The Schoolmaster’s Daughter — Episode 19

WITH George’s help Louisa managed to find Edith and Stephen by the gate and walked home with them. What an extraordinary day it had been and what a wonderful way it had ended.

As she climbed into bed and lay her weary head on the soft pillow, Louisa could still feel George’s kiss on her lips.

Surely this was not the end but the beginning of something special. Whatever pitfalls lay ahead, they could wait until tomorrow.

Tonight she would just sink into sleep and dream that she was sinking into his arms. Was this what it felt like to fall in love?

Going down to breakfast next morning, Louisa was still floating on air. Edith, too, had yet to come down to earth.

“The fair, the fireworks! Was there ever such a glorious day?” she said with wideeyed wonder. “I do hope Queen Victoria enjoyed the celebrations in London just as much.”

Edward looked up from the newspaper and smiled at his younger daughter, enjoying her delight.

“I hope so, too. Our queen has been in mourning for Prince Albert for so long. Everyone needs some joy in their life.”

“Does that apply to you, too, Papa?”

“I have plenty of joy in my life, although I will always miss your dear mama. I have two precious daughters and the satisfaction that comes with my vocation.”

His eyes twinkled behind his spectacles.

“Not to mention the paperwork.”

Aunt Charlotte poured herself a second cup of tea.

“I expect there will be more than a few sore heads today.”

“And sore feet.” Edith looked directly across the table at Louisa. “From all the dancing.”

Louisa gave her a warning glare. She was expecting to get a grilling from her sister but this was not the right time.

Edith was not so easily put off.

“Did you have a good view of the fireworks, Louisa, after we became separated in the crowd?”

Louisa opened her mouth to reply but was saved by her father who suddenly put his half-eaten toast back down on the plate as he read aloud from the newspaper.

“‘To let, shop with bakehouse attached,


Armitage Street. Immediate possession.’” He waved the paper at Stephen.

“I know the place. The owner died last month and his nearest relations live in Wrexham so I’m not surprised they don’t want to take over the business. This could be the perfect location for the community store. I’ll see about it directly.”

Louisa’s ears picked up at the mention of a bakehouse. Perhaps there could be an opportunity for George.

She waited until her father was alone in his study and then went in.

He was seated at his desk, poring over his papers, when Louisa gently laid a hand on his shoulder.

“Papa, may I venture a suggestion? If the community shop is going to bake its own bread, it will need bakers. George Jevcott is seeking a new situation. He had almost completed his apprenticeship when Knibb’s Bakery burned down and I’m sure he’s trustworthy.” Edward took off his spectacles.

“I’m sure he is, too. Certainly he is from an honest family and I’ve been impressed by his willingness to take work elsewhere and to volunteer for the Rifle Corps. It all shows commendable character.

“But there would need to be a more experienced man in charge and I already have someone else in mind for the assistant’s position. He also lost his last job through no fault of his own and has a large family to feed.”

“Oh, I see.” Louisa was crestfallen. “Yes, you’re right, Papa. By comparison, George is fortunate.”

Edward patted her hand.

“It was kind of you to suggest George Jevcott. Who knows, if enough people flock to the shop, maybe more bakers will be needed in time.”

Hoping that time would be soon, Louisa went upstairs to her bedroom where she found Edith perched on the stool, waiting for her.

Louisa sighed.

“Really, Edith, are you going to make a habit of this? Can’t I have some privacy in my own bedroom?”

“You didn’t seem to care so much for privacy yesterday when you were dancing with the baker’s apprentice – sorry, former apprentice. Remind me, where is he employed now?”

“The nail factory. And he does have a name, you know.”

“So you were dancing in public with . . .”

“George Jevcott.”

“The factory worker. What did you think you were doing, Louisa?”

Louisa strained to control her temper.

“First of all, little sister, whom I dance with is no concern of yours. Secondly, yesterday was a day of general rejoicing for the whole town and hardly the time to refuse a well-meant invitation. And thirdly, George may not be a professional man or a gentleman of means, but he is a good man, as is his father. They are both members of the Rifle Volunteers, willingly giving their time to help defend our country.”

“I’m not sure that others may see it that way,” Edith replied, fidgeting with the tortoiseshell combs on the dressing-table. “Aren’t you worried what Aunt Charlotte will say if she hears about it? Or about your reputation?”

“Are you sure you’re really worried about my reputation or just concerned about your own?” Louisa countered. “Are you afraid your sister will bring you down in the eyes of society by associating with the lower classes? We’re not exactly duchesses, you know.”

“Yes, I know, but . . .”

“Are you planning to tell Aunt Charlotte?” Edith shook her head.

Relieved, Louisa sat down on the bed and continued in a softer tone.

“I know it’s hard for you to understand. Goodness knows, I hardly understand it myself. But the day I first met George I felt there was something special about him and every time we meet that feeling grows stronger.” She reached out and took Edith’s hand.

“He has a good, kind heart and there’s something else that I can’t explain – a kind of connection. I don’t expect you to understand now but one day perhaps you’ll have that same feeling for someone else.” Edith furrowed her brow.

“So what happens now?”

Louisa paused before replying in a small voice.

“I don’t know.”


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!