Updated: Apr 12, 2022
The Heir Comes Home- Part 2 (Part 1)
by Sandy Kay Slawson
“Kyrk Stewart, what has gotten into you?” Kathleen said when the door of the mercantile closed behind the woman.
Kyrk speared his twin sister with a glare. “What has gotten into me? Do you not see what that woman did?”
Kathleen waved her arms in a wide arc. “I do see, clearer than you, as it appears. Glance around, brother. Da’s store has never looked better. It’s clean and tidy. Everything appears in perfect order, and we found the woman here at work well after closing. Did you hear the jingle of stolen coins in her apron pockets? Neither did I.”
“You are far too fast to trust, as Da when he hired the stranger with no references,” Kyrk said, then went behind the counter and found the ledger. “We shall go through this, and if there are any discrepancies, we will send the law for her.”
“You are too quick to judge. If she is innocent, you’ve treated her like a criminal for naught.”
“We found her in our father’s mercantile, treating it as her own, when it ought to have been closed after his death. Perhaps she even moved in to his quarters…” Kyrk dropped the ledger on the counter and hurried to the living space in the rear of the shop. Kathleen followed and stood in the doorway, while he searched through the dresser, wardrobe, and trunk at the end of the bed.
“The room appears undisturbed since Da last slept in here. The dust is months thick. His clothes lay on the floor, his shaving kit and towel are still out as if in use, and the sole sign of a woman in this room is the daguerreotype of Mother on his bedside table,” Kathleen said with a smirk.
Kyrk despised his sister’s “smirk of condescension,” as he referred to it. “I admit, I see no signs that she’s taken up residence here, but it doesn’t mean she hasn’t stolen from him… us in some other way.”
“If you wish to spend the night digging for evidence against… Oh, what is her name… I know Da told me in his letters… Rivers? No… Waters. Miss Waters. You may spend your night playing a Pinkerton agent, but I am exhausted after our journey. Therefore, I’m going to the boarding house before they lock us out for the night, and shall see you at breakfast.”
“I cannot let you go by yourself at night,” Kyrk said.
“You let Miss Waters go.”
“She’s an orphan, with no family, Da said, and must be accustomed to doing things alone.”
“Accept the fact, dear brother, we are orphans now, too,” Kathleen said, and the sadness in her tone drew out Kyrk’s protectiveness for his sister.
“We aren’t alone. We have each other.”
“Then should we not be even more compassionate about the plight of poor Miss Waters? In truth, she did us a favor, whatever her motive. She’s kept the mercantile open, clean, stocked, and we do not need to start over from scratch. And she’s helped provide a service for the townspeople who need this mercantile. Perhaps we can find a modicum of appreciation for her.”
Why did his sister have to be right so often? “I admit I acted—”
“Like a brute?”
“—hasty, and should have been—”
“Yes, a gentleman,” Kyrk said, then added an exasperated huff.
“And the Christian man I know you are,” Kathleen said.
“Alright, you’ve punched me in the gut enough for one night, Dear Sister. I over reacted, and I’ll apologize if I ever get the chance. The return home after these years to find someone else here besides Da is hard. This is his store, not hers.”
Kathleen rushed to her brother’s side and pulled him into an embrace. Kirk hesitated a brief second and then wrapped his arms around her thin frame. Though he’d tried to squelch the emotional upheaval his life had been since he and Kathleen received notice of their father’s fall, he realized it had simply manifested itself not in tears but in anger. I’m sorry, Lord.
Kathleen let go and stepped back a pace. “Da is in Heaven with Mother, he doesn’t care about this old mercantile anymore.”
Kyrk studied the mercantile for the first time since they’d arrived. The shelves were neater and more organized than he’d ever seen them. Signs hung to direct customers to the various goods that were separated into sections, which made sense. When he’d last come home about two years hence, he’d mentioned the disarray to his Da, but his father saw what he wanted to see… blessed abundance after the poverty he’d known in Scotland before he and his wife made the voyage to begin a new life in America. Even after father’s expectant wife died birthing their twins, Kyrk and Kathleen, a year later, he didn’t lose hope that he and his new baby boy and girl would thrive in this new world. “Alright, I’ll bring the ledger with us, and if I see Miss Waters again, I’ll be more civil. But if I find signs of theft, she will not go unpunished.”
To be continued… Part 3
Happy Valentine's Day! Have you ever considered what true love looks like? Thankfully, we don't have to wonder. The Bible tells us very clearly in, "The Love Chapter," 1 Corinthians 13. Unfortunately, very few of us measure up to the high standards found there. Thank the Lord Jesus did measure up for us. Where we fail, He did not, and His love for us demonstrated in His life, death, and resurrection can and will wash away all our failures, all our sin, when we repent and believe.
1 John 1:9 (ESV)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 10:9-11 (ESV)
9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”