Story of the day: Humble Desires
Shayne soon returned with the necessary planks that would gain him entrance into his house and grant him some sense of forgiveness from his wife. Behind him was Aiden carrying the tools required for the flooring repairs they were about to perform. Adaoire was promised to come later with Mrs Donnegal but with the addition of a certain member of the Frewyn nobility who would be arriving in an unusual state. Many sharp glances and keen smiles were exchanged and no one could be under a mistake as to who would be joining their dinner that evening.
Shayne offered the enter the house first to soften Martje’s temper while Aiden and Sheamas remained outside, but it was then amended that perhaps Sheamas should join him, as the formidable smiles of little Jaicobh were certain to thaw any lingering resentment. They therefore went into the house, Sheamas marching dauntlessly in first, and the remainder of the party outside heard the sudden subdued coos of Martje assailing little Jaicobh with a flurry of kisses. All previous irritation was forgotten, all was assuaged and Shayne began working on the floors under Martje’s direction just as he ought.
Aiden observed his sister’s docile character from the doorway and thought it safe to enter but he did not advance. He seemed caught by the sight of Sheamas playfully displaying his child to his sister while telling her of all the things the baby enjoyed placing in his mouth and of all the new words that he had learned since yesterday. Aiden made a few amorous sighs and then lowered his eyes in reverie.
“Are you well, Aiden?” the commander asked, beginning to surmise the reason for the farmer’s forlorn expression.
“Aye, girl, I’m well enough,” he said in a low voice, returning his gaze to the scene through the door way. “I sure love seein’ Shea with his little one. Makes me think about havin’ one of my own.” He looked down with a countenance of moderate grief. “Sure, I thought I'd have a babe or two by now,” he shrugged.
“I wasn’t aware you harboured a secretive wish to have children. I should have though that looking after Adaoire would have been enough.”
“Aye, girl,” Aiden simpered. “Soon, Adaoire’ll be havin’ his own babe.”
The commander smiled at the notion of the most shameless farmer in Tyferrim being suddenly burdened with children. She had no doubt of his being an excellent mate and doting father but she observe that perhaps Aiden felt he should be left behind in all the happiness of a baby being born in the farmhouse to the new couple.
“Every hardworking man wants his family, girl,” Aiden continued in a somber tone. “Even Adaoire. We want little ones to play with and a girl to love and to spend the night with. Sure, Adaoire and me are thick thieves, but we want a girl who'll come home with us same as anyone. We love our girls sure enough but we'd love ‘em even more if they'd stay the while. We got so much land and whole house to ourselves. Ain't got no young thing to share it with though.” He recollected himself and made a small smile. “Well, Adaoire’s got a girl now. Maybe soon I’ll have one too.”
The commander remarked the extent of the farmer’s uncertainties in his fettered expression. Although she knew him to be seventeen years Sheamas’ senior, he did not look the eldest in the Donnegal family, and though he was Adaoire’s twin, his counterpart seemed to have looked more his age than Aiden did himself. It could not be said that he was young but he was well-looking and handsome for a man in his time of life, just as her father had been. His age was graceful, his eye was loving, his character was hospitable, and there was everything within him to suggest that he would make an excellent match for any woman between twenty and forty who was desirous of an eager and steadfast lover. The commander gauged his pining appearance as he watched Sheamas entertain Martje with his child and sidled him, and speaking in a hushed tenor asked, “Which one out of all of your pretty, young ewes would you choose?”
“Sure, I'd take ‘em all home if I could. Our girls are real good to us. Seems hardly fair to choose one,” Aiden replied, scratching his hair tucked beneath his cap.
“Perhaps your failure to draw one into your barn comes from your failure to decide which one you believe deserving of your pen.”
“I can think of one woman of low birth and shy character who would follow you anywhere should you ask her: one with fine golden curls, good rustic fervor, and enjoyment for candidness who is waiting to be loved by a Tyfferim farmer of little consequence should he be inclined to visit her oftener than is good for him.”
Aiden grinned at the commander’s intimation and the image of his exquisite beer maid in Eirannean rushed on him: her softness of flesh, her blushing complexion, her tumbling curls, her timid person, her endearing accent, her luscious form, her slender legs, her eagerness to be with him, her willingness to speak to him. Indeed, all the loveliness of this fair creature inundated his perception and he sighed for her complete perfection.
The commander laughed in adoration for Aiden’s total surrender to his thoughts. “May I ask how many times you have journeyed to the annex merely to see her since we had last been there together?”
“A few,” he muttered, and then added, “And then some.” He shook his head at his own beset sentiments for her and then his happiness was gone again. “It ain’t easy to leave the fields for more than a few days. I can’t leave my brother with all the work when we gotta take care of the crop, the barn and the house. Sure, our brother takes our crop to sell in Farriage and Ma’s good to us and helps us with the farmhouse, but our days are still long. Leaves us little time for courtin’ and all. We don’t have much opportunity for lookin’ as farmers, girl. We gotta take what we we’re given.” He sighed and thought of the beer maid again. “I’ll tell you, girl, Tris is a right pretty one, aye,” he proclaimed with zeal.
“Have you already been through the business of giving one another short and disgustingly adorable names?” the commander laughed.
“Naw, girl. She’s got one of those long and impossible Galleisian names. She tells me to call her Tris ‘cause I can’t say her whole name too well. Aw, I sure like her. I got to know her better when we were just the two of us. She sits in my lap and don’t ask me for nothin’. We talk, share a supper, and then I appreciate her for a while.” He winked and nodded at the commander, succumbing to ambitious grins on Tris’ behalf. “Aye, she’s a right sweet one.”
“In taste or in character?” the commander said with a smirk.
“Both, girl. Aye, she’s a bhean if I ever saw one. But, she likes workin’ away from her home, she likes bein’ in a city, bein’ out and about and all. Sure, if she was here, she’d be helpin’ me on the farm.”
“And she would have someone to adore her and pin her to the wall every evening. I daresay she would find it a pleasing life. Galleisians make rather dutiful wives due to their gender and class consciousness.”
“Aye, Margilesse loved Shea somethin’ terrible. She was one of ‘em nobles and she was so happy when Shea asked to marry her. She didn’t mind helpin’ him with the shoppe or livin’ above or nothin’. She just wanted to be with him and that was that.” Aiden exhaled and shook his head, saddened for his sister-in-law’s unfortunate demise. “Aye, she was a good, good girl. If my girl were half so good as she was, I’d be an awful happy man, girl. But if wenchin’ is her first time workin’, I don’t want to take it from her or nothin’. Sure, I’d give her whatever she needed and all but there’s a pride in earnin’ somethin’ on your own.”
“There is also great pride in achieving something together,” the commander said gently.
They exchanged a knowing glance, one thinking of the giant at her side and all that she had accomplished with him and the other considering the successful business his brother and his late wife had created.
“It is my understanding that your beer maiden only enjoys her position because it affords her a life of her own, which is really all women of any nation truly wish to achieve,” the commander admitted. “She is probably in a similar situation as Dobhin’s fair mistress in that she adores her work because of the freedom it gives her away from an otherwise oppressive family. Granted, Dobhin’s lady is older and is learning a trade for the first time, but there is no reason why your mistress should not enjoy being a farmer. Perhaps she would like a home in Frewyn’s stunning countryside away from the bustle of a city, sharing the bed of an unwashed farmer.”
Aiden laughed and replied when put in such a manner he should not know how any woman could resist his charms.
“She very well may enjoy her position of serving others, but I am certain she would rather serve a supper to a beloved husband who will bathe her in adoration than give a meal to an unappreciative patron while evading the harsh commands of a disgruntled superior.”
“Aye, maybe,” Aiden murmured in acknowledgement of her claims.
“I am aware there might be a language barrier to surmount. However, she can teach you everything you wish to know as long as her mouth is not otherwise occupied, I assure you.”
Aiden gave the commander a guttural and depraved laugh. “She’s been teachin’ me a few words and helpin’ me with pronunciation.”
“So that she may tell you which portion of her body she would have you please, I’m certain.”
“She’s a fierce one,” Aiden said, unwilling to deny such a claim.
“While I am inclined to think she enjoys a more precious portion of your body, I believe that she is attracted to your affectionate heart. Although a pair of rough hands is all a woman’s aspiration, a generous heart and kindly character have something to do with the business of falling in love. You should question Shayne on the subject. I’m certain he can describe the telling signs of love in the amount of bruises and bumps he’s received from your sister.”
Aiden chuckled, remarked that this was probably true, and as he was not one for pain and pleasure in that sense, he resolved that the affliction of attachment was a torment he enjoyed having. He then resolved to visit Eirannean after their holiday meal had done and would go with the conviction of returning with a shy, young ewe for his pen.