When Rebecca and Robert arrived at the kitchen, he sat her down at a high stool in front of the chopping block table.
He went to the ceramic sink where the metal pail of icy water from the well was kept.
When Robert approached Rebecca with a tall beer glass of water, she looked up from the linen handkerchief that she had buried her face in. Her lashes were still damp with painful tears.
"Here you go lass. I hope this helps ye a bit." Robert said as he handed her the glass.
She gratefully took it in both of her trembling hands and sipped the pure cold water. It occurred to her out of nowhere that she had never had untreated water directly from a well before. It was delicious in the fact that it was tasteless, with no faintly bleached flavour to it.
After several refreshing sips she put the glass on the table and released a sigh of sadness.
"Thank you Mr. Witherspoon. I'm sorry I lost control out there. I'm usually have better restraint."
"That's alright missy, but I dinna understand. Did ye know the lad whut was kilt? Ye seem to be greivin', ye do."
Robert's Scots accent generally got thicker when he was stressed.
"I suppose I am greiving Mr. Witherspoon. His name is... was Richard Hargreaves. I used to be married to him. We're divorced now."
Robert's jaw dropped in surprise! That explained a lot. He was a little disturbed by the knowledge that she was divorced. He'd never seen a divorced woman before. He had rather thought that they looked like 'fallen' women that worked the street corners late at night.
"Did he come from your own... ?"
He didn't know how to frame a question about the future. The term 'time period' was too foreign to him to say, although Rebecca had already used it.
"He did come from my time and place yes, but I don't know how or why."
"Will ye be takin' him back with ye, or should we bury him here?"
That hadn't even occurred to her. The twenty four hour period that Alice had mentioned was nearly up. She had better prepare for the trip back.
She would have to take Richard with her, she supposed. He still had family that would want to give him a decent funeral.
She groped for the side pocket of her slacks out of habit before she discovered that she was no longer wearing them.
There had been no pockets in the dress she had borrowed from Lorraine, so she had left her travel timepiece upstairs in her slacks.
"I will be taking him home with me, so as soon as I get my things I'll go to the room where he is to travel back. Could you show me the way please? I have no idea how to get back to that room I was in."
"Aye, I can do that missy. Follow me."
Robert lit a tapered candle from the banked fire in the grate of the fireplace. He pushed it firmly into a large pewter candle holder and led her to a back stairway.
"I'm sorry I had to put ye in the servant's quarters missy, but the rooms were all taken. We're usually full up the night before market day."
"That's alright Mr. Witherspoon I understand. Your business comes first." Rebecca said, remembering the days and weeks she had spent away from home while she worked her way up in the agency.
When they arrived at the room the door was standing wide open. She was sure she had closed it behind her. When they went in she was shocked to see the dresses that she had left on the bed, strewn across the floor.
She ran to her slacks and blouse, which were also in a small pile on the floor. She picked up the slacks and checked both pockets frantically. Her travel timepiece was gone!