Princess Of New York
"All living things make merry to their bent,/A flower is come for every flower that went"
The young man sat on the edge of the wooden bench, wondering for the thousandth time what on EARTH he was doing there. He wasn't a member of the family, and he doubted very much that anything would be left for him in the will. He should be back at the shop, packing up what few things were his own and preparing to leave what was the only real home he had ever known. Leave, and do..what in God's name COULD he do?! He had no money at all, no clothes, hardly anything except what he was wearing at that moment and his pencil. He sighed again and tried hard to hide the tears that were quietly building up in his eyes. This man was the closest thing to a father he had known. He had taken him in of the streets, helped him discover his talent, gave him food and a home..and now he was gone. The liquid that was forming in his eyes could no longer be stopped and they flew down his cheeks.
Next to him a strong brown hand gentily squeesed his shoulder. The man next to him looked down with sympathy. Everyone in this room was quietly sobbing, dabbing their eyes at the memory of their friend. He knew they were all hurting, but this was affecting this young man beside him more than anyone. He knew Doctor Franklin was in a way, his own father back from the grave. This talented young man was losing his own parent not once..but twice. Just as he was about to offer him a spare room at his new schoolhouse to sleep in, the lawyer at the foot of the room was clearing his throat, preparing to speak, and they both faced front again.
"And I do leave a total of 5,000 to a fine young man, a man whose talent and dedication will help him go far in life, Mr. James Hiller. My he always know that I never stopped believeing in him and that I will always be there to guide him. To my good friend and helper, Moses, without whom I would have never accomplished hardly anything, I also leave 5,000 pound to help him with his new school." James couldn't believe what he had heared, Dr. Franklin HADN'T forgotten him at all! Tears continued to pour from his eyes as he glanced toward Heaven.
"Thank you, Dr. Franklin, I promise I'll use your gift wisely. I'll never forget you or the kindness you showed me."He turned around and caught the eye of a lovely young redheaded woman seated in the next isle. Her eyes were teary too, but she managed to give him a small smile, which he returned.
As he left the lawyers office with the money folded in his pocket, he began to walk toward his horse to head for Philadelphia and pack up his belongings. "James!" he heared a familiar voice call. He turned around as his friend came running toward him. Despite the emptyness he was still feeling inside, he couldn't help but smile.
"Hi, Sarah." She was so lovely, with her bright red ponytail bouncing behind her as she ran to keep up with him, and her huge sea-green eyes that glowed in the sun, he just had to stop in his tracks. "How are you?"
She stopped, brushing tears from her eyes. "I'm alright, considering. Oh, James, I'm so sorry."
"So am I, I know how close he was to your family." Tenderly he reached out and gave her a small hug..for just a few minutes not wanting to let her go. He had missed her so much when she left for East New York with her family. In between writing his articles for the Gazette, he would write her letters detailing his adventures. He lived for her responses. " So, what are you going to do now?"
"Well, my parents and I are just going to stay around here for a while to comfort the family and stay dinner."
"Will you have time to take a walk with me, I really don't want to be alone right now."
"I understand, James. I'm not very hungry right now anyway. I would love to."
"Would you like someone else for company?" came a familiar voice. They both turned around as their friend came toward them.
"Moses!" Sarah said, hugging him.
"Hi, Sarah, hi, James."
"So, would you like some company for your walk?"
"Sure," James said. He linked arms with Sarah as Moses put his arm around him comfortingly. They walked quietly in silence for a while, no one wanting to talk about what the future held for James. Just once glance at him was enough to know his pain at losing another father figure. His future was so unclear, where was he to live now? After a few blocks, he suddenly looked up to see something that he was sure was a sign from God..the very building he had noticed for sale just a few months ago..the perfect place for a newspaper. The perfect place for HIS newspaper! A huge gasp emoted from his mouth as he saw it. He looked into the eyes of Sarah. Despite her own tears, she looked upon it and gave him an encouraging smile of her own. They didn't have to say a word to each other, they didn't have to. He only paused to give her a warm, tender hug. Moses squeesed his shoulder again.
"Go for it, James. He would want you to."
six months later.....
So far things are going pretty well. I've gotten the place all cleaned up and the printing press just came! The Rising Sun is now in business and the first edition is now out! I've enclosed a copy of the paper for you so you can be one of the first ones to see it for yourself. I'd love to see that Englishman who decieved me a long time ago and called me stupid with grandiose dreams read this!! It feels just so wonderful to have something you've dreamed of for so long finally come true! You don't know WHAT I went through to be able to print this entire paper. For the life of me I don't know HOW Dr. Franklin, may he rest in peace, was able to do it by himself all these years. I'm already tied from all of this, but I despirately wanted to get this letter to you. As I'm writing this, I'm alone, in a huge, very empty place. I miss you, Moses, and Henri so much, you can't even begin to know.
I recieved another letter from Henri in France. He's just about to go through his own revolution in France, from what I've heared. He promised to send me word about it so I can write a column in the paper every week to tell my readers what's been going on all over the world, not just New York.
Anyway, enough about me, how are you? I really do miss you terribly, Sarah. Despite the happiness I feel about realising my lifelong dream and the gratitude I feel for Dr. Franklin, may he rest in peace, this large place seems so empty and lonesome without anyone in it to talk to or to help with the printing. I hear my own footsteps echo on the hard floor, and I miss you all over again. I do hope you can write back soon, you and Henri are the best friends I've ever had, and you, Sarah, are constantly on my mind. Almost everything reminds me of you. I love to get your letters, they are the highlight of most of my busy days, so please write back soon. Every night as I pray, I not only thank Dr. Franklin for his generous gift, I thank God for you and ask that he watches over you, which I hope he does
Your Friend Forever,
Sarah sat underneath the big oak tree outside of her house, reading the letter and looking over the paper. The more she read, the more she longed to be there, writing with him. She missed James as well, just as badly as he missed her. She carefully laid the letter next to her and sighed as she stared at the clouds drifting along the sky. She wanted to write James a nice long letter..but saying what? There really was nothing important to write. Ever since her family settled in New York, the days were filled with things that she and her mother used to do in London..which, she could see now, were long days filled with absolutely nothing. She either sewed all day with her mother, or went for a gallop on the grass..but apart from that, there was nothing to do. She had been to the library so many times she must have read every book there. She had been all over the place, but there was nothing new to report, and her mother didn't want her to go to far, for fear she would get lost.
Sarah stood up and began to walk to the stables as she thought over this life that she was now living, a life with her parents she had waited for, but now she could see wasn't worth it. Her father was constantly out hunting in the woods, something her mother would never allow HER to do, it wasn't "ladylike", and her mother was content to settle in the old London life. But of COURSE she would, she never saw what Sarah saw, she never experienced what Sarah herself did, she never had the excitement Sarah herself did. After so much heart-stopping adventures, did her mother REALLY expect Sarah to just settle in the life she used to have so easily? She sighed, wondering if she should just saddle her horse yet again to ride the same old places and see the same old things. Her eyes once again traveled upward to meet the clouds. "James," she sighed as the pain of missing him came back into her heart. Maybe she COULD get started on a letter, maybe then something might happen, although she doubted it.
"SARAH! Sarah?" her mother's voice came through the air. She straightened up.
"Coming, Mother!" She quickly raced through the front door of the house and went to the front hall, where her mother was standing with Mrs. Radclffe and a tall, rather handsome young man in a smartly dressed suit. "Mrs. Radcliffe!" Sarah cried, running to hug her. "It's so nice to see you again!"
"It's nice to see you, too, as well," Mrs. Radcliffe said gentily.
"Isn't this a nice surprise, Sarah?" Her mother said happily. "And look what she's brought with her!"
"Yes," Mrs. Radciffe said, clearing her throat. "Sarah, I'd like you to meet Lord Matthew Anderson of the London Andersons, one of the most prominent familes around." He stepped forward and bowed low, al the while not being able to take his eyes off of Sarah, an act that made her feel rather uncomfortable. "I ran into him while he was traveling in Nova Scotia. And convinced him to stop off here, once I told him all about you."
"I..I.uh, don't understand this, Mother.."
"Dear, it's simple. You're nineteen now, you're not a baby anymore. It's about time you started thinking very seriously about your future, your maturity. It's about time you started being courted by young fashionable young men."
"And Lord Anderson here is as good a man as any, comes from one of the most successful and prominent London families around. He's even brought you a gift. It's so lovely, show her!"
"Yes, Madame," Lord Anderson said, looking Sarah over carefully and withdrawing a small, rectangular box from his coat. "She is every bit as beautiful as you have said she is. She has also sent me copies of your writings. You are very intelligent and talented. I know you're a remarkable person." He handed the box to Sarah. She opened it as gasped at what was in there. A locket, one of the prettiest anyone could ever see, engraved with flowers and the sun inside. A RISING SUN! Sarah quickly closed the box. "Do you like it? Let me put it on you.."
"No.." Sarah said, quickly covering her old locket with her hand. The locket James had made for her. "It's a lovely locket, but if it's all the same to you, I shall keep my old one."
"It isn't all the same to me, that old one is small and rather clunky, this one is engraved, you didn't even look at it."
"Yes, I did, and it's lovely, but I do think my old one is MUCH prettier."
"Well, I do!"
"Sarah, what is the matter with you?!" Her mother asked incredulously. "This nice young man has paid a lot for this locket. This behavior is MOST unladylike! Take that locket and say 'Thank you."
"Thank you for the locket, I appreciate your effort..but my old locket means so much more to me, I must wear my old one. I'm sorry, but I can't accept it. "
"Sarah, this is most unusual," Mrs. Radcliffe said, glancing around uncomfortably. "Usually a woman would be glad to get a gift like that from a wealthy merchant.."
"Good," Sarah said, placing the locket back into Anderson's hand, "Than they can have it. Good Afternoon," she turned and ran upstairs.
I just got your letter today, I must have read it over thirty times, and your peper is so impressive. I just know Dr. Franklin, may he rest in peace, is so proud of you. I know I'M proud of you.
DearJames, I want you to know I miss you just as much as you miss me. I read your wonderful paper and the memories came back to me once again. Remember when we reported on Patrick Henry's speech together? Remember the time when we all went with General Washington across the Delaware River? Remember where we were when the war had finally ended? Every time I look at te Rising Sun those memories come right back to me.I'd give anything to go back and relive them with you all over again.
I too got a letter from Henri. He really is growing up fast, isn't he? But he still can make me laugh so much, just as you can make me smile.
I wish I could write more right now, but there has not been anything even remotely interesting going on here. Oh, I could tell you about having to fix my father's outfit after he again messed it up while hunting, or about my thousanth gallop among the common, but I do not think you would want to hear about that.
I hope you can write back real soon, James, for your letters are the highlight of my life as well. I miss you so much.
Your loyal friend,
The sound of heavy footsteps made Sarah sigh as she folded her letter. She looked up as the door opened and her mother came into the room. She didn't look happy, but she didn't look mad either..she just looked tired. "Well," she began. "What an afternoon. It took me an hour to apologise to Mrs. Radcliffe and Lord Anderson. Young lady, I am now waiting for an explanation.."
Sarah quietly stood up, but she found she couldn't speak.
"Sarah, that was very unladylike and rather rude on your part. I'd like to think I did raise you better than this."
"You did not have to like the locket, but for Heaven's sake he DID spend money on it. You should have taken it anyway."
"It, just didn't feel right, Mother."
"Why? Why didn't it feel right, Dear?"
"Mother..this locket I'm now wearing, it means so much to me. Much more than any expensive thing anyone could have ever given to me."
"How is it, Dear?" She saw her daughter hesitating, so she walked over to her and put her arm around her tenderly. "Sarah, please tell me."
"I don't know if you'd fully understand, Mother."
"Dear, haven't I always understood? Haven't you always come to me with your problems? Remember when you were five years old and you were just starting to ride a horse and you ran inside our home with a bloody knee? Didn't I bathe the knee and bandage it while singing you songs the entire time? Remember when you were ten and you were depressed when your father went of to war? Who took you in her arms and told you stories? I was such a big part of your life, dear, can't I please be again?"
"Mother, you always are, but I'm just not sure about this!"
"Dear, just tell me and then I'll tell you if I understand."
"Mother..remember my dear friend James.."
"Of course I know James!"
"Mother, when I lost Father's locket, I told James how much it meant to me. He took his mother's ring, which was the only thing he had left of his parents, and he made me this locket. Remember, I told you James is an orphan, and that ring was the only thing he had left of any of his parents. He gave it up..for me. I mean, he gave up the only rememberance of his parents, just to make me feel better. I've never forgotten that act of kindness, even when we fought. Now that we're both Patriots, we don't fight as much, and that act of kindness grew even stronger every time I looked at this locket. He's my best friend, Mother. His letters have always brought me so much joy..and now look, he's finally realising his dream. This means so much to him Mother..and this means so much to me as well. Oh, Mother, this locket means more to me than all the gold in the entire world."
Her mother walked over to Sarah and gentily touched the locket around her nack. "I..I had no idea that locket meant so much to you." She gentily hugged her daughter. "Dear, please tell me the next time. I just want to be a part of your life."
In a part of New York farther away, James was sitting at his printing press stretching his painful fingers. For the life of him he didn't know HOW Dr. Franklin was able to it all this time. It was so much work, going out and trying to find stories himself instead of having them assigned to him, then coming home and operating the printing press by himself, and setting the type, it could take him up to almost a week just to get one whole paper done! But he always managed to save the very first copy to send to Sarah. Sarah. His mind began to wander again as it had been doing lately. At the end of every single night he had to make sure that he wrote a letter to Sarah. He stopped the press in order to give his fingers a much-needed rest and moved over to sit at the writing table. He had been thinking a lot about Sarah ever since she had moved to a farther New York town with her family. He had really missed her, he lived to get her letters in the mail. Was it him, or was she writing him every night as well? He had a feeling she was. He always did feel like they had a special connection to one another. Even when they had first met and she was a Tory, and his chief competitor, he still considered her one of his very best friends. In a way their competiton with one another added spice to their friendship. They kept each other on their toes. Now that she was Patriot, they were closer than ever. He felt like a part of him was missing now that she was no longer with him, a part he never knew he had. He some times could just know what she was doing, even if she was in another room or very far away. He remembered she told him once that she could feel that very same thing. It was almost scary how that could happen.
With a sigh, he stood up and walked back to the printing press, time to head back to work. His paper was a big success and the people wanted more, which gave him a feeling of pride and joy inside of him. Nothing, but nothing could feel as good as being able to do something you've always dreamed of doing all your life! He finally finished the printing and took out the latest copy of the paper. The first copy, Sarah's copy. Carefully he folded it down and set it on the writing desk, taking out a piece of paper to write another letter to Sarah. He sighed, wishing she was right there next to him to see it with her own eyes. This place was huge, but so empty. He could hear his own breathing and a pang of lonliness swept over him again. He had not been this much alone in a long, long time, and he wasn't used to it. He never knew how it could feel to walk around a huge building filled with shadows and pass by many rooms knowing there were no faces right behind them. No one to talk to, no one to confide in, no one to be there for, no one to have whispere4d conversations about many things by the windows long after they were supposed to be in bed. He missed Henri and Moses despirately as well, but there was something about Sarah that made him miss her most of all.
I miss you, Sarah..
I miss you, James...
Sarah sat upon the balcony of her bedroom window and stared out in the direction of his newspaper, trying to send him a telepathic message. Oh, James, you have no idea how bored and lonely I am. So many people always say they wish they were rich, but believe me, they have no idea what it's like. I long to be with you, having adventures, traveling all over, getting exciting stories, helping you achieve your dream. I don't have anything to look forward to, except a marriage to a nobleman, which I'll be even more bored with..I wish I were there..I wish I were you. They thought suddenly startled her for a moment..until she realised that it was true, every bit of it. She wished she were him!
"Sarah!" her mother's voice came from the bottom of the stairs. She sighed and straightened up. Now what?
Sarah walked slowly down the stairs where her mother was patiently waiting with sewing needles. "Yes, Mother?"
"Dear, I've been thinking a bit.."
"Well, your father and I were talking, and we realised that neither one of us have spent a lot of time with you ever since we all moved to this new home. So, I thought maybe you'd want to learn a new sewing stitch with me this afternoon, just the two of us young women."
Sarah managed a smile, "I do believe I would, Mother." It wasn't exactly the real adventure she longed for, but ANYTHING was better than just sitting in her room doing nothing but staring out at the sky. Besides, it WOULD be nice to spend some time with her mother.
A little while later Sarah was sitting properly on the velvet sofa with her sewing gear, listening as her mother patiently explained the steps involved in a fancy stitch. Sarah caught on quickly, making her mother smile. She tenderly put her arm around her daughter. "This DOES remind me of when we were back in England, and you were just learning to sew, remember those days?" Sarah looked up and nodded. "Oh, you were so eager to learn, and we would just talk about so many things, oh you were so curious even then. You caught on to sewing so quickly, and you still catch on very quickly." She looked lovingly at Sarah. "It's so hard to believe that now you've grown, and you're such a lovely young woman."
"But we can still talk about all sorts of things, Mother."
"Yes, Dear, we can. As a matter of fact, I would like to talk with you about a matter your father and I were discussing.."
"Well, Dear..we were thinking about throwing a party."
"A party, Mother?"
"Yes Dear, nothing too big, just a fancy get-together, like we used to have back in England, remember those days, Dear?"
Back in England, back in England, every other word out of her mother's mouth seemed to be 'back in England'. Sarah sighed to herself, she wondered if her mother even wanted to come to this country at all. Did she not fully understand that this was a brand new country, free from all the pressures of England, free from all the rules pf society. She wondered if her mother would ever fully see that. She looked up and managed a smile. "Yes, Mother, I remember." She remembered all right, she remembered how droll and boring all of those parties were. The dances were always so stiff and boring, the people were always the same, and the music always tried to put her to sleep. She thought of the many parties she had been to in this new country. There were so much more to do than just walk around, there were always new people to meet, and she loved meeting new people. The food was even a little better! But she put those thoughts aside and turned back to her mother as she began to speak again.
"Actually it was Mrs. Radcliffe's idea. She remembered how she met her future husband at one of these fancy parties, and she suggested we have one as well. There will be so many of our friends who have ended up in Nova Scotia, and quite a bunch of nice young men, very respectable, who are looking forward to meeting us.."
Sarah looked down "Eager to meet ME, you mean, Mother.." she thought. Ever since she had turned nineteen, she felt as if every gentileman that came to their house was looking at her like a potential prize. Sometimes the very thought left her feeling..less than human. She tuned out her mother's voice, but caught the words.."They'll al bring nice presents, but don't worry, Dear, no lockets. I know how much that locket means to you, how your friend gave that to you. No one will be allowed to bring lockets but I'm sure that you'll be all right with other kinds of gifts.."
"Why do YOU care, I'm only the person on display!" She thought to herself.
"After all, Mrs. Radcliffe has said more than once how it was time for you to really consider the person who you will share your life with, the personh who can care for you and take care of you, and who will pamper you.."
A new fit of anger began to form in Sarah's mind. "Thank you, then , Mrs. Radcliffe. Thank you for making me feel like less of a person and more like a prize on display! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that!" My God, how could she not have noticed this before? How could she not have sen the way that woman thought beforehand. So she was on old family friend, but did that mean she HAD to act like this? Like they were in the old ways? Like if a girl was 'of age' she HAD to pick whoever her elders chose? Did it? NO!! Her thoughts were brought back to reality when her mother said her name.
"Sarah? Sarah, dear? Did you hear me? How does that sound to you?"
Sarah stood up. "Fine, Mother, just fine." Didn't her mother even HEAR her when she explained how she felt about the locket James had given her a few days ago? It wasn't a matter of the jewels even, it was a matter of this foolish business of fixing her up with these stiff, boring men who probably would just marry her and leave her at home to be board some more. Didn't her mother hear anything she said? Excuse me, Mother," she said as she began to climb the stairs to her room a thought forming in her head. She had had enough! One way or another, she HAD to get out of this life!
Two months later...
Sarah sat down in her room, reading the newest letter from James. The more she read, the more she wished she was there instead of here, in this small room, in this uncomfortable dress, about to go downstairs and be put on display for complete strangers, strangers who wouldn't know what it's like to be her at all, who wouldn't know the REAL her, what she was really LIKE. Her mother had told her all about these "courtship balls" when she was a little girl, and she had dreamed of going herself. Of course, that was before everything had happened, before the war, before everything had changed. Here she was, about to attend one of these balls she had heared so much of as a child, but she wasn't certain she was that same person anymore. She KNEW she wasn't. Her mother knocked on the door and slowly opened it. "Sarah? Sarah, Dear, are you ready? Everyone invited is now downstairs, waiting for you." She stopped in her tracks and stared at the vision of loveliness before you, the vision that was her beloved child. "Oh, Honey, you look so lovely." Sarah stood in the center of the room, her brand new lavender and pink ball gown flowing gracefully about her body, her cherry-red hair piled neatly on the top of her head in a bun. Her mother smiled again. "To think you were once my little girl.now look at you..so grown-up.." tears began to form in her eyes. Sarah walked over to her and hugged her.
"Oh, Mother, don't cry, please don't..you know I'm always your little girl."
"Yes..always," she smiled. "Well..it's now time to go downstairs, there are very many young people waiting for you."
Sarah looked at her mother eagerly. "Mother..do you know..is James down there..remember how I asked you to invite him?"
Her mother looked at her sadly. "Dear..you know I would have liked to have him here..after all, he's your friend..but you should know we just couldn't..it isn't proper. I mean, he's a commonor, he came from a poor background..oh I know it wasn't his fault, no one is saying that..but God put him in one place, and our family in another. It wouldn't be right.."
Sarah's anger began to form in her stomach again. Why wouldn't it be right?! She thought. It would be right to me!
"Dear, I know you wanted us to invite hiu, and we wanted to as well, but there will be so many people down there that wouldn't understand..all they would do was stare at him, they wouldn't make him too comfortable.."
Why are you going by what they say?! Do they run your life? Do they run mine? She thought angrily.
"I'm sorry Dear, but this is the way it really must be. So, are you ready now?" Sarah nodded, she couldn't talk. James wasn't there! He wasn't going to be there, he was forbiden. She wanted to go down there all right, go down and tell all those horrid people just what she thought of them, al of them. Instead, she plastered on s smile, despite her hurting heart and let her mother escort her to the top of the stairs, where her father was waiting in a neatly pressed suit and crevat. His wiskers were neatly combed and his hair was pulled back in a neat ponytail. It was hard to believe her mother had managed to get used to those wiskers! Her father stared at the both of them loveingly.
"Wow, I don't believe I've er seen two such beautiful women in my life!" He grinned and took both of their hands, one at a time, and kissed them.
"Samuel!" He mother giggled. Sarah smiled.
"Well, it's only natural to want to greet a vision of loveliness, Elizabeth," her faher said before turning to Sarah. "Sarah, are you alright? You look rather pale."
Sarah seriously thought about saying, "Yes, Father, I don't feel well, maybe I should go back to my room and lay down." Instead she said, "I'm alright, Father." She let her father link his arm through hers and through her mother's. He proudly escorted them both down the stairs and through the doorway where the music suddenly stopped. Many happy faces peered at them as her parents proudly presented her to the public and led her out into the venter of the room. She could only recognize a few of the people there, there was Mrs. Radcliffe, there were a few of her cousins who had just came on the boat, possibly. All others were strangers, including the many young men who were smiling and looking her over. She felt as small as a ring on her finger. Although she knew it was pointless, she looked despirately around for James, surely he might be some where. God, PLEASE let him be! She looked around with her eyes, nothing. He just wasn't there, he probably never got an invitation.
Sudden;y the music began to play and her mother slowly began to lead one handsome man after another to Sarah. Sarah would curtsy, the man would bow. They started to dance in a very formal dance, the same kind of dances that her mother had always taught her. Usually, she loved those dances, she would feel like part of the music as she moved carefully, slowly, following the steps in time to the violins. But not tonight. Tonight she felt almost like she was merely going through the motions, politely answering the questions the men were asking her, trying to listen as they tried to carry on a conversation with her. But it seemed like every question was exactly the same as the man before was asking her. He would ask her about the paper, the things she saw in the war, but those questions didn't interest her.
Her parents were watching from the sidelines as Mrs. Rascliffe came up to her. "Lovely party, Elizabeth. Your very first, and I should say it's going smoothly. I dare say Sarah just might find her soul-mate here!" He took a glass from the servent who was walking around with it. "To her!"
"I really don't know, Emily," Elizabeth replied. "She just doesn't look well tonight. She DOES look pale, I wonder if this really WAS a good idea.."
Her father then lead another young man to Sarah, who sighed to herself. Suddenly, she looked into the face of this newest stranger, and gasped! She was looking into the face of James! JAMES! Her heart beat fast as he smiled. She curtseyed to him, and he bowed. He wrapped her in his arms as she slid her own arms around his neck. They began to dance to the music, their own special dance. How did he come? Did he sneak in? Ordinarily she would find an act like that abhoring, but now her heart was filled with so much joy, just at the sight of him! She lay her head on his shoulder, not speaking a word to him, just feeling him in her arms yet again. Oh James, why were you gone so LONG?! She thought. Don't ever go away from me again, PLEASE don't! Just then she looked up, and she gasped! This man WASN'T James! His face was now entirely different! This man wasn't James, James was never there, he wasn't even invited, he probably wouldn't even be welcome!! Almost in tears, she broke away from this stranger.
"What's wrong, Miss Phillips?" The man asked her, concerned.
Her mother ran over to her. "Sarah? Honey, are you alright?"
"Sarah, what's wrong?" Her father asked her. Sarah looked around at the many faces, slowly looking at her with concern. She couldn't even find the words to explain what it was. Finally she just turned around and raced to her room. She ignored the cries of "Sarah? Sarah?" That followed her upstairs. That was IT!! This couldn't go on!! This can't continue!
"I can't bear this, my heart will break!!" Sarah cried to an empty room. She grabbed her bag. "I'm coming James, I'm coming home!!"
A few hours later, James sat down in the living quarters of the print shop to get some much deserved rest after printing up the next edition of the paper. He only stopped at the pump to wash his hands of ink than sank onto the sofa with a sigh. He wondered what Sarah was doing right now, what Henri was up to, Moses? He heared from Sarah every day, but Henri and Moses were taking their time. He knew Moses was busy with his new school, but what was Henri up to? He read the newest letter from Sarah this morning and he thought of writing his next one in a few minutes..right after a small rest. It had been QUITE an exciting morning, and he couldn't WAIT to tell Sarah all about it! He smiled, thinking of her and wishing she were there right now. She had been his best friend in the years she was there at the print shop, but he felt so much more for her now. He pictured her lovely face and her beautiful eyes that glowed whenever she was happy. He loved her eyes, they were the prettiest part of her. Many times he had longed to stroke her soft skin, to look into her eyes, to just blurt out all his feelings. But he was no dummy, he knew she more than likely didn't feel the same way. And even if she did, class and custom separated any chance of them even considering a chance together. But still..it was nice to picture..
A loud knock on the door startled him out of his thoughts. Quickly he stood up and straightened out his clothes. He glanced at the small clock on the wall, who could it possibly be at 7:00 at night? He walked briskly toward the door, opened it, and...just stared. For a few minutes not being able to believe what he saw! There, on the other side was....Sarah! SARAH! My God was it really her? Was he only dreaming? In a few minutes, though, he got his answer as she threw her arms around him in a huge hug. He grabbed her back and twirled her around. " Sarah? Sarah! What a great surprise! Wha..what.."
Sarah smiled and looked into his eyes..his sweet blue eyes she had missed seeing so terribly. "I..uh..I wanted to see you James, I wanted this to be a surprise!"
James smiled, "Come in, please come in!" He lead her into the room and closed the door carefully. "So..uh..this is where The Rising Sun is printed. I'll show you around."
"Oh, please do!"
"Well, here's the printing press."
"It's beautiful," Sarah fingered it carefully.
"Yeah, Dr. Franklin's money really helped me purchase it. Afterwards I went to where he's buried and personnally thanked him. I owed him so much," he said thoughtfully. Sarah nodded and carefully took his hand. He looked up as she did so, her hands were so soft and gentile. He quickly looked down, suddenly feeling rather shy. "Uh..well. Let me show you the rest of the place." He lead her to the writing desk. "Here's where I usually write letters to you, Henri, and Moses. I also edit the stories here before they go to print." Sarah looked upon the wooden desk complete with quills and an inkwell.
"It's lovely. Oh, I've missed being a part of a paper.."
James smiled. "Really?"
Sarah smiled. "Realy. That's why I had to see you, James. I missed the excitement of journalism so much..and I've missed you terribly."
"I've missed you, too, Sarah." He quickly gave her a small hug, gentily stroking her red hair, which was hanging lose and free instead of being in a ponytail like it usually was. Sarah sighed with contentment, feeling whole again. These last months were torture, pure torture. She felt like a part of her had been torn away, but was now restored. James slowly let her go and backed away, looking at her tenderly. "I'll show you the rest of the house." He took her hand and led her to where he was before. "This is the living quarters, the kitchen is right down that way." He gestured to the sofa. "Please sit down. I'll get you something to drink. I think I've only got hot chocolate, would that be alright?"
"It would be perfect," Sarah said, settling down. She sure was glad she had chosen to change out of her ball gown and into her regular riding dress and got her hair out of that bun before sneaking out of the back door in the middle of the party, jumping on the first horse she could find and taking off for this very place. As she looked around her, she realised that she would have rather been here than anyplace else in the world. Peace and quiet, just sitting and talking with someone she cared so much for..THIS was the life! She heared him come back, balancing a tray, which sat a pitcher, two cups of hot chocolate, and a platter of small cookies. "Why, James, that's so sweet, but you didn't have to do that!"
"Hey, you're my friend..I only wanted to do the best I could for you." He set the tray down on the table in front of them and gave her a cup of chocolate. "So, Sarah, how are you? God.how long has it been?"
"Far too long," she agreed. She started to talk with James, she told him all about the stables in her home and the decorations all around the living room her mother had picked out. James then told her about his adventures in the latest edition of his paper. He then went to the print room and fetched the newest copy of the paper.
"Here, now I don't have to send it to you. What do you think?" Sarah read it over carefully.
"I love it, James. This is so wonderful. I'm so proud of you."
"Thanks," he smiled. "Remember the first paper we ever printed together?"
"Of course!" She smiled. "I keep a copy of it with me!"
"So do I," he smiled. They began to share all kinds of memories of the paper and their adventures while getting stories. They laughed at the memories they had made together. James turned serious as he remembered those times. "I was a bit cocky back then, wasn't I?"
"Well, we both were rather immature back then."
"No one more than I probably, Sarah. You know, I've always thought that..well..I am the way I am right now..mostly because of you."
He nodded. "You. After all, look at all you've taught me, at all you've shown me. I mean, I might have been cocky and immature all my life if you had never came." Sarah smiled tenderly.
"If it wasn't for you, I might have been living in London as a Tory." They both smiloed at one another, for quite a long while not really saying much. Finally James broke the silence.
"More hot chocolate?"
"So, uh, heared from Moses? I hear his school is becoming quite successful.." they began to have yet another conversation about Moses and his school. Suddenly the booming of the clock on the wal startled them both. They looked up and Sarah gasped. 9:00!! When on EARTH did it turn 9?! They party had more then likely begun to break up, her parents must be wondering what had happened to her! James looked at her and cleared his throat, begining to stand up. "Wow, it's so late already."
"Yes, I..I suppose I should be starting home.."Sarah said carefully, but her body didn't seem to want to move from the sofa. It was dark, her parents were worried..but she HAD to move..why on Earth couldn;t she?!
James tried to hide the pain in his voice at the thought of being separated from her again. "So..uh..can I ride with you back home? I hate to have you leave alone.." he reached up to get his coat.
Sarah tried to get up, even tried to put her cup down..but she couldn't. The pain in her heart began to grow again. She couldn't leave..not now! Not after al she had gone through being separated. She couldn't be..she just couldn't be! She saw James's reflection in her almost empty cup, and suddenly she was struck by an thought, clearer than she had ever had before. She can't leave this place, THIS was her home! This man, right behind her, who was looking at her with care and concern, this man, who was her best friend in the entire country of America..was her soul-mate! This man was the one she was destined to be with forever. God had truly made him for her, and her for him! Oh James, JAMES! She can't be separated from him, not now, not ever!! Not after this discovery. He was the only one who understood her, who accepted her for her! He was the only man who would understand her and care unconditionally for her, and always did! Finally she turned around. "James?" he turned to face her. "I don't want to go back! James, I...I want to stay here, with you. James, I've missed you so much, every single day, you're all I can think about. I want to travel around with you again, I want to see the country, I want to have adventures again, and I want to have all of that with you. James, the happiest moments of my life were spent with you, and..and I want to have that al over again." James slowly came over to the sofa and sat down next to her, hanging on to her every word. "James..please..I can't go back, not now. I need to be with you, without you I feel like a part of me is gone. James..I love you."
James tenderly put his hand on her shoulder. "Sarah.." he whispered quietly.
"I love you, James. I've know this for a long, long time..I can't stop thinking about you..you're a part of me. I love you, James Hiller."
James's own eyes filed with tears. "Sarah..I've been wanting to say that exact same thing to you for a long time, but I never thought you could ever feel that same way about me!" He looked tenderly at her, then finally gave in to the feelings that were building up in him for a long long time. He slowly laid his hand upon her lovely long hair, and brought her cloer to him, capturing her lips with his. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him back, letting all her feelings for him finally out in the open, there was no more longing anymore, no more stalling, no more wishing. She was here now, she was with him, that was all that mattered.
"I love you, Sarah Phillips."
"I love you, James Hiller."
"WHERE IN THE NAME OF GOD IS SHE?!" Lady Philips cried with worry and anger, pacing around the floor. When Sarah didn't come down from her room, Lady Philips had to cover for her by saying Sarah wasn't used to drinking wine, which of course wasn't true. She couldn't very well chase after her, not in front of all these people who were wondering what on EARTH was going on, it wasn't proper and would just be embarressing. But as soon as the party was over, sheadhad run upstairs to confront Sarah..only Sarah wasn't there. Her ball gown he been thrown upon the bed, her bag was missing, and her closet was open, but bare. She had taken everything with her but the pictures on her walls and had taken off. Her father raced into the stables, one of the horses was missing. Only a note remained folded near the doorway to her room.
I'm truly sorry Mother and Father,but I just can't live a lie anymore. Please don't try to find me, I'm going to follow my heart.
'Going to follow her heart'? What did that mean? Lady Phillips sat down weakly on the sofa as Mrs. Radcliffe came in, folowed by two of her neices, Anne and Samantha.
"Well, well, well, she DID manage to make an embarressment of herself, didn't she?" Mrs. Radclife asked, shaking her head.
"All I can say is none of this would have happened, Aunt Elizabeth, if you had only listened to me in the first place. I told you 'keep her in England, America is too dangerous'.."
"Anne, one more 'I told you so' and I'll personnally throw you out!" Samantha said angrily before sitting down next to her. "Maybe she just wasn't used to so many people here, maybe she just went out for a ride on the common.."
"Stopped at an inn? On her way home?"
"She wouldn't be like this if only you raised her AT HOME as a proper young lady instead of putting her on a boat to live with strangers.."
"That was an 'I told you so', get out!! "
"But you have to admit, I'm right about this! She was always SUCH a troublemaker, ever since she was a little girl. So stubborn, SUCH a temper! If she had stayed at home like I wanted her too.."
"PLEASE," Lady Philips cried out, "Please!" Just then her Father came through the door. Lady Philips ran to him. "Samuel! Has she come back yet? Have you found her?" He slowly shook his head.
"I've ridden all over this town, no one has seen her at all, she's gone. They don't know where she is and she hasn't been in any of the nearby inns."
"Oh, Jesus," she whispered, looking a bit faint, so her neices gathered around her. Mrs. Radcliffe just shook her head.
"Well, Sarah Lucretia Phillips, you have pulled SOME stunts in your life, but this takes the CAKE, young lady. Disgraceful, running away from your own party that your parents threw for you, is there ANYTHING more embarressing?!"
"Will you PLEASE kep your thoughts to yourself, Emily?!" Samuel said, shaking his head as he tried to help his wife recover.
"Well YOU can't talk, Samuel, you, running all over the place drssed in ANIMAL skins, wondering the woods like a madman.."
"Will you leave me out of this?!"
"Why should she?" Lady Phillips said just then, standing up.
"Elizabeth, she's YOUR friend, you know.."
"Oh, I KNOW, Samuel, I know that Sarah is YOUR daughter in every sense of the word, running off in dangerous adventures, doing God-knows-what.. She nprobably gained influence from YOU..."
"ME?! This is YOUR fault, putting her on a boat to live with someone she hadn't seen since she was nine, in a print shop with complete strangers, instead of raising her like a mother.."
Elizabeth sighed. "Look, Samuel blaming each other isn not going to help matters."
"You're right, Dear. We have to pull together, ALL of us.." he said, staring at Mrs. Radcliffe, "And try to find our daughter."
"But where can we start, Uncle Samuel?" Anne asked.
"Well, I'll try to follow where I feel the horse might have gone.."
"How can you tell, Uncle Samuel?"
"I learned a lot from the Indians that I stayed with."
"I..I just don't understand..why didn't she just come to me?!" Elizabeth asked herself. "I mean, oh, God, where did I go wrong?! I just want to be a part of her life, I've told her that before.."
"But how can you be a part of her life when you weren't there for so many years to help her?!" Anne pointed out.
"Look, we're all just wasting time siting around here," Mrs. Radcliffe said. "A towjn is no place for a young lady to be out on her own. I suggest we all go look in different places."
"Good idea," Anne said. "I'll look in the marketplaces."
"I'll look in the bookstores," Samantha said eagerly.
"I'll try to follow the horse," Samuel said. "She MUST be around here somewhere!"
James stretched his arms way over his head as he sat up in his bed, looking out upon the early morning sunrise. "What a great day to be alive!" He thought happily. He could barely sleep with joy, yet he felt so wide awake. It was amazing to believe that not only was he finally reunited with the woman he loved, she was sleeping in the bedroom right next door to him. He knew many young men would have taken advantage of the situation, but those men were just immature. He felt his love was WAY beyond that. He respected her to much to think of her in that way. He preferred to think of her as a gift from God, too special to be believed. As he dresed he looked up to Heaven. "Thank you, Lord," he prayed. "Thank you for another wonderful day, and thank you for Sarah. Thank you too, Dr. Franklin, you've given us both so much, I know that neither of us wilol let you down. God, please help us both get the stories today for the paper. Amen."
He made his way down the stairs to be greeted by the sight of Sarah, in a yellow sundress, putting breakfast on the table. She was so beautiful he just wanted to stare at her for a while. She looked up and smiled. "Good morning, James."
He walked over to her and gentily gave her a tender kiss. "Good morning, Sarah." He looked at the meal. "Sarah, you did al this for me?"
"Why not? I felt like doing something special. So," she said, as she sat down. "What are we going to do today?"
"Well, usually I ride around to the town hall near here to see if there are any exciting stories."
"Yep. So, as soon as we finish, we can sadle the horses and start on our way."
"Oh, wonderful!" She said. "This will be such an exciting day!"
"Yeah,"James said smileing tenderly at her. "You know what's going to make it even better?"
"I'll be covering any stories today with you by my side."
Six months later...
Elizabeth stared out the window, worry already on her mind. She had not had a decent night sleep or a relaxing moment in months. She STILL had not been able to find her daughter anywhere! Every time it looked like someone had sen her, she would be gone again. No letters, no signs she was alright, nothing! She had just disappeared, and although some members of their family urged her to forget her (they were still bitter about her becoming a Patriot), Elizabeth knew she could never do that! Sarah was the onyl child she had, Elizabeth HAD to know where she was, if she was alright. "Why didn't you just come to me?!" Elizabeth thought to herself. "Why did you think I wouldn't understand?! Why can't I just be a part of your life?!" A knock on the door startled her and she rose from her seat to answer it. Anne stood on the other side of it.
"Good afternoon, Aunt Elizabeth."
"Good Afternoon, Anne, please come in and sit down."
"Actually, this won't take too long at all. I think we may finally have found Sarah!"
"You HAVE!! Oh, Praise God, where is she?"
"Well, actually, the owner of the nearby inn in town, he told me he saw Sarah riding on her horse down this very road. She looked like she was on her way to something important. There was someone riding with her..a young man, blond hair, about her own age.."
"James!" Elizabeth cried out.
"You know him?"
"Yes, thank God. At least she's with someone I know will take care of her."
"How do you know that, Aunt Elizabeth?"
"He helped Dr. Franklin, may he rest in peace, look after her all the while the war was going on. At least, if she MUST be away from home, she's with someone we know and not a stranger. Now, if only we can figure out where she was going and find her to bring her home.."
"But I don't think she wants to COME home.."
James took the newest edition of the Rising Sun out of the printer and looked upon it with Sarah. She smiled at what she saw, the front page had two exciting stories upon it, one written by James and the other by herself. He looked upon her with pride and happiness in his eyes. "Remember the first time this ever happened?" He asked her.
"What happened?" Sarah asked.
"When we both had our stories posted on the front page at the same time?"
"Of course, it was when we went to interview the Green Mountain Boys for the Gazette We were both arguing about which story Dr. Franklin would put on the front page and he ended up posting both of ours."
James laughed at that. "Yeah, God how long ago was that? We were, how old, fourteen?"
"I think so."
"Yeah," he looked at the paper again. "You know, we really make a good team, than and now. Look at this paper, I can honestly say it's the best we've ever done."
"Best YOU'VE ever done, James. After all, it's your paper."
"No," he said. "The best WE'VE ever done, Sarah. You know, we really do make a great team, you and I."
Sarah smiled at him. "Working on this paper has been the most fun I've had in a long, long time, James. I just love covering these stories just like we used to do."
"I love covering them with you," James said, giving her a tender hug. Sarah smiled and threw her arms around him, hugging him back happily as she leaned her head against his neck. He stroked her hair happily and whispered her name. She lifted her head as his own came down and touched her lips tenderly. Their arms tightened around each other as the kiss got more deeper and much more serious.
"This is MOST improper for a young lady!" a voice deep inside Sarah said urgently. "I don't care!" she answered it. "Mother may not like this! Most of your family DEFINITELY won't!"
"I don't care! I just don't care!! This is the man I love, for the first time in a long time I'm so happy. Nothing will stand in my way..not even Mother!!" Lost in James's kisses, she could forget her mother, society, and everything else. The print shop, the outside world, it all faded away as they embraced and kissed again and again as the time slipped by. James ran his hand through her soft, long cherry-red hair.
"I love you so much," James whispered in her ear. "So much."
She looked into his tender, sweet eyes. "I love you, too," she answered him, surprised at how easy it was to say. She got lost in another kiss as she ran her hands over his vest and around his shoulders, this was Heaven, this was true happiness. She felt James take her hand and lead her to the middle of the print shop. He gazed into her eyes as his heart did the talking.
"Oh, Sarah, you mean so much to me. I was just so lonely without you."
"I was as well," Sarah agreed.
He looked around the print shop and took both of her hands in his, gazing into her sea-green eyes. "Sarah, we've made such a wonderful team on the paper..and I want you to continue as my partner..not just here in the paper..forever. I love you more than anything in the entire world. You complete me. I'm all I am today because of you." By now the words were slipping out of his heart and he made no effort to try and stop them. "Because of you I know what true love really is. I care more for you than words themselves can say. You truly are my soul-mate." He slowly got down on one knee right in the middle of the shop and took both of her hands in his. "Sarah Lucretia Phillips, you could make me the happiest man in the entire state of New York, if you would consent to be my bride." She gasped as tears began to come to her eyes. "Will you marry me?"
Sarah gasped and put a hand to her throat. "Oh God..." she whispered. James then looked around him as he sudden;y got brought back down to earth.
"What in God's name did I just do?!" he thought. "Oh, Lord, I just proposed to her in a PRINT SHOP!! Yeah, James, real romantic! Am I INSANE?! Look at her, she's a upper-class citizen from a proiminent family and I'm just an orphan! It's amazing she fell in love with me, but to marry me?! MARRY ME?! Could I possibly BE any dumber?!"
Sarah whiped tears from her eyes. "Oh James..thank you for your proposal..I am most honored to be asked by you."
"Here it comes.." James thought to himself. " 'But we're too different, we're from different backgrounds....yes, Sarah, just say it, I understand.."
"Believe me, James..I never thought I could ever find someone as loyal, brave, caring and sweet as you....
James bowed his head. "Here it comes.." he thought.
"And I accept your hand!"
James quickly whipped his head up. "You...you do?"
Sarah smiled and placed her hand in his. "I will marry you, James!"
James slowly stood up. "Sarah..you will..you'll marry me?"
Sarah wrapped her arms around his neck. "Yes, James. I love you more than anything..I will marry you."
"Me? A poor orphan who got his own newspaper through the will of God?"
"Someone with no socal background, who might have been picking rags if it weren't for Dr. Franklin?"
"Honestly, James." James's eyes filed with tears as he embraced her and they shared a long, loving, serious kiss.
"Oh, Sarah, God bless you!"
"James, believe me, He's blessed me now. To be your wife is for me, the happiest thing I could possibly be!"
"Because you like sacrifice?"
"What am I sacrificing? Boredom for excitement? Formality and properness for true love? If that's sacrificing, I love sacrifice!"
"I love you, Sarah," James whispered, as he kissed her even more tenderly than before.
"I love you, too."