The Way of Love by Tracie Peterson

CHAPTER 1




DECEMBER 1879

PORTLAND, OREGON

Faith Kenner looked around the room and nodded. “It’s perfect. I believe I’ll be very happy here.”

Her cousin Nancy Carpenter went to the window and pulled up the shade. “It should be quiet here for your studies. Although the house is never all that noisy, even for a boardinghouse. Except for ours, everyone else’s bedrooms are upstairs. We hope to convert more downstairs rooms into bedrooms eventually, but for now, it should be peaceful.”

“I can usually study without fearing disruption. My mind is like that.” Faith began unpacking her trunk. “It always has been. Just give me a space to spread out my books, and I’m quite content.”

“I think it’s wonderful that the university has brought the medical college to Portland. It’ll be nice to have you close. And the trolley is nearby and will take you right downtown to classes.” Nancy ran her hand over the large armoire. She looked at her fingers as if inspecting for dust. Appearing satisfied, she turned back to Faith. “What can I do to help?”

“Nothing. I don’t have all that much to unpack except for books. Father has always kept track of the number of book crates. He swears they double each time I move.” Faith went to the corner where those crates had been stacked. “And, frankly, he might be right. But I need all of them. There’s so much to learn.” She frowned. “I don’t think I have a pry bar. If you have one, I’ll be able to get these open and the books put away. By the way, the shelves you provided are perfect.” Faith glanced across the room at the two large mahogany bookcases against the wall.

“David, the young man who delivered your things, arranged for his father to make them. The man is positively a genius with woodworking. He’s made several other pieces for the house. As for a pry bar, I’ll ask David if he has one. He’s out tending our horse at the moment.”

“That’s fine.” Faith went back to the trunk and began pulling out stacks of folded clothes.

At thirty years of age, Faith was determined to be happy in life, and as long as she was practicing as a doctor, she was. She had loved helping her aunt and mother whenever they were called upon to deliver a baby, but most of all she loved going with her aunt Grace to tend the sick. Faith found it fascinating to mix various herbs and procure a remedy for whatever ailed their patient. Nancy’s mother, Grace Armistead, had an uncanny knack for healing. It was a gift that her mother and grandmother also had, and now Grace proclaimed that gift had passed to Faith.

“I find it so impressive that you even want to attend college,” Nancy said. “I was glad to be done with school, and much to my mother’s regret, I have no interest in the healing arts.”

“I was glad to be out of school too, but in this day and age, a degree and certificate from a college means a great deal to people. At least some people. Honestly, I know far more than some of the younger students graduating with their certificates—and that’s not just me bragging. I’ve been helping your mother since I was fifteen. When she called on patients, I always tried to tag along. She trained me, and I’m quite proficient, if I do say so myself.” Faith laughed. “Although my professors say it too. They’re always surprised when I come up with a diagnosis before testing, or a cure or treatment that they’re unfamiliar with. They sometimes debate me on the usefulness of said treatment, but it usually proves right. And if for any reason it doesn’t, I’m not too prideful to change my methods.”

“If Mother taught it to you, I’ve no doubt it proves right. She has a gift, just as you said.”

Faith pulled another stack of gowns from her trunk and placed them on the bed. “I’ll need to press these.”

“There’s a laundry room just off the kitchen by the pantry. You’ll find everything you need there. Or, if you want me to tend to them, I charge three cents a dress.” Nancy grinned. “After all, I can’t play favorites.”

“Thank you, but I can manage. You’ve been so generous and kind. I feel at home already.” Faith returned to the trunk and took out a stack of white pinafore aprons. “This is my self-designed uniform. I wear the dark dress and white apron, and I have a nicely tailored jacket to go over it all. I look very professional.” She grinned at Nancy and placed the aprons beside the dresses. “Well, that’s one trunk down and two to go. Plus the books. I should have plenty to keep me busy.”