The day spent with the Longworth's was over way too soon. Avery was very attentive to me. Not at all like he was the other time I spent time with him at my house. He pulled my chair out for me in the dining room. At lunch his sisters were asking me questions and all seemed eager to talk to me. Edith, the youngest, asked "Is it true Rachel that you are bringing your own horses with you when you marry Avery?"
I looked up and nodded, "Yes, I am."
Lucy, who is about twelve with blonde hair and the bluest eyes I have ever seen spoke up, "We heard you refused to marry Avery unless you could bring your own horses!"
I felt myself turning red, "Why no, I didn't say that. Nobody asked me that." I glanced at Avery who was sitting on one side of me. He just grinned and shrugged his shoulders.
Father spoke up, "Now I knew my Rachel would have to have her own horses with her. So I stipulated that in our agreement right from the start. She raised them from foals. Nobody can handle a horse like my Rachel." He turned toward Avery, "You don't have a problem with that do you son?"
Avery answered, "Why, no sir. In fact, I am glad." Then he looked at me for a second, like he was thinking of what to say, then he spoke, "Rachel, I am glad you like horses. You see, my business is horses."
"Horses?" I replied back not knowing what he meant. Was he selling them? Shoeing them?
"I have built my own freight business. I haul supplies for businesses or whoever needs something hauled from town to town."
"You do that all by yourself? Drive from town to town?" Mother asked. By now the whole family was very interested in this business.
"No, m'am. I have three wagons and two other drivers. I drive one of the wagons."
After our lunch we sat in the parlor and our parents talked about the wedding. Our sisters got to know each other. His sister, Margaret who is married and has two children of her own was there for the lunch. Her husband. George was not there as he was one of Avery's drivers and he was delivering a load of lumber to Utica. She talked with me for a long time telling me how much she was looking forward to me joining the family. Avery came over to us, "Hey Margaret, do you mind if I steal this pretty girl away for awhile?"
"Why no Avery, go right ahead. I have to go check the baby anyway."
Avery took my arm and led me out of the parlor. "I thought we'd go out on the patio so we could talk." He didn't really pose it as a question. We went out onto a patio that had a table and chairs and plants all around. Fresh cut flowers were on the table. The birds were singing and the flowers were fragrant. I felt nervous, dizzy and excited all at the same time. He led me to a sofa and I sat down, he sat down next to me and said, "Rachel, I know you hardly know me. I think this whole marriage thing took you by surprise. I want you to marry me, and I know your Father already promised you would marry me. But I want you to tell me that you are marrying me of your own free will. I do not want you to marry me if you do not want it too. Do you understand?" he looked deeply into my eyes, seriously searching for my answer.
I stammered, "Yeees, yes Avery. I understand." I wasn't sure what he wanted me to say.
Then he slid down off the sofa and went down on one knee and took something out of his pocket, "Rachel, I am asking you to marry me and be my wife. Will you do me the honor?" he looked into my eyes and took my hand.
"Why Avery, of course I will." I answered.
He took a ring and put it on my finger. It fit perfectly! It was so beautiful. I was stunned. I had no idea he was giving me an engagement ring. At that moment Mr. Longworth stepped out to the patio, "Oh Avery and Rachel. I didn't realize you were out here. I just came out for a bit of a smoke," as he filled a tobacco pipe.
The rest of the day was exciting. Getting to know his sisters and trying to remember all their names. I kept looking at that ring all the way home. Mother said she had a good feeling about my life with Avery. Now I have a good feeling about it too. I think we will have a good marriage. He is very good looking too. Tall and strong. He has muscles that tell of a man who is used to doing hard work.
I went to sleep dreaming about being Mrs. Avery Longworth. Everything is happening so quickly for me. Going to have my own house and will be having my own children. I think our life together is going to be happy. I am praying to God tonight to help me be a good wife and mother. To help me make him happy and for us to have a joyful, but holy life.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole