The young man dealt the draft horse a couple of affectionate whacks that echoed off the nearby barns. The horse swung his mighty head around, gently lipping the man’s sleeve. “Say, Martin, could one of your hands bring him around? I’ll pay a half-day’s wages.”
“I don’t have any hands available, Chadwick.”
“What about the young lady there?”
Both men turned to look at Meagan. She smiled and gave an embarrassed wave. Pink satin was hardly farm apparel.
“Never seen her. Must have strayed by.”
“She’s slicked up for something.” The younger man called to Meagan: “You, there! Not lost, are you?”
“No, just made a wrong turn.” Meagan was mortified to be standing in a field in such a dress. “Could you point me to town?”
“Town?” The men looked at each other. “There’s a mill up that road a ways. Did you walk here?”
“I-I was dropped off.” She looked down the long, tidy driveway.
The men exchanged another glance. The younger, Chadwick, shrugged and strode over. “I have my business, I suppose you have yours. Say though, if you would follow my carriage with this horse there’s two pence and a meal waiting. No need to get dirty, and it would be a real favor. I can give you a ride somewhere once we get the horse home.”
Meagan hesitated. Her real wish was to hide.
“Come on, now, don’t be afraid of him. He’s big, but he won’t hurt anything bigger than a fly. Then take a meal with the family and I will get you where you want to go.”
I doubt it, she thought, but smiled and agreed.