Hi! This is me! (who else would it be?) I own no characters except Wynne because she is an awesome person. (And she makes soap...) Anyway, this is dedicated to those who wish Rab should have stayed alive and my mom, cause she gave me a 105 on it and that picture that went with it. Book projects while homeschooled are amazing. I digress. Please, do, read on!
A Man Can Stand Up
It took Johnny a good while to get out of Boston. He had to dress up as a British soldier. Thankfully, Pumpkin's uniform had fit over his clothing. Poor Pumpkin would never own that farm he wanted, but a mere plot in a graveyard. Johnny was able to sail out of Boston to Charleston. There, he was able to change out of the red uniform and wash his face. He was looking for Dr. Warren. He needed to know about Rab. Was Rab alive? Did he make through to chase to redcoats to Old North Bridge? He tried a tavern, but the people only told him that Warren might be in Cambridge, so the boy tried Cambridge. At Cambridge, Johnny met a man who was a colonel. The man told Johnny that the Committee of Safety was at the Hastings' House and that Warren was a chairman of the committee. Johnny was tired, but a familiar face lifted his spirits instantaneously.
"Johnny, what are you doing here?"
"I'm looking for Dr. Warren. Do you know where he is?"
"I do," Paul said with a heavy sigh, "He's in Lexington."
Johnny's face lit up. That's the town he most wanted to get to. Rab's hometown. "Thank you, Mr. Revere! That's where I hoped to go."
"Then be on your way and find him quickly, Johnny."
Johnny nearly ran to Lexington. He stopped only a few times for funeral processions in Menotomy and in Menotomy he met a girl walking briskly toward Lexington. "Hi there!" he called. "Wait up!" The girl didn't want to stop, but slowed her pace. Johnny caught up to her. "What's your name?"
"I'm Johnny. You heading to Lexington?"
"Yes," she said, wringing her hands slightly. "My friend, my dear, dear friend—I think may have been shot but I can't know for sure until I go there."
Judging the girl's accent, Johnny pointed to the direction of Boston. "Most of the British soldiers are back in Boston right now."
"He's a Minute Man." Wynne was impatient.
"Oh," Johnny blushed. "But here, come with me. I'm heading that way too. I'm trying to find Dr. Warren to see if he knows if my friend is alright."
"Very well, but we must hurry. I don't want to waste any time if something has happened to him." Wynne hurried her pace.
"Don't worry," Johnny smiled at her, "We'll get there. What's your friend's name? Maybe I know him."
"He told me not to mention that he's my friend."
"'Cause you're a Tory and he's a Whig?"
"Hmm-mmmm. I really don't want to talk, Johnny."
"Alright," Johnny said. The two walked down the road quickly and quietly, passing more funeral processions and torn buildings.
"I'm sorry I was rude," Wynne said suddenly. "I'm just a little worried." Johnny nodded, but Wynne spotted a young woman at a well. "Shall we get a drink?" she asked. Johnny shrugged and nodded again. Wynne and Johnny walked over to the lady. "Might we have a glass of water?" Wynne asked. The lady nodded and handed Johnny and Wynne a cup.
"Have we passed into Lexington yet?" Johnny asked as he leaned against a wall.
"Yes," said the lady. "Buckman's Tavern is right there, and the Green is over there." Both Wynne and Johnny felt a little relieved to be a step nearer their friends.
Wynne gulped, "Do you know of any Lexington men who died here?" The lady stopped smiling and sighed.
"Yes," she said, "And may they never be forgotten." She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Jonathan Harrington and Caleb Harrington. Robert Munroe, Jonas Parker, Samuel Hedley, Isaac Muzzy, Nathaniel Wyman, and John Brown." She looked forlorn, but Johnny and Wynne smiled. Rab was not in the list for Johnny and whoever was Wynne's friend was quite alright too.
"Any news of the Silsbees?" Johnny asked. Wynne gave Johnny a questioning look, but said nothing.
"Oh sure," said the lady with a bit more of a smile, "Some had gone away from the battle, but they might have come back to Silsbee's Cove by now."
"Everybody fighting?" Johnny asked, handing the cup back to the lady.
"Oh sure, every able bodied man except for old Grandsire," the lady took the cup from Wynne.
"Thank you for your time," Wynne smiled kindly at the lady, "Thank you very much. You don't know what this means to me."
"I see your man was not in the list I read," the lady said. Wynne smiled brightly as a response.
"Come, Wynne," Johnny waved for Wynne to hurry, "I've got to find Dr. Warren." Wynne hurried over to Johnny. They soon were standing before the desolate Green and the now wrecked meeting house.
Johnny found Dr. Warren about the Harrington house, just leaving. "Dr. Warren!" Johnny called with Wynne in tow.
"Oh, Johnny," Dr. Warren was war wearied and had a bandage about his head, "What is it?"
"Rab… did he make with the rest of the troop to Old North Bridge and…" Johnny was silenced by a motion of Joseph's hand. Wynne was curiously squeezing the life out of Johnny's hand.
"I better tell you this now," Warren started. "He was standing where we are now. He didn't retreat when Pitcairn said to… he was shot badly. I saw him being carried—," Wynne fell onto Johnny's shoulder without a cry. Johnny shook her a bit. A soft piteous sound escaped her mouth. Warren was about to set Wynne on the ground, but she snapped back.
"Where was he taken?" Wynne asked. Johnny looked at her. Why would she be looking for Rab?
"He was taken to Buckman's Tavern yesterday," Warren said, calling his mare to him. She quickly trotted over and he mounted. "But Johnny, and friend, I wouldn't expect much from him. He was barely able to talk yesterday."
"Is he breathing?" Wynne asked, "Is he alive this second?"
"Yes," Warren with a soft sad smile. "I was able to get the bullet from his chest yesterday. His problem isn't that it punctured his lung or anything like that. It was lodged in muscle. He's gonna bleed to death, child. That's about it. Come, follow me." Johnny and Wynne ran to Buckman's Tavern. Warren dismounted his horse and led them inside. He walked to the tavern keep. "I've got two here who wish to see the boy upstairs."
"You know where he is. I'd recommend sending one in at a time with his condition." Wynne and Johnny looked at each other.
"You go first," she said to him. Johnny nodded and walked upstairs with Warren. Just as he stepped up the first step, he heard Wynne ask a waitress for cayenne pepper tea.
"Just hot water and a heaping teaspoon of cayenne pepper," Wynne directed. "And I'll take some cayenne on the side too." Johnny shrugged it off and walked into the small upper room.
Rab was half sitting in an armchair. He was propped up with pillows. Johnny walked quietly over to Rab. Rab looked at Johnny and smiled.
"Boston is crowded?"
"Full of battle wearied redcoats."
"Hmm." Rab coughed up a bit of blood and closed his eyes tightly. His hands balled into fists. "Remember that day with the lady and her pig Myra?" he asked.
"And you looked like you were going to rob the place blind."
"Maybe you shouldn't waste your energy," Johnny said. Rab waved him off.
"And that Colonel Nesbit. I sort of wish I heeded what he said. I never even got to fire my gun." Johnny glanced at the musket in the corner of the room. He turned back to Rab, only to find a stream of blood running from the boy's mouth. Dr. Warren was bent over Rab's body.
"Easy Rab, easy. How do you feel?"
"Better…" he sighed, but turned to Johnny, "Take my musket. I like to know you're gonna use it."
"I will, Rab."
"And go to Silsbee's Cove. Make sure everything's alright. Tell Grandsire that a man can stand up."
"So long, Rab."
"Bye, Johnny." Johnny turned to leave, but heard Rab's violent coughing one more time and Dr. Warren trying to steady him. Johnny walked back down the steps and found Wynne with the steaming cup of cayenne tea in her hands and more cayenne beside her.
"If you want to see him, go now," Johnny said. "I have to head out to Silsbee's Cove. Will you manage?"
"I'll manage," Wynne said quickly walking up the stairs. She saw Rab grasping the arms of the chair. She walked quietly up to him and placed the cup and bottle of spice on a nearby table. "Rab," she whispered. Rab slowly looked over.
"Oh, Rab, what have you gotten yourself into?" she asked, grasping his hand.
"Just a scrape," he moved restlessly against the pillows. Wynne put her hand to his shoulder.
"I got you some tea," she said, reaching for the cup. Dr. Warren and Rab both looked at her incredulously.
"You're gonna give me tea, even though I just got shot for it?"
"It's not really tea," Wynne said with a soft smile, "It's just hot water and cayenne pepper." Rab took the cup and looked at it.
"What are you getting at?" Dr. Warren asked.
"I thought you would know that cayenne pepper stops bleeding," Wynne said.
"I'm a surgeon, not a midwife."
"And I'm neither, good doctor, but it's something my mother taught me. Drink it down, Rab." Rab drank the "tea" and set the cup aside. "Now let me see that wound." Rab unbuttoned his shirt a little and exposed his wound. Wynne took the raw cayenne and dumped it onto his chest, then took a clean cloth and smothered Rab's wound. He pressed his lips together for a moment. "How do you feel?" she asked, tentatively.
Rab shrugged and hmmm'ed. "I guess we'll find out now, won't we?" he said. Wynne sighed and sat next to Rab. Dr. Warren picked his things up and headed for the door.
"I'm going to catch up with Johnny," he said. "Wynne, are you staying here?" Wynne took Rab's hand and nodded. "Alright, I'll tell the keep and say a prayer." He left the room, leaving Wynne and Rab alone.
"Thanks," Rab leaned back into his seat and sighed. Wynne pulled the quilt closer to his chin.
Johnny sat in the kitchen of the inn at Silsbee's Cove. Grandsire's favorite orange cat was rubbing against his leg, meowing.
"I hope he's gonna make it," Johnny told the cat. The cat meowed again. "I mean, you can't just go and shoot Rab dead. He isn't the type of fellow who would let anybody do that to him. He's the type of fellow that would shoot the opposing side dead before they had a chance to say Griffin's Warf." The cat mewed and pawed at Johnny. "Oh, you can't say anything back," Johnny sighed in defeat.
"But I can," said Warren, coming in and sitting next to him.
"How is he and where is Wynne now?"
"Both Rab and Wynne are still at Buckman's Tavern. He stopped coughing up blood." Johnny released the tension in his shoulders. "The cayenne, she told me, apparently stops internal and external bleeding."
"That would be why she ordered that drink." A woman came in with supper for Warren.
"Aren't you hungry, Johnny?"
"Not at all. Do you think he'll make it?"
"It seems to me that the bleeding as slowed down tremendously if not all of it. Time will tell, Johnny. One more thing. Your hand."
"What about it?"
"I thought it was crippled from birth, but it's a burn."
"I received it trying to make a sugar basin on the Sabbath."
"I see. If you can hold the pain, I'll be able to free your thumb."
"I can hold it." Johnny leaned back and looked at the musket as Warren cut through the scar tissue. He hoped Rab would be well again. It took Johnny great pains to get that gun and the one who deserved it was Rab. Even if Rab couldn't fight in the war (which Rab, if he became well, would protest silently) it was his musket. The one thing that blocked him was the musket, and now it seemed he had to give it up. Johnny didn't want that to happen to his friend. Just as Warren finished and Johnny was examining his free hand, he saw Grandsire Silsbee in a chaise, heading toward Boston. Johnny ran out to meet him.
"Grandsire! Grandsire! Oh! Grandsire! Rab! He's been wounded terribly! He wanted me to tell you that a man can stand up!" The old man turned his head toward Johnny and gave a smile.
"Nobody could kill Rab except God Himself. That boy's too strong. When you see him, tell him that the men are standing up. Standing up everywhere… and tell him to practice his violin. Haven't heard it in a while." And with that, the chaise took off toward Boston at full speed. Johnny stood there for a few moments before walking back inside. Night was falling quickly. Warren looked at Johnny.
"He said nobody could kill Rab and that I was to tell him that men are standing up everywhere… and to practice his violin. When could Rab play the violin?"
"Rab isn't an open book. He's enigmatic."
"I sure hope he's alright."
It was the day before one hundred men would be stationed at Fort Ticonderoga. Johnny walked into Buckman's Tavern to check on Rab. He walked to the keep. "Is Rab Silsbee still here?"
"Try upstairs. If he's not there, he's back at Silsbee's Cove." The keep filled a mug of ale for a patron as Johnny walked up the stairs. He started to open the door to the small room Rab was resting in, but paused. What if he had died just now? Wynne would be crying. What if he wasn't here? He'd obviously be back home. What if he died at home? Wynne would have told him. He was staying at the inn at Silsbee's Cove so he would have known if Rab came home. Johnny stopped asking himself questions and slowly opened the door. Rab was sleeping in the armchair, one arm draping to the floor. Wynne was setting a cup of spicy smelling liquid on an end table. Johnny took a few steps into the room, but the floor creaked. Wynne turned around quickly, but smiled.
"Come in and close the door. He'll wake up soon."
"How is he?"
"I dare say all better. Dr. Merriman came by just two days ago and said he was ready to go home."
"Not Dr. Warren?"
"He left for war," Wynne sighed. "But they'll need a good surgeon." Rab started to stir. Wynne was immediately by his side with the cup of "tea." He blinked, looked at her, then the cup, then Johnny.
"Oh, Johnny, I thought you'd have moved with the troops," he said, adjusting himself.
"No, I wasn't picked to guard Fort Ticonderoga. But I heard the Brits—sorry, Wynne."
"That they might be heading to Chelsea Creek in June and I'll be going there," Johnny set his musket by the table. "And I want you to have this back."
"I doubt I'll be heading back out there."
"I won't let you," Wynne crossed her arms. Rab took the cup from Wynne to shut her up.
"Besides, you're going and need a musket." Johnny sighed as Rab drank the spiced water. There was no sense in arguing with him. "Now I'll have time to get another one." Rab smiled and set the mug aside.
"Your Grandsire told me to tell you that men are standing up everywhere," Johnny said slowly.
"He'd say something like that."
"He also said to practice your violin." Rab paused a moment then sighed, but Wynne took the quilt and folded it neatly. She laid it aside for the maid.
"You ready to go home, Rab?" she asked.
"I suppose so," said Rab, but he looked at Johnny.
"How are Uncle Nat and Aunt Jennifer?"
"They and Rabbit are pretending to be the Lyte's servants. They were able to save the press too."
"I see. Here, Johnny, give me your hand and help me up." Johnny held his right hand out to Rab. Rab eased himself up slowly and leaned against the chair. He hadn't stood up for about a month because he was standing up for his freedom. He hadn't changed much; he was still tall and strong, but a little thinner.
"Need help getting down the stairs?" Johnny asked.
"When I get there," Rab replied. Wynne picked Rab's tri-cornered hat and handed it to him. The three walked out to the staircase. Johnny slipped under Rab's arm and helped him down with Wynne following. They made it down. "You can bill the Inn at Silsbee's Cove," Rab told the keep. He nodded and headed back toward the ale. The warm May breeze fluttered by as the three stepped out of the tavern.
"Haven't been outside in a month," Rab said.
"Can you manage the walk home?" Johnny asked.
"I'll manage," Rab started but Wynne gave Rab a look.
"I'd feel better if I or Johnny went home to get a chaise to bring you back," Wynne crossed her arms over her chest and hmmmph'ed. Rab gave her a look that told her he was walking and there were to be no questions asked about it. "Fine, but you are going straight to bed and taking another cup of cayenne tea." Rab sighed.
"Alright," he said, but grinned, "Besides, that doctor said I was better."
"I know," Wynne replied as they walked down the road, "But I worry for you, Rab."
Grandsire was back home, sitting in his rocking chair on the porch, the orange cat sitting contentedly in his lap, purring. "I see you are back, Rab."
"Yes, Grandsire," Rab said, as he eased up the stairs, "But I have a feeling I shall be in a 'lying in' period for a bit."
"And since you will be in Lexington for a while, I can suppose I'll hear some violin music?"
"I suppose so." Rab opened the door and headed toward his childhood room while Wynne prepared the "tea." Johnny watched her, then followed close behind her as she walked to his room.
"I'll set your drink here," she sat down next to Rab as he situated himself in bed. "Let me see that wound." Rab showed her where he was shot.
"Why," said Johnny, "it just looked like a cat scratched him."
"That would be the cayenne's powers," Wynne said with a smile. Rab pulled the blanket over himself."
"Rab," Johnny said, "this will be goodbye for a while."
"Going off to fight?"
"You stay alive, Johnathan Lyte Tremain."
"I will. I plan on courting Cilla afterwards," Johnny said, turning toward the door.
"It was a pleasure to meet you," said Wynne.
"And I you."
"Johnny," Rab said right before Johnny left.
"Remember that a man can stand up."
"I'll remember that, Rab."
And so, Johnny left for war. It would take him seven years to return to Massachusetts, but it would be worth it. He would return to Boston to Cilla's open arms. Nat Lorne, Jennifer Lorne, and Rabbit as Rab's apprentice, would all be back in the Boston Observer, printing out more newspapers. Wynne bore Rab twins, one boy and one girl, within the time and Cilla would bear Johnny five children, two boys and three girls, in the following six years. The two boys would be apprenticed to Johnny's silversmith business. And for everybody's lives, Johnny, Cilla's, Rab's, and Wynne's, they would remember what James Otis said was true. "A man can stand up."
There we have it. I hope you liked it. I sure did. (of course I did. I wrote it. har har har) Thanks for reading!