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Friday, February 13, 2015

The Fourth Man - Chapter 25



Who is Next?
The girls go East

Cherri Leng and Caroline headed to finishing school in Boston. They experienced the usual culture shock but quickly got over it.

In order to get Cherri enrolled Les had to go to Boston in person. He finally had to bribe the dean in order to get her enrolled along with Caroline. The school didn’t want to accept Chinese and it took Les another couple of days the get the teachers adjusted to the idea of a Chinese girl in their class.

It would have been a lot easier to enroll an Indian girl than Cherri Leng but Les wouldn’t be denied.  Before long, Les realized the staff had been threatened by the Irish and Italian families who wanted their offspring in the school.

He stayed a few days after they were in their classes to make sure that no one was going to try to be superior to or bully the girls.

Before he left he made one more stop at the dean’s office and told him which students would try to trouble his girls and said when they do my girls will straighten them out and I don’t want you to come down on them for standing up for themselves.

Les said goodbye to Cherri and Caroline and headed home to Sarah.

Trouble comes and leaves

As soon as Les had headed home some of the seniors began to hassle Cherri. They wanted to show the younger girls how to make the new girls miserable.

Cherri had Caroline watch the door to the showers and she snatched the hair of the nearest girl and dragged her out of the shower cubicle naked. She held her down until she cried and then released her.

She looked around and said, “Who’s next?” and started after another one.

She slammed this one down and said, “These are the new rules. There will be no attempts to bully me and Caroline and no gossip concerning us or else.”

All the Girls Wanted to be Friends with China Doll
 
From that time on there were no more whispering about them.  Within a short time all the girls wanted to be friends with the girls.

Cherri laughed and said to Caroline; “I guess we know how to make friends with this crowd.  I should have told them the chicken hawk story for there is something magical about it.”

After the first year they came home for the summer and Les observing them said, “I think they have ruined my girls.”

Sarah said, “Don’t you see they have made real ladies out of them.”

During the summer James warned the girls not to tease the younger cowhands for they would take things too serious and it would just cause trouble for Les or one of the brothers.

He encouraged them to enjoy the dances they held once a month but let that be it.

Young May Leng was in the middle of everything the girls did. She wanted to know all about their dating and what the boys in the academy did to attract girls.

Cherri would only tell her that she was too young to think about boys but when she was older she would tell her everything.

She allowed May Leng to read what she was writing to some boys she knew and one in particular named Herman or Hermie as she called him.

May wanted to know of Cherri was interested enough to marry him.  She said if Cherri didn’t want him then she would take him.

Cherri said, ‘You better not let Mai hear you talk like that for she would give you a spanking.

It was about then that Cherri realized her little sister was growing up and was interested in the opposite sex.

She sat May down and told her some facts of life that Mai hadn’t bothered to tell her.

Caroline and Tom

As soon as Tom the teacher, met Caroline he was attracted to her. He went and told Les how he felt about her. Les told him to slow down for she was going to complete her schooling before she would be considering getting wed.

Tom said he understood but he wanted to make his feelings known so she could be thinking about him during the next semester. He spent as much time with Caroline and Cherri as possible until they left for school for this next year.

Caroline was friendly albeit a bit standoffish whereas Cherri was open and friendly. By the time for them to head back to school Tom had made quite a lot of headway with Caroline (or so he thought).  He did manage to extract a promise from her to write him at least once a week.

There were a couple of girls who decided to stay in school longer than they might have since Tom was the teacher. They knew he was interested in Caroline but at this point they hadn’t given up on him yet. They were enamored by his dimples when he smiled.

He had dealt with young girls while he was taking his teachers classes and knew how to not hurt their feelings when they got too carried away.

Caroline didn’t follow through with her promise to write every week. She would write every other week and the notes were short and not romantic at all.

Cherri wrote him quite often and there was warmth that was missing in Caroline’s letters.

Just before graduation Sarah received a letter from Caroline saying she was engaged to a man just finishing law school.
 
He was going to join his father’s firm and eventually expected to make a lot of money. His family was well off and had strong societal connections.

When the wedding date arrived Sarah managed to get Les to travel to Chicago for the nuptials.

Cherri came home with Sarah and Les and James picked them up when they arrived. 

Tom let down for a while

Renee’s did some tutoring of kids who missed quite a bit of school due to having to work on either a ranch or farm.

With school being out Tom was gone quite a bit.

Les would ask him where he had been but couldn’t get much information out of him.

When he was home he and Cherri spent time together and she would tell him the news about Caroline.  She told him Caroline was going to have a baby and that caused Tom to have a strange feeling about things as they had played out.

He had hoped he would have been the one to father her children, but it wasn’t to be.

When the baby was born Cherri told Tom and from that time on he had very few thoughts about Caroline.
 
It seemed that the birth of her child ended his interest in her.

As he examined his feelings he couldn’t explain what happened to him.
It was as if a death had occurred and she no longer had control of his feelings.

Cherri told him it wasn’t about you for Caroline had a strong feeling for you but she couldn’t bring herself to marry someone who made such a small salary.

Town people didn’t hold teachers in high esteem, because were considered to be far down on the list of importance.
To Be Continued

 

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