Thursday, February 9, 2012
The Farmhand ~ Part 2
The foursome walked out into the backyard. They could see Wally and Charlie in the distance. They were using a two man saw on one of the dying birch trees out by the woods. Suddenly a gust of wind came up. Bess saw the tree start to sway and yelled Wally's name. Charlie heard her at that moment and pushed Wally down on the ground shielding his body with his own. Max and the girls ran as fast as they could to the pair. Bess was on her knees in prayer. Wally had the wind knocked out of him but was able to stand up and wave to Bess. Charlie was trapped under the tree and lay unconscious.
The four of them were able to lift the tree off Charlie but didn't dare move him. Betsy sat with him while Sarah walked Wally back to the house and Max ran to get one of Wally's horses to ride into town for the doctor. Doc Tom grabbed his medical bag and rode back to the farm with Max while Doc McMillan gathered the back brace and readied his buckboard for the trip. Doc Julie stayed behind to tend to a waiting room full of patients.
Doc Tom could tell right away that the stranger was seriously injured. He didn't appear to have any broken bones but there was deep gash on his forehead and no signs of consciousness. Doc did his best to patch up the head wound while he waited for his father-in-law to arrive with the back brace and buckboard. They knew it was dangerous to move the patient but they needed to get him away from the woods. The three men very carefully lifted Charlie and slowly carried him into the farmhouse where Grandma Bess had just placed fresh sheets and blankets on the bed just across from the kitchen. The doctors knew Charlie's condition was serious. They told his anxious friends that he may come out of the coma within a day or two or he could remain unconscious indefinitely.
Max couldn't be certain but he did believe Charlie Brent was same fellow he knew as Chip Wentworth. They shared their information with Wally and Bess. Wally was not pleased that Sarah went snooping into Charlie's personal business but even he had to agree it would be best to contact Charlie's parents.
Max rode into town that evening and sent a telegram to Mr. Wentworth. Betsy stayed by Charlie's bedside for the next three days. Wally and Bess watched over him hoping and praying he would open his eyes.
The 10:40 pulled into the train station on schedule. Mr. and Mrs. Charleton Granholm Wentworth, III exited the train with Miss Phoebe trailing behind.
“Why did that little twit have to come along” Charleton grumbled to his wife.
Phoebe was covering her nose and mouth as though she was afraid to breathe in the fumes of fresh air. Max met them at the station and gave them a ride to the farmhouse to visit their son.
Charleton entered the small bedroom and was shocked to see the condition of his son. To his surprise, his eyes filled and his hand shook as he touched his son's cheek. He remembered that horrible day when the two quarreled. He had said some terrible things to Chip. He told him he was ashamed to call him his son. A son he had trained to take over in the financial world and all the boy wanted to do was write stories and live in a fantasy world. What kind of a man was that. Chip was furious with his father because he had announced his son's engagement to that driveling half-wit Phoebe Samuelson. Marry the girl? He couldn't stand to be in the same room with her. Her father was extremely influential and Charlton wanted the connection. He couldn't understand why his son wouldn't jump at the chance. He didn't have to love her, just have a couple of children with her and then he could bed whomever he wanted for the rest of his days. Chip turned on his heel and walked out the door. That was the last Charlton had seen his son until this moment when he looked to be on death's door.
Phoebe burst into the room and swooned as Max caught her before she hit the ground. She cried uncontrollably until Bess guided her out of the room and sat her on the sofa telling her to get a hold of herself. The tears stopped immediately once her audience had disappeared.
Charleton looked around and saw so many kind faces of those who cared about his son. Doc McMillan explained the situation to him. His first instinct was to call in every specialist in New York and Washington but he sensed that everything was being done for his son right here in the small town of Camden Corners.
Charlie's mother, Daphne, was sitting quietly next to her son's bedside. She was observing the young girl named Betsy. Her instincts told her Betsy's feelings were stronger than a simple friendship with her son. She knew he would never marry Phoebe and she didn't blame him. Unlike his father, Chip was not a shallow man. Charleton had married Daphne so many years ago, not because he loved her but because her father was an influential man. Daphne wasn't unhappy with the arrangement but she wanted more than a marriage of convenience for her son.
Charleton could take Miss Phoebe no longer and arranged for her transportation to the train station and sent her on her way. This was the least he could do for his son. He didn't want that insipid girl's face to be the first thing Chip saw when he woke up. Charlie was aware of voices in the background. His head was very sore and it was difficult to open his eyes but he wanted to know what all the commotion was about. He slowly opened his eyes and looked into the smiling face of Betsy Wallace. Doc McMillan was also smiling and hovering over him welcoming him back from his long rest. He suddenly remembered the tree falling down on Wally. He called Wally's name and when he saw the old man who's cheeks were wet with tears, he knew everything would be alright. It didn't take long before Charlie was feeling as good as new. His head was healing nicely and he was thankful for the new friends he had in Camden Corners.
Charlie and his father had a long talk. Charleton came to the realization with the help of Daphne that his son was his own man. Writing was a noble profession. Just look at William Shakespeare. Charlton also realized that Daphne was a pretty special woman and maybe his marriage meant more to him than just convenience. Charlton and Daphne bid goodbye to the good folks of Camden Corners with the promise of a return trip very soon. How about a Thanksgiving wedding Charleton shouted as he hopped on the train. Charlie and Betsy just smiled as Charlie squeezed Betsy's hand.