A Knock at the Door
Hearing a knock at the door of Brother George’s St. Louis home, Margret spoke to Emily, “I’ll get it. Who could it be at this hour? George said that Mavis’s brother should arrive today, but I was expecting him later in the day.” As she approached the front entrance, she could see a young man, licking his fingers and running them through his hair, as he watched his reflection in the frosted glass of the door.
“I presume you are Miss Margret, or Miss Emily?” The young man inquired. “I’m Charlie, Mildred’s brother.” The young man stood there sheepishly, fidgeting with his hat in his rough hands. Margret could see that he had just wiped the wide brimmed hat on his work pants. The toes of his boots were clean, where he had wiped them on the calves of his pant legs. Margret invited him into the parlor, and went to bring her sister.
“What’s he like?” asked Emily. “Is he polished and mannered?”
“No, not polished, more like ‘raw’, but polite,” replied Margret.
“Raw? What kind of a description is ‘raw’? Is he handsome?” asked Emily.
“Oh, I couldn’t see, but I think so,” replied Margret.
Frustrated, Emily retorted, “Don’t tell me you can’t see. You see as well as I do, since you bought those new spectacles. You can be so exasperating! You finish making the beds, and I will go down and have a look, myself.” Margret smiled devilishly to herself.
Emily entered the parlor and the young man introduced himself again as he hesitantly shook her delicate hand. “I apologize for the early hour, but I had to come before I lost my nerve,” he explained. “My sister told me to be sure to look in on you, before coming to the homestead.” Emily continued to hold and shake his hand, long after the handshake should have ended. Charlie’s eyes opened wide, as he looked directly into her eyes, and he continued to gently shake her hand.
Margret entered the room and announced, “It’s time for us to go, Emily”, breaking their trance. “Charlie, I’m sorry we cannot entertain you this morning, but we would be happy to see you at dinner. We eat at 5:00, if you’re available.”
“Five o’clock, yes, mam, 5 o’clock. Yes, mam. I will be here.” said the young man, as he retreated from the parlor. Margret closed the door behind him.
“Emily, it’s time to go, or we’ll be late to school. Emily!” Margret increased the volume of her voice. Emily fumbled with her cape. Her hands were shaking so much, she could barely manage to put it on. “Emily, what’s wrong with you?” Margret said, looking intently at her. Emily didn’t respond. Her senses were consumed by the site of the young man walking away, as she gave a deep sigh.