Miss. Abigail

Her tall form lingered about the room, peering over the shoulders of elder students, and speaking softly and sternly to the youngest in the front as they struggled over their letters. The heat was heavy and moist in the small shack of a place, the windows tossed open to let a slight breeze stir at their hair, damp with sweat. With a final sweep about the room, she smiled ever so mildly, her students pausing from their work to gaze up at her.

"I suppose our day is finished," she announced. A gentle sigh of relief was breathed from the throughout the room as the children slowly stood from their chairs, gathering their few books in their arms. With her final orders, her students scurried out of the school house in their neat lines, murmuring, "Thank you, Miss. Abigail-Good day, Miss Abigail," before they stumbled out into the open, jesting and laughing as they twirled in the freedom of the sunshine, racing one another down the quiet country lanes. Abigail smiled to herself as she watched them, brushing back a loose hair, curling tightly from the humidity.

"Miss Abigail," came a soft, timid voice from behind her. She held back a yell of surprise, turning about to face a young child known as Harriet, huddling down by her skirts.

"Harriet!" exclaimed Abigail, clutching her chest. "What are you doing, child?"

Shyly she continued, her voice hardly audible as she shuffled her feet. "There was one thing I didn't understand...I...I was...perhaps you could..." Her large, bright blue eyes gazed up into her own. "...help me?"

Abigail smiled, placing her hand gently on the girl's shoulder as she bent over. "Of course. Come to my desk, and explain to me what you don't understand-we will certainly fix that in no time..."


She glanced down to the small girl's slender, short form as they walked down the dusty lane, sunshine beaming into their faces. The song of birds filled the silence, the leaves ruffling in the softest of gusts.

Dabbing her glistening forehead with the back of her hand, Abigail beckoned for the young girl to have a seat under a large sweeping tree at the roadside and share a bite. The silent girl hurried beside her to keep up with the schoolmistress’ long stride, sitting at a large tree which bowed in a peculiar way as if bent by the raging winds, its branches making a great arc downwards.

“Would you like some?” Abigail offered some food leftover from her earlier lunch.

Harriet hurriedly shook her head, her eyes wide as if she was terrified, “No-no thank you,” she sputtered.

Glancing at her from the corner of her eye, she continued to bite down on a piece of her bread, Harriet carefully pulling from her bag a few pieces of parchment and a pen. Abigail swallowed, turning to her, “Where did you get that, Harriet?”

The girl turned bright red, setting down a few of the pieces on the grass, “They are my Father’s, Miss. He…let me have them.” Harriet’s eyes were quivering with fear in someway, but Abigail didn’t say anything more, watching as Harriet began to scrawl her letters slowly on one of the pages.

A brief sigh in the wind sent many of Harriet’s loose papers flying into mid-air like birds. Harriet cried out, dashing every which way to catch them. Pulling herself to her feet, Abigail went after the many pieces as they skittered around in their newfound freedom.

She paused, looking up at the sound of hoof beats thundering down the lane. As the rider neared, she only noticed a few features dashed here and there, only depicting that it was a young man. A parchment skipped in the road before his dark horse, his eyes widening and nostrils flaring as it saw it, sliding to a halt and rearing, tossing the rider from the saddle.

Shocked at the happening, Abigail rushed to the rider’s side, who was sitting himself up. “Sir, are you alright?” she inquired looking him over. His face was handsome and well-structured, with a finely-shaped nose, a pretty curve of lip, and bright, intelligent eyes that had something of a depth to them. She couldn’t help thinking of what a nice looking man he was, her wild curiosity wondering where he was riding, what he was doing, and where he came from.

He gazed up at her, holding a wrist in one of his hands. “I believe I have sprained or broken my wrist in a way…” he murmured, his voice hinted with pain. “I cannot tell.”

“Here,” Abigail offered, holding out her own. The stranger obediently gave her his injured hand, which she began gently taking off the riding glove and feeling about the wrist. She couldn’t shake the feeling he was observing her intensely, finding it quite distracting as heat rose to her cheeks from their close proximity. Suppressing any further emotions, she turned it slightly, the man wincing as she did so. She continued, “It is quite swollen already, and certainly tender. Though I do not believe it is broken, fortunately enough for you.” Abigail met his eyes, which she still felt as if were searching her own. “Though I do recommend you see a doctor in town, Dr. Greene, and rest it in cold water. Will you be able to ride that far?”

He half smiled, “I hope so. In fact that is the way I am headed, so I may stop by the doctor’s before I go about my business by your recommendation.” The man picked up his hat off the ground, titling his head politely. “Thank you, Miss.” With that, he turned to his horse, frozen with fear as he still eyed the paper floating lazily about on the road. The stranger picked it up, handing it to Harriet as she stood by watching and strolling to his horses’ face, murmured, “Come on, you sweet old Bloke, a piece of parchment isn’t going to eat you….”

With a gentle pat on his horse’s thick neck, he mounted gracefully, turning it towards town once more. “Thank you, again, Ladies. Have a fine day.” And holding his reins in his good hand, he gave Abigail one last smile before riding onwards and out of sight.

The End

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