Fast forward many years. I received an invitation to contribute a novella to a collection. I brushed off Slim and the Schoolmarm, changed the name to Faith and the Foreman, started the story all over again, and turned it into the novella that I had contracted to write.
Faith and the Foreman was published two years ago in the Old West Collection, volume nine of the series from Mirror Press entitled A Timeless Romance Anthology. Now it's time to publish it as a stand alone short. Look for it later this summer.
A bell jangled on the horse-drawn street car outside as Faith Bannister folded the letter she’d been reading and rose to pace the room. After two circuits, she stopped before her cousin. “I am ruined.”
Clarissa Pembroke looked up from the bandage she was knitting and shook her head. “The news can’t be all that bad, dear. We’ve managed to survive the bank crisis fairly well thus far.”
Faith waved the letter. “The interest on my stocks is practically zero.”
“You should have told me, Faith. I must try harder to find employment.” Clarissa breathed heavily. “I can’t believe my usefulness as a nurse is over because of a few gray hairs.” She straightened her back as though in denial of aging. “I’m going to a lecture tonight to keep up with advancing science. Doctor Harley will speak on treating poisons.”
“You shouldn’t have to support me, Clarissa. I’ll sell the house to that fat banker who lusts after it.”
“Faith! Mind your language.”
“He’s wanted it ever since Poppa and Mama got killed.” She bit a fingernail, then removed her finger from her teeth at Clarissa’s continuing reproachful look. “I know. Mama tried so hard to break me of that.” She brushed a blonde curl away from her misting eye and whispered, “Stocks and bonds are no replacement for one’s family. I’m most grateful for your companionship.”
Clarissa wiped her own tearing eyes.
Faith turned away. “Perhaps I can enter the nursing school at Bellevue Hospital. Mr. Spencer offered a price sufficient to pay tuition and allow me to rent an apartment.” She shrugged. “I’ll have to let the servants go. If it appears I don’t have time to train as a nurse before we’re destitute, I’ll become a governess or a shop clerk.”
Clarissa shook herself as though to restore a cheerful outlook. “Let’s not fret about finances now, dear. Come with me tonight and enjoy the lecture.” She held up her knitting. “This bandage will be finished by then, and I’ll have another eleven for the good doctor.”
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