Alice’s heart sank. She knew what he was going to say. She swallowed hard and hid her disappointment as she asked, “are you going away again?”
Jacob said, “I am, but if all goes well, when I come back, we are going on a whirlwind trip. We’re going to go places we’ve never been, we’re going to see sites we’ve never seen, we’re going to meet people we’ve never met, we’re going to stay in the finest hotels and we’re going to dine in the finest restaurants.”
He continued. “While I was in San Francisco, I was approached by some gentlemen who admired my work. They asked if I’d be interested in putting the finishing touches on a project for a woman they described as a ‘fine lady’.”
He smiled and said, “I imagine she’s some wealthy, bored heiress who is in the process of restoring some fancy new hotel or maybe an elaborate art gallery, which will bear her name. The work would be quite the feather in my cap.”
Alice said, “it sounds intriguing, but where are you going and how long would you be gone?”
Jacob took her hand and said, “you must be understanding, my darling. I would be traveling to Europe and I would be gone for at least two or possibly three months. Most of the work is done but, as I said, I would be assisting in the completion.”
Alice said, “of course you must go, but I shall miss you terribly. I feel as if I am not whole unless you are with me.” She hesitated as if she didn’t really want an answer when she asked, “when will you be leaving?”
Almost agonizingly, Jacob said, “in three days, but my darling, although our parting will be ever so bittersweet, my return shall be glorious.”
Alice spent the next three days, trying to think only of Jacob’s promise of untold adventures, but she was desolate. Before, her loneliness had been tempered by Georgia, but Georgia was gone.
The day arrived when Jacob boarded the train, which would take him to the port of call. As before, Alice said a prayer as she stood and waved until her beloved was out of sight.
She tried to busy herself and not dwell on things like missing Jacob, and her Papa, and Grace and Georgia. Occasionally, she would go to Tierney’s for hot chocolate and a Bonbon, and even shake things in town up a bit by arriving in trousers, but for some reason she felt empty as she sat there alone.
After almost three weeks, Alice received a letter in the mail. She felt like a little girl on Christmas morning, opening a special present as she read:
My dearest darling,
I arrived safely, although I
will admit that more than
once, I was stricken with
motion sickness. I am stricken
with even more sickness, from
I have met the lady I will be
working for and I must confess
that I am quite taken with
her and perhaps even a little bit in
love with her, but don’t fret, my
dearest. It shall be a fleeting
affair. There’s not much time
for writing but I will write as
often as I can.
Your loyal and faithful husband,
She held the letter to her chest and whispered, “thank you.” Once again, her prayer had been answered. He had arrived safely.
To be continued__________