Thursday, June 3, 2010

Winter Wheat Chapter 1 (1)

Here is the first half of chapter 1, we'll finish the remainder of chapter 1 in tomorrow's post.

CHAPTER ONE


Mrs. Harriet Tober puffed her generous bosom forward in agitation, her stern demeanor this time directed toward her husband of twenty-two years.
“I tell you Robert, we cannot continue to harbor that girl! She is an expense we can ill afford!” She rounded on the passive gentleman who sat calmly before her; his features resigned to yet another battle with his spirited wife.
“Come now, Harriet,” he answered softly. “Surely you don't begrudge her this little time to grieve for the last remaining member of her family! Think of all she's been through!”
Harriet threw back her shoulders yet again. “She has been through no more that a lot of others in her station of life!”
“Yes, well, that may be true; but most of them have someone they know to turn to for help. Emilie does not!”
“I tell you Robert, she is not our responsibility any longer. I say we find some family who needs a maid or a nanny, and ship her off!”
Emilie Freiheit stood in the hallway just outside the dinning room door and listened to the argument that was taking place inside the adjoining room. From the first moment she had met the woman, Emilie had been uneasy around the outspoken Mrs. Tober. Many times in the months since she had resided in the Tober residence, Emilie had sensed that the older woman did not approve of her; nor had the supercilious Mrs. Tober ever made an effort to like her. From the very day Emilie had arrived in this home with her brother, Mrs. Tober had treated her no better than a servant, even though Mr. Tober himself had sponsored her and her brother to come to this country. For some reason Mrs. Tober had taken an instant dislike to Emilie and she was sure that she had done nothing to warrant such a reaction in the distasteful woman.
Emilie listened to the couple’s heated argument for only a moment longer then squared her shoulders and entered the lavishly adorned dining room to face the open hostility of Harriet Tober.
The crystal chandelier hanging over the mahogany table glittered brilliantly, piercing Emilie’s eyes with its sparkling intensity. Emilie wondered not for the first time, how a woman so evil-spirited could have such luxuriant surroundings in a home so richly furnished and still seem so totally unhappy. It did not seem possible that a woman could possess such treasures and still fail to notice the beauty around her, or to appreciate it for what it truly was.
Emilie always noticed beautiful things for she had grown up in the humble surroundings of her patents’ modest cottage in a war torn country where possessions were few and hard to come by. Emilie was convinced that to totally disregard one’s riches as if they were of no consequence had to be some sort sin. Now her convictions re-enforced yet again, she moved forward into the room without making a sound and then stopped and waited for her hosts to notice her presence.
“Emilie!” Mr. Tober sprang from his chair, his kindly face flaming crimson from his neck to his ears. “I’m sorry dear; we did not hear you enter!” he stammered.
“I am sorry, Mr. Tober. I could not help overhearing your conversation with Mrs. Tober.” Emilie knew her broken English disturbed Harriet and her eyes slid nervously toward the woman who stood poised and ready to resume her argument. The skin around the older woman’s pouty lips wrinkled in displeasure at having been interrupted and Emilie knew that she was just waiting for the moment when she could resume her tirade once again.
“I wanted you to know that I will be leaving in the morning. I realize that now that Wilhelm is gone I no longer have a reason to stay here under your care. Wilhelm had some money saved, so I will be able to afford a room somewhere while I look for work. I want you to know how very grateful I am for all that you have done for Wilhelm and myself. He always said you were a good man, and that is true. You have been very good to me, but now I must move on.”
“Emilie, there is no need for you to leave,” Mr. Tober’s face fell in honest despair.
“You have been most kind, Danke . . .thank you; but Mrs. Tober is right, the time has come for me to move on.”
Victory flashed in Harriet Tober’s eyes for just a second, then was gone. “We will, of course, help you find suitable employment, Emilie,” the older woman’s words might have been kindly had not the gaze of pure malevolence sparkling from her eyes given her away. “Some references from either Mr. Tober or myself would no doubt help you get your foot in the door, no matter where you choose to work. Without out it . . .” she broke off, leaving the sentence unfinished, implying with her unspoken words that Emilie would never find employment on her own.
“That would be kind of you, Mrs. Tober,” Emilie said meekly, for she would never dishonor the kindly gentleman sitting there looking so distressed for any reason - not even for the opportunity of speaking her mind to the hateful Harriet Tober.
“I may know of a friend who is in need of a maid; perhaps I will mention your name to her. You should find yourself a widower with children. You might even be offered marriage!”
“Harriet! For goodness sake, that’s enough now!” Robert Tober warned in a firm voice. “Emilie can be or do anything she sets her mind too. She doesn’t need to settle for a life she does not want, merely to survive.” Mr. Tober smiled at Emilie, his warm eyes comforting her in spite of the hurtful words of his cold-hearted wife. “Emilie, if there is anything you ever need, you must promise you will come to me. You know where my office is, so you can come see me there anytime.”
”I will Mr. Tober, I promise; but now if you will excuse me, I will go and pack my belongings for the morning. Danke . . . thank you, for all you have done,” her voice broke to a whisper, before she turned and walked up the stairs to the room which had been her home for the past several months.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with Vicki...I am hooked & look forward to more!!!

    ReplyDelete