Fearchar washed down what little breakfast he had consumed with a thin ale. The fire at the hearth was just barely started in the morning, leaving the room damp and cold. He wrapped his great kilt more closely around himself, wishing he was back home in bed with his wife. “Ye ne’er mentioned no doctor a’fore now and ye take ‘is medicines. ‘e really a’right, Aunty?”
Hepsibah, the bar maid, emerged from the kitchen. “Ye done murd’rin’ yer biscuits, Fearchar?” she asked as she took Widow Magaidh’s plate. He nodded his head morosely. The portly little woman took his dish, displeased with his handiwork. “Tell that lass a’ yers nae waste her time away in that little cottage up in them ‘ills. She should cummeon n’ visit more of’en. Then maybe ye’d ‘ave manner ta eat yer breakfast like a proper man,” she chided him.
“Hepsibah!” he bemoaned the woman. She smiled at him, whacking him lightly on the shoulder. “It were stale anyway,” she let on as she left.
“Na, Ah thought it was jus’ out’ta the o’en!” he called back after her.
“Awa’ an bile yer heid!” she giggled.
“Now, Aunty Magaidh, who’s this dotair yi’ve got comin’ in?” he turned back to the aged woman.
“Just ’cause ‘e’s someone Ah know ‘n ye don’nae, does’nae make him a chancer, Fear. ‘e’s become a good doctor since last Ah saw ‘im,” she smiled. She gained a far off look in her eye and her smile fell into a deep frown. He waited, knowing when she went wandering through her memories it could be many minutes before she returned to the conversation. She did return after a time, lifting her face back into a smile. ” ‘e just needs some’n ta ‘elp ‘im while ‘e’s ‘ere, just for a bit,” she consoled.
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