• December Bride
  • Part Three



"Oh, no, oh, no I I know he'll be beat snd kilt
among them. Oh, God, oh, God!" he leant his head on
the seat in front of him and wept.

The bus bounced and jolted on, a speck of light
crawling over the face of the dark countryside. The
conductor shook Petie by the shoulder. "Knocknadree-
mally Hill, next stop, Petie" he shouted above the
roar of the bus. The old tnan sat up, his face sober
and "quiet. "I'm going on to Bavara crossroads, Sam,"
he replied. "But we're coming to your place now!"
shouted the conductor. "Bavara crossroads," repeated
Petie. "You'll get no bus back the-night," the man
warned him. The old man was silent. "Are ye staying
wi' somebody there?" "Aye" said Petie "I'm staying
wi' somebody there."

As the bus passed his cottage he didn't look out
of the window, but stared straight ahead at the empty
seats in front. Once or twice the conductor who sat
in front glanced back uneasily at him. Then at last
he got up and sliding back the window behind the
driver's head talked long and earnestly to his mate.
When he had finished he stood aside so that the other
man could look back into the bus. The driver screwed
round in his seat and stared at Petie as long as he
dared. Then he turned back to his wheel, spat into
the darkness, and shouted something over his shoulder
with a note of finality. The conductor shut the
window and sat down with his back to Petie.

At Bavara the bus came to a throbbing halt. The
conductor stood over Petie, bracing himself by the
handles of the seats. ’You're at the crossroads,
Petie," he said.

The old man looked up and smiled. "Thank ye
kindly, Sam. I know me way now." He crawled out of
his seat and walked slowly down the bus. The driver

Petie, Ravara
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna240", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 05/09/2021 - 18:47, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna240