• December Bride
  • Part One



Chapter Four

Sarah studied Andrew's face before she spoke. “Why do ye no like

Pentland?" she asked. The old nan, whose eyes had been fixed on the rowers,

turned to her. He dashed the drops vigorously from his brow and mouth. "Pah:

That pachel - he's only an ould jinny of a man!” When she did not respond

he added without taking his attention from the boat's course: "when ye see

mair o' him, you'll heed what 1 say."

The nose of the punt was set below Rathard so that the rowers could get

what ease they might by running with the race down the lough and pulling up

gain in the calmer waters under the hill. Andrew now crept forward and took

a third oar, so that he and Frank were pulling on the starboard side and

Hamilton, the most powerful rower of the three, was rowing on the port. Slowly

the boat began to move obliquely across the channel-race. The wind was rising

again, and it became evident to the three men that they were being carried down

at such a pace that it would be impossible to make the passage between the

small islands which lay between them and home. Hamilton decided what they should

give up the idea of landing at Rathard and let themselves be carried further

down and round the shelter of a third island from where they could pull across

into Dufferin bay, two miles below Rathard. He shouted this in disjointed

sentences as he bent and straightened to his oar,witih a rusty tin Sarah

bailed the rain water and spume that gurgled and slopped at her feet. She was

drenched to the skin but long past caring, »hen she looked up she saw the heads

and bodies of the three men approaching and receding as they combed the tumbling


Impeded by hundreds of islands, the waves never mounted to the fury of

those of the sea, the menace lying in the currents that raced through the

passages between island and island. The punt was now crawling across such

Rathard, Menace
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna025", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Fri, 08/07/2020 - 09:56, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna025