Entrance to Rose Cottage - Part 3 of 6

Judi Taylor

Stowe, United States

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Part 3 ot 6 for Part I Click here

Although the house was built for entertaining on a grand scale, both she and William were retiring sort of people, so there were not many visitors to Langoma. This was really sad for Mabel. As rich as she could be, she was not happy. She had nothing to do. Her husband William was off making tons more money as president of the Kewanee Oil and Gas Co. He became even richer than his father, and when he died at 87 in May 1943, he left an estate of $10 million.

What Mabel really wanted was to have a child—children, really, lots of them. She had so much love to give to little children. Her sister had a little baby girl, named Helen, and was so over the moon with happiness. Her sister no longer cared about her parties, her wardrobe, and the swell outings at the nearby estates.

Mabel brooded. What good is this place, with only Mary, Col Potts’ widow and me, and several dozen servants in it, if there is no child’s voice, no sound of little feet running up and down this gilded staircase. Oh, please, please, Mabel would pray to God, please send me a child to love. But God sometimes has plans for us that we cannot fathom. And so it was that Mabel never had that child she so desperately wanted.
One summer day in 1899, Mabel was sitting by the Brandywine Creek, just down the hill from the grand mansion. She wasn’t really crying, just sighing a lot, and twisting daisies into a chain. She turned, as she heard a light footfall. And, who should be standing there but a little girl! Startled, Mabel asked the child her name, and what in the world was she doing all by herself?

“Rose, my name is Rose,” replied the child. Mabel then noticed that Rose was dressed in ragged clothing, her hair was matted, and she was not wearing any shoes. She was holding a flower; it was a wild pink rose. How unusual, thought Mabel; pink is my very favorite color.

Rose told Mabel her father had worked at the Isabella Furnace; and she lived with him and her mother in one of the houses that were built for the employees. The houses were connected, appearing to be one long building.

The furnace had been out of blast since Col. Potts died in 1894, and the men who worked there had been put to work by William building the stonewalls all around the properties. But he had been badly burned in a blast at the furnace years ago, and the backbreaking work was taking a toll on him. The family was having a hard time, and she did not go to school in the summer, so like Mabel, Rose was at loose ends.

Mabel and Rose chatted for a while and slowly, other children joined them. Mabel forgot the time, as she was having so much fun with the children. As Mabel climbed the hill to the lonely mansion, she was struck with an idea. It came out of the blue, as so many good ideas whose time has come do.

For part 4 Click here

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  • Jan Landers
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