Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rory and Ceri Vignettes: Meeting Ewan

Check out what I found! This is the first in a series of short pieces about Rory and Ceri as newlyweds.

Later that morning Ceri took Rory for a tour of their farm. He showed great interest in everything, asking questions, making comments about innovations that they had not had on his uncle's farm in Ulster. He walked beside her, his hands clasped behind his back, his lanky form sometimes at a comical angle as he attended to what she was saying.

Ceri showed him around the little farmstead she had created around the cottage she -- and now they -- lived in. She had a stable for Gringolets that he saw he would need to expand when he found a horse he could buy. "Sure and I have never had a horse of me own," he told Ceri. "Foot soldiers are.. well, on foot.. and so are minstrels." He told her he had money saved and unless she knew of some more pressing need, he would use part of that to buy the horse.

"Sighard or Ewen will know who might be selling one," Ceri suggested.

The chicken coop and yard was a discrete distance from the cottage but in clear sight in case of predators. Rory seemed fascinated by them but even more so with her kitchen garden. "Ye were gone for a few days, but look how well it all looks!" He sneaked a very young radish and grinned mischievously when she heard the crunch. She just smiled.

They took a path that went alongside a simple stone wall towards where Ceri said there was a stile they could climb over it on. The ground dipped a little at one point, making the stone wall higher there. Rory took advantage of the cover to grab Ceri's hand and lean her up against the stones. He leaned and kissed her, murmuring happily. She settled into him to enjoy the closeness.

"Here," came a gruff voice from above but near. "Let that woman alone. Who are you?!"

Rory jumped back, looking around for where the voice had come from. Ceri had recognized it and started laughing. "Oh Ewen, never fear. This is my new husband."

Rory relaxed, but it took Ewan a moment to get the picture. "Husband, eh? When did you get married?" He was looking over the stone wall from the other side.

Ceri answered, "Yesterday. Ewen, I want you to meet Rory McGuinness. He is living here with me now, of course."

Rory reached up and easily took the man's hand to shake it. "I am that pleased to meet you, Ewen, sir," he grinned.

Ewen commented, "Now he's a tall one. Rory McGuinness? Isn't he the one that was hanged? Is that some kin of yours?"

Rory replied without so much as a pause. "Nay, no kin of mine. Never met the fellow, God rest his soul."

Ceri hid a smile while Ewen looked puzzled but then nodded. "I suppose there may be many of the same name."

Ceri looked up at him. "Ewen, I am showing Rory around the farm. He is anxious to help with the farmwork, but I wanted you to know nothing changed as far as our arrangement. I want you and your family to stay on in the house and work the land for as long as you want and need it."

Rory was nodding enthusiastically.

Ewen relaxed completely now. He walked to the stile and hopped up and over. He came to where they were standing and smiled at them both. "Johanna and the boys will want to meet you, Rory. I hope you will come by when you are done with the tour."

Ceri and Rory thanked him. She said, "I think we are going to go back to the cottage and then ride out to look at the acreage. But we will stop by."

Rory spoke up, "Och, that is after remindin' me. Would ye know of anyone who is sellling a good strong horse that could carry this load?" He waved his hand to indicate he meant his own body.

Ewen thought a while. "Nay, I do not, but I will wager one of my sons will.. so if the two of you can come to sup with us you can ask them then. And meet my wife and daughters as well."

Ceri protested, "Oh nay, Ewen.. that is not enough time for Johanna to get a meal for visitors. Another time.."

Ewen laughed, "Ceri. lass, if Johanna heard I did not invite you and your new husband to sup this very night she would tan my hide. Unless you have other plans..?"

Ceri and Rory accepted the invitation graciously. Ewen smiled, clasped Rory's hand again, but then stopped and leaned to ask Ceri as privately as possible, "Does Sighard know?"

Ceri smiled warmly, "Aye, he met Rory this morn."

Ewen smiled and then bade them farewell.

Rory offered Ceri his arm as they walked back to the cottage. "Sure and it seems I am makin' a good enough impression on the neighbors.. though I think the man thought I was some blackguard at first." He was grinning.

Ceri smiled. "Ewen and Sighard both think they need to look after me."

Rory replied, "I think ye are well capable of lookin' after yourself, but if ye need any care, 'twill be me job now." The words seemed to overwhelm him and he threw his arms around her and hugged her tight.

As they got nearer the cottage the two cats joined them and walked back with them. Rory stopped to tickle a couple chins, then returned his attention to his wife. "And thinkin' I am we have a little time for finishin' what we started by the wall?"

Ceri smiled brightly and took his arm. "Aye," she said lovingly, and they went into the cottage and shut the door behind them.

Next: Supper at Ewan's

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .