In due course, Lucy encountered Samuel. Samuel lived somewhere beyond the woods. He, like his father and grandfather, were born and raised in the woods. He was sometimes seen by the residents of a small town called Willingby just ten miles from the woods. Some of the Rangers had also come across him, but nobody knew him better than I or Ranger Wilson whom we frequently chatted with while we went down the river.
Samuel was reserved and apprehensive of people. He kept his distance from them much like his father and grandfather had, and even though, Samuel looked the part of a wild man with his long, bushy auburn beard, and equally untamed hair he wasn’t at all ferocious. In fact, he was quite the opposite. A rather mild mannered man. Lucy said that one day he just appeared at her door and offered her fish he had caught that morning.
Lucy told me he had begun to help her repair her leaking roof. He was known to be a superb carpenter. What surprised me was that Samuel was willing to help her out in exchange for nothing. He rarely worked for free. She tried offering him money and even her pies, and yet, he refused to accept them.
Nevertheless, Whispers from the town of Willingby began to arise. Some believed Samuel had fallen in love with the raven haired Lucy. That couldn’t be possible since he was married to Mary, and together they had eight children. He didn’t go often to Willingby and when he did he was the talk of the town. Samuel’s wife was seen more often in Willingby. It was not hard to overlook her presence. She was dressed in an old fashion long dress, with her hair neatly tucked in a bun and her gaze cast down. She was demure in manner as Samuel, though not as savaged looking as her husband. She never missed coming in on Mondays to buy butter and flour.
Not long after the rumors began to swirl that Lucy started receiving packages.
“You weren’t supposed to open those,” Ranger Wilson was chastising the Postmaster as I entered the mail house.
“I had every right,” the Postmaster disagreed. “We don’t know who she is or why she is here.”
“That’s none of your business,” Ranger Wilson reproached.
“It is if she is planning to open a brothel,” The Postmaster disagreed.
“She isn’t opening a brothel,” said Ranger Wilson.
“Then why would she come here Why have silk bed sheets delivered? Makes no sense why anyone as pretty and as young as she is living in that old cabin.”
“It’s her own business,” snapped Ranger Wilson.
I’ve never seen Wilson as upset as he was. He later recounted to me that he came across Lucy who was crying because her packages had been opened. Lucy had quickly become a social outcast soon after, but she still stayed to the Postmasters dissatisfaction.