Hearts Aglow

Free Hearts Aglow by Tracie Peterson

Book: Hearts Aglow by Tracie Peterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tracie Peterson
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Deborah’s mother interrupted.
    Deborah hadn’t even heard her mother approach. “I’m sorry, Christopher. I didn’t mean to keep you from dinner.”
    He laughed and gave a brief bow to Mrs. Vandermark. “I don’t miss too many meals, as you can see.” He patted his stomach.
    “Nonsense,” Mother declared. “You are the very image of health. Fit as a fiddle, my mother would say. Can you stay for long?”
    “I can. I finished my rounds, and now I’m yours for the day. I figured that a house raising would be the perfect place for a doctor. One can never tell what might happen.”
    “Truer words were never spoken,” Mother replied. She entwined her arm with Dr. Clayton’s. “Come. I’ll show you where everything is.”
    Deborah followed behind as Christopher and her mother made their way to the luncheon table. Seeing that many of the men were out of coffee, she diverted to where Lizzie was already filling several pitchers.
    “Let me take those,” Deborah said, reaching for the full containers. “How are you feeling? Did you eat something?”
    Earlier, Lizzie had suffered some nausea, but now she looked quite well. “I feel much better. It’s G.W. I’m worried about. He seems so out of sorts.”
    “But why?” Deborah looked for her brother and didn’t find him.
    “He can’t get up on the ladders and help. He feels that he’s not able to do his part. I told him it was nonsense, but . . . well, I’m wondering if you could speak to your uncle and maybe let him know what the problem is. He might have some idea for what G.W. could do to be useful.”
    Deborah nodded. “I’ll mention it when I take the coffee. Don’t you worry, Lizzie. My brother can be quite cantankerous at times, but he usually comes around.” She smiled. “If not, I’ll give him a good elbow to the ribs.”
    Lizzie laughed. “That’s not exactly what I had in mind.”
    Pouring coffee as she went, Deborah greeted the workers and made comments about their progress. The men seemed pleased to hear her praise. A few of the single men tried to get her to stay and chat, but she made it clear that she had to be moving on so that everyone could have coffee while it was still hot.
    She finally found Uncle Arjan and was happy to see he was just finishing. “I wonder if you could help me for a moment.”
    He looked at her oddly, but nodded. “What’s the problem?”
    She handed him the empty pitchers. “Follow me.”
    They went to where coffee was being poured into a large caldron to keep warm while more coffee was readied to perk in the pots. It had been like this all day, with Lizzie and a couple of other women focused on keeping coffee available to all the workers.
    “Lizzie is worried about G.W. She says he’s feeling rather useless. I was hoping you might have a special task for him.” She took the pitcher from her uncle and handed it over to Lizzie, who nodded in agreement.
    “His leg has been bothering him too much to get in there and really work,” Lizzie admitted. “He doesn’t like to favor it, but he can hardly do much else.”
    “I have the perfect solution,” Uncle Arjan declared. “He can be in charge of positioning the interior walls. He knows exactly what we want. I’ll tell him that since we’ve made such great progress, he can get the men to work inside while Rob and I get the upper floor finished and the roofing done.”
    Deborah smiled at Lizzie. “See – it’s all resolved.”
    “I’ll go find him and arrange things right now,” her uncle said. “Thanks for a mighty fine dinner. A nap would suit me just fine, but I guess I’ll get back to work.”

    The work continued until darkness made it impossible to see; the last of the shingles were put into place by lantern light. Those on the roof cheered loudly as Rob put in the final nail. He’d never been so tired in his life, but strangely, the action seemed to give him a second wind.
    Climbing down from the roof, Rob immediately spied Mara Shattuck

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