Lizzie’s Secret Angels – Excerpt
Book 2 of the Lizzie Series by J. Robert Whittle
It was fast approaching noon when the youngsters turned into Water Lane and made their way to the tailor’s shop for their appointment with Nathan. As they stepped inside, they noticed Abe in the corner at his worktable staring at a heap of paper.
“What, no Nathan, Mister Kratze?” Lizzie asked sharply, as she walked toward the old man.
“My relative had a need to visit the outhouse, m’dears,” he said, with a smile, as the back door banged and in walked the effervescent Nathan.
“My, it’s grand to see you again!” his voice boomed as he rushed over to vigorously shake their hands, although his face betrayed little joy.
Lizzie turned on her most winsome smile and said brashly, “Aye, cos you know there will be money ta be made, don’t yer?”
Nathan displayed his hurt look and sat down.
“You mistake me, madam, I have but your welfare at heart.”
Both the youngsters began to laugh. Even old Abe had to smile and Nathan’s big, sad eyes soon lit up again and he, too, joined in the fun.
“Oh, yer a good act, Nathan Goldman!” the girl managed through her laughter. But when they had settled down, Lizzie’s mood changed abruptly. “Well, are you prepared, Mister Nathan, because we have a mountain of goods to dispose of this time. If you come with us now, we will get you a list.”
She slid from her chair and made for the door, motioning him to follow. Out on the street, she kept the pace just fast enough to keep the overweight little trader out of breath.
Upon reaching the cottage, he leaned heavily against the fence as Quon opened the gate. His now red face was perspiring profusely and he gasped for air. He was unable to go another step so she directed Quon to stay with him while she went for the list.
Ada was standing at the window just as the three came up the road and stopped at the gate. She witnessed the puzzling scene and came to the door as Lizzie opened it.
“The list is ready but what have you done to the little man? You’re going to kill him!”
The girl grinned wickedly at the bookkeeper, took her by the arm and led her back inside the cottage.
“You two are at it again, aren’t you?” Ada asked.
“Yes . . . we are!” the girl admitted with a giggle. “Had ta keep him quiet and intimidate him . . . just a little. And gettin him into that state accomplished both, real quick. Won’t be many questions outa our Nathan today, I bet ya!”
Lizzie held out her hand for Ada’s list of sale goods and glanced over it with dancing eyes.
“Won’t be sellin any of this liquor,” she said, pointing a finger to an item on the list.
“It’s a list of what came from the raid . . . not what we have for sale, you decide that!” Ada replied sharply, still concerned with Lizzie’s treatment of the trader.
With nothing further to discuss, Lizzie went back outside. The bookkeeper noticed Martha had been carefully watching the scene that had passed with her and the girl.
“Sometimes Martha, I just don’t understand what she’s up to or why she does certain things!” she said, returning to her desk.
Martha was silent for awhile and when she spoke, the words from this homely woman came gently, but firmly.
“You know lass, that girl thinks faster than all of us, an I’ve yet ter see her do sumat without a reason for it. Happen her reason wor just what she said it wor—to stop him askin awkward questions when she didn’t want ta be answerin ‘em!”
Ada had picked up her pen to begin writing but it remained poised over her book until the housekeeper finished speaking. A smile now crept across her face. She voiced no further opinion on the matter, simply nodded and returned to her accounts.
Nathan had recovered a little and was sitting on the steps by the time Lizzie reappeared and handed him the sheet of paper. Thoughtfully and without a word, he began to study the list.
Lizzie quickly interceded into his thoughts with a curt, “Not the liquor though, Mister Goldman!” Then as an afterthought, she added, “And you and I need to sit down and talk about the insurance business.”
Nathan’s head jerked upward fully aware of the business she was referring to. Does this girl never forget anything, he thought, his eyes now wide with disbelief and anticipation. Lizzie’s hand flashed into her pocket and a golden guinea flew through the air and toward the Jewish trader. Nathan tried to move out of the way as if it was a hot potato but the coin found its mark, landing squarely in his lap.
“That’s four you have now!” the girl said cheerfully.
The little man unhappily climbed to his feet holding the list in one hand and the golden guinea in the other.
“B-b-but I protest, Miss L-Lizzie,” he stammered, “this jest has gone far enough!”
His voice sounded far from convincing and his eyes were pleading for help, but the youngsters were already out of the gate and moving off down the lane. Lizzie’s wicked laugh could just be heard in the distance, if one was to listen very carefully.
© 2000 J. Robert Whittle
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