on the arm of her chair listening patiently to the patriarch Andrew
speaking for himself and his sons; Sarah listening dutifully to the talk
of her elders and only seeming to rest when she glanced casually at the
young men. Frank, the younger brother had stopped eating when the visitors
arrived and now pushed crumbs around his plate with the end of his cigarette.
He lounged carelessly in his chair, slim and brown, glancing thoughtfully
at the girl from below him tumbled fair hair. Hamilton, seated in his
father's shadow.had politely suspended his meal until the woman had tea.
Hov he pushed his plate away after mopping up the last of the Mealy-cresshy
which had been their evening dish. He spooled honey into the heart of a
farl and as the sweet slowly uncoiled from his knife he amused himself
with the thought that the hair of Martha’s daughter was the same colour,
but he turned his dark face stolidly to his father’s talk. She’s a cold
pale one, thought Frank, with no sport in her. Then he caught her calm
ever-moving glance, and felt uncertain again.
"Well, Martha, there’s room beyond for both of ye, ' said Andrew,
inclining his head towards the lower part of the house. "Ye may come as
soon as you’re free o’ the Bourkes. Ye’d be needed here at the harvest,
and in the winter it would be a great convenience to have the house tended
to." The. old man leaned forward with a smile wrinkling his eyes. " We dinna
often hear a step in the close, but ye can aye go down the road when you’re
Mrs Gomartin carefully folded her square, work-thickened fingers in
her lap. "It makes no great odds, Andrew,”she replied with a quick upward
lift of her head. "A widow’s seat is aye a lonely seat."
"Aye, God knows that’s true enough” answered Andrew, staring sombrely
at the wall.
Three days later Mrs Gomartin closed her cottage and came with her