A New Mam for the Girls

A New Mam for the Girls by Joannie Kay

Book: A New Mam for the Girls by Joannie Kay Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joannie Kay
Chapter One
    “You’d better tell him what you done before that stage gets here.”  Ten year old Sally looked at her sister and spoke softly so the man downstairs wouldn’t hear her speaking.  Their Papa got real upset if he heard them whispering after they were supposed to be asleep for the night, and she didn’t want a spanking.
done?  You agreed to it, and you helped me write the letters!” Susie argued.  She was a year younger than Sally, but at times it felt as though she was the one who should be older.  “Besides, it was your idea in the first place!” she whispered.
    “Maybe so, but I’ve had second thoughts about it bein’ a good idea.”  Those second thoughts had something to do with their Papa telling them at the supper table that night that he didn’t want either of them acting like Melissa Cummins.  Melissa fibbed to her Pa about breaking her Ma’s necklace, and her brother got blamed and taken to the woodshed for a strapping.  Their Papa said that Melissa needed to make acquaintance with a switch or two, and Sally started feeling guilty,
    “It’s too late to have second thoughts, Sally.  Somehow we got to get Pa cleaned up and into town before the stage comes in tomorrow morning.”
    “You girls quiet down up there!” Seth Masterson called up to the loft.  He listened carefully for the next couple of minutes before turning his attention to his book.  The girls were up to something, and if he was a betting man, he’d place a wager that the two of them were in for a good spanking fairly soon.  He’d witnessed the guilty look that passed between them when he was telling them about Melissa Cummins’ latest mischief.  He would rather raise his two girls than put up with that child for one week!  She was a never-ending source of grief to her Pa, and his two little girls were sweet as could be… most of the time.  Still, they were in some sort of trouble, and he figured he’d find about it soon enough.  Seth read for a few more minutes and once he was satisfied the girls were asleep for the night, he put the bar over the door to keep out unwelcome visitors, and then turn the lamp down low and went to bed.
    It was this time of night that was hardest for Seth to face.  It was when he missed Catherine the most, and some nights the longing for her was nearly unbearable.  He couldn’t believe she’d been gone three years now, but as the girls grew up he knew it was true.  Catherine had loved their little ladies, as she’d called them.  It just wasn’t fair that she’d been taken away from them.  Tears made his eyes burn, and he blinked them away.  He silently promised his Catherine that he would love her always and take care of their girls the best he could.  There could be no other love for him, not after loving Catherine with all his heart.
    His girls were too quiet the next morning.  “What are you two up to that has you so worried?” he finally asked.
    “Nothing, Papa!” They answered together, and the expression in their blue eyes was one of innocence.
    Seth reminded them to eat, and then he set them to work doing the dishes.  “When you get done with the dishes, don’t forget to sweep the floor before coming outside.  There is some weeding to do in the garden,” he reminded them, noting that Sally seemed upset at the idea.
    “Papa, can’t we ever do something different?” Susie asked, putting her hands on her hips.
    “Like what?” he asked, looking from one to the other.
    “Like go to town…?” she suggested.
    “It would be nice to get some peppermint sticks.”
    “Or a new church dress!”
    “You know we can’t afford ready-made dresses!” Seth was shocked.
    “We could get yard goods and sew them ourselves if we knew how to sew,” Susie declared.
    “Right.  If we had a Mama, we would know how to do that.”
    “Have you thought of getting us a new Mama?” Susie asked him.
    Seth was crushed.  “Girls, I don’t know what to

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