CMR: Thank you for letting me interrupt your berry-picking, Gilda! What a lovely name!
Gilda: (smiles) I thank ye. It means ‘gift of God’.
CMR: Oh, that is very nice. Can you tell me a bit about your life at Scaurness Castle?
Gilda: (shrugs) Och, `tis not so much unlike another lass anywhere else. I have chores and two younger brothers to look after, though they plague me sore. And sometimes I care for my wee baby sister.
CMR: But a castle is scarcely a crofter’s hut, right?
Gilda: I see yer point, though there are many more people who work and live in a castle. It can be difficult to have a bit of privacy, even in such a large place.
CMR: I suppose you need privacy from your brothers?
Gilda: (fists a hand on one hip) Aye! They are a pair of wee louns! Always pulling pranks on me since our brother Niall left to foster. I am too old for such nonsense. Punishment doesnae work with them for long.
CMR: What happens when they get caught?
Gilda: They must first apologize, then they usually must clean my horse’s stall for a fortnight. At least it works off a wee bit of their energy for a few days.
CMR: Let’s talk about you as a young child. What do you remember about your da, the laird, when he first came to Scaurness?
Gilda: He isnae my true da, though he adopted me when he wed my ma. I was four summers at the time. The first time we met, I had disobeyed my Auntie Tavia and waded into the water at the beach looking for sea shells. The tide was coming in and I found myself stranded on a rock, the waves crashing about me.
CMR: Oh, my! What happened?
Gilda: Like a braw hero, he strode through the water to me and picked me up. I had also lost my shoes, and he tweaked my toes and called me a mermaid.
CMR: Thank goodness he saw you. Were you friends after that?
Gilda: I was four. He was kind and dinnae scold me. I think I loved him more than ma did at that point.
CMR: Why is that?
Gilda: Och, she had been told by the king to marry Ranald, but she had known him as a lad and dinnae like him then. But Auntie Tavia says they soon fell in love. They always act as though they like each other.
CMR: Do you think you will marry for love?
Gilda: (bites her lip) As the laird’s daughter, I shall marry to benefit the clan. I dinnae believe my da would ask me to marry a man I couldnae respect. Love him? I am not entirely certain what that means.
CMR: Is there a lad at the castle you like? Or a laird’s son you have an eye for?
Gilda: Nae, the lads at the castle are all boys playing at being men. However . . . (she stares off into the distance)
Gilda: Och, I am sure it is nothing. Just a lad I met when picking berries yesterday. But, he flustered me.
Gilda: He was afeared for me because he saw me cut a wolf loose from a trap and spoke a bit sharpish. Then he was kind when a storm blew up—I have been afeard of storms since I was a bairn. But he vexes me.
CMR: (hides a smile) I am sure you will work it out. Do you know who he is?
Gilda: Nae, though I was trespassing on Macraig land, so I suppose he is a Macraig. (Frowns)
CMR: Oh, is that a problem?
Gilda: Aye. The Macraigs and the Macrorys havenae been allied in many years. Though I dinnae know exactly the why of it.
CMR: It is getting late. I will let you get back to your chores. Thank you for taking a moment to talk with me. I hope you are able to follow your heart.
Gilda: I thank ye. I am duty-bound, but wish with all my heart to fall in love with the man I marry. (waves as she picks up her basket of berries)
* * *
CMR: To discover who Gilda marries and if she falls in love, pick up your copy of The Highlander’s Tempestuous Bride! Available for pre-order now at Amazon for the introductory price of $2.99 http://www.amzn.com/B00P89UHME Release date: 11/11/14
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