Guest post by Lauri Goforth
The chapter starts with Laura deciding not to share with Ma and Pa about Mrs. Brewster and the knife. She decides that they wouldn’t let her go back and she’d never be able to teach school again. After all there’s only one more week. I’m with Ma and Pa – tell them! Pa’s on the School Board, he could probably pull some strings because risking your life isn’t part of the deal.
Life threatening drama out of the way, we get back to the romance. Laura thinks Almanzo will be happy to not have the long, cold drives. Almanzo thinks Laura is more interesting than checkers or the saloon. This panics Laura into thinking she must be interesting. He offers her a chance to drive Prince and Lady, but she demurs. And Spoiler Alert: she’s too little to drive Prince and Lady, but willing to try Barnum. Interesting choice. Almanzo then talks about Starlight, our friend from back in Farmer Boy. Starlight is living out his retirement in Father Wilder’s pasture. I wonder if that’s true or just a nice tale for the young reader.
The time passes quickly, and we’re <gulp> at the Brewster’s. Almanzo says he knows that it’s hard on her, but they’ll be going the other way on Friday. (He leaves out any reference to Laura making him pancakes soon at this time.)
Each day passes, Laura barely sleeps the last night afraid of what could happen during the last night. Everyone is well behaved the last day. Laura encourages them to take any chance they have to go to school or to study at home like President Lincoln. She hands out namecards to each student. At 10, I may have written Laura’s inscription to Ruby on the back of the namecard I bought in DeSmet. She’s surprised that they all have gifts for her. They thank her. Clarence apologizes for being mean. I still lean towards Clarence having a little crush on the teacher.
The students leave, and Almanzo picks Laura up. I love this next quote,
“You won’t get there any faster, pushing,” Almanzo said once, and she laughed aloud to find that she was pushing her feet hard against the cutter’s dashboard.”
It comes to mind as I’m trying to hurry my life towards something. Or when I was coming home from a two week business trip. Except now, pressing harder on the floorboard will get the driver home faster, if not safer.
Soon they arrive home, Laura realizes Almanzo said “Goodbye” not “See you on Sunday”. Of course this must be the last sleigh ride.
…………..or so Laura thinks…………