Chapter 10

Written by: Sumanda Maritz

My tenure at Condurrow became a commonplace habit. As though my life before was but a dream. The management and troubles of operating a mine that was in dire need of improvement kept me busy as life passed by.

The Bal Maid passed away during this time. The black lung took her within that first year. I had tried to give her comfort during the last months and came to know more of the bal maidens. This understanding of their plight gave me the reason to institute changes that made the working conditions at least partially more acceptable. 

One of these changes brought me the answer that had been part of my worries since my arrival. I felt the cold in the Bal Maid’s accommodation. The answer to this quandary proved to increase the production of the mine. I doubt strongly whether the practice of having the miners perform some of their shifts as peat cutters would be accepted. Forasmuch as it seemed that it might reduce the amount of ore that could be mined, I was much surprised to find that the miners work produced more ore even though the additional time above ground must have been as cumbersome as working below. I am uncertain why that would be. 

The extra peat was used by all in the small village that thrived around the mine. Some of the older bal maidens started a village garden where every able-bodied villager including the younglings shared in the planting and harvesting. I no longer cared that I was now a man of substance. What I came to appreciate in this lovely county was the community that I never thought might exist.

But I digress again. I have been told that I ramble happily of the lives that I helped improve. I have need to finish that which had bothered me for so long.


My Dearest Madam,

It is my sad duty to inform you that we have found the remains of your son that disappeared so long ago. I have started the preparations for his remains to be transported to your abode for proper burial. My mother passed so long ago that I can only hope that my, her son’s, actions might bring some form of comfort to you and your family. I do hope a measure of forgiveness for my mother’s actions may be possible.

Yours Sincerely

Master Jedder 


The boy’s remains were found by the peat cutters. He must have fallen in. 

I folded and sealed the letter with wax. Both relieved and sad for the news that I had to send. I did not use my signet to stamp the wax. It was my belief that the letter might not be opened should my signet appear in the wax. The messenger was awaiting the letter to take to a mother that lost a son too long ago without the comfort of a Christian burial. For myself, I would continue to build the community that I have grown to love.


You captured the voice of the characters and the tone to match the period this story is reflecting. But you also gave us the historical and political situation of the Bal Maids. This was well researched and authenticated the chapter. Great effort!