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The River Rose by Gilbert Morris - Chapter 1

The River Rose by Gilbert Morris - Chapter 1

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Published by Laura Christianson
Life hasn’t been easy for Jeanne Bettencourt, a widow approaching thirty and struggling to provide for her eight-year-old daughter. But hope arrives in the form of the Helena Rose, a steamboat she unexpectedly inherits from a distant, departed relative. Jeanne’s father had captained a similar vessel and taught her how to pilot a steamer along the banks of Memphis. She’s looking forward to a renewed livelihood on the mighty Mississippi. However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose -- a tough man named Clint Hardin -- and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters. As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne -- who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.
Life hasn’t been easy for Jeanne Bettencourt, a widow approaching thirty and struggling to provide for her eight-year-old daughter. But hope arrives in the form of the Helena Rose, a steamboat she unexpectedly inherits from a distant, departed relative. Jeanne’s father had captained a similar vessel and taught her how to pilot a steamer along the banks of Memphis. She’s looking forward to a renewed livelihood on the mighty Mississippi. However, as plans are made, news comes of another heir to the Helena Rose -- a tough man named Clint Hardin -- and a clause in the will that says claimants of the estate must live aboard the boat. Jeanne, a Christian woman, makes it clear she won’t stay with a man who is not her husband. But both are desperate for work, so they agree to keep their distance as Clint occupies the lower deck and Jeanne takes the captain’s quarters. As they restore the Helena Rose, the slowly softening Clint becomes attracted to Jeanne -- who is now being courted by a wealthy plantation owner. With her family and future at stake, the desires of Jeanne’s heart are duly complex. Only her simple faith can navigate her through what’s about to happen.

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Published by: Laura Christianson on Apr 03, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/12/2014

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CHAPTER ONE
The Gayoso House Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee gleamed like Mount Olympus on the bluff high above the Mississippi River. Its six fifty-foot-high Doric col-umns topped by the grand white marble pediment had become a sure landmark to the lesser beings on the river. A pallid December sun rose behind the hotel, its weak light still making the grand edifice seem to glow.Jeanne Bettencourt’s eyes watered a little as she stared up at the hotel. The wind was keening off the river, and as she hurried along Front Street she adjusted her woolen muffler to cover her mouth and nose. Above the plain gray wool were wide-set velvet brown eyes, odd because they had a perfect almond shape that was more East Indies than red-blooded American. The searching bitter wind teased out several thick chestnut-brown curls from her mobcap and hood, and impa-tiently she tucked them back in.
1
 
2
G
ILBERT
 M
ORRIS
She went around to the back of the hotel to the ser-vant’s entrance, of course, because she was a chamber-maid, not a guest. Sometimes Jeanne dreamed of having enough money to stay at Gayoso House. It was a luxuri-ous place, with real brass room keys and fobs, daintily wrapped guest soaps, satiny bedlinens, eiderdown com-forters, fireplaces, and velvet chairs and cherry tables in each room. And most elegant and desired—marble tubs, silver faucets, hot and cold running water, and even flush toilets. Indoor plumbing was grandiose, indeed.A crowd of maids, porters, waiters, and wood boys were gathered at the service entrance, and just as Jeanne reached the bottom step the great Gothic bells of St. Peter’s church began to ring the hour of seven a.m. The door was opened by Mrs. Wiedemann, the stern German housekeeper, who stood frowning as the servants filed in. Jeanne was last, on the final stroke of seven, and Mrs.  Wiedemann frowned. “You are almost late, Jeanne.“Yes, ma’am,” she said submissively, following the woman’s heavy tread into the housekeeping supply room. She wasn’t late, of course. But Jeanne was lucky to have this job, and she never crossed Mrs. Wiedemann. Under the circumstances, the two got along very well.The housekeeping supply room was something like a long railroad car. Along one wall was a row of hooks, each with a neatly printed white card above it. Jeanne hung her cape and muffler on the hook labeled
J.Bettencourt 
, gave another quick pat-push to the hair escaping from her mobcap, and checked her white apron to make sure it was spotless. At the Gayoso one was not required to have a uniform as such though they required that the maids wear gray skirts and plain white blouses. The hotel supplied each maid with two

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