• December Bride
  • Part Three



Ravara School?" "Of coarse I remember ye! Didnt ye
go to school with our Andrew?" retorted the girl,
scornf'al at such peurile raillery. "Then what do they
call me?" he demanded. "They call ye Joe Skillen."
"Ah, then ye do remember me!" cried Joe triumphantly.
"Of course 1 remember ye. D'ye think I'm as daft as
ail that!"

Joe, chivalrously acknowledging defeat, retreated
behind the counter and put the tea and sugar in the
string bag. "Ye wont forget the paraffin?" asked the
girl as she accepted her purchases. "I'll bring it up
meself. I cant say fairer nor that!" cried the youth,
rubbing his hands together briskly. The girl looked
at him gravely. "No, I suppose ye cant," she agreed.

He opened the door for her and followed her out
onto the road, as she stepped across the bicycle and
stood poised, Joe rearranged the string bag that she had
hung on the handlebars. "It might catch on the brakes,"
he warned, Suddenly he slid his hand along the bar
until it closed on her's. He felt her warm brown hand
quiver under his like a bird. "I'll be up wi' the
paraffin one of these evenings, soon," he said in a
quick unsteady voice. He bent his head down to see her
face under her tumbled hair. Her mouth was curved in
laughter, and his neart raced again. Without a word she
shook her hand loose, and pushing vigorously on the
pedals sped away fiom him.

When he went back into the shop his father was
cutting tobacco at the counter. "who was that ye were
ushering out?" he demanded. "Martha Echlin from Rathard."
"Oh, it was, was it?" said his father putting down the
tobacco knife and turning his red moon face on his son.
"Well, you've damned little to do wi’ your time, helping

Joe, Tobacco
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna224", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 04/21/2024 - 00:44, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna224