Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller - [Lights of Lowell 01]

A T
APESTRY
OF
H
OPE

Books by Tracie Peterson

www.traciepeterson.com

A Slender Thread

What She Left for Me

I Can't Do It All!
**

A
LASKAN
Q
UEST
*
Summer of the Midnight Sun

Under the Northern Lights
Whispers of Winter

B
ELLS OF
L
OWELL
*
Daughter of the Loom

A Fragile Design
These Tangled Threads

L
IGHTS OF
L
OWELL
*
A Tapestry of Hope

A Love Woven True
The Pattern of Her Heart

D
ESERT
R
OSES
Shadows of the Canyon

Across the Years
Beneath a Harvest Sky

H
EIRS
M
ONTANA
Land of My Heart

The Coming Storm
To Dream Anew

The Hope Within

W
ESTWARD
C
HRONICLES
A Shelter of Hope

Hidden in a Whisper

A Veiled Reflection

L
ADIES OF
L
IBERTY

A Lady of High Regard

S
HANNON
S
AGA

City of Angels

Angels Flight

Angel of Mercy

Y
UKON
Q
UEST
Treasures of the North

Ashes and Ice

Rivers of Gold

Books by Judith Miller

www.judithmccoymiller.com

F
REEDOM’S
P
ATH
First Dawn

Morning Sky

Daylight Comes

P
OSTCARDS
F
ROM
P
ULLMAN
In the Company of Secrets

*
with Judith Miller


with Judith Pella


with James Scott Bell

**
with Allison Bottke and Dianne O'Brian

T
RACIE
P
ETERSON
AND
J
UDITH
M
ILLER

A T
APESTRY
OF
H
OPE

A Tapestry of Hope
Copyright © 2004
Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller

Cover design by Dan Thornberg

Unless otherwise identified, Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher and copyright owners.

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-2894-0
ISBN-10: 0-7642-2894-3

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Peterson, Tracie.
    A tapestry of hope / by Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller.
        p. cm. — (Lights of Lowell ; 1)
    ISBN 0-7642-2894-3 (pbk.) — ISBN 0-7642-2910-9 (large-print pbk.)
    1. Irish American women—Fiction. 2. Indentured servants—Fiction. 3. Textile industry—Fiction. 4. Lowell (Mass.)—Fiction. 5. Married women—Fiction.
I. McCoy-Miller, Judith. II. Title. III. Series: Peterson, Tracie. Lights of Lowell ; 1.
    PS3566.E7717T37         2004
    813'.54—dc22                                                   2004001022

To Ann Dunn—
my dear Proverbs 17:17 friend.
Thanks for your love and prayers.
Judy

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times. . . .

Special Thanks
To Retired Colonel and Mrs. Walt Hylander
of
Rosewood Plantation
, Lorman, Mississippi,
for their insight and hospitality.

TRACIE PETERSON is a popular speaker and bestselling author who has written over fifty books, both historical and contemporary fiction. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

Visit Tracie’s Web site at:
www.traciepeterson.com
.

JUDITH MILLER is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her novels, many of which have appeared on the CBA bestseller lists. Judy and her husband make their home in Topeka, Kansas.

Visit Judy’s Web site at:
www.judithmccoymiller.com
.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

CHAPTER 28

CHAPTER 29

CHAPTER 30

CHAPTER 31

C
HAPTER

1

May 1846, Lorman, Mississippi

T
HE TEMPERATURE
was unseasonably hot, insufferably repressive. By all accounts, springtime had scarcely arrived in Mississippi, but nature’s cruel trick was going unnoticed by no one, including the residents of The Willows plantation.

Jasmine Wainwright flattened herself against the bedroom wall, her right arm wedged against the red oak window frame. She wriggled in protest when a tickling bead of perspiration inched its way down her narrowed shoulders. Taking great care, she lifted the lace curtain between two fingers and peeked below. ‘‘I see a carriage arriving, Mammy. It must be Papa’s houseguests. I’m tempted to pretend I have a headache and remain in my room. I know he plans to show me off like prize cotton from the season’s first picking.’’

Mammy stood by Jasmine’s dressing table with her arms folded across her ample bosom. ‘‘Um hum. Well, you don’t know fer sure what your papa got in mind, but iffen you don’t set yourself down, supper’s gonna be over and dem visitors be gone afore I get a chance to fix your curls.’’

Jasmine glanced at the plump servant who had been her caregiver since birth and knew she could remain a few more moments idea of who will greet me when I descend the stairs. Oh, look, Mammy! One of them is nearly as old as Papa, but the other appears much younger—and more handsome.’’

‘‘I thought you weren’t lookin’ fer no husband.’’

‘‘I’m
not
! But Papa seems determined to marry me off.’’ She pulled the curtain back a bit farther and continued spying on the two men. ‘‘The younger one has a kind face.’’

The familiar sound of Mammy slapping the hairbrush on her open palm captured Jasmine’s attention. ‘‘Oh, all right. I only wanted one more look,’’ she said while scurrying back to the dressing table. ‘‘The older man looks rather austere and rigid. Perhaps he’s the younger man’s father.’’

She plopped down and stared into the oval mirror as Mammy plunged her thick fingers in and out of Jasmine’s heavy golden-brown hair, coaxing the strands into perfectly formed ringlets. Perspiration trickled down the sides of the black woman’s face and dripped onto her bodice, leaving her cotton dress dotted with wet spots.

‘‘Chile, I ain’t never gonna get these curls fixed proper if you don’t quit flutterin’ that fan back and forth. Jest when I think I got one curl fixed all nice an’ proper, you go whipping that fan around and stirring up a whirlwind. And quit that frowning. Them creases you’s making in your forehead is gonna turn into wrinkles. You gonna look like your grandma afore you turn twenty if you don’ stop making dem faces.’’

Jasmine giggled.

‘‘Ain’t funny, chile. When you’s gone and got yourself all wrinkled and can’t find no man to marry you, what you gonna do then? Come runnin’ to Mammy, ’spectin’ me to make you look young and purty?’’

Jasmine met Mammy’s stern gaze in the mirror’s reflection. ‘‘I’m sorry,’’ she said while grasping the servant’s roughened hand and drawing it against her own soft, powdered cheek. ‘‘But since I don’t want a man, I don’t suppose it matters very much if I wrinkle my face,'' she added with another giggle.

''You bes' get that out o' your mind. 'Sides, I's hoping to see you bring some little babes into this house one day. Maybe I’ll be takin’ care o’ them too.’’

Jasmine flushed at the remark. ‘‘Whatever would I do without you, Mammy?’’

‘‘Don’t know, chile, but ain’t no need to worry ’bout that. I ain’t made plans to meet my Maker jes’ yet. ’Course, He may have some different ideas. But if so, He ain’t told your ole Mammy. And since I ain’t never plannin’ to be parted from you any other way, I’s thinkin’ we’ll be together for a spell o’ time.’’ The servant gave a hearty chuckle, her ample figure jiggling up and down in tempo as she laughed. ‘‘We better hurry or you gonna be late to supper for sure. Then we both be in trouble. Anyways, that’s as good as them curls is gonna get for now. This hot, damp weather makin’ everything limp, including your hair.’’

Jasmine checked her appearance in the mirror one last time, patted the ringlets, and rose from the cushioned chair. ‘‘You won’t get in trouble, Mammy. I’m here to protect you.’’ She pulled the woman into a tight hug, her slender arms barely spanning the old servant’s broad waist. ‘‘Besides, after all these years, you know Papa is all bluster and bristle. He’d never lay a hand on anyone.’’

‘‘Um hum, you jes’ go on thinkin’ that, child.’’

Jasmine loosened her hold and leaned back. She looked deep into the old woman’s eyes. ‘‘Whatever do you mean?’’

‘‘You never know. Your pappy might jes’ decide you’re still young enough to turn over his knee.’’ The words were followed by another deep-throated laugh. ‘‘Now get on downstairs and be nice to your papa’s visitors.’’

‘‘You know they’ll bore me. Papa’s visitors always want to talk about business matters instead of entertaining topics.’’

‘‘Well, hot as it is this evenin’, you know your pappy’s bound to be in bad humor. He don’t like this heat—never has.’’

‘‘He complains about the heat every summer. I don’t understand why Papa doesn’t move us north with Grandmother.’’

‘‘How he gonna do that? Can’t move this cotton plantation up there where it's cold. 'Sides, your papa stays here 'cause this here is his home. He wouldn't live nowhere else. Even if he could, can't nobody get your mama out o’ this house anymore.’’

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