Keith R Parris - United States Air Force Pilot Wings

Mrs. Willoughby's Gift - Excerpt

"This is a treasure," Miss Blackthorn whispered. "This is a wonderful and rare treasure that must be preserved and enjoyed by everyone."

William had kept a watchful eye on his book and had begun to feel the same anxiety that had presented itself when Mrs. Willoughby had begun inspecting his measles. Just as he had known that he would be going home the day the red splotches appeared, he knew the whispers emanating from Miss Blackthorn's lips were a threat to his book. Even though the concepts of legal ownership and property rights were as foreign to him as many of the words in his recently acquired treasure, he knew the old dictionary had been given to him and his squinting eyes and furrowed brow turned toward Mrs. Willoughby for reassurance.

"You can't possibly mean to give this priceless treasure to a child!" Miss Blackthorn protested with not a hint of concern for William but with every intention to chastise and question Mrs. Willoughby's mental faculties.

"Miss Blackthorn, if you please," Mrs. Willoughby stated forcibly. "I must request that you return the book without delay and complete the children's lesson."

Miss Blackthorn stared at length at the raised eyebrows and pursed lips of Mrs. Willoughby. Reluctantly, she managed to coax her hardened fingers to release their unyielding grip on the dark blue book that she heard crying out to her for protection and transferred its possession to Mrs. Willoughby. There was nothing in her manner, however, that conveyed a willingness to accept that the book had not been placed in her eternal care. She knew that she, alone, understood the significance of this book and she would have to preserve its future.



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