The Wedding Quilt – Episode 39

It was at the end of a long, weary day that, faint with hunger and exhaustion, Donald almost staggered back to his hotel, resolving to order a meal from room service before having an early night.

Hot on the trail, and almost cross-eyed from looking through countless ledgers, he hadn’t taken the time to eat during the day, but his persistence had paid off in the end.

There before him was the entry he’d been hoping to find. A marriage between Dugald Stewart, twenty-four, son of Donald Stewart and Catherine Logan, born in Perth, Scotland, resident of Ararat, Ontario, to Grizel Carmichael, twenty-two.

It was obvious by the date that the couple had not rushed into marriage on arriving in Canada. Instead, Dugald had prudently established himself in the new land, no doubt wanting to make a home for his future bride before setting the date.

It was the helpful archivist who took Donald one step further.

“Before you go rushing off to Ararat, sir, may I suggest you look through the birth records for children of this couple? New immigrants often moved about before finally settling in one spot. Our registers show the place where such children were born, which may be a help.”

So Donald soldiered on, and was rewarded by a sad little entry a year after the marriage, showing the birth of a stillborn son.

An hour later he returned to the main desk with nothing more to show for his pains.

“It seems they didn’t have any more children after the first,” he said, feeling sorrow for the pair who had lost their only child.

“Can you stay on for a little while?” the man asked him. “I’ve just thought of something, and we don’t close for another half hour. Do you have the date of that birth?”

Donald didn’t have long to wait, and the man soon returned, handing him a slip of paper. Grizel Stewart, née Carmichael, died in childbirth in 1848, along with her son. This, then, explained why there had been no response to Donald’s advertisements seeking descendants of Dugald Stewart and Grizel Carmichael.

Although he hated to think that his journey to Canada might had been all for nothing, it looked as though this might be the end of the trail.


Mamie Burke handed her husband his lunch pail, which contained egg sandwiches, a wedge of gingerbread and a bottle of well water.

He accepted it, frowning.

“I was hoping you’d come with me today, love. Are you sure you won’t change your mind?”

“I can’t possibly get away when we’ve got company in the house,” she retorted. “You know that, Matt.”

“Surely Beasie can see to the wretched girl?”

“She’s not a wretched girl; she’s family. Besides, I have things to do. The Carmodys are coming to supper and the pies won’t bake themselves.”

“I thought Beasie and Drusilla were on the outs.”

“And it’s time that was put to rights! Now, off you go, and let me get on!”

Mamie returned to the kitchen where Beasie was washing up the breakfast things.

“Is Stella not up yet?”

Beasie pulled a face.

“I went to see if she was awake and when I told her it was almost nine o’clock she just rolled over, telling me to come back in an hour with a soft-boiled egg and some lightly done toast. Did you ever hear such a thing, Mum?”

Mamie laughed.

“I’m afraid that young lady is due for a wake-up call in more ways than one! We’ll excuse her this once, and I’ll give her something to eat whenever she does put in an appearance, but after that she’ll just have to fit in with the rest of us.

“Cousin Sarah may have hired help in the house, but round here we’re just plain folks and Stella will have to get used to it.”

Beasie bit her lip.

“Paddy’s coming to take me out this afternoon. We’re going to Lookout Point to see the view. It’s our last chance before haying season starts. When we made plans I had no idea that Stella would be here, and I’ve no way to contact him to tell him not to come. What do you think I ought to do, Mum?”

“You go ahead as planned, dear. I can look after Stella. In the meantime, perhaps you’ll go down to the cellar and bring me up a few things. I’ll need two bottles of peaches, some beef and a crock of salted green beans.

“And when you’ve done that you can look in the potato pit and see if you can find any that aren’t too badly sprouted. It’s such a treat to be having company for supper! We should do this more often.”

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.