Elswita was hailed a heroine for having downed that brute of a man. The story circulated the university faster than lightning. Students stopped to chat. Some students clapped as she passed by.
Elswita knew her grandmother had been right. There were better fish in the sea. She had caught one by the name of George Lawrence.
But when he’d asked to marry her she had refused.
“If we marry now I will have to give up my studies,” she said. “The scholarship precludes married women.”
“Then I will just have to wait,” George said, smiling at her warmly.
“And then, of course, I might add another year of tropical diseases.”
“Then I might like to travel to Panama. They are in dire need of doctors,” she added.
Elswita had a vision of her parents. They had been dead many years now, but with the right care they needn’t have been.
It was too late for them, but her ambition was to improve the workers’ lot on what was effectively a huge building site.
“Will they need engineers?” George asked.
“I should think so. There’s talk of continuing with the building of the Panama Canal. It is a brave and dangerous project.”
“Aha!” George said. “After the last few weeks we are well qualified for danger.”
He leaned in and gave her a deep kiss. Elswita could barely kiss him back for laughing with happiness.
Her heart had finally mended. She and George settled into a relationship that was classless. He loved her and she loved him.
* * * *
Christian was fully fit by the time the holidays started. His cousin Edward had fled the university, but the police were looking for him for questioning. Uncle Horace was sent back to prison and would, no doubt, spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Christian spent his holidays with his mother and father in Shropshire and, while there, took the opportunity to reflect on his life. He was delighted that George and Elswita had become a pair. They suited each other very well. It would be hard for them, but he was confident they would rise to the challenge.
The shooting had changed him and made him grow up fast. Yes, he had responsibilities to his family and would not shy away from them, but there was plenty of time for that.
The world was big and wide and he was intending to grasp it with both hands, and meet as many people as he could, enjoying life to the full. He had even given up alcohol just so he could see the world with clear eyes.
George and Elswita were intending to travel to Panama one day. Saying the word Panama, and rolling it around his tongue was terribly thrilling.
He and Elswita were in the library. They’d been back at university for two weeks and already had a lot of catching up to do.
“It sounds like such an adventure,” Christian whispered back. “I might come with you and see what it is like.”
“You’ll miss all your creature comforts,” Elswita said.
“You underestimate me, my dear Elswita,” he said. “Now get on with your work. Mr Keene has his beady eye on you.”
Elswita looked at him and laughed, whilst Christian had made up his mind.
Yes, next stop Panama, he thought happily.