The Wedding Quilt – Episode 35

Jessie’s eyes opened wide when they neared the hall where the meeting was taking place and heard shouts coming from inside.

She was worried what might happen to Robbie. It was unlikely they’d resort to violence when their jobs were on the line, but if they had refused to listen, perhaps even taking him by the arm to escort him from the hall, that would be the end of his control of the work force.

Donald Stewart would return home to chaos, and Robbie would never be able to hold up his head again.

She stood timidly just inside the door as Robbie marched up to the platform, his head high, ignoring the murmur of voices that greeted his appearance.

Archie Fraser rose from his chair, shaking his fist.

“This is a closed meeting, man! I’ll ask you to leave.”

Robbie’s voice rang out as he climbed the steps to the dais.

“If this meeting has to do with Donald Stewart’s firm then it can’t be closed to me. I am the great-grandson of the first Donald Stewart who founded this company, and it is in my safekeeping while my cousin is abroad.”

“Please don’t let him stumble,” Jessie whispered.

His bad leg was none too reliable, and it would be a disaster if he landed on his face at Fraser’s feet. But righteous indignation had carried him safely to a waiting chair, and she was able to relax.

Robbie got to the point.

“My daughter, a lassie of six years of age, has been tormented at the school by children led by one Lindy Fraser, who is, I think, your daughter, Archie Fraser.”

The man shrugged.

“Bairns’ doings.”

“Is it not true that you’ve been heard to complain I’ve stolen your job? Come on, man, speak the truth!”

Another man leapt to his feet.

“Archie Fraser has been the foreman here since before the war. He knows Stewart’s like the back of his hand. He should have been left in charge of the place in the master’s absence, not some Glasgow carpenter!”

Jessie winced as a rumble of agreement was heard. Robbie stood up.

“Mr Fraser has been left in charge of production. I am supervising the business overall. Let me ask you this: how many of you were employed here before the war?”

A forest of hands went up.

“And how many of those went to fight and have since been taken back?” Most of the same hands waved again. “So it seems to me that Donald Stewart has dealt fairly with you all.

“Don’t you agree that he has the right to choose one of his own kin to represent him while he’s away? I consider it a sacred trust to preserve Stewart’s, and I shall not hesitate to act in any manner fit to achieve that aim. I shall deal severely with any man who incites pupils at the school to act against my children. You all know the road home. This meeting is closed.”

Jessie’s heart was full as the men shuffled past her without meeting her gaze. She felt so proud of Robbie that she could have burst into song.

The trouble might not be over, and it was certain that Archie Fraser would continue to bear a grudge, but her husband had won this round!

She vowed to do what she could to support Robbie, so that when Donald returned he would find everything in good order. God willing, they would not fail.

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.