Sorry for the delay! I have sections written for different parts of the upcoming chapters! Yay! First day of Summer around the corner! I hope you have a great one! Also, draughts is another name for checkers! Okay Enjoy!
The rain had come and gone frequently over the past two days but, never like it did that day when I visited Elisabeth's house. Father and Ben faithfully left the house each morning to go to the store whether it be to unpack and organize stock or to catch the business of an unlucky customer. The rest of the Meriman household to stayed indoors for most of the time. We swept and scrubbed the floors the first day before spending the second day bent over a games of jacks or a mock tea party. I believe you know which activity I preferred.
Today we attacked the mending basket with a ferocity of a lamb. So, I suppose you could say we chattered more than actually sewing. But, by the time supper was to be prepared we had finished the basket. I re-hemmed a skirt and re-attached the lace on a sleeve of my dress. I used the basic stitch I had learned from Mother when I was 7 years old. Looking at the final product I could safely say that it wouldn't come undone anytime soon. Nan's nimble fingers flew across her mending leaving a perfect line of stitches.
Supper was enjoyable. We had stew again but, the rainy weather made it taste exceptional. We had supper somewhat earlier than normal allowing the entire family and Ben to gather together in the living room.
Mother took up her sampler and so did Nan. I saw my unfinished sampler in the basket but, I didn't pick it up. Polly sat on the ground contented playing with some wooden blocks engraved with the letters of the alphabet. Father invited William to a game of draughts and soon they were moving their pieces about the board. Ben was whistling away at a piece of wood. Since I had nothing better to do, I relented and grabbed my sampler. I slowly unwrapped my sampler and untangled the red thread attached to a needle.
All was silent until William exclaimed from the other side of the room, "No! You just can't do that."
"Do this?" Asked Father picking up his draught piece engraved with an X and jumping it over two of William's pieces.
A defeated William picked up his piece that blocked his last row and moved it a space while the rest of the room chuckled.
Ben looked up from his whistling and asked, "Nan, what are you sewing on your sampler tonight?"
Nan's golden head darted upwards and towards Ben as she answered, "My Grandmother's silver teapot. Thank you for asking."
"I'm sure that will look beautiful," Ben said with a flick of his knife. "How about you Felicity?"
I glanced downwards at the sampler in my hands. I made out the sketch of a circle of 16 stars, some blue, and red stripes. "Um," I started squinting at the pattern some more.
"That's right," said Ben with a smile, "You said you wanted it to be a surprise the other day."
"Right, and a surprise it will remain," I said with a sigh of relief. My eyes went back to my sampler and the red lines across it. The these was crossed in an X shape and so I glanced over at Nan. Luckily she was stitching the same stitch and I tried to replicate it duplicating Nan's actions. I failed the first two stitches and I clumsily undid them. The next few stitches were an improvement.
"Ben? How was the Mercantile today?" I asked.
"Great," he replied while focusing on his whistling.
"Great?" Said Father stopping mid-move, "Ben we were practically sleeping on the front desk."
"Honey, you should have come home,"Mother said soothingly.
"Well, we did send John home but, the rain was coming and we wanted to arrive home dry. Besides, that was before the doctor came in." Father explained while finishing his turn.
"And how was the doctor?" Mother asked.
"He was fine." Father answered. "He asked about you Lizzie. I said you were getting along well. He also mentioned something about stopping on over to check up on you sometime tomorrow morning."
That will keep me house confined tomorrow. "That sounds great, Father," I said as cheerily as possible while jabbing my needle back into my sampler.
"I'm sure you will be able to find time to visit the stables tomorrow, doctor visit or not. Let's not do anything too risky to scare the good doctor away though," Father warned.
"Thank you, I will," I answered quickly.
"And that's that! I won!" Father declared.
"Good game," William said getting up and strolling over to Ben. "What are you making?"
Ben glanced up and said, "Your signal whistle I promised you."
"You did?" William said surprised.
"I did. When you were little," he replied with a shrug. "About three years ago."
"Huh, why didn't you give me yours?" He paused catching a glance from Mother, "um, no wonder why I didn't recall that. Thank you!"
"I want one," Polly piped up.
"Someday, Polly." He said looking down at her with a smile. "And William, mine went to your sister."
"Nan?" He asked with a wrinkle of his nose.
"No," Ben said while trying to hide a laugh, "Felicity."
I glanced up with a smile and racked my memory to no avail. Me? He never let me touch it let alone blow it. Amazing. And strange. Knowing how special it was to Ben I do know I wouldn't have lost it. Would I?
"Do you want to play a round of draughts with me, William?" Ben asked setting aside his whistling tools.
"I can't afford to get beaten twice. My pride is at stake!" William cried out dramatically.
Nan shook her head despairingly. "How will he ever find a wife!"
Mother smiled sympathetically towards Nan.
"How about you Felicity?" Ben asked. "Draughts?"
"I could try," I said a bit eager to shove my sampler away.
"Okay." Ben said stuffing his knife into his pocket. While he brushed the shavings into a piece of cloth and placed the almost finished whistle into his pocket I put away my sampler. I felt Nan's frown as my sampler bag got returned to the basket.
Ben made it to the table first and sorted out the draught pieces. This draught set has been in my family ever since I remembered. About half of the pieces had been replaced. Some had turned into my teething toy while the others fell into the fire one day. Accidentally of course. But, now siting at the draught board nervousness flooded through me. What if I forget how to play this game? Father had taken great pride in teaching me at a young age so, I suppose we will see.
"Felicity? You okay?" Ben whispered.
I glanced back at the rest of the family. Father already was comfortably sitting on the couch sipping a cup of coffee Rose appeared with.
"I think so. I'll do my best," I smiled, "I can do no less."
"Aye, anyway you can ask for help if you need it. I mean don't feel bad besides I am not that good." Ben soothed.
"Aye, you just beat me kindly every single day back when I was 9." I reasoned.
"No. Well, yes. You made me once you found out I was going-"
I cut off Ben, "Easy? I remember that. Oh was I mad!"
"Aye, you were but, I do recall you beating me in a few matches." Ben said. "Okay," he sighed, "X's or Dashes?"
I looked at the checker piece pile that had the dashes and said, "Dashes please?"
"Okay. But, you do know the X's go first." He pushed the pile toward me and I put them in their rightful spot with a "I know."
The game started well for me. I moved the pieces to the sides of the board one by one when it was turn.
I broke the silence by saying, "Your turn."
As he moved I asked, "So was it really that dull at the store today?"
He nodded, "Your turn. It was horribly dull."
I moved my piece right by his but, I he couldn't get me since I had another piece to back me, "So, how did you pass the time?"
"I started on William's whistle." Ben said moving another one of his pieces.
"That's kind of you," I paused picking up my piece moving it to the left. "Um, remembering it and all."
"Oh, yes." He agreed moving his piece.
"Ben," I scolded picking up my draught and jumping his.
He sat up straight, "What? I didn't see that coming."
"Of course. Of course," I said dryly, "So when did you acquire your whistling skills?"
"At camp. Riley, a fellow soldier, he honed my skill with the knife. He used to make the most amazing birds." He moved next and grew quiet.
I shuffled my piece I gained with my fingers as I scanned the board. The only place in could move was out in front of his piece. So I did. He raised his eyebrow as he jumped me. We played on and neither one of us could boast of a double jump like Father did. As the stack of conquered pieces grew more candles were lit. And as I waited for Ben to move I heard Rose say to Polly, "Time for bed sweetie pie."
"Already?" Piped Polly.
"Fraid' so," came the response, "Give Mama and Papa kiss goodnight."
I turned to watch Polly bounce up and plant a kiss on Mother's cheek then Father's. With a few "Good nights" and a reassurance of a final tuck in Polly left hand in hand with Rose calling out, "Night Nannie! Night Willie! Night Lizzie! Night Bennie!"
I blew her a kiss and Nan accepted the goodnight with unexpected ease. William sighed and chirped out a "Good night Polly," before turning back to his self assigned task of rearranging the firewood. I heard Ben say, "Night Polly!" out of my distracted state of mind.
Mother really raised a wonderful family. I wonder if my household, if I ever do get settled down, will run so smoothly. Nan's will. I'm just going to have to find a husband who can cook for himself, and clean, and- well maybe just one who can accept my adventurous spirit and my inabilities. Maybe-
"Felicity?" Ben cut off my train of thought. "Lizzie" he whispered again as I turned to him. My sleeve caught the nearest draught upsetting those around it.
"Oh! I'm so sorry!" I exclaimed setting the pieces back in place.
"No real harm done," Ben said helping me.
"My turn?" I said with a guilty smile. I moved my king a space up and to the right, "Due to the rains did you make it home in one piece?"
"Aye," Ben said moving his piece to the end. "Crown me. We did but, a tad wet though."
"You are more lucky than I then. I arrived home from my ride three days ago drenched despite the fact I had already changed at Elisabeth's house. I do need to return the dress," I explained while crowning his piece.
"I do believe I have talent in dress delivering," he said rubbing his hands together.
I moved my last price to the end. I now had three kings and Ben had four.
He moved his crown to the side of the board while saying, "Sorry if I disturbed a serious thought there."
"There?" I asked pushing my piece toward the center of the board.
"Before Polly left. You seemed-" Ben started.
"Pensive?" He moved his piece while nodding, "I suppose I was just thinking about my family and life expectations."
"Serious issues," Ben said watching me jump his crowned piece.
I squinted at him trying to discern his sincerity. It seemed sound, "Tis was."
"Penny for those thoughts?" He asked moving his piece.
"No," the answer came suddenly. "I mean no thank you at this moment."
"It's okay, just remember I'm always here for you Felicity," he reminded.
Until he goes off to war, I shut down that thought as I smiled and said, "Of course. I know you always are." I moved my piece. Ben jumped it with a crowned piece I hadn't noticed. I watched in silence as another piece was overtaken in the next few minutes. I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I turned startled, "Father, you startled me!"
"Sorry Lizzie, just observing. Good match. Tight one. I'm off to join Mother to see Polly off to bed. William is outside on the porch and Nan is- was just sitting there. I'll be back down to see who won," he said finishing with a kiss on my top of my head. Father strolled out.
I smiled and turned back to see Ben staring at me. I glanced at the board, "Your turn."
"Right," he said returning his gaze to the board. He shuffled his piece closer to my remaining one. "Lizzie, can I ask you something?"
"Aye," I said pushing my piece away from his.
"Are you interested in John?" Ben asked.
I looked up confused. "Cole? Um, what do you mean interested?"
Ben pushed his piece closer in pursuit, "Fancy? Like?" He shrugged.
"Like perhaps. Why do you ask? Has he been talking about me?" I asked not really wanting to know the answer.
"Not directly, but I saw you two on the shop's back landing," he said shifting uncomfortably.
"I like him well enough to attend the Spring Party with him. He's nice and Elisabeth's cousin so, it's the right thing to do. He asked anyway," I explained simply. "Why do you ask again?"
"I was just wondering," he said pushing his second piece closer hemming me in.
"We are rather close but never did I dream that you Benjamin, would have a conversation including the word 'fancy' relating to a boy. Do you question every girl their boy interests and that has nothing to do with this game?" I asked. Is he jealous?
"We talked about several other things related to the shop and life in general. If we were just to talk about draughts it would be rather different," Ben added.
"Ben," I warned. My piece slid closer to his out of lack for a better move. He stuck his price to my left. Next move and I would lose.
"Suppose this is the type of conversation you get when I haven't seen you in awhile."
"Don't worry. I have enough to deal with without adding a boy to the picture. You can tell Father that if you want to." I said sliding my piece to the defeat spot.
He reached for his piece then stopped. "Felicity, your Father didn't set me up to ask you this. We keep each others secrets remember?"
"Aye, but I suppose we do," I agreed.
"Suppose? We do." He urged.
"Tis fine Ben calm down and it's your turn," I reminded.
Ben's fingers slowly clasped his piece and jumped mine.
"Good game, what do I have to do?" I asked.
"Do?" He asked.
"Nothing really, I mean William didn't do anything for your Father. Did he?" He gushed.
I smiled, "Guess not. Thanks for playing with me though. Father normally-" When I was 6 we would do victory kisses just like Polly does for goodnight, "Nevermind."
We stood quiet for a second before Ben said, "Well, I'll be off to the barn then."
"Aye, say goodnight to Penny and Patriot for me." I requested playing with the lace on my sleeve.
"I shall. Good night Felicity."
"Good night Ben," I whispered. We stood there and I broke the silence with a laugh. "Okay, Good night Ben." I wrapped my arms around him for a quick hug. "It was great spending time with you just like old times," I whispered into his shoulder before pulling away.
"Aye, Good night Felicity." He said.
I stood rooted to my spot until I heard the back door close. I slowly rounded the corner. I probably shouldn't have done that. It might have made him uncomfortable. It was just a friendly hug but-
I stopped in my tracks. "Father," I said with a smile.
"Felicity, how was the game?" He inquired.
"I lost. But, I remembered all you taught me." I stated.
"You left out the victory kiss," he teased.
Color rushed to my cheeks and I fought it down. "I saved it for you." I planted a kiss on his cheek, "Good night, Father."
And with that I disappeared up the stairs.
The next day I ate breakfast, helped with the dishes, swept the floor and even shook out the rugs with Rose.
"The sun is finally shining on us!" Rose declared tugging the hem of a rug.
"Indeed. A beautiful day to enjoy" I gave the rug I was holding a shake, "and to shake out the rugs."
"Going the extra mile to get to the barn today?" Asked Father riding past us.
I glanced up at Father, "If you look at it that way. Have a wonderful day!"
"You too," he called out riding past us. I waved happily and offered a smile towards Ben as he past.
"Have a good day," Ben added. I nodded toward his retreating figure.
"All right. Let's pin this up just so and there. And this rug over there. Perfect. You can have this rug beater," Rose handed me the closest beater. "And I will take this one."
I whacked mine sending a cloud of dust to appear and slowly fade to the earth. "Rose, you are just about perfect at everything."
She paused from her whacking before resuming, "About perfect Felicity?" Her laugh rang out, "Rather far from it but, I have a lifetime of practice and I enjoy it."
We chatted on about various things as we beat the last three rugs. Finally we picked them up and brought them into the house and placed them into there rightful spots.
"Do you suppose the doctor will come soon?" I inquired setting the last rug down in front of the fireplace.
"I suppose so. Your father did say something about during the morning I believe. You could go and visit Penny. I'm sure you will here him approaching. Besides I could always come and get you," Rose said.
"Thank you Rose. I'm glad I got to do rugs with you today," I chimed.
"Me too, I loved the help and most of all the company!" Rose exclaimed.
"Thank you!" I yelled as I ran toward the barn.
The barn was just as I had left it four days prior. Neat but, wet. Rather wet. Penny neighed a greeting at me.
"Coming girl," I called out to her. I skirted around the two puddles that formed from the little creek the flowed from under the barn door. "Hey Penny girl. Did you miss me?
Penny whinnied. "Yes, you did and I did too." I stroked her nose, "I forgot your apple I saved you."
Penny ducked her head, "Don't be mad. Here I'm going to take you for a walk." I turned to my saddle gear. The blanket was soaked and smelled high heaven. I move past it and grabbed the halter and lead rope. The stall door cooperated easily and with a "Come on girl" Penny was standing right next to me. I slipped the halter on her with ease and as I went to untangled the lead rope from my arm Penny started toward the door.
"Anxious much?" I said skipping up to her and attaching the rope, "I don't blame you. I could wait to get out of the house myself. Just wait for me next time." I stroked her neck as we walked out the barn.
"I should brush you off so everyone could see your beautiful copper coat. It looks like you were rolling around in that hay filled stall of your a bit too much."
Penny snorted. "Okay, but I still have to brush you when we get back to the barn,"
Talking to her occasionally, I lead her around the yard twice at a walk. We stopped in front of the barn. "Ready to go back in and get cleaned up?"
Penny whinnied twice. "Or maybe, I can give you a rinse. Yes, let's get you nice and clean." I confirmed while trying her the the stake in front of the barn. I kissed her nose then disappeared into the barn.
After a few trips to the pump and another couple of trips into the barn I found the necessary rags, sponge, and grooming tools. What if the doctor comes mid bath. Trying to be fast I quickly brushed her down and picked out her hooves. Dumping the water over her back I soothed, "It's okay Penny." I took the remaining two buckets and dumped it over her. I reached for the sponge and then realized that I forgot the soap.
"William!" I called out.
William who was heading toward me yelled, "What?"
"Where do we keep the soap?" I asked.
"I'll grab it for you," he said disappearing into the barn with a run.
"Thank you!" I said stroking Penny's wet neck.
William returned and I had scrubbed Penny down and refilled the buckets with water so I could rinse her off. William started off on Patriot to visit The Mercantile and to bring them their noon day meal as I brushed off the excess water. Penny's copper coat shone in the sunshine as it soaked up the warmth. I filled the buckets once more and dragged my saddle, saddle blanket, and bag out to scrub down. The saddle was leather so I didn't apply any water to clean it. Instead I shined it with some oil.
"I will bring you in the stable in a bit," I told Penny while grabbing the blanket and setting it on the wooden post, "Then you can eat some hay."
I doused the blanket with water, "And water. And you can take a rest before I turn you out to the pasture."
I started scrubbing it with a bit of soap, "Then you will be able to nibble away at the fresh growing grass."
The blanket took a bit of work but, by the time I was nearly finished Nan came out calling, "Felicity! Felicity!"
"Over here Nan!" I shouted back while dumping the final pail of water over the blanket.
"Felicity!" She exclaimed rounding the corner of the barn, "I have been looking for you everywhere. Look at you."
I glanced downward at my dress. It looked fine. "Tis fine Nan."
"Your shoes!" She complained.
I wiggled my toes without losing eye contact. They did make a squishing sound. "Did Mother send you to tell me something? Is the doctor here?"
"No, he hasn't come yet. Mother requested me to come and get you for some coffee," Nan said stopping before a puddle.
"I will come right in after I get Penny in," I reassured.
She turned on her right heel toward the house before turning quickly back, "Take your shoes off before you come inside!"
With that she disappeared. I felt like mimicking the request but instead I untied Penny with a sigh. "You don't have any pimp and proper sisters. I feel like you are the luckier one right now." Penny went into her stall and I threw half a bale of hay in. She attacked it while I refilled her water bucket.
"See you later Penny," I said while shutting the door and locking it.
I replaced the saddle, then the grooming tools, and then the buckets. It took my a bit to find the rightful home for the stable soap and sponges. I grabbed the saddle blanket and hung it on the clothing line. I glanced back toward the place I cleaned up Penny. There was a black lump. What did I forget?
As I approached I realized I forgot to clean my saddle bag. I grabbed it a slung it over my shoulder. I slung it over the peg I always kept my bag. A leather booklet fell to the ground. Bending down I picked it up. Flipping the cover over I saw my name printed in a thick black ink. Felicity. Slipping it into my pocket of my skirt I ran toward the house.
I didn't slow my step as I entered the house.
"Felicity," reproached Mother softly, "Would you be so kind to change your shoes."
"Yes, Mother," I quickly agreed.
"And Lizzie, walk," she instructed, "Then come down for coffee."
When I came back down the doctor was being seated at the table.
"Care for coffee?" Mother offered.
"Yes, please. I hope I haven't visited in an inopportune time," expressed the doctor.
"No, perfect timing. Felicity will be down any moment. Would you care for some milk?"
"Yes please," he answered.
"Sugar too?" Offered Mother.
"No, thank you Mam," He said with a smile, "So how is Felicity?"
"Well, after we iced her up any bruise has disappeared and she is showing her true personality around the house. She has her moments of frustration as I can imagine would be hard for her but, she has been quite an angel about it."
"Ah, and would these moments of frustration be about?" He left his question hanging.
"Some things around the house and memory loss," she concluded.
I decided to make my appearance then, "Mother, Doctor" I said with a slight bob and a smile.
"Felicity, your Mother and I have been talking about you. How are you feeling?" He asked.
"Fine thank you," I answered while sitting down next to Mother.
"Any dizziness or symptoms like that?" He questioned.
"None. Appetite is strong and I have enjoyed getting fresh air with Penny," I comforted.
"That's amazing," he stated. "Penny is a good girl and will take excellent care of you, I am sure. Just do be careful. Is there anything you would like to share?"
When I didn't answer Mother answered, "I have to say her speech is impressive as is her willingness and determination to relearn skills. Last night she did her best at her sampler and she helps prepare the meals with minimal help. Is there any new conclusion you have drawn up or the a like?"
"I do but, before I tell you I am impressed with all that your husband and you, Mrs. Meriman, have told me about your daughter. You are doing a wonderful job with her." He took a sip of his coffee then bent to fish around in his doctor bag. "Felicity I would just like to check you heart rate. All the rest seems in balance."
I obliged and stood for a minute while the wooden stethoscope moved about my torso. My pulse was taken before he said I could be seated. I obliged while he continued, "Now don't be scared with all these terms but, I will tell you what I think about her situation. First of all I don't believe she has schizophrenia. That would be a long term ordeal and although she might not permanently recall everything from the last three years I do believe she isn't going insane anytime soon from this injury."
"Felicity insane?" Mother laughed. I joined in lightly. "Is there a cure for Schizophrenia?"
"No but, I'm sure England will think of something when the war is over to jolt the patient's recovery process or the colonies too of course. Either case nothing to fear. I have to say I think the fall shocked the brain and it lost some information. As long as there is no swelling- I see none- I think we don't have to fear. Doctors now a days are trying to sort through mental illness better but, it is still rather jumbled up so I have no scientific name but, I want you, Felicity, to be careful. Don't overwork that brain of yours and stay safe."
"Yes, doctor,"'I agreed.
"Well, I'm afraid that is all I could do for you today. If I had a potion to give you I would but, I think time and love," he smiled towards Mother, "will do the trick. I shall be back to check on you. Questions?"
I shook my head no, "No, thank you for coming to visit us."
He stood up and we rose as well, "My duty and pleasure."
"Thank you for your services, doctor," Mother said
We started walking toward the door, "My apologies again for being late. I had a patient with horrible chills and the alike. English blood to the heart, they can't take a few rainy days of the colonies!"
"Oh Dear!" Mother exclaimed, "May I ask who is so ill?"
I slipped my hand into my pocket where my fingers brushed gently across the cover of the journal. As the doctor thought for a moment, "Oh yes, John Cole, I believe."
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a controversial medical treatment to relieve the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses by introducing a small, carefully controlled amount of electricity into the brain. Sure enough, It's true origins can be traced to the late 1700s, when a machine using weak electric currents was used in Middlesex Hospital in England to treat a range of illnesses. At the time, London brain surgeon John Birch used this machine to shock the brainsof depressed patients just as American inventor Ben Franklin was shocked into unconsciousness (and experienced a brief memory loss) during one of his electricity experiments. It is said that Franklin subsequently recommended electric shock for the treatment of mental illness.
Also, Up to the 1600s, people with psychotic disorders were sent off in "ships of fools", locked in cages, "flogged into reason", or killed. The care for the insane at this time was the responsibility of nuns and monks
In the 1700s, "mad doctors" or doctors specializing in the mentally ill. "They began to devise their own unique classification system for mental disorders. Many cases of what we would now call schizophrenia were probably classified under one or more of these early attempts to devise a more scientific method of understanding mental illness"(Noll, xix). Doctors at this time described the symptoms of schizophrenia somewhat differently.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter an learned a few things along the way!