Romance Fiction posted February 28, 2012 Chapters:  ...11 12 -13- 14... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Marrying age.

A chapter in the book A ROUGH BEGINNING

Chapter Six, Part One

by c_lucas

This novel is written in the Omniscient point of view. It is about life in the Irish Slums, which filled to overflowing after the 1850's Potato Famine.

JUNE, 1875
Heather quietly and quickly prepared breakfast for Mrs. Kennedy and herself.  She placed a freshly brewed cup of foxgloves tea and a bowl of porridge topped with honey on a tray. She carried it to the old lady’s bedside.
“Top of th’ morning ta yeh, ma’am. Yer breakfast be waiting for yeh.” She hid her concern and smiled at the elderly lady. She’s looking worse as th’ days slip by.
“Could yeh hep me up, cailin?” Mrs. Kennedy struggled to get out of bed.
Heather put the tray on the bed stand and offered her hands to the ageing herbalist. “Aye, we’ll have yeh up in no time.”
Mrs. Kennedy took the young woman’s hands and pulled herself into a sitting position. “I’ll be needing a clean gown and bedding.”
Heather, with love and compassion in her eyes, guided Mrs. Kennedy into her wheelchair. “Don’t yeh fret about a thing, I’ll be having yeh fresh and cleaned before Mrs. Wiley and Caitlin gets here.”
Forgetting her own breakfast, Heather helped the old lady to the chamber pot, removed the soiled bedding and helped Mrs. Kennedy into a clean gown, then into her wheelchair. She threw the soiled pieces into the kitchen sink and sat down to her own breakfast.
The old lady wheeled herself to the table. “If yeh fetch my tray, I’ll be joining yeh for breakfast.”
“I’m delighted yeh be feeling good enough ta eat at th’ table.” Heather retrieved the tray and placed it in front of Mrs. Kennedy. She freshened up the special tea and dished up her own breakfast porridge and mint tea.
“Will yeh be seeing yeh doctor man this morning?” Mrs. Kennedy sipped her tea.
“Aye, he’ll be waiting for Caitlin and me by th’ park.”
“Be he still trying ta take yeh away from studying herbs?”
“Nay, but he has arranged for me ta study at Dr. Blackwell’s Women's Medical College, so I be getting his side of healing.”
“Doctor Blackwell? Be that th’ woman doctor, who stirred up all that trouble a few years back?”

“Aye, and she wants me ta study ta be a doctor. She said with my knowledge of herbs, I’d be a fast learner.”
“What does yer doctor man say about yeh becoming a doctor?”
Heather laughed. “He be against it, but he’s agreed I can take any free classes I want ta take. Dr. Blackwell says all her classes will be free ta me.”
“Is he still harping on yeh ta marry him.”
“Yes, but I’ll not be willing ta start a family, yet.”
“Yeh best be starting on it soon.”
“I be twenty-five and I told Arthur and Connor that they didn’t have ta wait for me. They both be a’courting young ladies and plan ta marry this summer. Do yeh be wanting me ta join them?”
Someone knocked on the door. “That’ll be Mrs. Wiley and Caitlin. Come in.” Heather stood, waiting for Caitlin’s onslaught.
Seven year old Caitlin ran into the room, straight into Heather’s arms.
The young woman laughed and hugged her. “Yeh be too big for me ta pick yeh up.” She kissed the child’s forehead and nodded at Mrs. Wiley. “Top of th’ morning ta yeh.” She released Caitlin and the child went to her nana Kennedy. They exchanged kisses on the cheek and a brief hug.
“How be yeh this fine morning?” Mrs. Wiley set Caitlin’s book bag and bagged lunch on the table. She hugged Mrs. Kennedy and exchanged kisses on the cheek.
“I be as well as ta be expected for an old woman whose giving Fader Murphy’s ‘Methuseleh’ a run for his money.”
“Yeh’ll outlive him by a thousand years.” Mrs. Wiley laughed.
Heather carried the dirty dishes and utensils to the sink and placed them on the cutting board. “Mrs. Kennedy will be needing new bed clothing. Sorry about leaving a mess, but me and th’ cailin needs ta be going.” She handed Caitlin her bag of books and lunch. With a wave, they were out the door.
“Aunt Heather, is Nana going ta die?”
Heather reached for Caitlin’s hand as they walked. “Aye, we all will die when our time comes. Mrs. Kennedy’s life be full and it’s her time.”
“I don’t want Nana ta die.” Caitlin pulled her hand free, dropped her books and started to run back down the street toward Mrs. Kennedy’s flat. “I want her ta live forever.”
Heather caught the crying girl and pulled her close. “Aye, cailin, we all want her ta, but that not be God’s Way. Jesus will be wanting ta welcome Nana ta her new home in Heaven.”
“Can’t Jesus wait?”
Heather pulled a clean handkerchief from her skirt's pocket and wiped the tears from Caitlin’s eyes. “Aye, th’ Good Lord can wait, but would it be fair ta Nana Kennedy? She be wanting ta go ta tend her new herb garden and make sure th’ children in Heaven are healthy. I’ll be giving yeh a penny so yeh can pray for Nana Kennedy.”
She released Caitlin, retrieved the lunch and book bags. Heather took a large penny from her pocket, kissed it and handed it to the girl. She adjusted her own burden and took Caitlin’s hand. “We must hurry, yeh class will be starting soon.” They entered the park.
“Yer boyfriend is waving at us.” Her sadness forgotten, Caitlin began to skip, pulling Heather along.
Dr. Martin grinned and opened his arms to encompass Heather and Caitlin in a group hug. He lifted a laughing Caitlin onto the seat and gave Heather a kiss before helping her up. Once seated, she pulled the young girl onto her lap, giving Phillip room to climb in.
It didn’t take them long to reach the church and send Caitlin off to her class.
“Why is she going through the front door?”
“I gave her a penny so she could pray for Mrs. Kennedy.”
“I’ve never understood buying a prayer when you can talk to God for free.”
“It’s not paying for a prayer. It’s for buying a candle. Th’ candle light makes the prayer special. I could have told Caitlin ta get a penny from the pauper’s box, or just ta light a candle, but it’s not th’ same as having your own penny.”
“Father Murphy has tried to enlighten me. Your concept of Purgatory is not much different than the Methodist’s.”  
“Does this be meaning yeh accept th’ Catholic Church?”
Phillip pulled up in front of the Women's Medical College. “Not fully, but I don’t reject it either.”
“What about our wee ones?”
Philipp placed his free arm around Heather and pulled her closer. “Yeh be thinking of our wee ones, are yeh?” He asked, trying to speak in Heather's dialect. “Saints preserve us. Me thinks yeh won’t be saying no th' next time I’ll be asking for yer hand in marriage!” He pulled her to him and kissed her passionately.
Heather returned his kiss with even more passion. “Mrs. Kennedy warned me not ta wait much longer. So I be saying yes when yeh get around ta asking me.”
The doctor kissed her on the nose. “Does that mean I’m invited to dinner, tonight?”
“Aye, and I be feeding yeh well before yeh face my three Neanderthals, but yeh will only have ta have one’s permission. me fader’s.”

“You mean two. I already have Arthur’s permission. He won’t marry until you are married.”
“Just Fader’s. Arthur be showing his stubborn streak. I’ve already given him and Connor me permission ta marry ahead of me.”
“You can do that?”
“Yeh know as th’ oldest cailin I should be married first, unless I give any older male me permission. But I would be wanting yeh ta ask someone else’s blessings beside Mammy and Fader’s. It be important ta me.”
She gave Phillip a chaste kiss and waited for him to help her down.
“It’s not Caitlin is it?”
“Nay. She would not give it. Caitlin has her heart set on yeh and wants ta steal yeh from me.”
“She be me chief competition. She be wanting yeh ta kiss her like yeh be kissing me.”
Heather blushed. “That be a question yeh’ll have ta ask her.”
“Maybe I should marry both of you.” He hugged her and kissed her on the nose.
“Yeh’ll not be wanting my comment.” She turned and began to walk away. Stopping, she looked back. He had a concerned look on his face. She winked. “I’ll see yeh around five.”


Image source; Google Images; artist George Catlin, 1827- Image reduced.

This is a rewrite. Regular readers may not get any rewards.

Caitlin Anna Wiley will change her name to Joanna 'Jo' Wiley when she is arrested for theft of a two cent apple.

Cailin = Irish for girl.
Divil = Devil
Fader - Father
Help = hep
Me = my
Mammy = mother
Mudder = mother
Ta = to
Tay = tea
Th' = the
Yer = your
Yeh = you
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