• December Bride
  • Part One



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

Frank, Gomartin
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna013", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 07/14/2024 - 14:15, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna013?page=1