An Unexpected Visitor
The New Year dawned clear, bright and cold and we began to wonder if we would ever be warm again, but four days later we had a winter thaw of sorts, which is to say the temperature rose above freezing. Save for the changing of the year, there was not much different about our lives and daily routine except for Hiram’s presence. He was useful, as always around the shack. I could not talk him out of becoming a drummer, so he went to headquarters and signed up. They made no comment about his small size, but told him they were glad he had decided to join. They would have a uniform for him and a drum in about two weeks. In the meantime, they had him carry messages. He seemed really happy with all of this, so I gave up trying to talk him out of being a drummer. And so day passed into day and we amused ourselves and tried to keep warm when the cold returned, as best we could. I had gone out to the wood pile when I saw a black carriage approaching.
Now, there were many black carriages in the world at that time, so I could not be sure who was in it, but the hair standing up on the back of my neck gave me an idea who it was. The carriage drew closer and rolled to a stop. A door opened, and I knew to climb in and there, as I thought, sat Eleanor. I did not know why she came, but I resolved to never again take part in her schemes, no matter what she threatened me with. I thought I was shut of her, but here she was again.
“Caleb! It is so good to see you,” she announced in a warm and friendly manner. I had not heard her use this tone since the first days we knew each other. Nonetheless, I was wary.
“I’m surprised to see you here. What do you want?”
She shook her head. “You are so blunt. Are you not pleased to see me?”
“And why not?”
“I think you know. You took me from my family, forced me to neglect my oaths, and sent me all over the country, to little avail. And you keep coming back again and again. It becomes tiresome after a while.”
“I know,” she soothed, smiling at me, “and that is why I am here.”
“I wanted to apologize for all I put you through. I have come recently to understand that God wants us to treat each other as brothers and sisters and to beg forgiveness of those who we have wronged. I certainly have wronged you, and I most sincerely ask you to forgive me.”
I was stunned into silence. I sat there, trying to determine if she were sincere or not, and she burst into tears.
“You must forgive me,” she wailed. “My immortal soul hangs in the balance. Oh, do say you will forgive me! I cannot bear it if you do not.” She sobbed even harder.
“Why should I believe you?”
“You simply must. I was sitting in my house, staring out the window, when a sure conviction came over me that I just now spoke to you about. I felt it as a palpable feeling. If we were in the days of our Savior’s time on earth, I would say He or an angel had spoken to me.” She could not speak for a moment because she was crying so hard, and it occurred to me that I had never seen her weep. Perhaps she was telling the truth, after all. I would have to see.
“I must leave you now.”
“Please think of what I have asked you. Write me and tell me you forgive me. You must! You must!”
I climbed down from the carriage, still hearing her wails. I must ask Adolphus what to do about this, but I thought even he could dissuade me from my position.