#tuesdayuseitinasentence : Buried with all haste and little love

 

Charity, Hope and Patience Godwin were three spinster sisters from out Chelmorton way.

They lived at Dolly Farm with their mother, known to all – with a wink and a nod – as Nana Godwin. The name was ironical as no woman – from the black belching chimneys of Sheffield to Manchester’s rattling looms, across the hunched and heathered hills of the Peaks – was less prone to being motherly, or to human warmth and kindness than Nana Godwin. And it was judged from when her daughters were pinched and slender figures huddled in the school playground, that she would never be a ‘Nana’.

The townsfolk would chuckle and tut at the four of them as they clogged up the hill to the market just as the stalls were leaving their pitches, canopies folding with a slap and rumble. The Godwins haggled for stale loaves, scavenged muddied turnips from the gutters, beat down the stallholders with eight tight, shrewd eyes. After their purchases they would trudge home, Nana’s laced poke bonnet bobbing beneath Hope and Charity’s flattened busts and flatter smiles. Patience always strode ahead, skirts flapping silky black.

‘Crows’, the townsfolk whispered as they passed,’Rooks’, ‘Starlings’. Though the wittier minds would call ‘Magpies’, due to the stories.

There were rumours, you see, as there will be of women without men, living alone on a scoured hill, buried in the shadow of gnarled yew trees. Gold, they said, wrapped in sacking and wedged up the chimney, hidden under the lifting floorboards, even in the sisters’ own cotton drawers. Enough to buy a horse. Enough to by a stable.

The years went by. Nana curved in on herself, until her poke bonnet reached no higher than her daughters’ waistbands. The sisters grew tighter, faces lined and crumpled as old grey satin.

One Monday the doctor was sent for. On Tuesday the priest. On Wednesday the undertaker, a measuring tape tucked in his breast pocket, a glitter tucked behind a sympathetic smile.

Nana Godwin was buried with all haste and little love, in a cheap coffin in a damp corner of the churchyard, stacked on top of another casket to save unnecessary expense. The three sisters stood together, skirts and bodices, capes and shoulders packed so tightly, they resembled one large woman with three, pale faces.

The grave was a shallow one then – a fact the gravedigger was glad for, as a week after the sombre internment, Nana Godwin was up and out of the ground again, the tiny box and its shrivelled contents loaded onto a dray and drawn up the hill to the police station where a coroner waited, impatiently tapping the toe of his polished black shoes.

For the doctor had smelt bitter almonds on the puckered old lips and a travelling tinker passing Dolly Farm, his load chinking with the force of the rain, glimpsed three figures in sodden black, lugging floorboards and hefting mattresses, night stands and a blanket box out onto the cobbled yard, as if searching for something lost.

The townsfolk, it seems, weren’t alone in believing in the whispered gold.

Once the trial was over and three black crows had flown from the earth, Dolly Farm was emptied, the furniture auctioned, even the stone walls dismantled, the blocks sold off to build other, warmer homes.

There never was any gold found at Dolly Farm. And precious little patience, hope nor charity neither.

 


Written for Stephanie at Word Adventure’s #tuesdayuseitinasentence. Today the word is PATIENCE. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

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51 thoughts on “#tuesdayuseitinasentence : Buried with all haste and little love

      1. I hoped you would be 🙂 Texted my mum the other day and she said she couldn’t see out of the window because the snow was falling so heavily, that there were deserted vehicles all up her road, but it was okay because they had a good few days food in the house! That is one thing I do not miss about living there 🙂

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    1. Ah, thank you! Could potentially grow inot something else I think. I always like the idea of stern, unlovable, independently minded women as characters. So unlike the sweet, pliable creatures Victorian writers usually gave us. Thank you 🙂

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  1. In years to come this’ll find its way into some antiquarian collection of local legends, you mark my works, young lady! And no one’ll know whether ’tis true or not. For meself I think ’tis true.

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    1. Ha! Thanks Chris. I like the ide of these, stubborn, forceful, unattractive women,even if they are unpleasant at heart. More appealing than the heroines the male Victorian writers gave us. Dicken’s Nell and Stoker’s Mina – pretty, drippy waifs just waiting to be saved or to die of something awful so we could all be taught a lesson. Urgh! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and the kind comment

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    1. Ah, thank you Pola – what a lovely thing to say. I do love the sensory, I wonder if too much for today’s reading tastes. But Silas Marner? I’ll take that 🙂 Thank you again

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      1. You’re inspiring me to raise my game. In fact, I probably hold back a lot on the blog due to my own snobbishness about what “should” be “out there” or not. i.e. – keep the stuff you love to yourself, give the fluff. But now I’m wondering.

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      2. I know what you mean in a way. I think I do too much on the blog and sometimes it surprises me how much I love something that I’ve just given away and I think – dammit, I could have entered that for a comp. I spend too much time on the blog, that’s for sure! Thank you, but your game’s already pretty high, I’d say 🙂

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      3. Ach, no. But thanks. Yes, I’ve got something coming up that was originally quite dry (but kept to word count) that I made a bit longer and better. Think that could be comp worthy but when I think about it, I couldn’t handle the exhaustion of being an official writer. I value your originality – ie: sea salt rimmed cocktails with mermaids. Little things! 🙂

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      4. I don’t really know which one will want it, and I really want it to be read. Such a stupid faff waiting for months to hear back. Will you read it? I mean, can I email it?

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      5. Yes, of course, though my own success at these things is patchy, so I can’t guarantee my insight will help! 🙂 Do pop it in an email though

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      6. If you click on the ‘hamburger’ symbol at the top of a post, all the nonsense will unfold – links and pics and so on. The email is under my photo – says something like ‘full profile’. Let me know if you still have problems finding it. Hope you enjoy your atfernoon 🙂

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    1. Haha! It certainly turned out that way! A grim bunch, but they learned their lessons from ‘Nana’, so the old lady reaped what she sowed. Thanks for reading 🙂

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    1. Not quite … Scotland, which sometimes isn’t far off Iceland! Couldn’t find a suitable pic closer to the real location, though as my mum lives there, I could have asked her to lean out of her window and take a photo on her phone! 🙂

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