The Wedding Quilt – Episode 11

Jessie’s face softened.

“Oh, Robbie, not your grandpa’s fiddle. You love that thing. And where would we be of an evening without a bit of music to cheer ourselves up?”

Robbie didn’t want her to know about the hours he’d spent outside the railway terminus, playing that fiddle, his cap on the ground to catch the pennies that seldom fell.

“It won’t be for long,” he assured her. “I’ll feel better when the warmer weather gets here. I’ll find work and we may even get a bit put by under the mattress.”

“Of course we will. Don’t mind me. I was just feeling a bit gloomy today, that’s all. Rain does that to a body at this time of year.”

Later that day Jessie marched into a big office building, only to find that others had been there before her.

“We can put your name down,” the woman who interviewed her said, “but I can’t hold out much hope for the immediate future. We are fully staffed at present, you see.”

To her dismay Jessie felt tears springing to her eyes.

“I’m sorry. I was hoping you could find something for me,” she muttered.

“Are you a war widow, Mrs Clark?”

“Oh, no. My husband has a good trade, but he was wounded. Nobody wants to take him on these days and we have children to feed.”

“I can offer you cleaning work, if you’re not too proud to take it, Mrs Clark. Our regular charwoman has taken ill and we haven’t found a replacement.”

“Pride doesn’t fill empty stomachs,” Jessie said. “I’ll take the work, and be glad.”

*  *  *  *

Meanwhile Robbie had driven a hard bargain with the man at the pawnshop, and decided a little treat for his family was in order.

He meant to buy a poke of chips to take home to the children, but once inside the chippy he was overcome by the aroma of frying fish, mingled with the scent of vinegar, and he decided to go mad for once.

He’d had nothing but a crust of bread that morning, and if he knew his Jessie, she’d have gone short in order to feed the children.

They could all do with a slap-up meal, and what better than fish and chips when you needed cheering up? Tonight they’d eat like kings, and tomorrow could take care of itself.

While Jessie divided the spoils between four plates, watched avidly by Jamie and Janet, Robbie smoothed out the pages of “The Herald” in which their supper had been wrapped. It wasn’t often he could afford a newspaper, so the sheets were a treat in themselves.

When the meal was done and the dishes cleared, he settled down to read them, his elbows on the table. The small advertisements in the personal column had always held a particular fascination for him, with their glimpse into the lives of other people.

He leaned back suddenly, his eyes wide.

“Listen to this, Jessie! Seeking to contact any descendants of the late Euphemia Stewart, daughter of the late Donald Stewart, cabinetmaker of Perth. Anyone who can prove a relationship may contact Messrs Blair and Thring, solicitors of Perth, where they may learn something to their advantage.”

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.