The Peoples Queen by Vanora Bennett

By Vanora Bennett

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They'll forget their gripes with my lord of Lancaster in no time, once they're drunk as drowned mice on free wine, watching the knights fight. ' He laughed at that. How handsome Edward is, still, when he throws his head back like that and laughs. 'It can't be too obvious,' she warned him. Edward's prone to getting carried away. Sometimes she has to remind him to be more subtle. 'It can't be too much about my lord. With the mood the people of London are in right now, they might not even come if they thought they were just going to have to applaud him for days at a stretch.

Then Aunty put a bony arm around Kate's shoulder and began walking her inside her home. 'Come on, love,' she said, strangely tender. 'Let's us get a fire going. ' The next morning, after the baby came, they had eggs and a bit of the pound of bread that was already drying and crumbling away and a few dandelion leaves that Aunty picked and some onion slices from the store. The little girl had been washed and wrapped up in the waiting rags, and Kate, also clean, was lying, still weak and aching and not quite sure what was going on, but with radiant happiness mixed up with her exhaustion and lighting up her plump little face.

You need a bit of quiet too, love. ' It was only when Aunty and the baby had stepped outside, into the strong morning light, and Aunty had quietly pushed the door to behind her, that Kate felt, through the aches and bruises of what her body had endured all night, a different kind of pain. There were swellings on either side of her throat, she realised, and where her legs joined her body. She twisted her wet face round, stiffly, because everything ached so much, and squinted into her armpit. It was too shadowy inside to be sure, but she thought the great pulsing engorged mound she saw there was turning black.

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