… awe filled Ephraim at the power of wind, the power of the Lord. The heaviest storm season in these northern waters had begun, and the swells and heaving of their ship on the vastness of the ocean increased. When the gusts hit, down they went to their hell hole still reeking of urine, feces, vomit, rot. Ephraim focused on hope: how long, how long to America, the promised land of opportunity?
The worst of all storms follows in The Perilous Journey by Sea (Chapter 4) in the leaky ship Howard on a voyage of nine weeks that should have taken three. ‘Repent your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ!’ threatens a shipboard pastor…
… rough roads, railway cinders, bad food, suspicious soldiers, passports, bribes on demand. The word emigrating had become not full of excitement and promise but empty and lonely. Ephraim yearned for a hot bath, clean white sheets, down-filled coverlets and family love. Jacob knocked again. Yes, a fine dinner of china with thin glassware and silver cutlery and candlelight would be paradise. The door opened. A tall, red-faced man in waistcoat and dark fitted jacket said, ‘Tradesmen to the lower entrance,’ and made to shut the door.
‘Who are you?’ exclaimed Uncle Jacob. ‘It is I, Jacob Finkelstein, and Ephraim, your mistress’s brother.’
In Chapter 3, The Perilous Journey by Land, Ephraim and funny, wise old Uncle Jacob have a brief respite, but a far more perilous journey is suddenly to begin…
… but Rachel’s demeanor continued as a kind of obedience that came to offend Ephraim.
The first skirmish was on their wedding night in August 1846. After the dancing and singing, drinking and eating, teasing and laughter, when at last they were shut in their bedroom alone, she was miserable.
‘Don’t look at me! Don’t look!’ she cried out. Ephraim, startled, turned from the door. She buried her face in her hands. ‘I said don’t look!’
So begins Chapter 2, The Cousin-Bride. Do have a read of Chapter 1 here on Amazon Look-Inside… and do join the fun of a whole gallery of photos of The Extraordinary Dr Epstein launch party under the Author page.