• December Bride
  • Part Three



He saw Sarah coming up from the well in the lough
field, her body straight and taut between the two lipping
buckets held away from her skirt by a wooden hoop. As
she stepped unsteadily on the rutted track little silver
fringes of water leapt out from the buckets and fell on
the earth. He walked slowly across the close and down
the track and seated himself on the stone dyke. Sarah
put down the buckets with a sigh of relief and rubbed
her numb fingers. "It's fine to see the gentry taking
the air on a summer's day," she said. Hamilton's lips
curved in a smile, then he crooked his finger for her
to come nearer. "Sarah, tell me, have ye noticed Frank
talking ower much to Andra or the wee girl?"

"For why?"

Hamilton raised his hand. "I only asked ye a
question. Have ye, or have ye no?"

"Nothing more nor ordinary."

"All right, then. Now, there's nothing to be
feard of," he added, noticing the uneasiness on the
woman's face. "Frank had just been acting a wee bit odd,
of late."

"Aye, odder than ye think. He attended Ravara
Meeting-House last Sunday. That's where he was in the

Hamilton's face lit up. "B'God, I'm glad to hear
that! He's welcome to it, if it gives him any comfort,
for the cratur has had a wicked time of it, wi' that
back o' his. Aye, he's welcome to it."

"Aye," echoed Sarah, but her expression was not
one of agreement. Hamilton stepped into the hoop and
swung the buckets up lightly in his fingers. But he
was silent as they made their way towards the farmhouse.
He hadn't told Sarah what was uppermost in his mind, and
now his loyalty to his brother was struggling with his
loyalty to Sarah and the children. ,When they reached
the gate into the close he put down the buckets and

Field, Children
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna219", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 05/09/2021 - 17:46, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna219