“Yes, Betsy, what is it?”
“Um…the teacher sent a note home today. Grandmama read it and said I should show it to you.” She held out an envelope. “I said something I shouldn’t have, and teacher got mad.” Betsy’s voice said she knew how wrong she had been, and was worried about how he would take it.
“Bring it here, then, and let me look.” He took the envelope, removed the note, and read it. Then he looked at her.
“Oh, Betsy, what have I told you about repeating what I teach you?”
“You said not to. But she said it was proven that the world was made six thousand years ago! And you have shown me things at the museum that are lots older than that!”
“Yes, and I have told you many times – many Christian people will not accept that. It is no use arguing with them. We have seen the proof, and we believe science is right. They don’t, even if they’ve seen the proofs. I guess you will miss the trip this time.”
Her eyes filled with tears, but she whispered, “All right, Uncle Peesee. I won’t ever do it again. But they make me so mad! How can someone as smart as teacher be so dumb?”
“It’s called blind faith, Betsy. They believe in what their experts tell them so strongly, that nothing sways them. Best to leave them to it, there is much less trouble that way. Some day they will find they have to accept what science is telling them. Until then, we keep out of it. Remember that, all right?”
The little girl nodded, “I will, Uncle Peesee. And I’m really sorry.”
“All right, Betsy. Off you go now and help your Grandmama.”
He watched as she went slowly away, head hanging. He hated to see her unhappy, but he really needed to be sure she remembered. Otherwise, she could end up in real trouble. As he turned back to his desk, he remembered the first time he saw her, a shaken, numb five year old clinging to Mrs. Kennedy’s hand. Both of her parents had been killed in an auto accident, and Mrs. Kennedy was the only family she had left. Of course, he welcomed her into his home, though he did worry about the changes it would bring.
In the end, all the changes had been good. Within a few weeks Betsy was a lively, intelligent, inquisitive little person, bringing life to the old place. He had grown to love her, and had made out his will so that when he died, she and Mrs. Kennedy would have the house, and most of his wealth. With the time trips he made, it was possible that he wouldn’t make it back. If, however, he outlived Mrs. Kennedy, still Betsy would inherit.
Sighing, he put those thoughts aside and looked again at the disorderly pile of books and files on his desk. For a long time now he had been trying to find someplace, or something, interesting enough to time travel to. He and Digger had gone back in time to some of the places the archaeologists had found. It was interesting, but just not enough.
He had gone with G.P to Paris where for some time they followed Louise Pasteur’s experiments and discoveries. They saw the development of germ theory, the immunization of cattle against anthrax and the development, by his colleague Emile Roux of the Rabies vaccine. They spent several years back in that time, but arrived back in London only a week after leaving. Interesting as all of that was, it didn’t satisfy P.C. He wanted something more exciting, possibly more world shaking. He’d even taken time to go to the Museum to look at the Piltdown man, and come away thoroughly let down. I just didn’t feel real.
‘Perhaps I will have to take some chances on running into battles,’ he mused. ‘I could go back to the fifth century, and see if I can find a warrior named Arthur. Now that would be exciting!’ he chuckled, but still sat running the idea through his mind. It wouldn’t be too hard to pick a year for a starting point, or a general area. And there is a lot of information on the clothing, weapons and so on. ‘At least, I do know how to use a sword – even a broadsword.’ He and a bunch of university friends had set out to learn all that a knight of the round table needed, just for a lark. ‘Hmmm….perhaps. I’m going to do some in depth research. Maybe I will be ready by next month. I’ll contact Jimbo Arthur would be right up his alley!’
“Uncle Peesee,” Betsy was at the door again.
“Grandmama says dinner is ready. Will you come?”
He smiled, pushed away from his cluttered desk, and rose. “Certainly, Betsy,” he said as he walked to the door. “That is the best news I’ve heard for hours!” Betsy giggled, and took his hand as they walked away.