Westward Ho! part three
Claudia sighed and leaned her head in her hand as she looked out of the small window. Over-all she looked a little bit grave and thoughtful, but there was a sweet smile playing with the corners of her lips, and her grey-green eyes had a twinkle in them. She sighed again, rather gustily this time, and made a comical grimace as she said, "Will September the thirtieth ever come?"
And then she laughed as she read the letter through for the third time.
I accept with great pleasure and excitement the invitation that you have so obligingly sent, and you may expect me on the evening coach in Denton on September 30th.
She laughed again and then jumped up as she heard her mother calling her from the kitchen.
"Claudia, would you mind walking downtown to the farmer's market and getting a basket full of fresh vegetables? Oh, and you should get a chicken! I need to start the chicken broth this afternoon."
"Yes, Mamma. Do you need anything else?"
"No. Well, yes," she added as an afterthought, "If you run into David Spencer, please ask him to come home with you and stay for dinner."
"Yes, Mamma, I will do that. Where is the market basket?"
"Here it is dear, now run along."
With a light heart Claudia "ran along" but it was more like a leisurely stroll. The market was only about three or four blocks away, and the weather was lovely. The air was bright and clear, and one could almost smell the upcoming Fall in the air. The sun turned Claudia's light brown hair into a shade of red-gold, and added an extra brightness to her already radiant face. She wasn't a perfect beauty, but her character showed through her countenance and actions, which made the people on the streets look approvingly on her as she passed by. She had a smile and a cheerful word for everybody, and although she was fairly new in the town there were many people that had learned to love her. Young mothers and elderly ladies blessed the gentle hands that were so ready to serve, and little children loved the young lady that so obligingly played with them, or sang to them.
Claudia loved going to the market, and thoroughly enjoyed all of the interesting sights, smells, and sounds.
Her groceries didn't take more than a half an hour or so to get but she lingered, hoping that she would (for her mother's sake) see David Spencer. After piddling around and chatting for nearly twenty minutes she gave up and headed home, but had barely walked three yards before she heard a voice from behind her say, "Good afternoon, miss Claudia."
Turning, she saw David Spencer himself, and when she returned his greeting he asked her if he could carry her basket for her. She let him, as it was very large, and very heavy.
"Thank you," she said, " I was hoping that I would run into you here because Mamma would like for you to join us for dinner, if you are not otherwise engaged. In fact, she said that if I met you here I should bring you home with me right away to stay until after dinner. Will you come?"
"Yes," he replied, "With pleasure! I just need to stop by my land lady's place and let her know. It is a block or two out of the way for you, do you mind?"
"Not at all! You are the one carrying the heavy basket."
He laughed and said, "Yes, I suppose you are right!"
The landlady was actually quite pleased that he would be having dinner somewhere else that night because her stove pipe had just broken, and it wouldn't be fixed in time to make a nice dinner.
David and Claudia enjoyed the walk together, for they were kindred spirits, and almost always found that they had mutual opinions on the subjects that they conversed on.
Claudia especially loved to ask him deeper questions about his sermons from the week before, and would often bring out her Bible to search even further for answers to her questions. She delighted in anything scriptural, and would spend hours pouring over her Bible. As David got to know her better he learned to respect her deeper, for she was wise beyond her years, especially in biblical matters, and through her questioning him, he learned more.