This content is part of a series.
Behind the Window (1 of 8)
Series: Painted Window
This teaching download includes Chapter One of the Painted Windows book, as well as discussion questions and biblical study and application.
By all that lives and breathes, I wish he’d stop looking at me like that. The thought drummed loudly in her mind as she worked to tie up the last bundle of clothes she had cleaned that morning. The wind chilled her slight frame, and she longed for the comfort of her own hearth, as dirty and small as it might be. At least she would be home, away from the eager and inappropriate stares she was currently receiving from the storeowner, Mr. Hobbs.
He never bothered her-at least not in any way she could point to specifically. Instead, he simply leered at her every single day, and something in his looks chilled her even more than the icy wind blowing out over the river. She cursed silently, cursing her lot in life, cursing her need to work for this particular man, cursing the need to avoid him so unsuccessfully.
Looking out over the yard, she saw other women there, some employed by the business owner and some who worked more piecemeal. She knew she couldn’t say anything, not to anyone. After all, she really had no right to even be there. She had only been given this job by the good graces of the man in charge, the man who seemed to say more to her in his looks than in what he spoke for others to hear, and of course, by the recommendations of her closest friend.
''Mary,'' she said, barely above a whisper to the woman next to her, ''I’m going home for the day. My back hurts, and I think I have enough money to last until the end of the weekend at least.''
Mary, a somewhat thicker and a little older woman, looked up briefly from her own work. ''Are you sure, Elizabeth? I can watch for you, you know, make sure I stand between you and him,'' she said as she nodded almost imperceptibly toward Mr. Hobbs. Mary had always been there for her since she moved to the village, no matter what happened in her life. Elizabeth didn’t know her parents; she had been found in the streets when she was only two years old, not far from where she worked that day. Taken to Mrs. Percy’s, Elizabeth lived as no more than a servant to the old widow until she was sixteen. That’s when Humphry found her.
''Really, I’ll be fine. Come by later and we’ll go to market together.''
Mary seemed hesitant to let Elizabeth leave. She reached out tentatively, brushing the younger girl’s soiled dress with her fingertips. The faintest of smiles played around Mary’s lips as she looked into her friend’s eyes, searching for what she knew Elizabeth would never say. ''Please mind yourself, girl. Take the back path home. You know, he’s not the most dangerous person out there.''
Elizabeth grabbed her friend’ ...
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