His Excellency's Orders
Written By: Commander Cody CC-2224
Ben finally came to the conclusion of his storytelling. He sat back on his rocking chair, feeling quite relieved that he was able to finish his own story all the way from beginning to end.
"And…and what else did you and Susanna does after you rested?" Anne asked her.
"Well…we did bring Susanna Cooke back to her father…who, of course, was quite overjoyed to see her," Ben answered her in a rather succinct manner.
"And that's how it ended?" Anne asked him. "It…it does sound awfully far-fetched to be true."
"Come on, Anne," said Tom. "Of course it's true. My father told that story to me a handful of times. After listening to him tell the stories of his war days…you can never doubt his word."
"You and the rest of the boys had to be compensated handsomely for this task," said Felicity.
"We were," said Ben. "After every mission as perilous as that one, we're usually quite…compensated for our…hard work."
"What does that mean?" Anne's younger sister, Charlotte, asked her.
"It means that Mr. Davidson got paid," Anne answered her younger sister.
"With what?" Charlotte persisted.
"Money, of course," Anne answered her. "What else would they get paid with?"
"Well, there were these notes issued by the Continental Congress…many of the probably worthless, 'cause there was nothing to back them with," said Ben.
"But…that's tragic!" exclaimed Nan. "How on earth would Ben be able to make a living out of this?"
"Well…usually we get compensated with good meals…the finest than any infantryman in Washington's Army could have," said Ben. Reflecting on what he had been told about Washington's starving army at Valley Forge an air of glumness seemed to have loomed over his face. "Considering what happened at Valley Forge a few years ago…that has to count…a lot," he said grimly. "'Cause a starving man isn't of much use on the battlefield…much less in an operation that demands his strength and mind."
"I couldn't agree more with Master Davidson," said Mrs. Wentworth, before turning to Mr. Wentworth. "My dear, what time is it?" she asked him.
"Half past ten," Mr. Wentworth answered.
"Goodness! It'll be Christmas Day tomorrow!" cried Nan. "We'll have to be sober if we plan to attend church tomorrow morning." She immediately faced the children. "And now it's off to bed with you."
Nan proceeded to push herself up from her seat when Felicity intervened.
"What? Lissie, I have to supervise," Nan protested.
"Nan, you still have little Lou in your arms," Felicity had to remind her younger sister. "It's…rather doubtful you'll be able to…"
"I'll make sure the children are in bed, Lissie," said Elizabeth.
"Are you sure?" Felicity asked her best friend.
"It's all right," said Elizabeth. "Don't worry about me."
"Thank you, Elizabeth," said Felicity. Somehow she felt relieved inside that Elizabeth would go so far as to relieve her best friend's sister of a task that she was not obligated to perform. Whenever Elizabeth did something for Felicity's sister, she did it for Felicity herself.
"I want to hear Father tell more stories of his war days!" Mercy started demanding.
"We'll see, Mercy," Felicity said to her eldest daughter.
The children were ushered upstairs by Elizabeth.
"Anne? Tom? Don't be late," Elizabeth called.
"Aye, Mother," said Anne.
Tom was in the midst of viewing his surroundings.
"Come on, Tom," Anne gently beckoned her friend.
Tom felt a mite peeved over Anne interrupting his seemingly deep thoughts. Without another word he followed Anne's lead.
"Is your Aunt Nan always so prissy?" Anne asked him rather curiously.
"Well…usually," Tom answered her rather hesitantly. He did seem to like his aunt. "It's something my Mother never fails to remind me whenever I'm in her presence…"
The rest of the grownups were also heading out of the parlor.
"You'll be all right, Nan?" Felicity asked her younger sister.
Nan nodded her head as little Lou let out a soft cooing sound.
"Good night, Lissie," said Nan.
Felicity kissed her on the forehead. "Good night, Nan," she said to her softly.
Nan departed from the parlor room with little Lou in her arms. The only people left in the parlor room were Felicity and Ben.
"You'll be heading to bed, too?" Felicity asked her husband.
Ben turned around to face Felicity. "Hmm?" he asked in bewilderment moments before coming back to his senses. "Oh…of course," he answered.
Felicity crossed her arms in a rather casual manner. "I'm beginning to suspect that the children…Mercy included…will want to hear whatever stories you have related to the war," she mentioned. "Might you be up to that task?"
Ben simply stared into the flickering fire with some degree of uncertainty within his very self.
"I guess…" he answered rather hesitantly. "Well…I suppose the whole thing will be a mite easier to handle." After a pretty successful round, the next one, he thought to himself, would get to be a mite easier for him.
Felicity turned to face Ben, suspecting that this would normally not be something that Ben would say so freely, since he expressed hesitancy to tell his war stories before he began the storytelling in the first place. "You sure?" she asked him with some surprise in her voice.
Ben looked at Felicity, a small feeling of certainty reflected in his face. "Well…the one I just told them did have, no doubt, a happy ending," he answered. "But I'm not sure about the rest, though…"
"Maybe tomorrow you'll feel a little better than you did tonight," Felicity reassured him.
Felicity and Ben silently stared into the fireplace.
Whew! After all that research and writing, I literally feel spent…I mean, burned-out. I hope you all enjoyed the story of Ben's days in the Fifth Regiment.
Previously this work of fanfiction literature was rated K+, but due to some pretty gruesome violence in the story it had to be pushed to a T for Teen rating.
Thanks so much to "pansyphoenix" (now "felicityphoenix") for her wonderful, insightful assistance on the characters of Lissie and Ben!