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Always & Forever
Monday late evening, April 17, 1775
Today is my 17th birthday. There are so many reasons to be joyous. Aunt Debbie made me such a marvelous birthday dinner. Mother and Father had gone all the way to Boston and bought me beautiful fabric for a new dress-which I dreadfully needed-, and my fiancé, Joseph Parker, had given me the finest gift of all, a journal. A journal in which I am free to keep all of my deepest thoughts and worst fears, to express myself in ways I usually cannot. And yet, I am still not as blithe as I feel I should be. I cannot escape the unsettling feeling. Sometimes it frightens me. My mind is always racing, searching for an answer to a question in which I do not know. I toss and turn in my slumber each night, fearing the nightmares that haunt me so. Am I not mad? Jeremiah, my dearest brother Jeremiah. He is the only person in this vast world that knows how I feel. He seems to understand my every thought yet somehow does not believe I am not going insane. Jeremiah and I have always been close. Being only one year apart has given us such an unbreakable bond. I am truly blessed to call him my brother. Well, that is enough foolish talk for tonight, in fear I may soon lose my sanity. Although I have truly not written anything of important in my new journal, I have found I am running out of ink and page. The hour is extremely late and I have many chores tomorrow. I will write again as soon as I get the chance, but until than I must say good night.
Always & Forever,
Tuesday late evening, April 18, 1775
I have never written in a diary before, so I am not quite sure what to write. I suppose I should start with the basics. My name is Jane Moore, and I am the eldest daughter of Jonathan and Abigail Moore. My father is the blacksmith in Lexington Massachusetts. I come from a fairly large family consisting of three sisters, and three brothers. Simon is 23 and is the oldest child in the family. His wife Sarah is expecting her first child sometime in May. Jeremiah is the second oldest at 18. As I said before Jeremiah and I are very close. After Jeremiah I am the third oldest child, and am the eldest daughter. Ruth is 12 years old and is exceedingly flamboyant. Benjamin is 10, and is never up to any good. He is always causing mischief around the house with cousin Christopher. The youngest in the family is little Martha. She is four years of age and is the sweetest girl. My Aunt Deborah, or as I call her Aunt Debbie, Uncle Moses, and their 10 year old son, Christopher, are very close to our family, for they live only two houses away.
Today has been a quaint day. The Committee did get together, but of course women had no part in it, just like we have no part in anything else except for cooking and cleaning…(sigh) Oh well, I will talk to Jeremiah and have him tell me what the men were talking about tonight, although I already have a good idea of what the Committee had discussed. Independence is all people talk about anymore. Just the thought of living in a country that is not burdened with the hardships of tyranny. From what I understand the colonies have been having various conflicts with the fatherland. I hesitate to write this in fear someone will read it but it the truth, and the truth will not be confined. King George III has crossed one to many lines. Taxing our tea, placing duties on sugar and paper, and forcing us to house his soldiers is too much! He underestimates the strength of these 13 colonies. The aura of war is everywhere, and no one can escape it. The tension is that dense. The war now seems so undisputable. The scary part of it all is that this war shall mean life or death for the colonies. All in all, this monarchy has to end, and if dying is the cost for freedom, so be it. Now it is truly the time to JOIN, or DIE. (I had seen that saying, along with a sketch of a slice snake, in the newspaper, and could not comprehend its meaning till now.) Although I am only a woman, I am a strong, independent, and courageous woman that is not afraid to stand up for her country. And I am proud to call myself a Patriot.
Always & Forever,
Wednesday early morning, April 19, 1775
Life as I know it shall never be the same again. Everything has altered within only a few hours, and yet I am still oblivious to what will happen next. It all started well after eleven o’clock Tuesday night. Just after I closed my journal and blew out my candle I heard him, “ The British are coming! The British are coming!” Those words will be engraved in my memory until the day I die. I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could and started making my way down the stairwell. My whole family was awake. As much as my mother protested Father, Jeremiah and I went out to the common to see who this midnight rider was and why he had disturbed our slumber. By the time that we arrived to the common we could see that the entire town had awaken to greet our late night guest. When I saw Joseph I ran to him and asked what was going on. “It’s nothing my dear.” he spoke so calmly, “ You should go back home and get some rest this is no place for a lady.” The remark stung. Did he truly believe I should leave? He must have seen the pain in my eyes, for he quickly asked for forgiveness. “My dear you know I did not mean to offend you. I wish for you to always be at my side. I only mean that the hour is late and I fear that you will be frightened by this man’s tidings.” I could see that his apologize was sincere and accepted his apology. “I understand, but what are his tidings that I should be so alarmed?” I asked. “Come and we shall find out.” Joseph slid his hand in mine and promptly lead me to the front of the, now very large, crowd.
“ How many were there?” Mr. Wright yelled. “ I am not sure one hundred? Maybe seven hundred?” the mysterious rider replied before Mr. Wright could even finish his sentence. “One hundred and seven hundred is quite a difference how many did you see?” John Parker questioned sternly. John was the head of the Committee and the Captain of the Lexington, Massachusetts Militia. He is also Joseph’s first cousin. “I told you I am not sure. What was I suppose to do count them!? I heard they were coming to seize Concords hidden ammunition, and were going to cross through Lexington on their way. After that I got on my mount and rode here.” The rider seemed to be growing almost as impatient as his horse. “How are they coming?” “When did they leave?” two men asked at once from somewhere deep within the crowd. “Oneth by land and twoeth by sea. They left around ten o’clock this evening, so they should be at Lexington by dawn at the earliest. I am sorry but I must go. I have to warn Concord before it is too late.” At that moment the mysterious midnight rider reared his horse and took off into the night, just as quickly as he came. It seemed as if everyone began speaking at once. "Hide the children!" "What will we do?" "We must fight!" Out of the corner of my eye, I saw John Parker speak quickly with the other Committee members seconds before he made his announcement. His voice seem to overpower everyone else's, for when he spoke the anxious crowd went silent “Lexington has to take action. The Committee is assembling a muster roll. Any man that is willing to sign up, meet at Buckman’s Tavern. After you sign up go back home get your firearm, if you have one, and enough bread and water to last the night. Then we will meet back here in the common. ”
Joseph was going to sign up, and so were Jeremiah, Simon, and Father. I knew it. I simply could not bare the thought. The thought of the people I loved most fighting in a battle and possibly dying made me ill. I forced back tears as I fought my way through the crowd and ran all the way home.
I was on my bed weeping silently when Jeremiah knocked on my door. I looked up and saw him standing in my doorway holding his musket. He sat down next to me and spoke tenderly. “I spoke with John. He told me what the he is planning to have the militia do.” I looked up in interest, tears still running down my face. “We will be standing in the common with our weapons half cocked. No one will fire unless fired upon first. Chances are when the British come and see that we are willing defend our land they will turn around and leave. I promise, everything will be fine.” As foolish as it was having someone promise me everything would be okay made my fretting heart calm down. “Promise?” I asked. “ I promise, no one will get hurt.” I was able to hold my tears back long enough to ask Jeremiah to tell Joseph I loved him. He nodded, hugged me, and then he left with Joseph, Simon and my father to join with the other minutemen and await the British army.
Now I am sitting on my bed staring out the window. (I have a perfect view of the common from my room) I yearn to be outside waiting with the men, but I know that is not a possibility, so I wait by myself in my room writing in my journal to pass the time. I have nothing else to write for it is only dawn. The British army should be here any moment. I will write after the anxiety is over.
Always & Forever,
Wednesday late afternoon, April 19 1775
I am pleased to inform you that the worst part of the day is over. That is, I could not possibly imagine anything more ghastly taking place…today.
Soon after I placed my quill and ink aside, I stood by my window looking down on the men below. My mother tapped hesitantly on my door. As she came into view, I quickly seized my journal so it would appear that I was not “spying” on the gentlemen mumbling in the common below. But my Mother is too wise for trickery. She somehow knew precisely what I was up to and softly scolded me. “Now Jane, my dear, what exactly do you suppose you are doing up here?” In my most innocent voice I replied “I am merely writing in the beautiful journal Joseph so generously bought me for my birthday. Have I committed a sin Mother? ” Once again my mother is too wise for deception. “Ha! I have never heard such rubbish in my entire life!” I sighed a breath of defeat as she sat beside me on my neatly made bed still amused by my lie.
“I have yet to give you your birthday gift,” she beamed. I was quite confused, had she not given me those striking fabrics to make dresses? “The fabrics were a gift from you father and I,” she quickly confirmed. “However I believe, this being my eldest daughter’s seventeenth birthday, I should give her a meaningful gift that comes from the heart.” My mother placed a small leather bag, no larger than a mouse, into my hand. I stared at bag than at my mother, still unsure of what to do. “Open it,” she nudged. I raised the lid leisurely. Lying on the crown of the bag was a white and brown feather. I lifted it up cautiously and studied its beauty. It was a fair white at the top and faded into a warm brown near the base. “There is more,” my mother whispered. And indeed there was. At the bottom of the bag was a little drawstring bag. Inside of it there was a dull spotted arrowhead, and a necklace. The arrowhead was very odd. It was coarse and smooth, dangerous and harmless all at the same time. The necklace was made of and old brown thick string that had a soft kind of feel to it and some grass like thread. On the end of it hung a white rock with beige markings. Like the feather and arrowhead its simplicity made it astonishing. “They are…beautiful. Why did you…how did you…where did you?” I was stuttering incoherently until my mother interrupted me. “When I was a little girl my father made peace with the Indians that lived by our town. I became best friends with Tanurshri Salila, or Beautiful Water. We laughed and played together for many years. Everyday after my schooling I would scurry to Beautiful Water’s home and teach her all that I had learned. And in return she would teach me her native tongue. Tanurshri Salila honored me with an Indian name, Teja Undaya, or Radiant Dawn. She said that I reminded her of the sun when it was the happiest. And when I questioned her why, she purely replied that the sun is happiest at dawn because it has a fresh beginning, a chance to make up for the all the mistakes it had made yesterday. The next day someone in town reported an Indian attack. The men had no choice but to drive Tanurshri Salila and her tribe west,” my mother paused, revealing pain and sorrow in her eyes. Then she toke a deep breathe and continued. “Before she left I gave her my quill and ink so she would be able to maintain her writing skills and send me letters. In return Beautiful Water bestowed me with her necklace, an arrowhead, and a feather. The necklace was meant to keep me safe, the arrowhead to make me strong, and the feather to give me faith.” I was so completely engaged in my mother’s story that I did not realize the tears the trickled down my own face as well as hers. “My dearest daughter, you are just as courageous and as bold as the moon, that is why your Indian name shall be Abhaya Vidula or Fearless Moon. I want you to keep these items. I only pray they give you as much strength, courage, and faith as they have given me. ” I overflowed with joy while my mother embraced me. Although I did not understand why my mother was doing this I could not help but to feel so overwhelmingly, blessed and honored.“Thank you,” was all I could say as brushed the tears from my cheek. “Your welcome my darling.“
Before I was given a chance to speak the mumbling on the Green became hushed. I stumbled to my feet and gazed out the window. There within fifty paces of the common halted the nearly one thousand British soldiers.
“Oh my, the children!” my mother jumped to her feet and hurried down the stairs. I however, just stood there too dazed to move. I peered down at the Green below. Captain John Parker stood bravely in front of the Lexington Militia. The minutemen were gravely outnumbered. My eyes searched franticly for Jeremiah, Simon, Joseph, and Father. I shifted my stare to the Major of the British soldiers—Whom I later discovered was Maj. John Pitcairn—as he reared his enormous stallion. “Move aside!” he bellowed. There was a brief silence before the Major answered himself. “This is the King’s green! Disarm your weapons and disperse at once!” Like a true leader Capt. John Parker called to his men in a steady voice. “Stand your ground; don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” ~another pause~ “Damn You Rebels, Throw down you arms and Disperse!” Pitcairn roared. No one moved. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him, a young, idiotic British soldier, thirsting for bloodshed. He couldn’t control his eagerness much longer. He lifted his musket, and shot.
The sound was so deafening it took me off guard. I staggered backwards gripping my bed frame for support. As soon as I regained my balance I raced back to the window. Without orders the British army began to fire. I could not see the common for it was lost in a sea of gun smoke. Between the echoes of gunshots I heard screams of agony. People have been shot, and I do not know whom, but I am going to find out. I will write as soon as I can.
Always & Forever,
Wednesday late evening, April 19, 1775
It is over. The British soldiers are gone…for now. After I laid down my quill I scurried out of my room. I was yearning to make a dash for the front door, but my mother stood protectively before of it. As if she was reading my mind she said in her most motherly voice, “Jane Moore, you are not leaving this house until every ounce of smoke is cleared. Do you understand me?” I sighed in defeat, “Yes Mother.” Then I trudged to the kitchen window and waited. I waited well over an hour by the time Mother thought it was safe enough to step outside. I was in a stupor as I walked to the common. The only thing I could do was pray that no one I loved was hurt. My unconscious trance was broken when I heard my name. “Jane… Jane,” he called me. I looked franticly around the green desperate to find someone in my family. “Jane over here,” the voice called again. This time the call seemed strained. It was then I found him on the ground beside the stocks. “Jeremiah…?” Was that my beloved brother, crippled beneath me on the cold soil, which was now covered in his blood? Yes…it was. I fell on my knees beside him. “What did they do to you?” I wept. “Jane, tis only a shoulder wound,” he winced. “I’ll survive. Now go, fetch mother. Tell her that I that I am alright, also inform her that Simon and Father are fine too.” “Of course,” I replied. “But, what about…Joseph? Is he…okay?” Jeremiah looked down at his wound to avoid meeting my gaze. “I don’t remember seeing him. I’m not sure where or if…” he trailed off in a melancholy tone. Oh no! Was Joseph all right, or was I too late. I shuddered at the thought. “I am sure Joseph is safe,” Jeremiah assured me. “You can look for him after you speak to Mother. Tell her that Simon and Father are in the smoke house. They will wait there until sundown. Hurry, so Aunt Debbie can stitch my shoulder” “Of course, but what about you? If you honestly believe I will leave you here, you must be mad. ” Jeremiah gave me a look of impatience and scolded me. " Jane, you must get mother now. I will be fine. Father and Simon will come for me when they return home. Now go!" I sighed and reluctantly stood up. I ran as fast as I could while searching the ground for my wounded, or dead fiancée. There was no sight of him when I reached my mother. I repeated every word that Jeremiah had spoken to me, and then dashed across the Greene to find Joseph. It felt like I had searched all of Lexington before I found him lying against the well.
“Joseph!” I shrieked. “Joseph! Is that you?” I fell beside him and pressed my ear to his chest seeking a heartbeat. “Yes, darling. Do not fret I was not shot, only bayoneted.”-He was alive! Thank God!- “Oh Joseph! I thought I lost you. I have to take you back to the house. Aunt Debbie, she is stitching Jeremiah’s shoulder. She will mend your thigh too. You will be better in no time, I promise." My heart was filled with relief. I laid my head gently on his chest. After a long moment of silence Joseph softly kissed the top of my head. In a hushed tone I asked him "Will you be safe until I can find someone to carry you?” I felt breathless. Just the presence of being so close to him made my heart soar. “Yes, Jane I will be fine. Go now and be careful. I do not know if any of the soldiers are still here…” In my most comforting voice I tried to soothe his worried mind. “I will be back shortly with help.” He nodded and I started to run home.
I slowed down as I saw all of the women that were now on the green searching for their husbands and sons. All of them were weeping in sorrow. I was sympathizing to their pain when I overheard two women talking. “What did Lexington ever do to disobey or dishonor the King? Have we not always been a quiet town?” One asked. “I do not believe we are to blame either,” the other replied. “But to kill eight of our men? And wound nine more? We have only committed a crime of defending our home! I saw how it begun. A British soldier shot first without order.” The first woman was close to tears. “There, there darling I know, we have truly not done anything wrong and it is a disgrace the way those soldiers started killing us like that, when we are the ones they are suppose to be protecting,” the first woman did most of the talking while the other comforted her. “Does this mean war?” The first woman asked. “I don’t know, I do not know.” I could not stand to listen anymore, and ran the rest of the way back.
I was breathless by the time I was home. Simon and Father surrounded the table on which Aunt Debbie was doctoring Jeremiah. Was it nightfall already? Had I been searching for Joseph that long? Mother was the first to acknowledge my presence. “Jane you are home! Where is Joseph? Is he all right?” She embraced me as I talked.“Yes. He is going to be fine, except he was bayoneted and cannot walk. Father, are you and Simon able to carry him here? I toke the liberty in telling him Aunt Debbie could stitch his wound. How is Jeremiah?” “Fine, fine. Your brother is a strong man, and yes, of course we will take care of Joseph,” he mumbled. “Where is he?” “By the well” I replied. Before either of them stepped out the back door I embraced them both and told them that I was thankful they were home safe.
I hadn’t realized I was following my brother and father until I stopped walking in mid step and stared intently at the still earth under me. At my feet was an envelope with no address or stamp. This is odd. I bent down to seize the letter. The seal was one of my family’s. Had it been Simon’s or Father’s? I at the moment didn’t care. Without thinking, I slowly tore open the envelope. Inside the mysterious envelope was a newspaper heading from April last year. It seemed to be read many times for the words were beginning to fade away. Beside it a sketch of a snake sliced into 8 pieces with the saying Join or Die beneath it. I gasped in spite of myself. This was the saying that gave me hope, faith, confidence in the colonies I now called my home! All of the horrors of the day suddenly ran through my head. The nightmare replayed itself over and over, from the very first shot to the last cry of agony, until it all made sense. The women on the common were right. We did not deserve to be treated like this! To be slaughtered on our front porch! I remembered the words John Parker spoke to his men before the massacre. “ If they mean to have a war, let it begin here!” And indeed they meant war, for if they did not they would never have opened fire. John, Jeremiah, Joseph, Father, and Simon had all done their part in this fight for freedom. Now it is my turn to prove myself a true patriot. I believe I have a horribly wonderful idea developing. I must go speak with Jeremiah. I hopefully I will write soon.
Always & Forever,
Thursday early evening, April 20, 1775
Joseph and Jeremiah are going to survive. Aunt Debbie has been fostering them both all day, and is continuing to do so. My mind is still spinning from everything that has happened yesterday, that if anyone had told me that entire skirmish was only a nightmare I would have believed every word they said. But of course it was not, I had Jeremiah and Joseph as living proof. Furthermore, the truth of what really happened yesterday was just sinking into my head as I monotonously stepped over to my brother’s bedside with his supper in hand. I was in deep thought when he spoke so he startled me slightly.
"Well I’ll be Jane, that is almost enough food to feed fat King George himself!” One thing was for sure. Jeremiah was feeling quite better, especially if he was already able to fool about like that. “Ha, ha Jeremiah you are very funny,” I said sarcastically. “Now Aunt Debbie wishes you would eat all that you can. She said it would help you heal sooner.” “Aunt Debbie only wants to fatten me up and serve me as the Easter ham!” Jeremiah laughed. “Oh bite your tongue Jeremiah! You know as well as I that Aunt Debbie is doing her best to keep you well.” How was he able to be so light hearted at a time like this? “I know, I know but Jane, if I eat one more thing I am going to burst!” As I have told you many times before my brother and I have a very unique bond and are closer than most siblings. So when I forced a laugh the joke, concern fell upon his face.
“Jane,” he spoke softly. “What is wrong? Are you worried about what happened yesterday? The British are not coming back. Everything is well.” “Everything is well?” I questioned sharply. “You have been shot, Joseph bayoneted, seven others have been wounded and eight innocent men are Dead! How can you say that everything is well?” Jeremiah just stared at me. Dumbfounded at my outburst. “Jane…” he started, but I interrupted him quickly. “And of course I am worried about what happened yesterday. A war has started, a WAR! You promised me that everything was going to be fine, and that the British would leave us alone! But they didn’t. Now it has become a war for Independence. It is life or death for the thirteen colonies, and if we lose we may never know what freedom really is.” Jeremiah tried again, “Jane, listen to me…” and once again I quickly interrupted him. “ A man OR woman is worthless without their freedom. How can I call myself a patriot when I do nothing for the cause?” My anger faded at the end of my tirade. “So is that what this speech is about?” Jeremiah asked. “You wish to “prove” yourself a patriot?” (sigh) “Jeremiah you know I do not seek to be a hero, I never have” I wondered how this conversation had taken such a turn. I only meant to give him his supper. I wasn’t suppose to tell him my plan quite yet.“Of course I know that, but Jane do you know that you do not have to prove yourself to be a patriot by putting your life at stake.” I paused for a moment letting myself absorb his words. I finally spoke, “ Did you not put your life at stake as soon as you heard the British were coming? Only those that put their lives at stake in the name of freedom deserve to be called patriots, and I am willing to make that sacrifice for mine and my family’s freedom.” It seemed as if centuries had past as I waited for Jeremiah’s response. Then he spoke words I never would have imaged him saying. “I see your point Jane, and I am willing to help you, on one condition.” I was confused yet; I looked eagerly at my brother. Did he know my plans even before I spoke the words? “You must write to me, as often as you possibly can. If Joseph or Father…or worse…Mother found out what I have let you done…ugh! It would be off with my head, and I will never taste her sweet apple pie again!” He shuddered at the thought. “Oh Jeremiah you would do that for me? Oh thank you! Thank you so much! I will write to you everyday,” I promised. Then a question appeared in my head that I could not refuse asking. “Jeremiah…?” I started to ask. “Yes Jane?” “I was wondering. Although I am extremely grateful for you blessing, I could not help but to wonder why? Why are you letting me do this, and how did you know I was going to this?” He took my question to heart and answered it very thoughtfully. "Oh Jane when are you ever going to learn? I'm your brother! I know you."Jeremiah gave a hearty laugh and spoke again. “I had a feeling you would be coming up with some kind of plan, but going off to war…I was hoping you wouldn't think of that." Silence. "And you are letting me go? Although I have no objections, I am just curious to know why." Jeremiah winced in pain as he sat up in his bed, then smiled to let me know he was alright. "Because Jane, you are an honest and dedicated woman, and would not leave your family unless a dire matter. Also as you may already know, Joseph or myself could not possibly go to war in the condition we are in, and well Father and Simon have families depending on them. At this moment our place is here in Lexington. Your place is yet to be discovered. Only the good Lord in heaven knows where you should be, and I strongly believe He will take you there safely.” A broad smile broke out on my brother’s face. “I don’t know about you but I am certainly not going to be the one to mess with the Lord’s plans!” I laughed wholeheartedly at his joke and gave him the biggest hug I could manage without touching his shoulder.
Jeremiah and I stayed up awfully late discussing our "plans" for the morrow. The committee would be having another muster roll around noon. I intended on borrowing Jeremiah’s shirt, breeches, stockings, and hat. I would not cut my hair yet only because we do not want to have mother or father concerned. When I sign up I will identify myself as James Marble to keep my initials the same so I would be able to write to Jeremiah and have him know it is me, all the while keeping my true identity safe.
John Parker was given orders—which he must carry out in 3 days—from The Provincial Congress in Massachusetts to lead all of the “men” that signed the muster to an unknown gathering place to assemble with other minutemen, militias, and volunteers of New England. From there they intended on heading to Boston. They hoped to make camps around the city and someday take Boston out of British hands. It is truly grand having John Parker such a dear friend of Jeremiah. I am able to hear all of the exclusive information.
Furthermore, when I leave Lexington with the men, Jeremiah will be lending me a wool coat, that he had found last winter in Concord, and a few maps that he had gotten off of John Parker. Everything was carefully planed out. Tomorrow I would quickly finish all of my chores in order to have enough time to get into the role of James Marble. Then I would have to deceive all of Lexington into believing that I was a young man traveling from Concord wishing to join a militia. I pray I am making the right decision.
Always & Forever,
Saturday late evening, April 22, 1775
I apologize for not writing yesterday, but it had been such a tiring day. Everything went according to plan, although I am not fully convinced that John Parker had believed my story. Nevertheless he had believed it enough to allow me sign the muster roll. I am scheduled to depart Lexington at 3 o’clock tomorrow morning. Father and Mother shall not be aware of my absence for quite sometime. After I registered successfully Jeremiah managed to teach me how to clean, load, aim, and fire my—or his rather—musket. It was not as difficult as it seemed, however I will need much more time and practice to master the skill before I go to battle. I am sure they will put us through some sort of training…
I will not lie to you; I am frightened and stressed, very frightened and stressed actually. I have never fought in a war before let alone fire a musket at another human being. I am afraid that keeping my secret will be easier said than done, and I am terrified to consider what will happen to me if I am caught. Would I be hung, or burned at the stake? Or would the punishment be that harsh? What was the sentence for a woman impersonating a man? Or was there one at all? I cannot ponder on the thought very long. However I have a much greater fear than being caught in my web of lies. How would my mother react when she found out I was missing? Would Jeremiah tell her the truth? I will miss all of my family very much. I hope I will cause them no worry. Leaving everyone without saying goodbye.-sigh- I can't even imagine. I absolutely dread the thought of parting Joseph. I desperately wish to him why I am leaving. Then again I don’t know if I could bare his reaction. This is all happening much too fast.
Jeremiah snuck into my room around nine o’clock to cut my hair. For its length was quite long and no gentleman grows his hair past his shoulders. Therefore Jeremiah took his knife and chopped it off. I choked back my tears when I saw my beautiful brown hair fall to the ground, but the outcome was faultless. Now if only I could act like a gentleman I would fill my roll completely.
As I write I am packing necessities for my journey ahead, Jeremiah’s clothes, musket, and maps. The necklace, feather, and arrowhead Tanushri Salila gave to my mother. I will need as much strength, faith and protection as I can obtain, And my quill, ink, and journal so I may continue writing my chronicle.
Earlier this evening I said my subtle goodbyes to my family. They must of thought I was acting extremely odd to give them such hugs only to retire to my room. What they did not know was that would be the last time I retire to my room for a very long time, or maybe even the last time.
I almost told Joseph my plans when he called upon me today, but the fear of his reaction stopped me once more. As he bid me farewell at my doorstep silent tears rolled down my face. When he asked me why I was crying, I merely replied that I was sad that our evening had to end. He wiped my tears from my face and promised he would call on me again tomorrow. Then, he steadied himself on his walking cane (he is still healing from his wound) and looked over his shoulder. Before I could ask what he was doing, Joseph gently placed his hand around my neck and pulled me closer to him. In my ear he whispered, "Until the morrow my love." Then he kissed me. I could almost feel my heart fly out of my chest as my knees gave out beneath me. After he left, I sauntered up to my room feeling as if I was walking on clouds, and wept. Was I really leaving the man I love? Oh, I wish I could tell Joseph everything! I will…I have to. I just pray to the good Lord that he will understand.
I only have one more goodbye, and that would be the hardest one to say. Of course it was for Jeremiah. (Sigh) I must pack my journal now. I will write as soon as I can.
Always & Forever,
Sunday late afternoon, April 23, 1775
I have made it to the gathering place (although I still do not know where it is), and I am safe. No one suspects my true identity, for now at least. There are many men here, 300 maybe more, but we are to wait for another hour in case any additional men arrive late. Most of the men are writing in there own journals, that is why I thought it safe for me to write. I keep replaying my goodbyes over and over again in my mind. I miss my family so much already! It was extremely difficult to say farewell to Jeremiah…
I woke up around 2:30am in order to successfully make my escape. I rushed around my room as quickly and quietly as a mouse, gathering everything that was needed for my journey ahead. When I was completely dressed in Jeremiah’s clothes and had everything in hand I tiptoed into his room. As I suspected Jeremiah was alert and vigilant waiting for me. “I’m ready,” I said to him. There was a long pause. “Yes,” he finally replied. “Now you must go.” Silence.“I will be back I promise.” This time Jeremiah didn’t respond. He only embraced me in a hug so tight that it was struggle to breathe. It was hard to wrap my mind around the thought that, that may have been the last time I ever hugged my dearest brother. When he released me, I saw a tear escape his eye. I could not control my emotions any longer, I wept in his arms releasing all of my qualms. He merely stood there and comforted me, patting my head and hushing me at appropriate times. When I was done he gave me one last hug and said that if I didn't leave now I would be discovered. I managed a nod and opened his window. Carefully I started to climb out. Although I made it to the ground triumphantly it was quite tricky making my way down the side of the house with a large bundle, and musket on my back. I looked up at my brother one last time and ran to the common.
Now here I am waiting for orders trying to calm my mind. It was only a few moments ago when I was so lost in my thoughts and did not notice John Parker staring down at me. “Marble, right? James Marble from Concord?” Startled, I stood up almost spilling my ink. I stood as tall as I could to seem more broad, and saluted him as I have seen other soldiers do. I cleared my throat before I spoke. “Yes sir. May I be of assistance?” I asked in my deepest voice. “No, not right now thank you. I did not mean to disturb you. We have quite some time before we make our way to Boston, and I was interested to know your story. We don’t get many visitors from Concord let alone visitors that wish to join our militia. I was hoping you could satisfy my curiosity. Do you mind?” When I realized that he was not trying to expose my secret I slowly began to relax. “Oh, yes, of course.” I sat down and gestured for him to take a seat beside me. In my head I quickly made up a lie to tell him. I began to tell him how the men in Concord felt I was too young and too small to play any part in the war, and my dear mother refused to let me go, so I had to run away. I was quite nervous as I told John my lie. I was almost positive he knew who I really was, but in the end my identity was kept hidden. Why in fact, by the time I was done explaining my reasoning for joining Lexington’s militia instead of Concord’s, it seemed as if John Parker believed me completely. He left soon after my story was told to talk with other soldiers. I never noticed how much John looked like his cousin.
We will be leaving soon to start our march to Boston. Until then I am going to start my first letter to Jeremiah.
Always & Forever,
Saturday early morning, April 29, 1775
It has been only six days since I last wrote, but it feels like a century. We have been arduously marching through the day and night. I am already forgetting why I am here. Did I not make the right decision? Should I have stayed home with Mother? It is too late to think about that now. I have made a decision, and whether it is right or wrong I am staying true to my word. I sent a letter to Jeremiah nearly a week ago. Had he forsaken me so soon? When was he going to write back? I so badly wish to read his words of comfort. (Sigh)
I was lying on the ground under the shade of an old oak tree when I heard my false name. “James?” It was John Parker again. We have become good friends since our last encounter. “Yes John?” I replied. I was beginning to become accustom to my masculine voice and it was less of an effort to speak in it than it was six days ago. “ I have a letter for you. The messenger would not give his name, but he said it was for your eyes only.” A letter! Has Jeremiah finally written back? I nearly ripped the envelope out of Parker’s hands as I examined the wax seal. Yes! It was Jeremiah! He had not forsaken me! “Thank you,” I managed a calm response. John could sense my eagerness for he laughed whole-heartedly in amusement and said, "Tis your lass back in Concord ay?" I couldn't help but to laugh out loud. If he only knew! "Ha-ha, yes sir, tis my lovely lady back home." John Parker smiled, shook his head, still amused by my eagerness to open the letter and turned around to leave.
As soon as he left I swiftly opened the envelope and scrambled to unfold the letter it enclosed.
I have just received your letter, and am writing back immediately. I am overjoyed to hear you are well! Where are you now? Are you still well? Please tell me you have not been in any skirmishes? I don't believe I could handle the thought of you getting injured, although you most likely would have had those Red Coats running all the way back to England!
I will not lie to you Jane; Mother is a wreck without you. She believes that she put to much pressure on you to marry Joseph so soon, and you and ran off to Pennsylvania to become a writer, imagine that! Although I did not tell her our little secret, Joseph does know.
When Mother told him that she thought you did not want to marry him, he almost died of a broken heart. I could not watch the man suffer any longer, so I told him. I hope that is alright. He told me to tell you a few things on his behalf; He loves you Jane, and will wait for you. He also wants you to know that as soon as his leg is fully recovered, he will be fighting right by your side. Although he is exceedingly concerned for you, he is very proud. He says that what you are doing takes more courage than any man could ever put forth, and he is right Jane.
What you are doing does take courage. So much courage that you may not even know. You have more to fret about than just being shot or bayoneted. Yet, you have a great deal strength and conviction, and so much to be fighting for that it seems to make everything else balance out. You are the strongest woman I have ever known Jane, and I believe with all my heart that what you are doing is right. Remember who and what you are fighting for. Remember that a patriot does more than just talk about freedom, more than write petitions to the King, and does more than dump tea into a Harbor. A patriot is willing to do anything in the name of freedom. And if dying is the cost so be it.
You will come back home to us Jane. Keep that in mind. And when you do we will all be waiting with open arms. Keep safe and write soon.
With all my best wishes,
Tears rolled silently down my dirty face as I read and reread the letter. It gave me so much hope! This was the reason why I was here, to give people like Jeremiah the freedom they deserve, to keep innocent people from dying, to show the world that men AND women are truly worthless without their freedom, and to have the chance to fight for what I believe in, to call myself a true patriot. That is why I am here, and that is why I will continue to fight until the day that I die to show the world that freedom is worth dying for!
Always & Forever,