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Margaret Lawrence's
THE BURNING BRIDE
Trevor Amateur Sleuth Mystery
 
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THE BURNING BRIDE
Chapter One
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The Third Journal of Hannah Trevor, Midwife
I write upon Mustering Day of the Rufford Militia, these pages which arc mine own.
6 November, the year 1786
Here begins the twelfth winter since I came to Maine, to Two Mills Farm upon the River Manitac. A sour, cloudy morrow. We have bad in the night the winter's first dusting of snow.
I doubt not but it will come to civil war here as it has in Massachusetts. Word is come from Boston of women's breasts slashed by the governor's troops at Stockbridge, where the rebel farmers are strongest, and of children's eyes put out with bayonets,
Major Josselyn commands the militia that musters for training this day at Great Meadow. If the Governor calls up our Rufford troops to put down the rebels, Daniel must ride at their bead.
I have not seen him this fortnight, since the husking at Towler's. The gossips say he is seen by the Night Watch wandering the bank of the river, and when he is spoketo, he answers them nothing. He has gone twice to visit the grave of his wife at Gull's Isle and be cannot forget her.
I do fear it is foolish to wed
I am near four months with Daniel Josselyn's child, and do not puke now at mornings. My breast aches me sorely, and grows great with milk. Made a Poultice of sorrel wellroasted, which gave some relief.
I drink no more beer nor bard cider, as the Angel saith to the mother of Samson, Drink no Wine nor Strong Drink and thou shalt bear a Son.
Pray God the bargain be a sound one. The new cow gives milk of a foul weedy savor, the well water is brackish, and I long for a mug of good ate.
My Uncle banks corn stalks and pompion vines against the house and barn this day to stop up droughts. Young Ethan Berge assists him, for be has not his strength as before.
A wherry is come upriver to Burnt Hill Manor four days since with Master RoyalltonSmitb of Boston, who is father of Jem Siwall's bride. Have been summoned twice this three weeks to quiet her fusses, a pale lumpish creature with pink eyes like a rabbit. Gave maid'shair tea, though nothing ails her but a husband who has wed against his will.
Charged five shillings for simple annoyance, and may go whistle until I am paid. The Rich will spend gladly for any Indulgence, but Necessity may wait for her hire till she turns to Green Cheese.
Have been two days from home with old Lady Joey, the mother of Mrs. Hewins, who fell from her chair with a fit and broke the great bone of her arm. Gave comfrey in a Poultice, and an ointment of boneset.
Doctor Clinch gives her overmuch laudanum. I took up a warmingpan and chased him outofdoors.
Took my fee from Mrs. Hennes in bayberry wax and a peck of Maiden Blush apples, for our old tree is fallen in the All Hollows' storm.
Tarried awhile with Mrs. Flynn, whose husband was broke from Salcombe Jail with my Cousin. Gave sassafras for the jailfever, as with Thomas Whittemore, and stitched some while upon her quilt of Burgoyne Surrounded. Leah Kersey at Sable Brook has bespoke me for her delivery.
Bargained with Mrs. Kersey to set two fancy warps upon our great loom and our small. The patterns shall be Devil's Hoof and Wide World's Wonder, which last my daughter shall weave by herself to learn the skill. A deaf, silent woman must live like any other, and I fear no man will have Jennet to wife when she is grown, for all the sweetness of her heart.
Heard at dawn the passing bell rung beyond a count of sixty, which may token the death of old Lady Joey. I warrant she bath slept her life away with Clinch's drugs.
We dip the last of the winter candles this day from the tallow of gentle Bluebell, our old cow that is dead. If The rats do not get at them, forty dozen more will last to St. Valentine's, with the fifty already laid down.
My Aunt Markham bakes Training Cake to take her mind from trouble and because it is Jonathan's favorite. We scarce hope to see my Cousin in this life again, for be is gone to bide in the Outward and there be as many deaths in such a place as in a sheriff's noose.
My Uncle says God feedeth the Prophet bo bideth, in the Wilderness. But in the Forests of Jerusalem, I think, it does not snow.
MY AUNT'S RECEIPT FOR TRAINING CAKE
To a peck of fine flour, add ten eggs beaten till their yolkes be the color of lemon. Grate two good nutmegs, with a soupspoon each of mace and cloves well pestled. Mash a cone of sugar, and mix into the flour. Wash, dry and pick stems from five or a halfdozen pound currants, and mince your halfpound of candyorange, lemon, and citron very small. Next make you a possit of good cream, a pint each of ate and sacksherry, and then put into it a pound and quarter of new sweet butter, and another pound and quarter into a mug of good aleyeast or barm, and mix all very fine, with rosewater, juice of orange, and sacksherry as you desire. Bake very slow in an oven not fit for bread, three hours or four, till it have a fine crust on the top,
N.B. Having no lemon nor orange, use candied quince and dried apricocks or red cherries. If you have not sacksherry, rum or brandy will serve.
Only be sure your nutmegs be not wood before you grate them, as there be chapmen that carve out wooden nutmegs and sell them to the scantbrained for unequal reward!
My aunt's quilt of China Dish is near finished and I piece upon another, the last I shall make before I go to housekeeping at the Grange at Christmas. It is a Patch of my own contriving to which I give The name of Bridges Burning, as I make it for my marriage bed. I snap at my love for no cause, and we wrangle. I own, I am afraid to wed.

THE BURNING BRIDE
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