Lord Snordwich’s manor includes the small village of Plumville. Its villagers are his tenants, who farm the land and pay their rent to him in money, produce, and labour. One such is Henry Yates, who lives with his wife Beatrice in a two-room cottage by the river.
All summer long, Henry spends his mornings working hard in his garden, preparing the plants for the autumn harvest.
While he waters and weeds, Beatrice tidies the house and milks the cows.
She also prepares the family lunch.
Today they are having a thick stew of onion and cabbage.
There is still much to do after they have eaten, but eventually the day’s work is finished and Henry can walk to the village tavern to enjoy a drink with its proprietor, his friend Henry Brewer.
Beatrice calls on her neighbour Eda Jardine with a small gift of cheese and onions.
The next morning she rises early to make some dough, which she pays the village baker to put in his oven.
On her way home, she stops outside the tavern and to feed an onion to the brewer’s mare, Speckle. Beatrice has loved animals since she was a little girl and Speckle knows that whenever she passes by there will always be a treat in store.
Beatrice then hurries home to help Henry with the morning’s work.
By midday, they are both tired, hungry, and hot. Beatrice walks back to the bakery to pick up her bread.
She serves it with a salad of cucumber, lettuce, and mint. Her husband is delighted.
The afternoon’s work is just as difficult as the morning’s, but the couple approach it with good humour. Henry loves to make his wife laugh.
The evening is a warm one, and the couple spend it sitting outside watching the stars together.
The next day, Beatrice starts to feel unwell.
Henry rushes next door to fetch Eda, who serves as the village’s unofficial midwife.
She confirms that Beatrice is expecting a baby.
Eda and her husband William stay for supper.
By the morning, Beatrice is well enough to return to her work.
She and Henry are both hoping for a son.
Henry sees the brewer’s apprentice Triston passing, and remembers that on Thursdays the boy tends to ride over to the Crafthole market. Henry calls out to him, and asks him to bring back fabric for the baby’s clothes and some salt beef for the naming feast.
That evening at the tavern, he is excited to tell his friends about the baby.
Henry waits there for Triston to return from Crafthole.
He finds his wife waiting for him there, and gives her the fabric and beef, and also some raspberries from the brewer’s wife.
Friday is a fast day, which Henry observes, but from which Beatrice is excused on account of her pregnancy.
Eda calls on her friend, bringing with her Goodwives Baker and Brewer. Beatrice shows them the clothes she has been making for her child.
That evening, Eda is called back to deliver the baby.
It is a little girl with Beatrice’s auburn hair.
When Henry sees her, he forgets his thoughts of a son.
He holds his daughter close while her mother rests.
The following morning, the couple take their newborn to church.
Parson Reviers blesses her, and gives her the name her parents have chosen, Jaclyn.
There is also a blessing for Beatrice, and thanksgiving for her safe delivery.
After the service, Henry invites the villagers back to the house to celebrate. They drink cups of Plumville Purple while Beatrice prepares a hearty stew of garlic and salt beef.
The food is wholesome, and there are second helpings for everyone.
When their guests have taken their leave, Beatrice and Henry are able to spend some time alone with baby Jaclyn.
The last of the summer rain starts to fall outside. Henry puts another log on the fire to keep his wife and daughter warm. Tomorrow will be the first day of autumn.