Last time I introduced Violet Lawrence. If you missed the first part of her story, you may want to take a few minutes to read Part 1, before you start Part 2 today. Without further ado, into the story we go!
"The Way Back Home"-Part 2
by Sandy Kay Slawson
Violet Lawrence paced the train station platform for what must have been the one-hundredth time. Her bags were aboard the train, except her valise, which she intended to keep with her. Her driver had left long ago. Straining to see through the crowd of late comers, she couldn't find her lady's maid, Nora, anywhere.
The noise of the train, along with the noise of the people, added to the anxiety Violet fought with each turn back through the mass of bodies. After a time, the crowd thinned, passengers having boarded and just a few family members left on the platform to wave their goodbyes. Still, no sign of Nora.
The Conductor moved toward Violet and she stopped short.
"Miss, last call will be in five minutes. You may want to board and find a seat while you can."
Violet bit her bottom lip and nodded. He left her and took his stand by the entry door to the nearest passenger car. One last hopeful search for her lady's maid, produced nothing but disappointment. Clenching her valise handle tighter, she lifted the hem of her skirt and made her way to the door. The Conductor offered his hand to assist her onto the high step, and she offered him a shaky smile.
Once inside, she moved through the narrow aisle with care and held her valise tight against her chest. A scan of the car told her one bench remained empty. She navigated her way around bags, shoes and legs spread out into the aisle and stopped to apologize twice when she tripped over out-stretched appendages she hadn't seen. When she reached the empty bench, she sank down with a brief rush of relief.
"Where is she?", she whispered. With gloved hands clenched together, she asked, "Lord, where is she?"
Setting her valise beside her, she knelt on the bench and peered through the open window, ignoring her mother's voice in her head, berating her for her lack of manners. One more look and then she would be the proper lady she'd been trained to be. Sometimes practicality took precedence. Her mother would not have agreed.
There! Nora ran across the platform, hand on straw bonnet, searching the windows.
"Nora. Nora! I'm over here. Hurry!" Violet waved her arm furiously out the window. Nora waved back. Violet clutched the lowered window and leaned out a little more to watch her lady's maid embark, but instead of jumping on the train, Nora came to stand outside the window.
"For goodness sake, get on the train. Where are your bags? Oh, never mind that, we'll send for them at our next stop. Well, what are you waiting for?"
"Miss Lawrence, I-I'm not coming with you."
"What? But--you are my chaperone, my...companion. I need you."
"I beg your pardon, Miss, but I don't want to go to Texas. I've changed my mind. I've taken another post."
"Another post? I don't understand. How long have you known-"
"ALL ABOARD!" The Conductor's yell, made both women jump. Violet swallowed the swell of panic threatening to choke her.
"How long have you known? I could have found someone else."
"My sister found the post for me. I knew for sure last night."
"You could have sent word at least. This is unacceptable. You must come with me."
The noise of the steam became deafening. Steam gushed from around the wheels. The squeal of pistons and creak of wheels drowned out whatever Nora's last words were before she darted off, in the opposite direction of the train as it began to move away from the station.
Violet plopped back into her seat. Alone. I'm alone. A chuckle drew her attention to the bench across the aisle. A man leaned over his arm rest towards her. The smirk on his pockmarked face and the gleam in his dark eyes sent a chill along her spine.
He took his pointer knuckle on his right hand and hit the brim of his bowler, lifting it higher on his forehead.
"I couldn't help but overhear, Miss. I'd be happy to see you safely to your next stop," he said. He pushed up from his seat. Fear shot through her at the thought of him coming to sit by her.
Before he'd fully risen, though, an elderly lady moved in his way. She pointed to the seat by Violet with her silver handled cane.
"May I sit with you?" she said in a high pitched wobbly voice.
"Grandmama! Of course you may sit with me. I thought you were in the car with Father and-and Frederick," Violet begged the woman with pleading eyes not to betray her.
The woman's look of confusion cleared after a moment. She winked.
"Make room for your Granny. I didn't want to be squeezed to death on the bench by your humongous brother."
Violet's smile lit her face. She moved her bag to the floor and scooted close to the window. She had one more glimpse of the man, before her "Granny" settled herself onto the bench beside her. He pulled his hat low over his face and scrunched down into his own seat.
To be continued...
We'll plan to learn more about Violet's adventures in my next blog post on 8/24/20. I hope you'll plan to join me.
I'm so glad you could all come for a visit today. I hope you have a very Happy Monday and a great week! May the Lord God bless you and your family with faith, hope and love. In Jesus' Name.
The scripture above is one I needed to be reminded of this week, but maybe it will comfort someone else, too. God bless y'all! -Sandy