The Scholar (Emerson Pass Historicals 3) - Page 4

“Ah, yes, I think Isak mentioned that.”

“Mama’s terribly proud of him,” Fiona said.

“They gave him the money for college,” Cymbeline said. “Mama said he was always clever and should go to school if he wanted.”

“They’re thankful to him for saving Jo, you know,” Fiona said.

“I do know,” I said. Our family would be forever in Viktor’s debt for saving Josephine from sure death when she’d been taken by a bad man.

“Now he’s a banker.” Fiona wriggled her eyebrows at her sister. “Very fancy. Right, Cymbeline?”

“I told you I couldn’t care less,” Cymbeline said. “And wouldn’t you know, Theo, the big oaf still thinks he’s in love with me.”

I didn’t think there was much thinking involved. He knew for sure how he felt about her. He’d wanted my sister for as long as I could recall. She, however, detested him, mostly because she’d thought of him as competition during her school days. He was athletic and smart. In addition, and possibly the worst offense, he was a boy, which meant he had all the opportunities she wished she had.

“What else is happening in town?” I asked.

“There’s trouble brewing at the church,” Fiona said. “A few horrible ladies who are on the church board don’t like Pastor Lind.”

“We heard from a friend that there’s a group who want him out,” Cymbeline said. “Even Papa’s worried.”

“Can’t he help?” My skin prickled at the sound of the name Lind. I’d once thought I was in love with Louisa Lind. I’d embarrassed myself when I’d asked her if she’d write to me when I was away at the war. Unfortunately, it was Flynn she wished she could write. We’d only been sixteen when we lied our way into the army. I told myself I’d been young and stupid back then. I’d had no earthly idea how to tell that a girl loved my twin brother instead of me.

“No, the church has its own board, which includes awful Mrs. Poe,” Fiona said. “She doesn’t like Pastor Lind. I don’t understand why.”

“It’s because she’s a bluenose,” Cymbeline said, sounding disgusted. “She thinks Pastor Lind is too casual and encouraging.”

“She wants him to talk about hell more,” Fiona said. “But you know that’s not how Pastor Lind does things.”

“How do you two know all this?” I asked.

They exchanged a look. One I didn’t understand other than it told me however they’d come upon this information would not be shared with me.

“We know people who know things,” Cymbeline said.

“The Linds have no idea,” Fiona said. “They’re going to spring it on him.”

“Wouldn’t that mean they’d have no place to live?” If I remembered correctly, the Linds’ home, right next to the church, was actually owned by the congregation. Papa, years ago, had sold it all to the church. How that worked exactly as far as the deed to the house went, I wasn’t sure. Even so, I had a bad feeling that would be the case.

“But Pastor Lind’s been there since we were young,” I said. “They can’t just get rid of him, can they? What would it mean to his wife and daughter?”

“Last Sunday, Pastor Lind looked awful, right, Fi?” Cymbeline asked. “Pale and kind of sickly.”

“Yes. Mama noticed too.” Fiona’s cheeks flushed. “I think it’s that terrible woman causing all the trouble that’s making him sick. I can’t stand it when people are unkind.”

“She’s been extremely vocal about her discontent,” Cymbeline said. “Horrible woman.”

“How’s Louisa?” I asked, keeping my voice casual. “You don’t think she suspects? Doesn’t she run around with the same group of friends as you two?”

My sisters exchanged a look. They knew of my ill-fated attempt with Louisa.

“Don’t look like that,” I said. “I’m asking as an old friend of hers. I’d think her father being in trouble would bother her.”

“She doesn’t socialize with the old crowd any longer,” Cymbeline said. “She’s gotten strange.”

“Strange?” Louisa had been adopted by the Linds after her father had been killed in a shootout. She’d always been quiet. I suspected the first nine years of her life had been traumatizing but didn’t know the details.

“All closed up,” Fiona said.

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