The bumpy road leading to
Lizzie and her new husband's home never seemed so welcome. Just ahead of
them Lizzie could see her old home place was now vacant. Her mother was
unable to endure the loneliness of living there since the death of Sam,
her husband. Esther had moved into the other house on the property which
Sam had built.
Hurry! We're almost there." Lizzie pulled at his arm.
Dutifully, Narcisse picked
up the buggy whip and tapped the horses lightly, encouraging them to pick
up their pace a little. It probably was not necessary to do so because the
horses felt the proximity of home and were already moving at a faster
"Narcisse joked, "On no you
don't! There won't be a runaway at this late date."
In a short time the buggy
pulled up to the front door of the house.
"Whoa!" Narcisse called out
to the horses who were now coming to a dead stop. He could have saved his
command because the team had done this so many times there wasn't even a
need for any one's direction for the horses. Swinging down from the
buggy, he quickly turned back to Elizebeth in order to lift his new wife
from the seat where she had been sitting beside him. He swung her down in
one easy motion. Already she was hurrying up to the little front porch.
As she anxiously broke through the door and into the front room she could
see everything was just as she remembered it. All the same furniture was
there. The curtains looked like someone had recently laundered and pressed
them into a sharp clean appearance. The simple house keeping of her mother
touched her heart. Here was the cleanliness without the frills of extra
touches one often saw in other women's homes.
Directly across the room
sat her father's large old oak desk. His square clear glass inkwell was
setting in the middle of it with his pen beside it as though he might walk
in any minute to pick it up and use it. Until this moment Lizzie had not
really thought much about how her father had conducted the business of his
saw mill. She knew he used an interpreter to communicate, but how had he
managed the writing? When did he learn? Lizzie thought about all this as
she stood observing the light coming through the ink well from the lamp
someone had lit and placed there.
"Come Narcisse, let me see
what Mother has done with the kitchen. She then noticed there had
apparently been only one change. In place of the large old cooking stove
her mother had used there now stood a very small kitchen stove.
"Look! Oh Look! Narcisse!
Look at this tiny little kitchen stove. Isn't it just almost dollhouse
size? I wonder if it works?"
"I doubt very much it would
be here, if it didn't." Narcisse had a way of calling attention to an
Lizzie was busy lifting the
small lids and peeking into the place where the wood was to be burned.
"I can't believe this is so
tiny. Look! it even has a tiny oven."
Narcisse quietly observed
the miniature stove. Looking quickly toward his wife he said, "You need to
show me where the wood is cut. It looks like someone has seen to that for
tonight. Picking up two or three of the short lengths, he placed them
neatly into the stove to ready it for a fire.
"It's going to take some
getting use to as far as cutting these lengths for this doll size stove."
With his usual sense of humor and an after thought he said, "I wonder if
there is a small axe!"
"Yes, it will take some
getting used to. What kind of temperature will it have?"
"Hot." You will need to
keep adding firewood to keep it going. Where in the world did your mother
find such a sample size stove?
Lizzie didn't answer. She
was already standing at the other door leading from the bedroom around to
the same front porch they had just crossed.
"I think we need to bring
our luggage into the house, before it gets any darker." She looked out
towards the wagon. Mentally she was getting them settled into their home.
Narcisse and Lizzie
lingered over the meal she had prepared for them. She quietly spoke to him
of the years she had lived in this house as a child. All the happy
memories she recalled and shared with her new husband. While they visited
she stopped for a moment and turned to the low burning fire still burning.
She picked up the heavy iron tea kettle her mother had used to heat their
bath water when they were children. Filling it with water she then set it
on the stove after she had stoked it with some wood. "I'll just heat our
own bath water, along with the water for the dishes while we have an extra
cup of coffee."
Lizzie smoothed the apron
she wore. She wore the large apron to cover the whole front of her dress.
This would be a thing she did for her whole life. The habit was so
ingrained she performed it as easily as
walking into the kitchen and reaching for one of them she kept hanging in
order to be easily accessible.
After their bath they lay
between the crisp white clean sheets her mother must have put on the bed.
Lizzie listened to the sounds of the country stillness. "There must be
thousands of tiny creatures. Listen, it is a glee club as big as
Chilocco's." At this statement they both had a good laugh.
"I love the sound of the
country, Narcisse. I think maybe, I have missed this most of all. We have
a world that is all ours."
The next day found Lizzie
up early and as usual and going about the business of the day. "Narcisse,
I want to go into town. There is a lawyer my father knew. I want to see
him, I believe he will give me work.
This sudden announcement
may have caught anyone but Narcisse by surprise. He knew Lizzie. He knew
she had to be always busy. It was not an erratic, hurrying kind of busy
but she was in a constant need to be occupied. "Well, I think if you feel
that is what you want to do, I'll not stand in your way. As a matter of
fact, I would like to check into some work around and about town."
Narcisse was a good carpenter and he enjoyed doing various jobs before he
After Lizze had her
household chores finished she carefully dressed, paying attention to her
grooming. She and Narcisse were now out of the house into the little buggy
for their trip to town. The fourteen miles they traveled were covered in
good time and without any interruptions. They made the trip easily.
Lizzie stood in front of
the door marked A.W. Comstock. She knew him from the times she had helped
her father when he needed her to interpret for him. She pushed the door
open and there at the end of the office Mr. Comstock sat in his big chair
behind an even bigger desk. His glasses were perched atop his nose as he
was reading. He now looked up and over them toward the girl standing in
"Well, well, Elizebeth," he
smiled, "how nice to see you, and how is our radiant new bride?" he asked
and Elizabeth was aware that in this small community even the smallest
happening was commonly discussed making every act of a different nature
something to observe and discuss among themselves.
"Oh, thank you, I am quite
well," Lizzie smiled in return. "Narcisse Pensoneau, my husband, and I are
all moved into my parents old home as of last evening. I'm sure everything
is going to be wonderful for us." The girl politely spoke to the gentleman
seated in front of her.
"What brings you to town,
so soon after your marriage, my girl." The busy lawyer was taking out time
for this young woman he had known and liked since she was a girl.
"Well Mr. Comstock, you
know, how I have been studying typing and shorthand at school, and you
know how well I speak my own language. I was wondering if at some time
you might be interested in hiring me as an assistant to you?"
The lawyer, took the papers
he held in his hand and straightened them before he lay them off to the
side of his desk. He was simply stalling for a moment while he was
thinking. It was true he didn't ordinarily hire anyone to work in his law
office, but he too was thinking about the possibilities of having at his
service someone who could speak the native's language as fluently as he
knew Elizebeth could. He didn't have to think for any length of time
"Are you willing to maybe
become among the first women to work in a law office in Oklahoma?" he
looked at Elizabeth.
"Yes sir, I am willing. I
have studied hard and I only want to use my education. This would give me
a way to keep myself busy for a while too. There really won't be that much
to do on the farm since Father passed away. There isn't any farming going
on at the place out west." The girl wanted the attorney to know she was
truly interested in working.
"When did you have in mind
to start? I mean, surely you need time to get settled." The pleasant
manner of the gentleman lawyer made the girl eager to begin her new job.
"I can be at work tomorrow
if you wish. Everything is taken care of at the house. There is really
nothing more for me to do at home." Lizzie did not mind letting him know
she was anxious to work on a new job there in his office.
So began the life of the
young couple. The daily trips to town were only a part of their new
lifestyle. Narcisse was always fortunate to find a job of some sort or
another with his carpentry work. He was a hard worker and was always in
demand. Lizzie loved her work and gained her employer's respect and trust.
The fact she was a woman working in a law office didn't bother, not one
person. The services she performed as an interpreter, typist, stenographer
were all too welcome and the fact that she was a woman was soon ignored.
She worked hard, and did her job well.
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