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The Secert

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Slosh went the water. I could hear the clinking of the chain against wood of the ship as it docked in the harbor. “Lucy, get away form there,” yelled my father, Mr. Tailor, the ironclad gentleman. I was so eccentric about the unknown ship floating into the Boston harbor like an otter just floating on the sea claiming its glory silently. I turned and ran the rest of the way back to my father’s carriage and jumped in. My father was a business man and this ship the Quest, as everyone else in town had said, was full of sugar cane from the sugar plantation down in Jamaica. As I tried to straighten out the costly blue, crème white dress, the one that my mother simply embellished with gold trim; and tried to act like a lady. “Hey Bruce, is father almost done with the captain? If he doesn’t hurry up we will be late for tea with mother.” I said as loudly as I could to get over the sound of the undulated waves beating against the dock. I knew that I would not be allowed to sit up there with Bruce because my father is very biased. Bruce said in a servant tone that I terrible disliked, “I think he is almost done with business ma’am.” Just at that exact moment my father step into the carriage with such grace that you would have thought he the king of England, “Can’t you act like a lady when I leave you to do my work. If not I can’t take you with me any more, Lucy.” “Yes father I will try harder.” “No you will not try harder you will do it, starting now. I won’t mention this to your mother it will only upset her.”

My mother is an Adonis woman, but she married into money. She, Maria, was the daughter of a painter and when my father went to one of the dealer’s houses to buy a painting, my mother was showing it. The rest is history. But because my father married someone in a class lower than his, some benefits were taken away. Like he is smart enough to have been major but since his marriage, he cannot run. For a long time this mystified me. We had a house set far back in scenic woods, so large that we had ten servants to care for the house and the ground, and with two brothers, two sisters, and me being the middle child we need plenty of room. And to no one’s surprise we have money. The entrance onto the property was breath taking, four giant white columns, a giant blood red oak door with gold trim shipped all the way from France and the rest of the house was brick red. It looked strong as though the world bowed down to it. Off to the side were the living quarters for the slaves, and there was a monstrous maple barn. We had everything any other upper class individual had so why are we put down or turned away like Quasi Modo in the play of Norte Dame. I asked my tutor, he teaches French, (“The only language that is civilized,” my mother said) why this is. He states in a tone that makes me sound stupid, “You would not understand the situation your family is in. If you want to know ask you brother…Phillip. I think is his name. The one with the red h air.” Phillip was the emissary to the governor of Massachusetts. How was I going to talk to him? Then I remembered he was going to be at dinner tonight.

After the excruciating lesson, I raced down the stone stairs into the grand forger, through the solid oak door, across the walkway, through the maple door, up the stone stairs right into my room to write. That is one of my greatest passions in the world but also malady obscure to me at times. Father says that it is foolish and young ladies should knit and read. I argue fiercely “But why read the same fairy stories over and over again and fill your mind with clouds? I want to write about real life, action, far away places where there are leprechauns dancing around pots of gold. I want to write about dreams and love.” “That is complete nonsense. It is an outrage.” he said bewildered. The only person that truly believes in my writing is Phillip and the people down at the newspaper publishing headquarters on Newbery Lane (Main Street). Phillip is the one who got me this notebook that I have been able to fill with all of my thoughts, dreams, and each story carefully lad out in my neat handwriting. The book is crimson, the color of the leaves falling outside my third floor bedroom window. I have two others, one green as grass, the other as blue as my eyes. They are under the loose floor board under my oak desk. Right now I can only write when I know no one is on this side of the house. When Phillip asks me how far I am on Sara (the code name for the story I’m working on) I say with pride that I should have it finish by tomorrow or the next day. I don’t know how he does it but somehow he gets my story into the paper. Where the author should be in says anonymous. It is always a panacea for me when father reads the story in the morning paper to all of us and always says, “If only I could meet the author:” Then I’m all smiles for the rest of the morning…until the afternoon when I go with father to the docks. There I feel so anachronistic to everyone else. If only I could let my secret out.

As diner time approached closer and closer I started to get jumpy as though the noisome fumes from the roast in the kitchen were getting to me. Finally, the dinner bell rang. As causally as can be so not to be to anxious, strode into the felicitous room and took my place beside my mother on the left side of the table. Finally after what seemed like a thousand years Phillip came in and sat by my father on the right side. As he passed by he winked at me. During dinner we girls are not allowed to talk unless we are spoken to. I decided to overcome that rule tonight. “Phillip, why are we different than other family’s?” I said with ease. Bang! Crash! Dong! Everyone but Phillip dropped everything and looked at me. “You do not know what you are talking about.” growled my father warningly. But Phillip being the “outsider” said, “I’ll tell you later sis.” It was quiet the rest of dinner until the very end. I could not take the silence any more. “Phillip I will have Sara done by tonight and I will give you it in the morning” “Who is Sara? What are you talking about?” my father questioned. Should I spill the beans or not? I blurted, “Sara is the story I’m writing.” “What story? I thought I told you to stop write. It is a terrible habit to start.” His words flogged me. I had a paroxysm right there. “Father you know all those stories you read every morning. I wrote them. I’m the author you wanted to meet.” I shouted. Then I got up and went to my room to finish writing Sara.

From down stairs I could hear the arguing, the smashing of the dishes, and the stomping of the footsteps on the stone floor. But I continued to write. The next thing I knew it was morning and someone was knocking on my door. I thought it was Phillip so I answered it but to my amazement, it was father! “I want to read Sara,” he said. “Ok” I said unstintingly. Father to my amazement was smiling as he read it. Then he hugged me and said he was so proud. I’m screaming inside, “What is happening here!” He said that for now one he would publish my stories in the newspaper. “What happened? Why do you like it?” I said mystified. “Phillip told me how you were the only girl about to win 400 dollars in prize money for writing stories.” “What!” He talked to me more about it then left. Later that month the money came and not to my knowledge, it paid for the taxes. For some time my father was making bad business and need the money. But from that day on my writing paid the bills and I never had to act like a lady again except on occasion.





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