The River Runs Deep – Episode 33

“Pa was real upset about you and Gideon having to postpone everything.”

“It wasn’t Pa’s fault,” Bea declared emphatically. “He had his orders.”

“The day Pa was packing his kitbag ready to sail, I heard him tell Billy-Bob he was too old to go away all the time,” Laura said.

“Do you think Pa might come ashore for good?”

“Doubt it. Pa isn’t very old and he’s worked aboard steamboats since he was a boy, spending his whole life sailing that river.

“If he quits Missouri Belle, what would he do?”

“I don’t know.” Laura sighed. “But I wish he’d quit anyhow.”

“So do I,” Bea admitted. “Pa working away all these years must’ve been awfully lonely for Ma, but at least she had us with her.

“Now I’m leaving home, and pretty soon you and Paul will get married, so you’ll be leaving –”

“Paul hasn’t asked me yet,” Laura interrupted, laughing.

“We haven’t seen one another much lately, but we are planning a romantic dinner before we go to the play at Leasowe Hall.

“Are you and Gideon going? It’s supposed to be real exciting,” she concluded enthusiastically.

“Mrs Leasowe’s having playbills printed for posting around town. I’m collecting them tomorrow.”

The following morning, Laura walked into town at a particularly brisk pace, impatient to tell Johan they could use Bea’s sitting-room for lessons with Miss Myrtle.

She hoped to talk to him on her way to work.

At the hotel she looked through the door’s glass panes. Johan was in the lobby with Mrs Tyrell.

Disappointed, Laura continued to the Hawthorns.

She was back in town collecting the printing shortly after midday, and found Johan at his desk.

She excitedly gave him the good news.

“That’s wonderful, Laura!” he exclaimed. “Have you told Miss Myrtle yet?”

She nodded.

“The only thing left to arrange is when we’re going to meet for lessons.

“Miss Myrtle says Tuesday evenings would be best, when Mrs Leasowe goes to the Ridgeways’.”

“Tuesdays it is.” He smiled again, glancing at the parcels Laura held in her arms.

“I’m due my lunch break, so can I carry those for you?”

“Thanks, but I’m only taking them round to Leasowe Hall. They’re for the play.”

“I’ve read plays for the literature part of my correspondence course,” Johan told her, “but I’ve never seen one, so I’m looking forward to it.”

“Me, too,” Laura replied. “Paul isn’t keen, but he’s promised to take me.”

Laura hurried across the lobby, glancing back at Johan and beaming.

“See you at Bea’s for our first lesson!”

Closing the hotel doors behind her, she turned and almost bumped into Paul about to enter.

“Have you been looking for me?” he asked. “Sorry I’ve been tied up. Let’s have lunch together to make up for it.”

Laura’s face fell.

“I can’t. I must get back to the Hawthorns. Mrs Leasowe said I wasn’t to dawdle. I’m taking these to Leasowe Hall.”

“I’ll come with you.” Taking the parcels, Paul stole a kiss.

“I’ll call for you after supper. We can drive to Pine Ridge and watch the moon rise.”

To be continued…

An error has occurred while loading your details. Please click the following link to try again - if the issue persists, please don't hesitate to contact us. Try again by refreshing the page.