The Wedding Quilt – Episode 48

She found her husband in the office, frowning over some sketches of what looked like garden seats.

He looked up when she entered.

“What brings you here, Jessie? Can’t it wait? I have to make a decision on this before noon and I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing.”

“Everything is going to be all right, Robbie! Donald has found our long-lost cousins and now we’ll get our inheritance!”

“Don’t get too excited, love. It may only amount to tuppence ha’penny.”

“But he says that apart from him and us there are only these Burkes. Someone called Mamie and her husband and daughter. We’ll be all right, Robbie! I can hardly believe it!”

“It’s odd he didn’t put us out of our misery sooner.”

“But he did. At least, he tried to. He addressed the envelope to Perth, without naming a country on it. Apparently there is a Perth in Canada and it went there by mistake.” She held out the envelope on which someone had written Not known here. Try Scotland.

“I suppose we should be thankful it didn’t go to Australia.” Robbie grunted. “The man must be head over heels with this Stella if he can’t even remember where he comes from! Now, do run along and let me do my job while I still have one!”

Jessie returned home, dizzy with joy. Money couldn’t buy happiness, but it would go a long way towards smoothing their path in the years to come.

Never again would she have to witness the defeated look on Robbie’s face as he went from place to place, desperate to find work that would bring in a few pennies to put food on the table.

She would be a lady of leisure; apart from cooking and cleaning and doing the weekly wash, that was.

But now all these efforts would go towards making a home for their family, which was a very different thing from going out to scrub floors for some unappreciative employer!


September had come, bringing with it the much anticipated county fair.

Cheap excursion trains had been put on, bringing the world to Ararat for the three-day celebration. Stalls were being set up in the fairgrounds and an army of workers were sweeping out the exhibition hall where the competition entries would be displayed.

Very soon the trestle tables would be groaning with garden produce, honey and maple syrup, preserves and baked goods.

Handicrafts would be safely locked inside display cabinets fronted with chicken wire.

Judges were coming from out of town so that nobody could be accused of bias; in a district where everyone seemed to be related to everybody else it wouldn’t do for a winner to be awarded a prize by an uncle or brother-in-law. There might be a riot!

Entries had to be delivered the day before the grand opening, and the whole township was in an uproar.

Matt was sorting his vegetables while his wife selected jars of dill pickles, wild plum jam and corn relish from the treasures stored in their cellar.

“Do you really think this is good enough to enter, Mum?” Beasie said, looking doubtfully at the dainty hostess apron she had slaved over.

“Of course it is, dear,” Mamie assured her.

One never knew what would catch the judges’ eye, but Beasie deserved encouragement. One layer of the girl’s Victoria sponge had emerged from the oven with a definite tilt to one side and would have to be reserved for home consumption rather than being taken to the fair.

The crowning glory of their entries was the wedding quilt, which was rolled up in a clean sheet for travelling. After all those weeks of painstaking work, Mamie hated to let it out of her sight, yet if there was any chance of the quilt winning a prize she had to trust to luck and let it go.

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.