• December Bride
  • Part Three



"What are ye doing down there in the dark, woman?he *

"Nothing, nothing!" cried Sarah from the room, end
came running light-foot into the kitchen. Her eyes
were wide and bright and a red glow pulsed on her pale
cheeks. Hamilton stared reproachfully over his paper
at her. "Well, sit down here and close the door like
a good woman. There’s a powerful draught wi' ye
leaving it open."

Obediently she closed the door and sat down beside
him. Then after a time she spoke. "Hami, Mr Sorleyson,
the minister, was here the-day."

"Aye?" said Hamilton, without lowering his paper.

"He wants us to get married"

Hamilton dropped his paper in concertina folds on
his knees. "He what?"

"He says we'll have to get married afore Martha
can get married."

"Ah" said Hamilton, gazing into the fire. "And
when's this tae be done?"

"On Wednesday's-a-week."

The man raised his head. "Wednesday? Then I maun
go tae Killyleagh for coals on the Thursday?"

The woman’s eyes widened and her lips quivered. She
looked at the dark gaunt mein as he sat there, his face
bathed in shadow, his earth-stained hands stretched on
the arms of his chair. For an instant a crystal of angry
laughter glowed in her eyes. "Aye, ye may go tae Killy-
leagh for coals on the Thursday!" She set the words
down like plates clinking on a table-top. She stood up
abruptly. "I’m away to my bed now"she said, and as
she left the kitchen, there was the faintest flounce to
her step.

Hamilton pulled off his socks and hung them on the
crane. He held out his naked soles to the glowing embers
and sighed with pleasure. Then he got up and turned out

Married, Thursday
Linen Hall Library, "Hanna266", Northern Ireland Literary Archive, accessed Sun, 05/09/2021 - 18:07, https://www.niliteraryarchive.com/content/hanna266