Living By The Land – Episode 49


Callum’s voice was stiff and formal and chilled Louisa’s blood, but she pushed on.

“I wanted to talk to you about . . .”

Words failed her but then Callum took her totally by surprise.


“Marriage? No!” She was stuck. She could hardly propose to him, could she?

“I’ve heard about your plans,” he said eventually.

“Plans? What plans, Callum?”

“Tiernan’s told me all about it. He took me aside for a ‘man-to-man’ chat and said you and Amelia had come up with a ‘wonderful solution’ for us all. How could you, Louisa? Amelia I can understand – that girl only looks out for herself, and Tiernan is mad for her and not seeing straight. But you! I thought we had something.”

He went to turn away but, emboldened by the pain in his voice, Louisa caught his arm.

“So did I.”

“Then why on earth have you told Tiernan I should marry Sally?”


Louisa’s head spun. It seemed that Amelia had lost no time in putting her new idea into action. No wonder Callum had been avoiding her if this was what he thought. She had to explain, but before she could even frame the words he was talking again, his voice low but frighteningly venomous.

“Listen carefully, Louisa. I don’t want to marry Sally! She’s a nice girl but I want a wife I can love. I thought, maybe, I’d found one, but it turns out you can be very wrong about people.”

Louisa felt her own temper rise. How dare he make such assumptions about her?

“It does indeed!” she flung back at him and, turning on her heel, she stormed from the yard.

She made it safely into the dairy before tears betrayed her and she scuttled for the cool dark of the cheese store.

Martha, however, a mother to her core, could spot unhappiness from a mere droop of a shoulder and was after her in a flash.

“Is it Callum?” she queried gently from the doorway.

Louisa, head down, could only nod.

“He assumes he knows what I’m thinking,” she muttered.

Martha nodded.

“They do that.”

“But he’s wrong.”

“They often are. You have to spell it out to them, I’m afraid.”

Louisa looked up, wiping her eyes on her apron.

“Why, Martha? If he can’t be bothered to look properly – can’t be bothered to see that I care for him – then why should I try?”

“For the very reason you just gave. That you care.”

“Not any more.”


Louisa sighed.

“I don’t know, Martha. It’s all so silly. I wish I could be like you and Silas, married for years and secure with each other.”

Martha laughed.

“Are you sure? Did you not see my old fool of a husband the other night, running off across dark fields rather than face me over some ridiculous incident, years old?”

Despite herself Louisa smiled at the memory of Silas crumpled up in the tavern, swearing Martha hated him.

“And me pacing around at home, railing at him in case it was true? Ah, Louisa, my girl, there’s no romance without a bit of uncertainty – keeps you on your toes!”

Louisa groaned.

“I think my toes hurt, I’m on them so often,” she grumbled and Martha stepped forward and gathered her into her arms.

“Bless you, sweetheart, it’ll sort itself out, you’ll see.”

“I hope you’re right, Martha,” Louisa said, grateful for the comfort. “I really hope you’re right.”

Alison Cook