The Rifleman
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The Next Step…
Chapter 20 - Permission
Written by Deanne Bertram

It was the day before Christmas when the Lane’s accompanied Mark, as he rode fence. They marveled at the land the McCain’s called home. Told Mark how much it meant to them that Hope had found an extended family in North Fork. As they were stopped to water their horses, Mark took the opportunity.

“Major Lane, I know this might seem mighty sudden and I’ve nothing but respect for Hope, but…” he paused. “Sir, I think you know how I feel towards your daughter and I thank you for yours and Ethan’s blessings when I asked you for permission to court her. But…” Mark stood as tall as he could in front of the Major and looked him in the eye. “Sir, I really do love Hope and I… I know were young… Sir, I’d like to ask for your permission to… Sir, I’d like to ask Hope to be my wife, if you’ll allow me.”

“What does your father have to say about this? Have you talked with him?” Seth asked.

“Sir, I’ve talked with my Pa, and I promised him I’d wait until we were at least eighteen, but I also promised Hope that her education would come first. Mr. Griswald has stated that she will graduate this Spring…” Mark’s heart was racing as he waited for an answer.

Ethan interrupted. “Mark, we know Hope feels towards you the same was you do towards her. The way she writes of you in her letters.”

“Mark, if you really do lover her?” Seth stated.

“Yes sir, I really do!”

“You have my permission and our blessings” Seth stated. “Are you going to propose tonight?”

“Oh no sir. Not tonight. Today’s my parents first wedding anniversary, tonight’s about them. I think I’ll ask her New Year’s Eve. This way we’ll have a wonderful way to start the new year.”

The three mounted their horses and continued to ride fence. Hope was helping Milly put the finishing touches on their evening meal when they arrived. Milly asked them to wash up out back.


Mark stood on the porch as the Lane’s rode back to town. Lucas saw the smile on his son’s face as he sat down on the step.

“You’re grinning like a Cheshire cat, son,” Lucas stated as he pulled a cigar from his pocket.

“Yes sir,” Mark answered.

Lucas smiled as he watched his son. “You planning to stand all night out here in the cold?”

“Yes sir,” Mark answered.

“Your boots on fire.”

“Yes sir,” Mark answered. Lucas laughed out loud. “My what?” Mark asked, his attention coming back to his Pa.

“Boy where were you? You sure weren’t in our conversation.”

“Sorry Pa. I talked with the Major this afternoon. I asked him for Hope’s hand in marriage. He said yes,” Mark said as he finally sat down next to his Pa.

“You didn’t ask her tonight.”

“Oh, no sir. I was thinking maybe New Year’s Eve. Tonight’s your night, you and Ma.”

“Speaking of your Ma, I think I’ll turn in. Don’t stay out here too long.”

“No sir, I’m coming in.”

The Next Step — Hope’s Second Christmas

This is a story based on the TV series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!

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