Every Step of the Way, Part 4
The fat innkeeper raced up the stairs. He reached their door and banged upon it with all his might. He twisted the knob, and the door flew open. They were gone. He gasped.
“Mathias! Mathias!” he went running down the stairs. The younger man rushed up to him.
“What is it?” he asked.
“It is her! She has escaped!” the innkeeper cried. They ran out the front door. But Catherine and her loyal servants were nowhere in sight.
“Maybe we can board this one,” Catherine puffed, pointing to the large, wooden ship.
“How will we? You gave the innkeeper the last of the money,” I said. Catherine sighed.
“I know, but maybe they will take something else. We must try,” she said. Something else? Like what? The only valuable possession Catherine had brought with her was her necklace, and it was probably around the neck of the barge owner’s wife by now.
Catherine walked up to the ship’s captain. I watched her argue with him. He looked down at her clothing. He nodded his head and strolled away. Catherine eagerly joined us.
“He says since I am a merchant’s wife, he will take me,” she smiled. Her disguise was working!
We followed her up the plank and down into the hold. It was very dark. It was cold. And it smelled awful. The place was small, and I squeezed up against Edith. Cold air seeped through the walls. The boat jerked, and we were on our way.
I barely heard the frightened cries of little Susan. A strong, fierce wind pounded on the sides of the boat. Rain came down in torrents, making water drip into the damp hold. I could hear the cries and yells of the sailors overhead. My heart pounded. What would happen to us? Would the boat sink? Would we drown? I looked frantically at Catherine. She rocked Susan and quietly sang a song. How could she be so calm? I sank back against the wall. Catherine had faith; that’s why. She was trusting in God. I took a deep breath.
A wave of assurance swept over me. God is here, watching over us. I was able to lay down and close my weary eyes.
I woke up the next morning and looked around. Catherine, Edith and Agnes were gone. I walked sleepily out on the deck. I gasped. We weren’t in the Netherlands at all! We were back on the tiny Leigh dock where we started. Catherine was talking to the captain. I pulled Edith aside.
“What has happened?” I asked.
“The winds drove us back,” she sighed. “We’re going to try and sail again this afternoon. Catherine is not very happy.” I didn’t blame her. Someone could spot us. Catherine finished talking to the captain and joined our group.
“Captain Miller says we will sail in an hour. Helen, run to shore and get some provisions.”
“With what?” I asked. Catherine handed me some money.
“This is from the captain,” she said. “Buy food for us, the captain, and the crew. Understood?” I nodded my head and raced down the gangplank. I had barely made it off the harbor when someone grabbed my shoulder. I screamed.
“Who’s on that boat?” a rough voice asked. I turned. Two men stood in front of me.
“Why?” I asked. “What is it to you?” My heart pounded.
“We’re looking for a woman named Catherine Bertie. Know her?” the other asked.
“No. That lady is a merchant’s wife,” I said.
“Oh, really. A merchant’s wife with three servants?” I gulped.
“Well-I-she-“ I stuttered.
“Yes?” the rough one asked.
“We’re just traveling with her,” I said. “Besides, do you think this ‘Catherine’ would travel in broad daylight? Men, I think you’re wasting your time,” I said, walking away. I could feel them staring me down as I walked on. I rounded the corner and let out a sigh. That was too close for comfort.
To Be Continued!
P.S. You may be wondering, "Why hasn't Kathryn been commenting on my blog or entering any of my contests lately?!" I admit I haven't been commenting or entering on anyone's blogs lately!! I'm sorry! I just haven't been on the computer much :)