“Yes, it is wonderful! Baby number one!” Rebecca called.
“Now Mother and Josie are both pregnant!” Sarah yelled.
“Yes, Sarah!” Rebecca called, laughing, “What a special spring!”
“Where will we go to plant next, Rebecca?” Sarah asked.
“We will be going over to Daniel and Josie’s on Thursday,” Rebecca explained. “And Jacob and Marie’s on Monday,” she continued. “I love planting time! We get to see everybody!”
“Everyone except Gabriel,” Mother quietly stated. Gabriel had left them three years ago. He had gone to South Carolina in search of gold and adventure. They all were very sad. They did not know if he would ever come back. They had received very few letters from him.
“At least we get to see Josie and Daniel, and Jacob and Marie,” Rebecca said calmly, referring to her married siblings and their spouses. Mother nodded.
“Josie have a baby! Josie have a baby!” Rebecca’s three-year-old sister Ruth chimed.
“Hooray! Hooray!” Ben and Matthew yelled. It was a great night at the Peters home.
Rebecca went back to the Bradley’s the next day. When the day was over, Rebecca ran happily home, except it was more of a jog this time. The town was even busier, especially at the general store where people were buying seed. Rebecca was very glad that she had not taken the position as clerk there earlier in the year. She wondered how she would be handling the stress of this particular day. It was then that Rebecca spotted a distinctive light-blue gingham bonnet, one that she knew well, in front of the general store. Sure enough, the lady wearing the bonnet was Marie, her brother Jacob’s wife, who was waiting with her two children. “Aunt Rebecca!” the children called as they turned to see her.
“Joseph! Hannah!” Rebecca called back, giving them big hugs.
“Rebecca, we wondered if we would see you in town,” Marie said.
“Hi, Sis!” called Jacob as he exited the store.
“Hi, Jacob!” she said, her blue eyes dancing in the sunlight. “Will you be at Daniel and Josie’s tomorrow?”
“Yes, we will,” Marie replied. “We would never give up a chance to be with family.” They continued to chat about their busy lives, the children, and the crops. Rebecca suddenly remembered that she should be going home.
“Goodbye, Jacob, Marie, Joseph, and Hannah!” she said, giving them all hugs.
“Goodbye!” they called as she ran away. She ran as fast as she could. She zoomed past the shops, buildings, and people.
“Slow down, young lady!” an old man called after her, “Or else you will bump into something!” She was going too fast to hear correctly what he was saying, or if he was talking to her. She charged down every street until she reached her dirt road. She slowly jogged, too tired to do anything more.
Finally she reached home. As soon as she opened the door, Annie called, “Rebecca! We got a letter from Gabriel!” Rebecca was thrilled; this was only the fourth letter they had gotten since he had left them. “Mother said we would read it when you got home!”
After greeting Rebecca, Mother grabbed the letter and read it in all of their hearing.
April 3, 1843
To my most honoured family,
I can not keep my news from you. I am now engaged to the love of my life, Rose Andrews. She is a lovely girl of seventeen years. She is a school teacher. She is perfect. You would love her, just as I do.
I hope all my beloved siblings are doing well. Do I have another? I am just making sure.
I have been searching for gold, but I have not found any yet. I hope I will find some soon. I am living in a mining cabin, and I hope to have a better house when I marry Rose in the fall.
I am very busy, so I can not write much. I hope you will reply to my letter quickly. I hope you have had more success than I have had. But even if I do not find gold, I have my fiancee Rose. She alone is worth the trip to Carolina.
Your son and brother,
They all looked at Mother, shocked at Gabriel’s news. They were all delighted. That night in bed Annie said to Rebecca, “Do you think we will ever meet Rose?”
“I do not know,” Rebecca replied, and she fell asleep.
See complete list of chapters here.