Young Family (Chapter 2, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 2

Samantha didn't see Prudence in the dining room for breakfast. That meant her friend must have gone to her shop to brood. She would have to come out eventually and then Samantha could smooth things over with her. For the moment, Samantha had to help get the other girls ready for the day.

The older girls like Rebecca didn't need much help anymore. The younger girls-only five or six years old-still needed some help to make sure they put their dresses on the right way and to get their shoes on the right feet. This had all become so routine that most didn't make much of a fuss.

Except for Helena. Though she was eight years old, she still whined like a sullen toddler every morning. Every morning she would at least once stamp her feet and cry. She would then bawl, "You're combing too hard!" or "These pigtails are lopsided!" or "I wanted it braided!" She would carry on until Samantha fixed her with a stern look and said, "Helena, stop it. Act like a big girl."

Once the girls were ready, Samantha went over to the boy's dormitory. They were even more difficult than Helena. Every morning Samantha would have to break up at least one fight. This morning she found David wrestling with Mark on the floor. David had the clear advantage in height and weight, which he was putting to good use.

"Come on, say it," he snarled.

"Uncle," Mark said.


"Uncle!" he wailed.

"You two knock it off," Samantha said. She gave David the same stern look as Helena. He got to his feet, sauntering off with a victor's swagger. Samantha offered a hand to Mark and then pulled him up to his feet. "The rest of you get ready for services."

She waited in the adjoining room while they changed, keeping one ear to the door in case hostilities resumed. After a few minutes she called out, "Are you ready?"

"We're ready," David answered for the rest of the boys.

Only then did Samantha come out of the room. She verified the boys were all properly dressed, their shirts buttoned and vests facing the right direction. "Let's go, then," she said.

As it had been under Reverend Crane, the boys sat on one side of the church while the girls sat on the other. Samantha took her seat in the front row, noting Prudence was not there. She would probably sneak in the back once she was certain everyone else was here.

Miss Brigham came in through a side door, the reverend's Bible tucked under one arm. She set the book down on the podium and then opened it. While she flipped the pages, she said, "Good morning, children. Let us all thank the Lord for another beautiful day in Eternity."

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