A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
I sat out on the porch until the sun went down. Then I, painfully – due to Beau’s horrible ride – got up and tottered into the boarding house.
Most of the men were still reading and smoking cigars in the parlor. I looked across the hall and saw the Widow Hawkins still working at her desk. I doubted she would want my company because I bet a lot of the men that stayed at her establishment tried to hit on her.
I mean, “tried to get in her good graces.”
I had to stop thinking in my Universe’s jargon and utilize as much of the 19th Century common speech that I knew.
The Widow Hawkins glanced up and saw me looking at her. She smiled and asked if there was something I wanted to ask her. I smiled back and said that there were a few things I needed to know about, but in private.
She raised her eyebrows.
I quickly added that by “private,” I meant out on the porch. I told her it had to do with the local history. She looked at me for a moment and said that she would join me on the veranda in about 10 minutes. I thanked her and once again took my previous seated position on the porch.
True to her word, she came out on the porch 10 minutes later. I stood up and gave her the chair and leaned against the railing. I stared at her for a few seconds not knowing how to broach the subject about which I wanted to gather information. She looked at me expectantly.
Finally I said, “I am not from around here, and I have been isolated out west without a really good news source. Do you mind if I get your ideas about how the War has progressed here in the east?”
She let out a breath that I didn’t know she was holding and relaxed. Apparently, she had thought I was going to try some funny business with her. I also noticed that she had taken her hand out of the cloth bag that she had placed on her lap.
I fixed my gaze on the bag, and there was a bulge in the bag. It was my turn to raise eyebrows when I looked into her eyes.
“A lady can’t be too careful these days,” she said, matter-of-factly.
I bet there was some kind of small pistol concealed in the otherwise harmless purse.
“I reckon you’re right,” I replied. “Please forgive me for frightening you. I really just wanted the war news from your prospective.”
I would never underestimate this lady again.