Thursday, 11 June 2009

The Undertaker's Wife

The Undertaker’s wife could be found on occasion in the parlour of her husband’s premises, ‘minding the shop’.

A spinner by occupation, she would sit at her wheel, treadling rhythmically, left, right, left, right, left right. So smooth and regular were her movements and so gentle the sound of the flyer as it coiled the thread around the bobbin, that her customers would find themselves falling into a reverie as they waited to be shown into the Chapel of Rest. No one minded.

She worked with quiet concentration, holding the fibre in her right hand and letting it play through the fingers of her left as it fed through the hooks of the flyer. When it was a little too thick, she would tug at it lightly to even out the thread. Sometimes, she would bend her head towards the wheel with slight nodding movements which every now and then became so violent that her long, loose hair swung forward and barely missed becoming tangled in the workings of the wheel.

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