A/N: Hey hey hey, everyone! I hope you like my fic.: ). To all those Ann Rinaldi fans out there (I am one) who have read "Mine Eyes Have Seen," IT'S JUST SUCH A GOOD BOOK, ISN'T IT! He really didn't deserve to die AT ALL! None of them did, really. Anyway, if you haven't read "Mine Eyes Have Seen" and were really confused by what I just said, JUST READ THE FIC!!! THANK YOU! Please read and review. PLEASE! Yup.I'm strange.Oh yeah, and the song is The Golden Vanity. It's some sea shanty from England, I'm not sure who wrote it. We had to sing it in sixth grade (last year), hehehe.drove my friends crazy.


Chapter One: Jumping On the Band Wagon

These shortcakes aren't nearly as good as Annie makes them. Not that I'd ever tell my ma that, of course. She's already half heart-broken that Will and I are going to Maryland, but I'd rather go and die than lay here in North Elba while my brothers go off on their little "outing," as Mum calls it. It's all a crying shame, really. I stand, kiss the top of Mum's head and pick up my fiddle. It's somewhat of a tradition for me to eat real fast and then play the violin until nearly midnight. "What shall we have, folks?" They all laugh at my feeble attempt at a Kansas accent. Ethan calls out, "That one about the ship, and the cabin boy who gets hypothermia!" He's the family scientist, and knows all these fancy terms for normal things like freezing to death. I shrug, lift the instrument to my shoulder, and begin. "Oh there was a lofty ship, sailing on the sea."
It's dead depressing; my family likes this song so much that they sing it with me. ".And the name of that shipping was the Golden Vanity,
and she feared she would be taken by a Spanish enemy."
God, Will's a terrible singer. He sounds like a toad that's stuck under a sheet of rusted iron.
".As she sailed upon the low-land, low-land low,
she sailed upon the low-land sea."
Mum and Cabot are dancing, it's sure to become one hell of a night if they keep it up.
"Then up steps the cabin boy, just the age of twelve and three,
And he says to the skipper, 'What will you give to me,
If I swim alongside of that Spanish enemy.
And I sink her in the low-land, low-land low,
I sink her in the low-land sea."
I never liked this part too much; I keep on thinking that the fifteen- year-old boy is me and the skipper is batty old John Brown. Whenever I'm in a rather morbid mood I know that there's hardly any chance that we'll survive this business at the Ferry. Not a good tactical ploy, I must admit.Quit daydreaming, Dauphin Thompson, focus on the song. " 'Oh I will give you silver, I will give you gold,
And the hand of my daughter, if you will be so bold,
As to swim alongside of that Spanish enemy.
And to sink her in the low-land, low-land low,
To sink her in the low-land sea."
My violin is singing, my ma is whirling, and I'm just about ready to fall asleep for the better part of the month.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ (The next morning, at around dawn)

Will grins happily at no one in particular; he's like that sometimes. A bit maniacal, a bit loony, and most of the rest recklessly brave. We're riding in the back of old Dr. Roberts hay wagon; seeing as it's May there's no hay in it, but it's middling comfortable, all the same. I glance at Will; he's just sitting there dreamily, like he just stepped out of the clouds and doesn't know he's on Earth yet. It's about a ten-hour train ride from North Elba to the Kennedy Farm; there's a good chance he'll be conscious by then. Speaking of which, we're at the train station already. "Come on, Will, you've not got all of eternity to laze about fantasizing, get up!"
He grumbles and grouches. "Dauphin, you just want to get to the farm early because Annie's already there; I know why, I'm your brother."
I'm so scarlet that it looks like I've spent five years working in the wheat fields down at Belle and Watson's place. Why do I have to have so damned many brothers? You never seem to be able to escape from them.
Will pokes me in the ribs, attempts and fails to deliver a nasty leer, and jumps out of the wagon with our trunk clutched tight in his hands. I regain my breath and follow; it's gonna be a hell of a summer if the other men are anything like my brother.

The train's already here; luckily they only just started boarding. I feel like I could die, I'm so tired. Mum says it's an adolescent thing, but Ethan says it's just teenage denial. He should know better than Ma, but- damn, I'm rambling again. I seem to think too much, it's like the time when I-hell, I get it now. Will's poking me. "Come on, Dauphin, get on the train-." I'm not moving. "I'll put a Coney in your jacket again!" I'm still not moving.
"I'll tell Annie you've been seeing that Molly Rennings!" Gods no. "Shut up, Will," boy am I leaping into that car. It's nothing special; just some nice ash benches with corduroy backings and drinking spigots at the front and back. Will's sniggering at me; he ought to act his age more often, maybe he'd have better luck with girls, then. "So Dauphin, I don't want you behaving in a-a disorderly fashion. "Huh, Will, you should talk." He's not grinning anymore. "Dauphin, I'm serious, this isn't just some schoolyard scuffle. It's not just a few bruises here, a couple slashes there. Old Mr. Brown's dead grim about this; we all are. But you, you're the youngest, and that's not always the easiest way to go when you're planning an armed assault on the largest federal arsenal--." My brother can be awfully dumb sometimes. "Shut it, you, we're on a public train here.' He rolls his eyes derisively. "But still, you have to conduct yourself in an hon-."
I smile faintly. "I get it, Will, ok? Just.keep an eye out for yourself, not just me." I've never been so interested in the countryside before. This is a rather nice window, I have to admit. It's got some nice carvings around the edges, and the swirls are-I swear, I am the most annoying person in my life so far, except maybe that cat down the road a ways, she always makes me sneeze. This will be one long train ride, if I keep going with these aimless and incoherent psychological debates.


The gloaming sun is slowly westering across the molten sky, and-I am a complete failure. We're just pulling up to the Kennedy farm; we hitched a ride from one of those Negro depot workers. I can hear Mr. Brown saying the prayer before supper; he sounds like a flamin' foghorn with that voice of his. We can't rightly make out the words, but it sounds like a load of "mortification of the flesh" and "righteous deliverance of spirits." I always knew he was a loony, but not on this grand sort of scale. Will and I jump out of the wagon, and Oliver's wife, Martha, comes up to tow us inside. Maybe I'm being a bit unfair about the towing part; she's actually really nice.
Martha smiles and opens the farmhouse door. "We're just settin' down to supper, you'll join us, of course?"
I grin back. 'We're not insane, Martha, you know us better than that."
"Just making sure, Dauphin."
There look to be about ten people sitting there in the dining room, (A/N: Sorry if I got the figure wrong.) and nearly all of them look to be at least twenty-five years old. Save Annie, naturally, and that dog in the corner is definitely less than twenty-five. I sit next to Will for some reason (seeing as I've been sitting next to him all day), right across from Annie. She smiles a little at me; it's like a golden stream of honey just pours right into my soul when she does that. Mr. Brown's glaring at me like I'm the devil or something; I don't think he ever liked me. It may be that my "beautiful, thick golden hair that shimmers like ripened corn stalks" (my ma said that) reminds him of his daughter Amelia. I remember the day she died; it was horrible, really.

~*~*~FLASHBACK~*~*~ (Third person POV)

Annie giggles and tickles the little flaxen-haired baby on her tubby little stomach. "'Melia, 'Melia!" The baby gurgles in response and Annie laughs again. Dauphin looks down from the tree he's climbing. "Look, Annie! It's a cardinal, over there by the shed, it's a cardinal!" He points at the bright vermilion bird. The toddler shrieks in delight, and starts to chase it. Dauphin resumes his climbing, and soon is lost among the waving linden branches. Suddenly there is a piercing wail. Annie stops running and looks back at Amelia. The little baby has fallen into the tub of scalding water that stood by the washing line, and her fair skin is blistering, burning, Amelia is screaming-


I seem to have finished my potatoes; funny how things work like that. Annie catches my eye, and we slip away from the table. Her pa is too deep in conversation with her brother Owen to notice we're gone, and no one else would mind, anyway. We run, hand in hand, around back to the flower garden.

Annie smiles brightly. "It's so wonderful to see you, Dauphin, it's been so boring here without you." She kisses me, gently at first then more passionately, and I'm drowning in the fresh scent of her long brown hair, the way she tastes like wild clover and sweet rosehips. My hands are all over her-I could kiss my girl forever. "Dauphin--," she murmurs, but I cut her off by kissing her again, molding our bodies until we're like one person, delving as deep as we can into each others' spirits until I feel that if we parted, I would die.
Annie finally seizes two fistfuls of my curls and yanks my head away from hers. "Dauphin, we really need to talk." "I like what we're doing better." (A/N: MY PRECIOUS! ::sob::)
She tries to glower angrily at me, but ends up grinning like a baby with a stick of horehound candy. "Dauphin, be serious."
"I don't like serious."
"Please listen to me. I don't want you jumping on Pa's back whenever he's a bit.strange. He's always been like that, and always will. He needs you, he needs all of us, and for him to get us he thinks that he has to be all imposing, and the like. So.please just remain, well, neutral, I guess."
I nod slowly. "All right, Annie, I think I can do that. And then when this is all over, we'll go home to North Elba, and forget about all this business."
She nods, smiling widely, her face lit up like the harvest moon.
But I've been pondering something else all day, besides my growing habit of thinking too much. I'm not quite sure I want to go through with this all, just yet. And yet I'm positive that I don't have a choice anymore. "Annie," I say slowly, "I think I'll make a good soldier. Don't you think?" I don't think, and I can tell that she doesn't either.
Annie forces a grin, and looks away. "Yes, Dauphin, you'll make a right fine soldier." She hugs me tight and then turns and walks quickly back up to the cabin.

The sun is long gone behind the horizon, and I stand silently in the fragrant garden, as the night grows deep.

A/N: If you absolutely hate Dauphin's mental rambling I sympathize but disagree with you. I do not own any Ann Rinaldi characters. If I did, I would be sobbing right now ::sob:: never mind, I am anyway. But it's just so sad! Yup, I'm going senile. Please review, and please no flames unless you have a VERY good reason-no, annoying mental rambling is not a good reason. Bye.