"Tom," said Patience Scott, only surviving child of the illustrious Sir Walter and sole heir to Abbotsford House, where she is living in a guest bedroom making her own plans to creatify her old home and turn it less from a Shrine to the Past and Tourist Attraction but rather into the Family Home she remembered vividly, and perhaps she felt that because she was young enough to re-establish the Family Line with children of her own, she was always asking her friends about their own nuptial intentions, while several firms of Scotland's Finest, Writers to the Signet, no less, egregiously fund their Pension Pots out of the case, "are you and Lizzie going to get married?" which rather took Thomas Learmonth's breath away: "we haven't made any plans, for obvious reasons," he replied rather tartly, giving Patience a look which clearly said: "you know as well as I do that I am supposed to return to Ercildoune after either 3 or ten years in Fairyland, write a book of doggerel predictions of the Future which will gain me the name of Thomas the Rhymer especially when over hundreds of years they will all prove to be accurate – mainly because I've been reading history books while I've been here and having a good look around at worthwhile stories to include in my book of verse – and return to the bosom of my family and live happy ever after; now which part of that would include Lizzie and me getting married?" but Patience wasn't to be bested quite so easily, and taking advantage of Lizzie Bennett working as the Society Correspondent of the Southern Reporter and presently rather busy directing her staff photographer Glenda Jackson as though she were whistling to a collie, and rounding up recalcitrant sheep, to make sure that every person of note (and many who may turn out to be of note, once she had scanned their faces into the Facial Recognition software back at the office) among the throng getting pretty sloshed in The Ship, forby those who were already sea-sick, was artistically photographed and their names jotted down by her Assistant, Dandie Dinmont, she squeezed herself closer to Tom so that he was jammed in a corner between herself and Jubbly Johanssen, who was being very indiscreet with Kenny Cramond the famous TV Director and not paying them the slightest bit of notice: "you do know that you could spend thirty years away and go back to a time just three years after you disappeared? three years in Fairyland, or ten, for that matter, has no relation to the amount of time passed here, or back when you were last in Ercildoune – which, I might remind you, was something like 750 years ago; you could try just going to Earlston today and say 'I am Thomas the Rhymer and I've come back after 750 years in Fairyland and here are my predictions of all that has happened in my absence, written in Iambic Pillars, or Tectonic Plates or whatever kind of Rhyming Slang you use – here, have you thought of inventing Limericks if you go back to your Old Time?" and Tom felt really peeved: who would have guessed that this irresponsible, irreverent, irrepressibly irresolute girl was the daughter of the Great Man whose statue sits outside his old Courthouse in Selkirk? whatever would have become of her if she had not fallen into the Tweed on a fool's errand and found hersel as one of the Neanderthal Women in the Eildon Cavern, only to piggyback on the escape plan which Tavish had hatched, but been taken through a different worm-hole and turned up here with Thomas and the girl who renamed herself Elizabeth Bennett after learning to read and devouring Sense and Sensibility in a single, marathon session, while Tavish and the others had gone further back, to just after Thomas's own disappearance from the 13th Century? he had loved his wife deeply and their two boys with all his heart and soul, but he found the tales he had read which were supposedly about himself all childishly fanciful and so full of nonsense that he could not imagine it possible for him to go back to his own Time; and yet, and yet, there must surely be some truth, or some fragment of truth, in those tales, and if it was true that he should return to his own Home and Hearth, where would that leave Lizzie? he felt heart-sore and sick, and not from drink, for he had only been drinking Irn Bru today, and maybe that was why he wasn't on the same page as Lizzie and the others who seemed to be having FUN while he was GLUM! he just wished that things had been simpler and less complicated but one of the things, the many things, Tavish had said to him since he returned from the Middle Ages, which still felt like Home to Thomas, his Home, that was the Right Time, while this World he found himself in was in the distant Future, Tavish had said: "Things can only get Worse; Every Silver Lining has a Cloud; When One Door Opens Another Closes in Your Face; and Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down, except that he said that last one in a Latin that didn't really make sense to Thomas, but he rather liked the piratical air of the Secret Service Officer when he winked and said it in what seemed to be a parody of a sea-going ruffian: "Nil Desperandum, Tom, me Lad, Illegitimi non carborundum, arrrrrr!"