Saturday, May 14, 2011

Chapter Five

The next morning the women were awake and out of bed early.  As they dressed, Amanda said to the others, “I plan on backing my things today.  Riley will not be working tomorrow and he can help me move them.  I know he will be glad to help you move your things over to the other building in town when you are ready. I will stay here with Emily while you all go to take a look at the building.  I don’t think she is ready to go to town yet.”
“That is a good idea,” said Sarah.  “I like the building and the rooms upstairs but I want Hannah and Beth to see them first.  I don’t think Emily minds where she lives as long as she is with us and out of view of others.  I had told Will I would meet him there this morning.  We need to decide what furniture to take and what else we will need to get Will to make for us.  Jacques can help him with that, too.  Did you know that Jacques has been making more of the carvings like the ones he made for us?  He talked Ben into selling them in the store.  I must say that they are beautiful and so lifelike.  He brings that same craft to the making of furniture too.  He has made a few pieces so far and I think he will work on this in his spare time.”
Working together the women quickly made their breakfast of eggs and bread with fresh milk.  Emily again joined them at the table for their simple meal.
“We’ll clean up.  You go on down and meet Will.  The sooner you make a decision, the sooner we can decide what you will need,” said Amanda.
The other women agreed and left to walk the few blocks to town to meet Will. 
Amanda heated water and put the dishes in the warm soapy water.  She washed and Emily dried the dishes and they were soon finished. 
“Come with me into the bedroom and you can help me pack,” said Amanda.  “I don’t have too much except for my clothes and a few other items.  As we pack, we will choose some clothes for you.  I know they won’t be as fine as what you used to have but I think they will work for now.”
“Oh, Mandy, you don’t have to give me your clothes,” Emily said.  “I don’t need anything except maybe one dress.”
“Sarah is too tall and Beth and Hannah are too short!  So my clothes are the most likely to fit you, and everyone likes to have a change now and then.  I am sure that we can find several things for you to wear.  I don’t know if my shoes will fit but we will see.  If not, we will get you a pair from the store.”
“You all are so nice to me.  I just cannot believe how giving you all are.  I don’t deserve it!”
“Emily, remember we talked yesterday and last night, none of us deserves God’s mercy and grace but we receive it gladly and we gladly share what we have with you.  Now let’s get started.”
Amanda’s trunk was already in the bedroom and she opened it up and took out the quilts and other items stored there.  She began to lay the items that belonged to her on the bed.
“Which dress do you like the best?” she asked.
“OH, just give me the oldest one or one you don’t like,” said Emily.
“Nonsense,” said Amanda.  “I want you to have one that you like.  Here, I think this blue one will look good on you. Let’s try it on.”
Emily had worn one of Amanda’s nightgowns since she had shown up on their doorstep and this was the first time that she would put on regular clothes.  Amanda found her the undergarments that she would need and helped her dress.  The dress was a little loose on her since she had lost so much weight but otherwise, it was a perfect fit. 
“Oh, that looks so good on you!  Much better than it did on me,” said Amanda.  “Here, sit on the bed and I will brush your hair.”
Emily obediently sat down while Amanda brushed her hair.  Amanda remembered the elaborate styles that she had worn every day and thought how changed she was.  Her hair had always been beautiful, healthy and shiny where now it lay lank and dull.  Amanda was sure that proper food and rest would restore Emily to her former beauty. 
“This dress looks too nice.  I need something to work in the house, cleaning and such,” said Emily. 
“Well, I have several things that you can wear..  Here is a skirt and blouse and then this green dress is one of my older ones.  I always used it when I cleaned back home,” said Amanda.  “Now try on a pair of my shoes so we can see if they fit.  I don’t have too many pairs of shoes, just a pair of boots and two other pairs.  We might just want to buy you some.”
“But I don’t have any money.  I can just wear these slippers.  I won’t be going out,” said Emily.
“If you are helping in the house by cleaning and cooking, Sarah will consider that you are doing your part and I am sure that she will pay for the shoes.  Or I will be glad to pay for them.  Don’t worry, we won’t get a really expensive pair but you have to have at least one pair.  It rains a lot here and it will be much colder.  You couldn’t go out without shoes and you really need them in the house too.”
The women were still looking at Amanda’s clothes and folding some to put in the trunk, when there was a loud banging at the door. 
“Oh, who could that be?” cried Emily.  “I am so frightened!  Please don’t let anyone in to see me!”
“Hush, it will be all right.  Stay in here and I will go and see who it is,” said Amanda.
Amanda hurried to the front door and asked, “Who is it?”
“Open up!”  said a loud voice. 
“Not until you tell me who you are,” Amanda was a little alarmed.  She was still a little nervous since her kidnapping although she tried not to show it.
“For goodness sake, open the door!  It’s J.T.”
Amanda quickly opened the door because she wanted to have a good look at this man who  annoyed Sarah so much but as soon as she opened the door, he pushed her out of the way and rushed into the room, carrying a woman.
“Where should I put her?” he asked.
Amanda blinked at his abruptness, but quickly led the way to the examination room.  J.T. put the woman on the bed and Amanda could see there was a lot of blood.  But before she could say anything, J.T. was walking quickly from the room.
“Wait.  Who is this and what is wrong with her?” Amanda chased after him.
As she went into the front room, J.T. was already coming back into the cabin with a bundle in his arms which he thrust into Amanda’s arms.
“You had better get that doctor lady pretty quick,” he said.  “I went by to check on Buck and Jessie Roberts and I found her out in the yard, trying to bring in the wood.  I got her here as quick as I could.  I just hope it is not too late.”
J.T. said all this as he was moving toward the door.  Amanda followed him, “Wait, where are you going?”
“I have to get back up to the camp.  Tell the doc that Buck was no where around. I’ll look for him at the camps but I had told him to stay home and take care of things.  If I find him, I’ll send him into town.” 
J.T. was already on his horse and riding away before Amanda could say another word.  Movement from the bundle in her arms made her realize that J.T. had handed her a very small baby. “Oh my!” she said as the baby began to cry.
She ran back into the cabin, calling Emily as she went.  She had to go to the bedroom where Emily was cowering in the corner.
“Emily, I need your help. J.T. just brought a woman here and this baby.  The baby is only about a day old. The mother is in your bed in the examination room.  I have to run to town and find Sarah.  Can you take the baby? “
Emily took the baby and said, “What should I do?”
“Just hold him and watch him until I can get Sarah.  I’ll be right back.”
Amanda ran as fast as she could to the store and then started looking for the others.  She stuck her head in the door of the store and called out to Ben, “Have you seen Sarah and Beth?”
“Two doors down.”
Amanda could see that Ben was about to say more but she gave him no time but quickly ran down the boardwalk toward the building to find Sarah.
Bursting through the door, she found all the women and Will examining the rooms.
“Sarah, come quickly, I need you now!  Run!”  Amanda did not give Sarah the time to answer but began running back toward the cabin.  She could hear the sounds of the others running behind her but she knew she needed to get back to Emily as quickly as possible.
Gasping for breath, she rushed into the cabin.  She could hear the baby still crying and she went into the examination room to see if she could start helping the woman there.
Sarah was right behind her and quickly began to examine the women.
Amanda was still gasping for breath, “J. T. brought this woman and her baby on his horse.  He said that he had gone by to check on them and found her in the yard trying to get some wood.”
Sarah was quickly unwrapping the blanket from around the woman. “Amanda, go and get Beth.  I am going to need her help.  Please boil some water and bring it as quickly as you can. “
“What about the baby?”  Amanda paused to ask.
“Ask Hannah if she will see about the baby.  She has younger brothers and sisters and should be able to cope until we see the situation here.”
Amanda quickly went to talk to Beth and Hannah.  She found them in the bedroom, trying to quiet the baby.  Emily was still cowering in the corner but Amanda knew that she did not have time to stop and comfort her now.  “Beth, Sarah needs you right now.  Hannah, will you be able to care for the baby while we take care of his mother?”
Beth rushed to help Sarah and Amanda went into the kitchen and began putting wood into the wood stove in order to build up the fire and put the kettle and another pot of water on to boil.”
It was more than an hour before Sarah and Beth were able to tell the other women anything about their patient.
Amanda had prepared some food for their lunch.  Sarah would not leave her patient but the others gathered around the kitchen table as they ate and Beth told them what she knew.
“You will remember that Sarah went to deliver a baby at the Roberts’.  This morning J.T. went to check on them and found Mrs. Roberts in the yard.  Evidently she had tried to go out and get some wood and began hemorrhaging.  She was unconscious when J.T. found her.  Luckily, J.T. found her in time.  Sarah was able to stop the bleeding but she has lost a great deal of blood so she is still in grave danger.  I had not realized that she was so young.  She barely looks 15 or 16.  Sarah says that we will have to try to feed the baby cow’s milk but that she hopes that we will be able to find a wet nurse for him.”
“I have not had a chance to ask you.  How did you like the building in town?  Did you all agree that it would meet your needs?” asked Amanda. 
“Yes, we did, Mandy.  It is very nice and close to the store.   I’m sure that Jacques and Jane will enjoy living here also.  I think it will all work out very well.  We discussed it with Ben and Will and they are going to see about a cook stove.  We will have to put it  downstairs so that it will be convenient for the office and hospital that Sarah hopes to start.  Will is going to make us some more furniture and we will take some from here.  We had just about settled everything when you ran in.  We will continue to live here for a few more weeks while Will does the necessary work.” Beth replied.  “To be completely honest, I think I will feel a little safer there plus it will be closer to the store.  Now I have a question for you.”
“For me,” Amanda asked with surprise.
“Yes.  We have heard so much about J.T. and you and Sarah are the only ones who have seen him.  What does he look like?  Is he really as bad as Sarah has described him?”
Amanda smiled. “Well, he certainly took me by surprise but I know that there was no time to waste.  He is very abrupt and blunt.  As for his looks, he is very tall and has a lot of hair on his face.  His hair was long too.  I think I would have been frightened if I had just met him and had time to think about it but all I could think about was that poor woman and her baby. He must not be as bad as Sarah makes him out to be though or he would not have gone to check on them.  He obviously does care about people though I think that he does not let people see that.”
“Oh, Mandy, with all the excitement we forgot to tell you our other news!” Beth said.  “There was mail on the ship that came in!  We had several letters.  We had one from the Jensens and Sarah and Hannah received some from their families.  Joe even sent a reply to my letter. Let me go and get them.  I put them down in the front room when we came in.”
Amanda was excited to hear that they had mail.  When Beth returned with the letters, she opened the envelope from the Jensens first.  Both she and Beth had written from St. Louis to explain to their former pastor and his wife why Beth had left as she did.  Mr. Jensen had already spoken with Beth about marrying a non-believer and the fact that Mr. Zimmerman was so much older.  As she had expected, the Jensens agreed that Beth should not have married someone who was not a Christian and enter into a marriage where there was no love.  The Jensens’ went on to tell the women various bits of news about different families in the town. They also shared that Beth’s father was still upset and would not talk to anyone about the incident.  He said he did not want to hear one word about Beth.
“Oh, it is good to hear from them!”  Amanda exclaimed.  “That was one of the most difficult things about moving here – leaving good friends such as the Jensens.”
“Yes but I do wish that I had heard from my father.  I have prayed that he would follow Christ.  I just know that if he accepted Christ as his savior he would forgive me.  And it was so nice to hear from Joe.  And he sent me another Bible to share with a non-believer!  He is so nice!”
“Yes, Sarah’s entire family are special people.  I am so glad we were able to spend some time with them before we traveled out to Seattle.”
Hannah shared, “I also received a letter from my parents and brothers and sisters.  I don’t mind telling you that I broke down and cried when I opened it.  They stayed in New York.  They would love to come out here and meet you all.”
Amanda and Beth were astonished to see that Hannah had tears in her eyes as she continued, “My entire family lives in a tiny apartment in New York.  I have 2 younger brothers and 1 sister.  They would all love to come here but we could not afford it.  The only way I was able to come was that Mr. Mercer agreed to pay our way out here.  It is my hope that someday I will be able to send the money for my entire family to be able to come out here and settle.”
“I have some news to share as well,” Emily said shyly.  Amanda smiled at her as she continued.  “I asked Christ to forgive me of my sins today. “
The others were happy to hear of her decision and promised to encourage her and help her all they could.
“Well, we had better get the dishes washed and put away.  We have had a very long day and should try to get some sleep soon,” said Amanda.
Amanda put some food on a plate and carried it to Sarah while Beth and Hannah heated water and begin on the dishes.  They were soon finished and they women all went to the front room for their nightly Bible study. 
It was Amanda’s turn to lead the study and she chose a passage that she had always loved and which gave her great comfort. 
“I am reading tonight from the Gospel of John.  It is one of my favorites and actually one that Beth’s mother wrote down for her to read also.      
            ‘Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also
 in me. 
In my Father’s house are many mansions’ if it were not so, I would 
 have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and
 prepare a place for you, I will come again, and where I am
, there ye may be also. 
And whither I go, ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whiter thou goest;
 and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the light
: no men cometh unto the Father, except by me.  John 14: 1 – 7 KJV”
This passage gives me hope for eternity. Christ says that He goes to prepare a place for us and that it will be wonderful.  I believe that none of us can even imagine what heaven will be like.  I know that it will be wonderful.   He also says “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No man comes to the Father except by me.”  That means that we all have to accept Christ as our Savior as well as let him guide us in our everyday life.  We have so much to pray about tonight.  We need to ask for healing for Mrs. Roberts and strength for Sarah as she ministers to her.  You will be making changes in your lives as you move into the new building.  Emily has made the important decision to follow Christ today and we rejoice in that decision with her.  I would also request that you pray for Riley and me and our future together in our marriage and for my new school year and the children as well.  Let’s just go around and each one of us pray a short prayer.  Emily, if you don’t feel confident enough yet, just pray silently but know that God is your heavenly Father and you may talk to him as a friend.”
The women had a time of prayer and, after checking with Sarah to see if there was anything they could do to help her, went to the bedroom to sleep.  Emily was sleeping in with the others tonight because Sarah would stay in the examination room with Jessie Roberts.  After the long and tiring day, each woman was asleep within minutes of putting her head on her pillow.

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