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Everything She Didn't Say

Jane Kirkpatrick

  © 2018 by Jane Kirkpatrick

  Published by Revell

  a division of Baker Publishing Group

  PO Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287

  Ebook edition created 2018

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopy, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

  Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

  ISBN 978-1-4934-1517-5

  Scripture used in this book, whether quoted or paraphrased by the characters, is taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

  This book is a work of historical fiction based closely on real people and events. Details that cannot be historically verified are purely products of the author’s imagination.

  Published in association with Joyce Hart of the Hartline Literary Agency, LLC.

  Praise for All She Left Behind

  “Once again, Jane Kirkpatrick creates a bold and inspiring woman out of the dust of history. All She Left Behind is a compelling story of Jennie Parrish, who triumphs over loss and tragedy to fulfill her dream of becoming a healer of both bodies and souls. With the help of her God and her husband, Jennie breaks the bonds that keep women from practicing medicine in nineteenth-century Oregon. Jennie’s triumph, in the skilled hands of one of the West’s most beloved writers, leaves its mark on your heart.”

  Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author

  “Strong characters, exceptional settings, and a tender romance make this a story most readers will appreciate.”

  Library Journal

  “Kirkpatrick is an unwavering pillar in historical fiction, showcasing the power of her meticulously researched and richly rendered details.”


  “The storyline is rich in historical details that enhance the overall plot without overtaking it. Kirkpatrick does her research on each of her books, and it shows.”

  RT Book Reviews

  Praise for This Road We Traveled

  “Dramatic and suspenseful, This Road We Traveled is an unforgettable story of hardship, survival, and the bonds of family, based on true events. Tabby’s indomitable spirit proves that women, as well as men, helped to tame the West.”

  Suzanne Woods Fisher, bestselling author of Anna’s Crossing

  “Kirkpatrick’s vivid, rich prose will keep readers in awe and on the edges of their seats.”

  Publishers Weekly, starred review

  “Richly researched and remarkably detailed, Kirkpatrick’s novel embodies a true pioneering spirit in its dramatization of gumption, poetry, and loss.”

  Booklist, starred review

  Dedicated to Jerry

  Thanks for walking the trail beside me



  Title Page

  Copyright Page



  Where the Strahorns Traveled 1877–192


  Character List

  1. What’s in a Name?

  2. The Alchemy of Marriage

  3. Pioneering without Protest

  4. Obstinate or Resilient

  5. On the Road at Last

  6. The Abyss

  7. At the Table

  8. Mates

  9. Paradise Road

  10. The Elasticity of Love

  11. Baby Steps Forward

  12. The Chivalrous West

  13. What Fools We Mortals Be

  14. Backtrack to Bonanza

  15. Home, Sweet Home

  16. A Stray

  17. Voices

  18. Singing in the Snow

  19. Stepping In

  20. A Remarkable Journey

  21. Tales to Tell

  22. A Dog beneath the Maple Tree

  23. Buckets from the Boise

  24. Mining Emotions

  25. Hallelujah

  26. Offerings

  27. Desire

  28. The Way Be Clear

  29. Lingering on the Dark Side

  30. Bonds

  31. Spokane Splash

  32. Rent by the West

  33. The Promise of a Rainbow

  34. Surprises

  35. Dedicated to Change

  36. What She Didn’t Say


  Author’s Notes and Acknowledgments

  Reader’s Guide

  Author Interview

  About the Author

  Also by Jane Kirkpatrick

  Back Ads

  Back Cover

  I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,

  Or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,

  But because it never forgot what it could do.

  Naomi Shihab Ney from Famous

  Tell all the truth but tell it slant. . . .

  The truth must dazzle gradually. Or every man be blind.

  Emily Dickinson

  Character List

  Carrie Adell Green Strahorn writer, wife of Robert

  Robert E. Strahorn writer, railroad investor, husband of Carrie

  Mary Green Waters Carrie’s older sister and journalist

  Christina Waters Carrie’s niece, daughter of Mary

  Hattie Green Lacy Carrie’s younger sister, physician

  Jay Gould Union Pacific Railroad president

  H.R. Harriman Union Pacific Railroad president

  James J. Hill Great Northern Railroad president/owner

  Pace Caldwell friend of Carrie; wife of Senator Caldwell, business partner with Robert

  William Judson Boone first pastor of Caldwell Presbyterian; president of the College of Idaho in Caldwell

  Presbyterian women of Caldwell and Carrie’s friends

  Elizabeth Meacham widow, treasurer of the Presbyterian Society

  Delia Gwinn croissant maker

  Marvel Gibson widow, secretary of the Presbyterian Society

  *Hester Adeline Brown member of the Presbyterian Society

  Carrie Gwinn Blatchley treasurer of the Presbyterian Society

  Annie Bloom wife of pastor William Judson Boone

  Beatrice Little member of the Presbyterian Society

  *Kate & Kambree Bunting twins

  Elizabeth Larrabee Fairhaven friend, wife of founder

  *fully imagined character


  What’s in a Name?

  Life if anything must be an adventure, one we make ourselves from whatever comes our way. Tomorrow I begin my greatest adventure. My Robert is whisking me away to the wilds of the West as his bride. I will pick up my fiancé at the train station; we’ll marry and then we leave for Cheyenne on the Union Pacific. My thoughts are on the newness, not what I’ll leave behind in Marengo, Illinois. There’ll be new twists and turns like the Mississippi River that meanders. Surely there’ll be waysides and green oxbows where I can adjust my bustle and catch my breath following this worldly man whose book has been published to rave reviews. I shall make light of trouble should there be any. That shall be my motto, to remain in the happy lane of life which is where I am today, September 18, 1877.

  Carrie Adell Green

  I have a stack of foolscap papers tied in lavender ribbons written and preserved from my elementary school years when I discovered the power of words. I began a new notebook for my life as Mrs. Robert Strahorn. I hold it now. I’ll write a memoir if my life is adventurous enough and if I’m strong enough to tell the truth to myself, and others, without whining over the har
d times nor becoming overbearing at those ace-high moments. These journal entries will be the ore I mine for memoir.

  Scared, that’s what I was, though I don’t think I’ll mention that in my memoir.

  I’ll make light of the concerns my parents had about sending me off to the unknown wilds of Cheyenne as a new bride. I know they hoped I’d marry someone from the university, but I didn’t. And after the years went by, my sister Mary married and I was still “at home,” as the census recorder noted, so perhaps they welcomed this unknown entity—a westerner—and trusted my judgment. I know he endeared himself to them when he left out the word “obey” in the wedding vows. I thought that quaint. I didn’t realize then how obedience can have a certain comfort to it, a certainty in an otherwise uncertain world. That is, if both confess obedience.

  I was twenty-three years old and Robert was twenty-five. We had a minor crisis with the printer misspelling Robert’s last name on the invitations, but I was more concerned with my father’s melancholy as he pondered our nuptials.

  “I hope he can support my little girl. Writers don’t make much money, do they?”

  I had no idea.

  Before I knew it, I stood in the First Presbyterian Church (Marengo, Illinois) with my sisters fluffing my hair and me trying to make light of the worries in their eyes. Mary, my older sister, tall and slender, wore the most concern. She’d been married three years, was now a mother herself. “I love my Willie,” she said, “but marriage takes more than love.”

  “You’re the wise sister,” I told her. And to Hattie I said, “And you’re the most beautiful sister and that leaves me with being . . . the most adventurous sister. I’m off to the wilderness. Everything’s going to be fine.”

  “But he calls you ‘Dell,’ as though the name our parents chose for you isn’t good enough.” Mary stood before me. We shared strong chins, high foreheads, blue eyes, and hair the color of chestnuts, though mine frizzed like spewed baby bubbles, tiny and soft at my temples in the September heat. “You’re Carrie and will always be Carrie to us.” She reached for the ivory combs, pushed them into my hair. She straightened the sleeves of my satin dress, the scent of lavender left over from the dressmaker’s hands bringing comfort. “Did the two of you discuss him calling you Dell?”

  “I don’t really mind.” His first fiancée, my friend Carrie, and I had shared given names. She had died. I missed her.

  Hattie held Christina, our one-year-old niece, in her arms. I loved that child. Nieces and nephews, they can be such a comfort. “It’s diminishing, calling you Dell.”

  “No. I . . . it’s just that Carrie Lucy has passed and I don’t think he likes being reminded of her death by using any part of her name for me.”

  “Do you love him?” The wiser older sister asked.

  “I do. I really do.” I sank onto the wide arm of the horsehair-stuffed couch. I didn’t want to wrinkle the satin dress that fit around my curves nor bust the bustle, either. I didn’t remind them that I was twenty-three years old, college-educated, and there weren’t a lot of men willing to take on an oldster like me. Robert was. He was charming, and yes, I did indeed love him and his western garb of cowboy boots, his closely tailored sack-suit with wing-tip collar and tie. He didn’t don the Stetson hats we’d seen on Texans coming up the Mississippi but instead wore the stylish Homburg made of black wool.

  “I saw him care for her, grieve when she died. I watched his tenderness as he held her hands in his, and the attentiveness he extended to Carrie’s family and to me while he dealt with his own grief.”

  Hattie smoothed my dress. I could tell she held back a thought. She was nineteen and not yet with a steady beau. She was the beautiful sister with eyebrows as though painted perfectly on, and quick-witted.

  “My accommodation to his simple request to not have to call me Carrie is a little thing I can do to make him happy.” I reached for the rouge and dabbed my lips. “Marriage is made up of little sacrifices like that, isn’t that so, Mary?” She didn’t reply.

  His request to call me Dell had come after he arrived on the Union Pacific and told me his grand news about his book—and new job offer. We were in the carriage heading to my parents’ home.

  “Omaha? I thought we’d be heading to Cheyenne.” I’d been looking forward to the more exotic life of Cheyenne, putting down roots as deep as the sage. “Carrie would have loved Omaha.”

  That was dull of me, bringing up her memory.

  Robert removed his hat, ran his hands through his thick dark hair. He closed his eyes as he leaned his head against the backrest. I sat across from him. He was tall and slender and quite handsome, with thick eyebrows and sideburns framing a jaw cut from sharp scissors. “Yes, Carrie would have loved Omaha.” He paused. “About that.”

  “We’ll be fine there. I’ll adjust my imagination.”

  “No, about what Carrie would have liked. Or more, Carrie’s name.” He cleared his throat.

  “She was my best friend, Robert.”

  He leaned in, patted my hand, held my fingers, forearms on his knees. “What I wonder is, would you mind if I called you Dell instead of Carrie, from your middle name?”

  I must have flinched, as he quickly added, “It makes you unique to me, having a name that doesn’t bring up loss.”


  “I know it’s a great deal to ask of you. And I wouldn’t want you to give up your name legally, just what I might call you. I know I’m marrying Carrie Adell Green and looking forward to it, absolutely.” His smile could melt cheese. “But when I say your name in the sweetness of an hour—or when I tell stories of our adventures, and there will be those—well, I’d love to have no startling memories rise up with the sound of ‘Carrie’ in my ears. Does that make sense to you?”

  I wanted to tell him to separate the two of us some other way. I wanted to say, “Change how you feel,” because people can do that, change how we feel. We do it all the time, from one anxious moment anticipating the arrival of one’s fiancé to worrying that something has gone wrong on the tracks to flashing to a beloved memory of sadness, all within seconds. He could have changed how he heard my name, given himself some time to associate me with it and not his first fiancée.

  “Men are named Del, aren’t they?”

  “Yes, but it’s spelled differently.”

  I didn’t tell him that didn’t matter to the ear. “It’ll take a bit of getting used to.”

  “One of the things I love about you, Dell, is that you are open to trying new things. We’re partners in that, or ‘pardners’ as the cowboys say. We’re on a track that will take us to amazing places with remarkable people, the most important being you and me, working together.”

  “In Omaha.”

  “In Omaha, where everyone will come to know you as Dell Strahorn.”

  Carrie Adell Green had stepped off the caboose.

  He at least could have called me Adell, but I suppose the old printer in him knew that the A took extra space in a line and good writers are all about saving space.

  “I’ll call you Pard,” I offered.

  “Good, that’s good. We are partners in all things. I like that.”

  So Dell and Pard got married, and arrived in Omaha. I adapted. It isn’t written in the marriage vows that one must adapt, but it ought to be. Somehow I’ll find a way to explore that in my memoir—if I write one—remembering the happy lane from my journal, but sprinkled with a little Mark Twain making fun of things too serious to explore. It’s not a lie to not tell all the truth.

  From Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, vol. 1, by Carrie Adell Strahorn (page 8)

  “I say, mother, I made our new son promise to put in a hundred bushels of potatoes every fall, but if he stays in Wyoming I think he will have to rustle some when its credits now are only wind and Indians.” “Well, pa, don’t worry,” mother replied, “It does seem a long ways to be from home if things don’t go right, but so long as daughter can sing as she does now she will never go hungry
for they do say there are churches in Cheyenne just the same as here. . . . You know she is a pretty good judge of human nature and maybe he’ll surprise us all someday by living up to her ideal. He don’t seem to know much about women, but he does seem dreadfully fond of our girl. It was really funny last night to hear him tell Rev. Hutchinson, the minister, that the bride-to-be wanted the word ‘obey’ left out of the ceremony because there is Woman’s Suffrage in Wyoming, and suggest, ‘If you don’t want to leave it out entirely, just put it in my part, for I’ve been running wild so long I just want to be obliged to obey somebody.’”


  The Alchemy of Marriage

  Brides are the alchemists of emotion, enduring new challenges and telling ourselves it’s part of the arsenal of elixirs we’ll mix throughout a lifetime. A pinch of hopefulness, a dash of delight, baked inside a dish of dependence on one’s more western and successful husband. I’ve been dependent on my father for years and now I make sunshine out of shadows cast by my new husband’s choices. It hasn’t been easy, taking in Omaha. Especially when, as I settled in, Robert changed the formula I’d been mixing as a new bride. I’d married a writer, but he was soon to be a railroad man as well. And that means change. Lots of it. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  October 5, 1877

  Robert’s book garnered rave reviews. I’d have thought a title like The Handbook of Wyoming and Guide to the Black Hills and Big Horn Regions for Citizen, Emigrant and Tourist would have set some reviewers off, but it didn’t. The book unveiled Robert’s capacity for seeing what wasn’t always there, the “passionate sense of the potential,” as Kierkegaard wrote. As we rode the train toward Omaha, Robert pointed out valleys he thought could be good sites for dams or rivers, with wide swaths beside them that could be an easy route for a railroad track. The geology of a place spoke to him the way musical notes speak to me, with unique and fresh visions that others might not always see. Wyoming Handbook was published at the perfect time, adding fuel to the fires burning in the East about the possibilities of the West.