Tephna’s mother manages to make it to church on Nativity morning, but it is obvious to everyone that the walk up to Plumbob Hall for the tenants’ feast would be too much for her.
Her father tells her to take Oriel and Adam up to enjoy the feast; he will stay behind with his wife. Tephna hugs him gratefully.
After church on the morning of the feast, the children receive their gifts: another dragon for Margery and an ogre for Walter.
They want to take them outside, but when their mother tells them it is too cold they are happy enough to play in the back room.
On All Soul’s Eve, some of the village wives walk up to Plumbob Hall to see the new baby. Jaclyn wants to go with them, but her mother tells her she needs her to watch little Walter and Margery.
Jaclyn gives them toys to play with, and gets to work on the Soul Cakes.
The game of gnubb is interrupted by Perroy, with news that Lord and Lady Snordwich have arrived.
Everyone has someone special to welcome them home.
The day her husband is expected home, Matilda Cecil has her attendants move her things downstairs. His father and stepmother will want the great chamber when they return.
The bedstead was a wedding gift from her aunt and uncle; the sheets and hangings she brought with her from Effenmont. About the room she has candles set and tapestries hung, to make it feel bright and warm. She hopes that Roger will approve of how she has laid everything out. Marian tells her it all looks beautiful.
Richard longs to see Aelfgiva alone again. He has promised over and over to marry her, and thought he meant it every time. After he lay with her by the river, he told her he wanted to be with her always.
Each night at supper he intends to tell his parents, but something always distracts him. His brother and sister will have a game for them to play, or his mother will need his help with the house, or a pretty maid will walk in looking for her father, and drive out all thoughts of Aelfgiva.
In the back of his mind, he also suspects that his family may not be too pleased to hear he has pledged himself to one of the poorest girls in the village.
On Monday morning, he finds Aelfgiva is not in their usual meeting place. He looks for her by the river too, but she is not there either. He slips into the water instead; this may be his last chance to swim before the busy harvest and brewing seasons begin.
On Saturday, the Aelfgiva and Rikilde’s mother sends them to gather wild chamomile with the younger girls.
They stop by the riverbank on their way home. Rikilde lays herself out to doze on the warm grass.