Sometime in the 1880s
Geoffrey Reising trudged down the sidewalk through the biting wind that was whipping at his clothes. Ever since Leah refused to marry him, his life had taken a marked downward turn. "It's all her fault!" he shouted to the wind, "If she'd had any sense at all, she'd have married me instead of that rich boy!" he waved his latest manuscript (the third one the publisher had rejected,) in the air. "If it wasn't for Leah Winslow I would still be able to write! She was my inspiration!" It was true that he had met several girls since leaving Hardingville that were almost as beautiful as Leah, but for some reason none of them had even remotely piqued Geoffrey 's interest. He had decided that if he couldn't have Leah, he wouldn't get married at all. A foghorn's long, mournful whistle sounded in the distance, and a fog had rolled in from the water. Geoffrey realized that he had walked all the way to the wharf. In a flash, he decided what he would do. He would end it all here and now. With a frenzied cry, Geoffrey raced to the edge of the pier and launched himself from the edge. On impact everything went black.
"Hoist the jib! Ho! Hurry it up! What're ya doin, ya think we've got all day?" Geoffrey woke to the sound of men yelling to one another. His head throbbed fiercely. What had happened? The only thing that was apparent was that he hadn't killed himself.
"Hey! Could somebody help me? I found this here paper a'blowin about the deck, but I can't quite seem to cipher it."
"Ah, stop foolin ya bloke, we all know ya can't so much as read your own name. Here now, you've even got it upside down. Well, what is this? We seem to be missing the first of it. Just toss it overboard."
"No, wait, here's another one, and another, and, what is this, did a newspaper office explode on deck?"
"Ho, ya lousy sailor, get up!" Geoffrey felt a sharp kick to the seat of his trousers. He moaned. An instant later, he was hoisted up by the collar, his feet suspended in midair. His eyes widened at the big man (at least twice Geoffrey's size) who was holding him. "Wait a minute; you ain't one of our sailors." He promptly dropped Geoffrey to his feet, "C'mon, we're goin to see the captain." He marched Geoffrey down the deck to the wheelhouse. "Captain, this man has stowed away with us." He announced crisply. Geoffrey began to protest, and received a kick in the shins. "I caught him sleeping in the ropes. You want we should shoot him?" Geoffrey felt the color drain from his face.
The captain shook his head, "No, let's not shoot him. I'd like to talk to him for a minute. Thank you, Swenson, you're dismissed." The big man left, and the Captain turned to Geoffrey. "Now, would you like to tell me why you decided to stow away on my ship?"He gave Geoffrey a gruff look.
"Well, sir, I didn't actually mean to stow on your ship," Geoffrey stuttered.
"I suppose you were going to stow away on the on next to ours and got confused."
Geoffrey shook his head, "No, sir, I didn't plan to be on a ship at all. You see," he paused for a moment, and realized just how ludicrous the truth sounded, "You see, I was trying to kill myself, I wanted to jump into the sea and drown, only it appears that in the fog I didn't see your ship, and I knocked myself out when I hit the deck."
The captain shook his head, "And you expect me to believe that?"
Geoffrey hung his head, "No, I don't, but it's the truth nonetheless."
Leah Fenton sat on the sofa, reading a letter from her cousin, Mary Taylor. "Mary and Clyde named their daughter Camilla." She commented to her husband, Will, who was lying on the parlor floor, playing with their son, Timothy.
"That doesn't surprise me." Will replied, stretching to reach a ball that had rolled away. Camilla had been Mary's mother's name.
The maid, Mrs. Caphson walked into the room, "Mrs. Fenton, there is a man in the hall whishing to see you."
"Why didn't you bring him in?" Leah inquired.
"Well, he appears to be a sailor of some sort," the woman replied, "And I wasn't sure…"
Will and Leah exchanged nervous glances. He sat up and picked up Timothy, handing the baby to Leah, "I'll go speak with him." He said.
"I suggested that, sir," the woman replied, "But he was most insistent that he speak to Mrs. Leah. Again, the couple exchanged worried looks.
"Do you think we should see what he wants?" Leah asked her husband.
Will nodded, "Yes, I believe so." He turned to the maid, "Show him in, please."
A moment later a man walked into the parlor. Mrs. Caphson had made a good estimate. The man definitely appeared to have connections with the waterfront. Will stood protectively between Leah and Timothy and the stranger. The man smiled a little.
"Hello, Will, Leah." He nodded to each of them.
"May we help you?" Will asked, looking bewildered.
"You don't recognize me?" the man asked. Will shook his head. "I'm Geoffrey Reising. Will stiffened, and Leah gasped. "It's not what you think," He said to Will, "I've come to apologize. May I sit down?" Will nodded toward a chair on the far side of the room.
"…I began working on the ship to earn my keep until we got to an American port. During that time I learned that the Captain was a Christian. He began to witness to me, and in time I told him the whole story of my life. After I was saved I knew that I had to come here and apologize to you, Leah. I am very sorry. I treated you very wrongly. Can you ever forgive me?"
Leah smiled, "I already have Geoffrey."
Geoffrey gave her a tense smile, "And you, Will? Can you forgive the way I treated Leah?"
"Yes, Geoffrey," Will said, "Like Leah said, I already have."