He speaks English, and he
can write?" Lizzie was becoming interested.
Creth spoke up. "Well,
anyway, Minnie says he asked her if she knew a nice native woman who wants
to get married. When she told him about you and your two children, he said
he would be glad to have your children and would raise them as his own."
"My goodness, maybe he is a
Prince!" Lizzie was still joking with them. "I think maybe I should meet
"Is Sunday too soon?" Creth
was quick to follow through.
"Sunday is fine." Lizzie
So it was that Lizzie met
Enrique Emillio (Henry) Hernandez. He was indeed, all that her sisters
said he was. Not only was he handsome, tall and dark, he was well educated
too. She believed his story that his father was a land owner in Mexico
because he had such impeccable manners. Her boarding school training was
challenged as to his own refinement. Narcisse fit in with the white race
in a rough and tumble way, but this man was exceptional. There was
something here not easily available to a woman in these parts. He made it
plain to her right from the start he was looking for a wife. With no
hesitation he told her he was willing to take and raise her children as
In order to be married
Lizzie had to be first, divorced. These years gone by held no
communication from Narcisse. She now sat before her former employer and
she had to tell him of her dilemma.
"Mr. Comstock, I am here on
a personal matter." Lizzie tried to carefully select her words. "You
remember my husband, Narcisse?"
"Well yes, Lizzie, I
remember him well."
"I suppose it is common
knowledge he has been gone for several years now. For the truth of the
matter, I have made acquaintance with a very nice man who wants to marry
me. I have accepted his proposal. That is providing he will take my
children as his own and wait until I legally divorce Narcisse."
"Seems reasonable enough to
me." Mr. Comstock was watching Lizzie carefully. "I can set things in
motion for you, if that is truly what you want."
"Yes sir, this is what I
want. I have been alone now long enough to know Narcisse is going his own
way and I must go my way, but then I must see my children are with me."
"I'll say this for you,
Lizzie, you are certainly consistent in setting "firsts" for a woman here
in Oklahoma. You know divorce just isn't that common among the people."
"True, you are correct. It
really makes little difference to me. I have no garden parties or social
obligations to attend this week or later for that matter." Lizzie's wit
was ever at her command.
Mr. Comstock smiled. "I
will get immediately to working out your legal problems.
As she left Mr. Comstock's
office Lizzie looked up to see Henry looking directly at her from the
buggy where he waited. Once more she began to feel hope in her heart. Her
children would not, after all, need to be raised without the strength and
guidance of a good father.
"Well, what is the
verdict?" Henry wanted to know.
"He will take care of the
legal part for us and soon as I have my divorce, we can be married. To
Henry there seemed to be a touch of lifelessness in her voice and he was
quick and sensitive to pick up on it.
"Lizzie, are we going to be
able to work this out? I don't want you to go into anything heavy
hearted. First, you must be sure you know I'm interested in a life long
arrangement." As he talked she had no doubt he was honest. His Catholic
background told her this.
"I do respect you Henry. I
know you are a deeply honest person. From your faith you must know, of
course, a divorce is not right with me either." As she answered him with a
partial explanation of her feelings she didn't know how to go into the
subject of religion or that she probably would never completely accept his
religion. She did agree to raise his children in that faith and she was
baptized shortly before her death in order to be beside him in sacred
Neither could she explain
to him her heartbreak, probably she would never tell anyone about it,
except one of her granddaughters, many years later, just before her death.
Henry reached over the back
of the seat and put Edward on the front seat with them much to the boy's
pleasure. He showed his feelings with a big smile toward his mother.
Velma, Henry picked up and held on his lap as he began to direct the buggy
toward the edge of town.
The man was already
teaching the children to call him "Papa," instead of "Daddy," as they had
spoken of Narcisse. Velma addressed him, "Papa, please may I have some
"Yes, of course, mia hija
bonita." He affectionately addressed the child in his own language.
With this warm endearment
from Henry for her daughter, Lizzie raised her chin, looked straight
ahead, over the backs of the horses and, mentally erased all thoughts of
her first marriage from her mind.