Mr. Henderson and Papa were right. Marta did have a great grasp of business. While Edward worked the mine, she worked the office. From her makeshift desk in one corner of the living area, she kept detailed records of all claim activity. Within six months, their assets doubled.
Her delicious meals and quiet smile graced the cabin with a wonderful woman's touch. But the wrong woman, Edward mourned as he collapsed onto his cot each night. Why did they send Marta? Would he ever see Ingrid again? Was his lifelong dream to have her as his wife forsaken?
For a year, Marta and Edward worked and played and laughed, but never loved. Once, Marta had kissed Edward on the cheek before retiring to her room. He only smiled awkwardly. From then on, she seemed content with their exhilarating hikes in the mountains and long talks on the porch after suppers.
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One spring afternoon, torrential rains washed down the hillside, eroding the entrance to their mine. Furiously, Edward filled sand bags and stacked them in the water's path. Soaked and exhausted, his frantic efforts seemed futile. Suddenly there was Marta at his side holding the next burlap bag open. Edward shovelled sand inside, and then with the strength of any man, Marta hurled it onto the pile and opened another bag. For hours they worked, knee-deep in mud, until the rains diminished. Hand in hand, they walked back to the cabin.
Over warm soup Edward sighed, "I never could
have saved the mine without you. Thank you, Marta."
A few days later, a telegraph came announcing the arrival of the Henderson and Wellman families next week. As much as he tried to stifle it, the thought of seeing Ingrid again started Edward's heart beating in the old familiar way.
Together, he and Marta went to the train station.
They watched as their families exited the train at
the far end of the platform. When Ingrid appeared,
Marta turned to Edward.
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He took her hand from his face and held it. As she gazed up at him, he saw for the first time how very beautiful she was. He recalled their walks in the meadows, their quiet evenings before the fire, and her working beside him with the sandbags. It was then he realized what he had known for months.
"No, Marta. It is you I want."
By LeAnn Thieman
A Legend of Love Part 1 | 2
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