Roger glanced from the darkened shop to the convivial crowd round the fire; a good many of Ute’s relations had ridden over with the lucky bridegroom and his friends from Salem, bringing with them an immense barrel of black beer, which was adding to the festivities. The air was yeasty with the tang of hops.
By contrast, the cooper’s shop had a desolate, glowering sort of air about it. She wondered whether anyone around the fire had yet missed Ronnie Sinclair.
“I’ll go and have a bit of a blether with him, aye?” Roger touched her back in brief affection. “He could maybe use a sympathetic ear.”
“That and a stiff drink?” She nodded toward the house, where Robin McGillivray was visible through the open door, pouring what she assumed to be whisky for a select circle of friends.
“I imagine he will have manage that for himself,” Roger replied dryly. He left her, making his way around the convivial group by the fire. He disappeared in the dark, but then she saw the door of the cooper’s shop open, and Roger silhouetted briefly against the glow from within, his tall form blocking the light before vanishing inside.
“Wanna drink, Mama!” Jemmy was wriggling like a tadpole, trying to get down. She set him on the ground, and he was off like a shot, nearly upsetting a stout lady with a platter of corn fritters.
The aroma of the steaming fritters reminded her that she hadn’t had any supper, and she made her way after Jemmy to the table of food, where Lizzie, in her role as almost-daughter-of-the-house, helped her importantly to sauerkraut, sausages, smoked eggs, and something involving corn and squash.
Diana Gabaldon, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Chap 6 (Doubleday Canada, 2005)