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Authors: Lauraine Snelling

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A Measure of Mercy

BOOK: A Measure of Mercy
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A
Measure
of
Mercy

Books by
Lauraine Snelling

Golden Filly Collection One
*
Golden Filly Collection Two
*
Secret Refuge
(3 in 1)
DAKOTA TREASURES
Ruby • Pearl
Opal • Amethyst
DAUGHTERS OF BLESSING
A Promise for Ellie • Sophie’s Dilemma
A Touch of Grace • Rebecca’s Reward
HOME TO BLESSING
A Measure of Mercy
RED RIVER OF THE NORTH
An Untamed Land
A New Day Rising
A Land to Call Home
The Reaper’s Song
Tender Mercies
Blessing in Disguise
RETURN TO RED RIVER
A Dream to Follow • Believing the Dream
More Than a Dream

*
5 books in each volume

H
OME  TO
  B
LESSING
  •  
Book  One

A
Measure
of
Mercy

L
AURAINE
S
NELLING

A Measure of Mercy
Copyright © 2009
Lauraine Snelling

Cover design by Jennifer Parker
Cover photography by Mike Habermann

Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 978-0-7642-0727-3 (Large Print)

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Snelling, Lauraine.

A measure of mercy / Lauraine Snelling.

     p. cm. — (Home to blessing ; 1)
        ISBN 978-0-7642-0726-6 (alk. paper) — ISBN 978-0-7642-0609-2 (pbk.) 1. Women medical students—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3569.N39M43      2009b
       813'.54—dc

2009025136

 

To all those creative people
involved in the creation and production
of the play
Bound for Blessing
:
many measures of mercy.

 

LAURAINE SNELLING is an award-winning author of over 60 books, fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. Her books have sold over two million copies. Besides writing books and articles, she teaches at writers’ conferences across the country. She and her husband, Wayne, have two grown sons, a basset named Chewy, and a cockatiel watch bird named Bidley. They make their home in California.

Table of Contents

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

Acknowledgments

1

L
ATE
J
UNE
1903
B
lLESSING
, N
ORTH
D
AKOTA

G
o or stay.” Astrid stared at the daisy in her hand and pulled off two petals. Sitting on the back porch, she was supposed to be hulling strawberries. But somehow that didn’t work as well when one had life-altering decisions to make. She pulled another petal. “Go.” And watched it drift down to the second of the three steps.

“You done with the berries?” her mother, Ingeborg, asked from the other side of the closed screen door.

Astrid shook her head. “Almost.” She laid the daisy down and stood herself up, stretching her clasped hands above her head and twisting first to the left then to the right. The pull made her long for a good run across the fields. And that made her think of the old swing down by the river, where she and the others used to pump up to the sky until the day one of the ropes broke and one of the boys landed in the water. From then on they used it to swing out over the river and jump in. At least the boys did. The girls weren’t allowed.

But she and cousin Sophie had leaped from the rope and never told anyone.

Maybe she should ask Sophie for advice. Maybe not.

“Here, I need a breeze for a while.” Ingeborg handed her a tray with a plate of cookies and glasses of lemonade, ice chunks floating in it. Ever since they’d purchased the icebox from Penny’s store—the Blessing Mercantile, the new name she’d given it—ice in the drinks was a common event.

Astrid set it on the table and sat in the chair to begin hulling. She could smell the fine perfume of strawberry jam cooking.

“I’m making biscuits for strawberry shortcake for dinner. That will make your far supremely happy.” Ingeborg sat down, waving her apron to create a breeze. “Mighty still out here.” She looked toward the west. “Could be rain coming. We sure need it.”

They picked up their glasses at the same time, and Ingeborg drank a good part of hers. “All right, what is wrong?” She glanced over at the limp flower, now lying on the porch with several of its petals missing. “He loves me, he loves me not?”

Astrid made a face. “Now, who would I be thinking that about?”

“What, then?” Ingeborg, her braids fading from golden to silvered gilt and wrapped around her head crownlike, leaned toward her daughter, her voice full of love and concern.

“Same old thing. Do I stay here or go to Chicago for the surgical training?”

Ingeborg sighed. “I thought God would have made it clear by now, but one thing I’ve learned through the years, though He seems mighty slow at times, He is never late.”

Astrid sipped her drink and nibbled on a ginger cookie. “These berries are for the shortcake?”

“Yes, so you might as well slice them too.”

“Just us?” Since Jonathan Gould was living with them for the summer again as he learned to farm Dakota style, “us” included him.

“I think so. But what is left over we’ll make into syrup for swizzles.”

“And pancakes and ice cream and . . .” She smiled at her mother. Strawberries fixed any way were a favorite at the Bjorklunds’. “Feel that?” She tipped her head back to let the breeze whisper her neck. “But how do you know, Mor? God doesn’t speak out of the bush anymore or in a thundering cloud. I need to know absolutely.”

“Astrid, all I can tell you is that at the right time, God’s time, you will know.” She spoke each word precisely, softly, and yet with the conviction of steel holding them together and yet apart.

Astrid stared down at the daisy, all life drained out of it. When the time was right, she would know. How many times had she heard her mother speak those words through the years? Her answer was similar when Astrid used to ask why the sky is blue or how do the cows know when it is going to rain, or any number of other questions: “God made it so, and so it is.” She’d known better than to ask again. At least for a while.

“Tomorrow I have my big exam with Elizabeth.”

“I’ll be praying for you.”

“I know. To think she is putting me in charge of everything at the surgery for the day. I sure hope everyone is healthy around here.”

“Then it wouldn’t be much of a test, would it?”

“True.” She set her glass back down with a click. “I’d better get the berries finished, and then I’m going to weed the garden.”

“Put your sunbonnet on.”

Astrid kept the groan to herself. She’d let it fall down to her back like always. Sunbonnets were so hot, no honest breeze could even make it around those wide brims.

“ANOTHER ONE ?” ASTRID looked up from cleaning the boy’s wound. The easy day in the surgery was not turning out at all like she had hoped.

“An emergency.” Dr. Elizabeth left the room in a swirl of skirt and apron. “Hurry!” She spoke firmly.

Astrid smiled at her young patient. “I’ll be right back.” She handed a gauze pad to the boy’s mother. “Hold this on his arm, and I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

“Of course.”

Astrid stepped into the hallway and across to the larger of the two examining rooms. She could hear several voices talking at once.

Then a cry saturated with pain caught at her throat. Something bad had happened. As part of her physician exam, this was the day she was responsible for treating all of the patients who came to the clinic. No one had considered a serious accident occurring. She paused in the doorway. A man thrashed on the table while two others fought to hold him down. His teeth were clamped on the piece of wood someone had given him, yet he still sent one of the men crashing toward the wall.

BOOK: A Measure of Mercy
2.13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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