The Bairn of Brianag (Chapter Seven, page 1 of 9)


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I waited for Robbie to come see me; he did not come before dinner. Rabbit brought mutton broth and buttermilk and cornbread; I was at last able to sit propped up slightly on the pillows and eat a little of the food. Afterward I slept until evening. When I woke Rabbit again put the medicine on my wounds. I felt my strength beginning to return; I was feeling a little less pain, though movement was still excruciating.

I heard Mrs. Randall's steps in the hallway.

She came into the room dressed for supper, in a green gown that changed her eyes from hazel to emerald. The likeness to Robbie's startled me pleasantly; I smiled at her.

She smiled back at me. "Rabbit, leave us."

She sat beside me and took my hand. "We have sent for the magistrate," she said.

"We have stated urgency. You must be married before your father comes here again."

"Yes, madam. Thank you," I said, gratitude flooding through me.

"I hope that the magistrate shall come in a few days time," she said. "I shall have the seamstress alter a gown of Catherine's for you to wear."

"Yes, madam," I said again.

" Good night, dear. I shall pray for your swift recovery."

"Madam-Mrs. Randall!" I said, as she turned away. "Where is-where is Robbie? I have not seen him all the day."

"Robbie has matters to arrange with his uncle," she said. "In any case, it is not at all seemly for him to visit you in your bedchamber."

I felt a blush rise from my throat and flame to my hairline. The welt on my face throbbed. I wanted to blurt out that I was already Robbie's wife in fact, and that he could visit me when and where he wished. I did not need a magistrate to make it so. But I held my tongue.

She paused at the door. "Good night, dear. Sleep well," she said, and went out.

___________________________

Cathy's gowns were not difficult to alter for me; the biggest difference in our size was height. She was somewhat taller than I, and so seemed more slender; but once the lengths were changed, her gowns fit me quite well. Rabbit stuffed wool into the toes of her slippers to make them fit my feet.

The magistrate did not come for three days, during which time I did not see Robbie at all. My emotions varied from fear that my father would find me to joy that I soon would be wife to Robbie in name as well as in fact. I was able to wear a gown, with loosely tied stays, and go down to dinner on the third evening. Across from me at the table, Robbie's face was pale in the candlelight. His uncle was pensive. Mrs. Randall's countenance was serene, but she also spoke very little. I could not speak at all. My longing for Robbie increased. My appetite left me and the nausea returned. I wished violently for the magistrate to come quickly. I woke in the night weeping. Rabbit soothed me with rose water and gave me ginger tea. I felt I would go mad with waiting.

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