Monday, July 21, 2014

Chapter Thirteen



"Easy with her!"

"It's all right Widow, she's just a bit nervie after the ride.  Just stay back and we'll handle her."

I didn't care, Nanny was never out of sorts yet here she was snapping and clacking her teeth together, looking to take a chunk out of someone.  And since she was my steed I would not be told to stay back.

"Easy girl ..."

"Widow!"

"Suck wind," I muttered under my breath and continued to do as I please.  As soon as Nanny got my smell she shook off the boy that had been trying to bring her down the ramp off of the livestock car and stepped over to me to complain.  "I know, I know.  It's all right.  Your sensibilities are overset.  There now ... I'm right here.  And yes you may sniff and wuffle all you wish but please keep the slobber to a minimum."

I heard some boyish sniggers behind me and turned.  There stood the Talbot brothers, both looking a foot taller than when I had left early in the Spring but undoubtedly the same stinkers as well if their redheaded, freckle faced grins were any indication.  "Hello Jode, Jude."

They took their hats off and bowed but could not seem to take their smile off.  "You think she'll let us take her?  We brought some carrots."

Nanny's ears flickered at the word carrots and she gave the boys a considering glance.  "If you really have the carrots I believe she will appreciate the attention."

"Yes'm."  They pulled out carrots nearly as identical looking as they were and Nanny gave me a look as if to say "Now this is some like."

I walked her over to the boys and held her lead until I was sure she was more herself.  Carrots are Nanny's weakness and she barely gave me a half glance when I turned to supervise the rest of my livestock.  "Easy there!  Those are chickens not bed pillows.  Don't throw their cages around like that!"

Jode tapped my elbow and said, "Da told us that if you wish it, we can drive the wagon for you.  We got word you'd be bringing Nanny there and some feather dusters and Joel built a good, sound coop for your biddies.  It's right near the kitchen birds so they'll have some company to cluck with."

I bowed my head and said, "Tell your father and your brother that I appreciate their forethought very much as it is a thing I had been worrying about."

"Yes'm.  Ma said you would.  She said she'll see to them the same as she sees to the kitchen birds when you've duties that keep you busy."

They bowed again and scampered away taking Nanny with them before climbing into the seat of my old wagon.

I turned to find half the railyard staring.  "Am I keeping you men from your work?"

They all suddenly found themselves some business to get busy with and I went in search of the Sheriff.  I found him and Guard Nealy on the other side of a large tree biting their lips.

I rolled my eyes.  "You both look like you have a stomach ailment.  Perhaps you need a dose of oil to clean your systems."

Guard Nealy started coughing and shaking and then bowed and turned and walked quickly away.  I looked at the Sheriff whose eyes were streaming and asked, "Does the insanity come from your mother's side or your father's?"

He lost it.  I rolled my eyes and left him howling and went to collect my satchel from the items that hadn't been loaded onto my wagon.  I placed my hat back upon my head and pinned it in place and then turned about looking for what conveyance we would be taking to the Hall.

The Sheriff stumbled over still wiping his eyes and said, "Dear Lord, Wendolyn will not know what to think."

"I will not act this way with her.  She is the Guardian's wife and you said yourself she is ... a ... hmmm ... stickler."

"Yes, but she's no fussbudget.  Tomas wouldn't stand for it.  She's just a bit stiff and nervie.  Get her relaxed and she's much more approachable.  Problem is at the moment Widow she can't relax and it aggravates the other."

"Hmmm."

"I take it you recognized the boys."

"Yes, their grandfather is one of the gardeners and their father works in the vineyards.  Their mother helps with the Linder fowls.  I ..."

"You what?"

I shook my head.  "They and the other belowstairs workers were kind to me."  Shaking my head again, "It is rather late in the day Sheriff.  I'm sure you have duties to attend to and ..."

"Trying to get rid of me?"

"In a word?  Yes."

He sighed.  "You'll have to bide my company a bit longer Widow.  The Linder left word that he is home rather than entertaining and is eager to meet you."

"Botheration."

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