Living By The Land – Episode 54

“WHAT about you, Louisa?” she demanded. “You look sad to me.”

Louisa jumped.

“Do I?”

“Yes. Is it a man?”


“I bet it is. Eliza says women are always getting upset over men and she’s got two big sisters, so she knows. Is it the one with the dark hair?”

“Which one?” Louisa knew she should put a stop to this conversation but she just couldn’t resist asking.

“The one at the end of the table. He was looking at you the whole of dinner, with his eyes all wide like this.” Betsy tipped her little head on one side and made big moon eyes at Louisa. Normally this would have had Louisa laughing out loud, but this time it didn’t seem quite so funny.

“Callum,” she whispered.

Had he really been looking at her like that? Why would Betsy make it up?

“It is him, then!” Betsy looked triumphant. “I thought so. He looks nice, Louisa.”

“He is.”

“Then why are you sad?”

Louisa sighed.

“He thinks I did something I didn’t do.”

Betsy put her hands on her hips.

“And you’re letting him? That’s silly, Louisa. You should talk to him.”

“Should I, indeed? And what do you know of it, young lady?”

“I know a lot. Eliza thought I’d stolen her pencil, the new one her dad bought her for looking after her silly little baby of a brother. But I hadn’t. I only found out when Katie told me, so I went straight to Eliza and said I hadn’t and helped her to look, and do you know where we found it? In Tommy Jenks’s desk! So then we were both cross at Tommy, but Eliza wasn’t cross at me any more and that’s how we got to be best friends.”

Betsy stopped for breath and Louisa considered. It might be a child’s story but it had a good point.

“You’re right,” she conceded. “Thank you. Now, nightdress!”

“Must I?”


“Only if you’ll talk to Callum.”

“But . . .”

“Only if you’ll talk to him!”

Louisa rolled her eyes.

“All right.”


“I promise, once you’re asleep.”


Betsy allowed Louisa finally to help her into her nightdress. The water had grown cold but she didn’t even protest about washing and was soon tucked safely between the sheets.

“Oh, Louisa, this bed is so soft!”

Her eyes were drooping and she snuggled almost eagerly down into the covers.

“Sleep well, my sweet.” Louisa kissed her and rose, crossing back to the window as she waited for Betsy to drift off.

Only the very top of the sun was showing over the dark line of trees on the horizon now, but it still cast a low light over the farm. Where was Callum, Louisa wondered, and would he meet her, even if she asked him? It was all very well, promising Betsy she’d talk to him, but she could hardly force him to listen. That much was up to him.


Alison Cook