Thursday, November 17, 2016

Across the Atlantic, 1861

By Rosina Lauterbach

A Memory of Muskets

The Chloe Ellefson Mysteries

by Kathleen Ernst

I never expected to immigrate to America. I was an orphan, living with my father's cousin Maria. I believe she did hate me, but she wanted me to take care of her. It was an unpleasant balance. Dreams felt as fragile as soap bubbles.

But then came the unexpected opportunity. Now here I am, crossing the Atlantic. When I went on deck this morning the sunshine was warm, the breeze was cool, and the air smelled fresh. Something so undeniably good rose within that my eyes filled with tears.

That alarmed one of my fellow travelers, a vibrant man some years older than my own sixteen. I assured him I was merely happy.

My answer seemed to surprise him. "What do you hope to find in America?" he asked.

No one had ever asked me such a question before. Impulsively I said, "Oh, I do so hope for---for color."

"For color," the man repeated, fingering his lapels.

I wished I hadn't spoken. Judging by the man's speech and attire, he was no farmer. He could never understand that the life I lived in Pomerania was all black cotton and gray wool and linen dull as dishwater.

"And what do you see for yourself in America?"

I glanced at him suspiciously, but saw no hint of mockery. "I see possibility."

"Then you are wise beyond your years."

We spoke of things that excited us. Now I can't stop thinking about him. And that's a problem. You see, Cousin Maria was angry when I announced my departure. She found a way to exact revenge.

Paying particular mind to my lively fellow passenger would be most inappropriate because Maria promised me in marriage to someone else.

But Maria is in Pomerania, and my future husband lives in some distant place called Wisconsin, in America. While I am on this ship neither can reach me. I can't get in too much trouble.

Can I?

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To learn more about this award-winning series, see Kathleen's website.