Storytime with Stidmama

Chapter Forty Six

Once again, this chapter, written September 16, does not appear in the Babble Chat log.

Nancy was in the kitchen when Gilly came in, all smiles, to get a bit of broth for Nan. She had already seen Adam, grumbling at being kept inside for the day but happily accepting all the attention Ava and the others could spare.

She wanted to visit with her niece, to reassure herself that Nan would be okay, but decided instead to step out to the fields instead to let Paul and the others know. Inga accompanied her, full of questions about the "doings" in the village.

Nancy was full of her own thoughts, yet enjoyed sharing what she knew -- and what she had heard from various sources.

Though it was the simplest dress she owned, and she wore one of Helena's aprons over it, still Nancy cut a strange figure next to her niece who was more appropriately attired. Her dress was of simple poplin which shone brightly in the sunlight, and had lace at the cuffs and collar. She had borrowed an old pair of Ava's boots, which were much easier to maneuver between the furrows in the fields. Over her hair, which she wore up in the manner peculiar to the matrons of the village, she had placed Helena's large green and yellow bonnet.

Inga's simple dress of homespun was dark blue, which complemented off her eyes and hair beautifully. And as girls often do even with their work garments, she had spent a little time to add a pretty collar that set off her skintone.

Inga had braided her hair around her head to keep it off her neck (and out of apron strings) while she worked, and her broad-brimmed straw hat framed her face prettily.

Inga had a large basket on her arm, filled with some nice fruit pies for the workers to have a quick snack, and Nancy carried a jug of tart juice to wash the pie down. Daniel was quick to see them as they came up, and gallantly took the jug dancing out of the way of Inga's foot as she playfully threatened to keep his piece of pie to herself.

Paul ran up anxiously, and then smiled broadly as he heard Nancy and Inga give the report... Peter signaled the rest to take a break, and they crowded around to ask questions while they ate.

Andy was especially glad to hear of Adam and Nan's improvement. He offered to help his aunt and cousin carry things back, and with a wink at Paul, Peter sent him off to help bring lunch to the fields when it was time.

Inga and Andy started back to the house while Nancy conferred with her brothers.

"No one has seen Sebastian yet, but he is young and strong, though unskilled. We are sure he will be found as soon as he is hungry and cold enough. But the question is, what will we do when he is found?"

Paul had a list of ideas, but just looked at his boots and kicked at a large rock sticking out of the ground.

Peter sighed and looked at the people working in the fields, "I don't know, Sis -- maybe we should just be glad that no one was worse affected, and see if we can find an apprenticeship for him. It seems that he is not suited for our way of life, and certainly Helena's and my tutelage are not working."

Paul looked him directly in the eye, "He's thirteen, Peter, and few masters would take on an older child with such a bad temper. More likely he'd run away from any master foolish enough to take him on."

Paul shrugged, and fell silent.

"But perhaps," ventured Nancy, "If we found something he's really interested in? Something he has shown a talent for?"

They wracked their brains, thinking. They hemmed, they hawed, they humphed.

They looked at each other helplessly. The only things Sebastian seemed to do well were eating and sleeping... though he showed little talent for or interest in cooking.

Still, Peter looked a little less grim as he went back to work in the fields. Paul hummed to himself as he picked up a rake and began going over the harvested area to pick up any missing straw. It would be bundled and set aside in the village stores in case someone needed it later on.

Nancy walked back to the house, full of thoughts, her face shielded by the wide brim of the bonnet. And perhaps it was just as well. She hadn't told anyone yet that the sheriff had advised putting Sebastian in the jail for a few days to think things over... She was thought about her brothers, how different each one's life had turned out, and about her nephew who seemed determined to make his life harder than anyone else's.

By the time she reached the house, she had regained her composure, and smiled as she entered, welcomed into the hustle and bustle of good people doing their best for each other.