The war was finally coming to an end! Not only was it all anyone ever talked about, but you could just feel it in the air! There was a newfound sense of freedom, and everyone was rejoicing…well, almost everyone. My best friend Elizabeth and her family were loyalists, which meant they would always be loyal to the king. It wasn't hard to see why.
When rumors of war sprung up in early spring of 1774, they had just moved to Williamsburg from England. Although Elizabeth and I had differing views-she being a loyalist, and I being a patriot-we still managed to stay best friends throughout the war. With the exception of our differing view on the King and the colonies, we were very much alike. For one thing, we both loved horses; another thing was we both missed our fathers. Elizabeth's father had been forced to move to New York in winter of 1774 because it was safer for loyalists there, leaving his wife and two daughters, Annabelle and Elizabeth, to manage the household in his absence. I could sympathize with Elizabeth because my father was gone frequently too.
He and Marcus, a young black man who worked for father at his store, often left. They were both commissary agents, which meant that they gathered supplies for the Patriot's army to help them defeat the British. At first when father and Marcus were gone, Ben and I were left in charge of the store, but in the December of 1776, when Ben turned eighteen, he left to go join the Patriot army.
When Ben was sixteen he had run away from his apprenticeship agreement with my father to join George Washington's army to fight for our independence. But I had found him and made him realize how dangerous and foolish it was to run away from a promise and from people who loved him. He and my father had worked out a deal that when he turned eighteen, if he still wished to join the militia, my father would let him, but when the war was over, he would come back and serve the two remaining years of his apprenticeship. Ever since Ben left, my younger siblings-Nan, William, Polly-and I had been left in charge of the store whenever father and Marcus were gone.
Father and Marcus were gone often, sometimes for a whole weeks at a time, leaving me in charge of the store in addition to my duties at home. There was cooking, mending, cleaning, and I also had to watch over Polly. Nan had grown a lot since the start of the war and she often helped at home, but times were still tough and most of the time I went to bed exhausted. Oftentimes mother noted that I would make a notable housewife for any young man, and sometimes that praise was what kept me going.
Of course, now that I was seventeen, almost eighteen, and at the age to marry, mother had been dropping more hints than usual about the young men who came to our house often. One or two could be counted on weekly to make a visit. I always turned down each one of them, and it didn't escape mother's notice, either. It was one chilly October day in 1782 that she brought up the subject yet again, as we were peeling potatoes in the kitchen. A young man named John had just come by not more than ten minutes earlier, and, as per usual, I sent him away.
"Felicity, you must stop rejecting every young man who comes to call upon you. 'Tis not right for a young lady of your age to reject so many young men who wish to court you. You would make a notable housewife for any one of them."
"But mother, I cannot see myself marrying any of the men who come to call upon me. Why must I court them if I do not wish to marry them? Shouldn't I marry someone I love?"
"Yes, but if you reject every young man before you even get to know them, how can you expect to love them? Love takes time to grow, it is not a sudden thing. It cannot be rushed."
"When you first met father did you love him?" A smile played on mother's lips when I asked that.
"No, but I thought he was very handsome. I fell in love with him a month after we started courting." A dreamy look appeared on her face for a moment before she snapped out of her daze and turned to me.
"Lissie, just please give them a chance," she said before picking up a pot of water filled apple slices and walking over to the fireplace. I continued to peel potatoes and think about what mother said. I always liked to believe that when the right man came I would suddenly know somehow that he was the one I would marry. But mother and father were happy together, and that had not been the case with them. Suddenly there was a knock at the door.
"Felicity, could you answer the door?" my mother asked from her position in front of the fire. I nodded and wiped my hands on my apron before walking over to the door and opening it. I half expected it to be George again, so I was surprised to see Robert, a boy I had met at Elizabeth's birthday party a couple weeks ago. I noticed he had one hand hidden behind his back, and he had trouble looking me in the eye.
'Hello, Robert," I greeted him politely.
"Hello, Felicity," he said shyly, dropping his eyes to the ground again. Suddenly he jerked his hand from behind his back and thrust a bouquet of flowers at me.
"I…I saw them on my way home and I thought of you. I hope you like them," he said before walking away briskly. I raised an eyebrow and let out a chuckle before closing the door. I walked back into the kitchen and my mom eyed me wearily when she saw the flowers in my hand.
"Felicity-" she began with a sigh.
"He ran away before I could say anything!" I defended myself before she could start again. She let out a laugh before turning back to the pot of apples above the fire.
"He is probably intimidated by you," she remarked.
"Well I cannot help it if he is scared of me. There is nothing to be afraid of, " I replied with a shrug, tossing the flowers on the table.
"You are more outspoken and independent than most girls your age, and to some boys, it is daunting."
"Ben was never scared of me," I said defiantly, crossing my arms.
"That's because you and Ben were so much alike," she said, giving me a knowing gaze.
"Well then maybe I should court Ben!" I joked. Mother gave me a serious smile and nodded.
"That would not be such a bad idea," she said.
"Mother, I was only joking. I could never court Ben, he is one of my dearest friends," I replied.
"And that is exactly why it would be a good match," she replied. Before I could think of a response a sudden knocking came from the door. I bit my tongue and walked over to the door, wondering who it would be this time. There had never been three suitors in one day before, so I was both relieved and surprised to see a middle-aged man I had never seen before standing on our porch. I suddenly noticed his bright red uniform and scowled. A redcoat.
"Excuse me, miss, but I am the commander of a British regime, and we need a place to stay. Would you be willing to quarter us in your house?" he asked politely, but I could see in his eyes that it was more of a demand than a request.
"I'm sorry sir, but no, and we are under no obligation to grant your request now that the American colonies have broken away from Britain and won our independence." He seemed surprised by my response for a moment, but quickly regained his composure.
"Have you never heard, young lady, that disobedience is a fatal flaw among women?"
"Lissie, who is at the door?" my mother called from the kitchen before I could reply. I glared at him before answering her.
"A British commander," I answered. A minute later my mother rushed to the door while wiping her hands on her apron.
"Can I help you, sir?" she asked, covering up her distain for the man with a mask of indifference.
"Yes, you may teach your daughter to be respectful while talking to a man, and you may grant my army a place to rest in your home," he said with an air of authority. I bit down on my lip to keep from saying something unladylike.
"I teach my daughter to respect everyone, and as for your soldiers, I cannot grant them permission to stay here," she said, keeping her voice even.
"Ma'am, that was not a question," he relied, his voice deepening.
"And my reply is not subject for debate," my mother said, putting a hand on the door.
"You best get off our land before my father comes home and makes you leave," I said, narrowing my eyes at him.
"Thank you for your time, ma'am," he hissed, ignoring my reply and tipping his hat in farewell. I smiled as I watched his retreating figure walk back to the other redcoats waiting in the streets. Mother closed the door and walked back to the kitchen.
"Felicity, you must watch your tongue, that was not something a gentlewoman would say," she chastised me gently.
"But mother, he was acting very rude," I defended myself.
"A gentlewoman is always polite, even when the person they are talking to is not," she said before walking back to the pot over the fireplace.
"When will the soldiers go back to England, mother?" I asked as I set the table.
"I do not know. I do, however, hope this war ends soon so the soldiers will be able to go home to their families in England," she said sympathetically, shaking her head.
"I cannot wait until the war is over so father will not have to be gone so much, and Ben will come home," I said in yearning.
"Yes, it will be good to have the men come back to their families. War often drives friends and families apart," she said sadly.
"But it also brings people together, right mother?" I asked.
"Aye, that is can, Felicity, but more often than not it does more harm than good. No one should ever wish for war," she said, turning to face me with a most serious look in her eyes. "War can change people too."
I looked away and was silent for a minute before turning my eyes back to mother.
"Do you think Ben will be different?" I asked quietly.
"He will be different in some ways, but let us pray he will still be the same Ben we knew all those years ago," she replied with a smile. I beamed back at her before we both turned back to our work.
I hope everyone is in character for this scene, and if they aren't, feel free to let me know. I haven't read the books in a while, but I have watched the movie recently. The next parts should be better since I'll be borrowing the books from the library soon.
Anyways if you like it don't be shy; Leave a review. =)