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Authors: Linda Weaver Clarke

Tags: #romance, #romance historical, #bear lake valley, #idaho

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger

BOOK: Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
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A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho



By Linda Weaver Clarke




Copyright © Linda Weaver Clarke, 2008. Second
Edition, 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form without permission in writing
from the author. Recording of this work for the handicapped is


Red Mountain Shadows Publishing

Cover Design by Serena Clarke


Edith and the Mysterious Stranger

By Linda Weaver Clarke

Smashwords Edition


Names, characters, places, and incidents are
the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to
actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is purely






The Adventures of John and Julia Evans



Anasazi Intrigue

Mayan Intrigue

Montezuma Intrigue

Desert Intrigue


A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho

(Sweet Romances)


Melinda and the Wild West

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger

Jenny’s Dream

Sarah’s Special Gift

Elena, Woman of Courage


Non-Fiction Ebooks


Writing Your Family Legacy

Reflections of the Heart





In memory of my parents: Marcus Gilbert
Weaver (1914–2005), my father, a man of dignity and Florence Milred
Weaver (1917– 1978), my mother, who was determined to wait for the
man of her dreams. Thanks, Dad, for allowing me to use your
precious letters in my story.



Chapter 1
Edith, A Professional Nurse


“Is he going to be all right? Is he still

Edith heard the worried voice of a mother as she
quietly closed the door to the bedroom so her patient would not be
disturbed. Sarah’s voice had an anxious edge to it. Her son was on
the mend, but each day she feared he would have a relapse. And each
day, Edith would say the same thing, “He’s still improving. Don’t
worry so much, Sarah.”

As Edith turned around, she saw the worried and
concerned look in Sarah’s face. Her stress and worry for the past
month had formed dark circles under her eyes and she looked weary
as if she hadn’t slept for days.

“Tell me the truth, Edith. I need to know. He’s
not regressing, is he?”

Edith knew that her sister had faith in her.
That was why she immediately called her for assistance.

“No, he’s getting better. Don’t worry,

“How can you tell?”

Sarah was seated on the sofa nervously twisting
a handkerchief in her hands, and the stress was showing at the
corners of her eyes and mouth.

“I didn’t go to college and graduate with a
degree in nursing for nothing. I know what I’m doing. Trust

“But you know what the doctor said last month.
Tommy has diphtheria and he said he had done all that he could to
save his life and could do no more. He even consulted with other
doctors and they agreed. They all gave up on Tommy. They said it
was now in God’s hands.”

“Now, Sarah! Listen to me. Everything is going
to be all right.” Edith chided with soberness. “Isn’t that why you
sent for me? Because they gave up and you have faith in me, right?
Not because I was the last resort?”

Sarah gave Edith a sheepish look and answered
softly, “Yes, that’s why I sent for you. I believe in you. But I do
have to admit that you were the last resort.”

Edith suppressed a smile, sat down beside her
sister, put her arm around her, and squeezed her tightly. “Don’t
worry so much. Tommy has come a long way since I arrived and he’s
definitely getting better, I can assure you.”

Sarah nodded as she nervously twisted her

Edith affectionately wiped a loose curl from her
sister’s brow and tucked it behind her ear. “When I first arrived
last month, it was touch and go. Ever since then, he’s been
improving daily, and I’m not saying that because I know what a
worrywart you are. I can see it and I can feel it in my heart. It’s
been a month now and I can see a vast improvement. He’s out of

Sarah laid her head against her sister’s
shoulder. “Thank you, Edith. That means a lot to me. I needed you,
not just for Tommy’s sake but for your support.”

Edith never gave up. That was her nature. She
had the gift of sympathy, and knew how to aid and comfort the sick.
She also acted as a midwife during the birth of babies. One reason
why she was such a successful nurse was because of her faith.

Sarah smiled as she pulled an envelope out of
her pocket and waved it teasingly in front of Edith’s face. “By the
way, you got a letter from Mama.”



Edith grabbed it from her sister’s hand and
immediately broke out in a grin as she tore the envelope open and
began reading. Edith was a beautiful, elegant woman and her natural
olive complexion enhanced her beauty. Her lips were full and
shapely. She was tall with hauntingly dark brown eyes, so dark that
one could barely see her pupils. They were large and expressive,
something she inherited from her Welsh ancestors. It was difficult
to hide her emotions from those who knew her best. Her eyes showed
her every mood, her sadness or joy, her worries and fears. She
always believed that actions spoke louder than words. Most people
knew of her sincerity and love for them without even saying a

Her thick dark hair was naturally curly. It was
long and rich looking, but she always kept it in a loose, soft
chignon. She would twist her hair into a large smooth roll and pin
it at the nape of her neck. Sometimes she wore a small silk flower
or some sort of ornament pinned to her hair.

Edith knew she was a very picky and independent
person when it came to romance. The right man had to have certain
qualities and she was not about to back down. Some told her that
her expectations were too high and that sort of man did not exist.
It was only in the figment of her imagination. But she was stubborn
and would not let go of her dream.

It didn’t matter that she was called a spinster.
What mattered to her was choosing a man to live and grow old with
for the rest of her life. Being picky was worth all that to

Many men had courted Edith, but she inevitably
found fault with each one. Either he was too shy or too bold, too
arrogant or too quiet, too short or too tall, too old or too young.
One good-looking gentleman turned out to be so arrogant and
egotistical that she never encouraged him to return. She was not
about to waste her valuable time with someone she was not
interested in.

Usually after a gentleman’s first call, she
would always find some excuse to avoid another. First impressions
were important to her and that was when she made her judgment. Her
mother had often told her to look beyond that and give a man a
second chance or she might pass up the perfect man. But Edith was
strong-minded and did as she pleased.

She was looking for someone
who had similar beliefs, interests, and personality traits as
herself. So she tried to remain patient as her loved ones
introduced her to this man and that. Besides, she knew they loved
her and meant well. They just wanted her to be happy. Edith knew
deep down
inside herself there was a very special person
waiting for her, but she had not found him yet.

Edith looked up from her letter and said, “Tommy
is steadily improving. He’s out of danger now and there isn’t much
more I can do. You can easily do what I’ve been doing. I see no
need to stay any longer.”

“I don’t understand,” Sarah said with a creased

“Right now Mama needs me desperately.”

“But I need you, too.” Then realizing what she
had said, she looked at her sister and asked softly, “What’s

“Well, do you remember our cousin, Melinda?”

“Yes. She married that rancher. As I remember,
she was quite smitten by him. He was quite a catch.”

“Yes. He’s not only good-looking but the Cozy J
is a pretty nice-sized ranch.”

“What does the J stand for?” asked Sarah.

“Before he married Melinda, it was just Gilbert
and his young daughter Jenny. So he named it after her.”

Sarah smiled. “What a sweet gesture. So, what
about Melinda?”

“Well, she’s been married now for seven years
and has only had one child who is now six years old. She has had a
few miscarriages, and they usually happen within the first five
months. She’s with child and is having problems again. She had
terrible morning sickness but now it’s pretty much gone. She’s four
months along and she’s been cramping regularly. She just might
miscarry again and needs my help, Sarah.”

“But can’t she go to the doctor so you can stay
here with me?” Sarah asked pleadingly.

The doctor has demanded that she stay in bed
until the baby’s born. He keeps telling her to take a few glasses
of whiskey each day to take her cramping away. But Melinda won’t
have any of it.”

“Oh, no.”

“Yes, it’s true. I’ve heard many a doctor
recommend it. When the expectant mother takes it, the poor baby
doesn’t move around much afterwards for several days and that’s a
scary thing. Mama says the doctor is quite upset at her for not
listening to him. He told her that she should take it like
medicine.” Edith slowly shook her head with disgust. “I don’t think
it’s healthy for the baby. Herbs are the best remedy.”

Sarah sighed in resignation. “When do you think
you’ll leave?”

Edith stuffed the letter into her bag. “You
don’t need me any longer.”

Sarah nodded reluctantly, not wanting her sister
to leave.

“I think I’ll leave tomorrow if it’s all right
with you.”


“Yes. It’s quite a ways to travel to Paris,
Idaho. Mama says that as long as Melinda stays in bed, she won’t
have any more problems, but I need to get some herbs down that lady
before it’s too late. Mama’s been helping a lot by watching their
little six-year-old, but she thinks I should come right away.”

“As I remember, that little boy of hers really
took to you.”

“Yes.” Edith smiled at the memory of the young
child. “He’s really adorable. When I went home last Christmas,
young John sat on my lap the whole time. He was so cuddly and

Edith doted on her little nephews and nieces,
and her cousin’s little boy was no exception. She was thirty years
of age, and had accomplished much in her life. She took a Nurses
Training Course and attended college at the same time, receiving a
bachelor’s degree in education. Not only that, Edith had once sung
professionally and had a trained, rich contralto voice.

It was July of 1904 and Edith had accomplished a
lot during a time when the United States had not recognized women’s
rights, let alone the higher education of a woman. The four
surrounding states that had accepted women’s rights were Wyoming,
Colorado, Utah, and Idaho. She had chosen Utah to get her education
for that very reason, where equality was recognized.

Edith was excited about going back home to Bear
Lake Valley to see her family. Southern Idaho was her beloved home,
and she loved it. She had seen a little of the world, but now she
just wanted to settle down, do a little nursing, find a home with a
white picket fence, and plant flowers like her mother.


Chapter 2
A Sneaky Husband


Melinda listened carefully as the door squeaked
shut. She heard footsteps walk across the porch and disappear in
the distance. She sighed with relief. Finally, he was gone and she
was alone. This was what she was waiting for, a chance to escape.
She felt like a prisoner in her own home. She had been bedridden
for two whole months, and was sick and tired of her bed, her walls,
her books, and especially looking at her wardrobe full of clothes
that no longer fit. How she wished she could snatch one of her
favorite dresses and go out for a stroll!

Melinda looked down at her swollen belly and
tenderly stroked it with her hand. She knew she was bedridden for
the sake of her unborn child, and was resigned to staying in bed,
but toward the end of the day boredom set in. She needed something
more to do, some way to bide her time, a way to fight off the

Already she had spent two months in bed and had
another five months to go. How could she do it and remain sane? It
was as if her life was on hold for nine whole months.

All she wanted to do was just get up and walk
into the kitchen for a snack, but her overly protective husband
forbade it. He was such a worrywart. Gilbert had offered to get her
something to eat before he left again, but she had refused in a
most indignant manner. She had refused because she was feeling a
bit ornery. Melinda had looked up into her husband’s eyes and said
adamantly, “I’m not hungry, Gilbert.”

BOOK: Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
4.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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