moment was gone.
Amy was deeply embarrassed. ‘Oh, dear,’ she giggled nervously, glad of the darkness that would hide her glowing cheeks. ‘I’m afraid that the wine must have gone to my head.’
Toby, who was standing now, reached down and taking her hand, roughly pulled her to her feet. Then he began to stride back the way they had come, his hands thrust deep in his pockets.
‘We’d best get back, else they’ll think we’ve got lost,’ he said shortly. Gathering up her skirts, Amy had to almost run to keep up with him.
The journey back was made in silence; they were both lost in their own thoughts, and once they had rejoined the party they spent the rest of the evening studiously avoiding each other. This was not lost on Molly and a sly little grin played about her lips. After Amy she loved Toby more than anyone else in the world and had long harboured hopes that one day they would come together. If this happened then she would die with an easy mind, safe in the knowledge that Amy would be loved and cared for. She had guessed long ago where Toby’s affections lay. Still, Amy was little more than a girl at the minute and for now Molly was content to stand back and let nature take its course.
At ten o’clock a horse and trap sent especially by Mr Forrester arrived to carry the newlyweds away to their little cottage, and the wedding party spilled into the lane to see them on their way. There was more throwing of rose petals and rice, and good wishes floated on the night air as the horse and trap clip-clopped away down the lane, followed by Seth and his family who were returning to their rooms above the stable-block at Forrester’s Folly.
Bessie beamed as she shouted her goodbyes, more than content with the day. ‘Well, that’s one settled,’ she sighed happily. ‘Only four more to go.’ She looked pointedly at Toby.
The poor chap flushed. ‘Give over, Mam.’
Seeing his embarrassment everyone chuckled, and with the departure of the happy couple the party began to disperse.
‘I’ll help you clear away a bit, shall I?’ Molly offered.
Bessie shook her head adamantly. ‘You’ll do no such thing.’ She was suddenly worn out. ‘There’s nothin’ as won’t keep till morning, so you get away to your bed.’
Needing no second telling, Molly bade her good night, and arm-inarm she and Amy strolled back to their own cottage. Within minutes they were both tucked up in their beds. It had been a long day and they were both pleasantly tired. Yet even so, sleep evaded Amy. Her mind was still full of the day that had just passed as she lay there reliving it.
It had been a lovely wedding and a grand party. She had enjoyed every single minute of it. Every minute that is, except for the time on the riverbank with Toby.
The effects of the wine she had drunk were wearing off now, and she squirmed with embarrassment as she remembered how, just for an instant, she had longed for him to kiss her. She screwed her eyes up tight in shame at the thought. He had looked so uncomfortable and she could only hope that by tomorrow he would have forgotten all about it.
Sunday morning dawned, another bright sunny day. Molly let Amy sleep in and it was the sunlight streaming through the chink in her curtains that woke her. She stretched luxuriously then sighed in contentment. Sunday was her favourite day of the week. In the kitchen she could hear Molly bustling about as she prepared breakfast and the smell of frying bacon wafted to her on the air.
Hopping lightly out of her comfortable feather bed, she hastily washed at the little jug and bowl on the wash-stand. Then after quickly dressing in her Sunday best for church, she made her way downstairs into the kitchen. Molly was humming softly to herself and when Amy appeared she smiled broadly. ‘I’ve cooked yer bacon just as yer like it,’ she greeted her.
Amy tutted. ‘I would have done that, Gran,’ she scolded.
Molly just laughed. ‘Happen yer worth spoiling,’