Rose nibbled on the pasty made by Marg and sipped the broth cooked by Bea while the two women talked quietly about people from the castle and surrounding village. Rose let the names wash over her as she did not know anyone other than Bea, Marg, Cook and Huard. After Rose yawned for the third time, Bea took the empty broth cup from Rose. Bea took it into the scullery to be washed.
Rose gave the last of her pasty to Prince, the big, black Great Dane, sitting at her feet and watching her every move.
“Do not let Cook see you give the animals food,” said Marg, “she will take the same portion from ye rations.”
“I thank thee for the help you and Bea have given me,” said Rose. She stood and brushed off her skirts. Prince rose at the same time. “Ye both have been kind to me.”
“Ye are a sweet girl.” Marg linked her arm through Rose’s and guided her to the door where they met Bea coming out of the scullery. She took Rose by the other arm.
Prince walked behind them until they got outside. Once out in the yard, he walked in front of them, looking into the shadows.
“Truth to tell,” said Marg, ” ye have made our lives better in this one day than in many days past.”
“Aye,” said Bea, “Cook were so nice because His Lordship were that happy with his victuals.”
The women entered a barn just across the yard from the kitchens. They walked past several stalls that were occupied. Rose heard snores and rustling movements and the “hawk, hawk” of a bird. The building smelled of fresh hay.
They reached the back of the barn where the space was separated from the rest of the building by sliding doors.
“Our home,” said Marg.
Rose could only tell the room smelled clean and felt spacious yet warm. It was too dark to see much but she was impressed that they had a room all their own.
“The bell be rung early for us to start the morning meal,” said Bea as she led Rose to a spare pallet. “Crawl under the blankets and git ye right to sleeping. We be safe and warm here.”
Rose did as she was bid. Marg and Bea did not waste any time laying themselves to their rest. Prince laid down at Rose’s feet facing the closed doors.