Home Extended Epilogues A Fearless Bride for the Shunned Rancher Extended Epilogue

A Fearless Bride for the Shunned Rancher Extended Epilogue

A Fearless Bride for the Shunned Rancher Extended Epilogue

Extended Epilogue 

“That’s it now, Arthur, you hold the axe steady now, raise it up and then bring it down as hard as you can. Careful now, it’s heavy,” Jonathan said, as the young boy raised the axe up with both hands, bringing it down hard on the piece of wood, which split cleanly in two.

“You’re a natural, Arthur, we’ll have you chopping down a whole forest before long,” Ellie called out, watching them both from the veranda steps.

Arthur had grown up so fast, he looked just like his father, with his brown hair and tanned complexion. She smiled to herself, watching, as Jonathan placed another piece of wood onto the block, and Arthur raised up the axe to strike it.

“That’s it, clean in half, that’s my boy,” Jonathan said, ruffling Arthur’s hair.

“Who wants lemonade?” Ellie called out, and both of them looked up with a smile.

“And cookies?” Arthur called out, and Ellie laughed.

“What can I say, a boy after my own heart. We won’t come unless there’s cookies,” Jonathan replied.

“Can’t you smell them? I’ve made cinnamon buns too, just the way you like them. But hurry up, else Martha will have eaten them all,” she called out, returning inside the ranch house where the little girl was just helping herself to a second cookie.

“These are good mama,” she said, her mouth covered in crumbs, and Ellie laughed.

“Let’s get you cleared up now, we’ve a big day ahead of us,” she said, taking a damp cloth and wiping Martha’s mouth.

She was a pretty little girl, with blonde hair and ringlets, with bright blue eyes and a most endearing smile. She held out her hands for Ellie to wipe, just as Jonathan and Arthur came clattering inside.

“They do smell good,” Jonathan said, reaching out for a cinnamon bun, as Arthur crammed two biscuits into his mouth at once.

“Manners, Arthur! What would Mrs. Dewhurst say if she saw you eating like that. You’d soon not be the sweetest little boy in her class, I can tell you,” Ellie said, as she finished wiping Martha’s sticky hands.

“The boy’s worked up an appetite. He’s split every log from that tree that Dixon felled the other day,” Jonathan said, looking proudly at Arthur, who reached out for a cinnamon bun.

“Can I help, papa?” Martha asked, and Jonathan laughed.

“When you’re older, sweetheart. But for now, you just stay helping mama in the kitchen. Did you help make these? They’re very good,” Jonathan said, licking his lips.

“We’d better hurry, Jonathan. I don’t want my parents arriving at the station with no one to meet them. Now, where did I put my bonnet? I wanted to wear my best bonnet today and oh …” she said, as Jonathan stood up with a sheepish grin on his face.

“Sorry,” he said, retrieving the bonnet from where he’d just been sat.

Ellie laughed and shook her head.

“Well, it looks like you’ll be buying me a new Sunday bonnet, Mr. Allen,” she said, as they both burst out laughing.

“I’m sure your parents will be just glad to get here after their journey. They won’t mind what you’re wearing,” Jonathan said, picking up his own hat and glancing at himself in the mirror over the hearth.

“I still can’t believe they are finally coming. I didn’t think my father would ever retire, let alone move out here,” Ellie said, forbidding Arthur from taking another cinnamon bun, as she picked Martha up and handed her to Jonathan, who started twirling her around as though they were in a waltz.

“I just hope he’ll find something to do. There’s only so many tomato plants a man can grow,” Jonathan said, bouncing Martha up and down.

“Oh, don’t make her sick, Jonathan, you know what happened last time,” Ellie said, taking down her everyday bonnet from the coat stand and tying it around her neck.

“Come on then, everyone, let’s go and greet grandpapa and grandmama,” he said, and Arthur and Martha both let out cries of delight.

“Will they bring presents?” Arthur asked, and Ellie raised her eyebrows.

“You shouldn’t expect such things, Arthur. But when have your grandparents visited without presents?” she asked, and both children cheered.

It had been a long time in coming, but finally, after many years of talking about it, her father and mother had decided that the slower pace of life in Widetrail was for them. They’d sold up in the east and bought a small homestead on the edge of the town, just two miles away from the ranch and today was the day they would arrive to start their new lives, growing tomato plants and whatever else people of their age did in retirement. Ellie was excited to have them so close and she knew that it would be a great blessing for Arthur and Martha to have their grandparents so close at hand.

“Gee up, boy,” Jonathan called out, wringing the reins, as the horse and trap saddled forth out of the ranch yard.

“Save me some wood, Uncle Dixon,” Arthur called out, as they passed the chopping block, where Dixon was hard at work.

“I’m going to teach you how to chop down a tree tomorrow, young man, then you’ll know what hard work is,” Dixon called back, waving to Arthur, who clapped his hands together in delight.

“When I grow up, I’m going to be as strong as Uncle Dixon, I’m going to chop down trees all day long with my axe,” he cried, making swiping noises through the air, and almost falling from the trap in his excitement.

“Now, now, son, you know you have to learn to do it properly,” Jonathan said, glancing at Ellie and smiling.

They passed several of their neighbors along the way, waving cheerfully, as the trap sped along the trail towards the town. Ellie was growing excited, she hadn’t seen her father and mother for some months now, not since they had made the journey for Martha’s fifth birthday, an occasion of much joy for them all.

“Why will Grandpapa and Grandmama not live with us?” Arthur asked, as they drew up outside the railway station a short while later.

“Oh, they wouldn’t want to live with us. You know Grandpapa likes his peace and quiet. He wouldn’t want you two children running around him all the time,” Ellie said, as Jonathan helped them all down from the trap.

“Can we visit them all the time? I want to play there. I can go and chop wood for them. Wouldn’t that be a help?” Arthur replied, and Ellie laughed.

“I’m sure there’s lots of jobs you can do to help them,” she said, as Arthur ran into the station, closely followed by his sister.

“Good morning, Mr. Rodgers,” he said, as the station porter came to greet them.

“Good morning, young sir, are you here to catch a train? There’s one coming in a moment,” the porter said, grinning at Ellie and Jonathan, as Arthur started jumping up and down with excitement.

“I can see it. I can see it. Look, there’s the smoke and listen, you can hear the whistle,” he cried, as the sound of the approaching train could be heard from up ahead.

“She’s right on time,” Mr. Rodgers said, tapping his watch. “Are you meeting someone Mr. Allen?”

“Ellie’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adams. They’ve bought the old McNelly place on the edge of town. Ellie’s father has finally decided to retire,” he said, and the porter smiled.

“Well, there’s no nicer place than Widetrail, that’s what I say,” and he blew loudly on his whistle, as the train drew into the station.

A cloud of steam now blew from the engine, covering the platform in fog, and Arthur ran along the carriages, as the doors flew open and luggage was thrown out.

“Where are they? Where are they?” he called out, as Ellie hurried to his side.

“I don’t see them?” she said, peering along the line of passengers now disembarking.

“There they are!” Arthur shouted, and he bolted from her side, hurrying to the far carriage, from which Ellie’s father and mother had just clambered down.

Her father was wearing a suit, ill-suited to the heat of the day. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to mop his brow, as Arthur threw himself into his arms.

“Arthur, no, be careful,” Ellie called out, but her parents both laughed.

“As lively as ever and grown another foot since last we saw him,” Ellie’s father said, sweeping his grandson up in his arms and embracing him.

“What a journey we’ve had, even first class is no class at all on these things,” Ellie’s mother said, embracing Ellie and kissing her on each cheek.

“I’m just glad you made it safely, let’s get your things onto the trap. Jonathan’s here too, with Martha,” Ellie said, as Jonathan came up with Martha in his arms.

“And she’s grown too. Isn’t she beautiful!” Ellie’s father said, placing his hand gently upon Martha’s head.

“How was your journey?” Jonathan asked, taking up one of the trunks, as they all headed out to the trap, the porter following with the others behind.

“Let’s just say, we won’t be going back,” Ellie’s father said.

“It’s a big step,” Ellie said, as she and her mother watched the men loading the trunks into the trap.

“We wanted to be near you and the children. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life cross-stitching, and your father was growing bored of endless meetings and business dealings. We want a simpler way of life and since you’re always writing to tell us how wonderful it is out here, well, we thought we’d better come and see for ourselves,” she said, taking Ellie by the hand.

“Who wants lemonade? I’ll head over to the mercantile now, then we can head up to the McNelly place,” Jonathan said, as the last of the trunks were loaded into the trap.

Arthur and Martha let out a cry of delight and Jonathan hurried over to the store, whilst Ellie’s father mopped his brow once more.

“Are you happy, Ellie?” her father asked, and Ellie nodded.

“You know I am, father,” she said.

“You look it, it must be the air here,” he replied, and Ellie laughed.

“I’ve got two beautiful children and a husband who loves me. What else could I want?” she said, and her father nodded.

“Your mother and father close by to take the children off your hands from time to time,” he said, and Ellie laughed.

“Be careful, I might just take you up on that offer,” she said, as Jonathan emerged from the mercantile with bottles of lemonade for them all.

“There we are,” he said, passing the bottles around, “I think we’ve all earned one of these today.”

“Here’s to new beginnings,” Ellie’s father said, and he raised his bottle in a toast.

“What does that mean?” Arthur asked, looking puzzled.

“It means, that your grandmama and I are very happy to be here and make a new start with you all. We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time,” Ellie’s father replied, and Arthur nodded.

“I’m going to be the best help I can,” he said. “Papa taught me to use the axe today, and I can chop down just about any tree there is.”

“Is that so? Well, I’m sure you’ll come in very useful, although I don’t think there’s any trees on our homestead yet,” Ellie’s father said, and Arthur looked disappointed.

“Not even one?” he said, and his grandfather stooped down and smiled.

“But I tell you what, how about I show you how to plant trees, so that in years to come, when the homestead is yours, you’ll have all the trees you want,” he said, and Arthur grinned.

“Did you hear that, mama? All the trees I want,” Arthur said, sounding ever so proud.

They finished their lemonade, and together they set off in the trap towards the homestead. It felt to Ellie as though everything was now complete, surrounded by her family, those she loved most in all the world. Widetrail had been kind to her these past years and now it seemed it would be kinder still.

“We’re lucky, aren’t we?” she whispered to Jonathan, as they arrived at the homestead, and the children leapt down with their grandparents.

“We’re more than lucky, we’re blessed,” he replied, placing his arm around her, and smiling.

The End

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  • It was truly a wonderful story to read. While reading it ,I could picture myself right there with them to see it all play out right before my eyes.

  • This was a good story so glad all worked out for Ellis and Jonathon. I was picturing myself on that ranch, just love all these historical western.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. It has a great story plot from beginning all the way to the end; including the epilogue.

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