Snordwich Chronicles, LXVIII: Life Is Sweet

After half a week of fasting, the great winter Feast of the Nativity has arrived. Richard walks back from the midnight sermon with little Sabina asleep in his arms.

It has been a special evening—first a hearty meal to break the winter fast, then a beautiful Nativity’s Eve service, with candles everywhere and all the best hymns sung. It was daughter’s first, and probably the first that her older brother James will remember.

His wife sat by his side, looking as radiant as ever. All of their neighbours had put on their best clothes, but whenever he glanced over at Aelfgiva he thought no other woman more beautiful than her.

As soon as the children are tucked up, he tumbles her into bed. She smiles and pulls him close. Everything feels right with the world.

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Snordwich Chronicles, LXVI: Visiting Friends and Family

Ewfame Grancourt ambles about the house in her mourning dress. Just yesterday she laid her husband of nine years to rest.

They were not close, Gilbert and she. They lived apart for half their marriage, and the other half she spent in fear of his disapproval. But without him she would not have had her name, her home, or her two beloved children. For those blessings she prays to the Watcher to show him grace.

Their son Thomas is master now. It makes Ewfame happy to see him, so much alike in looks her own dear father, at the centre of the table commanding everyone’s love and respect. Thomas is given to the same black moods that Gilbert had, but is easier to lift out of them. He is always full of praise for everyone and everything.

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Snordwich Chronicles, LXI: Rikilde

Rikilde is Hugh Cotter’s wife now.

They were married shortly after her mother died. It was not ideal, to have a hurried little wedding so close to the funeral, but they both agreed it would help strengthen their bid for the guardianship of her little brother Robert.

They had worried that her sister’s husband Richard would challenge their suit, but he did not. Now she and Hugh will bring Robert up together, managing his inheritance for him until he is of age to claim it.

They first thought they might maintain two households, with Hugh, Robert and her in one cottage, and Hugh’s mother, sister and brother in the other, but in the end they decided it would be cheaper to keep everyone together under one roof.

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Snordwich Chronicles, LX: Ivetta

The following morning, Ewfame and Hilith at last get some time to talk to Thomas. He assures them he is well, and shows them his favourite spot in the gardens. Things were too quiet here while the rest his lordship’s household were away in Advorton, he says, but now they have returned everyone is in high spirits. He and Sir Thomas’ son John take their supper together whenever it is not their turn to serve the high table, and they have become the best of friends.

Thomas has a wedding present for his sister, a piece of polished green jasper he bought from a merchant in Effenmont. If she keeps it close by her, it will bring her luck and good health. Hilith is touched by the gift.

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