“Rosie Loretta ..,” My mother was about to say my last when I came running back over to her.
“Why on earth couldn’t you be more like your older sister?”
“Because, it’ boring to entertain guests I rather experience things and see the world. The boys have it so much better. They see things whereas I have to stay home and do nothing.”
“Do nothing! What in heaven’s name are you talking about, do nothing?” Mama seemed to go into her usual fit about how ladies should act and that it’s a disgrace to act like one wanted more in life then settling down having babies. I want to see the latest development on the railroads. I secretly listen to my father and the other gentlemen talk about them. I find interesting. A new way to travel all over the world.
“Just wait until your father hears about this, Rosie!”
I roll my eyes which only infuriates my mama even further. But I cant seem to help myself when I have gone through this same discussion repeatedly with my mother.
“Rosie? Are you listening to me?”
“Yes, mama. I am and have been listening to you, thought I still don’t agree with you.” I ran up stairs to my room where Lydia, my older sister, was working on her wedding gown. She is to be married within a week’s time to a prominent member of the prestigious company called Winston’s Textile Mills. He and his family were extremely wealthy and it kept mama happy to have her eldest daughter marrying a man from a good family. The only other issue is that once Lydia is married mama will be pushing more so on me to marry a wealthy good gentleman next. And I am far from ready to do that. I am still 15 years-old I have until this summer to come up with a way to get out of marrying anyone. But will I succeed?
“Rosie, what on earth happened to your dress?” Lydia almost died from shock at seeing my new dress soiled with black marks from checking out engines that are used for the trains.
“I..um..well, I was checking out the engines in the shop when mama called me out.”
“You are an absolute disgrace for this family! Why do you ave to be so disobedient when all mother and father do is treat you well?”
“I am not a disgrace and unlike you I like adventure and fun. Not everyone telling me what to do and how to do it.” I nearly shouted at her, but remembered I already made mama mad enough for one day. I decided to change and to hide away in my room drawing all the new images spinning within my head. Who knows when I might see anything fascinating again.
Soon the sun lowered back into its resting place and I rushed down the stairs knowing father was going to home any minute. So, I waited..and waited..and waited. Ding..ding..ding. Our old grandfather clock chimed in the distance. Looking up I noticed it was past 8 pm and mother and Lydia were worried. Just when I thought the worst, the doors burst open and there was father with Lydia’s fiancee hanging onto him looking for the worse.
“Oh my gosh, father what happened to him?”
“Why were you so late? And let’s get this man to a room and taken care then you, Mr. Lockwood are going to have some explaining to do.”
Father just nodded and took his hat off and began pacing the floors. I ran up to him and hugged him tightly. At first he was socked then he hugged me back telling me it’s okay. Lydia went to take care of Joe. And mother came back into the room waiting for father to tell us all what happened.
Father sat down in his favorite leather chair. Pausing for a long while making us think he wasn’t going to say anything. Lydia came back in siting beside me. “Father what happened to Joe? Why was he injured and you late in coming home? Why bring him here?”
“There was an uprising at the textile mill. Joe’s family, home, and fortune are all gone.”
Silence came about the room descending upon us like a heavy blanket. Mama didn’t say anything. Lydia started to cry heavily. I wrapped my arm around her trying to soothe her in any way possible.
“The sheriff and doctor both said that Joe will not make it by morning. And with him not having anyone else I thought to bring him here with us.”
Mama took father’s hand and squeezed it tightly nodding her approval. “Lydia, you will find another man to marry soon.”
I sat there stunned. Find another man to marry soon? The first man she was about to marry is lying injured in our guest room about to die and may not make it to see another day and mama is worried about Lydia finding another man to marry? It must be the shock and grief making mama say such things. Yes, that has to be it.
“Lydia shouldn’t you be attending to Joe?” I asked her. Maybe that will bring her out of her crying mood.
“He’s going to die, Rosie. There’s nothing more I can do!” She shouted at me like it’s my fault. Mama looked at me like I said something wrong and went after Lydia.
“Papa, I am going to check on Joe. If that is okay. Since he did lose his family and everything all due to an uprising. I can only imagine what Joe is feeling right this moment.
Papa nodded his approval and I went into our guest room, the lamp was dimly lit. I sat beside Joe and dipped the wash cloth in the warm bowl. Gently, I began bathing his face which was covered in blood. After his face was clean, I went to work on his wound on his right arm. I used some alcohol and a clean rag and carefully yet firmly cleaned his wound before re-wrapping it. Joe winced. He turned his head and looked at me. I felt my heart cry at this man’s condition. How could my older sister Lydia not care? Joe was a sweet man who would do everything he could for her. Here he was injured beyond his will and lost everything and yet, she wasn’t at his side. But, I was. Joe closed his eyes and I took his hand and held it in mine. I didn’t want him to die without knowing someone cared. I didn’t realize I had stayed in the room all the way until mid-afternoon. The sun was bright and shinning right into my face. I sat up and noticed my father opening the curtains. He held my shoulder. “Go wash up, Rosie. He’s going to be okay now, because of you. I will take watch until you have freshened up and eat something.” Just then my stomach growled as if on que. Smiling my father waved me out of the room.
Rushing out I ran upstairs to bathe and change my clothes. I went back downstairs to the kitchen where Lori our cook has bacon buns freshly made and waiting for me with a class of milk. I thanked her and gobbled up several before deciding to ask her if I can take a tray to Joe. She smiled back at me and said, “Rosie, you are more of a proper lady than your mom and older sister are. I am proud of you, little one.” Smiling back, I hugged her. Then taking the tray I went back to Joe. Father was good to his word. He kept watch until I returned. I took of Papa’s seat and began on my task to feed Joe. “Papa where is Lydia and mama?”
Kissing me on my cheek, Papa looked sad for a brief moment.”They left for the dance in town to find a new eligible man. I feel sorry for the next man to marry off your sister thought.”
Laughing, I felt relieved that my father was on my side. After he left the room, Joe stirred a bit. I asked if he wanted to eat. Joe nodded. I handed him a bacon bun. And then another and a small bowl of veggie soup to help him gain his strength back. I hoped it worked. I’d hate to see Joe recover a bit only to get worse later.
After all the food was gone. Joe looked up at me. “Thank you, Rosie.”
“Joe, you don’t have to thank me. You went through hell yesterday. I just want to see you well again.”
I set out to change his cloth and clean his wound again. “I am sorry about Lydia not being here for you.”
“It’s okay. Sometimes things are just not meant to be. And it saves me from marrying the wrong woman.”
“Have you ever thought about marrying, Rosie?”
“I don’t know, I never really thought about it.” I said lying to him.
“Maybe, you should. You’re a good woman, Rosie.”
Suddenly, I felt my face get hot.
“I am sorry, if I embarrassed you.”
“No, Joe. You didn’t embarrass me, just caught me off guard is all.”
Joe was eighteen and I only 15. I wouldn’t be allowed to marry until this summer when I turned 16 and that’s if I decided to marry.
PART 2 Coming Soon!