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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

LA FAMILLE Chapter 21 The Surprise

A Ferry Boat to Carry Goods
It was a week later when Jean said to Jean2 and Phillip, “You have had a week’s honeymoon so it is time to get back to work.
You men look worn out and so do your wives so you need to rest up by getting back to work.”

Elise and the new wives finally got a chance to sit down and do some talking.  

Lesley asked Elise, “Will marriage always be this much fun?”

Elise said, “No, but it can be pretty good if you both work at it.”

The carpenter was busy making furniture for the two houses.  They still didn’t have tables and chairs.  

Early one morning, about ten days after Jean and Lucas got back from their trip, everyone heard a horn blow several times.  Jean said, “Let’s everybody go down to the river.”

Almost everyone went to the river even the Indians on the other side where Lucas was.
As they watched; a small ferry pulled up to the river bank and dropped the gang plank. The captain got off and greeted the people and said, “Are you ready to unload me.”

Jean said, “Yes, in a little while.”

He sent Phillip and Jean to the post for a couple of wagons and teams of horses.  As the wagons were being loaded Elise said, “Now then I want to know what is going on and no more delaying for I want to know now.”

Jean said, “Well it’s like this.  For many months Monet and I have been talking about the time it takes to get our goods here and the only way to save time is to come by water.  You remember the ferry that ferried people back and forth from St. Louis to the western bank was smaller than the big ferries.

A company started to run one of the large ferries duplicating what the small one was doing and did it for less money.  
This is the ferry that was put out of business.  The owner just had it fixed up when the other ferry ran him out of business.  Monet made him an offer and he took it so from now on we will bring our goods by boat.  The boat will bring more than twelve wagons and do it quicker.
Lucas and I were checking to make sure the river was deep enough to handle this boat. The good thing about it is this ferry is a shallow-draft river boat and can go where there is shallow water.”

She said, “That is all well and good but who is going to pilot it?”

Jean answered, “The captain is willing to continue to sail it and although he doesn’t know it Phillip is going to learn everything there is to know about this vessel and how to sail it in the rivers.  
When it isn’t bringing us goods it will be used for moving men and machinery up and down the river for others.”

She being a little miffed said, “Why didn’t you let me in on what was going on.”

He said. “The best way to keep things secret is to not tell anyone.  If I told you then you would have to tell anyone who asked what I was doing.  You would have tell them about it or just come out and lie to them about it.  
If anyone knew what we were planning someone else would have bought the ferry.  As it was no one wanted it so we got it for far less than it was worth.”

She said, “I guess that makes sense but I still don’t like it and I don’t want you to do it again.  I would rather lie about something than to be kept in the dark.”

He said, “Humm… and you a girl from the catholic school.”

She said, “I’ll humm you if you pull this again.”

He answered. “Okay nuff said.”

Jean invited the Captain up for supper and told Phillip to get acquainted with his new boss.  

Phillip tried to object but Jean would have none of it.  
Jean said, “I know what your trouble is and you can take Lesley with you on each trip for there are four nice cabins on the ferry.  When you are working out of St. Louis she can stay at Monet’s place with his wife and help out with the post there.  Eventually you will become the Captain and run the Ferry yourself.”  
This pleased Phillip for as long as he had Lesley with him everything was alright.

To be Continued

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