The Captain’s Bride — Episode 33

THE twins were over-excited about Kitty’s wedding. Edie and Daisy were usually well-behaved and Tabitha didn’t have the heart to be too stern. To distract them, she suggested they each drew a picture of the flowers and trees growing around their house. While they were employed, Tabitha wrote out a list of words she thought they should be able to spell. Before long, the girls were eager to share their works of art and she was discussing their pictures when someone knocked on the door.

“Come in.” Tabitha looked up.

“Good morning.” Jacob smiled at them all. “Forgive the interruption, Miss Westwood, but I wondered if your pupils might like to ask me questions about life at sea?”

Edie and Daisy seemed, for once, struck dumb.

“Why, thank you, Captain Learman,” Tabitha said.” That’s a very kind offer. You girls have the chance to talk to a real live ship’s captain. Shall I start you off?

“And please sit down, Captain,” she said. “May I begin by asking you what it’s like to have so many people under your command?”

Jacob settled himself.

“At first, very daunting. I’d served under some excellent officers so had good examples to learn from.”

“How old were you when you went to sea?” Daisy piped up.

“I was ten years old when I joined my first ship.”

“Were they kind to you?”

“They were, Daisy. The captain had sailed with my father long before I was born and he kept an eye on me.”

“So you followed in your father’s footsteps?” Tabitha leaned forward.

Jacob met her gaze.

“Yes, I couldn’t wait to leave home and see countries I’d only read about. I think my mother missed me, though. She wrote me long letters.”

“Do you have to sleep in a hammock?” Edie asked shyly.

“Never. I slept in a cot as a youngster, but these days I’m fortunate to have something more substantial.”

Tabitha listened to her pupils growing in confidence as they talked to Jacob. He took everything they asked seriously, answering, she was sure, honestly. She was impressed not only with his knowledge, but with the way he held the girls’ attention. Although she wondered why he should trouble himself to spend time doing this.

He asked whether he could hear each of the twins read and even Edie, the quieter one, seemed eager to show off her skills.

Tabitha was loving every moment. Jacob concentrated upon the twins, so she could look at him whenever he spoke. She also learned things and knew her geography lessons would be more interesting in future.

At last, Jacob turned to her.

“I’ve taken up enough of your lesson, Miss Westwood. Thank you for allowing me to join in, but I should spend time with my hostess now.” He rose, giving her a warm smile.

“We’ve enjoyed your visit, haven’t we, girls? We’ll take a break now. Time for a little run around in the garden while it’s not too hot. You may leave your lesson books where they are and I’ll come and find you very soon.”

Jacob waited while the twins left the room then closed the door.

“Tabitha, I’m so proud of you.” He walked towards her. “I wanted to see you engage with your pupils and now I know my idea has borne fruit, far beyond what I imagined.

“Those children are fortunate to have you as their teacher. I like to think many more will follow in their footsteps.” He was at her side now. “It is sweet torture, feeling as I do about you, my love, yet being unable to tell the world how I long to make you my wife.”


Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!