I awoke and made my way to Henry’s house. It was few streets away. Henry had three brothers and two sisters. They were all born quite close together and Henry was one of the younger boys. Although he had brothers and sisters, he didn’t have that many friends. He did have a close friend called Edith who he went to school with.
I knocked on the door and Charles, Henry’s oldest brother answered it.
“Lawrence my man, come in?
“Mother, Father, look who is here?
“Lawrence, how lovely to see you sit down.”
I sat down and as I did, Charles ran upstairs. I could hear him rapping on a door. The next minute Henry walked into the room. As soon as he saw me I stood up and we hugged and kissed. I was French and it was customary in my country. We also liked to see the look on Henry’s father’s face.
Henry and I discussed what changes had happened in our life’s. Henry was now a shoe and boot maker and a good one at that. He had many clients and many of them were in London. This is where we met. Henry told me that he had made some shoes for the mayor of Loughborough. Some wealthy businessmen had commented on his shoes and when he told them who had made them he contacted Henry.
“We have done okay haven’t we Henry?
“We have indeed Lawrence, I think back to my school days and if it hadn’t been for Edith I don’t think I would have amounted to much.” “I would probably be the lazy boy who was good for nothing as the headmaster used to say to me.”
“What was she like?
“She was little and had short hair.” “We used to joke that she was so skinny that she would fall through the crack in the floorboards.”
“It was a shame that her mother and father didn’t have any other children. But she had me and my brothers and sisters to play with.”
“She stood up for me at school one day.” The headmaster had it in for me. I was quieter than everyone else and the big boys could look after themselves.” “Edith was having none of it and told him he should practice what he preaches. He tells everyone to mind their manners and be respectful and yet he is always shouting and punishing the children for no reason.”
“His face went bright red and I thought that he was going to burst.” He never said anything to Edith though. Her parents were church people and very well respected in the town.”
“What happened next?
“He laid off me and told me that he had found a job for me to do.” “Each day after school I was to go to the bootmakers around the corner. “
“Why did he do that.”
“He told Edith’s parents that when he was younger his father had no time for him and was always on his case.” “When Edith spoke to him he remembered that and wanted to do the right thing.”,
“Did you ever go out you and Edith?
“No, we were more like brother and sister and besides if we had it wouldn’t have been fair on her me going back and forth to London.”
“I have a letter here that you can read from her.”
“I couldn’t do that it is private.”
“It’s fine, besides you wanted to know more about her.”
Here you go.
Letter To Henry From Edith
Harry, My favourite man in the whole world. It’s been so long since I saw you. I was thinking back and remembered when you used to pick some apples for me. We would sit and eat them until it was time to go home.
The summers were the best. Playing with you and your friends. It was so funny when I dressed up as a boy for the day so that I too could play football. You lent me your dad’s old cap, so I could hide my hair away. I was nearly caught out but managed to creep through a window when nobody was looking and changed back into my own clothes.
At present, I am helping out in two churches. I also go to see the men and women in their homes and cook, clean and do general duties for them. I don’t get paid, but it gets me out of the house more and from under mother’s feet.
Hurry back Harry, I miss our walks along the canal banks. My boots are nearly worn out and I would ask father but he is too tired these days.
All my love
I handed the letter back to Henry.
“What a little character she is dressing as a boy.”
“You should have seen her and to look the part she dirtied her face and knees as well. “
“They are lovely memories, Lawrence.” “It’s a shame that we have to grow up.”
“What are your plans why you are here?
“I need to get some practice in with my painting.” “The classes are fine, but you can’t beat seeing real people, the countryside and just being outdoors.”
“How are you and your son we haven’t spoken about it.” “I was so saddened to hear about Francine.”
“It happened so quick, one minute we were happily married and things were going well and the next she had the baby and died very quickly soon after.”
“My son is being well looked after back in France by his maternal grandparents along with a few nannies.” “He is getting all the love that we could all possibly give him.” “I keep my self-busy with my painting and studies.”
“I will be on my way, but will see you again Henry.”
With that, I went back to my room as I had an exam to study for.