Martha led Sarah past the room where sounds of splashing could be heard and down a short dark hall. They entered what Sarah could only call a country kitchen as it contained the kitchen and a table. Unlike the house she grew up in; however, the space was small. It probably didn’t help that the ceiling was low, with exposed beams running the length of it.
“Have a seat,” Martha stated and Sarah sat at the table, back to the wall to be out of the way.
She watched as Martha quickly washed a plate on which she placed what little there was leftover from dinner.
“I don’t hear much scrubbing going on,” Martha called to Ryan as she set the plate in front of Sarah. Sounds of scrubbing immediately emanated from the front room. “There better not be a lot of water on the floor when I get in there.”
Sarah smiled. “Did you need any help?” she asked, seeing as that’s what she was here for.
“Not just yet.” Martha smiled back at Sarah. “It’s bath night tonight, so you might as well sit there and wait your turn. If you can keep the boys from fidgeting by telling them tall tales, all the better.”
Martha left via a door opposite the one they had entered through and Sarah caught a glimpse of the back yard.
“Ralph, Trevor, Travis,” Martha yelled and she rang a bell. “Finish those chores and come in for your bath!” She quickly reentered and made her way to the front.
A list of body parts to scrub was issued to the current tub occupant, making Sarah smile. Apparently the scrubbing hadn’t done much as Ryan answered no to nearly every part Martha named. Sarah was about to get up and start washing dishes when three boys trooped in through the back door.
“Look just because you can sand a plank doesn’t mean you’ll make a great carpenter,” the first boy said.
“Yeah well, just because you can work the bellows doesn’t mean you’ll be a great blacksmith!” retorted his nearly identical sibling.
“Who are you?” The third and youngest of the three spotted Sarah first.
The twins stopped mid sentence as they noted Sarah. They studied her with puzzled faces.
“How did you,” the youngest began.
“She’s a guest, so mind your manners.” Martha herded a clean Ryan around the table. She marched him around a corner up the stairs. “Ralph you get to bathing,” she called back.
“But I,” protested the youngest of the three boys before Sarah.
“No buts,” Martha called down. “She’ll be here for a while. I expect you can question her later.”
“She’s wearing pants!” Ryan’s giggle floated down, as Sarah heard them walk across the floor above her.
Immediately the three boys in the kitchen ducked down to look under the table. Sarah laughed. She stood up and took her plate to the sink.
“Were you disguised as a man and they found you out?” The youngest was full of curiosity.
“Ralph!” Martha’s voice came through the floor boards.
Sarah turned back to the boy. “No, the scouts found me all alone out in the woods, but since skirts aren’t standard scout issue they could only give me pants to wear.” She shooed him towards the front room. “Now go take your bath, like your mother asked.”
He groaned and dragged his feet up front to the tub. The two twins were still pondering her. They conferred in whispers. Sarah just busied herself with dishes. It was one thing she was sure she couldn’t mess up.
Singing began in the front room, as Ryan protested bedtime above. Martha’s voice laid down the law, and Sarah heard her footsteps moving back across the ceiling. Sarah was drying the plates when Martha re-entered the kitchen.
“Gods Thanks,” she said to Sarah as she paused for a moment. “You didn’t need to do that.”
Sarah turned and smiled. “I was sent here to help.”
Martha nodded, and turned to the twins. “Stop the gossip and figure out who’s going next.” She marched into the front room to begin her litany of body parts.
The twins immediately began to bicker about who should go first.