Scene: The Siege of Londonderry

Date: 1689

Extract from: A Simple Mistake, Book 3 in The Dorset Chronicles, the drama and history behind the emergence of our modern nation.



Bridget Browne asked a boy to cup his hands together to

make a platform for her feet. The ragged boy obliged,

delighting in the view it gave him of her ankles. Once, when

she squirmed to get a better view, her plain cotton dress, the

only one she had left to wear, caught on a knob of stone and

rode up a little, giving the boy a perfect view of both lightly

stockinged calves, glorious in their shapeliness. He wavered

slightly in his stance as he forgot the perpetual hunger,

replaced briefly with another hunger.

“Careful, boy, don’t let me fall.” Which address was a cheek

for Bridget, at nineteen, was maybe a year or two older than the


“What can you see?” the boy asked, hoping he had the

strength to continue holding her forever, shifting his body to

lean against the parapet.

“I see ships, lots of ships. Well, not exactly the ships

themselves but masts and sails. The sails are coming down, I


“They are anchoring below Culmore Point,” a nearby soldier

told the pair. “They must be the relief fleet.”

Suddenly, all around were cries of, “It’s the relief fleet!” and

then, as the news passed along the wall and down into

Londonderry, the implications were voiced. “Food is coming.

We are saved. We are saved.”

“Don’t believe it,” the soldier said.

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