Searching for Answers

As Samuel rode through the Merrimack Valley, the land’s beauty did little to soothe his inner demons that day. Once he approached Andover, the tension within him bitterly arose. The worried man longed to have some good news on this day. He and Pru deserved to be parents; hopefully, Rachel would need a family to care for her.

Riding into town, only a few townspeople were out that morning since the icy temperatures kept the townfolk inside near the warmth of their fires. Samuel knew the town constable, Henry Ingalls, would probably hole up on his farm during the cold spell, so Samuel pushed Old Bart toward’s the Ingalls’ Farm along Mosquito Brook.

Samuel dreaded his mission as Old Bart plodded along, but he knew he had to take this first step if Rachel were to be their daughter. If. The man tried to push his fears away once Ingall’s home came into sight.

The Ingall’s home was impressive for the area. It was a large two-story affair with many windows facing the southern exposure. It was a luxury few could afford, but Henry Ingalls had done well. In turn, the man served his community with dedication and devotion. Samuel liked Henry, and he was one of the few men in the area Samuel trusted.

As Samuel rode up the drive, Henry walked out to greet him. He called for his son Edward, “Take Old Bart to the barn and care for him,” the father instructed his son.

Henry invited Samuel into his home and asked his wife Martha to fetch them a draft. After their cordial greetings, Henry and Samuel got down to business.

“I gather this is not a social call,” Henry simply stated as he sipped his beer.

“No, I am afraid it is not,” Samuel confessed.

In detail, Samuel explained his discovery on his hunting trip, the cabin, the death of the family, and Rachel.

When he finished, the older man told Samuel, “I’ll organize a party of men to properly bury the family. Once this is done, I will have you lead us to the site.”

Samuel nodded in agreement with Henry’s plan.

“William and Faythe Clarke,” Henry stated, “I do not recognize the names, but I will do some digging to see what I can find out about the man and his family and to see if he has any relatives. In the meantime, can the girl remain with you and Prudence?”

“Pru and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Samuel told his friend.

Henry smiled and nodded. He knew their history and hoped the child would find a permanent home with the man and his wife.

Mrs. Ingalls insisted that Henry stay and eat dinner with the family, and Samuel enjoyed his visit. The couple had seven children, and watching the family interaction at the meal caused Samuel to long all the more that Rachel would one day be his daughter.

After the meal, Henry’s oldest boys went out to saddle Old Bart, which gave the two friends a moment to speak before Samuel headed back to the village.

“I pray the best for you and Prudence,” the older man told Samuel. “The child would have the best of homes with the two of you.”

Samuel smiled, thanked him for his hospitality, and shook hands with the man before climbing onto Old Bart. He turned down the road and headed back to Andover. The husband wanted to stop at the mercantile and purchase some material for Pru. His two girls could use another dress, and he didn’t care if Pru fussed about such luxuries.

Samuel trotted along to Andover, and although he and Pru would still have to wait before they discovered anything new about Rachel, Samuel felt more at ease. He felt confident in his decision to talk to the constable and friend. At the very least, they would finally receive some answers about Rachel and her family.

Writing Prompt:

For today’s prompt, write about the ease of friendship.

Photo by Mike Bowman on Unsplash

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