Alfred’s Emporium – Episode 51

“What a strange day this has been,” Rose said as she and Alfred sat together on the little bench in the back yard of Hapstall’s shop.

“For me, too, Rose,” Alfred replied.

The sound of crockery and pans clattering could be heard above them. Mariah had refused all offers of help from Rose and Alfred, saying she wouldn’t mind a little time to herself, and had shooed them outside.

“What a shock it was when the coach stopped and there was your young man in the road, standing up the cart and shouting my name.”

“I should have spoken out sooner,” Alfred said, pulling her close. “But I would have followed you. Wherever you’d gone. I couldn’t have let you go without even asking you.”

“Asking me what?”

“If you thought that you and I might make a future together. I’m happy to wait until we’ve spent more time together and for you to be sure. Mind you, after fearing I’d lost you today, I know I’m sure already.”

Rose smiled.

“I am, too, Alfred. I will have to go away for a time to settle my father’s affairs, but I will come back. I can find other work.”

“I was coming to that,” Alfred said with a smile. “Would you consider working in a department store? I happen to know where there is a vacancy.”

Rose’s eyes lit up and she laughed.

“Do you think I would make a successful assistant?”

“I believe you could do whatever you turned your mind to. But I would like you to be part of my new venture. Will you think about it?”

“I think,” she replied with an impish smile, “that it will be the only way I might spend time with you over the next few months. I know how intent you’ll be on making the store a success. I accept your offer.”

They shook hands in mock seriousness.

“There’s someone I’d like to help,” Rose began thoughtfully. “Molly at Cross Roads House. She was so kind to me – my only friend there.”

“I think we both owe her a great deal,” Alfred agreed. “How can we be of service to her? Are you thinking she might be part of our new enterprise, too?”

“Quite possibly,” Rose answered. “Molly is an orphan, placed at Cross Roads House by the institution where she was brought up. She’s only had the most basic education. I have some experience at teaching, and if I can improve her in that way, it would open up all sorts of possibilities for her.”

“You couldn’t do better for her,” Alfred said admiringly. “And if I can help her, I will. Now, let’s go up to supper. Tomorrow will be a busy day.”

Abigail Phillips

Abbie is the newest member of the fiction team at the "Friend." She loves how varied the role is - every day is different and there is always a new story to read. She is keen to work closely with established writers and discover new writers, too.