“Are we on Earth?” Stella asked as she looked at the viewscreen and saw blue sky, fluffy clouds, hills in the distance, sheep grazing in a field, and in front of all that, a railway line. As she watched a steam locomotive filled the view, gradually slowing to a stop for several minutes before moving off again, pulling several old-fashioned carriages behind it. “We’re on Earth back in time.”

“Early 20th century judging by that train,” The Doctor said. “But the TARDIS is having a bit of trouble pinpointing the exact temporal location.” He frowned. “Not sure why that is.” Then he smiled brightly. “Let’s go outside and find out the fun way, by looking around.”

He caught Stella’s hand and they stepped out onto what proved to be the far end of a railway platform. A short stroll brought them to a sign that told them this was Pembury Halt, and the waiting room furnished a few more clues.

“We’re in Surrey,” The Doctor said as he examined the timetable on the wall. “And the 2.15 from London should be here any minute. As for the date… it’s summer… feels like June or July, wouldn’t you say?”

“Well, I suppose…” Stella began. Then she stopped speaking as the waiting room door opened and a uniformed railway porter stepped in.

“Good afternoon, sir, miss,” he said in the sort of accent Stella would have associated with working class men in old black and white films. “I beg your pardon, I didn’t notice you getting off of the 1.45 or I’d have been on hand to help you with your luggage.” He looked around and noticed that they didn’t have any luggage but carried on regardless. “You’re with Lord Pembury’s weekend party are you, sir?”

“Err... yes,” The Doctor answered quickly. “Yes, Lord Pembury’s weekend. Yes, that’s us. Is it far? It’s a nice day, we could walk…”

“No need for that,” the porter answered. “His Lordship has transport arranged. Most of the guests will be coming in on the 2.15. That’ll be here at about half past, of course. Please make yourselves comfortable, meantime. Would you care to look at the morning paper, sir? There’s some lovely pictures of the coronation…” He handed The Doctor a folded copy of The Times. Without looking he passed it to Stella. He had a triumphant smile as he turned to the porter and asked about getting a piece of unusual freight he had with him taken up to Lord Pembury’s place. He went out with the porter and made the arrangements. He came back five minutes later looking pleased with himself.

“Seems like we’re gate-crashing a society weekend,” he said. “Should be rather fun, don’t you think?”

“Absolutely,” Stella replied in a fake upper class accent. “Spiffing, top-hole. Quite utterly too-too topping.”

“No, don’t do that,” The Doctor urged her gently. “So, let me guess. It’s Friday, June 23rd, 1911?”

“Yes,” Stella replied looking at the date in the paper. “How did you…”

“Coronation… The porter’s uniform wasn’t right for Edward VII’s coronation in 1902. And the next one wasn’t until May 1937.”

“Yeah, but… you worked out the date… you know the dates of coronations of British monarchs?” The Doctor smiled nonchalantly. “Show off. Anyway, one thing hasn’t changed. The 2.15 isn’t due until half past! Do I have time to change then? I don’t really look right for a 1911 society weekend.”

“Good idea,” The Doctor answered. “I’ve arranged for the TARDIS to be sent up to Pembury Hall so we’ll be able to change for dinner later. But let’s look a bit contemporary meanwhile.”

They both hurried back to the TARDIS and in time for the delayed 2.15 Stella stepped out again in a contemporary ankle length dress of pale aqua silk covered over with sheer white lace with a wide satin ribbon in the same pale aqua around the waist. She had shoes and gloves and a wide-brimmed hat and parasol that all matched.

She looked at The Doctor and smiled. He had changed, too. He was in cream flannel trousers and jacket. Underneath it was a white shirt and a silk waistcoat and tie. He wore a straw boater style hat. He had a white rose pinned to his lapel and he leaned jauntily on a silver topped walking cane and looked as if he was going to launch into a number from a Broadway musical. The sound of a train whistle brought the porter ambling from his office as The Doctor locked the TARDIS up securely.

They waited until the train pulled in at the station and strolled nonchalantly up the platform to join the group of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen who had stepped down from the first class carriages. As the train pulled out of the station again a middle aged man wearing a chauffeur’s uniform called out loudly to attract the attention of ‘Lord Pembury’s party’. There was, he said, a charabanc to take them all up to the Manor.

“How very avant garde,” remarked one of the women. “Motorised transport out here in the middle of nowhere. I expected a donkey cart!”

“Lord Pembury is very modern,” somebody else commented. Stella listened to their gossip and wondered why The Doctor thought her upper class accent was so wrong. Should she have another try? She had never thought she spoke particularly badly. But she did have a Welsh accent and none of these people seemed to have any regional accent at all. Just a generic ‘posh’.

She turned to look for The Doctor as the crowd started to move towards the gate from the railway platform to the road outside. He was giving some money to a couple of lads in flat caps who had turned up to manhandle the TARDIS onto a waiting cart. He tipped them both, generously, judging by their smiles and cap doffing. He tipped the porter, too, and then sprinted to catch up with Stella. He took her arm gallantly and helped her to climb up into the ‘charabanc’ – a long, open topped car with four rows of leather covered seats. She was in the middle of the seat, next to another young woman in a summery dress. The Doctor sat the other side of her and there was a short wait while the travel bags of the guests were all loaded onto the back. Then the chauffer took his seat and, with a slightly jerky start they were off.

Stella tied her hat a little more tightly under her chin with the ribbons for that purpose and enjoyed the ride and the conversation with the young woman by her side, whose name was The Honourable Adele Smythe-Watson. The fact that she, too, had a double-barrelled name, Grant-Jones, seemed to put her on the same social platform as The Honourable Adele at once, and she thought her provincial accent charming.

Stella wasn’t sure she wanted to be provincial, but she could live with charming.

“Have you met Lord Pembury’s new wife, yet?” Honourable Adele asked her.

“No, I haven’t,” Stella answered perfectly truthfully. “Is she nice?”

“She’s new money,” Honourable Adele answered. “Her father did something in exports. He married her out in Africa and brought her back with him. He hasn’t done much entertaining since, so it’s the first time most of us will have seen her.”

“I’m sure she’ll be very nice,” Stella answered, at a loss to know what else to say. The ‘new money’ comment seemed an odd answer to the question ‘is she nice?’ If it meant what she thought it meant, then she didn’t like it. After all, she was ‘new money’ herself. Her father made his fortune in the meat free frozen food industry. That was probably considered even lower than ‘something in exports’. That plus her ‘charming’ provincial accent made her feel just a little nervous about fitting in at this ‘weekend’.

The Doctor seemed to be fitting right in, talking to a couple of men of his own apparent age about somebody called CB Fry who seemed to be a big man in cricket. His accent was just very slightly modified. He sounded almost as if he was an upper class sort, yet he still sounded like The Doctor.

He was a Time LORD, of course. He was an aristocrat from his own world. She wondered if country house weekends with snobs were something he was used to.

“That’s why I left home,” The Doctor whispered to her and winked slyly. She stifled a giggle and tried to listen to Honourable Adele’s chatter since it would help her to know who everyone else was. Even so, she was quite glad when the car turned in through a wide gate with ‘Pembury Manor’ on the posts either side. They continued on through a nice formal garden with fountains and sculptures and ornamental benches that looked quite tempting in the sunshine. More tempting than the house, that looked a bit gloomy.

Despite knowing almost nothing about architecture, the words ‘late Tudor’ came into Stella’s mind as she looked at the grey stone building with three gable peaks in the front façade and a lot of square windows that were, themselves, divided into small squares of glass. She had a kind of an idea there was something about window taxes in some historical period when nobody had big sheets of glass. Anyway, this was Pembury Manor and they alighted from the charabanc and were greeted at the door by a butler who told them that high tea was being served on the south terrace.

‘Gloomy’ was the word that stayed in Stella’s mind as they moved through the house. Those old-fashioned windows just didn’t let in enough natural light. But she was quite happy with the terrace, which she would have called a big patio. The high tea was set out buffet style, though, and she felt a little nervous about ‘helping herself’. She wondered what was appropriate. Should she take one or two dainty cucumber sandwiches or was it all right to fill a plate up?

She decided it would be safest to get a cup of tea that a maid in a neat black and white uniform was serving from a big silver urn and watch the other women. The one or two dainty sandwiches seemed to be the thing. But she thought she would drink her tea, first. She wasn’t sure she knew how to hold a plate and a cup and eat at the same time. Was there a school where people went to learn these things?

There was another woman who looked as if she had the same problem. She took a cup of tea and went to sit on the ornamental wall that divided the terrace from the croquet lawn that was several feet lower down on the other side. Stella decided to join her.

“Hello,” she said. “I’m Stella Grant-Jones from Wales. I didn’t see you at the station.”

“No… er… you wouldn’t,” she answered with a nervous catch in her voice. “I live here. I’m… I’m Lady Pembury.”

“Oh,” Stella blushed, realising she had made a faux pas with her first attempt at a conversation. “Oh, I’m sorry. How silly of me. But… um… If you’re the Lady of the Manor, shouldn’t some of that lot be talking to you?” She remembered the comment about ‘New Money’ and wondered just how much of a put down that was.

“Charles is mingling with them,” she said. “I’m quite happy here by myself, really. Do stay and talk, though. Then Charles will think I’m ‘fitting in’. I know he wants me to have lots of friends but… He doesn’t really understand. He thinks I’m lonely. He doesn’t understand that I’m never alone.”

Stella thought that was an odd thing to say. Lady Pembury looked pretty much alone. She looked at her carefully, though trying not to appear to stare. She was very pale, considering that Honourable Adele said that she had met His Lordship in Africa. She would have been very attractive if she wasn’t quite a bit thinner than was healthy and she looked very nervous. Her pale blue eyes hardly made eye contact with Stella. She seemed to be looking past her as if something troubling was happening behind her back. Stella looked around once, but there was nothing more sinister than the mingling party crowd.

“You know,” Stella said in a conspiratorial tone. “I’m ‘New Money’ too. My father owns a food manufacturing company.”

“And why shouldn’t he?” Lady Pembury answered. “I do hate that snobbery. Charles is ‘old money’ of course. This house was built by his great great great great something who was given the land when Henry VIII took it from the church. It’s built from the stones of a monastery that was done away with. He’s probably telling that man about it now.”

Stella looked to see a man in a black suit and bow tie talking to The Doctor and pointing up at the gables as if they were of great architectural importance. The Doctor looked interested. But then The Doctor had a whole lot of expressions that he used to disguise what he was really thinking.

Then again, knowing The Doctor, he probably helped the architect back in Tudor times to get the gables nicely symmetrical. There was probably a stone up there with ‘The Doctor was here, 1/5/1525’ carved on it by a sonic screwdriver laser. The thought made her smile. The Doctor saw her looking at him and smiled and waved.

Lord Pembury was talking at length about cornices and gables and authentic 16th century roof tiles, but The Doctor had the feeling that he was trying to steer him out of earshot of some of the other guests in order to get onto something more important. Power of Suggestion had convinced Pembury that he and The Doctor had been good friends when they were at Oxford together but had been out of touch since then, what with foreign travel and all. Pembury also had the idea that The Doctor was now a very well renowned man of medicine. The Doctor suspected that was why Pembury wanted to talk to him.

“I know it’s an imposition, old chap,” he said when they finally had a space around them. “You’re here to enjoy yourself, after all. But I wish you could find time to talk to Emily. I’ve had a dozen or so quacks to see her, prescribing tonics and pills and sending me astronomical bills. Not that I begrudge, you understand. I love her dearly. But ever since we came home, she’s not been the same woman. Out there in Africa, she was bright and happy. That’s what attracted me in the first place. Loved the sound of her laugh. But now, she’s so quiet and withdrawn. She hardly speaks. She seems frightened of her own shadow. I’m afraid… if it’s something mental… Well, you know what that means. I’d take care of her, of course. Make sure she goes to a good institution where she’d be looked after. Keep the divorce discreet. But… don’t want to have to do that. I really DO love her. It would be heart-breaking. But… I mean… I need an heir. And she hardly looks capable of bearing a child… Besides, they do say that sort of thing is hereditary.”

He said it all quickly. These were highly personal problems that he certainly didn’t want his other ‘old money’ friends to know about. The Doctor actually felt a little guilty about making him think he knew him well enough to unload such a burden. But he glanced at Lady Pembury – Emily – sitting there with Stella and nodded.

“I’ll see if I can have a bit of a chat with her,” he promised. “We’ll keep it discreet. Come along and say hello to my niece. Hang on a tick while I bring them a few sandwiches over.”

He piled a plate with tempting food. Stella was probably hungry but too worried about etiquette to dare take anything for herself, and Lady Pembury looked like a poster child for anorexia. One way or another they could both do with a bite to eat.

“Stella, dear,” he said as he put the plate on the wall between the two women. “May I introduce you to Lord Pembury, who I am sure will want you to call him Charles. Lord Pembury, this is my niece and ward, the Honourable Stella Grant-Jones of Llanfairfach.”

“Delighted,” Pembury said, taking Stella’s hand and shaking it warmly. “I see you have already made acquaintance with my dear wife. Emily, this is The Doctor. No, not another one of those. We always called him that at Oxford. There’s quite an amusing story about why he’s called that, but I’m dashed if I can remember, now. Anyway, you don’t need to be bored by my old stories…”

It seemed as if Pembury filled in his wife’s silence with a one sided conversation of his own. The Doctor felt a wave of sympathy for him, but his hearts really went out to Lady Emily. She really did look troubled. And even a ‘good’ mental institution of these days was a sad prospect for her. Yes, if it was in his power, he would like to help her.

Besides, it didn’t take him very long talking to her to decide she wasn’t mad.

“You’ve lived in Africa?” The Doctor asked her conversationally. “I was there not so long ago. Lovely place. Here, take another of these sandwiches. They’re excellent. My compliments to your kitchen staff. I look forward to dinner tonight if we’ve got such standards of cuisine.”

He seemed to be blathering, Stella noticed. But in fact he was encouraging Emily to eat and to talk, and even to smile. She ate a couple of the sandwiches herself. They were fairly run of the mill cucumber and some kind of pate. Nothing to get excited about. But The Doctor’s enthusiasm was encouraging to Emily. She actually managed to eat quite a few of them.

Pembury stayed for a while, but then went to mingle with his other guests. Stella couldn’t help noticing that Honourable Adele took up his Lordship’s attention quite a bit. But mostly she listened to The Doctor’s quite innocuous questions about Emily’s travels abroad and how she met his Lordship and so on, all intended to give him clues to her state of mind.

Then, she, too, was distracted away by a young man in a very elaborately decorated waistcoat who introduced himself as the Marquis of Netherly and asked her if she would like to play a game of croquet with him. She confessed to never having played and he seemed quite enthusiastic to teach her.

“Oh, but…” she stammered a little uncertainly. He was very good looking, and a Marquis. Not exactly the prince she had been searching the universe for, but that wasn’t bad. And he was interested in her!

“Go on,” The Doctor told her. “Enjoy yourself. I’ve never been big on croquet myself. I’ll watch from here.”

He looked straight at the Marquis as he said that, clearly implying that he would be the one being watched, and that his manners had better be gentlemanly. The Marquis gave back a stare full of all the haughtiness of the English aristocracy and found that it was inferior to the gaze of a mere ‘Doctor’. But he had permission to escort Stella to the croquet lawn and he did so at once.

The Doctor watched with one eye as he continued his conversation with Lady Emily Pembury. He didn’t overtly try to analyse her. He didn’t need to, anyway. But he did do his best to gain her trust and confidence. And he thought by the time high tea on the terrace had seamlessly melded into afternoon cocktails on the terrace he had succeeded.

“Doctor,” Lord Pembury called to him. “There’s a couple of lads with rather an odd bit of luggage brought up from the station for you. What would you like to have done with it?”

“I’d like to have it brought up to my room, if that’s all right by you,” The Doctor answered. Pembury was obviously curious to know why exactly his old university friend was travelling with something so strange, but he inexplicably decided not to worry about it for now. The Doctor excused himself from the terrace party and went to see to his TARDIS while his Lordship attempted to bring his wife into the conversation with some of his ‘old money’ friends.

Later, when they went to their rooms to change for dinner, Stella was amused to find The Doctor checking out the TARDIS carefully.

“I’m sure it hasn’t come to any harm,” she told him as she passed through the console room with the perfect evening dress provided by the Wardrobe carefully folded over her arm. “And no, you can’t take the TARDIS to dinner as your guest.”

The Doctor laughed. “I don’t think I’m taking you, either,” he commented.

“No,” she answered him. “Jeremy wants me to sit with him. And he said he’d like to ‘mark my card’ for a dance afterwards.”

“Did he now?” The Doctor looked at her with an enigmatic half smile. “In this time ‘marking’ a lady’s card was a metaphor for something else. And in the fifty-first century ‘dancing’ was, too. Just make sure Jeremy doesn’t want anything more than a foxtrot, won’t you.”

“I will,” she promised. “After all, it’s not like I’d want to stay here. It’s just dinner and dancing. That’s ok, isn’t it?”

“Perfectly.” He looked at a readout on the console and called her to his side. “Look at this. No wonder the old girl didn’t give me an accurate local date before. There’s a temporal echo in this area.”

“Is that bad?” she asked. “What does it mean?”

“It’s not bad. Most humans would know nothing about it. And it doesn’t do the TARDIS any harm. But it’s like… you know when a film gets double exposed and there’s a ghost of the original picture underneath…”

Stella didn’t know. She was born in the digital photography era. But she gave it a try. “The real time IS June, 1911. No problem. But there’s a sort of ghost, an echo of some other time – fifteenth or sixteenth century, a little later, maybe. It’s quite strong around the house, tapering off just beyond the railway station. It’s rather fascinating, but nothing at all to worry about. It happens now and again. It’s how a lot of places come to be considered haunted. The Tower of London is a notorious temporal echo spot. Some humans, maybe one in fifty, are time sensitive, and they can see the echo clearly, and they report seeing ghosts.”

“So this house could be ‘haunted’?” Stella concluded. “No wonder Emily looks petrified. Do you think she’s seen some of the ghosts?”

“That’s a possibility,” The Doctor answered. “She only started to be withdrawn and worried after she came to live here. I’ll have to try to get her to talk about that. Not the sort of thing you bring up in polite conversation, though – did you see any ghosts lately? Especially not when her husband is wondering if she’s mad and contemplating leaving her in an asylum while he gets a divorce.”

“No!” Stella gasped. She would have been appalled even if she hadn’t spent time talking with Lady Pembury. As it was, she was outraged. “He can’t do that, can he?”

“He can,” The Doctor answered. “In his defence, I don’t think he wants to. But in these times, women are rather vulnerable in that way. It only takes a doctor to confirm insanity and they can be packed off. Insanity didn’t actually become actual grounds for divorce until 1937, but if she can be kept locked up for five years he can claim divorce on grounds of living separately. And after that, he’s free of her and she’ll be lucky if she’s ever let out into the world.”

“So Lord Pembury wants you to confirm the diagnosis?”

“No, he does seem to love her. I think he wants me to find something else. He could have got any ‘quack’ to certify her. I’m going to do my best to prove she’s anything but. So don’t you worry. Go and get your posh frock on and give the Marquis of Netherly something to get excited about.”

She looked lovely in her ‘posh frock’ of pale blue satin with a see through chiffon tunic of sky blue with wide sleeves that made her look like a gauzy butterfly. She wore the diamond earrings and necklace The Doctor had given her on another formal occasion and silvery white shoes. Her hair was done up with blue feathers in the knot and she had enough make up to enhance her natural prettiness.

She looked so much like Jo in her younger days that The Doctor felt again the jealous pangs he had felt when first the king of Peladon, then Latep of the Thals, Mike Yates at various times, and finally Cliff Jones, had all tried to win her away from him. Jeremy, Marquis of Netherly was not going to make it past first base, of course. They wouldn’t be here long enough.

“Save a dance for me,” he told her, and she promised she would. When she saw him in his authentic Edwardian dinner suit, she almost deserted the Marquis for him, anyway. He looked very handsome, and when he took her arm at the top of the staircase, and walked down with her, she felt like a princess. It was just a pity there was nobody but the footman to see her. On the other hand, when they stepped into the drawing room where everyone was having pre-dinner drinks and so many of the men turned their eyes towards her and so many of the women turned away in jealousy, it was well worth it. And that was before her Marquis came to take her from The Doctor and get her a colourful cocktail while he engaged her in conversation until it was time for dinner.

There were more guests to the dinner and dancing afterwards than were staying overnight, of course. Many of the ‘quality’ people of the neighbourhood came in cars and carriages to join them. Even so, Stella was seated next to Netherly, by his own request. The Doctor, by Lord Pembury’s request, sat next to Lady Pembury near the head of the table. She looked very pretty in a frail way like a flower that had bloomed too fast and was already fading. She had done her best to look good, though, in a fine orchid pink dress and she made an effort to talk when The Doctor encouraged her gently. She tried to enjoy the meal, too, but through the first few courses she only just picked at the food in front of her and allowed the staff to take the plates away before she had really eaten enough to give her the right nutrition.

As the fish course was cleared, The Doctor noticed that she was looking quite intently at a mirror on the wall of the dining room. He looked, too, and nodded. Yes, now he understood.

“It’s all right, Emily,” he whispered. “You’re not mad. I see them, too.”

“Oh.” She looked at him and her face seemed illuminated. “Oh, really?”

“We’ll talk about it later, I promise,” he told her as the main course was served. “Meanwhile, let’s eat. This lamb looks delicious, it really is. You do have a most marvellous cook, here. Don’t you think it’s delicious, Emily?”

Emily hadn’t tasted the lamb, yet. But at his prompting she did so and seemed to eat a little more happily.

Being believed, that was the important thing. She had borne this secret alone for so long. But now somebody else knew, somebody else believed her, shared the secret. And it made all the difference. She ate the main course with a real appetite and seemed to actually enjoy the desert and the cheese course.

Not that Lord Pembury seemed to notice. He spent the whole of the meal talking to Lady Adele Smythe-Watson, who was, apparently, extremely fascinated by the house and its history.

Or was she more interested in the Lord of the Manor? Had she seen the possible opening in the marriage stakes if Lady Pembury was put out of the picture? Earlier he had insisted that he loved her. The Doctor had been sure he wanted somebody to make his wife well again so that they could be happy together. And perhaps that was still true. Perhaps it was more about Honourable Adele being of his ‘own kind’ – the old money. But Pembury had chosen to fall in love and marry outside of his caste and it was up to him to make a go of it.

After dinner they went to the ballroom in a wing of the house added in the Georgian era – the Georgian era before Victoria, that was, not the one that began yesterday in London. It had aspirations towards Versailles, The Doctor thought, but Pembury’s father or grandfather couldn’t have hoped to match such splendour. What he did achieve was a room that looked nearly twice as big as it was because of the eight foot high mirrors all along the walls that also multiplied the light from the crystal chandeliers in the ceiling.

The two central ones, placed opposite each other, also had that slightly terrifying tunnel effect in which you saw yourself reflected hundreds of times in a receding tunnel. It was even stranger when a whole crowd of dancers were reflected that way. It looked as if there were exponentially more guests than there actually were.

Lord Pembury had engaged a three piece ensemble to play for his party, and he and his wife made a pretty picture as they led the first dance. The Doctor actually led Stella in the opening set, leaving the Marquis to dance with Honourable Adele. Then, of course, people changed partners. That was to be expected. Jeremy made a beeline for Stella. Pembury bowed politely to Honourable Adele. Lady Emily looked a little bereft for a second or so before The Doctor reached her side. She smiled warmly as he placed his hands correctly for a foxtrot around the floor.

“Don’t take me near those mirrors,” she whispered to him. “I hate that. Seeing them once is bad enough. But seeing them hundreds of times is worse.”

“You see them in the mirrors?” The Doctor asked.

“Mirrors and windows, inside or out. Anything with a reflection. The fountains in the garden. Even washing my face in the basin I see them looking at me from the water.”

The Doctor glanced at the mirror nearest to him.

“A woman and a boy? The same two, every time?”

“Yes,” she said. “You DO see them. I thought… I thought maybe you were just humouring me. But you must have…”

“I see them,” he promised her. “They look 17th century. Civil War. I suppose the Pembury’s were Royalist? A family who got rich through the Dissolution were hardly going to be disloyal to the Crown?”

“Yes, I think so,” she answered. “There’s some old story about it all, but I’m not sure what it is. Charles… is a good man. But he does seem to think of me as not quite clever enough. Doctor… I’m NOT even ‘New Money’. My father was a shipping clerk in Africa, that’s all. Out there, it didn’t matter. We fell in love, got married. I didn’t care about the title, the money, you understand. I loved Charles – not Lord Pembury, not Pembury Manor. But now, among his own sort, in his own home, he doesn’t talk to me about history and literature, architecture. I think he assumes I don’t know anything about those things.”

“Then he really needs to wake up to himself,” The Doctor told her. “And we’ll see if we can’t do something about that. But… about the Civil War… it’s important. If there’s anything you know?”

“Not enough, I’m afraid. You would have to ask Charles. Do you think it has anything to do with… with them?”

“I think it has everything to do with them,” The Doctor answered. “But I will tell you one thing. There is nothing to be afraid of. They can’t hurt you, and you can’t hurt them. But you may be able to help them, and to help yourself at the same time.”

“Help them?” Emily looked surprised.

“Yes. Come here.” The Doctor took her by the hand and brought her to one of the mirrors. He stood by her side, his hand gently on her forearm. As he expected, the two ‘ghosts’ - for want of another word - appeared as well. They were a young woman, very young. The Doctor would have guessed her to be no more than eighteen, Stella’s age. But she lived in an age when she might have been married as young as fourteen. So the little boy by her side, aged, maybe four, could perfectly feasibly be her son.

“A former Lady Pembury,” The Doctor said. “One of your predecessors, and clearly unhappy. I think we ought to find out her story, don’t you?”

“Yes,” she said. “But how?”

“Something else I need to talk to Charles about, I think. But meanwhile, promise me you won’t be afraid of them, and you won’t let their presence upset you. Because this isn’t a curse, you know. It’s a gift.”

That assurance made a great difference to Emily’s expression. She smiled, actually smiled, as a burden was taken from her. The Doctor glanced once again at the ‘ghosts’ and then brought her back into the dancing. She happily danced with him to the end of the set, at which point The Doctor had made sure they were near Lord Pembury and the Honourable Adele. He bowed to Emily and then turned and made it clear that he wanted to dance with Adele. She had to accept, of course. Pembury took his wife into his arms. Emily smiled warmly at him, and Pembury noticed. His smile was equally warm and his hands were around his wife’s waist as he held her a little more closely than the formal dance etiquette suggested.

The Doctor kept his hands strictly where they should be as he danced with the Honourable Adele. She glanced at the Pemburys and seemed disappointed.

“Leave them alone,” The Doctor told her in a low voice that only she could hear. “Lord Pembury loves his wife. Don’t you dare try to come between them.”

“I….” The Honourable Adele Smythe-Watson opened her mouth in surprise. “But…”

“And stop picking on her for not being blue-blooded. Or it will become known that your great grandmother was actually a fruit seller called Nellie Smith. Smythe-Watson! I’ve never heard such snobbery – at least not since I moved away from my own planet. Now there were a people who believed in bloodlines. You lot are amateurs in comparison.”

“Your…” The Honourable Adele was still lost for words. She wasn’t even sure she had heard the last few sentences correctly.

“Stay away from Pembury,” The Doctor repeated, knowing that the puzzle about his ‘own planet’ would befuddle her mind enough to stop her arguing about his main point. When that dance ended, Pembury kept hold of his wife for the next set. The Doctor excused himself with Jeremy the Marquis and took Stella onto the floor. He noted that Jeremy went for a drink and didn’t dance with anyone. That left the Honourable Adele as the wallflower.

“So, how is the Marquis?” The Doctor asked with a teasing expression.

“He’s ok,” she answered. “But he’s not all that. Besides, he hunts. And I hate that. I was sort of impressed by his title. But that would be a stupid reason to go with a man, wouldn’t it? Just because he’s a marquis. I mean, there’s nothing else about him that I really like.”

“That’s my smart girl,” The Doctor told her. “You just wait till the right man comes along. Maybe he will be a Marquis. Or a brilliant, original man like your dad. Maybe even a pop star like Robin whatshisname. Or just a hard working man who’ll do his best for you every day of your life. But you’ll know it when he comes along, just like your mum did.”

“Thanks, Doctor,” she answered. “What I really need is a man like you.”

“So did your mum,” The Doctor said. “And she found one, when she met your dad. So there you go. He’s out there. I promise.”

“What about Lady Emily? Did you sort her out?”

“Not quite,” he answered. “I did sort out disHonourable Adele, though. She won’t be any more trouble.”

“Good. We’ve got words for her sort in my time. And they’re not ones my mum would like me to use.”

“Nor mine,” The Doctor added. “Emily’s quite all right, though. Nothing wrong with her at all. It’s just that she sees dead people.”

There was a film reference in there that was slightly before Stella’s time, but she got it, anyway. She laughed and then listened as The Doctor explained about the lady and the little boy in the mirrors. Stella looked around at the mirrors. She couldn’t see anything.

“Emily is one of those humans I mentioned earlier - time sensitive. I’m a Time Lord. We both see things that are really there!”

“I’ve travelled in time. But I can’t?”

“Come here,” he said, and drew her towards one of the mirrors. He stood as he had with Emily, but with his arm around Stella’s shoulder. Making physical contact with her in a place where the time overlay was strongest, she should have been able to see.

And she did. She gasped.

“Oh, Doctor!” she exclaimed. “Oh, they’re so sad. Something terrible must have happened to them. That’s why they’re trying to contact Emily. They need help. It’s like… it’s like in that film. That’s what they had to do. Make things right for the ghosts. That’s what we have to do?”

“Yes,” The Doctor answered. “But I’m still not quite sure how. I agree, there’s something sad… something tragic. And they lived in tragic times, so that’s no real surprise. But what?”

“Doctor, haven’t you noticed that she’s pointing?”

“I noticed,” he said. “But what at?”

“You’re such a genius, but you miss the obvious. Look… they’re in all the mirrors. And she’s pointing a bit differently in each one. She’s trying to show us something.”

The Doctor agreed. “Let me see…” He took Stella by the arm and led her back into the dance, but this time both of them watched the mirrors as they moved around the floor. And they worked out, by process of elimination, exactly where the lady in the mirror was pointing.

“That mirror… the one in the middle, where the reflections go on forever,” Stella said. “That’s the place. She wants us to look behind the mirror.”

“Yes, you’re right,” The Doctor said. “But we can’t do it now. We’d look very suspicious trying to get mirrors off the wall in the middle of a party. Besides, Marquis Jeremy is looking despondent. I think he wants you back. Go and enjoy yourself for a while. You can let him down gently tomorrow.”

She laughed and went to find her dance partner of the evening. The Doctor drifted to the side of the room, near the mirror that had been pinpointed as the source of whatever trouble afflicted this house. He looked into the infinitely receding tunnel of mirrors. His own reflection was multiplied in it. He remembered when he was a boy on Gallifrey, being told a myth that standing between two mirrors sapped the soul. No Time Lord would ever do such a thing, he was told. But he had been the sort of boy who took few things for granted without testing them. The scientific mind was there even in the child. He had pulled, with a great deal of effort, two big mirrors into place opposite each other and stepped between. It hadn’t sapped his soul. Quite the opposite, in fact. It had been a soul-affirming moment. He had felt an echo of the same awe he had felt when he faced the Untempered Schism and looked into true infinity. Standing between two mirrors created a lesser infinity, a universe where he was the most important being, the centre of Creation. At that time in his life, he had needed the strength that sort of perspective gave him. It had helped him understand his place in the real universe where he was not quite such a central figure.

He smiled as he looked at his own infinity now and his own split personality filling it. Then he looked at the two echoes of the past who stood within the image, looking at him. He nodded slightly and was not surprised when the young woman’s eyes blinked and she looked straight at him.

“Be patient a little longer,” he whispered. “What must be done, will be done.”

His plan had been for himself and Stella to do a bit of snooping later, when the household was asleep. But things fell together rather better than that. It was a little after midnight, and the evening guests had departed. Most of the house guests had gone to their rooms. The Doctor and Stella remained having a nightcap with Lord Pembury and his wife and Marquis Jeremy who was still trying to impress Stella.

“Charles,” Lady Pembury said out of the blue. “The Doctor was asking earlier about your ancestor from the Civil War. There is a story, isn’t there?”

“There is,” Pembury answered, clearly pleased that she had opened a topic of conversation. “Though it’s a sad one to go to sleep on.”

“Oh, that’s all right,” The Doctor said. “We’ll try not to have nightmares. Do tell.”

“The then Lord Pembury, was also named Charles,” Pembury said. “And as it happens, utter coincidence, his wife was called Emily.” He smiled as his wife indulgently. “They had a young son, another Charles. I’m afraid this family lack imagination when it comes to names.” There was polite laughter at his joke before he went on. “Charles Pembury joined the king’s army in the fight against the Parliamentarians and was gone from the house for many months. He left his wife and child in the care of his younger brother, who also had responsibility for the house and lands in his absence. But it seemed that the brother betrayed him. He joined the parliamentary side, with the promise that the property would be his when the royalists were defeated. And to be certain of that, he had Emily and the child murdered and their bodies hidden.”

“Oh!” the present day Emily and Stella both gasped out loud in shock. “Oh, no.”

“Where did he hide them?” Stella managed to ask.

“Nobody knows. Charles Pembury came home to find himself dispossessed and with the Parliamentarians after his blood. The story goes that he fought his brother in a duel, and said he would spare his life if he would tell him where the bodies were so they could be buried in consecrated ground. But the brother refused to tell. He laughed and said their souls would haunt Pembury Manor for eternity. Charles killed his brother and fled to France as many of the Royalists did. He married again during his exile – a daughter of another Royalist who had escaped Cromwell’s pograms. They returned to England on the Restoration, and Charles petitioned the King and succeeded in having his land and titles restored to him. His second wife bore him a son – another Charles. And he, of course, is my ancestor. But poor Emily and the first born son were all but forgotten. Except from time to time, when there have been reports of their ghosts. I’ve never see them, though.”

“I have,” Emily said in a quiet voice that Pembury hardly seemed to hear at first. Then her words sank in and he turned to look at her, then at the Marquis and Stella and The Doctor.

“Emily, dear, you shouldn’t say such things in front of… of other people. What will they think of you?”

“I think Emily is a very brave and very sensitive lady,” The Doctor said. “And if she is one of the rare people who can see the unquiet souls, then you should listen to her, Charles, not hush her up.”

“I agree,” Stella said, backing up The Doctor. Marquis Jeremy looked puzzled at first, then he agreed with her, if only because he still wanted to keep on her good side.

“But why should my wife see these ghosts,” Pembury asked. “I’m the one who is related by blood…”

“Not to Emily and her son,” The Doctor reminded him. “I don’t know. Perhaps it’s as simple as the fact that your wife bears the same name. A kindred spirit across the centuries.”

“They want me to help them,” Emily said. “Charles, please let me do that. Let’s not waste another moment. If I can help them…”

“You want to go on a ghost hunt in the middle of the night?” Pembury was astonished. “Emily, dear.. I have wracked my brains trying to find ways of relieving you of your sadness, to make you happy. I thought of parties and gaiety to lift the gloom. Not… not macabre ideas…”

“You don’t know what it’s been like, seeing them everywhere I turn in the house. But I think, if they can be at peace, I will be, too. Charles, please…”

“Then at least it should be a job for the men,” Pembury insisted. “You ladies should…”

“Nice try, Pembury,” The Doctor grinned as Stella and Emily together raised a protest. “Netherly, are you joining us for a little adventure?”

“I can hardly say no if the ladies are prepared to do it,” he pointed out.

“To the ballroom, then,” The Doctor announced.

“Very well,” Pembury conceded. “There are lamps in the sideboard in the hall. The chandeliers will have been put out by now.”

They picked up the oil lamps that were used when the sometimes erratic gas supply failed and made their way to the darkened ballroom. There the pools of light and shadow from the lamps made the room that had been so bright and gay earlier seem eerie now. But nobody had any thoughts of going back.

“They’re still here,” Emily reported as she stepped near to a mirror.

“What are they doing?” The Doctor prompted her, though he knew perfectly well since he could see them, too.

“Pointing,” she answered. “She’s pointing. She’s…” Emily moved to another mirror, then another, and drew the same conclusion Stella had earlier. The Doctor let her do it for herself, even though he was itching to find out what was special about the central mirror.

“Through there,” she said as she finally came to stand in front of the infinitely reflecting one. “That’s where she wants us to go.”

“Through the looking glass?” Jeremy made the joke and instantly regretted doing so when Stella gave him a withering look.

“No,” Pembury said. “No, BEHIND the looking glass. My wife is right. There is a concealed room behind the mirror. It hasn’t been used since I was a boy. My father had a wine cellar with all his best and most expensive bottles there. I believe my grandfather used it for card games. But I’ve had no use for it. I’d forgotten it was there. Let me see…”

He stepped closer. So did The Doctor who found the hinge and the spring that would release it, but decided to wait until Pembury himself did it. The three men between them pulled the heavy mirror in its frame back and propped it to ensure it didn’t spring closed again. Behind it was a small, stone flagged room no bigger than a scullery, but there was a ring set in one flag just asking to be pulled. Again, the three men heaved it up to reveal stone steps going down. Again, the two women were urged to wait and the men were overruled. They all descended carefully.

“This is older than the ballroom, isn’t it?” Jeremy asked as he reached the bottom of the steps. He was pleased to see Stella looking at him with approval that time.

“Yes,” Pembury confirmed. “It was the cellar of a wing of the original Tudor house. My great grandfather, to his shame, got rid of a very fine long gallery and a great hall in order to build his ballroom. I have had experts tell me what a shame it was, since it devalues the house….”

He stopped, realising that nobody cared right now about the value of his manor house. They looked around in the lamplight at the cellar, noting old wine racks and undisturbed dust of ages.

“Emily, what do you think?” The Doctor asked. “Where now?”

“I don’t know,” she answered. “I can’t see… so much dust. Nothing reflects.”

“Will this do?” Jeremy again received a smile from Stella when he produced a slim silver cigar case with a highly polished surface. Emily took it and looked into it.

“Yes,” she said after a few minutes. “Over there.” She pointed to a perfectly ordinary looking wall. The Doctor got there before anyone else and began examining it with his fingers.

“There’s something under the old plaster,” he confirmed. “Very old plaster. Crumbling…” Actually, it was perfectly firm plaster until he concealed his sonic screwdriver in his hand and used it to cause a resonation that made it crumble to dust, falling in a noisy cloud at his feet. He looked around and grinned, his teeth looking more white than usual in a face covered in reddish-brown dust. Then he examined what was behind the old plaster.

“It looks like it used to be a mirror. The glass is broken out of it, but you can see the frame, still. And I do believe… another hinge… another hidden place…”

He knew where it was. He could sense it. But he made a pretence of taking a time to find the recess that his fingers pressed into. There was a soft clunk and he felt the frame give. It didn’t open wide dramatically, only slip back a few centimetres. It needed the brute force of three aristocrats to push it open fully.

As the dust settled, they shone the lamps onto another staircase. This one was steeper and longer, and far older, and yet again Pembury tried to insist it was too dangerous for the women. He at least got their concession to being helped. His own wife held onto his shoulder as she followed him down. The Doctor had Stella do the same. Marquis Jeremy seemed disappointed not to be allowed to help her. But she put her trust in The Doctor.

“This is far older than Tudor,” The Doctor observed as they made their careful way down stairs that were worn and uneven and broken in places. He thought fondly of his own granddaughter, Susan, who would get a sprained ankle on a perfectly cut lawn but would still have followed him down. Stella didn’t sprain anything, and nor did anyone else as they reached the bottom of the steps safely.

“Pembury, this must be a part of the old monastery, wouldn’t you say?” Jeremy said as he cast about with his lantern.

“Has to be,” Pembury answered. “But good grief, all these years! Who would have known?”

“The traitorous brother of Charles Pembury knew,” The Doctor replied in a dry voice. “Look…”

His Gallifreyan eyesight allowed him to spot it before anyone else. He stepped closer as Pembury and Netherly shone their lamps into the corner. Emily and Stella clasped hands as they steeled themselves for what that had fully expected, but dreaded to see.

“Oh, poor things,” The Doctor said as he knelt to look closer. “Oh, I am so sorry.”

“Doctor?” Pembury shone his lamp directly on the sad, dust covered skeletons of a young woman and a small boy, hunched up together.

“He didn’t hide the bodies down here,” The Doctor said with a hint of anger and sadness together in his voice. “He shut them down here where nobody would hear their cries and left them to die of starvation and thirst. Look at them. The little boy must have succumbed first, then Emily, hugging him in her arms. Poor things.”

“No wonder their souls could not rest,” Pembury said. “How dreadful.”

Stella and Emily both cried. Nobody blamed them. It was a terrible thing to imagine. Pembury comforted his wife. Marquis Jeremy looked as if he would have liked to comfort Stella, but again, she turned to The Doctor.

“It’s all right,” Pembury said. “It’s quite all right. We’ve found them now. In the morning, I’ll arrange for them to be moved, discreetly. I’ll have the vicar say some prayers, and they can rest in peace in the family crypt. I think that should do, won’t it, Doctor?”

“I think that will do fine,” he answered. “But I think there’s only one way to be sure. Let’s go back to the ballroom.”

They returned the way they had come, from the medieval monastery steps up to the Tudor wine cellar and further up to the Georgian ballroom. Emily went to look into a mirror and saw only her own reflection. She smiled happily.

“Yes,” she said. “They’re at peace now. They wanted to be found. Now they have, it’s all right.”

Pembury went to her side and took her in his arms. They kissed lovingly. The Doctor nodded. It was as it should be. Jeremy gave Stella a glance and smiled in a resigned way.

“Maybe you’d have better luck with Honourable Adele,” The Doctor told him. “She is a girl who would be impressed by a title.”

“I think I’d really prefer one who is impressed by me,” he answered. “I’m sorry that isn’t your niece. Not for the want of trying. But perhaps I’ll be lucky, yet.”

“Perhaps you will,” The Doctor said as he put an avuncular arm around Stella. “Good luck to you in that.”

Pembury led them all back to the drawing room for another nightcap to clear the dust from their throats. They all bemoaned their ruined evening clothes, but considered the solving of that sad mystery worth it. The Doctor knew that Stella had some questions she had to ask him, though, and she couldn’t do that until they were alone.

She used the power shower in the TARDIS to get rid of the last of the dust and grime and change into a long, warm nightdress. She came through to the console room finishing off her hair with a cordless hairdryer and comb. The Doctor had washed and changed, too. He was in his familiar brown pinstripe suit and Converse trainers and was hovering around the console, humming a tune.

“The temporal echo is gone,” he said. “Finding the bodies did it.”

“You know,” Stella pointed out after a few moments thought. “That actually makes no scientific sense. If you believe in souls, and the power of the vicar’s prayers and laying them to rest, then it does. But scientifically, there’s no reason to it at all.”

“Your dad and your sister would say that,” The Doctor said. “So would I long ago when I thought I knew everything. But not you, Stella. You’re and your mum, you believe in things that defy science, you believe in romantic happy endings and nuts to science.”

“So it really is possible? We really did put the ghosts to their rest? They’re happy now?”

“As happy as two souls that died so sadly could be,” he answered. “And our Charles and Emily are fine now that she’s not scared to look in a mirror. DisHonourable Adele won’t get a toe between them. Even Jeremy learnt a valuable lesson in life. Not a bad day’s work.”

Then she asked the other question he knew she would ask.

“Couldn’t we make it even better?” she asked. “What if we went back and rescued them before they died?”

“No, I’m sorry,” The Doctor told her. “If they don’t die, the whole timeline will be destabilised. Don’t forget, our Charles is a descendent of the second wife, the one Charles Pembury met in France in their exile. If Emily and little Charles survive, the whole family line collapses. I am very sorry. Especially knowing how much they suffered. If it had been a quick, relatively painless death…” For a moment, The Doctor seemed as if he might change his mind. The thought clearly distressed him. But he shook his head sadly. “I am sorry.”

“At least you care,” she told him, hugging him tightly. “At least I know you would if it were possible.”

“That’s my girl,” he said. “Now, come here… if you want a happy ending, come and look at this.” He typed at the console for a few moments and pictures came up on the screen. Photographs of Charles and Emily Pembury and their children, a boy, then a girl. There was a picture of Charles in an officer’s uniform of the war that was coming in a few years. Then another of them after that war, when he had come home safe and sound. They had another baby, another girl. The children grew up. Charles and Emily grew to middle age, then old age as the decades went by. Their family grew.

“They died of old age in the 1960s, peacefully, just as any man or woman should,” The Doctor told her. “By then their children and grandchildren had good lives of their own. Pembury Manor is a country house and museum in your time, with a private zoo of endangered African mammals. It was set up in memory of the present Lord Pembury’s great grandmother and her African connection. Is that happy ending enough?”

“It is,” she conceded. “What about Jeremy. He’s not my type, and the hunting is horrible of him, but I hope he finds somebody nice. And NOT Adele.”

The Doctor looked. He frowned over some detail, then smiled.

“Well, well. Jeremy’s going to have an adventure of his own, next year. He’ll be a passenger on the Titanic. Oh, don’t worry. He’s one of the lucky ones. And he’ll meet the love of his life – a stewardess – in the lifeboat. They’ll stay together for the rest of their lives in America. How about that, then?”

“Fantastic,” Stella decided. “Now, I think I’ll go to bed.”

“Good idea,” The Doctor replied kissing her on the cheek gently. “Get your beauty sleep. You’ve got plenty of mingling with the upper crust to do over the weekend, yet.”