January 19, 1897
I woke up in the morning to the sound of children playing. After the briefest moment of confusion I remembered where I was, the sheriff’s home. The children were his and they were happy which made me happy. Someday, I might like to have children and a husband and everything that means but on this day, I am glad to be alone.
The two girls could hardly sit still at the breakfast table. They had far too much energy to be contained inside but the winter weather would not permit them beyond the front door or perhaps it was more there father than the weather. He loved them, that much was obvious. I have had a bad taste in my mouth about sheriffs since early last year, but this man is doing a good job of changing all that.
“Did you really ride a horse a thousand miles all alone?” One of the girls asked.
I smiled and shook my head.
“Who told you that?” I asked.
“She did!” She said, pointing to her sister.
“Did not!” The accused girl exclaimed.
“Settle down.” The sheriff said.
The girls became quiet for a moment. There was a knock at the door and the sheriff rose to answer it. It was the doctor at the door.
“You’ll be happy to know the man you brought in will live.” The doctor said.
I was more than I could believe.
“Any idea who he is?” The sheriff asked.
“No, nothing to give a hint and I never seen him around before.” The doctor replied.
The sheriff nodded and the doctor left us to breakfast. As I began clearing it away, habit from home, the sheriff shooed the girls into another room giving us a touch of privacy.
“You feel like telling me what really happened out there?” He asked.
I paused for a moment but then went with my instincts which were telling me to trust him.
“He came into our camp in the middle of the night with three others. They were looking for one of the girls and things turned nasty. I managed to get a hold of the gun and shoot him. The others took off after that.” I said.
“How many of you girls were coming in?” He asked.
“All of us. Mr. Carrington didn’t show with the caravan to bring them in.”
“That’s what a hundred girls?”
“A few less. Not everyone returned from the holiday. Is Primrose truly closed?”
“Did they turn back after the incident?” He asked.
I noticed he avoided answering my question.
“No, they’ll be at Carrington Manor sometime this morning if not last night.”
“Then your school will still be open. They were only talking of closing because someone spread a rumor that none of the girls would be coming back.”
“If I knew that, I might have a better idea of what is going on around here. Do you know who those men were looking for?”
“But you’re not going to tell me?”
“I don’t think it’s my place to say.”
“I can’t protect her if I don’t know who she is.”
“She’ll be safe enough now, I think.”
“I understand you don’t trust easily and seems you’ve got good reason to be that way, but I’m here and I’ll help if you’ll let me. Not every man wants to keep the world in the dark ages.” He said.
His gaze was out of the room and toward his two girls although he could not see them, I think his eyes did anyway. Maybe when things are clearer, I will say more but for now, he is the sheriff and I still do not trust that name.
“I had best get myself to Carrington Manor. The girls will be glad to know our trip was not in vain.”
“Your horse is in the stable around the corner.” He said.
I left through the front door and he did not follow. I never turned to look back but I could feel eyes on me right up until I left town and returned to the grounds of Primrose College.