• December Bride
  • Part Three



But indeed every member of the Rathard household
was excited about the new shop. It was a sudden outlet
for them. They were about to break through the social
isolation that had parched their hearts and minds for
years, and on Knocknadreemally there would arise a
homestead bound by unbreakable bonds with Rathard, an
outpost of their own kin.

Frank had many more suggestions to make and he
outlined them to Joe one afternoon, sketching his plans
on the doorpost of the old cottage. "When things are
going well wi’ ye, Joe, ye can build a house for your-
self on the plot o' land next to the shop. A decent
house, two-storied wi' a slate roof, pebble-dashed walls
facing on the road, a bit o' fuschia at the gate, and a
green door wi’ a brass knocker." The youth eyed the
plot of land that Frank had pointed to, and nodded his
head. "It would look well there - and when it comes to
the building, Frank, you’ll be the man that’ll draw it
up!" Frank caught his arm. "Dont forget that, Joe, I’ll
be the man that'll build it." "Its a promise, Frank, I
wont forget!" and they both laughed.

Having learnt Frank's requirements for the shop,
Hamilton himself supervised the buying of the heavy-
timber, sheeting, brackets and shelving. Andrew laboured
manfully to cut a larger window in the ancient stone
wall of the cottage, and Sarah, with Joe to advise her,
applied her shrewd mind to the purchase of stock for the

During the day, Frank had the help of Andrew when
he was free from farm-work, and a labourer, Martin
McSherry, who could put his hand to coarse cappentry.
Hamilton rarely went near the cottage during the daytime,
but in the evening, when his work was finished, he would
take a stroll up Knocknadreemally to see what progress

Linen Hall Library, "Hanna256", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 05/09/2021 - 18:08, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna256