I hope you enjoyed the short posts I did during the week. I'll be doing more next week. (As long as I can spend a few evening writing.:}) It has been a busy week. We got our piano tuned! Yay! Now I can play Christmas songs that sound good. It was also Dad's birthday this week and last evening S & I babysat for some friends. I think we're supposed to watch the kids tomorrow. Why do things always get really busy just when you think you can finish all your projects and maybe read a few books? I really have to work on my book today so I can get it sent out to my proofer. If you haven't seen my book blog, check it out here.
And now, for the next part of that story. Enjoy!
For a moment Daniel was still. He had never heard this quiet, withdrawn cousin go on in this fashion. True, he had known, as had they all, that Susanna wasn’t happy, but never had he dreamed that she felt that way about it. “Well,” he spoke quietly, “there’s not much I can do about that now. Let’s get back to the house before it starts to snow.” He placed a hand on her shoulder.
She pushed it off. “I said I wasn’t going. Maybe you think I’m just talking, but I’m not!” her voice rose to a shout. “I hate it here! I’m leaving, and I won’t go back” She stamped her foot.! “You can go back and wait for your brother. I wish he would die!”
“That is enough!” Daniel’s voice was stern. “I won’t listen to that kind of talk from anyone. If you would stop thinking of only yourself and think and do for others for a change, you would find life more enjoyable. Do you think that your selfishness hasn’t affected the rest of the family? Well, it has. We have all tried our best to make you welcome, yet you persist in thinking of no one except Susanna Mary Stanson. And I for one have grown weary of it. You may complain about it, but,” he added firmly, “we are going home, and I will listen to no more of that kind of talk.”
The sudden sternness of her cousin’s voice startled Susanna into silence. Never had she been spoken to in that tone before. Daniel had always been kind and gentle until now. When he lifted her into the saddle and then swung up behind her, she make no sound.
Daniel’s voice softened as he said, “Now, let’s get home before the snow gets too bad.”
The ride home was one of silence. Daniel, wondering if he had said the right things, prayed for this cousin of his who was making life so miserable for herself.
Susanna’s thoughts were in a turmoil. How could anyone talk to her like that? Was he right? He couldn’t be. It wasn’t her fault that she had to live with them in the middle of nowhere. Life was being unfair. That is what it was. If only she were in the city where she belonged, she would be different. She really wasn’t selfish, it was just her circumstances. By the time they reached the barn, Susanna had once again convinced herself that the problem lay elsewhere.
For several days after that, Susanna went about the house silent and at times sullen. She did the work assigned her so poorly that her uncle spoke to her more than once about it.
In spite of Susanna’s attitude, the family was fairly bursting with excitement and joy. Christmas was only a week away and the eldest son was expected sometime before then. Nothing could dampen their spirits entirely. Not even Susanna’s frowns.
Then one night, Susanna quietly packed her few belongings into the pockets of her coat and the next morning slipped out the door and up to the mail road. As she expected, a neighbor came by shortly afterwards in his wagon.
“Oh, please, won’t you take me into town?” She questioned sweetly. “I have errands to run and no one is free to take me.”
The neighbor chuckled. “Christmas errands I reckon. Sure, I can give you a lift,” and he stopped his horses and offered her a hand up.
Arriving in town, Susanna thanked the man and hurried down the street toward the small general store. Once she was sure the neighbor was gone, she slipped over to the train station and bought a ticket. She was just in time too, for the train was about to pull out.
“At last,” she told herself, “tonight I’ll be in the city and then things will be all right.” What she planned on doing once she reached the city was still uncertain. However, that gave her no worries, for soon the motion of the train had lulled her into an uneasy slumber.
Several times the conductor paused beside her and gazed down in silence at the young, fretful looking face of the sleeping girl. Where was she going, and why was she alone? Poor little thing, she looked so forsaken, and now and then a tear would roll down her cheek.
It was mid afternoon when Susanna awoke only partially refreshed from her long nap. All she could see from the car windows were snow laden trees and hills. Snow swirled around with such force that at times nothing but snow could be seen. The train began to slow down and the passengers looked at one another anxiously. When the conductor came through, he was eagerly questioned but only replied that they were nearing a town. In a few minutes the train had stopped, and the conductor entered the car.
“Well, folks, you all have got to get out now and find a place to stay. The snow is growin’ worse, and we can’t go on without riskin'’ being stranded. Besides that, the westbound train came in some ten minutes ago saying a bridge they had crossed just a couple miles from here is about to collapse.”
Eager were the tongues then and rapid flew the questions. Were there hotels to be had in such a small town? Would the westbound train keep on going? Perhaps some of them would just return with it. Was the bridge going to be checked to see if it really was about to collapse?
Susanna listened to all this talk with growing dismay. Stuck? Here in a little mite of a town? What would she do? For the first time she began to realize the folly of her running away. It was too late now, though, to return, for she heard the conductor say that neither train was going anywhere until the storm had passed. Slowly she stood up and followed the crowd out of the train car. What she saw did not lift her spirits any. People were milling about in the snow, and the station, if it could be called a station, was packed with passengers from the earlier train. With a clutch at her scarf, Susanna managed to squeeze her way int. Finding a small empty corner, she sat down and waited.
At last the crowd began to thin and people disappeared out into the world of white. A strange silence filled the room causing Susanna to look up. Only a few persons were left besides herself. One was a young man with sandy hair and a pleasant face. As Susanna gazed at him, he looked up and smiled. That smile so reminded her of her papa that for a minute all she could do was stare and then slowly one by one, the tears began to trickle down her cheeks.
“Well, upon my word!” the young man exclaimed softly and standing up he walked rather feebly over and sank down into a seat beside Susanna. “There now,” he said gently, “there’s no need to cry. Did you lose something?”
Susanna shook her head and forced herself to stop crying. “You just, . . . just, . . . reminded me of someone.”
The young man nodded. “I understand. Are you here alone?”
Susanna nodded and dropped her head. What would he say to that?
“I see I haven’t introduced myself; my name is Robert Smith. and you are--?”
The young man gave a slight start and looked down at the girl beside him with a new interest which Susanna didn’t see.
“Where were you going? To visit relatives for Christmas?” The questions was gently put.
Susanna shook her head. “Just to the city. I have to live in a city.”
Robert nodded soberly and fell silent.
Susanna, feeling fretful and worried, looked up. “I don’t know what to do now. I have to get to the city, and now I’m stuck here.”
“There’s two train loads of people stuck, Miss.” It was the station master who had come up. “An’ we’ve only got jest one hotel, an’ that ain’t the biggest. But don’t you fret none, the folk here’ll make room for everyone somehow. Suppose you two jest come along with me an’ I’ll get ya a place ta stay.”
Robert thanked the station master and stood up. As he reached for his bag, the station master picked it up, saying as he did so, “I’ll carry that. Ya don’t look all that strong. Miss, where is yer bag?”
“I don’t have one,” Susanna replied in a small voice.
“Well, that ain’t my concern though I say it’s a shame to send a young girl like you off with no bag an’ baggage. And right before Christmas, too. Never mind though. Jest follow me close, the snow’s gettin’ deeper all the time.”
Part 3 will be here next week, so come back.