“Well? How did ye fare?”
Gaining his composure, Barney shook out his hair and leaned back on his haunches. His water‑coated eyes struggled to focus on the man in front of him. Cedric MacNeil was not a Scot to be trifled with. At over six feet tall, with fierce blue eyes and a daunting demeanor, he was rarely challenged. A sword hilt peeked above his shoulder, drawing Barney’s attention.
To avoid his master’s wrath, Barney said, “Laird Cedric, the mistress, she met me at the gate, ye see. And those rumors ye mentioned from England, well, they were correct. At least on the physical side of things. The woman is so old and bent over, she favors a witch to be sure.”
“Aye. What happened after she met ye?”
Barney scratched his head. “She did just like ye said. She offered me something to eat. I suggested the garden but the lady told me some story about the pox. She led me toward the keep doors, and I ’ave to tell ye, I was gettin’ mighty frustrated with her pace. She was going at the pace of a turtle on a winter morning, she was. I thought about hoisting her over me shoulder and to the door, but I was in no hurry to enter the hall. I was kinda pleased with the outside workings, but I had a feeling the inside would leave a very bad taste in me mouth—and perhaps in me bowels too. When I saw the food, I knew I was right. And it explained why ye mistress looks a hundred, when she is supposed to be twenty!” Barney paused, and then added, “But like I was sayin’, if I was pleased for ye with the outside, the inside changed them feelins real quick. There was wormy bread, which I don’t mind eaten when I’m in a pinch, ye understand. There was some kind of rotten meat. And I can’t begin to describe the smell of the rushes on the floor. Why I think they must’ve thrown buckets of animal excrement about.”
Cedric was losing patience with his hired hand. Barney must have noticed because he rushed ahead with the rest of his explanation.
“I remembered what ye said about not eatin’ the food, and I asked to use the privy. While I was there, I needed to go. Couldn’t help it. Being scared does that to a fellow. After I breathed real slow a few times, not the best place for it, of course, but I had to catch me breath. Anyway I pulled aside me kilt to relieve myself. But I have this habit of looking in the hole before I, well ye know. One never knows where a spider might make its home. And ye’ll never guess what I seen there.”
Cedric raised an eyebrow.
“Well don’t you want to know?”
“Aye, I do.”
“Well it sure wasn’t no spider! It was a head!”
“A what?” asked Cedric, squinting his eyes.
“It was a head. Didn’t have a body. Was just floatin’ around in the first level garderobe. I never seen anything like it.” Cedric went still and stared up at the crystal clear sky as something dawned on him. Since when was a garderobe on the first floor?
Cedric paced, tapping a finger to his lips. He asked, “Did the lady give you her name?”
An intense look of concentration knitted Barney’s brows together. “I don’t think so.”
Cedric pondered the information. “You did well, Barney.”
Barney reached out his hand as a coin flipped through the air and landed in his palm. “Do ye need me for anything else?”
“Not yet. Ye may go back and wait with Duncan and the others until I send for ye.”
“Aye, Laird Cedric.”
Poor Barney! It seems Sarra did a number on him. But she is determined not to marry and perhaps she goes a little far in her deception, but what woman wants the King telling her what to do in matters of the heart.
Thanks so much for stopping by. There Your Heart Will Be Also is the first book in The Renaissance Hearts Series and is set in 1550s England. You can find out more about There Your Heart Will Be Also in the Books or Book Extra sections of my website.
Don’t forget to stop by and visit the other Sweet Saturday Samples. And feel free to leave a comment with your opinion. I’m sure Sarra would appreciate the support of her “work”.
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