• December Bride
  • Part Three



But a day or two later, the matter was made clear
to her. a small blue car swept into the close, scattering
the hens before it like foam, and the Reverend Mr.
Sorleyson climbed out and came up to the house. "How are
you all?" he said, smiling in at Sarah and Martha from
the door. Sarah returned his smile, indeed, there was
something so honest and pleasant about it, that it
would have been difficult to resist. "Come in, Mr.
Sorleyson. Would ye like a bite o' dinner - or maybe
ye wanted to see Mr Echlin?"

"No, no. I wanted to see you, and I’ll take a cup
of tea with you, if you’ll be so kind." He turned to the
girl and put his hand on her shoulder. "Run away out,
Martha, and come back in fifteen minutes, will you?" he
smiled as he said it, but the hand that urged the girl
forward was not to be contradicted.

Sorleyson took the cup of tea, stirred it, sipped
it, and nodded his approval to Sarah. But his face was
grave when he spoke. "Miss Gomartin" he began, and
Sarah looked up sharply at the strange title, "I’ve
something to tell you, and I want to say it as briefly
and - honestly, as I can contrive. You know, of course,
that Joe Skillen and your daughter have completed their
new home in Belfast, and all that remains to be done is
get married?" Sarah nodded, and the minister continued:
"Right. Has it not seemed strange to you that there’s
been no headway made in the arrangements for the wedding?"

"I was wondering that myself, the other day, but
when I asked Joe he said something about having another
matter to redd up."

"Aye. Well, I csn tell you what that other matter
is - its you." Sorleyson set his cup and saucer on the
floor and leaned back in his chair to watch the women
on the other side of the hearth.

Tea, Gomartin
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna263", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Wed, 05/29/2024 - 23:04, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna263