Recap: Dovid is missing. A search party has been looking for him all night. Yishai and Devorah are both davening. Yishai is picturing his nephew back home safe and sound. There’s a knock on the door. He prays it will be Ezra bringing back his nephew, but instead its Mrs. Blennerhassett and her two sons.
Mrs. Blennerhassett stepped into the house with her two sons.
“I’m so sorry for coming in the middle of the night but it’s an emergency.”
Miriam asked her to sit down. “What’s wrong?”
“Officers took over my house. We had to leave. I am taking the boys to meet my husband. The boat’s waiting by the dock but I had to come and ask you to do something for me.”
Mrs. Blennerhassett pulled a medium-sized box from the satchel she was holding. She opened it and inside were sparkling jewels, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and gold coins.
“These jewels are all that is left of our vast fortune. I ask you to guard it for us. I don’t know when we will be back, but I can’t take it on the trip. It’s too risky. My husband wants to know if you can please hide this in our other house.”
“Where is that?”
She pulled out a paper. “The address is 118 Harmon Avenue. It’s near here. It’s a large house that was built recently. He wants you to hide it in the attic. There’s a panel in the ceiling that slides open and it’s a perfect hiding place.” She handed Miriam an envelope. “If we don’t come back, there are instructions in that letter for what to do with the treasure.” She handed her the treasure box. Then she kissed Miriam on one cheek at a time. “Au revoir, Miriam. We should see happier times. Come boys.” She and her two sons disappeared into the night.
Miriam laid the treasure box and envelope on the table.
“Where can Dovid be? Please, G-d, bring back Dovid,” she whispered. She was not thinking about Mrs. Blennerhassett or her children now or the treasure.
As the sun rose in a golden stream of light, Devorah woke to eat, and there was still no sign of Ezra.
I davened with a heart full of pain. I begged Hashem to have mercy and bring Dovid back. When I finished, Miriam handed me the baby and then I saw her standing by the fire with a siddur, pouring out her heart.
Ezra returned a short while later. The sheriff was with him.
“We may have to start dragging the river.”
“No!” Miriam screamed. “Dovid would never go to the river. It’s full of ice now. He knows not to go near it. He’s a smart boy.”
I knew she was right. Dovid wouldn’t go to the river.
Ezra sighed. “We’ve scoured the woods for miles and he’s nowhere.” He was crying.
The sheriff took off his hat. “We’ll continue the search. We will have to start with the river soon. Sorry for your troubles. G-d should help your son.” He replaced his hat and left.
Ezra went into the bedroom. He came out with his t’filin and a siddur and he also began to daven with a heart filled with anguish. “If you bring me back Dovid, I promise to daven every day and learn.” Ezra was sobbing.
No one wanted breakfast. Dovid’s empty chair stared at us.
I sat down to write to Father and Mother. There was a boat leaving today to Pennsylvania. I’d give it to the captain. I wrote a short note telling Father what happened and asking him what we should do. I didn’t know if Ezra would want me to tell him, but I felt he would know what to do and we needed his sage advice right now.
Another day and night passed with no sign of Dovid. Ezra and Miriam continued to pray. I walked around the yard, trying to imagine where Dovid could have gone. I replayed the scene of two days ago over and over in my mind. He’d backed away from Mr. Shaw and called him a scary man. Then, after Dovid’s nap, we went back outside to have a snowball fight.
Ezra came home and he called us over to meet someone.
“Yishai, this is Mr. Shaw, an associate of Mr. Burr.”
I shook his hand.
Dovid backed away.
“Mr. Chapman, come, I want to show you the boat you’ll be taking.” Ezra followed Mr. Shaw towards the boat dock.
“Come with me, Dovid,” Ezra called to his son.
Just then, Miriam poked her head out the door. “Ezra, the baby is fussing. Can you take her? I have to lie down.”
“I’m going down to the dock with Mr. Shaw. Yishai, can you take care of her for a bit?” Ezra had asked.
I headed into the house.
I calmed the baby and then I started learning. An hour later, Ezra came back all full of excitement about the boat and the soon-to-be trip out West.
Miriam greeted him. “Where’s Dovid?”
So, Dovid had disappeared while I went inside to calm the baby. Dovid liked to play by the woods. I fingered the three red feathers I’d found on the ground on the day of his disappearance. There were two sets of footprints, I recalled, but with snow falling, any trail of more footprints was quickly covered.
I stared at the feathers and then, suddenly like a bolt of lightning, I had an idea.
“Miriam,” I called. “I have to go to the apothecary. I’ll be back soon. Devorah’s in the cradle.”
I rushed to the apothecary, fingering the red feathers in my pocket.
To be continued…
By Susie Garber