I told you it would be all right, Colin. With my dad, I mean.
Colin faces her.
COLIN: I really love you, you know that?
Emily smiles at him.
EMILY: I know. I love you, too.
The next morning, in Colin and Emily's kitchen. Colin is dressed in his black suit and collar. He is tucking in Josh's shirt for him.
COLIN: That's better.
JOSH: Isn't Emily coming to church?
COLIN: Not today. We'll let her rest.
Cornish comes into the room and hears them.
CORNISH: Is everything all right?
COLIN: Emily still gets queasy in the mornings sometimes. I'm sure she'll be fine. Josh and I would like it if you'd come to church with us, Charles.
CORNISH: I don't think so. It's been a long time for me.
COLIN: It's not too late to start going again.
CORNISH: Thank you, no. I'll stay with Emily in case she needs anything.
COLIN: Well, you know where to find us if you change your mind. Come on, Josh.
Colin and Josh leave the room and go out the front door. Cornish's two partners are outside the house, hidden from view. They watch Colin and Josh walk toward the church, then go inside the house.
FIRST MAN: Okay, Cornish. Let's have it.
CORNISH: I couldn't get it.
SECOND MAN: I think you're stalling. I think you need a little incentive.
He goes through the house, opening doors. He opens the door to Emily's room and sees her in the bed.
SECOND MAN: Get up and get dressed.
EMILY: Colin! Colin!
SECOND MAN: He's not here. Now get up.
Cornish comes into the room.
CORNISH: Just do what they say, Emily. It will be all right. Get dressed and come out of your room. They won't hurt you.
The two men leave the room.
CORNISH: For God's sake. She's not feeling well. I know you want your money, but surely you're not going to terrify a pregnant woman. Just leave her alone and I'll get it.
SECOND MAN: We're not cruel, Cornish. We're not going to harm her. We're just going to take her with us. You can meet us with the money. When we get the three hundred pounds, you get her back. Safe and sound.
FIRST MAN: We saw a stockman's hut not too far from town. South side. That should be good enough. We don't need to go too far with her. Just far enough so no one will hear us. Or her.
Emily comes into the room and looks at the men cautiously.
CORNISH: Emily, you have to go with them. I'm sorry.
EMILY: I don't understand.
CORNISH: I know.
FIRST MAN: We've got a buggy down the street. Let's go, ma'am.
The two men lead Emily out of the door and Emily looks back at her father with pleading eyes. Cornish runs to the livery and gets Colin's horse. He saddles it and rides out of town.
Same time. Matt and his family are seated in the church, waiting for Colin to start the service. Matt looks at the empty seat of the organ. He turns to Danni.
MATT: Where's Emily?
DANNI: Home. Colin said she wasn't feeling well this morning.
MATT: Her father there too?
DANNI: I think so. Why? What's the matter?
MATT: Just a feeling. Probably nothing. I think I'll go check on her.
ROB: Do you want me to come?
MATT: No. I'll be back soon. Don't say anything to Colin.
Matt gets up to leave just as Colin and Josh are entering from the office. Colin looks at Matt questioningly, then ushers Josh to be seated next to Danni and goes to the pulpit.
Matt takes Rob's horse and rides to Emily and Colin's house. He goes inside, calling for Emily. He gets no response and looks around the house, then leaves again. He rides down the road.
Cornish is riding on the road to Langara. Matt catches up to him. Cornish begins to ride harder and Matt rides along side. He catches up again and this time pulls Cornish from his horse.
MATT: Where's Emily?
CORNISH: Let me go.
MATT: Go where? Tell me what's happening. If Emily's in trouble, I can help.
CORNISH: They took her.
MATT: Who took her? The men you told her to keep away from?
CORNISH: I owe them money. They won't harm her. They just didn't think I'd get the money unless they took her.
MATT: You're going to Langara, aren't you?
CORNISH: You have eight hundred pounds there. And I only need three hundred. I tried to get it last night, but I couldn't find it. If I could have given it to them then, they would have left her alone.
MATT: Where are they holding her?
CORNISH: They said there's a stockman's hut on the south side of town.
MATT: I know it. You stay here. There's another track to Langara that will get me there quicker. I'll get the money and a fresh horse and meet you back here. We'll ride to the hut together.
Cornish nods and Matt rides away.
Later, at the hut. Emily is sitting at the table, her head in her hand and her eyes closed.
FIRST MAN: We wish we could have done this some other way, ma'am. Really we do. But that daddy of yours sure was slow about asking you for the money.
Emily lifts her head up.
SECOND MAN: The money. The three hundred pounds he owes us. He came here to ask you for it. You being a McGregor and all.
Emily sinks lower in her seat and puts her head in her hand again. She looks up when she hears riders outside.
FIRST MAN: He's got McGregor with him.
SECOND MAN: What difference does it make as long as he's got the money?
He goes to Emily and gets her out of the chair. He pushes her toward the door, then pulls his pistol from its holster. He stands in the doorway with Emily in front of him, holding the pistol. The other man is standing at the window with a rifle.
CORNISH: We've got the money. Put your gun away. You can't hold a gun on her!
SECOND MAN: I don't think you're in any position to be giving orders. We tell you what to do, not the other way around. Now show me the money. Count it out.
Cornish takes a roll of bills from Matt and begins to count the bills aloud.
SECOND MAN: Very good. Now, real slow, come set that money on the step here. And watch yourself. You never know when this gun might go off. And there's another one pointed at the legend there.
Cornish sets the money on the step and then backs away. The man picks it up.
SECOND MAN: You go inside, ma'am.
He pushes Emily inside and the other man comes out and shuts the door behind him.
FIRST MAN: We got what we wanted, Cornish. I know you won't come after us. Because you owed us this, and because you never know when we could come back if you or McGregor there were to do anything stupid.
The two men climb into the buggy and ride away. Emily looks out the window and sees them leave. She opens the door and stands in the doorway. Cornish and Matt both call to her and hold out their arms. Emily runs to Matt and he holds her.
MATT: Are you all right? Did they hurt you?
Emily shakes her head and sobs.
MATT: Shh. You're okay. You're safe now.
Cornish watches Matt comfort Emily and then looks away, tears in his eyes.
Later, at Colin and Emily's house. Colin comes into the bedroom, where Emily is sitting in a chair. She is staring at the floor. Colin kneels in front of her.
COLIN: He's going to stay at the hotel until the train comes tomorrow morning. I think you should tell him good-bye.
EMILY: I can't. I can't talk to him right now.
COLIN: Then talk to me. What are you feeling, Emily?
Emily begins to cry and Colin holds her hand.
EMILY: I thought he came because I invited him. I thought he came because he missed me, because he loved me. But he came because my name's McGregor. He came because he needed money. He doesn't care about me. Well then, let him go. I don't care about him, either.
COLIN: Oh, Emily. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
He goes out into the front room. Cornish is standing by the door, his suitcase at his feet.
COLIN: She won't come out.
CORNISH: I didn't think she would.
COLIN: You could have spared her this, you know.
CORNISH: I know. I'm sorry.
COLIN: It's not me you need to say it to.
CORNISH: I know that, too.
He picks up his suitcase and leaves.
Several weeks later, at Colin and Emily's home. Colin and Josh come into the house, Josh carrying a package. Emily comes out of the kitchen to greet them.
JOSH: You got a package in the mail, Emily.
He gives it to her.
COLIN: It's from your father.
Emily hands it to Colin.
EMILY: I don't want it.
COLIN: I'll open it for you.
He opens it and takes out a narrow case. He opens the case and unwraps thin paper from some objects. They are hair combs. Josh looks at them.
JOSH: They're even better than the ones in the store, Emily. Put them in your hair.
Emily has tears in her eyes and turns away from him.
COLIN: Josh, have you fed Patch yet today?
Colin looks at Josh harshly and Josh speaks hurriedly.
JOSH: I was going to just now. Honest.
COLIN: Off you go, then.
Josh leaves and Colin goes to Emily.
COLIN: Are you all right?
EMILY: He probably got them with gambling money. Everything nice he ever gave me he got from gambling.
COLIN: Maybe. But perhaps he's found a good position somewhere. He's paid Dad back the money already.
EMILY: He'll sink back into his bottle soon enough.
Colin holds out the combs.
COLIN: What do you want to do with these?
EMILY: Sell them to Hannah. You can use the money for the church.
COLIN: Are you sure? Maybe you should keep them in case you change your mind.
EMILY: I won't.
Colin puts the combs back in their case and sets it down. He looks at her.
COLIN: I think you got something you wanted.
Emily looks at the comb case.
EMILY: I didn't.
Colin puts his arm around her.
COLIN: You wanted to be angry at him.
EMILY: I'm sorry. I've tried not to be angry.
COLIN: No. It's all right. You have a right to it. You've always had a right to it.
Emily does not reply, but instead puts her head against his chest. Colin holds her and the scene ends.