I had any number of objections to hearthfire, ranging from splinters under the fingernails and pitch on the hands to blisters, burns, and the sheer infuriating contrariness of the element. I would, however, say two things in its favor : it was undeniably warm, and it cast the act of love in a light of such dim beauty that all the hesitations of nakedness could safely be forgotten.
“I prayed all the way up that hill yesterday,” he said softly. “Not for you to stay; I didna think that would be right. I prayed I’d be strong enough to send ye away.” He shook his head, still gazing up the hill, a faraway look in his eyes. “I said ‘Lord, if I’ve never had courage in my life before, let me have it now. Let me be brave enough not to fall on my knees and beg her to stay.’” He pulled his eyes away from the cottage and smiled briefly at me.