The Wedding Quilt – Episode 12

Jessie concentrated on the sock she was darning.

“Very nice for somebody, I’m sure. It sounds like they’re getting a legacy.”

Robbie leapt to his feet, forgetting about his bad leg and yelping with pain as a result.

“But don’t you see, Jessie? This could be us!”

“Don’t be silly. How could we have anything to do with this woman?”

“Because my granny was Euphemia Stewart before she married Grandpa Clark, and we’ve got the family bible to prove it!”

“Euphemia is a common enough name, and Stewart even more so.”

But Robbie was already reaching for the bible and moments later he laid it before his wife in triumph, open at the family records page.

“See there?” he said, stabbing a finger on the entry for his grandma’s marriage. “Euphemia Stewart, daughter of Donald Stewart of Perth.”

The young woman had married when she was seventeen years old.

Jessie hated to dampen her husband’s enthusiasm, but she could see a fly in the ointment.

“Your granny has been dead fifteen years, Robbie. And all she had to leave was her old workbox, which came to me, and the wee bit she’d put by to give herself a funeral. Perth is probably full of Stewarts. This is a coincidence.”

“I’m going to write to these people,” he said, his lips set in a stubborn line. “What harm can it do?”

“You go ahead,” his wife told him. “If there’s any money in it the first thing I’ll do is buy new socks for Jamie. This pair has reached the point where I’m darning on the darns!”


Filled with anticipation, Mamie and Beasie caught the morning train to Ararat.

“We’ll do our shopping,” Mamie decided, “and then get a bite to eat in the diner. It will be a rare treat to eat a meal I haven’t cooked myself.”

Beasie’s conscience gave her a twinge. When had she last cooked a meal for her mother, apart from the rare occasions when illness had kept Mamie in her bed?

She had been so busy thinking about her longing to get away from what she saw as the drudgery of home, she hadn’t given a thought to the constraints of her mother’s life.

Mamie was married, wasn’t she? She had a nice home and a good husband; what more could she want? Did she ever feel bored with her lot?

Well, when Mr Right came along – if he ever did – Beasie would need to put good meals on the table. Why not expand her repertoire in the meantime and give more help to Mamie at the same time?

“I’ve been hoping you could teach me to cook,” she said. “Something more than bacon and eggs, or scones and cookies.”

“You’ll never be younger to learn,” Mamie said, smiling. “What did you have in mind?”

“I was thinking about pastry and dumplings and fruitcake. You know, all the things men like.”

“And which lucky man do you have in mind?” Mamie had a twinkle in her eye.

“Dad, of course!”

“Oh, of course! I should have known that!”

The train gathered speed and the two women sat in companionable silence, watching the familiar scenery slide by.

The conductor came down the aisle, greeting each passenger in turn, for he was well known to everyone in the district.

“Gidday, Mrs Burke,” he said, touching a forefinger to his peaked cap. “Off to the big city to spend your husband’s money, are we?”

“That’s right, Mick. You know my daughter, Beasie, do you?”

“Oh, I’ve heard all about this lovely lady from Frank Carmody. The lad has high hopes of Beasie Burke!”

Beasie felt her face go hot. The railroading community was a small one and there were no secrets among the men who rode the rails.

“Is that so?” Mamie said, looking Beasie up and down with eyes bright with interest.

“We were at school together, that’s all,” Beasie mumbled. “He’ll get a piece of my mind the next time I see him, talking about me like me that!”

“What’s all this about?” Mamie asked when Mick had moved on. “Is there anything I should know about you and Frank?”

“Drusilla says he fancies me, that’s all. Apparently he’s coming home on leave soon and Drusilla thinks we should get together.”

“You could do worse,” Mamie said, and mercifully dropped the subject.

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.