Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SURPRISE (07/25/19)
- TITLE: Harrington
By Arlene Baker
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
“Harriet, take Mr. Banks’ dishes, please.” Mrs. Banks nodded at the serving girl huddled against the wall. She leaped to obey. “I’m glad, dear.”
“You’ll get that carriage you’ve been pining for. I can promise you that.”
“Oh!” His wife clasped both hands together. “Mrs. Long’s is divine. I’ve been so jealous.” Her chin lifted. “Do get one that’s fancier, won’t you, dear?”
“Of course!” Mr. Banks’ booming laugh shook the dainty chandelier pieces hovering overhead. His grin faded to a scowl. “Had to get tough with Harrington today.”
“Who’s Harrington?” 12-year-old Jonathon asked.
“One of my workers. A lazy one at that.” The scowl deepened. “Caught him napping at his post.”
“What does he do?”
“Gathers the lint.”
“Lint?” Mrs. Banks asked. “Whatever for?”
“It’s valuable,” her husband growled. “Women don’t understand profits — only what they buy.”
“I’m sorry, dear.” Her eyes dropped.
“What did you have to do?” Jonathon asked.
“Do? When?” Mr. Banks scratched his head.
“With Mr. Harrington. Remember? You said you found him napping …”
“Oh, that.” Banks waved a hand. “No big deal. Don’t concern yourself over it.”
“Your father’s right,” his wife agreed. “I’m sure everything he does at the mill is fair and honest. Just as he is here. Right, Jonathon?”
“Right,” Mr. Banks growled, but his eyes danced. “It’s all for you, dearest, and our boy, here.” He reached over and tousled Jonathon’s hair.
“Father!” His son pulled away with reddened cheeks. “I’m not a boy anymore.”
“No, that you are not.” The father appraised his offspring with an approving eye. “I believe it’s time to take you down to the mill and introduce you to business.”
“The mill?” Mrs. Banks gasped. “Isn’t he too …”
Father and son both frowned.
“I’m sorry, dear.” Her bottom lip quivered. “I just said you’re the best father and I meant it.”
Finally, Father sees me as more than a child and I get to see what he does at the mill Jonathon could hardly sleep for excitement that night. The next day, he tore into his breakfast.
“Not so fast, son.” Mr. Banks laughed. “The mill’s not going anywhere.”
An hour later, their carriage pulled up to a long, three-story brick building. Jonathon followed his father out of the vehicle and up to the massive front door.
“Son, someday this will all be yours.” Mr. Banks threw it open with a flourish. Jonathon clapped his hands over both ears. Dozens of machines whirred. Boards strung with thread slapped up and down as shuttles darted left and right. The din overwhelmed him.
“You’ll get used to it.” Mr. Banks slapped his son’s back and propelled him forward. “That, my boy, is the sound of money.” They both stepped into the first large room. Jonathon stared. Children were everywhere. Tending bobbins. Tying broken threads. Scurrying under the pounding machines.
“What is he doing?” Jonathon pointed to a boy, scrunched down on the floor with a whisk broom.
“Gathering the lint, son.”
Jonathon remembered the conversation from the night before.
“Is that Mr. Harrington?” Jonathon pointed to the only man in the room. “The one you had to punish?”
“No.” Mr. Banks gave his son a push. “Let’s move along.”
No child looked up as they passed. Not one.
They’re so young. Why does Father … He paused to watch the boy gathering lint.
“Son!” Mr. Banks stepped back. “I said we need to get moving.”
“Yes, Father.” Jonathon followed him until his father engaged in conversation with the only adult in the room — the male overseer. Then he drifted back to the boy and studied him carefully.
He can’t be 10 years old. Why is he even here?
Jonathon stooped down to study the boy’s movements.
His face is all bruised. And, he’s moving like he hurts.
“Hi.” He waved at the boy. The boy’s eyes flickered over to where Mr. Banks stood.
“Hi.” This time Jonathon whispered. “What’s your name?”
The boy shook his head.
“Please,” Jonathan begged. “I don’t want to get you into trouble. I just want to know your name.”
The boy kept sweeping and sweeping. But he inched closer.
“Name’s Harrington, sir.”
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.