The Sweetest Rum | Teen Ink

The Sweetest Rum

March 28, 2011
By Corlupa BRONZE, Fremont, Ohio
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Corlupa BRONZE, Fremont, Ohio
2 articles 2 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
One man's style must not be the rule of another.

The trivial enjoyment of children no longer fascinates me as it once did. I can not see any fun in the whippings or hangings that they so enjoy watching. Today’s festivities at the town center were different however. I was on my way home from helping the poor lady down the street with her cows, when my sister, Lily, came running to me.
“Trinity!” she called her face splotched red from excitement. No doubt she had been watching the whippings today.
“Trinity, They caught Eli!” Lily panted as she caught up with me.
I froze, a deep breath held hostage behind my clenched teeth. I tried not to appear concerned but those muscle movements were beyond my control. I continued walking speedily, with Lily trotting at my side. Lily began to walk towards the whipping post where she automatically assumed I would be heading, but I veered toward home.
Our small house sat in the front of our large farm. My father had come to the Colonies for the land profit. He had gotten his choice pick in Edenton Port, where there were less than few farmers.
At home I mechanically placed my goods from town in their places. Lily was still pestering at my side. I wanted her to go away but, I knew that if she did I would collapse inside of
myself, so I let her stay. When I had finally finished unpacking all of the things I had brought home I took a deep breath, composed myself, and followed Lily through the doorway out in to the street.
“Trinity, It was terrible” she said, not sounding terrified in the least. “They said he was associating with sugar smugglers. They sentenced him to 13 lashes. One for each of the known smugglers in town.” Lily continued to drone.
I blocked her voice from my ears, but quickened my step. Mentally I was cursing myself because I knew he was involved, and I had not warned him.
The smell of blood pierced my nose. I coughed gently knowing it would not rid the pain that chilled my own blood. It took precious seconds for me to find Eli’s dirty-blonde, brown head. He was already covered with blood. The deep wounds on his back oozed onto the dirt street. I walked to where I could see his face. Our eyes locked, and he looked brave for my sake. I could see the pain he was in, but that uncanny ability of his to always keep a smile gave me hope that it was not as bad as it looked. I smiled back, and turned my head away. I could not let anyone see me looking at him. I knew people were already suspicious of me because I had come. My presence at the whipping post was very uncommon. I had not seen a whipping since I was 10, Lily’s age.
My turned gaze fell to my little sister’s face. She was astounded by whippings she had not missed a single one since we first came to the colonies. Her rusty hair was a mess from running, and her new leather shoes were already covered

in dirt and mud. When Lily caught sight of Eli’s lacerated back she gasped, the short sound turning to a squeal between her teeth. I reached for a hand, knowing what she felt.
The first time I saw someone I knew being whipped was the last time I ever went to a whipping. When a recognized face is twisted in agony, your own face can bear the same expression.
I wrapped an arm around Lily’s shoulder and she turned her head to my skirts, tears pooling in her eyes.
Lily’s love and care for Eli was almost as great as my own. I could feel her tears begin to moisten my apron, and with a last look at Eli’s distorted face I began to walk her home, wishing there was some way I could help him with out being noticed.
Dinner was unnervingly quiet. Neither Lily nor I were very hungry, and my parents kept giving each other knowing glances. I picked through my chicken filling my stomach with the kind of substance it did not want.
Father knew I had gone to the whipping post today, and I was terrified that he would ask why. My mind was not functioning fast enough to find a suitable excuse. I also knew that if I had to remember Eli’s distraught face, and torn back I would begin to cry again.
My father looked up across the table. His dull eyes settled one me. I focused all my
concentration on keeping my facial expression and body language indifferent. I then remembered to keep putting potatoes in my mouth.
“Trinity, did you enjoy the whippings

today?” he asked, sounding smug. I felt Lily stiffen in her seat beside me.
Numbly I felt myself nod my head, and then shocked that I could agree that I enjoyed seeing Eli whipped I began to cough to avoid choking on tears and chicken. I sensed Lily begin shake next to me.
I raised my gaze back to my father, he was still waiting for a sounded answer from me. Thinking briskly I responded.
“I just went to fetch Lily, and then I ended-up watching with her.”
Father redirected his eyes on Lily who nodded weakly. Mother gently cleared her throat and Father stormily got up from the table and stalked outside to smoke his pipe and talk politics with the neighbor.
Mother stood and motioned for Lily and I to help clear supper away. I took my half-eaten food out to the chicken coop. I could not even force out my usual humor at the irony of the way the chickens gobbled up the chicken.
Lily called my name from the kitchen and I dumbly turned, picked up the bucket of water by the back doorstep and stepped back into the house. I collected my apron from the hook on the kitchen wall and began to wash the dishes within the bucket and hand them to Lily for her to dry.
Neither of us spoke until we were sure Mama had gone to do her cross-stitching. Then Lily’s small voice piped in.
“I’m sorry I told you to come to the whippings” she regretted sounding devastated. I could not allow her to feel guilty and
take the blame for my own doing. She was only 10

and did not understand. I interrupted her apology. “No, I could have stayed home. I needed
to see that anyway.” I murmured, handing Lily the last plate.
I took away the dirty water and disposed of it out the kitchen door. I watched the water soak into the dirt forming puddles and becoming mud. I wished I had been able to help Eli. I hated not being allowed to even curtsey when he tipped his hat to me in town. My father had higher prospects and expectations for me. A nephew of the blacksmith had nothing to offer. A son of a judge or doctor however, could never posses or attempt to duplicate the same charm and kindness that Eli did.
I awoke the next morning in a cold sweat with nightmares still flashing through and around my head. I was sweaty and my hands shook as I slid in to my dress. I checked on Lily before heading out to the town to run some errands for my mother. She was still soundly sleeping and did not appear to be distressed by nightmares, or the terrible kind of dreams I had experienced.
I was glad that her vicious memories of the previous day’s events seemed to be
disappearing already. I only hoped that mine could vanished at five times the length hers did.
With a sigh I trudged down from the upstairs and into the kitchen to fetch an apple to eat on the walk to town. Father was already gone out to the farm with the horses, and Mother was in the parlor writing a letter to her family back in England.
I located my basket and my Mother’s

coin purse and slipped out the door unnoticed. I munched on my apple while taking the long route to town so I would not have to walk past the whipping post and see Eli’s dried blood spilt across the ground. I swallowed hard picturing his body laying out all night if no one had gone to help him. I had always known Eli would get himself mixed with rebels like the Sons of Liberty, and other anti-British groups. I never actually thought though that he would have the ability to smuggle sugar. The only reason I could think of for him to smuggle was just to be defiant of the King. I hoped that he had learned his lesson from the whippings because I did not think I could ever bear to see him lying on the ground soaking in his own blood ever again.
“Speak of the Devil.” I muttered beneath my breath as I took my last turn before getting to the general store
I found myself on the street where the blacksmith, Mr. Commondew, Eli and his uncle worked. I froze, wondering if I dared go in and find out if Eli was okay. I knew that Mr. Commondew liked me and I liked him, so there wouldn’t be any issues there, but I was still upset with Eli for getting caught.
Decisively, but yet timidly, I approached the door and rapped on it several times with my knuckles. I almost sprinted away when I heard steady footsteps approaching, but that would have made me no better than the immature school boys that played mean jokes on shop owners. I plastered a smile on my face the door squeaked open. It was Mr. Commondew who answered the door, wearing his black smith apron and with a

black smear across his face. “Trinity!’ he exclaimed with a smile, and I
could feel a real smile inch across my own face. “I was expecting you would be here, come in and have some tea!” he boomed in his rocky, voice.
I nodded and stepped inside, always on the lookout for Eli. I followed Mr. Commondew through the hallway to the parlor where he had some tea set out. A very large incriminating smile stretched out on my face and my eyes alighted when I saw Eli sitting on a bench swallowing some tea. I quickly rearranged my face into a blunt look of dismay. Eli winced as I bore my eyes into his head. Mr. Commondew motioned for me to have a seat on the other side of the room in a comfortable looking chair. I did and took the cup of tea that was to handed me. Mr. Commondew mumbled something about horse shoes and left. I knew it was not very civil or correct to be left alone in a room with a boy that I was not courting, but at the moment I did not really care.
I shot daggers at Eli with my eyes, and he shrugged them off. Flustered I let out a stream of words in a huff.
“I cannot believe you went and got caught. Do you not realize how terrifying it was to everyone that loved you when they had to see you lying on the dirty forsaken ground with crisscross slashes bleeding violently from your back. What were you thinking?” I was practically shouting at him, and my face was reddening with my anxiety as my mind replayed the scene of him lying motionless on the ground and then him giving me a weak pained smile.
“Do you think I got caught on purpose?”

he asked in that calm composed way that was sometimes charming but at the moment was just making me infuriated.
I growled at him in a very unladylike
“You did not have to smuggle.” I hissed between my clenched teeth.
“I was doing was was right for my country.” he began to become irritated. “The Brits do not have a single right to parade us around and force us to pay their debt.” I could tell he was in pain, but I decided he deserved it and continued to urge him on.
“That debt was caused by a war that we created with the French.” I pushed further into the fight I knew he was waiting for.
“Only, as their tool.” he glared, his patriotic side ebbing away at the pain.
I paused knowing I actually agreed with most everything he said. I just longed to convince him to think. He was always being hasty and acting form his heart not his head. In exasperation I sat down my tea cup and rose from my chair. With a little last sympathy I left the room and the shop.
“Just be more careful next time.”
I was gone before his reply could reach my ears. Speedily, I walked towards the general store keeping my eyes lowered to the ground, and focused on my feet. I stepped into the store to be greeted by the shop keeper.
“G’morning, Miss Smith, How are you today?” he asked in a scratching cheerful manner.
“Hello, sir.” I replied with a curtsey. “My mother sent me for some sugar.”
“I have some right over here, five pounds?”

He asked already poised to scoop out the sugar. I nodded noticing the absence of a tax
stamp on the barrel. I did not want to see anymore kind heartened souls get whipped for untaxed sugar, so I voiced no opinion on the barrel, just accepted the sugar and paid for it.
Stepping back out into the daylight of the sun on the street, I saw children playing near the school and all of life seemed to be simple. I knew though, that underneath, so many of my neighbors were covering their tracks and taking cover from the dreaded day when they would be caught and punished.

When my footsteps carried me home the house was buzzing. Apparently, my Mother had invited some neighbors to enjoy tea with her. I quickly realized that this meant they would be in need of the sugar, I had bought, as soon as possible. In a rush I scurried into the house, and pulled off the apron I had worn to town. I scooped the sugar hastily into the sugar bowl, and whipped around to face the parlor. Mother was indeed entertaining several quests, so I slipped in quietly, and set the sugar bowl beside the teapot, making sure they didn’t already have one set out. I almost disappeared from the room unnoticed, until mother caught my eye.
“Trinity, you are a fine lady and more than eligible to join us for tea.” She gestured to her companions who nodded their heads in agreement.
I paused my lips slightly parted in a

“I would love too,” I responded with a false smile. “but I have other things planned to attend to.”
I curtsied and scurried away before anyone could stop me.
I actually did not have plans for tea, so I just skipped it. Instead I sat alone in my room dreading the day when when I would be a married woman joining other married women for tea. The only person I would ever be willing to cherish that idea for was Eli, but both of us knew that we had no chance for each other I was already reserved with the farm for some rich man that my father approved of. I was 16 years old and I knew my chances were almost up. Father would not allow me to stall much longer before forcing somebody upon the unworthiness of his eldest daughter.
I stayed quietly in my room until I heard Lily’s arrival home from school. I checked my appearance in the looking glass, decided it was pleasant and came out to help with supper. I was not truly thinking about what I was doing as a rolled out dough to be made into rolls. All my thoughts were on what my mother could have been discussing with the ladies that had come to visit. I had gone through their names in my head, while waiting out tea hour in my room, and each of them had something in common, an unmarried eligible son. I glowered thinking of what they were possible planning behind my back. I slid the rolls into the oven and began to fetch the dishes. Father would be home soon, and he preferred to have his supper set on the table. I spun around the kitchen, my mind temporarily focused on other things I needed to finish. I was just setting the hot rolls on

the table as the door opened and Father stepped in from working on the farm. Lily came running over to him with a bucket of clean water to wash his hands and then stood by her chair waiting for Father to take his seat. We sat at the table, said grace, and began to eat. The silence loomed, because neither Lily nor I were called on to speak. One day my parents had told me that as an adult I was allowed to speak, but I never had. Tonight I decided to exercise this right and as I began to speak my words were greeted by looks of astonishment from my parents.
“Who were the ladies that came for tea today mother?” I asked softly trying not cause much alarm.
My mother gave me a cautious look and exchanged a glance with my father, who nodded, before answering.
“Those, dear were your possible future.” she said with a triumphant victory smile.
Getting an answer I expected I managed to keep my feelings repressed. Lily, however, stared open mouthed at me, just beginning to slightly understand the situation.
“I do not remember being asked anything concerning my future.” I said a bit too harshly and probably deserved the sharp clip from my father that I got.
“You have not seemed to take an interest in your future so we have taken one for you in an attempt to gain you a respectable family someday.” he growled clearly meaning the conversation should end.
I bit my tongue knowing more would be said later when Lily had gone to sleep.

After supper my family was congregated in the parlor. Father was reading the paper and muttering occasionally comments, Mother was teaching Lily a new cross-stitch pattern and I was reading a novel when suddenly Father decided to send Lily to bed. Lily’s head looked up from her work with a confused expression, but she did not protest, because she was a sweet and good daughter. She gave mother a kiss on the cheek, came to father, and gave him his kiss and he patted her rust colored head. Pretending to only just now begin pay attention I lifted my head from my book.
“Do you need help getting out of your dress?” I asked trying to avoid staying in the parlor with mother and father. Lily looked questionably toward Mother who slightly shook her head.
“Um... No thanks.” Lily said nervously in agreement with mother.
Lily had never been able to reach the buttons at the back of her dress, but tonight she would have to manage. I gave her a reassuring smile and she slipped away to her room.
As soon as Lily was out of ear shot Father folded up his paper and bid me to set down my novel. I swallowed hard and closed the book.
“Trinity, at supper you brought up avery important topic.”
I could see what a struggle it was for him to keep composed. I was having a difficult time myself not interrupting him or bolting from my seat and parting the room. I listened in dread as he continued.
“It is time, you thought seriously about courting. I am not going to be around forever to

keep you fed and clothed.” he raised his eyebrows emphasizing the point. “And I do not mean that blacksmith’s nephew. You are far above the likes of him.” Father finished and unfolded his newspaper.
His name is Eli, I thought giving Father a cruel look from behind the pages of my book. I was trying to continue reading as usual, but my mind kept drifting. I closed the pages and went off to sulk in my room.
I hated people planning out my life for me, but then I also knew deep down in some hidden recess that my father was right. I was to good for Eli but I was willing to sink to his level if that is what it took. I knew that the next morning the sons of the ‘tea’ ladies would be flocked to the door to behold my beauty and ask me to the barn dance that was on the coming Saturday. If I was not a lady I would have spat at the thought, but I am a lady so I kept my saliva in my mouth and dosed off to dream land instead.
As suspected I awoke to the sound of knocking at the door. Father left early every morning to survey his fields, so I surmised that Mother told the neighbors to send their sons to ask his permission early. I contemplated making my appearance and thus forcing everyone away, but decided against it. I might as well let them come, it was going to happen eventually. I heard Lily’s soft steps tiptoeing cautiously downstairs. She regretted meeting these men just as much as I did. I heard Lily disappear to school and wished I could follow her, but I was too old for school and many of my school friends were already married to what my father addressed as suitable men.

I finally picked up the sound of father’s footsteps. He was walking toward the coat rack and putting on his hat. I resolved that that meant everyone had gone. I pushed back my blankets and stretched like a witch’s cat. I undressed from my night gown and put on a mediocre dress that would not draw attention to me from all my suitors. My nimble fingers finished off the buttons and I swept down the stairs in a rather good mood considering what I would have to face later today, when all my ‘friends’ finished their work.
Downstairs was only my mother washing out the weeks’ clothes in the washing bin just outside the back door. I thought of volunteering but did not, knowing that once my mother got me started she would not let me stop. Today I was proud to say though that I did have plans. I was going to ride to far side of town and play the pianoforte to entertain my small cousins.
My cousins were five and six years old, Matthias and Hannah. I loved to visit them whenever I was in a foul mood because their wonderful spirits cheered me up considerably. As I was putting on my bonnet and finding my basket, a short definite rapping was heard on the door. I glanced out the window and saw the judge’s son. I sighed and went to answer it, my small cousins would have to wait a while for me to entertain them.
“Hello, sir” I said opening the door. My short curtsey was greeted with a very low and extraordinary bow.
“Hello m’lady” he said grinning.
I could tell he was waiting for me to offer my hand, but I held it to my basket not being easily

won over.
He paused looking a bit befuddled, but quickly regained himself.
“I spoke to your father this morning.” he presented the fact as if I cared and did not already know. When I didn’t respond he paused again before continuing.
“Would you like to come for a ride in my new buggy? We could go out to the meadow and maybe have a picnic?” He asked.
My immediate response was to decline but I could not bring myself to be so cruel. The judges’ son was terrible looking and if I did go with him it would please my father. I did not have a picnic packed but I did not doubt that his mother had sent one with him. I took a quick moment to evaluate the situation and then agreed. I was almost happy to oblige him when I saw what a great grin spread across his face just by my saying yes. I excused myself for a minute and turned back indoors and set down my basket. I quickly tripped up the stair and found my gloves. I shortly regretted my choice of dress, but then remembered the Eli never cared about what I wore, so I figured I would give the judges’ son his chance to not care either. I ever so gracefully and ladylike slid down the stairs and out in to the buggy. To my very little surprise there was a picnic basket backed and sitting by my feet when he helped me in.
The judges’ son was no great talker so I began the conversation.
“I’m so sorry but I cannot recall your name.” I tried to sound actually sorry.
“Jonathan Wells. I was named for my grandfather.” he said proudly.”

I rolled my eyes to the side at the lack of charm and scavenged my brain for something else to say.
“Fascinating. I replied still pondering. “Does your horse have a name?” I asked deciding it was personal enough but not enough to make me seem interested in him.
“Yes, ma’am. Her name is Belles just like the ones we ring a Christmas. I traded her from a southern man for some old manuscripts I had copied.”
A manuscript copier I actually found interesting though I tried not to show it.
“Copying manuscripts? are you considering joining the clergy.” I asked.
“Yes ma’am. I have actually just finished my schooling. I will be ordained sometime next month.”
No wonder my father was interested. If he was finished with schooling, he probably already had a parish waiting for him somewhere.
“Do you have a parish assigned yet?” I asked, begging for a no but guessing it would be a yes, and it would also just happen to have a sizable income. Tricky father of mine would make sure of that.
“Yes, and it is not to far from here. I already even have a pay decided on.”
I determined to take the conversation away from money, trying to show that I did not want to know how much some one else earned, and that those earnings would never be shared with me.
“Lucky for you. Not many other young men like yourself could say they have
accomplished the same things. I wish you most

luck in the future.” I ended the conversation realizing we were almost to the meadow.
“No, ma’am not many could.” he agreed, with a halt call to Belles. In a movement meant to be a charming flourish he jumped from his seat and skipped to the other side of the buggy to help me out.
I stretched out my gloved hand to him, he took it with pleasure and helped me down from the buggy.
From that point on to our picnic, I fail to be able to say I was impressed by him. The rest of the part of day I spent with him was met with senseless conversation and many imposing words of a future on his part.
After he dropped me off at my home I still had a decent 3 hours before I would have to begin helping with supper. I disputed for several seconds the possibility of visiting Eli before the meal- I chose to go. I hastily changed into a more flattering dress that would catch Eli’s eye if anything did, and began the round about walk to the Blacksmith shop and home. My trod was peculiarly quick and I reached the shop and house in a short ten minutes.
This time I walked around to the side of the shop and knocked directly on the house door. I heard lighter footsteps that were Eli’s smaller feet and not his uncle’s large one. I cheered up a bit knowing that he was walking and waited patiently for him to come to the door. He opened it and I could instantly tell he was in a foul mood. He let out a fake groan when he saw me, but I noticed how he opened the door wider to invite me in. As per usual my clothing did not affect him in the

slightest. He only looked at my eyes like always. I looked at his own dark creamy eyes and smiled. “Glad to see you moving about.” I said
meaning it fully. “Wish I could say the same for you” he
replied smiling now. I stepped inside catching the wonderful
smell of him when he has not been in contact with rum dealers for several day. It was the sweet smell of hay and honey. I was very pleased to discover it without its tangy rum scent behind it.
“Sorry there is not any tea.” He said shutting the door and following slowly behind me. “No one has been to the general store get some recently.”
“I already had my tea with Jonathan Wells.” I said nonchalantly.
It was a little lie, we hadn’t actually had tea but we had eaten together. I was glad to see Eli flinch inward, knowing the only reason I would have been with Jonathan was if we were courting. He pretended not to care but I could tell he was sore about it.
“The judge’s boy?” he asked smirking.
“He is very polite, only ever calling me ma’am and m’lady. Unlike some men his age.” I said shooting a devilish stare at Eli with laughing eyes above it.
“I’m sorry m’lady. I was not aware you enjoyed proper naming.” he teased.
I gave him a disgusted look. “Not coming from your foul bloody mouth.”
I laughed sinking down into the same chair that I had argued from the day before.
“Feeling better?” I asked becoming

sympathetic to Eli’s pained face as he lowered himself on the bench
I knew that he wasn’t someone that showed pain easily. I also knew he would not show pain in front of a lady, he also would not show pain that he knew was deserved. He must have been really sore and beat up to release that kind of wince.
I looked into his eyes and saw his plea for help. I bit my lip feeling for him probably more than he felt for himself.
“You poor thing.” I murmured compassionately. “Whatever shall we do with you.”
“Cannot really get much worse.” he said jokingly, but I could read his expression behind the words, he only had hope left to keep him from getting worse.
“Are you scared?” I asked leaning in, elbows on my knees.
“Sometimes. It is because I know what a powerful force the Brits can be. I feel like it is all up to me to stop them, and no one else has enough courage to help me. They are all frozen waiting for me to come by with my torch and melt them out of their ice blocks. I am just scared sometimes that I will run out of oil before I can get to everyone. Yes, Trinity I am scared, and I have no one but you to comfort me.” He looked up eyes shining toward my face.
I felt a tear slid from the corner of my eye down my cheek. I was so angry with myself. I was scared too. Except my fear was the kind with out courage. Not the kind that Eli had, the kind that allowed him to give himself up to a whip and be beaten and torn apart by people he used to call friends. In that moment I wished so much to have

courage to some day stand with Eli and have the same kind of fearful courage he had. Sadly today was not my day. I stood and curtsied toward Eli. His eyes were lost in his thoughts and he barely gave me a glance.
“I am sorry.” I whispered “I am sorry I am not brave like you.”
I let myself out of the house.

I think I was really beginning to frighten Lily. I knew I was acting very strangely to her. I was always sitting locked up in my room often times with my hanky in my lap. When I was not doing that I was out parading around with my suitors. The real truth behind my abnormal actions was my fear. The times when I sat in my room I was hiding from Eli. When I paraded about I was looking for searching for that part of me that was better and would help make the rest of me better. Of course Father and Mother were delighted anytime I mentioned a buggy ride and they exchanged knowing appreciative glances. After only a week or so I had narrowed or rationalized my suitors to one, or two if you counted Eli. This one was Taylor Rhode son of some rich fancy man in Philadelphia. Taylor was also the man I was going to attend the barn dance with. I had no love or even casual liking for Taylor, but he was wild and adventurous and distracting. He took my mind off of the important things like Eli and the Sons of Liberty.
I finished pulling up my straw colored ringlets and putting on my pearls for the barn dance just as a heard buggy wheels outside the door. I smiled faintly at my reflection and my smile

was returned. I sighed, smoothed my dress, and stepped down the stairs. I could feel a glow of radiance piping from my skin and I basked in the warmth. Eli had told me he would be at the dance, and that made me happy even though those words had come with the ones words saying he could not dance because of the pain. I knew I looked beautiful when I began my descent because of the way Taylor looked up at my me his eyes glistening in a very demeaning way to a lady, but I enjoyed his looks because I hoped it meant maybe Eli would see me too in the way I wished he always would.
Father was standing at the bottom of the stairs and he took my hand as I reached him. With a kiss to my hand he smiled, not a fatherly smile but a soon-to-be father-in-law smile. I did not smile back.
Taylor’s words floated in from some where beside me. “You look mighty handsome Miss Smith” he stuttered taking my hand from my father and leading me to the buggy. I glowed all the way to the dance. When Taylor stopped chatting and called a halt to his horse I had a moment to look up and around at all the other assembling couples. The very first eyes I grasped belonged to the very person I was looking for. I saw him twitch, envious as Taylor helped me to the ground wrapping one hand on my waist and the other in my hand. I stepped down and took Taylor’s arm. I tried to find Eli again in the but I had lost his sandy head when I had shifted my eyes to the ground to get out from the buggy.
Taylor immediately began his usual cheerful chatter that I found so distracting and I listened to him all the while searching for Eli.

“This green dress goes quite perfectly with your green eyes Miss Smith and the cream in it really bring out your rosy cheeks.” He looked a bit to long at my rosy cheeks and I blushed lightly, not easily embarrassed.
“Thank-you sir, My mother said the same when we picked the material.”
“Your mother is a very smart woman with a good taste in fashion.”
“Thank you I’m sure she would be honored very highly by that compliment.”
Taylor looked pleased with himself at complimenting my mother and I suppressed a giggle at his excited expression.
The music began to play and Taylor stepped back from me and bowed asking for my hand in the dance. I agreed as a common courtesy toward his kindness in bringing me. Just as the words left my mouth my eyes locked in on a pair of dark brown ones just behind and over Taylor’s shoulder. I gasped inwardly when I noticed he was headed this way. I had already given Taylor consent and it was proper to dance with him first but I had a feeling deep inside that Eli was going ask me unless he had not already heard that I had given the first dance to Taylor.
I smiled at Eli. Mentally promising him the next dance and hopefully the last if I could give it to him, but he did not see, he solemnly walked away from me, his jaw fighting with jealousy as Taylor led me out to the floor by the hand.
I spun gaily in Taylor’s arms. He was a very avid dancer and matched my liking for the art with all the pleasure I could hope for. But something about the dance still felt empty. I was

missing a very important part in the dance, I think it was mutual affection. Both of us were dancing for the dance not for each other so it did not create the same effect as if we really had had a feeling that made us want to dance with each other specifically.
I enjoyed myself anyway and after the first dance Taylor excused himself to dance with his friend’s younger sister who had never been to a dance before. I smiled and wished him luck with a new dancer, and quickly spirited away to find Eli.
My eyes first checked over the couples still standing on the floor waiting for the next dance to start. I did not see him standing up with anyone so I looked towards the bystanders, he was not to be found amongst the men along the wall. I tried to keep calm but a deep urging forced me to look panicky around the room, my eyes fluttered over every face but I was not directly looking at any them. I gave up and went to be a wall flower. Eli could find me if he was able to dance. I sighed and made an effort to not look like I was not enjoying myself. In between the spinning couples I caught sight of his blue coat across the room. I was almost bolted through all the pairs and ran to him. I brought the foot that had reached out for him beneath my dress, and made my way around the dancers to Eli. I very nearly tripped over everything in my way in my great rush to reach him. I slowed attempt an act of a casual bumping into him. He turned his head when he heard the whispering around him. All eyes were focused on me and somehow I managed not to blush. I think I may have even heard a low, very rude, whistle.
“Eli,” I managed before my disguise of

causality disappeared. “How are you?” I asked, unable to ask him to dance.
The dance had just finished and I knew Taylor was going to be looking for me, and ask for another dance if Eli did not hurry up his act.
Eli must have caught sight of Taylor heading my direction because he wasted no time in securing my hand for the next dance.
“I’ll think you will discover that my ability to dance is quite tolerable. Would you join me in showing these men here how talented I really am? And also how talented you are?” HIs eyes twinkled.
Abashed I agreed frowning at Eli’s quirky smile as he took my arm and escorted me to the line of dancers.
I saw Taylor stop dead when he caught sight of Eli’s arm locked around mine. He looked petrified. I sent him a complimentary smile and he regained composure with a nod at Eli signaling a terrific partner choice..
“You are making Taylor jealous.” I commented as we began to dance.
“He’s already secured you for several dances I need to get my turn.” he replied, I could tell he was willing himself to add something else but he only concentrated on his steps.
“Do you really like him?” he asked suddenly looking worried.
“Of course not. Why would you think I
“Well, you are letting him follow you around like a wishing puppy. You are leading him on. He thinks he can have your heart.”
“I’m doing it to please my father. I can

not marry him Eli, you know how much that would kill me.” I gave him a pleading expression and saw that the same look was on his own face.
“I know how much it would kill me.” he said looking away.
I bit my lip. Eli was never that open with his feelings. I turned to my steps not looking Eli. The musicians played the last few notes and Eli turned and bowed to me. I curtsied back and he took my hand and kissed it.
“You look absolutely, stunningly, beautiful tonight, Trinity.” he whispered and turned away.
I turned away and hurried out side to where a few lovers were sitting. I collapsed on to a bench and began to breathe very hard. No one paid any attention to me. My eyes were very wide and I had to work very hard to keep the tears from streaming down my face. What had I done? Not only was I suffocating myself, I was killing Eli. I felt a warm body set down next to me. I looked over and saw Taylor’s green coat. He nervously wrapped an arm around my shoulder.
“Are you okay, love?” he asked. I knew he was referring to Eli. He wanted to
know if he had hurt me. “Did he hurt you?” he asked his hazel
eyes looking compassionate. I almost laughed at the speculation of Eli
hurting me. I had hurt him, but I couldn’t tell Taylor that.
“I’m fine, just a little dizzy.” I lied.
“Do you need to go home?” he asked concerned.
“No it was just for a little bit, I just needed

some fresh air.” I waved off the question. “Well, then are you well enough to
reward me with the next dance.” He was victorious at catching me here and being able to procure me.
I nodded and he stood and then helped me up. He escorted me back into the barn and we lined up to dance, beneath Eli’s cold stare.
I was never without a partner the rest of the night. Whenever anyone did not ask me I was always carried off by Taylor. I did not get to dance with Eli again and he never even made a move like he was going to ask. I tried to tell myself that it was because of his back, but I was a very poor at lying to myself. I could only blame one person for him staying away, myself.
I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the night. Taylor helped me into the carriage and I almost passed out on the way home. I kept my eyes open, not daring to blink and listened to Taylor talk about everyone and everything that had been there or had happened. I just nodded.
He halted his horse at my house, but he did not hop down to help me out. I was instantly reminded of how Eli would enjoy watching me attempt to clamor out of the carriage. I was brought out of the devastating thought by Taylor voice saying my name. I instinctually turned my head to face him. I was completely not expecting him to kiss me but he did. I could not pull away. I wanted to and I did not kiss him back but I let him kiss me. He pulled his head back but reached his hand up to my face. I flinched away and opened my mouth to scold him. but he began to talk first.
“Trinity, thank you for coming with me. I have enjoyed your company immensely.”

He turned away and hopped out of the carriage and appeared at my side and he swung me down out of the carriage. I thanked him weakly and walked in to my house. No one was waiting up for me, they were all in bed. I was glad to have the house to myself. I was so mixed up in my head about everything that had happened. Eli hated my guts and Taylor wanted them. I went to my room and peeled off my dress. The only time Eli had ever noticed the way i looked was the time I now wished he had not. I wished I could still just be the girl who’s hair he pulled at school. We had evolved into so much more. He still teased me, but it was different, Eli had never injured me nor I him as deeply as I felt now.
I remembered the days when I used to run home after school and cry because Eli had been mean. Was that routine about to begin all over again?
I climbed into bed and pulled the covers all the over my head. I refused to cry myself to sleep, but that did not mean that I could not cry in my sleep.
I tossed and turned for several hours getting only snatches of sleep. When I couldn’t force my eyes shut any longer I got up and lit my bedside candle. I curled up into my knees for a self hug before slipping out of bed and going to my book shelf. I needed something to read, something that would take my mind off of everything that had happened.
I found a collection poems by 16th century poets, and brought it back to the bed to read by candle light. I opened up to a random page and there staring at me from the paper was a poem I

needed by Samuel Daniel. Titled Love is a Sickness full of Woes.
Love is a sickness full of woes, All remedies refusing: A plant that with most cutting grows, Most barren with best using.
Why so? More we enjoy it, more it dies,
If not enjoy’d, it sighing cries, Hey ho.
Love is a torment of the mind, A tempest everlasting;
And Jove hath made it of a kind, Not well, nor full nor fasting.
Why so? More we enjoy it, more it dies
If not enjoyd, it sighing cries, Hey ho.
My tears splashed on to the page I dried them away quickly so the ink would not run. I was enjoying Eli’s love and now it was dying. I wondered why I had I not just run off with Eli already. I could do it, no one would miss me. We would just have to get on a ship that goes to Africa and then that would be it. I new it would never happen, especially not now. Not when I had to make sure Eli did not go after Taylor and rip his throat out.I think I was really beginning to frighten Lily. I knew I was acting very strangely to her. I was always sitting locked up in my room often times with my hanky in my lap. When I was not doing that I was out parading around with my suitors. The real truth behind my abnormal actions was my fear. The times when I sat in my room I was hiding from Eli. When I paraded about I was looking for searching for that part of me that was better and would help make the rest of me better. Of course Father and Mother were delighted anytime I mentioned a buggy ride and they exchanged knowing appreciative glances. After only a week or so I had narrowed or rationalized my suitors to one, or two if you counted Eli. This one was Taylor Rhode son of some rich fancy man in Philadelphia. Taylor was also the man I was going to attend the barn dance with. I had no love or even casual liking for Taylor, but he was wild and adventurous and distracting. He took my mind off of the important things like Eli and the Sons of Liberty.
I finished pulling up my straw colored ringlets and putting on my pearls for the barn dance just as a heard buggy wheels outside the door. I smiled faintly at my reflection and my smile

was returned. I sighed, smoothed my dress, and stepped down the stairs. I could feel a glow of radiance piping from my skin and I basked in the warmth. Eli had told me he would be at the dance, and that made me happy even though those words had come with the ones words saying he could not dance because of the pain. I knew I looked beautiful when I began my descent because of the way Taylor looked up at my me his eyes glistening in a very demeaning way to a lady, but I enjoyed his looks because I hoped it meant maybe Eli would see me too in the way I wished he always would.
Father was standing at the bottom of the stairs and he took my hand as I reached him. With a kiss to my hand he smiled, not a fatherly smile but a soon-to-be father-in-law smile. I did not smile back.
Taylor’s words floated in from some where beside me. “You look mighty handsome Miss Smith” he stuttered taking my hand from my father and leading me to the buggy. I glowed all the way to the dance. When Taylor stopped chatting and called a halt to his horse I had a moment to look up and around at all the other assembling couples. The very first eyes I grasped belonged to the very person I was looking for. I saw him twitch, envious as Taylor helped me to the ground wrapping one hand on my waist and the other in my hand. I stepped down and took Taylor’s arm. I tried to find Eli again in the but I had lost his sandy head when I had shifted my eyes to the ground to get out from the buggy.
Taylor immediately began his usual cheerful chatter that I found so distracting and I listened to him all the while searching for Eli.

“This green dress goes quite perfectly with your green eyes Miss Smith and the cream in it really bring out your rosy cheeks.” He looked a bit to long at my rosy cheeks and I blushed lightly, not easily embarrassed.
“Thank-you sir, My mother said the same when we picked the material.”
“Your mother is a very smart woman with a good taste in fashion.”
“Thank you I’m sure she would be honored very highly by that compliment.”
Taylor looked pleased with himself at complimenting my mother and I suppressed a giggle at his excited expression.
The music began to play and Taylor stepped back from me and bowed asking for my hand in the dance. I agreed as a common courtesy toward his kindness in bringing me. Just as the words left my mouth my eyes locked in on a pair of dark brown ones just behind and over Taylor’s shoulder. I gasped inwardly when I noticed he was headed this way. I had already given Taylor consent and it was proper to dance with him first but I had a feeling deep inside that Eli was going ask me unless he had not already heard that I had given the first dance to Taylor.
I smiled at Eli. Mentally promising him the next dance and hopefully the last if I could give it to him, but he did not see, he solemnly walked away from me, his jaw fighting with jealousy as Taylor led me out to the floor by the hand.
I spun gaily in Taylor’s arms. He was a very avid dancer and matched my liking for the art with all the pleasure I could hope for. But something about the dance still felt empty. I was

missing a very important part in the dance, I think it was mutual affection. Both of us were dancing for the dance not for each other so it did not create the same effect as if we really had had a feeling that made us want to dance with each other specifically.
I enjoyed myself anyway and after the first dance Taylor excused himself to dance with his friend’s younger sister who had never been to a dance before. I smiled and wished him luck with a new dancer, and quickly spirited away to find Eli.
My eyes first checked over the couples still standing on the floor waiting for the next dance to start. I did not see him standing up with anyone so I looked towards the bystanders, he was not to be found amongst the men along the wall. I tried to keep calm but a deep urging forced me to look panicky around the room, my eyes fluttered over every face but I was not directly looking at any them. I gave up and went to be a wall flower. Eli could find me if he was able to dance. I sighed and made an effort to not look like I was not enjoying myself. In between the spinning couples I caught sight of his blue coat across the room. I was almost bolted through all the pairs and ran to him. I brought the foot that had reached out for him beneath my dress, and made my way around the dancers to Eli. I very nearly tripped over everything in my way in my great rush to reach him. I slowed attempt an act of a casual bumping into him. He turned his head when he heard the whispering around him. All eyes were focused on me and somehow I managed not to blush. I think I may have even heard a low, very rude, whistle.
“Eli,” I managed before my disguise of

causality disappeared. “How are you?” I asked, unable to ask him to dance.
The dance had just finished and I knew Taylor was going to be looking for me, and ask for another dance if Eli did not hurry up his act.
Eli must have caught sight of Taylor heading my direction because he wasted no time in securing my hand for the next dance.
“I’ll think you will discover that my ability to dance is quite tolerable. Would you join me in showing these men here how talented I really am? And also how talented you are?” HIs eyes twinkled.
Abashed I agreed frowning at Eli’s quirky smile as he took my arm and escorted me to the line of dancers.
I saw Taylor stop dead when he caught sight of Eli’s arm locked around mine. He looked petrified. I sent him a complimentary smile and he regained composure with a nod at Eli signaling a terrific partner choice..
“You are making Taylor jealous.” I commented as we began to dance.
“He’s already secured you for several dances I need to get my turn.” he replied, I could tell he was willing himself to add something else but he only concentrated on his steps.
“Do you really like him?” he asked suddenly looking worried.
“Of course not. Why would you think I
“Well, you are letting him follow you around like a wishing puppy. You are leading him on. He thinks he can have your heart.”
“I’m doing it to please my father. I can

not marry him Eli, you know how much that would kill me.” I gave him a pleading expression and saw that the same look was on his own face.
“I know how much it would kill me.” he said looking away.
I bit my lip. Eli was never that open with his feelings. I turned to my steps not looking Eli. The musicians played the last few notes and Eli turned and bowed to me. I curtsied back and he took my hand and kissed it.
“You look absolutely, stunningly, beautiful tonight, Trinity.” he whispered and turned away.
I turned away and hurried out side to where a few lovers were sitting. I collapsed on to a bench and began to breathe very hard. No one paid any attention to me. My eyes were very wide and I had to work very hard to keep the tears from streaming down my face. What had I done? Not only was I suffocating myself, I was killing Eli. I felt a warm body set down next to me. I looked over and saw Taylor’s green coat. He nervously wrapped an arm around my shoulder.
“Are you okay, love?” he asked. I knew he was referring to Eli. He wanted to
know if he had hurt me. “Did he hurt you?” he asked his hazel
eyes looking compassionate. I almost laughed at the speculation of Eli
hurting me. I had hurt him, but I couldn’t tell Taylor that.
“I’m fine, just a little dizzy.” I lied.
“Do you need to go home?” he asked concerned.
“No it was just for a little bit, I just needed

some fresh air.” I waved off the question. “Well, then are you well enough to
reward me with the next dance.” He was victorious at catching me here and being able to procure me.
I nodded and he stood and then helped me up. He escorted me back into the barn and we lined up to dance, beneath Eli’s cold stare.
I was never without a partner the rest of the night. Whenever anyone did not ask me I was always carried off by Taylor. I did not get to dance with Eli again and he never even made a move like he was going to ask. I tried to tell myself that it was because of his back, but I was a very poor at lying to myself. I could only blame one person for him staying away, myself.
I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the night. Taylor helped me into the carriage and I almost passed out on the way home. I kept my eyes open, not daring to blink and listened to Taylor talk about everyone and everything that had been there or had happened. I just nodded.
He halted his horse at my house, but he did not hop down to help me out. I was instantly reminded of how Eli would enjoy watching me attempt to clamor out of the carriage. I was brought out of the devastating thought by Taylor voice saying my name. I instinctually turned my head to face him. I was completely not expecting him to kiss me but he did. I could not pull away. I wanted to and I did not kiss him back but I let him kiss me. He pulled his head back but reached his hand up to my face. I flinched away and opened my mouth to scold him. but he began to talk first.
“Trinity, thank you for coming with me. I have enjoyed your company immensely.”

He turned away and hopped out of the carriage and appeared at my side and he swung me down out of the carriage. I thanked him weakly and walked in to my house. No one was waiting up for me, they were all in bed. I was glad to have the house to myself. I was so mixed up in my head about everything that had happened. Eli hated my guts and Taylor wanted them. I went to my room and peeled off my dress. The only time Eli had ever noticed the way i looked was the time I now wished he had not. I wished I could still just be the girl who’s hair he pulled at school. We had evolved into so much more. He still teased me, but it was different, Eli had never injured me nor I him as deeply as I felt now.
I remembered the days when I used to run home after school and cry because Eli had been mean. Was that routine about to begin all over again?
I climbed into bed and pulled the covers all the over my head. I refused to cry myself to sleep, but that did not mean that I could not cry in my sleep.
I tossed and turned for several hours getting only snatches of sleep. When I couldn’t force my eyes shut any longer I got up and lit my bedside candle. I curled up into my knees for a self hug before slipping out of bed and going to my book shelf. I needed something to read, something that would take my mind off of everything that had happened.
I found a collection poems by 16th century poets, and brought it back to the bed to read by candle light. I opened up to a random page and there staring at me from the paper was a poem I

needed by Samuel Daniel. Titled Love is a Sickness full of Woes.
Love is a sickness full of woes, All remedies refusing: A plant that with most cutting grows, Most barren with best using.
Why so? More we enjoy it, more it dies,
If not enjoy’d, it sighing cries, Hey ho.
Love is a torment of the mind, A tempest everlasting;
And Jove hath made it of a kind, Not well, nor full nor fasting.
Why so? More we enjoy it, more it dies
If not enjoyd, it sighing cries, Hey ho.
My tears splashed on to the page I dried them away quickly so the ink would not run. I was enjoying Eli’s love and now it was dying. I wondered why I had I not just run off with Eli already. I could do it, no one would miss me. We would just have to get on a ship that goes to Africa and then that would be it. I new it would never happen, especially not now. Not when I had to make sure Eli did not go after Taylor and rip his throat out.

It must have been nearly four in the morning when I shut the book because I heard father downstairs getting his horse out of the stable. He

was leaving for Philadelphia today. I suspected he might be going to meet Taylor’s father but I was not sure. He always went to Philadelphia in the middle of spring.
I could not sleep and I did not dare read another poem, so after I heard father galloping away I got out of bed and put a dress on. I studied the dress from last night and thought of how everyone had looked at me in it. Disgusted with myself I dressed in the ugliest dress I had. It was an old brown dress, with a high neck and not flattering at all. It was not even close to being in style, but it was treacherous so I wore it.
I ventured outside first to watch the sun rise. It was beautiful. The sun rising was something I wished I woke up to see every morning. It was like a huge sign telling me to keep going. The sun came back every day and so could I. I watched it for a while letting the colors fill in my life and then I went to the chicken coop to gather eggs.
The chickens were ever so excited to see me, clucking their heads off because usually whoever came to visit brought food. However, I did not have food now so they left me alone while I stole their eggs from all the hiding places they thought I did not know about. I collected the eggs in my apron and took them into the house. All of our eggs sat in a little basket in the kitchen, I added the new ones to the basket and cracked some older eggs from a few days ago into a pan to cook. I watched dazed as they sizzled in the pan, they smelled delicious and I remembered Lily would be waking up soon and would be hungry too. I shifted my eggs to a plate and then cracked some for Lily who I heard coming down the stairs.

“Good Morning sunshine.” I greeted a tired Lily who was still rubbing sleepy dust from her eyes.
“I heard you get up what time was it?” “After father left, probably at four thirty.” I
smiled and put a plate of eggs in from of her. She was still dressed in her night gown, I would have to remind her that she should dress before coming downstairs on days when Father was home.
“Did you have fun last night?” she was eager to hear stories of all the handsome men I had danced my heart out with.
“I did, and I only missed a dance once when I needed a break.”
Lily’s eyes were wide in awe that one women could have so many admirers.
“Did they all tell you how beautiful you
looked?” I winced inwardly remembering Eli’s graces. “They did tell me. They also said they could
not wait until the younger Miss Smith could attend dances as well. Then I told them that having two of us around could blind them or send them into hysterics.
Lily giggled and pretended to look shocked. “You did not!” she protested.
“Did too.”
She laughed and moved on to her next question with a sly smile “Was Eli there?”
“Yes” I answered carefully “Did you dance with him?” “Yes” I said not being able to help a smile
creeping across my face. Lily caught a look of dreaminess over
her face. “I wish I could have gone and danced

with him.”
I laughed and kissed her head. “I feel sorry for that poor child of God when you get your claws on him.”
I left Lily to her dreaming and went to change my horrid dress. I had suddenly
remembered we had church today, I was not feeling so atrocious as to were an old brown rag to services.
While changing into a nicer dress I thought of everyone that I had danced with that would be attending. Most importantly Eli. Eli and his uncle were very holy men, if the family had had the money to send Eli to a school for clergy in Britain they would have.
I heard Lily’s footsteps up the stairs just I finished with my buttons.
“Do you need help with your buttons Lily?” I called down the hallway to her room.
“Um... yes please a little.” she called.
I came out of my room and made my way towards hers. I knocked gently and pushed opened he door. There she was in front of her mirror trying to get her short arms in the direction of her back and button her buttons. I came to her side and nimbly did up her buttons. Lily smiled at the me in the mirror in thanks and I smiled back.
She spun around blossoming out her skirt “How do I look?”
“Like a silly Lily.” She stopped spinning and sank to the
floor her dress billowing out all around her. I watched her as a look of stupendism
drew on her face. “I’m going to put a lily in my hair.” she

cried so excited by the idea. “Do not for get you have to wear your
bonnet I uttered to her back as she sped from her room.
I followed down the stairs tying my own hat string under my chin. Mother was in the back garden with Lily helping find a flower that would still show when she wore it beneath her bonnet. When they had finally situated it just right we began the short walk to church.
Nearly everyone in our little town went to church together so we met with plenty of our neighbors on the walk. I sat in the back of church with all the other young men and women. Mama, with Lily strutting by her side went closer to the front. I looked slightly to my side when I felt someone sidle onto the pew beside me, it was Taylor. He gave me a quick smirk, as if we shared some little joke or connection, which I did not like to think that we did. I very rarely sat next to a man, but Taylor must have decided that we were together enough to claim a seat beside me. I did not pay him much attention at first, but when Eli took his normal seat behind me to the left with a grudging look seeping from his face, I regretted letting Taylor kiss me last night. I wanted to hide or at least run out of the church, but the bell had begun to ring and I was stuck in my seat. I turned around just lightly and winked discreetly at Eli a little signal that he promptly and studiously ignored. I sighed and focused my eyes back on the pastor who was reciting some very meaningful verses that he seemed to be saying directly to me.
I am a flower of Sharon

a lily of the valley. As a lily among thorns so is my beloved
among women. (Song of Songs 2:1-2)
I thought of how care free Lily was. I decided I would try to be like her. I would be like a Lily so I could be loved like a Lily. The pastor continued on to another verse.
My lover is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices. My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come! For see the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.”
...Arise, my beloved and come! (Song of Songs 2:9-11; 13b)
I almost exploded in sobs as I thought of Eli and his stag like attitude. I thought of how he did as he pleased and roamed his land. I remembered his words to me the night before. How he told me I was beautiful, the first time he had ever told me, the first time I think he had ever noticed how much a had grown up since we were little. I quickly wiped away a tear with my handkerchief. I felt a little touch on my right hand. I glanced down and saw Taylor reaching for my hand. He must have thought I was thinking or possibly even dreaming of him when I heard the verses. I guardedly pulled my hand away. Gathering up my courage that only

days before I had told Eli I did not I have I glanced over my shoulder at him. He gave a soft smile and my heart thudded its way into my mouth, then he nodded gently toward the pastor telling me to listen to the next words that Eli had begun to form silently on his own lips.
I adjure you, daughters or Jerusalem,
by the gazelles and hinds of the field, Do not arouse, do not stir up love before its own time.
(Song of Songs 2:7)
I very nearly choked after those words. I jerked my head around rather noisily and gave Eli a very wide-eyed hunted deer look, which quite fit the circumstances of the reading. He gave me a teasing smile and I felt the gap between us from the previous night begin to close and heal. I refocused my gaze on the pastor only to feel a sharp nudge on my right side from Taylor. He wrinkled his brow confused by all my head turning. I just nodded silently his cue to ignore me and he did shrugging his shoulder lightly.
By the time the bells rang again and church was over I was ready to go home and either dance my heart out or cry my heart out. I had not decided which one I was going to do yet. I stood up and made my way out of the church trying not to push to hard or run any little children over. Taylor was desperately trying to keep up at my side but I was flying out the doors and he was just walking, very speedily, but still walking. Standing in the fresh air arms wrapped around myself he caught up with me. He laughed and made some silly

remark about home quickly I had evacuated the church, and then he said something about a fire. I looked at Taylor in surprise and pretended I was on earth and not floating away into the sky.
“Would you like to go on a picnic m’lady?” he asked offering his arm.
I pretended not to notice his arm and looked over his shoulder toward Eli who was just exciting the church doors and was deep in conversation with the preacher.
“Trinity?” he asked again when I did not
I almost said no, but quickly realized Eli and I and I had not verbally settled everything yet so I just nodded my head.
“I will be at your house in an hour then m’lady.” he said grinning with all his teeth and even using his ears a little bit in his bright smile.
I watched Eli finish talking with the preacher and make his way down the step where Lily greeted him and convinced him to compliment the lily she had tucked up in her hair beneath her bonnet. Seeing my chance I approached them.
“Lily.” I playfully chided, trying hard not to look at Eli. “Leave him alone he could not tell a lily from a sunflower.”
Lily gaped unbelieving and Eli shrugged admitting it was true with a wink. Lily gave him a cold stare and stalked off. I began to follow her when Eli’s voice caught my ears in my turning head.
“Enjoy your picnic m’lady.”
I could even begin to fathom how he had over heard my conversation my Taylor but somehow he knew, and he did not sound very

jealous, which made me happy. Perhaps Eli had done some reading of poetry of his own last night that had caused him to see my my position and why I was forced to spend time with other men besides himself.
I went home and instructed Lily to help pull together a picnic. She cooed and raised her eyebrows at me.
“Is it for Mr. Handsome Taylor Rhode?” she asked impressed.
I rolled my eyes at her. She was always struck by Taylor’s ‘luscious hazel eyes and silky brown-gold hair’ as she liked to say. She immediately began to make ‘the greatest picnic ever’ for ‘Mr. Handsome’, as she put it.
I did not really care how she made the picnic just that she got one started. I quickly changed from my church clothes into a red, square cut neck, printed dress. I check my appearance tucking a golden curl behind my ear as I skipped down the stairs to be greeted by Lily holding a basket and mother tucking some cloth napkins in to it. I heard the sound of a carriage outside and I gave them each a quick peck on the cheek and was out the door and helped in to the carriage with no worries of Eli, knowing that again we were on good terms.
I enjoyed the picnic well enough. Taylor kept his distance but was chattier about more personal things. He was mostly interested in Lily when I told him she had prepared most of the picnic after he tried to thank me for making it so delicious. He wanted to know everything about her, and for several long minutes I thought he was going to consider dropping me and running after

my ten year old sister. When we returned back to my home I was
terrified I was going to have to deal with a replay of last night but Taylor helped me with out a word and only a short kiss to my fingers which I had lately come to expect from every man I saw or anyone that ever noticed or talked to me.

My sleep was sound and filled with dreams. Some happy and some still wavering along past Eli’s whippings. I dreamt that I was drowning in blood that smell like hay, honey, and rum. The smell of Eli. Then I was being pulled by a raw whip that had some how become attached to my ankle, but instead of being pulled up and out I was traveling down but still out. Suddenly I was out and completely dry with Taylor sitting next to me munching on Lily’s dried cranberries and reading old love poems to Lily who was crying happy tears and also appeared to be the same age as me, but yet she still looked like herself. When I turned to say something to Taylor I saw that Eli was sitting beside me in a clergymen’s dress and we were riding in a buggy, when suddenly he leaned over and touched my hand gently.
I woke up with my head spinning in circles and my fingers with a faint tingle to them.
A faint rapping at my door, and Mother’s voice telling me to dress quickly was the source that woke me. I thought I caught a sense of alarm in her voice and panicky thoughts crossed through my mind. Was Eli getting whipped again? That could not be possible because he had not been out to the port or along the beach to help smuggle

since his last whipping. Did something happen to father? I dressed even faster not even paying attention to what I was doing. A button snapped of in my hand and I cast it on to my dressing table leaving only the button hole in my dress. I burst out of the room only to be quickly ushered back in by my frowning mother who told me to undress while she pulled out a nicer dress and told me to put it on. I stepped back wondering how dressing twice was considered quick, but mother had begun to hum a cheery tune so I decided there was not really a urgent matter and let her spin my hair up on my head.
I checked the time on the clock, it was still earlier enough that Lily might be sleeping, except I expected the racket I made getting dressed had woken her. Sure enough only seconds later her unkempt red head peeped through my door wondering what all the noise was. Mother gave her a stern look and a short scolding.
“Good Heavens Child! Go put on a decent dress and come here and I’ll do up the buttons. And Good Lord! Do something about that wild head of yours.”
Lily disappeared and came back half dressed with her rusty hair hanging down past her shoulders. Mother tsked gently at her and fixed her up quicker than I had ever seen her do. I finished getting myself ready just to be paraded down the stairs with Lily just behind me.
Mother led us to the parlor window, we both gazed wondering out of it and saw four british horses at the neighbors. Lily let out a little shriek.
“British soldiers! Oh, Mama do you think they are very handsome?” she squealed full of

I gritted my teeth and thought of what Eli would do or say if their paths crosses.
“They are not staying here.” i growled toward Mother.
“Why not?” Lily and Mother said in unison appalled by my abrupt tone.
“I am not a friend to the British that have tried to destroy some members of these colonies’ livelihood.” I scowled as one British solider made his way out of the neighbors door to his horse.
“If you mean your dirty little blacksmith friend, I recall he was whipped last week and does not deserve a livelihood.” Mother pouted.
I paused for a second wondering when she had discovered the ability to think or speak like that. Mother was not very bright and she would admit to it. She was a wonderful mother and wife but she would never be a speech maker or a right’s activist.
“Eli was whipped because of the taxes that the British imposed on us.” I clipped as the other three British soldiers came out of the house and made their way toward our house.
I gave Mother one last hard look and stormed away from the window. What would Eli say if he knew we were going to quarter British soldiers.
I went to the kitchen and sat at the table picking through a fruit bowl that sat in the middle of it. I was not in sight of the door, but I was still within earshot of the voices. If mother really wanted the soldiers to stay with us it was probably better that they could not see me, I was not exactly known for scaring people away with my face.

I heard some talking about Father and his going to Philadelphia. The soldiers seemed wary of speaking with a women and I could tell from mother’s voice that she wished I was there to explain the things she did not understand. I would not be the good daughter though, I continued poking at the fruit. I heard my name and then my age, and then mother went off describing me and how handsome I was. I sighed and knew I was done for, so decided to make my appearance
“Oh...” I gasped when I saw the men at the door, acting as if I had no idea they were here.
I chuckled to myself when their eyebrows shot up and they realized my mother was not lying about having a handsome daughter at home.
“Trinity, dear come and meet these lovely soldiers.” Mother bid me as I was expecting her to do.
I shifted my eyes toward the soldiers. I made a short curtsy and they touched the brims of their hats and nodded their heads.
“And what business brings you here to our little colonies?” I asked innocently still assessing the soldiers.
“Tax business, but I am sure your family pays its taxes taxes right miss?”
“You would have to address that question to my father.” I retorted. “Do you mean the sugar tax though?” I asked thinking of Eli on the ground, dirt grinding in his open slashed wounds.
“Precisely.” the soldier that appeared to be in charge answered with a evil toothy grin.
“I suppose these taxes that we pay are paying your salaries so that you can come here

and tell us to pay taxes so that you get paid your salary? It is essentially an unending paradoxical loop.” I grinned back to the solider that was now frowning in a an attempt to decipher the confusing mess of words I had spat at him.
“Is that a problem miss?” another of the soldiers who was acting brighter and bolder asked.
“Maybe.” I replied feeling bold.
I curtsied and began to turn hoping I had gotten the message across that I did not welcome British soldiers.
Mother too was scrambling for words to heal what I had said and gave me a fierce look for scaring the handsome men she could have had staying at her house away. I shrugged gave a curtsy to the soldiers who touched their hats with a bit less reverence and started to step away.
I left mother struggling to re-captivate the soldiers, and went back to the kitchen and the fruit on the table. I was joined soon afterwards by my flustered, furious mother mother who was followed by Lily in hysterics.
“Trinity Smith! How dare you insult and be so disrespectful to those men, ruining my family’s image like that.”
“I barely said a word. I just wanted to know what they were about.” My face innocent.
“That is none of your business.”
“If they are going to be parading around my home village I think I have ample right to know why.”
Mother harrumphed and walked away, not having any good reasons of her own to want them around. Lily watched her go before approaching me.

“I did not want them to stay here anyway, they did not smell very good.”
“That is the way London and the ocean smells mixed with gun powder and sweat.” I told her with big sad eyes.
Lily wrinkled her nose in disgust and skipped away, claiming to be off to school where she would tell her friends all about the excitement of the soldiers.
I made sure no one was watching me and then made my way to the parlor window. I looked out and saw the backs of the soldiers horses riding into town. With a sick sense of reality I hoped they stopped at the blacksmith’s to get horse shoes or some gun appliance, it did not really matter why they went I just hoped that they would have a run in with Eli and his uncle. It was common knowledge that the Commondews were the very least loyal to the king in England. I had no doubt that the soldiers would earn their well paid salaries when they met up with the blacksmith and his nephew.
Mother had a meeting with other neighbor ladies today. They usually got together to work on quilts and share the occasional gossip that they claimed they did not share for fear of being punished. I gave Mother a kiss good bye and she glowered at my happy face, still upset about the soldiers. She disappeared out the door, a basket of scraps of all different colors tucked under her arm. I made sure she was out of sight before stepping back from the window. I clapped my hands together in delight, finally having the house to myself. As usual on these Mondays when no one was around but me I went to the parlor

chair and took up my book to read, waiting patiently for, but not expecting a knock on the door. Every few minutes or so my head would pop up when I heard the sound of a horse or just male footsteps.
Finally a short tapping could be heard on the door. I jumped even though I was listening. I was in a flutter slamming down my book and almost knocking over a lamp that I caught and righted on the stand. I tucked up my hair and smoothed my skirts. I was expecting to see the usual visitor at the door and I smoothly walked toward the door and opened it to shining brown eyes that could only belong to one person in the whole world, Eli.
“Hello” I curtsied. “There is some hot water on the stove if you would like some tea.” I said motioning for Eli to follow to the kitchen.
He nodded silently. I was biting my lip now, remembering my dream from the night before. I poured two cups of teas and set them on a tray to carry to the parlor.
I sat back down in the chair I had been sitting in earlier and Eli took the one across from me. We both lifted our cups to our lips simultaneously eyes locked on each other almost nervously. We lowered our cups together and chuckled softly.
“Did you see the British soldiers?” I
asked He nodded. “Bloody thieves.”
“Mother wanted to board them here but I refused to let her.”
“How did you convince them to go away once they saw you?”

I paused, there he was again commenting on my looks, he was beginning to scare me by continually doing that.
“I confused them in a not very nice way, I think they left because they found out I could think.”
“So, you scared them off by being smart and witty?” he laughed out loud.
“Did they stop at your house?” I asked turning the subject away from my
accomplishments. “Yes, but we did not even open the door.
Let them see how it feels to be ignored.” Eli began to become flustered
I coughed gently and he stopped a half wince smile on his face.
“Sorry,’ Eli took a swallow of his tea “I just wish they would let us be ourselves and our own people, even as cliché as that sounds.”
“Do you pay taxes?” I asked curious to his financial state aside from the smuggling.
He lowered his face, eyes still focused on me giving a ‘do you not know already’ look. I shrugged and he pondered the question for a few seconds.
“We pay enough” he grunted sub- consciously touching his scarred back.
I winced with him.
“How is Lily?” he asked switching to a less tender subject.
Subsequently I exploded in to laughter so hard that tears streamed from my eyes as I remembered the fascination Taylor had had on this same subject.
“Bloody Brits!” Eli swore beneath his breath, staring at me with wide eyed confusion.

“What in the name of bloody King George himself did I say!” he spluttered.
I sucked in deep gulps of air and regained composure.
“Nothing.” I panted smirking.
“Nothing?! You can’t bloody burst in to hysterics and not explain what bloody caused it.” He was getting rather infuriated with me now.
I gave him my ‘quit swearing’ glare and he shut his mouth so I could explain.
“It is nothing really, just that Taylor asked me about Lily the other day and he was obsessing over everything I said about her. He was fascinated with every-” I stopped when I glanced out the window and saw a familiar horse and buggy coming down the road at my house.
“Does he not have a bloody life?” I scowled and Eli followed my gaze.
“Look who is swearing now.” He chuckled and remarked in all his wisdom, getting up to get his coat and hat.
“I at least have a reason” I muttered and began rushing about the room to disguise Eli’s having been in it. I picked up and straightened cushions, and then I nabbed the tea cups and scurried around the parlor making everything in order. Eli was standing in the middle of my rush with a smashing smile on his face.
“What are you doing?” I hissed as he followed me to the kitchen. “Why are you still here?”
“To say good bye.” he whispered as I spun around in to the grip of his hands on my shoulders. “Trinity, I am leaving. I am going to Africa this time. I am getting on the ship this time. I am not

just waiting for it to come here. I am going with it.” His eyes were searching my face for some sort of emotion besides shock.
I had frozen soled with his big hands gripped on my shoulders. I brought a hand up to my mouth and choked back on my sobs. I did not say anything, just looked up at him with big sad eyes. Eli extended his arms and wrapped my in a very improper tight hug. I hugged him back as tight as my arms could squeeze his strong frame.
“Be safe, Eli.” I whispered.
He had let go and was walking away out the back door just as I heard buggy wheels stopping outside. I tucked my sobs and thoughts in some corner of my mind to process later.
I sniffed and tried to paint some sort of positive expression on my face. A light tapping echoed across the room, such a small noise creating so much distaste. I looked behind me and made sure there was no sign of Eli’s coming or going. I cracked each knuckle on my hand and shook myself. Get a grip I told myself and strode to the door. I swallowed and opened it to Taylor.
He was looking much too cheery for my liking considering what had had just happened with Eli. I felt the urge to smack him and tell him that we should not be happy that my best friend is going on a dangerous trip to Africa. My fingers were twitching to stroke his face, in a very hard swift way. I changed the movement in to a curtsy grasping a piece of my dress, I tried to control my hands, I could feel each finger with a mind of its own begging me to let them rip something pieces. Begging to be allowed to unleash my pent up emotions of vehemence.
Taylor tipped his hat and I could see the jittery emotions that were jumping all over his face and around his legs, he wold not stop twitching. He thrust a bouquet of wild flowers into my arms. It was a beautiful arrangement but I did not have the ability to accept beauty so I averted my eyes from them.
“You can have a seat in the parlor I am going to get a vase and some water for these.” I said swinging my hand around in the general direction of the parlor.
I gritted my teeth and let out a repressed column of air through my noise. I turned my back and went to the kitchen. Eli’s voice was still lingering inside it. I could almost hear him telling me he was leaving. I heard him saying my name as I rinsed his tea cup in the sink and poured some fresh tea in to it for Taylor. I set the tea pot and cups on the same tray that was still whispering Eli’s curses at me and added a vase full of water that I propped the flowers up in.
I continued to breath deep in and out and managed to walk shakily to the parlor. Taylor was pacing about the room still wearing his hat. I shook my head at his back. When he heard my footsteps he skipped over to a chair and sat in it. He was drumming his fingers on the arm rest and tapping his foot across the floor.
I set down the tea tray and gave him a questioning look.
“Are you planning on having a short visit, or did you get a cheeky hair cut?” I asked gesturing looking at his hat with raised eyebrows.
“Oh.” he muttered surprised, as if he did not know he was wearing a hat.

He removed his hat and set it on the table beside him still fidgeting without reason.
I poured him a cup of tea still watching him to make sure he did not turn in to a frantic frenzied mess, what with all his tapping and turning.
I very calmly sat in my chair after handing him a cup of tea that immediately found a place next to his hat on the table. I stared at him. He was beginning to worry me, as if he was about to start spouting melon juice from his nose- type of worry. His eyes kept shifting from to all around the room and he was not focussing.
“Taylor...?” I began to say before he cut me off, by standing from his seat and rushing to my side.
He grasped my hand and an alarmed squeak slipped out my lips before I could clamp them. Taylor was on the ground in front of he his hazel eyes illuminated by his mousy colored hair.
I was shocked. He never left my eyes as his other hand fumbled for something in his pocket. He brought out a piece of paper and released my hand to unfold it. His eyes shifted down and he began to read it aloud, my complexion becoming paler with each word.
Dear Taylor,
First I must ask the usual questions concerning your mother, I do hope she is well and I hope the same for yourself as well. I am quite enjoying my time here in Philadelphia. In fact I have heard a little news concerning your doings in that small town within North Carolina’s borders.
I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to a

particular gentleman that I think you will find was quite an introduction to be made. This man was called by the name of Mr. Colin Smith.
At this point in reading Taylor looked at me a large smile on his face, and my heart sunk.
Mr. Smith I believe has a daughter, two actually. I am under a strict obligation be presume you know this man and his family. From sources of your own letters and from this man I have come to be quite in awe of the elder Miss Smith.
I must say, my noble son, she sounds like an absolute treasure. And if you share this letter with her you must let her know how sincere I am with my compliments. Her father is a very kind gentleman-like fellow. If she shares any of his virtue she must be quite a wonder indeed.
Also, in my letter I must address another issue requested by you. I do give my permission, (and Mr. Smith sends his also but bids you wait for his return) to marry Miss Trinity Smith. She would be a wondrous asset to my family and I would be pleased to call her daughter.
Best wishes son, Your Father Hammel Rhode
Taylor looked up at me letting the paper drift to the floor. He clasped both my hands in his own, which were quite clammy by now.
“Trinity, is it not wonderful.” he exclaimed, and for a few seconds reminded me of a rejoicing schoolboy when it was time for the harvest and he was not longer obliged to his books.
I gasped and began to shake. Everything bearing down on me was just too much.

I pulled away and squinted my eyes against tears. I removed my self from my chair and room and hurried out the kitchen door, searching for some fresh air. I heard Taylor’s alarmed voice behind me and his footsteps closing in. I broke free of the house and stood outside, the chickens squawking angrily and hungrily at me.
“Trinity!” Taylor shouted. “Trinity, are you okay?” he exploded a few feet behind me from the doorway sending the chickens in to a greater bustle.
He approached from behind me and tried to wrap his arms around my waist. I shrugged him off. The tears that had been willing themselves out since Eli left finally came. I covered my mouth and turned to face him.
“Trinity.” he spoke my name softly his eyes full of concern.
I exploded into sobs again and tried to turn away but he held him stiffly by the shoulders. His grasp caused me to begin to shake as he gripped me in the same way Eli had less than an hour earlier that day.
“Trinity, I am waiting for an answer.” he said still using a soft calm voice.
“I can... not give that. At least not until my father and... Eli get back.” I choked out.
“Eli! What’s he got to do with it?” Taylor asked his voice raising a slight bit in to a tense tone.
“Everything.” I breathed out hoping to be able to explain calmly the kind of connection Eli and I had always shared. “Eli is my best friend. I have to... well
“I need...” I was stuttering over my words and Taylor’s face portrayed some unclear

“I love him, but I am not in love with him. I think that...” I could not get my words straight.
I bit down on my lip. What I said was not entirely true. I did love Eli more than I was allowed to let on about. I was still unsure though if I could ever be in love with Eli. He meant so much to me, but he was my best friend and he was a brother figure in my life, not exactly a courter but still a lover.
“Would you rather he be in my place?” Taylor asked revealing an almost bitter emotion. “I can go find him and replace myself with him if that would make you happy.” He was getting harsh, pretending all he wanted was my happiness. Taylor cared for me, I knew that, but he was not caring enough, to only want me to be happy.
“You can not.” I whispered.
“Can not what?” “You can not go and get Eli he is gone.” I said
more forcibly, letting myself here the empty ringing those words created in my ears.
“Gone where?” “Africa.”
Taylor’s eyes widened. “He did not.” he said unbelieving. He turned
away. “I could not have have been that long ago that he told you, I saw him last night, we played cards.”
Taylor turned his eyes beating me. “Did he come and see you when you were alone?”
I turned my eyes away. “Trinity, that is improper and wrong.
What were you thinking? He must have only been leaving when I got here.”
I could read the shock on Taylor’s face. I

knew that Eli calling on me when everyone was out was very improper and could get us both in a lot of trouble but I did not think it would come to this. If Taylor knew he could blackmail me in to marrying him. I just prayed he would have the honor to keep my dignity precious. Blackmailing was frowned upon just as much as any crime but less punishable.
“Taylor,” I pleaded. “ We are friends, he is like my brother. Please believe me.” I looked at Taylor his hands beginning to loosen on my shoulders.
“Trinity.” He said softly and angrily. “My offer stands, and if you have any pride or respect for your family you will take it.” He walked away. The second person to do so today.
He had not quite blackmailed me but he had forced me to look upon reality in a unwanted light. I knew I would have to accept unless Eli found some way to take me away. Eli was probably already gone though and I was left here, to fend off my troubles on my own.
I collapsed and settled in to the doorstep. Lily would be home soon, I would need to be normal by then.
I knew I was inarticulate to Taylor and I knew he was upset with me and he had every right to be so. I found a chicken to cook for supper and unleashed my anger into ripping the feathers from its corpse. It was a relief in a crazy way to be inflicting my emotions on a dead bird. I finished with the feathers just as Lily arrived home. She opened the back, kitchen door just as I reached for the handle. There I was. covered in feathers with splotchy eyes, form my tears. The look on Lily’s

face when she saw me was unimaginably priceless. We both be began to laugh and I thrust the uncooked bird into her arms her arms, and she carried it to the stove in her apron. I began to pull feathers from my hair, and detach them from my dress that did not have the luxury of being covered with an apron.
I entered into the kitchen. Lily seemed to be handling the chicken quite fine so I went to change into a less absurd form of attire. I had not yet completely ruined the dress, but it was one of my nicer ones. I hoped mother would not be too upset over it, because it was partially her own fault considering she had dressed me in it that morning trying to impress the soldiers. I sighed. The soldiers seem so distant an idea and such a petty thing to think about after Eli’s visit and then Taylor’s.
I heard mother’s familiar footsteps coming in the door. I hurriedly made my way to the kitchen before mother suspected anything by me being in my room.
Lily had transferred the now cleaned chicken into hot water. She checked me over and decided I looked natural and not like the torn apart Trinity that she had seen when she first came home. She seemed to forget the mess I had been earlier with a shake of her head. I smiled and poked the chicken with a long handled spoon to make sure Lily really had known what she was doing. That was how mother found us in the kitchen. She came in in a storm all excitement waving something in the air. Lily and I exchanged a raised eyebrow glance and simultaneously shrugged our shoulders. Mother set her basket of

scraps on the table and was attempting to convey some sort of the foreign concept to us that was coming out of her mouth in a rush.
“Mama.” I said very slowly trying to understand her words.
I sat her in a chair and took what I now discovered to be a letter from her hands. I read the inscription on the front and I very nearly fainted. I felt my heart sink into my stomach and maybe even lower, then it jumped back up trying to discover a way out of my body. Lily turned around to see how I had gotten Mother to stop babbling. She took a single look at the expression my face and ripped the still unopened letter from my hands.
“It tis from Father” she said as if none of us already knew that bit of trivia.
“Is it not wonderful!” Mother declared the excitement of receiving a letter was utterly thrilling to her.
I was still speechless, my hand still held where it had been before Lily snatched the letter. I was trying not to think of all the terrible, atrocious, things it could hold. Father must have written his when Mr. Rhode did. Father never wrote letters. His inability to write them often threw Mother into a disarray thinking something horrible must have occurred when he did not write, and the same effect was often caused when he did.
I was brought back to focussing on the actual physical letter when Lily began to tear it open. I took it swiftly from her hands and she began to protest but I silenced her with an egregious look. She obediently let me have it. I quickly began to read the words to myself, fearing what comments it would hold for me.

To My Dearest Ladies, This letter may come as a
surprise or it may not, depending on how open Trinity is or if Taylor has visited. If either of those events has occurred then you may stop reading my letter now. If neither of the events has occurred then you may also stop reading my letter, because of course I would not wish to ruin the great surprise.
I could almost hear his cackle.
I do deeply wish that you hold off the wedding for my return, but if those young lovers are that eager then I suppose I can miss it. I would suggest bundling if you choose to wait. but it makes no difference either way to me.
My deepest congratulations to Trinity, and most heartfelt
condolences to my wife.

Sincerely, Your most loving father and
husband Colin Smith
My first response was to cast it into the hearth of our kitchen fire, the only problem was that Lily and Mother were waiting with eager attention to hear what it said.
Taylor must have known it was coming, if he had not known I was sure he would have attempted to inflict himself on me a bit more ardently.
Lily was reaching for the letter. I let her have it, better she tell mother than me. I left the room. Neither my mother nor Lily called me back they were too intent on those bloody words. I tripped out of the house breathing quite hard and running. Now that mother was going to learn about Taylor’s proposal everything was going to be over for me. It might as well have been an arranged marriage for all the joy and love that was going to come out of it.
I sat on the little bit of porch that we had, waiting for the tears of joy and maybe irritation at my not saying anything to follow.
Each and every second dragged out, my heartbeat was trying to speed up the time by pounding faster and faster, but time crept on as slowly as ever.
Time is a funny thing, going on a long time when something dreaded is about to happen, but speeding up and coming zooming by all at once when your enjoying yourself.

I was sitting outside contemplating time when Lily touched me gently on the arm. I looked her face, her eyes widened by the amazement of the whole spectacle. Sometimes Lily seemed so old and grown up and other times so little and wondering at everything the world could put on her plate. This was one of her younger moments.
“Are you going to marry him?” she asked plain and simple.
“It’s not that easy, sweetie.” I said wishing that it was.
“Do you want to?” “No, but it does not appear as if I have much choice.” I dropped my head into my hands and Lily ran her fingers comfortingly up and down my back.
“Where is mama?” I asked still waiting for her to come out too
“Still inside making an extra special supper to celebrate.” I could hear Lily’s voice thick with worry and her hand was shaking slightly with fear at what kind of trouble I could get in.
“Bloody men.” I growled pushing myself up off my knees. “Time to break some champaign glasses little sister.” I stormed back inside with Lily in tow following like an eager puppy chasing its tail. To her young mind this was all fun and a game, she could not quite grasp that this was my life in peril, not just some phase or short thing that would happen.
Knowing I was about to go break up my Mother’s celebration was almost depressing. Apparently I had not done enough bad things to her today with the soldiers to make God happy, I just had to mess up a few more things before the sun dipped out.

Mother was humming to herself and her cheeks were aglow as she set plates out on the table. She had gotten down a bottle of wine, which were saved for special occasions and though my situation might have been ‘special’, it was definitely did not fit the typical definition of occasion. She looked so happy it was heart breaking. I swallowed all my gut feelings to just let her be a happy mother for once and not have to be chasing after me, and I went and picked up the letter and cast it into the flames of the kitchen fire. Mother did not notice until she turned and saw me watching the flames gobble away the paper.
“Trinity! What do you think your doing?!”
“Destroying the evidence.” I muttered sarcastically in reply.
Mother gaped at me, she looked like a dead fish with her mouth held in a silly position like that.
“It is just not going to happen right now Mama. Give it a bit longer we will see what I do, please.” I gave her a hug.
Her arms still hung limply at her sides, still and like dead fish.
“Trinity, your father and I want to see you both married off well, do not disappoint us young lady, you have a good offer.”
I scowled, that was almost what Taylor had told me. Everyone was acting like I was nothing, they pretended I was ugly and poor, but I was not. I was often told how smashing I looked, and I was going to be dowered off with the whole farm. I had so much, but I truly envied Lily she would be able to put herself out there with almost nothing to offer but her quirk, but she would be able to marry who she wanted, without restrictions. I on the other

hand who had everything I wanted, even someone I could love was forced to throw myself out into society and behave.
“Tomorrow night I suggest you bundle.” Mother was still refusing to listen to me. She could not even hear the words coming from my mouth. She was caught up in her only little fantasy.
My jaw dropped. I pick up my ego and settled my jaw into stone.
“NO.” I said firmly. there was no way in earth or hell I was going to agree to that.
Mother gave me the mother look that meant ‘oh, really we will see about that.’ “I did not say yes.” I said trying to convince her to change her mind.
“It makes no difference what you said Trinity. Now go to his house tomorrow morning and invite him over for dinner and then we will just keep him here. I can arrange for Lily to stay with a friend if you would like.”
Defeat was seeping in. I could not just defy my mother. Life unfortunately just did not work like that. I was silent trying to think of a way to poison my chicken so I would get sick and maybe die. I no longer really cared if both happened or just one.
Supper was eaten in silence. Lily was fidgeting in her seat, and even though she was not permitted to talk I knew she was trying to discover a way to slice the tension between me and our Mother. I almost felt savage ripping through my chicken that had gotten a bit over cooked in the whole fuss. I could feel some sort of inhuman growl building in my chest. I wished Eli could help me discover a master plan to root all evil out of my life.

Bloody Africans, why did I have to remember about him. Taylor and mother had been keeping me so occupied I had been able to keep my mind away from his desertion. After I thought about his leaving I decided it was not just abandonment but a complete psychological mutiny.

I sat up in bed all night trying to think of a way to get out of calling on Taylor that did not involves knives or bullets, I could not think of a single one. I thought of invoking Shakespeare but then remembered that he enjoyed killing off main characters. I decided that would not be good for my current mental state.
I tried the bible instead. I knew that Eli probably was reading his bible too on that ship his was traveling. In my gut I knew he was thinking of me. I tuned to the book of the bible that would shed the most light on our situation, Song of Songs.
Where has you over gone, O most beautiful among women? Where has your lover gone that we may seek him with you? (Song of Songs 6:1)
I wept silently to myself. Where had my lover gone? I missed him so much, and everything we where meant to do to be together was being ripped from me, taken against my will. It was all being given to someone else. I thought of the previous verse from church and how it had compared the young men with deer. It seemed that Taylor had the more powerful antlers and had driven Eli from

the field. I read on, soaking in and devouring the little comfort the verses gave me. I pictured Eli sitting alone on the ship reading these verses to himself.
How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter Your body is a heap of wheat encircled with lilies.
I smiled thinking once again of how Lily became involved in my life. I was encircled by her but not in the the way the scriptures portrayed.
Your neck is like a tower of ivory, Your eyes like the pools in Heshbon (Song of Songs 7:4)
I snapped shut the book vanishing the perturbed images from my mind. I hoped Eli thought more of my dignity. I touched my wet eyes and cracked open the bible again wondering at what else Eli thought of me. I knew he knew these verses by heart because he had said the similar ones along with the pastor, he had said them to me in church sitting just behind me he had whispered them to my ear. I read another set of verses but this time is was like words from my mouth to Eli.
Oh that you were like a brother to me Who nursed at my mother’s breasts. I would lead you and bring you Into the house of my mother, who used to instruct me; I would give you spiced wine to drink from the juice of my pomegranates.

Let his left hand be under my head And his right hand embrace me. (Song of Songs 8:1-3)
I finally managed to drift off after those short words, sleeping with Eli’s left hand under my head and his right hand in a brotherly embrace, like the one he gave me before he left.
On a typical day I am woken by the footsteps of my father leaving to go survey and oversee his fields. Yesterday, I was awoken by my mother in a hurry to see the British soldiers. Today the same instance occurred. My mother woke me in a bustle telling me to hurry over to the Rhode’s home and invite my ‘friend’ for supper. I really hoped her waking me was not going to become routine. I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head with a groan, Eli’s embrace had committed mutiny just like its owner.
Mother lit my lamp and went to my wardrobe picking out a dress and hat for me to wear. She nudged me again and I did not respond. She pulled the blankets from my body and a brief morning chill hit me and woke me. I shivered and sat up in my night gown. Mother quickly worked me into my shift and then somehow managed to secure me into a very smashing dress that showed off my figure. I sighed pretending she was not here, I shut my eyes pretending she was not leading me down the stairs to my death and eternal doom. My pretending was not working, reality was way to vivid. My reality was like staring into the sun for a painfully long time. I was beginning to see spots from all this reality shining in my face.
I fed myself porridge, and was handed my

purse, that was empty and only attached to my arms for looks. I was then shoved out the door into the morning light that burned my eyes along with all the reality. I tried to face my feet in the wrong direction but they did not listen. To my pleasure they did carry me past the blacksmith’s shop on my way to Taylor’s.
I paused outside the door. It was mostly understood that any letter for me from Eli would be left with his uncle, who was quite a taboo in society and would not mind us exchanging letters. The things was you could not send letters from a ship and I was also pretty sure Africa and the West Indies did not have postal services. I knew there should not be any letters for me, but I was still compelled to knock on the door.
Mr. Commondew opened it.
“Ah... Trinity, Eli told me you might drop by today, of course he failed to warn me it would be this early. Please excuse my beard I have not shaved yet today.
I laughed, Mr. Commondew always wore a beard another thing that struck him out as different from the rest of the men.
“Sorry it is early, my mother just shoved my out of the house today.” I said wondering how Eli would know I was going to stop at his house if he was not even going to be there.
“Well here you are Miss Smith. Eli said to give you this letter. Just make sure your father does not catch you reading it.” He winked tossed the letter into my hands and shut the door.
I ripped the envelope open quickly giving myself a paper cut on my index finger. I stuck the finger in my mouth and began to read the letter.

Dear Trinity, I hope you did not open this letter so quickly you cut
yourself. Even if you did I am sure you can remedy that small problem and read my letter at the same time. I hope your family is as well as they were yesterday when I left your house. You I hope though are in better spirits then that fateful hour I spent at you house. I hope that Taylor has not been to much of an ass to you. Trinity, you must not let him get to you, he is a fine man. I would hate to see you given to any other, except maybe someone like myself.
I am planning to spend my first night on the ship reading the bible praying for a quick safe journey, and thinking of you.
I am sorry about the way I had to tell you I was leaving. I had planned to tell you and spend several more minutes with you crying into my shoulder, but then Taylor had to show up at your bloody door and take those moments away. Sorry I could not get out of your house faster, I can only pray he did not see me. You of course already know if he knew I was there but I will be left sitting on this bloody ship biting my fingernails and worrying about all the ways he could blackmail you if he did. The worst one being a forced marriage. I know you are strong Trinity, strong enough to resist him throwing himself at you, but if he blackmails you or gets his father and yours involved I fear reality will be too much for you too bear. Stay strong for me Trinity.
Do not miss me too much. Say hello to my uncle every now and then..
Yours always,

Elijah Commondew
I folded up the letter and stuck it in my previously empty purse. Eli knew me so well, even down to the fact that I would cut my finger opening his letter.
I missed Eli so much and he had not even been gone for an entire day yet. I felt the paper that his words were written on inside my purse before pulling the strings tight. My feet had by now dragged me to Taylor’s house. Taylor lived in a very large house, with paid servants an d curtains on every window. It was very intimidating to all the other smaller homes near it. I was not intimidated though, I was brave, and staid strong for Eli. I picked up the large brass knocker and pounded it into the door. The butler answer the door and I gave him my name. He smiled at me as if we shared some secret and I turned my head as he disappeared to fetch Taylor. I waited in the walkway admiring all the paintings on the walls and the other various items that caught my attention. I was investigating an interesting lamp when Taylor walked into the small cubby room and said my name. I jumped at the sound and blushed when I turned from studying the lamp.
“It is a nice lamp.” I commented not meeting Taylor’s eyes.
“It was my grandfather’s” he said shortly, being very gut with me.
He sighed and beckoned for me to follow to one of many sitting rooms. Suddenly nervous I took three short steps across the floor and he offered me his arm. I took it but both of us were very tense and stiff. I might as well have been escorted by a

I took a seat on a two person seat and still could not look at Taylor’s eyes. He sat in the adjacent spot on the couch. I noticed a faint remnant of the old exciting Taylor when he left his hand linger on mine a bit longer than necessary.
“So, you came to except?” he asked staring straight ahead.
“No,” I paused choking on the words I was expected to say next. Taylor interrupted, turning to look into my eyes and her took hold of both my hands and would not let go even though I tried to jerk them away.
“That is great Trinity!” he exclaimed having either a change of heart or a mental relapse.
“It is?” I asked temporarily confused and put off by this sudden behavior.
“Yes, I was hoping you could hold it out even with all those letters and everything coming at you from all sides. I love you Trinity. But I do not want to force you to marry me. I want you to choose it. I am not going to ask you to take my hand and come down the aisle to me until I know you want to. I am going to make you want to Trinity, or die trying.”
I gaped then shut my mouth. That heroic speech actually made something in me want to invite Taylor to dinner, but for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to prove to him that he would never capture the aspect of my heart he wanted, I wanted to make him try and prove him wrong. I felt so evil that I scared myself thinking I could ever want to inflict that sort of emotional pain on a person.
“Oh, well in that case you can get started when you come to my house for dinner tonight, I

think my mother would prefer you came on foot” I smiled and stood mumbling something about showing myself out.
When I was out of ear shot I finished my sentence. “I don’t think Mother would appreciate having to keep your horse in the stable over night.” with a short growl.
I walked through town on my way back instead of back past the blacksmith’s shop. I saw the whipping post again and those terrible images flashed through my mind. There had been a whipping yesterday, but Lily had not gone to watch it. Eli’s whipping had put an end to any enjoyment she had ever gotten out of them. The ground around the whipping post was a red mud color from some wrongdoer’s blood. There were flies eagerly buzzing around it and they made me wonder if this time the person had not survived. Eli had had an easy punishment with just 13 strokes. This man or woman may have been sentenced too many for them to bear. I shook my head and covered my nose with my hand. The smell of blood and death was intoxicating. I knew that some people deserved to be whipped, and even Eli had, but it still punctured some part of my conscience.
Mother was thoroughly surprised when I came home.
“But, you could not have been been there for half an hour.” she protested.
“You are right. I am pretty sure it was less than a half hour.” I retorted taking off my hat.
I went to remove my purse too but I remembered the letter tucked away inside it. I turned my back on Mother and secretly removed it, tucking it down the front of my dress so no one

would notice. “Well what did you tell him? And then what
did he say?” she rattled on, throwing my apron and pointing to some bread dough that had already risen.
“I told him to come over for dinner and he agreed.” I paraphrased our conversation slightly. I shaped the door put it in a pan and put it in
the oven for baking. I glanced over at mama and saw that she was preparing a pig for supper.
“Where did you get a pig?” I whispered some what in awe and some what worried that she spent a fair share of money on something that would come to nothing.
“The neighbors were butchering today and I traded them a couple chickens for it.”
“Really?” I said in disbelief that someone would trade a nice meaty pig for some chickens.
“I do not lie.” Mother said adding the pig into the oven with the bread. The oven could barely support both but we made do, with the limited space, if our bread came out a bit smashed I was sure Taylor would understand.
After two hours of cooking what would probably be the most delicious meal of my life Lily’s head appeared in the door her nose twitching and mouth watering from all the delicious scents.
Mother and I instinctively looked to the clock wondering why Lily was home so early already. “British Soldiers showed up to look around
the tutor’s house, so he sent us home early” She said nonchalantly picking at the apples I was peeling for pie.
Mother and I both stared at her and she

shrugged obviously not knowing anything else, obviously not caring either.
“So is Taylor coming over?” she asked licking her fingers after getting them in the honey.
“Yes.” I muttered, unfortunately.
Lily clasped her hands together. “That will be so much fun! Does he read well?” Lily had been wanting someone to read to her, and Eli just did not have the kind of voice she was looking for. I liked Eli’s voice just fine but apparently it was not smooth enough, it did not drip with venom as Taylor’s did she had once told me.
I had wondered if dripping venom meant that he was a liar or if he just had a dripping voice and venom was the only think she could think of that dripped.
“I have yet to hear him read, you could ask him after supper.” I said glad someone was getting some cheer out of his visit.
I forced Lily into helping with supper and Mother disappeared to take her nap. I let her go she had been cooking and baking and frying and everything all day. I would prefer her well rested when Taylor came. Of course she could just as well be making a bundling bag since father was not her to make a bundling board to put on my bed.
I shuddered thinking of having Taylor lying next to me in a bed that had only ever been occupied by myself and my dreams.
I was happy to know that Lily was concerned or at least nervous for me. I could tell by her incessant amount of speech. When ever she became nervous or anxious or worried, she would either not talk at all or talk with out end. For her this was unexciting nervous so she kept up a stream of

words that at least managed to keep me occupied and kept my thoughts away from all the awkwardness I knew would later occur.
I knew I was hiding what I actually thought from myself though. In all honesty with myself I was scared, terrified, of what would happen. This emotion had been building up in me since I read Eli’s letter. He had said he was not afraid to let me be with Taylor, he had said Taylor was a good choice, and that was what scared me. Eli knew me better that I knew myself, and if he thought I would be okay with Taylor I was scared of the fact that I actually might be reasonably fine with him. I did not want that to happen. The only person I wanted to be happy with was Eli, but Eli of course had abandoned me with nothing but words I did not want to hear.
I was interrupted from my thoughts and Lily from her words by mother calling me to put on a handsome dress and get rid of my apron. I sighed and set down the ladle from the soup I was stirring, and gave Lily explicit directions not to cook it wrong or add in to much onion, before untying my apron and trooping up the stairs to find a dress that would be suitable for my mother.
Mother stopped me in the middle of my climb and redirected me towards her room where she had heated a tub of water at her fireplace. She had set out some home made soap and some linens. I exhaled, she was taking this all to far. I was done protesting however, I knew I could no longer win, everything was settled. I stuck a toe in the water and shivered. It was a reasonable temperature and taking a bath next to the fireplace would keep me warm, so I did not shiver because of cold I shivered

because I knew that baths were saved for special occasions.
I finished cleaning myself and Mother came to help me put on my dark red crimson colored gown that complemented my now clean and creamy colored skin very nicely. She curled up my hair and then left to set dinner out on the table. I took several deep breaths before opening my eyes in the mirror. I stunned myself. It had been ages since I had been able to see my own skin this clean beautiful. The difference between me and all the other ladies at the table would be like the difference between an African and the queen of England herself, who I had heard bathed every night. I cursed my mother but some part of me also praised her in secret and fearful that the rest of me would find that part it cut it off.
I tied a necklace that Eli had given me one christmas around my neck. I had told Mother and Father that it had come from my cousin, but everyone knew only a blacksmith could work with metal in this way. It was a black rose shape, made entirely from metal, Each line of the petals had been carefully etched into it in a way that took patience that only blacksmiths could have. It was very heavy but also very beautiful and it matched the tone of my crimson dress.
I admired myself once more in the mirror before stepping out of the room. I heard voices in the dining room one of them too deep to belong to Lily or Mama. I shut my eyes swallowed and tried to prepare myself for the reaction. I imagined Taylor’s face from when he had taken me to barn dance, and tried to picture that reaction doubled. I knew that Lily’s would react simply with her mouth

dropped open and her green eyes turning into a reflection of myself. I stepped into the dining room and a faint hush turned three pairs of eyes silently on me. My cheeks colored but I held up my head. I gave a smile to Lily who reacted exactly how I imagined she would. Taylor’s reaction was more subtle but still noticeable. He would not remove his eyes from me through out the entire meal. He even stared when he had bowed his head to say grace, and give thanks for the neighbors pork. I ate with all the manners I had ever been taught, and with all the most graceful things to say that a hostess could ever want. Of course also I had to behave the best I could, or else mother might have gotten violently sick and died in the middle of dinner, at least she told me she would. Lily spent the entire meal giggling. I was beginning to wish that mother had sent her away for the evening, but if she had then I knew I would have regretted it. Lily was my only chance at making the night drag on and keeping Taylor occupied and running him out of energy. Dinner finished and Mother had a hired girl take the dishes away. She was trying to make our family and its stature up to be more than it was.
We never had had the luxury of servants, Lily and I did the majority of the cooking cleaning and sewing and other housework. I often wondered where I found the time for the other things I managed to do.
I led the way to parlor. The most common pastime that occurred after dinner was supposed to be talking in the parlor. The entire part of my life had never been dictated by this fact. After we cleaned up supper dishes Lily was often sent to bed and Mother, Father, and I would sit in the

parlor, however we rarely spoke. We each entertained ourselves in our own ways. Tonight was supposed to be different though. I was supposed to come up with some clever way to keep Taylor entertained, even though I had never had that responsibility ever in my life. We each took a seat and Lily reached for a recitation book she had borrowed from school.
“Trinity said you could read.” Lily said wishing the book into Taylor’s hands.
“I have done so it the past, but it has been some time.” he replied “That is fine you can not be worse than Father.” She grinned.
I was glad she left out the fact that Eli sometimes read to her in his boring sermon-like voice. Taylor accepted the book and looked over the cover. It was a copy of Aseop’s Fables in Caxton’s collection. Taylor selected a page it appeared at random and began to read.
“Of the comyn and folysshe wymmen Esope reherceth to vs suche a fable / Of a woman whiche had a name Tahys / the whiche was cause by her feyned loue of the dethe and losse of many yonge men / to one of the whiche she had be bete ofte before that tyme / she sayd to hym in this wyse / My ryght dere loue and good frende / I suppose that of many one I am wel byloued and desyred / Neuertheles I shall sette my loue on thy self alone / wherfore I pray the that thow mayst be myn / and I shalle be thyn / for alle thy goodes I retche not / but only I desyre thy swete body / And he that knewe the feyntyse and falsheed of the woman / ansuerd to her / ryght benyngly and swetely / thy wyll and

the myn ben both but one alone / For thow arte she whiche I moost desyre / and the whiche I shall loue alle the terme of my lyf / yf thow deceyue me nomore / For by cause that thow hast deceyued me in tyme passed / I am euer aferd of the / but notwhithstondynge this / thow arte now moche playsaunt and fayr to the syghte of me / And thus the one begyled that other /
For the loue of a comyn woman is not to be trusted / For thow oughtest to knowe and thynk within thy self / that the comyn and folyssh woman loue the not / but she loueth thy syluer”
Lily clapped her hands together in admiration. “Marvelous!” she cried delighted.
Eli fixed his on me again. He smiled showing he clearly had meant to grace me with the reading and it was my graces he wanted to please not my younger sister that had not recently bathed.
“That was wonderfully performed” I seconded Lily praise. “Please do please us with another.
Mother also nodded her head in agreement. Taylor turned to another page in the book and began to recite in his skilled, dripping voice.
“Before the goddess and the goddesses men must euer preyse chastyte / for it is a worshipful & an honest thyng to a woman to hold hyr contente with a man alone / but Venus for her disporte & for to dryue aweye the tyme / wold Interprete the sayenge of the hennes / wherfore she demaunded a henne whiche was in her hows / but at this tyme I shal kepe my tongue / and no ferther I shall speke therof / For many wyse men whiche haue sene and redde alle this book vnderstanden wel alle the

nature of hit / And by cause it is lycyte & honest / And that we alle ben bounden to kepe the ladyes in theyre worship and honour / also that in euery place where hit shalle be possyble to vs we ought to preyse them / we shalle now cesse to enquere ferther of this matere / and Historye / whiche we shalle leue in latyn for the grete clerkes / & in especial for them that wylle occupye theyr tyme to studye and rede the glose of the sayd Esope”
“If only men learned by the smae virtues now.” commented as he finished.
“I agree” sang Lily. “We women love to be praised.” she fluttered her eye lashes.
I tittered. “There is a such thing as too much praise. Sometimes it becomes tedious and repetitive.” I chimed in looking towards Taylor trying to betray a small insult.
“When I go to dances and have men visiting me everyday I shall never tire of compliments and pretty words that they should bestow on me.” Lily pronounced disbanding any thought that it should be otherwise.
“We will see.” I told her.
When I looked in Mother’s direction I saw her eyes were focused out the window on the setting sun. I saw her brow clenched willing it too set, willing it to be to dark to travel on foot. My eyes grew wide I could end the visit now and there might be time for Taylor to make it home. I would have to be subtle though, or else mother would know what I was up too. I fingered Eli’s black rose necklace planning. I decided to convince him to leave with ending conversation comments.
“I hope you enjoyed dinner Taylor.” I smiled

with clenched teeth. I was forcing the sun up as my mother pushed
it down. Mother Nature of course was siding with the mother as she always did and the sun continued to sink. I was forced to use a more obvious tactic.
“I suppose you will have to begin walking home before it turns in to night.” I said in a low whisper pretending to be disappointed. I wondered if it was possible for mother’s hearing to be fading if I spoke softly.
Taylor twisted in his seat closing the book and setting it in Lily’s lap.
“Oh, it is getting dark I will have to get going.” He stood from his chair and I went to fetch his hat and coat. Mother was on her feet in seconds. “No, for heavens sake, you will never make it home before dark.”
Taylor looked at her questionably. “I do not see how I have a choice ma’am.” I grinned, normally Taylor was a pretty bright man, but now his wit was failing him just when I needed it too.
“Of course you have a choice, you can stay here.” Mother said in that way that mothers have of putting there foot down.
Taylor’s mouth stretched and his teeth gleamed in a smile as he began to understand what she was saying.
I moaned inwardly.
“It is a little dark, If it is not any hassle or anything I suppose my mother would not mind an extraordinary amount if she has the house to herself for a night.” he pretended to puzzle over his answer but I could tell was an easy yes.

“It will be fine.” mother brushed off any hassle that I could protest with. “ We do not have an extra room so you will have to stay in Trinity’s room. The floor is a bit too cold at night though so I guess you will have to share the bed. I am sure I have a bundling bag around somewhere.” she smiled graciously.
Lily was watching the whole ordeal wide- eyed from position in the parlor doorway. Mother led the way up the stairs toward my room Lily quickly caught up with me.
“In your bed?” she hissed in awe that Mother would ever allow that.
“That is sort of the point of bundling Lil.” I told her rolling my eyes.
“Oh” she commented lightly falling into silence pondering this new wonder of courting.
Mother sent me to change into my nightgown and Lily still followed at my heels. I took off the dress and slipped into my nightgown before turning to answer all the questions I knew Lily would have.
“What is a bundling bag?” she asked.
“It is a bag you sew the boy up in when you have a-” I searched for a correct word and only came up with, “situation like this.”
“That is so queer” Lily distrusted. “How many times does sort of thing happen that it actually needs a name?” she rolled her eyes and crossed to my door. “Well, good night Trinity tell me all about it in the morning, a girl needs to learn these sort of things and the tutor and school does not like to share, he tells us to ask our parents.”
She left the door open so Mother could walk in with Taylor. She was carrying a bundling bag

that did not look old or used in the least, it look too fresh for my liking.
Taylor had already removed his coat and neck tie. His feet were also clad in only his stockings. His eyes went wide when he saw me standing in my night gown. I was confused over the expression until I recalled he did not have any sisters.
I pulled the cover to the foot of the bed and mother spread the bundling bag out with a caress. Taylor laid on it and mother folded it over him. She began to make large stitches that she knew and I knew would not hold very tight, and it also did not help that she was not stitching very tightly. I turned my head not being able to bear the sight of that awfully stitching coming from my mother who was one of the most accomplished cross stitchers most people knew. With the terrible stitch she was performing it was not long before she was finished.
“Sleep tight” she cooed shutting my door. She left, and with that click my worst nightmare stared at me from the light of an oil lamp.
“Are you afraid of the dark.” Taylor asked.
I was still siting on the bed knees hunched to my chest, my hair falling in its locks around my face.
“No, but I am afraid of those stitches my mother put in that bag.”
“It was awfully kind of her to make it lose so my fingers can breathe was it not?” he asked poking his finger between stitches and touching my foot.
I jerked away.
“Taylor do you remember what you told me before about making me want to love you?”

He nodded. “Well this is not helping.” I said slinking further
to the edge of the bed where he could not reach me.
“I am sorry, forgive me?” he asked in the exact same way Eli would.
I bit my lip trying to imagine this situation with Eli. I could not resist such a resemblance between the two, my soft spot protected with rock for Taylor was going to fall through if he began to talk to me like Eli.
“Fine, I forgive you, but do not think about getting out of that bag!” I said harshly with a cold stare.
He chuckled and I laid down in the bed beside him pulling the covers to my chin. I extinguished the oil lamp. and lay on my back staring at the dark relentless ceiling. I felt a small tickle on my arm and fingers brushing across my arm. I began to shift away but the fingers lingered. I tried to ignore them and not get to upset over it. Taylor was a touching sort of man he had reached for my hand on countless occasion in the buggy, and one time he had reached for my lips, except I refused to let this be a replay of that terrible night.
“Trinity will you marry me yet?” he asked in a very silly voice that made me wonder if he had drunk to much champaign at supper.
“No” I said plainly into the dark.
“Can you give me a time when I might get a maybe?” he asked still drunk sounding.
“When Eli gets back” I murmured shifting over to my side so I could see his face.
“I still do not know what he has got to do with bloody anything.” he wondered almost to himself.

“He is like my personal army and makes sure I do not go kill myself or jump off a cliff, and I do the same for him on my job is a lot harder.” I stopped, wondering how much I could really say.
“He is like a brother right?” Taylor asked, he was hiding his real thoughts but I knew that he really wanted to know if I loved him.
“I do not know right now things are different then when we were little.” I rolled over ending the conversation and leaving Taylor to himself.
Taylor was blowing gently on my neck and twirling my hair in the hand he had worked free. I wanted to roll over and smack him but I could not find the urge to do it. I had given up caring about him any more, I had begun to think of him as my shadow.
I woke once in the middle of the night to find Taylor’s arm wrapped around me. I squirmed gently trying to free myself but he had felt me wake up and was restraining me. I could feel him laughing his chest vibrating lightly up and down. I gritted my teeth and twisted myself from his hold.
“The answer is still no.” I told him before he could even ask me.
I felt and heard his sigh as he wrapped his arms back around to his own body. I could feel him stiffen as he made himself as small as possible so he did not touch me. I tried go back to sleep but the glare of his eyes always watching me, waiting for me to fall back asleep was to much. I rolled over back face to face with him.
“What do you want, Taylor?” I was exasperated with him always being disappointed like a small child. “I can not give you anything else. I gave you what I could.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Have you? Is there not still more I could borrow from Eli?”
“Why are you so jealous of him?” I questioned
“Because you speak of him when you sleep, and when I wrapped you in my arms you snuggle closer and murmur his name. I want you to say my name, I want you to dream of me, I want to be your every thought.” He looked at me eyes wide. “Is that too much to ask?”
“Of course it is I could never grant that request to anyone.”
“You gave it to Eli and he did not even ask.”
“That is why I gave it to him.” I said holding Taylor’s eyes for a few seconds before shutting mine, and shutting out Taylor’s face. I did not awake anymore in thru the night and early morning. I woke in the same position I had last slept in so I felt safe enough to assume I had not tossed or turned very much and that could mean that I did not dream as much and that would give Taylor less reason to be jealous of Eli.
I had never been very conscious before of how many of my thoughts were occupied by him, but ever since Taylor mentioned it I knew that he was right. I also knew that I was going to change that. I was not going to perpetually think of a man that began that created a mutiny against me, of him and all his imaginary friends.
When real sun light hit my face I knew that I should crawl from my bed sooner than later. I would have to help Taylor out of his mostly already destroyed bundling bag and then dismiss him from the room so I could dress. I rubbed my eyes and stretched, one of my arms colliding mildly with Taylor’s face. I laughed, a jerky sour tasting

morning laugh and apologized. “I would return the favor if I was allowed to
move from this concealment” He said pretending to be angry.
He had curled himself back inside his bag where he had belonged.
“I could leave you there all day if I wanted to.” I said not in a very teasing mood.
“Bah.” he growled pulling at his constraints of poorly placed stitches popping each one with an arrogant smile.
“Less work for me.” I shrugged touching my bare feet to the cold wooden floor.
He was also moving to his feet and I tiptoed across the chilled floor to the door, which I opened and gestured for him to leave.
He sauntered out with no argument.
I edged toward my wardrobe fearing that my mother had already hung a dress up in the front that she wanted me to wear. To my surprise and my happiness nothing seemed more prudent and encouraging to me so I picked my favorite red and yellow flowered dress with many ruffles and a comfortable fit. I let most of my dirty blonde curls and locks hang loosely about my shoulders. I pulled the rest of it in a clip in the middle of my head with curls jumping from it.
I smiled at myself feeling pleased that I had survived the night in a better way than I thought I would have. I cracked open my door an peeked out wondering where Taylor was since he needed close to only a fourth of the time that I did to ready myself. He was standing just to the left of the door. I yearned for him to tire of waiting and go downstairs by himself.

I waited nearly five minutes longer standing inside my cold and dreary room waiting to hear his booted steps trip down to the sweet smell of fresh ears of corn for our morning meal. I had to give him some credited he had quite a bit of patience, or maybe he was just as nervous about presenting himself to the other two ladies in the house as I was. I opened the door.
“Women.” he grumbled offering me his arm. “I was waiting by your door for nearly a half of an hour.
“I am dreadfully sorry that I like to look lovely and handsome every day, and I do not just dress myself in the same general drab every morning.” I lectured him taking his arm unwillingly.
“Of course, how could I ever even think of wearing a drab coat.” he teased.
I ignored him concentrating on each step in front of me. I felt me cheeks flare as the kitchen grew quiet from Lily’s incessant chatter as she caught sight of me making my way to the dining room on Taylor’s arm.
“Good Morning.” Taylor smiled cheerfully never at a loss for words.
Lily choked on her corn. Mother stood there just looking at me a secret pompous smile encroaching on her face.
Taylor pulled out a chair for me, not any different than any normal gentleman-like man would do. Mother some how managed to interpret the gesture as some sign of unrequited undying love between us and her eyes lit up. I mused over the possible places that Father might store his extra pistol. It would be easier for me to kill myself or even mother or even Taylor with a pistol than

the spare rifle that hung above the doorway. Taylor finished off his morning corn swiftly. I
think he could tell I was beginning to get irritated with my mother and he was the cause of that irritation. He left quickly after he finished eating with a tip of his hat and a short comment about having things to take care of and a household to run.
As soon as the door clipped shut behind him two pairs of eyes shifted to me. I paid no attention and continued chipping at my corn. Mother cleared her throat. I looked up and met Lily’s gaze. Her corn was halfway to her mouth and her eyebrows were so high I could only barely see them amongst all her other fiery hair. I continued eating. I remembered the day of the week, wednesday. I usually helped the little old widow in town on the middle day of the week. She had given me the rest of spring off though and had told me to come back when it begun to snow. I contemplated other possible things I could today. I was disturbed from my thoughts by another cough from my mother and a eager wild nodding of the head from Lily.
“What?” I asked wishing they could voice their exact questions and not just make rude vocal noises.
“What time did you fall asleep last night dear?” Mother asked.
“I am not sure.” I answered truthfully, I would not have even been able to tell her the time we left the parlor.
Mother tried to share a knowing glance with Lily but Lily did not know what she was supposed to be knowing about.
“Are you not tired today?” Mother asked trying
to hint at something. I shook my head slowly. “Should I be?” I
asked with a dumb look and a ignorant tone in my voice.
“Well if you did not fall asleep until late-” Mother continued to hint.
“I never said that.” I said trying to be confusing “Yes you did.” Mother was attempting to get me to help construct her little fantasy.
“No, I said I did not know what time I fell asleep, it was not too long after you left.” I gave her a cheeky smile
Mother snorted. “You are an impossible daughter Trinity. Impossible.” she flipped a dish rag at me.
I shrugged. “I have to write a letter today.” I stood up.
“Who ever could you have to write to?” Mother asked suspicious.
I shrugged again. “A person.”
“Well, be gone” she flipped her towel at me again and I went to the parlor to write my letter. All the pens were broken with many thanks to Lily who was practicing her calligraphy. I spent more time mending my pen than I did writing the letter.
Dear Eli,
I was most impressed by your letter, you know me better than I know myself, I did cut my finger while opening and you will discover the truth of it by my signing this letter in blood.
I am in better spirits since I last saw you and I hope I can manage to keep my spirits high, although it has been quite a pain.

I will leave my letter with you uncle when I visit him today so that it will be the very first thing placed in your grubby hands when you come back home to us.
I must tell you how dreadful the tuesday night after you left was. But first I will tell you how dreadful the few minutes after you left was. As you will undoubtedly remember Taylor was knocking on my door as you were leaving from he back. Well that ‘fine’ fellow brought with him a letter containing consent from his father and mine for him to wed me. Of course that would not typically be an issue, I could just ignore him, but of my father had come to show that he is smarter than we previously expected. He also sent a letter to my mother which contained the same sort of information that Taylor’s did. It also contained a suggestion to bundle. I understand your shock and I accept any sympathy you have for me. This will now lead me to let you guess at what possibly could have happened that was so terribly dreadful on tuesday night. You suppose correctly sir.
Now it is Wednesday morning and I am going to deliver this letter to you dearest uncle and offer him another proposition that will be most delightful and if the proper outcome is

achieved from that request than the statement I made previously about this letter being the first thing in your grubby hands will be a lie.
Yours Always Trinity Smith
I sealed the letter and tucked it away in the many folds of my dress. I released myself from the house without a sound, my footsteps soft and kind on the floorboards of home.
Minutes later I was knocking on the door of the blacksmith’s shop for the umpteenth time in as many days. I knocked several times and received no reply. I considered leaving my letter under the door but my hand refused to release it to such a unconcealed untrustworthy place. I glanced about my head on a swivel checking for anyone that was watching me. Then I discreetly scurried around to side of the door. I placed a listening ear to the door, and I caught a whisper of a noise that I expected, a faint snore. I pounded my fist in to the wood as hard as I possibly could drowning out the snores of the sleeping man inside. I paused my fists as I heard the creak of a rocking chair and then footsteps coming in the direction I was waiting and then a click as a bolt was drawn from the door. A familiar large hairy face showed in mine.
“Good day sir” I curtsied, curious as too why I had to wake Mr. Commondew. “I brought this letter for you to give to Eli when he comes home.” I brought forth the letter suddenly watchful of any sneaking eyes that might catch sight of my disastrous deed.
Mr. Commondew took the letter and swung

his arm around motioning me to come in to the house. I grasped up my skirts and stepped up inside. I licked my lips wondering what he could want with me. I was eager to present my proposition but I wanted to do it just before I left.
“What can I do for you today Miss Smith?” He asked his solemn eyes landing on the black rose at my neck.
My hands flinched with tingling fingers. I reached to the base of my neck touching it and covering it over.
“Where did you get that?” he asked reaching out his raw blacksmith hands.
“It was a gift” I said my hand shielding it protectively. I stared cautiously at Mr. Commondew his hand still out stretched.
“From Eli?” he asked shifty.
“Yes.” I whispered unhooking the necklace and with ginger fingers placing it in his hands. “It is beautiful” I said trying to defend Eli in case this would make his uncle angry.
“I know, everything that bloody boy does always is, but he will not apply himself and take up the art, he is worth hundreds of pounds.”
“Hundreds?” I said shocked at the amount of money I carried around on my neck.
“If he took up the profession in England everyone would flock to him he could be the most talented man in all of London. That is not just a common trinket you are wearing.” Mr. Commondew lowered his eyes taking in a professional examination of the necklace.
“Oh.” I said realizing why Eli would never take up the profession, or at least not in a decorative way that would aid his talent. It would mean he

would have to go to England, the place he so hated.
It took a lot for Eli to grudge against something for a long time. England was one of the few things he would actually admit to hating. The only other thing was gypsies. I extended my hand wanting the necklace back. Mr. Commondew reluctantly obliged me.
“I have another item I want to ask you.” I said restringing the necklace to the back of my neck.
“What is that?” he asked still watching my necklace.
“When will Eli’s ship dock?” I asked hoping for a beneficial answer.
“These voyages could take up to six months, miss. You had better continue on with your life, it could be sometime before he indulges us with his looks again.”
I was stunned, the same emotions were sweeping over me as when I had heard that Eli was being whipped.
“6 months?” I had to choke down the urge to swear, the dangerous compulsive words like a battering ram against my teeth.
I ticked off months inside my head and on my fingers, it was the middle of April so I still had, May, June, July, August, September, October. He would probably be returning around the end of October. It would not be too cold yet so I could still go through with my plan. Of course Father would be home by then which could really be a problem, especially if he found out I was not yet married.
I groaned inwardly. Mr. Commondew gave me a confused look. “Is that the end of your question?”

“No. but I have to think about this for a minute.”
I thought about it. It took me about a one millionth of a second to decide I could go through with it, they could hang me later.
“I want to be there when they pull in, I want to see Eli as soon as he gets back. I want to watch.”
Mr. Commondew blinked several times. He coughed trying to grasp the full effect of my proposition. “That is very dangerous, and recommending that a woman be there would probably be the last thing that I do.” he spoke very slowly as if I was a small child that wanted to go lion hunting.

I was completely free of things to do the day after my happiness had been ignited. Mother was still on her rant of my needing rest or something of

the sort, and I had given up trying to persuade her otherwise. I considered going to pay my cousins that long awaited visit. I had not seen Matthias nor Hannah in a very long time, and I knew they would be desperately awaiting my arrival and my ability to entertain.
I skipped down the stairs in a very merry mood still from the previous day. I hollered to mother who was in the garden that I was taking an horse to visit the cousins. She cheered something in agreement.
I romped to the stable and untied by favorite horse, Snow White Feather Mane, a name that Lily chose in her young age. Snow White Feather Mane was a pure white horse with a wispy mane that was gray and the ends.
I laid over the blanket and secured a side saddle on the top. I hated to fit a bit in a horses mouth, but when riding in public Father and Mother had always insisted that I attire the horse properly, so I pushed the bit in Snow White Feather Mane’s mouth and pulled the bridle over her head.
I pulled my self up and swung both legs over the side, riding side saddle like the proper lady I was pretending to be.
I rode out from the stable waving to my mother as we flew past her. She waved back with a call that had something to do with Taylor, but I did not care enough to pay attention to her right then.
Riding was one of a favorite pastimes of mine that really was in the past. When Lily and I were both younger we quite often begged to get a pony. When Snow White Feather Mane finally was given to us, we both nearly died in joy. Now that we have grown some and a town has developed relatively

close to our house Snow White Feather Mane does not receive the same amounts of exercise as she once did. More often now she is just our transportation and companion to more distant places.
Our cousins lived nearly a mile and a half mile from our home so it was quite easier to make to journey on horse back then on foot.
Snow White Feather Mane, was not nearly in the same condition she had been when she was a young wild horse, but she made the journey quickly enough for me.
I was met at the gate by my cousin’s manservant. He helped me down from Snow White Feather Mane’s back. I thanked him always feeling a bit sorry for servant, but at least he was paid for this kindness, not like the slaves Eli traded for. Of course Eli told me the slaves were not really people he said they were different, that they did not follow normal rules of governing and war. He said they were like the indians and savages.
I really tended to doubt Eli’s knowledge on that part, sometimes his desperate need to rebel against the British took over his conscience and he could not really think about what was right. I often tried to convince him that we did not really have any government as Americans and our rebellious kind of nature could be a reason to call us savage. Of course he always had some well thought out answer as too how that was the British’s fault.
I walked up the path leaving Snow White Feather Mane with the manservant to be taken care of and put in the stable and brushed down. I left special instructions to share an apple.
I raised my hand to knock on the door but it

was already being thrown open and Hannah’s chubby little face was tipping up at me her arms outstretched begging to be picked up. I grasped her under her armpits and set her on my hip.
“Hello sweet heart.” I whispered into her ear tickling her.
“Tinny!” She cried gleefully wrapping her arms tight around my neck.
I felt another tucking at my leg and saw Matthias holding my leg wanting his hug too. I set down Hannah and knelt down to hug the hefty five year old. He was a little big to pick up unlike his two year old sister.
Memorance, my cousin came stepping down the hallway, slower than he children due to the lump on her stomach that would be baby number three.
“Hello Memorance.” I said embracing her around the growth on her stomach. “How are you? The children being good?” She nodded patting her stomach. “This one is the only one that can be a bother” she said affectionately. “I just seem to wear out easy and the children know to let me be, and go bother their father.”
I laughed. Their Father was a good hearted man that loved children. He was my Father’s nephew, his own Father still lived in England though, so my Father and Mother had taken over a role as grandparents.
“I came to be a little entertainment today, and I brought my fingers” I said wriggling my digits at Hannah who mimicked my motions.
Matthias tugged on my skirts in the direction of the parlor where the piano forte was kept. I

laughed letting myself be pulled along. I took my seat at the bench and cracked each
knuckle separately. Hannah laughed her wonderful little girl laugh. I played a warm up scale and the children clapped gleefully. I burst out into a full song that the children knew and they begin to sing with me and then their mother joined in.
Mongoose go down Missa Beckford kitchen, Tek out one a ‘im ritious chicken, Put ‘im inna ‘im waiscoat pocket Run mongoose Sly (slide) mongoose, yu name gone abroad. Sly (slide) mongoose, yu name gone abroad.”
“Sly Mongoose” was not exactly a very good song nor was it sung in society much, but it was good enough for the home and the entertainment of young children. The song had actually become developed by slaves that had learned our language. Because slaves had created it most white men that lived in America disapproved of children singing it. I enjoyed playing it for my cousins though.
I played several other lively songs for them to dance and clap too before my voice and hands began to tire. Memorance offered me some tea and I drank it before heading on my way. The littlest good-byes were filled with sobs and a fair share of clinging. I tore myself from the house blowing much needed kisses at the windows.
The manservant had already gotten Snow White Feather Mane from the stable and had her in a happy mood all prepared for the ride back home. I thanked him and he formed a step by interlacing

his fingers for me to boost myself up into the saddle. I thanked him again and waved to the house as the servant slapped Snow White Feather Mane on the rear with a giddy-up.
I rested my neck into Snow White Feather Mane’s mane and neck. She knew where home was, the place that fed her, and I trusted her to get me there safely and soundly.
I pushed myself back into a sitting position as I noticed the sun turn to red and the sky to beautiful hues of pink and blue and purple and orange. I took in the wonderful coloring not paying close attention to their real meaning that darkness was close behind.
I rode against the wind a picture perfect blowing of my soft curls and the sky behind me. Every painter in the world was probably dreaming of this kind of moment to capture on their canvas.
It was devastating to have it ruined by sharp gun shots splitting the air. I gasped choking on air and sudden terror. I urged Snow White Feather Mane to move faster, her hooves beat the dirt and we flew through the dust, but the gun men had powerful horses the kind that are made and bred to catch people. I had never been outwardly attacked before and I did not even know if these people were after me or they were just wreaking havoc in a war path. I only knew that there horse’s necks were even with Snow White Feather Mane’s tail. I held my breath and shut my eyes as the ringing of hooves that horses used to crush soldiers to splatters filled my ears. I cringed and hands wrapped around my waist. Snow White Feather Mane’s body was gone beneath me, I did not struggle, frozen in fear and terror, not wanting to

slip from the grasp and be trampled. I did scream though. Thousands of sounds echoed from my mouth all at once. And every single one of them was high pitched and ear shattering.
Large rough uncaring hands threw me on the front of the horse he was riding. He turned sharply around and began to gallop back to where I had heard the shots from. He seemed to be alone although I knew I had heard multiple horse and maybe even gruff voices conversing, but who ever the others were they had vanished into the set. The grip around my stomach was tightening and I began to cough trying to circulate air into my body. The grip lessened a bit and I sucked in air still not speaking. The man shifted me up and I was staring up the neck of a coal black horse with splashed of gray on its neck. I was breathing heavily from fright but was managing to get my whereabouts. Heavy tremors were running through my every bone, I tried to ignore the fact that I had been taken against my will but that was a difficult fact to ignore. I knew I should be in more of a state now but I was not and I could not bring myself to get worked up, I felt like it was a dream, I had not yet come to understand that this was real and I was never going to see so many people ever again.
Never see them ever again. That little shock was settling in. There were so many people I needed to see, so many people I would miss.
I was jerked around and my thoughts switched to instincts. My eyes flashed wider and I took in the night sky with stars flashing around me. I was going fast, faster than I had every been able to get Snow White Feather Mane to move. I was pretty sure we had gone back the way I had come

past my cousins home and out into who knows where.
I began to speak, wanting to find what was happening, he had not threatened me yet so I felt safe, if I was going to get shot I might as well get shot now. I opened my mouth and all that came forth was a croak. I swallowed and tried again my hands shaking as though I was falling down steep stairs while riding a pony.
“Who are you?’ I whispered terrified to speak any louder.
“I am He Who Calls.” the man boomed his voice smooth, stiff, liquid and rock hard, all at once.
I was mesmerized by it for a split second as his reply soaked in it. I was having a horrible time concentrating with my head already in a jumble and his nonsense was only making things worse.
“Where is you horn?” I asked completely serious and confused.
The man chuckled, he did not seem to want to hurt me. He seemed to only be making me feel nervous.
“I call with my voice not my ‘horn’” he boomed again in his extraordinary voice.
I was beginning to understand why he had that kind of voice but I could not figure out what he wanted. I slumped back to my relax position and left the man to his wonders. I was still shaking although it had lessened along with the slowing of the horse that had not let up its pounding speed for the whole time I had been on it. Everything was still in a hazy, dusty darkness, and I could not make out real shapes. Finally when the object was only a few feet in front of me I could make out a house, a square cabin like house. made of logs and not

planks. The horse stopped as my captor let out a low whistle. He quickly dismounted behind me and then pulled me off, still not being very gentle. He must have thought I would run, but I still did not have the mind abilities to make a decision like that, and if I tried to run I was sure my weakened, numb, shaking legs would give out beneath me. The door was kicked open by a foot and I was catapulted into an old ragged chair. My fingers immediately were gripping the edges of the arms. No sort of communication had been made since I had spoken the questions. As he lit a lamp I could see him in a better light. He was tall and burly, with dark hair that hung in tight curls to his shoulders. He had a curled up mustache, and was wearing the most peculiar tricorn hat I had ever seen. He had me want to laugh at this absurd figure he formed, but I thought he did not seem the sort of man to be laughed at even if he brought it on himself. A cold spring chill rattled through the ill fitting door frame and I shivered, wondering why he did not light fire to the logs in the fire place. He was pacing. I wish I knew a name to call him besides, ‘He Who Calls’ but I could find no name, and could not dictate him one, as I had never seen such an odd figure. He suddenly turned to face me, his buckle shoes scraping through the dirt floor.
“I supposed you wonder why you are here and why I have not yet killed you.” he asked enchanting me with that voice again.
I did not respond, my lips set tight and my fingers clenched on the wood.
“Oh, I see, you are going to be one of those stupid girls that sit there and make me look like a fool to myself because you will not speak” His

voice climbed louder and louder and with his last word his hand came down and struck me across the face. I automatically reached up to protect it. My cheek was throbbing, he definitely had not hit me softly. I touched it and my entire face caught fire, I winced but the fire still blazed. There was nothing I could do to fix it so I left it alone, holding back the tears that dripped from my eyes. The man smirked.
“Would you like to talk now?”
I was afraid that this was a trap but I did not want to be hit again so I asked a question.
“What’s you name?”
He frowned, and I winced, maybe that was the wrong question.
“Stupid girl, I thought we already went over this. I am He Who Calls. Got it.” he got right in my face his breath smelling like sour lemons, his teeth in perfect rows.
I nodded vigorously. “Got it.” I whispered.
“Good.” He backed up and continued pacing. One hand tight behind his back the other twirling his twirly mustache. “Now we can move on too more important topics.”
He turned to face me again clicking the heels of his buckle shoes together.
“Your name is Trinity Smith you have a younger sister Lily who is ten. You have a mother, Mrs. Renee Smith, your father, Mr. Colin Smith, is currently in Philadelphia. Which is quite surprising for a farmer in the spring, during planting season. You are betrothed to a Mr. Taylor Rhode, and your ‘brother’ of sorts, Mr. Elijah Commondew, is sailing away to Africa to do something illegal. You have cousins that live nearby but do not interact very much with the family except for the occasional

small get together.” He grinned mechanically. I lowered my eyes. “How do you know that?” I
asked in suspicion. “Lucky guess.” he shrugged his eyes black
twinkling. I gave him a dirty look and he backed up and
continued pacing. His shoes did not seem to be getting dustier, and all the dirt he kicked up just settled around him.
“So, the only person that could possibly come and save you right now is your handsome fiancée.” He cackled.
“We are not betrothed.” I said through my gritted teeth.
“No, but you will be when he saves your life and you have no choice but to except, as any gracious lady would do.” He winked his sly smile preening around his thin lips.
“Did Taylor set this up?” I asked my eyes widening as this information began to set in. “Did he- hire you?” I trilled my voice high with anticipation and hatred.
‘He Who Calls’ came over and got right in my face, again his words stiff. “He wanted to make you love him. What better way that to be your knight in shining armor? eh?” he said grinning. “Of course you will not really love him since I have have already filled you in on the details of the whole arrangement.” He spread out his hands standing up. “But you will marry him.” he cackled again that laugh sounding nothing like his entrancing voice.
I spat, the first time I had ever spat before in my life, I hoped I had done it properly. “He would never be a knight, he would be more like the dragon or terrible beast holding me captive. I have

no knight.” I growled anger and hatred forming in my heart I felt it shift form a loving heart to dark and cold and icy. “He is no knight.” I said teeth clenched and my anger un-repenting.
“Oh, she is a feisty one.” He said pretending to shiver and turn away in fright.
I could not believe I was letting people do this to me. I thought Taylor would actually try in a nice charming way to make me love him, but obviously he had deeper darker intentions. I knew my only chance at getting out of this would be Eli but like the man had said he was on a ship on the way to Africa. I curled my fingers in to a fist and slammed them down on to the arm rest. I think I actually saw something splinter away, and I had made my hand sore to match my cheek, but I was too aggravated to notice or care.
“So the plan is for me to just sit here and wait for Taylor to save me and I have to go be his wife.”
“Exactly! Now, your catching on!” The man clapped his hands together cheering for me.
I rolled my eyes. “Do I get food?” I asked.
“Well since the point is not to kill you and actually keep you healthy I suppose I could find some spiders for you to eat.”
I made a disgusted face, and he shrugged.
“Anymore questions?” he asked reminding me of my old gray-haired governess with her cane that she always rapped across my fingers.
“Is there a better name I can call you besides ‘He Who Calls’?” I asked, gaining a bit more confidence and less fear, but still heated with anger.
He stoked his shaven chin in thought and paced a few more times. “I have always like the

title Czar. It has a nice imperial ring to it.” He grinned.
“Fine, Czar” My words stuttered for a second and my eyes faltered. Eli would hate that name, it was so tyrannical and royalty, like England and not like the new country he wanted to build. “I have not had supper yet, and I’m thirsty from all the screaming.”
He turned on me his eyes prepared to bite. “Excuse me? I do not recall telling you that I would do whatever you wanted. It is past supper time, you should have eaten when you had the chance it is not my fault you are an idiot.”
I had forgotten how nasty he could be and with his words my cheek flared up again.
“It is now time to sleep.” He ripped a blanket from the lone cupboard in the house and dumped it on the floor. He pointed one thick finger with a large ruby ring at it and then pushed me on top of it.
The blanket was a hideous green color with moth holes and chew bites from rats on it, but I guessed it would be better than the grit and dirt on the floor.
I laid my right cheek that was not throbbing to the floor and spread out cautiously on the blanket. I shut my eyes imagining this would all disappear and I could just go home and shoot Taylor. My left hand was lifted and something cloth like was tied around it. I tried to jerk away but my hand was still sore from inflicting my anger through it. I opened my eyes and saw that Czar was tying the other end of the cloth around a stake and pounding it into the ground.
“Please do not try to escape that, or I will have

to tie you to something that will hold better.” He stood up and then did the same thing to my right leg. Then he went away vanishing and taking the light with him.
I was left laying in darkness tied to stakes. A very awkward position in many ways. Was anyone missing me? Was Taylor already on his way here? I sent Eli help signals through my mind begging him to come home. I wondered if he could hear them all the way across the ocean. I wondered how long I would be kept here. I wondered where here was. I was scared, angry, upset, and confused. I wanted to go home, curl up in my bed and give Lily a hug. I sighed, and swallowed, tears were dripping from my eyes. I hated this place, I hated Taylor, I hated Czar, I hated that I had let myself get stolen like this. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I wanted to scream until I had not more air. I was too thirsty though, all of my previous screaming and left my throat dry. I whimpered instead. I was supposed to be an adult but at the fragile age of sixteen this was all too much for me to keep up with. Only earlier today I had been acting grown-up entertaining my young cousins, and now I was in a dirt hole with a fiery left cheek and a pounding red left hand, and some creepy man that thought kidnapping me was excessively diverting. I was exasperated and I had no ideas as too what I could do to get out of this rat hole. So instead of coming up with a brilliant plan or untying myself I fell asleep, deep asleep into dream land.

The world was spinning. I was drinking rum, and it tasted like strawberries. My cheek was gone

and replaced by a second eye, or possibly a third. The world continued to spin until I fell over into a hole I was falling but then caught by a piece of cloth tied to my arm and leg. The jolting on my limbs woke me.
Czar was ripping the stakes from the ground and subsequently pulling on my arm and leg. I moaned and the sound cracked and cut short by my dry throat.
He looked at me. “I was hoping that would wake you. My next resort would have been dumping water on you.”
I almost wished he had dumped water on me I was so thirsty.
“My last resort, would of course have been setting you on fire, but Taylor I am sure would not appreciate his bride in a charred ashy mess, would he?” He tilted his head to the side with an eyebrow raised.
I sat up flexing my arm that had been de- tethered.
“Hungry?” he asked walking away and reappearing with a basket of berries.
I nodded, reaching for the basket. He set it in my hands. I began to devour the juicy goodness. Blue juice was running down my chin and I licked it up, glad for the slippery feeling that slid down my throat. I could now form sentences without pain from my throat. My cheek however still continued to throb and every facial movement made it hurt more. As I was satisfied with having enough berries I became more conscious of the pain and swelling. I stopped eating and set the basket to the side standing up. I really needed to pee now but I could not go with Czar watching. I made my way to

the door. “And, where might you be heading?” he
asked. I shrugged and with the most minimal mouth
adjustment possible I said, “I will come back just give me two minutes.”
He frowned but did not attempt to stop me. True to my word I came back quickly and sat in the chair that I had occupied last night.
Czar was pacing again. “You know you are the most boring captive ever. You do not even run. I was waiting to have to get my horse and charge after you, but you came right back. Tis a shame.” He shook his head.
“So, I understand that to mean that you have done this before.”
He laughed like I was a silly foolish child. “Of course, I get paid for this.”
“Taylor paid you?” I asked eyes wide this was worse then I expected, except I supposed I should have guess this was not a free service.
“Well, of course he did, I do not just go taking lovely maidens off their horses and steal them away in to the night for fun.” He laughed, at my stunned expression. “Not only are you boring your also quite ignorant of what happens in this world. Did that Eli of yours not tell you anything.”
I stammered. “He tells me about the bad things the british do, but not about the bad things colonists do, unless they are doing them for the british.” I said sheepishly realizing how ignorant I was, thinking only Brits could be bad people.
“Well, some of us colonists make a living in a way you probably would know nothing about.” He said his face twisted in a strange expression of

regret, or sadness. Czar pulled a chair from the far corner. I had
not noticed it the night before in the faint light. He pulled it beneath him and sat down with a sigh, his hair shifting slightly with the movement. He reached up and removed his hat revealing more perfect dark curls. He shook his curls.
Czar began to speak his voice lowered and meant to charm and feel sympathetic. It worked. I had a slightly woozed effect coming over me, I relaxed each muscle un-tightening, even my cheek began to burn less and my eyes un-widened to a more normal level. It did not matter what he said I was mesmerized no matter what word slipped from his lips.
“So, you have absolutely no idea what goes on in this bloody world of yours. Hm?” he asked eyebrows up his face questioning. His upper lip wrinkled as if the weight of the mustache was too much.
I nodded dumbly only listening to the chiming bell tone voice.
“Well, lots of bad things are happening all around you. Like me for example. Do you think I wanted to come to this bloody chunk of land? No, I did not. I was sent here because I am or rather was a drunk. England cast me out of the country I had called home and sent me here. Well dressed I must admit, but still cast out. That is why we are here. We either want to make money or we were shamed, some of us both.”
“And for freedom.” I protested, discovering I had actually been listening to the words the sound formed.
“Freedom is nothing without identity.” Czar

scowled. “We have no identity nor independence nor structure, therefore we are not free.”
I stared open mouth. “Those were beautiful words.” I said nodding. “We can do something to make us free though. We have to be defiant. We have to prove that we could have identity.” I was fierce now. The Eli inside of me was racing.
“With what?” Czar asked looking grim. “All we have are self-righteous people after land money and criminals like myself.”
“But you do want freedom do you not?” I asked smiling. “And you were designed to try for what you want until you had it were you not?” I said feeling a new sense patriotism surrounding us.” I winked at him.
Czar sat up straighter. “I suppose I was.”
“Then why not use that ability to upset the British that they had cast you from their country. Make them jealous that we have someone they did not want.” I was making a speech now, my heart swelling. “Use your talent for good not for uncreative simpleton exercises such us capturing young ladies so their false knight can take them away and force them into something they would never want.” I was on my feet my smile triumphant.
Czar pushed me down. Slamming me into the chair. He was angry and I did not understand why. “That is it. That is you plan. You make me feel
like I have a purpose only to insult my actions and try to convince me to go back on my word to the honorable man that I gave it too.” His voice rose as he stood. He picked up the chair and hurled it across the small structure. “You are a tricky one.” he snarled lip curled up in anger. He stormed from the place.

“Wait!” I called, but he had gone. I had not meant for that. I was being serious and truthful. I had not even thought of getting out of the place when I had spoken.
“Taylor is not an honorable man!” I called exasperated knowing he had not heard. He was off storming some where. I threw up my arms. There was nothing I could do now. I would have to wait for him to return and see that I had not run off, and that I had stayed like a good person, even if I only staid to prove my point, that I was trying to help him be a better person.
I pouted, explored the berries still in the basket and attempted to open the door. Even though it fit ill into the framework. It held tight. I sat back down in my chair and twiddled my thumbs, then I picked at my skirts which had been slightly torn somewhere in all my recent bustle. I stood again and came to understand why Czar paced so much. Pacing across the floor lasted four even steps one way, then a turn and four the other way. I wondered how many steps is was for Czar maybe only two. I would have to pay closer attention next time.
One of my steps was off and threw off my entire thought process.
“Harder then it looks.” came a voice from behind me.
I jumped with a little gasp, embarrassed at being caught in such a silly act.
Czar was standing in the door way. I had not heard him come back.
I retired to my seat. “I was just waiting for you to return.” I muttered.
“I have decided that I should join your young

friend, Eli in his adventures. You have been cooperative enough, and if he taught you most of what you know then he can not be of poor character.
“No, sir” I replied.
“However, I must finish this one out for Mr. Rhode and then I shall evaluate the errors of my path.”
I groaned. He was going to finish out the Taylor deal. I would be married to some man that I had come to detest. Taylor used to just be a person with a cheery attitude, now he was a nightmare.
I leaned my head back and shut my eyes, shutting out the world.
“You can not let him come and get me.” I groaned.
“We will see. Maybe you can be even more impressive and completely change my outlook on money and not only my life” he chuckled.
“I can always try, if it makes you break that deal off.”
“It was hardly a deal” he spoke slowly. “It was much more an offer and a promise.” he coughed as if embarrassed.
“Your on his side?” I asked, skeptic.
“We had something of a prior connection.” he coughed again.
I moan. “I can not stay here any longer, I am sorry I enjoyed the company, not really. I am leaving.” I stood and took less than three quick steps to the door.
Czar beat me there, one hand extended warning me back.
“I am sorry too, but I can not let you do that.” I pouted and pleaded. “Please, you have no

idea how much this is killing me. Literally eating my from the inside out.” I stomped my foot and made other appropriate gestures, including very sad eyes.
Czar did not take. He led me back to my chair and sat me down. I snorted, and tried to get back up but Czar pushed my down with one hand. He touched a finger to my sore cheek a reminder that he was not afraid, nor upset about hitting a lady.
I sat perfectly in my chair. Hands folded in my lap and chin titled just as I had been taught. My jaw was shaking violently and I could not calm it. I wanted to shout at him and force him to let me leave but I could not do it. I could not bring myself to create a racket, and be punished again.
“Good. Not that we have handled that maybe you can reset your priorities.”
“They remain the same.” I clipped. “They still consist of refusing any proposal from Mr. Taylor Rhode.” I knocked his hand from my shoulder. “No matter what your position is in the matter I am of one that he will not constitute a decent companion for myself.”
I stared him in the eyes. He stepped back.
“You miss, that is why you have no choice, you do not understand, society will force this upon you, not me, society, I am merely a tool.”
I blinked remembering very similar words coming from Eli’s mouth when I was trying to convince him to give up the fight against the British. He said we had fought a war as their tool. Was Czar just another tool? Or could he be the nail and I was the tool, a hammer, used to put an end to things like him, or at least pound them so they could not escape.

I evaded Czar eyes. I turned my head to the side so he only had view of my swollen cheek.
“Is it not time for tea?” I asked, changing the subject.
“Tea? Why do you think you would get served
“You said the plan was too keep me healthy, and everyone knows tea will do that.” I smiled a charming meaningless smile a plan forming in my head.
“I suppose we may have tea, but the ability to warm it we do not have.”
“We could build a fire right here, in the center, just a small one that would not burn anything, and the smoke would not be so great, as that it would not escape through the gaps around the door.”
“You really want tea?”
I nodded excitedly and he crossed to the cupboard and brought out a box and a pot.
“There is some wood stacked in that corner.” he gestured to the wood that I had seen the night before and had considered using to smack his brains out with.
I piled the wood in the center and Czar lit the fire from the lamp that had been burning all day even though the day light came through unseen cracks in the walls. Czar produced a metal rack and placed it above the blazing flame and set the pot that he had filled with water on top of it.
“I can not believe I let you talk me into making you tea.” he grumbled.
“Orders are orders” I chirped. “Your orders were too keep me healthy and so you are.”
I stood and pranced to the cupboard the only possible place I could imagine finding cups. There

were four stacked up, they each had their own original chip and scratch marks but seemed capable of holding tea. I brought two back to the fire. I squatted back down on my legs waiting for the watched pot that never boils, to boil. Czar was doing the same while holding back his curls to keep them from catching aflame. My own hair was still holding its knotted up position well enough not to get in the way. It was good that I had been riding when I had been stolen away or else my hair would have been in an entirely different style. Not to say it was a good thing to be stolen away, just that my hair was prepared for it.
The water began to sizzle and both of our hands extended at the same time, then drew back, and then we giggled lightly. I let Czar get his first and then he poured mine.
Unfortunately for him he had underestimated me. I threw my boiling water towards his face and let my cup, which happened to be wooden fall into the flames and I kicked away the metal screen. I was on my feet and receding out the gently propped open door, that had been letting smoke out, into the fields. I had no further plan and I no idea where I was, so I began to run towards the most tree populated area, guessing, and hoping that it was further from the civilization that I was expected to head towards. My shoes were not made to run but they kicked away at the fighting dirt, propelling me onward. I envisioned that the water had blinded Czar and he was now fumbling for me in his darkness. The vision may have been extreme but I wanted it too be true. Once I broke free of open land I paused and evaluated the woodland. The trees look easy enough to climb,

but I had not climbed a tree since I was five. I especially did not think I was capable of managing a climb in skirts. I was wearing conveniently a riding dress so if I did have to make a quick escape It would be more comfortable than if I was wearing a more decorative dress.
I heard a shout behind me and quickly scrambled further into the wood. I did not want to get lost so I tried to stay to the edge but still hidden. Czar had regained his composure and was mounting up on his horse. He twisted the reins in the opposite direction of the woods, and I smiled hoping I had escaped. I turned around about to make my back up the tree line toward the house when sharp barking cracked the air. I froze. Czar had dogs, they would smell me and then find me and tear me limb from limb like they were used to doing in a hunt. I had never noticed dogs before, and there was few places Czar could actually keep animals. His horse grazed freely in the side grass by the log cabin but I had never seen dogs or any signs of dogs. My feet were pattering urging me to start running, but my mind was sending a different signal. I backed out of the cover of the trees ignoring all my protesting limbs. I raised my hands up and turned around to meet face to face with a pack of slobbering dogs. They held off, they were pacing around me, drool draining from their jaws, the were waiting for the cue from the master to catch the prey. Czar whistled and the dogs whined withdrawing from their circle.
“Just a test.” I muttered walking back to the shelter.
Czar was following closely his horse’s nostrils flared just behind my neck. I walked like a prisoner

being led to my execution. I should gone when I had the chance. I could have out smarted the dogs. I could have made it, why did I stop? I was pushed in the door, silently. Czar shoved me down in the chair and tied the cloth around my waist, tight. I gasped the fabric cutting through my stomach, it was tighter than my corset was. Czar lifted my chin with a single finger, I glared into his eyes, defiance my main object. He slapped my previously tortured cheek. I wince and bit back a cry.
“Do not test my patience.” growled his voice inflicting pain on my mind. I scowled and focused my green eyes into his deep black pools.
“Then I will have to turn the other cheek.” I said stoutly. I turned my head my unharmed cheek staring Czar in the eyes.
“One will do for now, but I will remember your offer.” he growled stalking away to the other side of the room. He pounded the logs of the wall with his hand. His nice dressed suit slightly in disarray from his previous scuffle to reprimand me. His face was splotched red from the hot tea I had thrown in his face, and it was red from his anger.
“I will run away again if it releases me from any obligation to Taylor.” I said forcefully at Czar back.
“You will not get far on my watch.” he grunted stalking back across the room to me.
“Taylor is a good man for you” he said his blotchy face glaring at me.
“So, I have been told but yet I still disagree.” I retorted.
“You will make a grave mistake if you run off

with your criminal friend, eloping is highly frowned up on by society.”
“I am quite the taboo, already, I have no reason to give up that aspect of my life.” I hissed.
“Taylor will rescue you and then ask for your hand.”
“Over my dead body.” “Over mine, will you refuse him.” “Why are you so protective of him? He is
nothing, he has already proved to be a back- stabber. I am surprised he chose this route to get me instead of an easier simpler one.”
Czar face cracked into a smile. “Oh you mean the unattended boy incident.”
“How do you know about that?” I asked stunned, if he knew who else knew?
“Lucky guess.” he laughed.
I turned away, sealing my lips. I Would keep my mouth shut. Czar knew too much about me. He was closer to Taylor than I had originally thought. They must be very close if Taylor let him in on all the secret black mail plans. I let him gloat. They could not hang me for refusing a marriage proposal, the only one that was going to keep that notion plausible was my father. He was probably still ignorant of my disappearance, considering if my mother had sent him a letter in the post this morning he would not have gotten it until sometime this afternoon if not later.
I spent the good part of the rest of the week tied to the chair. I slept like that, ate from the chair and argued about Taylor’s and Eli’s qualities. If could manage to find out the truth behind Czar and Taylor’s relationship, any question asked was cautiously avoided with a planned answer. Czar

knew so much about my life though, he knew everything I would expect Taylor to know plus more that few people knew. He was a smart man, and he could put pieces together in a single second of thought. Anytime I asked him how he figured things out or who told him a fact that he knew about me he always responded with his signature “Lucky guess.”
I could not count the day any longer after more than a week of captivity. I never went outside except when absolutely necessary. I was beginning to doubt that Taylor would ever come knocking. How long could he possibly want to keep me here. My skirts were covered in mud and dirt and crumbs, and had ragged holes torn in them. My hair was a flop and falling from it’s up-do. My face was a disaster, covered in dirt and grime. My cheek was bruised and swollen and every facial expression and attempt to eat cause excruciating pain. Czar was not fairing much better. His clothes were also torn and his originally neatly combed curls were a tangled mess that he had finally resorted to tying at the nape of his neck. He was not beaten but he was filthy and the remains of several meals were visible in his curled mustache. He had relinquished his typical appeal of a abrupt sarcasm, and his melodic voice was heard less often. He also seemed to be losing hope that Taylor’s arrival would be quick and seamless. After a greater while than either of us had anticipated I asked him a question that I had not dared to voice since the night he had first been upset by it.
“Are you still willing to become a patriot after this is over?” I asked tired and sore from the short

sentence as pain erupted on my cheek. Czar turned from his daily pacing and was
about to reply when a baying of dogs and horses clopping was heard along with shout of male voices.
“About bloody time.” grunted Czar grabbing his rubbish tricorn hat and escaping through a door that was apparently hidden in the cupboard. He had checked to make sure I was securely tied before disappearing to his horse and making a great escape. I watched him go and knew my savior was finally coming. I had given up caring who came to rescue me I just wanted to be rescued.
The door was forced open and a familiar face stepped in. Immediately Taylor rushed to me and began to cut the ties with his pocket knife. He gripped me by the shoulder and begged to know if I was okay. I momentarily forgave him giving a shaky nod and a whimper. He released my shoulders and began to put his arms around me. I frowned the emotion stinging and kicked him away, issuing a hard forced slap across his face.
“What the bloody.” he swore putting his hand to his face where I had struck him.
“What was that bloody for?” he shouted at me. “I just rescued you. The only thank I get is a slap?” he asked trying to blame me for me of what he deserved.
I gave him my meanest, and most painful, glare. “ You know what you did.” I hissed, with venom in my words.
“Trinity?” came a different voice from behind Taylor. I looked up over his shoulder and saw a familiar, much loved pair of eyes and a charming

smile. “Eli” I breathed pushing past Taylor and
running to his arms. He wrapped me in a hug squeezing tight but
wary of my swollen face. He picked me off my feet and swung me around.
“I missed you girl.” he whispered, setting me on my feet and pushing me toward Taylor who had come to stand by us, as another set of boots hit the door frame. Father stepped through the door and Taylor’s arm snaked around my shoulder.
“That man has a bloody fast horse.” mumbled father turning his eyes on me.
I actually caught some sort of emotion that might have been love hidden in them and I pulled myself from Taylor’s hold to embrace my father. He pressed his chin into my hair.
“Glad you are safe.” he grunted holding his gun away from my body, apparently it was still cocked.
“We should get her home and tend to her face, I have never seen her look more hideous.” said Eli from behind me. I turned around and saw Taylor give Eli a mean stare, there was still some obvious tension between to the two of them but Eli seemed to be ignoring it.
“You can ride with me.” offered Taylor making sure he won the prize before Eli tried to claim it. “Sorry we did not bring your own horse but we were unsure of what condition you would be in.” he mumbled shifting his eyes to the floor.
Had he thought I would be dead? He was the one that gave the order to keep me healthy, this must all still be part of the facade he was trying to keep up.

I nodded and followed to the horses. Taylor had the best horse for two people any way so it only made sense I should ride with him. Taylor helped me mount completely ignoring Eli that was standing nearby to give another hand up. Then he swung up behind me gripping the reins. Father and Eli were already mounted and father was securing his gun to the side of his horse, the same position as Eli and Taylor had already stored theirs. The ride was uncomfortable the sharp wind pushing against my swollen cheek. The ride was fast, but the men obviously wanted to go faster, but were afraid of hurting me. I hide my face behind the horses’ mane. Taylor thinking I was showing signs of loneliness or discomfort wrapped his arms closer around me giving me a too friendly squeeze. I shuddered and tried to shrug him away but he paid no attention. Eli rode up to my left side, the side my eyes were on in my attempt to block the wind. He smiled his wonderful Eli smile and I replied with one of my own. I heard Father call from farther ahead that he could see the house. Eli gave out a whoop of delight and raced on ahead. Taylor even urged his horse forward a little faster. I lifted my head and braced my face against the wind and I saw a little red head running from a house towards us. Lily. A smile exploded on my face, I had not seen her in such a terribly long time. It did not take us long to reach her, and Taylor halted the horse. He leaped down and then reached up and brought me down from the horse cradling me in his arms.
I pounded on his chest. “Put me down, I can walk.” I pleaded wanting to get out of Taylor’s grasp as fast as possible. Lily wrapped me in a

hug as soon as I was on my feet. I hugged her back noticing that her head hit a few inches higher on me than it used too. How long had I been gone if Lily had grown a few inches and Eli was home. It could not have been six months. I could maybe imagine it being three months but not six months. Lily held my hand all the way to the house. Mother was crying in Father’s arms until she saw me. She ran to me and hugged me choking on her tears.
“Oh, my Trinity, I thought I had lost you. I am so glad Taylor was able to go find you.” she wailed.
So, Taylor had found me, that was news, the first person I recalled hugging was Eli but maybe I was hallucinating. How was it possible that they were already thinking Taylor was my hero.
“Ma’am, I do not want to break up the reunion but maybe we should tend to her face it is pretty swollen.” came Eli’s calm voice from behind.
Mother let go and held me out at arms length taking in my face.
“Oh,” she gasped. “Dearie me.”
She began to instruct everyone on what to do to try and fix me up.
She had gotten a cloth and filled a cup of water, and was gently daubing water to my cheek. I winced with each touch and she only continued to press harder before adding vinegar to the remedy, a home made recipe of hers. It stung but cooled down the flames that had erupted over it. I poked the inside of my cheek with my tongue and was relieved when I did not feel the same sharp shock of pain had I had previously felt. I was not even sure if mother’s substance was helping, but knowing she actually cared about me getting better

My heart that had turned so cold in the time I was gone was beginning to warm with love, as so many people that loved me were surrounding my life. It was getting late though as mother finished daubing my cheek and checking for any other various injuries. I was so exhausted, and the prospect of falling asleep tonight in my own bed was so heartwarming. After so many night sleeping stiff tied in a chair, a bed was like sleeping on a cloud. Everyone caught the hint that I was drained when my head nearly slammed into the table and the bowl of vinegar before I caught it. Taylor was at my side hovering near my elbow in a second.
“Are you okay?” he asked hiding behind his veneer of worry.
“Yes,” I mumbled pulling my shoulders up. “I am just tired”
“Of course you are, I could not even imagine the stress and anxiety that three month ordeal must have done to your nerves. We should get you to bed.” He spoke quickly with false pretension.
“Three months?” I mumbled, not loud enough for anyone to hear. I had staid in that filthy hole with that aggravating man for three months? I nearly collapsed again in my weariness, but Taylor caught me this time. I struggled out of his hold, but I could not over power him and he picked me up and began to head for the stairs.
“I will take her up to bed.” He said kindly as if everyone was oblivious to what he was doing. I tried to kick him away but my limbs had hardened and would not budge. Lucky for me, Eli was right behind with a lamp to guide the way. He said nothing but I saw a look on his face of deep

thought obviously curious as too why I was avoiding Taylor so much.
Taylor brought me too my room and I looked at it from his arms, my bed had been made and unused for three months. The curtains had a filament of dust. No one had seemed to want to touch my things during my disappearance. I must have seemed like a ghost to them.
Taylor waited as Eli pulled back the covers and he set me in the bed. I wished I had the energy to change from my ratty clothes, but I did not voice it allowed, I only wanted me to undress myself. Taylor and Eli rolled the covers back on me and my eyes were shut and I was slumbering dreamlessly before they had shut the door and gone.

I woke up, much less achy than I had been in a terribly long time. My back was only a distant soreness, and my cheek felt only puffy and not flamed. I also discovered that I was hungry. I had lived on berries and the occasionally venison for three months. I was probably sick. The smell of warm bacon and sizzling eggs drifted past my nose, and my stomach growled at me a command to get out of bed and feat. I listened to it and swung my feet over the side. I was still in my dirt rag of a dress. I quickly tore it off letting the breeze hit me. I threw it to a corner trying to banish the memories of the dirt and filth I had lived in.
I dressed in a plain green muslim dress, Eli’s favorite color. I pulled on my shoes and stockings feeling fresh fabric between my toes and shoes.
Eli and Taylor were both at the table with my father discussing something very intently they

stopped and folded up a sheet of paper as they saw we coming down the stairs. I was greeted with four genuine happy smiles and one evil grin. I could not help but return the smiles, except I avoided the grin. Lily gave me the biggest smile of all and I could hardly believe it was possible to miss a person so bloody much. I took a seat at the table, and mother served the plates, and then she and Lily took their seats.
Eli, being the most devoted was asked to say grace. I had not even thought about missing church and God while in captive, but I did now. I shut my eyes and told God how thankful I was for being rescued, even if I knew the entire thing had been carefully schemed.
Eli began a prayer. “Dear Lord, bless this food and the people that are gathered here to share it. We are thankful for your good graces in gathering us all together, especially Trinity. Please keep us safe and strong and in good health. Amen.”
“Amen.” chorused the surrounding voices, mine most prominent.
I dug into my food in a very uncivil way. I had been starved of many things for three months, and I was not about to keep basic propriety when my stomach was so empty. Everyone’s eyes were watching me as I finished off the meal and drowned it in fresh milk. I finished and then my stomach let out a short rumble. Mother glanced up surprised.
“There is more on the stove honey, if you want some.” she told me.
I thanked her and excused myself as I stood to pile my plate again. The grown men had not

even finished half of the meal and they watched me as I took a second helping, they had probably never seen a lady eat so much at a single breakfast.
I sat back down in silence and began to eat again, slowly and more proper this time. No one spoke much, there were a few comments on my health but other than those short sentences no had many words, they were all engulfed in watching me eat. I finished my second helping around the time everyone else completed their firsts. I stood to help with dishes, but mother shooed me off saying Lily had she could manage well enough as they had the past few months.
The rest of the party retreated to the parlor including myself. We each took a seat and then three sets of eyes focused on me, waiting for me to speak. I knew what they wanted me to say but I was unsure how to say it. I glanced at my hands settled in my lap. I was inarticulate in the matter. Eli broke the silence shortly.
“Did you know his name?” he asked giving me a place to start.
I took a breath. “He called himself ‘He Who Calls’, but he also allowed me to refer to him as Czar.”
“He spoke with you?” asked Taylor his eyes having a more frightened look in fear of what he might have said.
“Yes.” I said smoothly. “We spoke about many things, he could be quite friendly if you were not upsetting him or he was angry.”
I placed a hand to my cheek a reminder of what his temper could do.
I continued with the description. “He was one

of the strangest looking men I had ever seen. He had black curly long hair, that was real not a wig. His eyes were dark and beady like a birds. He had a strange little mustache that curled over above his thin lips. He was big maybe the size of Eli’s uncle. He wore buckle shoes, white stockings, a fancy military almost looking coat with two rows of buttons, and the strangest kind of three point hat with gold trim that was much fancier than one I had ever seen, it even had a feather in it.”
Everyone nodded so I must have given a clear description.
“Are you going after him?” I asked. Father nodded revenge glistening in his eyes,
I hoped father caught him but if he did he may not give him the chance to tell him that Taylor arranged the whole thing. I would have to speak with Eli alone if I ever got the chance I would need to tell him everything that I knew, he was the only one I could really trust right now, Father had too much respect for Taylor because he thought that Taylor had actually discovered my location instead of knowing all along.
I turned to Eli. “How did you come back so early?”
“Premonition, or a sign from God. I knew something was happening at home but I did not know what. It just happened that we crossed paths with a ship that was heading back to port in the middle of the ocean, which is rare. I had to know what was wrong so I switched ships.”
My heart fluttered, my signals had worked. Every night that I had laid there trying to sleep sending Eli distress signals had actually reached him. I smiled at him all the necessary secrets

visible in that smile. I wanted to tell Eli how it was because of him that I had convinced Czar to believe in hope for this new world. I needed to catch Eli alone to tell him all the things I couldn’t tell anyone else in the room.
“Do you know where he might be heading next?” asked Taylor blatantly jealous of all the attention Eli was getting just because he had some gut feeling.
I refocused my attention over to Taylor, changing my expression so that it matched my current opinion of him. My jaw was set and my eyes were like balls of flame attempting to burn his head to pieces. He nearly shuddered when I looked at him, but tried to dissuade the image, by not looking back.
I answered him slowly, the venom and evil spitting with my words. “No, but that horse is fast, so I would suggest leaving soon if you want to catch him.”
Father agreed silently, he was trying to think- something I had learned was best left to me instead of my parents, they were hard workers but they each had only learned to read write and do basic arithmetic, they were not very bright. I let Father think though and then he spoke, a small conclusions for such vast amounts of thought on his part.
“I tried to chase him already when we first reached Trinity, but that horse is lightning fast. We will have to come up with a plan and catch him when it is dark.”
Taylor and Eli nodded.
All three men spoke in unison. “Let’s go.” and they were gone apparently they did not actually

want a plan they just wanted to give the appearance of a plan.
They each had a rifle or other gun, and with a tip of their hats to me they had mounted there horses and were streaking away. I had not even gotten the chance to tell anyone. They knew nothing of what they were up against with a traitor in their midst. I felt like the traitor for not telling them.

I spent the entire next two days wandering around the house and the yard, mother refused to let me help with anything and she refused to let me go further than the garden where she could see me. I enjoyed sitting in the fresh grass of July. I had missed home so much, its smells of baking apple pie, the sight of my family gathered in the parlor, the sounds of all the bustle and Lily’s cool voice as she would sometimes sit with me. Lily had grown up while I was away. She was no longer the little sister, she had taken on many of my roles since I was not able to complete them, but she was still sweet Lily.
Many people would come to see me. I often had to be prompted for their names. Everyone within 3 miles of my home seemed to know of my great tragedy, and they would bring delicious things for me to enjoy since I was safe. I had never known that so many people were capable of so much and such compassion. Along with the gifts I received many warm hand shakes and well wishes for my continued happiness and health. Taylor, it seemed had wasted no time in spreading word that it was his bride to be that was in peril. No one

directly spoke of a wedding or other celebration but they hinted at it and it was clear that they thought as much in their eyes. I even caught several people trying to see a difference in the size of my abdomen. I thanked them with false pleasure, thirsty for Taylor’s blood. He dared to insult my goodwill in such a way, he would not have my condolences on the loss of such a good catch for a wife. My eyes were fiery, their usual green touched with orange at the centers.
Lily was the only one who noticed the difference in me. She gave me questioning glances every time my expression faltered, when Taylor’s heroic great rescue was mentioned.
After the men had been gone two days she finally asked why I was so distressed. I took a deep breath wondering how much I could tell her.
“Czar, and Taylor had some sort of previous connection.” I stopped wondering if I should go on. Lily’s eyes were huge she was waiting for me
to continue, when we heard a wail from below. Both of us jumped up exchanging a terrified look unable to guess at what could cause such a cry in the middle of the night. We threw on dressing gowns to cover out night gowns and then sprinted for the door and the steps just in time to catch our fainting mother.
The sight that greeted us at the door was a most alarming cause for a wail and fainting. Taylor was limping into the house a trail of blood trickling down his leg and on to the floor leaving a thick trail. I did not really mind about him as much as Eli who came through the entrance next carrying my father. I gasped and nearly dropped mother who had begun to recover from her faint. Lily quickly

helped me get mother to a chair and then helped get father into the bedroom and on the bed. I had my hand to my mouth and was following Eli, who seemed to be in decent condition, around the house like a lost puppy. Lily sat with mother trying to calm her and also prepare her for the condition of father after she had fainted at the sigh of Taylor’s blood trail. I was unsure what emotion I was supposed to be portraying so I stop giving any. My jaw was slack and my arms drifted dumbly at my sides. Eli had ripped open father’s shirt for me to see the large bullet hole wound that had been created in his stomach. I was very nearly sick when I saw it. Eli’s hands were covered in thick oozing redness. The wound was seeping pus and the bullet could still be seen next to Father’s glistening guts. I took deep breaths and tried to do something helpful. Eli knew I was in no state to help with the bleeding so he sent me to fetch the doctor. I ran to the stable and unlocked Snow White Feather Mane’s stall. I did not even bother to saddle her I simply pulled myself on to her back and pointed her in the correct direction. It would have been a short walk so the ride was even shorter. I was panting and my hair and eyes were wild when I knocked on the Doctor’s door. I could hear him shuffling about inside, and I waited panicky for a minute for him to come to the door. He open the door and only took one look at me before reaching for his medical bag. I was quite a mess and if there was not something wrong with me there had to be something wrong with someone I knew. I was still wearing only my night clothes and my hair was down and my feet were bare. I did not even need say a word. The doctor went to his stable and

returned with his plain brown colored horse and followed me at a gallop back home. I managed to get out a partial sentences about my father and a bullet wound but that was all and the doctor did not appear to need to hear any more.
I brought him in the house to the bedroom were Eli was gently washing the wound with a pile of bloody torn up shirt. Taylor had even managed to clean up his wound and get himself into the bedroom, so as not to appear a coward. I watched the doctor’s expression as he looked at my father. His eyes immediately saddened and he almost unnoticeably shook his head. My heart thudded and I knew there was no hope my father could make it. Stomach wounds were always the worst and almost no one survived them, especially not with a lead bullet inside them. My hands had begun to shake but I stepped forward to hold father’s hand as the doctor opened his case to reveal a large pair of tweezers. He mumbled something about it hurting a bit and dug in. I pulled my eyes away looking at my father’s dull gray eyes. Father and I had never been close but that did not mean I wanted him to die. I held back tears quite easily but I could not manage to hold back my shaking. Father could feel it and he knew that it meant he would not make it out of this catastrophe alive.
“Stop.” he said sharply his voice quiet and forced.
The doctor looked up and did not protest. He removed the tweezers from Father’s stomach.
“Go.” Father whispered, and everyone left except for me who staid at his side his hand grasped in mine.
A tear settled itself in the

corner of my eye and I brushed it away. I had to try and keep calm for him, less for him to worry about. Father swallowed and then he began to speak.
“Trinity, I know about Czar and Taylor.” he coughed choking on his own blood.
I nodded showing I understood, I no longer really cared about the whole thing I cared only for my Father at the moment.
“I take back the permission I gave him. He knows I took it back. I shot him. Czar told me that Taylor planned your capture. I shot them both.” Father coughed again, and I stopped him from continuing to speak.
I had heard enough. I wanted to go out and kick Taylor as hard as I possibly could.
“I will send mother in.” I said extracting my hand and moving from the side of the bed. I went out to the hall where everyone was waiting brushing away any tears that I had.
“Mother, he would like to see you.” I said slowly helping her from her seat and leading her to the door.
Lily nodded to me as I let her in shutting the door behind her.
I went and sat on the sofa with Eli. Taylor no longer seemed jealous, he only looked frightened. I did not feel like having to deal with his immaturity and his foolish plans that had killed my father. I hoped he was sentenced for murder, I would not care if he died or was whipped or hung or suffered any form of punishment.
Mother spent only a few minutes with father before she called Lily and I quickly to the room. It was then that I said my last good-bye to Father and I shut his eyes as he left the world hopefully to a less painfully place than the one he was enduring

and the one I would have to endure very soon. I felt very strange in the moments afterwards. I did not cry but some bit of me left. I felt like as father died he was saying this one is for you and leaving something of himself with me but taking a memory of me with him. Mother began to cry loudly and she blew her nose into her handkerchief. Lily whimpered softly at my side and I put my arm around her pressing her into a hug. She wiped her nose on her night gown and wrapped both arms around me. The Lily that had seemed to be growing up so much had gone back to being the younger sister for those few short moments.
Eli had heard mother and knew it was over he and the doctor came in the room and took away the body that I no longer could think of as my Father. I whispered a very last goodbye and settled on my knees to pray for his soul. Lily joined me her small hands folded in front of her.
Whispering we prayed the prayer we had heard often at funerals. “May he be with the Lord and may the lord receive his soul.” we prayed silently three times.
Eli came back to the room and saw us, he too said the prayer before taking the bible from the night stand and opening to a passage.
“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me, in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23)
“Amen” Lily, Eli, and I spoke together. We all stood and helped mother from the room to the parlor where she sat with Lily as Eli and I took away the blood stained sheets. We took them to the field just past the garden and burnt them, the rich black smell of smoke and fire filling our noses instead of the horrid stench of blood. The flames lit up the dark night, and their blaze was good to my eyes. I knew this was when I should talk with Eli about Taylor but I let the fire cleanse me awhile longer before I spoke, without turning my head to look at him.
“Taylor planned everything. My capture, the chase after Czar, Father’s-.” Eli cut me off.
“Trinity, you may be upset but you do not have to start blaming Taylor just because you may not like him.”
“Oh, I more than just do not like him. I loathe him, I would feel better if we hung him and I would have no remorse.”
Eli grabbed my shoulders and shook me, but he stopped when he saw that my hate was fueled by truth and I did not lie.
“Let the wicked and the evil burn in hell, and let the monsters crown them with crowns of lead.” I

hissed turning to storm in the house but Eli caught me and spun me to face him.
“How do you know?” he asked coming to see that it could be true.
“Czar told me, he said Taylor was honorable and that he deserved me. He said they were previously and more intimately acquainted. Taylor let me sit and rot for three months, before pretending to miraculously discover me right where I had been the entire time.” I paused looking at Eli’s intent face.
“Father said Czar told him all of it just after he shot him and then Father said he shot Czar and Taylor. Did you not see Father shoot Taylor?” I asked.
“I did, but I thought it was on accident. You father had just ben shot and he had just shot Czar a death blow before he managed to roll over and his other gun went off hitting Taylor’s leg, I did not know it was on purpose.”
“It was.” I said my anger surging and my want of revenging blazing up in my face like the slap wound had.
“I will speak with the judge.” Eli said silently as we walked back to the house, leaving the ashes of the sheets to scatter in the wind.
I knew the judge would take my side out of greed. He still had an eligible son and with Taylor out of the way I would be open for his son to court again. I was planning to refuse nearly anyone that offered themselves to me but I was not going to let that decision disadvantage me to Taylor in a court.
Eli and I did not speak the rest of night and into the early morning except to say good-bye when he and Taylor went to their own homes.

None of the Smith ladies ate that morning nor did any of us go to bed and catch our lost sleep from the previous night. We spent the entire morning leaning on each other’s shoulders wet stains on our faces. We fell asleep sometime into the afternoon with the sun erupting fully on our faces, but we still slept all the dreariness and wearisome night catching up with us.
I was woken from a half doze by a tapping on my shoulder. Eli stood in front of my blurry vision surrounded by bright afternoon light.
“Wha-” I slurred half asleep still.
“Get up, I have arranged you a meeting with a lawyer.” he tugged lightly on my arm careful not to awake Lily who was snoring on my shoulder.
“Already?” I asked gently removing Lily from her position on top[ of my right side.
“Yes, everyone wants to know who killed Colin Smith.”
He said those words do lightly they stung. He spoke as if it had happened years ago and was a mystery waiting to be unlocked. It was not his father though, and Eli never had had much respect for my father’s slow thought so I forgave him even though the stinging was still there.
“I will have to put something on.” I muttered, heading for the stairs still in my rumpled night gown.
Eli waited for me and I quickly put on the only black dress I had. It was plain but I matched it with Eli’s black rose. I wore a straw hat tied with a black ribbon around my chin and scrubbed at at my wet splotchy face until it was all red. I came down the stairs and Eli offered me his arm. I was confused for a second before taking it. I had never been

allowed in public on Eli’s arm so this was a whole new experience. I was not sure I was ready for new experiences just yet but I let my arm loop through his, thinking how disappointed my late father
would be. I realized that maybe my father’s death could be helpful, and I felt awful for thinking it, but now I could be more at liberty with what I wanted for my future.
Eli escorted me through the streets, few heads turned to notice but no one thought anything of a mourning orphaned daughter on the arm of a young male friend. I tried to seem a mourner but I did not have the heart nor the personality for such an act. I wanted to be able to forget thinks, I wished that I had no memory, or only remembered good things, then my life would be full of joy and gladness, and I would think that nothing bad or evil ever happened, but I had learned wishes almost never came true.
I sat with Eli in the Lawyer’s office. I did not retain his name nor did I remember what I said, but I must have convinced him, or Eli did ,that Taylor was a fool, and should be hanged for an act of betrayal, kidnapping, and assisted murder. I gloated with those charges and evil ebbed away a small part of me, I was glad that Taylor could get what he deserved. He had a lesson to learn, and I was going to teach it to him and then he would remember it forever, because it would be the cause of his final judgment. Eli set the court day. I had about a week to prepare a statement to read, a statement that told everyone that would be present how hurt I had been by Taylor how he had destroyed my life in so many ways. Eli led me home and I began to work directly. He left to help

his uncle and he left me unsupervised to write down Taylor’s disgraces.
Good day everyone, many of you already know me, my name is Trinity Smith. Many of you have also come to believe that I am engaged to Taylor Rhode. This is an utmost scandalous falsehood. It is true that he proposed and I turned him down, with good reason as I will come to illustrate. I never had really like Taylor, nor felt any sort of connection, he was a nice gentleman so I let him court me as I had limited option of men I could cooperate with. It seems as though Taylor began to obsess over me. He told me that he would make me love him or die trying. He did try and when he dies he will still be trying, he has chosen the latter option. In his attempt of seduction Taylor planned my kidnapping he had a previous commitment with the man we know as He Who Calls, and he hired him to take me away and hold me until he could make his miraculous entrance and come to my rescue. Several things happen though that made that fantasy stay a fantasy. The first thing was that my kidnapper, He Who Calls, let the cat out of the bag and told me of Taylor’s plan. Secondly He Who Calls told my father in his dying breaths. Thirdly but also partially before the second point He Who Calls killed my father due to the cause of Taylor’s horrific plan. Taylor Rhode had successfully robbed me of 3 months of my life, my father, and any respect or compassion I had ever felt for him. I will not be sorry to see him in the hangman’s noose.
I looked over what I had written and scratched

out the last line, it was merely for my own pleasure anyway. I placed it in my desk to be taken out later and read for the judge and the court.
I spent the next several days comforting mother and getting her to eat. Lily quit schooling for a while but I did not make her go she needed some time to think.
Eli came for Lily and I in his buggy on the day of the trial, I was wearing my black dress and the rose around my neck, which had become a sort of daily a accessory for me. I did not tell mother what or where we were going or doing. I did not want her to suffer any more pain on account of Father’s death or Taylor’s misdemeanors.
Lily had wanted to come and Eli had suggested it might be good for me to have some family there to sit with and then people would be less concerned about his role in the entire affair. We sat in the first row of benches in the town’s small courthouse. Taylor sat in the row on the other side of the aisle. I had not seen him since the night he had come back from hunting Czar with a large bullet wound in his leg and blood dripping down his stockings. I looked at him once and his face was twisted in a plea, but his eyes did not bear the same expression. They were looking at me at what he might have had, and if he got of this alive what could still be his with repentance. My eyes bore the same expression as the rest of my rigid body. They were cold and unforgiving. Taylor looked at them once and his jerked away, he knew there was no chance of earning my forgiveness. His eyes then took on the look of a frightened child who’s father was going to take the belt to. I turned back to face the front, where the judge sat a delighted smile on

his face as he looked over the materials. He exchanged a smile with his son that was sitting in the back and gave a small nod before banging his gavel for order.
The room silenced immediately everyone was eager for this. Nothing this exciting had happened for quite some time. A man had taken a place beside Taylor and I could but assume it to be his father. They both sat stiffly in their brown coats and hats set on their laps. They both seemed to already know the outcome. The first wave of guilt in the situation that I had felt hit me then. I did not know Mr. Rhode I only knew of him and knew a little of what he was about from Taylor and from the letter he had sent giving permission which my father had hence receded. I swallowed hard I could not let this get to me now. Taylor gave a speech in his defense and he had declined a lawyer. He knew this was over, he knew he had been wrong, I could see the fight in him had gone.
I stood and walked to the front where my lawyer man was waiting. He motioned for me to speak and I turned to face everyone giving my perfectly memorized speech I had written up days earlier. I ended it in a beautiful line that had come to mind as I had been waiting and I saw the fear and the ending strength in Taylor’s eyes.
“I however can not rid myself of this my by my own accord, any action of that kind would make me no better than he. Therefore, I ask you, the court and the law to sentence him with justice to the fate he deserves.” I ended this with a look into Taylor’s hazel eyes and saw that he was more than just afraid, he was determined, selfish, vain, horrid, foolish, and horrified. I had won. The blood of my

father covered his mind if not his hands, at my kidnapping and ill-use also lay there, and was in need of cleansing, just as I had allowed the fire to cleanse me of all the evil I had experienced and had corrupted me in my peril. It was his turn now- only his would be a cleansing for the best.
I returned to my seat between Eli and Lily and Lily reached for my hand. I was shaking with anger and hate and I had not noticed until Lily had taken my hand and steadied it. Eli was sitting stiff and calm beside me, forever a rock of trust and courage.
It took the judge and the court very little time to reach the conclusion I was waiting for. Guilty.
I let out my breath that had been storing in my lungs. I did not feel relieved however I just felt nothingness. Nothingness was all I had ever been able to feel lately, even with the death of my father I felt no emotions just a steady thumping from my heart that no longer seemed to live but only thump.
The verdict was to waste no time with jail cells but to hang Taylor directly. Everyone agreed and we rose from our seats to follow outside while Taylor removed his coat and his hands were roped together. The preacher said a few prayers before Taylor was led outside. I stood in front of the platform and the guard tested the noose and ropes to make sure that it would be secure and correct.
Everything was in order. Lily stood at my side gripping my hand with a fierce tightness, she had seen so many whippings and other punishments before, but never a hanging. It was a pity to both of us that our first viewing of such an act was to be experienced on someone we knew and had both come to except, even if I had been upset and angry

with Taylor I had come to except that he would always be standing there waiting for me to do or say something that could be his chance to run off and have me in tow. Now he was going and I was not in tow. I had towed him metaphorically up on that platform. He had stumbled up the steps his feet lagging behind his boots. His stiff father stood at the base of the steps and had whispered a good-bye. A father for a son, was a fair enough trade I thought. Taylor would even still have his father so he was getting a better bargain than he deserved. Taylor stood straight on the platform. His eyes sparkling but he wiped away his tears on his shoulder. The guard removed Taylor’s vest and tossed it to Mr. Rhode, he caught it and folded it up behind his back. My eyes stopped looking up and I looked to Lily she was crying, she knew Taylor deserved this she had told me earlier. She had told me she would be crying for father when Taylor was sentenced, because father was the one who would have to see him for the rest of forever, and that it was cruel to have to spend eternity with someone that had hurt your daughter in such a way. I had assured her that I did not think father and Taylor would be going to the same paradise. I felt another body come up beside me, Eli had joined us after spending a few moments with the preacher
praying for Taylor’s soul. I felt his fingers brush against my had and I looked up to meet Taylor’s eyes as our fingers intertwined. Taylor’s lips formed the word “sorry” before he turned to face the noose that was placed over his head. I squeezed Eli’s hand and Lily squeezed mine. The crowd that had gather grew silent in the moments that came whispering by. Taylor reset his boots to

face us and he held his head up prepared to die like a martyr. I shut my eyes but then forced them open, I would watch this.
The lever was dropped down by the guard and Taylor’s boots lifted from the platform. His neck lengthened and his eyes bulged before the silence was met and defeated by a terrible scream from his mouth and the followed after a painful ear-striking crunch, snap, and pull.
Lily buried her head into my black skirts. Eli released my hand. My eyes held on to the image of Taylor’s head hanging gripped by the rope that strangled him and snapped his neck. I burnt the image into my mind to be the only reminder of Taylor that I would have. I did not want to remember his enthusiasm for Lily or his dancing or his reading or his kiss, or his many buggy rides. I wanted to remember him like this this stone cold, and dead. I felt nothing of guilt nor sorrow or even anger any more I felt the most complete nothingness I had ever. I realized that the moments of my father’s death had been riddled with emotion compared to this. This, calmness, this complete sense of relief and no more worrying was a true feeling that could not be felt. I stood staring as Mr. Rhode took the body to bury it. The crowd has dispersed now that the excitement had passed. Mr. Rhode surprisingly tipped his hat to me as he carried his cold dead son’s lifeless body down from the platform I automatically gave a short curtsy in return surprised that he could feel any compassion or commitment to be courteous to me at all.
Eli led me back to his carriage and I got in sitting by Lily who had pressed herself into me. Eli

drove us home. Mother was sleeping as she usually did ever since she felt that she had lost to much. Eli made the tea and brought it to me and Lily who sat in the parlor. I was frozen, not wanting to think. Eli set his hand on my knee and spoke softly trying to get me to respond to something.
“It is done, there is no going back.” His chocolate eyes shone into me. “It is what you wanted.”
I nodded “I know it is. I got exactly what I wanted but yet I do not feel pleased.” I said to him finally discovering that I could feel an emotion of confusion.
“That is good. That means you have a conscience.” he said with a light smile.
I only sipped my tea. Waiting for a more comforting form of condolence from him, but he too sat in silence. Lily said nothing, I could see the events replay out in her eyes and she kept watching the snapping of his neck and his screams. She shuddered every time. I was beginning to regret bringing her to the court. I had not known that the hanging would be the same day or I might not of let her come. No matter how many times you had seen a whipping it could never prepare you or make your mind strong enough to see a hanging or any form of cruel death you could imagine. I gripped my tea cup waiting for it to shatter in my hands and let the glass and hot tea eat me. To much death had been caused on my account. Three men had died because of what they had done to me or I to them. Even if Taylor had not died he still would have come to ruin.
I looked toward the glass pane of the window as a slight pattering caught my ear. It had begun to

rain. The slashing of water on the window seemed well deserved and a appropriate commentary of the day. A crack of thunder exploded across the sky and I heard mother awake in her room. She came out and saw the three of us sitting in the parlor, we must have seemed very sad in her eyes as were each gripping our cups with extra pressure and our minds were visibly tormented. Eli nodded his head out of civility to her and motioned for her to pour herself a cup of tea.
“It may seem as though you younger folk’s day was disturbed by the rain, how upsetting that it might ruin things. Maybe tomorrow you could have your bit of fun.” She sighed and we all knew that she could not believe it possible for us to feel the pain she felt, and maybe it was not possible but Lily for sure felt something because she exploded into tears and left her tea mug on the table as she went away to be alone where she could feel as if the doom was not going to come after her too. She was only eleven and I could understand that this was too much for her little world, she would grow up soon. I would have to leave and she would have to stay and care for mother.
Eli said he had to go and he left me sitting with mother she had a shawl wrapped around her shoulder although it was not chilling except for the coolness that rain always brought.
“Your father did not tell me what exactly Taylor did but he did tell me that everything was destroyed. Do you want to tell me?” she asked looking at me.
I could not meet her eyes I did not want to tell her that he was dead. She would find out some day but I did not now if she could handle only a

week after father’s death. “He is gone.” I said simply getting up leaving
after chugging down the rest of my tea. We all retired early that night. I laid in my bed eyes open wide not sleeping
but neither was I waking. I could do nothing I was paralyzed. I remembered only a few months ago a man that was now dead had laid here at my side trying to force his love on me. I shivered as his touch reinvented itself on my neck. This time though it was cold and dead, no longer a touch of a lover, but of a haunter. Taylor would be able to spend the rest of forever haunting me. He would not let me go and knew that he thought he could not. He had proved that he wanted me and would do anything to get what he wanted. I shivered again as the memory of his cool breath on my neck stretched itself out and came alive again.
I decided that I had no choice but to do what I could to save him. I had so many people to save. My father, Czar, Taylor. So many good people and so many bad people died everyday. I decided that it was my duty to save them. I had felt death laughing in my face to many times.
I pushed away my covers and got to my knees on the floorboards. I began to pray. I prayed every prayer I knew and then ones that I created. I prayed to help save the souls of everyone that had been lost or would be lost eventually which included the entire population of the world. Eli would have been so proud of me if he had seen the way my knees were bent and straightened on the wood. The way my eyes were shut and glistened with tears crying for everyone. The way my hands were folded on the bed spread. I

whispered every word to God aloud but not loud enough to wake Lily in the next room. The words flowed from my lips like a song and I felt a sense of relief, like God was telling me that it was okay he had everyone in his care and under his watchful eyes. I was content and I fell peacefully asleep in my prayerful posture.
When I woke the next morning my knees ached as if I had knelt in a bee hive. The good emotions still lingered like soft rose petals in my mind. I dress in a breezy soft pumpkin colored dress. It was a nice contrast to my black I had been wearing, even though I still wore the black rose necklace from Eli, I felt that mourning was finished and the care of those men’s souls were covered by God. I flourished down the stairs enjoying this new freedom that I felt. Lily was still asleep and mother rarely came from her room before noon. I was the only one that was unstressed now. Lily would be seeing flashes still from the hanging. I had already determined to forget them though. I only remembered the image that I forced to burn into my mind the previous day. I had only just finished milking our cow and drinking a glass of the rich fatty milk when an early morning knock was heard at the door. I looked out the window before opening the door expecting to see Eli, the usual morning visitor, but this time it was not him it was a delivery boy. Being in a cheery mood I opened the door with a smile on my face which seemed to confuse the delivery boy as he checked the white paper several times before handing me a bouquet of flowers. I thanked him and he nodded his head as I shut the door. Eager to discover the identity of the sender and the cause for the postman’s

confusion I examined the white card. It had no name just a short note written out by a male’s hand. It read simply
‘I feel your pain in this time of mourning’ -A Friend.
I tossed the card into the parlor flame and arranged the flowers that were a combination of black eyed susans, white roses, violets, and some type of almost weed looking white flower. I had never been an appreciator for the smell of flowers, but I enjoyed their appearance so I tolerated it. The card had dampened my gay and lively reassured feeling a bit but I had expected that something would.
I suddenly realized it had been such a distant time ago since I had read my novel, so I began a fruitful search for the book. The search was short, my novel had not been disturbed in my absence, which did not come as a surprise since I had begun to discover that none of my things had been much disturbed, as if I had been present in the house the whole time, or no time had passed since I had gone and returned, as if it had been a simply walk to town for shopping and then back. I shrugged not allowing the state of things while I was kidnapped damper my spirits in even the slightest. My knees were still stiff, so settling into my most comfortable seat was wonderful. I only was able to read a few chapters before there was a short tap on the door and then a creak as it was opened. I supposed that it was Eli, he was the only one that was allowed to enter without being greeted, not that it was that way before father’s

death but it had come to be that way recently in the days after when he had been such a comfort. I continued to read my novel until he snuck up behind me and covered my eyes. I laughed, the first happy sound I had made in quite some time.
“How is my girl today?” he asked also seeming to be in a good mood.
“I am actually feeling wonderful” I said truthfully with a smile as he took the seat across from me.
“Marvelous because I have the same feeling.” he said looking at me his hands situated pompously on his knees.
“The day is gorgeous, fetch your sister and we shall go to a picnic.” he proposed his teeth gleaming from behind his lips.
“She has not woken yet.” I told him glancing above me to the ceiling that was the floor of her room.
“Then go and wake her.” he urged grabbing the novel from my hands and placing it on the stand. He lifted me from the chair and set me on my feet with a not so friendly shove toward the stairs.
“Go.” he said again. “I will not stand to have her moping all day.
I rolled my eyes thinking of protesting that if she was good enough to picnic than she should just as well be going to learn her lessons. I ignored the tugging in my mind that she should be learning and went to wake her.
I skipped up the stairs and entered Lily’s room where she was sleeping twisted amongst her blankets. I shook her and she rolled over mumbling for me to go away, an ideal she
emphasized with a flop of her hand. “Up.” I commanded going to her wardrobe
and selecting a pale blue dress with a white trim for her to wear.
“We are going on a picnic, so I am going to go pack a basket and when I return you had best have this dress on.” I tossed the dress at her head.
“Who is we?” she grumbled.
“Eli, you, and I “ I replied retreating from her room and into the kitchen where Eli had set himself about cutting bread haphazardly.
I collected a basket from the stack in the corner and folded a blanket into it. I took Eli’s bread and replaced it with some chicken for him to slice. I packed away the bread and then added in the chicken wrapped in a separate cloth. I collected apples from the lone tree in the garden. When I had finished those parts of the picnic. I turned toward the stairs to see Lily dressed but with her hair still a tangle. She thrust a comb in my hands and I sat her down in a chair leaving Eli to fend for himself with the food. I plaited Lily’s hair in an intricate braid and tied it with a ribbon to match her blue dress. Eli hoisted the basket to the table and covered it over with the picnic blanket. He then offered me his arm and carried the basket in the other. I took Lily’s hand and we went out to Eli’s carriage. First, Eli swung the basket into the back seat then he picked up Lily and swung her up next to it. Then he took my hand and offered his knee to me as a step. I placed a wobbly foot on it and nearly tripped and twisted my ankle on the step up into the buggy. He laughed at my clumsy attempt to get in the carriage before jumping up next to me and taking the reins. He called a giddy-up to his

horse, Leah, and she took off. He drove expertly to the meadow the wind blowing through our hair. He helped us down from the carriage and then took the basket and laid out the blanket in the grass. We ate our sandwiches in silence thoughtfully and then munched on apples
Eli picked up a piece of grass and blew on it so that it let out a load squeak and then died as he ran out of air. Lily and I giggled and begged him to teach us how make the strange sound. He tried to teach us but we never achieved more than the occasional screech. He laughed as our cheeks began to turn red, and Lily gave up and laid out on the blanket to sleep in the warmth of the sun. Eli laid back on the blanket with his arms tucked up behind his head and a piece of grassed tucked between his teeth. He pulled off his hat and set it on his face. I took it off and put it over my own curls playfully, settling on to the blanket beside him. Lily’s breathing began to steady as she fell asleep. I turned my neck to the side with my cheek to the ground. Eli turned his head to match mine his face alive with cheer and goodness.
“Do you have to leave again?” asked with face not showing the previous expression I had worn before.
“I am finished with all that, Trinity.” he said rolling over onto his side propping up his head with his hand.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes,” he answered “Before I was just smuggling to spite the British, but then when I actually traveled on the ship I thought it could be a life for me. I switched ships though after I had the premonition that something was wrong, and the

ship that I switched too was full of slaves. Several Hundred on a ship that barely had room for a hundred. All of these negro men women and children all being taken to the West Indies.” Eli’s face fell in sadness for what he had seen.” When that ship reached the indies and before I caught another ship back home I saw how many got off the ship. So few compared to the number that had gotten on. They had each been shackled and several had been beaten. They were covered in their own waste. The saddest thing though, Trinity, was that they were just as much a human as I. They just looked different. They just looked dirtier. It was then that I knew that this was not right. This was no longer just to spite the British. What I was doing was wrong, I was hurting people that were innocent I was involved in trading them like goods at the store.” He looked in my eyes.
“So you are done? What are you going to do now? Are you giving up rum?” I asked hoping he had plans to make some sort of livelihood for himself.
“ Trinity, you are the sweetest rum, I can not smuggle anything better than you.” he smiled winking at me
“I am now going to be a blacksmith.” he said still smiling reaching out his fingers to touch the rose that hung around my neck. He smiled.
“My uncle always said I had talent.” he said turning the rose around in his fingers.
“You do.” I whispered, reaching my hand up to touch his. I folded my fingers around his hands that held my rose. His hands were warm and rough like a blacksmith’s under mine. He rested his hand against my neck.

Our eyes were locked. He glanced down and pulled his hand away.
“Trinity.” he said soft and stern. “What?” I asked, confused. “You can not do this.” he stuttered. “What am I doing?” I asked.
“You are going to make me have to ask you to the barn dance this weekend.” he said raising his eyebrow.
“Eli!” I exclaimed a smile exploding on my cheeks.
“I will take that as a yes then.” he said his face covered with a smile as well.
I smiled speechless. My dream was beginning to no longer be a dream. Finally Eli and I could publicly display our friendship. It was upsetting that this was only achieved by my father’s death but I tried not to think of it that way, I tried to think that it was going to happen no matter what and now just happened to be the time, a time when we needed each other the most.
“Should I tell Mama?” I asked wondering if she would side with the opinion of my late father, or respect my choices as her equal in society. Eli seemed to believe the latter.
“Tell her, There is nothing she can do to stop you. I will come and carry you away from her to that dance all you need to do is whisper my name and I will be at your side.” he laughed and rolled back over on his back closing the gap between us.
I turned my head back to the sky. Watching the clouds soar past in the wind. I pointed up at a particular cloud.
“That cloud looks like you” I said. It was shaped like a heart.

Lily was finally waking up as Eli and I had finished talking. The three if us laying side by side on the blanket was nice. Friends that would always be friends because they were more than friends. United through love that could not be taken back. The kind that you always had for those special people like family.
Eli picked us each a purple wild flower to tuck in our hair and then we attached Leah to the carriage to take us home. Eli left us at the door whispering n my ear that he would be back to pick me up in two days. I laughed as his voice tickled my ear and made the hair around it blow away.
Lily took the basket that we had emptied in our stomachs and we went inside.
Mother was sitting in the dinning room. A cup of tea held in front of her, and a plate with an uneaten cake beside it. She was looking pathetic and in a wretched state. Knowing that I was still eligible for courting would ease he sorrows so I told her of the dance.
“Eli invited me to the barn dance in two days.” I said quickly anxious of telling her.
“That is lovely dear.” she said with a lack of typical enthusiasm.
Lily showed the proper enthusiasm though.
“How romantic!” she cried. “You have not been dancing in ages. What ever shall happen if you have forgotten your steps?” she cried eager to show off her skills from the little dancing she had been taught.
“Dancing is like breathing. You never forget.” I reassured her, even as she pretended to dance eloquently around the room her imaginary beau holding her in her arms. She shut her eyes and

leaned back for a dip and fell to the ground as her imaginary beau failed to support her. She got to her feet and slapped him, pouncing away to the parlor as I laughed.
Lily spent the following two days in a pleasant mood looking forward to the dance that was to come. We tried to convince mother to do something and finally only managed to shoo her away to visit the old widow down the street so they could mourn their losses without upsetting myself and Lily. While she was gone Eli dropped by to present us with a bouquet of long thick pieces of grass to practice our grass squeaking. We spent an entire morning outside the house attempting to coax and eventually force the grass into making noise. We laughed and giggled every time either of us could make the strange blurting sound that Eli created so simply.
Eventually he had to leave, and again he bid adieu with his promise to come by tomorrow and pick me up in all my finery.
That night I presented myself with a poem to help my wishes come true. After saying my prayers I invoked a bit of magic, which might have been the same thing as a prayer but I wanted everything perfect so I wished and prayed. I read a short part of a passage from a poem
“As if by heaven inspir’d, did she relate, The souls grand entrance at the sacred gate!. . .
But O! how vain the wish that friendship pays, Since her own volumes are her greatest praise.”
I fell asleep making sure I was in the bed not on my knees so that my legs would be in good
shape for dancing. I woke up early eager to be gone but the
sunrise that was just edging over the horizon forced me to make myself sleep longer. I wanted to be able to get up, get ready for the dance, and leave, so that way there was not a slightest chance that anything could ruin my day. I woke up a few hours later, in a very groggy mood. I drank some water trying to rid my mouth of the gross morning taste. I splashed more water on my neck and arms and face trying to make them look as clean as possible. I had finally pleased myself with the cleanliness of my skin and I went back to my room.
It was there that I found Lily comfortably situated on my bed. She had picked out a dress for me and sat there with a grin on her face framed by her fire hair. I rolled my eyes and surveyed the dress she had chosen. It was a pale creamy yellow, with fancy hand embroidered stitching that I had done myself, when I had first had the dress made up. It had a gathered skirt that had been bunched and stitched to make it poofy. I rolled my eyes and began to put it on. Lily helped button the buttons and then I sat down to work on my hair. I curled my bangs with a hot rod and then began to brush and re-curl my hair. Lily watched in fascination each move I made waiting for me to give her something do do.
When I finally had twisted my hair up correctly how I wanted it I let her help add in the small silver barrettes to my hair to help hold it and cause it to look sparkly.
I stood and Lily surveyed me as I surveyed myself. We both nodded our heads with satisfaction as a knock came and the sound of a

door opening reach our ears. “I will go present you!” Said Lily excitedly that
she could show off her beautiful sister. I counted to twenty three and then followed
out the door, after attaching a last minute string of fake pearls around my neck in place of the rose I had been wearing of late.
“Here she is sir.” I heard Lily say as I took the first step down, a unintentional smile ever brimming on my face about to overflow.
My smile was reflected on Eli’s face as he stepped to the edge of the stairs to take my hand. I extended it and he kissed it before tucking it on his arm. My face reddened and Lily giggled before melting away. Eli looked absolutely stunning in his brown breeches and white stockings. He was even wearing a stock under his chin and above his light blue waistcoat that was covered by a cream coat that was the same color as my dress. He had topped off his appearance with a hat the same blue as his waistcoat. I smiled to myself when I noticed the color similarity. Lily must have known what Eli would be wearing and that was why she had chosen this dress for me.
I looked to Eli and he led me out the door to where Leah, with flowers braided in her mane, and his recently cleaned buggy were waiting. He lifted me by the waist onto the seat. He produced a red rose with all the thorns cut off from behind his back. He handed it to me and I took it, able to hold the green stem without pricking my fingers. Eli urged Leah forward and she began to carry us away. I saw Lily’s small face waving out the window and wriggled my fingers back to her and smiled. I was

not sure that I could ever be happier. This was what I had wanted. I wanted Eli to come and whisk me away, and take me to somewhere I could be with him. I did not know if he felt the same, but all of his previous words led me to believe he did.
Many couples were arriving as we did and Eli drove the carriage to a post and tied Leah to the wood leaving her a hay bag to much on and a few sugar cubes at the bottom. Leah seemed content and Eli brushed off his coat and came to lift me from the carriage where he offered me his arm. We walked to the barn together, and many heads shifted not expecting to see me attending an event at such a time as this, especially with an escort considering my previous escort had been recently killed. They seemed to have forgotten that I had watched while he was killed and I had not cried but rather relieved myself of such a burden. Eli leaned over and whispered in my ear.
“Either ignore them or smile and nod.” he said choosing the latter as I did.
We both smiled and nodded our heads toward the couples that were looking at us. When we stepped inside we were directed toward the refreshments where apple cider sat in a bowl. We each filled the cup and took a drink before being sought out by the hostess, Miss Dayles. She begged me to begin the first dance at the top of the line. Slightly dumbfounded I agreed, and then turned to Eli wondering what to do. I should have anticipated that people would think it only civil to ask me to lead at the dance following my return home.
Eli took my arm and we strode out to the floor where other couples had begun to line up. The

music began and I curtsied along with the other ladies to which the men responded with a bow. Eli then stepped forward and spun me our feet automatically following the steps that we knew as well as breathing.
“What did you do when I was gone, did you still dance?” I asked my hands placed in his as we danced across the floor.
I twisted around with another man and then came back to Eli as he answered.
“I never set foot in any sort of party or festival. I just wanted to find you. Taylor, however came to your house many a night to try to help plan a rescue with breath that stank of rum and the smell of lady’s perfume on him. I had only assumed he was trying to treat his loneliness.” Eli coughed his eyes fogging but he took a breath and continued. “I never suspected that he knew. And with all of his seemingly realistic sorrow, I thought- I thought, that maybe he had managed to secure you more- more than you wanted.” he stuttered over the words pulling me closer. “Trinity, what I said in my letter about him being good for you. I lied.” He finished and pulled away with the end of the dance.
I curtsied and he bowed again and we clapped for the musicians, and the line dispersed allowing new dancers to take the floor and some others to stay. Elli took my arm and led me out the little side door where some couples were dancing alone in no particular form. Eli brought me up to chest holding my hands he began to sway me back and forth.
“I thought maybe you had left for a reason, to get away from me to let father have his way.” I sighed leaning my head into his chest. I brought

my arms around his shoulders. We were alone outside. The others had gone inside to dance the popular dance that had begun to play. Eli continued to spin me.
“I would never want to leave you. I thought it might just make it better, you were not allowed to see me so I thought if I left you would get used to Taylor, and warm up to him enough to marry him, and I Would be content with just being the godfather.” he laughed. “I also really wanted to see Africa, except I did not make it because I had to come back and save you.”
I gave him an evil laughing glare. He wrapped me tighter, before suddenly letting my go and adjusting me so I was standing about a foot away from him. I tilted my head to the side wondering what he was doing.
Eli smiled and dropped to his knee.
“Trinity?” he whispered making the words sound like he was praying. “Will you marry me?” he asked his eyes twinkling. He produced a solid metal band from his coat pocket it was carefully engraved with my name a heart and then Eli’s name.
I gasped covering my mouth with my hands, slurping in air. Trying to remember how to breathe, it was not as simple as I had previously told Lily.
Eli raised his eyebrows waiting for an answer. I Nodded vigorously “Yes.” I said reaching for the ring. “Did you make this?” I asked, it was so beautiful.
“Yes, do you like?” he asked
“Of course I like it.” I replied handing it to him to slip on my finger.
He stood and took the ring carefully in his

fingers and then he took my hand and fitted it perfectly to my finger. I smiled looking at the metal on my finger our names intertwined from the heart on it. Eli was so talented, I could not believe any blacksmith capable of making such jewelry.
“You are absolutely wonderful.” I said throwing my arms around Eli embracing him tightly. “I love you.” I whispered In his ear.
“I love you too, my sweet Trinity.” she whispered back wrapping his hands around me his arms forming a cocoon, to wrap me in. I felt like a butterfly inside that cocoon, I was ready to emerge beautiful and fly away free, but I would come back to my Eli always. He kissed my forehead and took my arm to go back to the dancing. We lined up on the floor as the next dance began at we danced smoothly in each others arms,
We held hands the whole way home. Our fingers intertwining around each others. My ring always a constant reminder of what would happen. We had not talked about the day when we could be married but it would not be long. I just had to tell mother, I was worried that telling her too soon would remind her of her wedding day which would remind her of father. Mother and Father had been more or less thrown together by their parents but they had learned to love each other, even though they had not begun that way.
Eli stopped at the door of my house and I invited him in but he declined his eyes shifting to the window where Lily was watching. He knew I would be occupied telling Lily and he still had not told his uncle.
“Good night” I said knowing that it would be

better than good. “And to you” he said kissing my hand and
driving away in his carriage.

When he was out of sight I turned around all the pent of happy screams coming silently out of me. I was not capable of thinking well enough to actually make a noise.
I opened the door trying to appear casual. Lily showed just behind me her face radiant
“So...?” she wanted to know.
I held up my left hand the gray metal showing up clearly at the bottom of my finger.
She squealed and then quickly covered her mouth to not wake Mama.
“He wants to marry you!?”she said nearly as excited as I was.
I forced my face to form and unhappy expression. “No, he just gave me the ring.” My mouth was twitching up wanting to be allowed to smile again.
“Liar!” she accused her eyes narrowed she grabbed my hand and read the inscription on the ring. She squealed again.
“Do you think you will get another one for the wedding?” she asked.
“He is not rich Lily” I said shaming her and pulling my hand back away.
“Sell the bloody farm.” she said emphatically.
“Lily.” I scolded. She had spent to much time around Eli his bad language and sharp anger was rubbing off on her.
She just smiled, I was in no mood to reprimand her, I was tempted to sell the bloody farm and run away to an island to sit around and create flower wreaths and Eli could make jewelry. I sent Lily to bed and I followed her up the stairs. I

was too excited to sleep so I danced around my room reenacting the night. It was funny how I could hardly remember anything except Eli’s smile and beautiful flashing eyes. What everyone else was doing or what dances we danced I could not remember, I only remembered swirling around following Eli’s lead.
Finally when I had reminisced over everything I could I collapsed on my bed and fell asleep fully clothed. I had many happy dreams Eli’s face coursing through my mind. Lily woke me up the next morning telling me I was still dressed at that I slept with a smile on my face I nodded sleepily.
“You are so queer.” she complained before listing off her day. “So, I decided since your getting married soon that I can be done with school so Mama and I are going to go tell the tutor that I am finished today. Then we have to pick the strawberries and asparagus. I think we might be making apple pie. Oh, and also you might want to explain to mama why Eli is at our house at “this god forsaken hour of the morning that we should not be liable to accept visitor’s at.” she concluded getting up from my bed.
“Wait, Eli’s here?” I asked
“Of course.” she groaned pulling a work dress from my wardrobe.
I sprang up from my bed and dressed in record time.
“Why are you just now getting me up?” I hissed
“Well Eli said you should get some sleep after your late night. We played a game of checkers and then I came to get you up, I won, by the way.”

I smacked her lightly with my pillow and ran for the stairs. Eli was waiting at the bottom. I smiled and he bowed to my hurried curtsy. Mother was also awake and moving about mumbling about visitors at early hours.
“Mama, it is all right.” I said waving my hand at her. “He will be spending a lot more time here.” I smiled nervously almost a grimace waiting for her reaction.
She surprised all of us by going and shaking Eli’s hand earnestly.
“Praise the Lord.” she said. “It was about time I married you off.” she turned to me her eyes wrinkled at the edges in a smile. I embraced her.
“Thank you mama.” I said my eyes tearing up as my heart swelled with more happiness than it had ever held.
“We need a rematch.” Said Lily wanting to keep Eli at the house.
“I thought you had big plans for today?” I reminded her.
She made a face and told mama that they had to get her out of school now. Mother agreed both thinking it necessary since I would be leaving soon. That left Eli and I to pick the strawberries.
I pulled my hair up in a cap and put on an apron. I had no idea how Eli was managing to get out of so much work with his uncle to spend time with me but he was and I was going to make the most of it.
We went to the garden with the full intent to pick strawberries. We ended up throwing each other more strawberries than we gathered. Eli was munching down a strawberry when he looked up.
“This is what you smell like.” he said holding

a strawberry to his nose. “Fresh strawberry jam.” he leaned over sniffing my neck. “Delicious.” he murmured. I giggled and shoved him away.
“Well you smell like rum.” I retorted. “Which is gross.”
He pretended to be upset, pouting. He leaned over getting in my face. “Breathe it in. The tasty smell of rum.”
I shoved him away again. “You also smell like honey which good enough to cover the rum.” I giggled.
“Well I should smell like rum considering I drank a whole bottle last night in celebration of my recent engagement.” he smiled turning to sit on the dirt beside me. “Well actually I split it with my uncle.” he said.
“Twas sad I could not have the whole thing to myself.”
“You better not be planning to drink that much at our wedding.” I said joking.
“No,” he agreed. “I will not drink that much, I promise.” he gave me an evil grin “I will drink more.” he laughed and stood up and helped me to my feet. We gathered the strawberries that we had not eaten into my apron and took them in the house. We dumped them onto the counter in the kitchen, either we would eat them later or make them into jam. Lily had mentioned apples as well so Eli and I went to pick some apples to bake into pies.
Eli began to climb the tree in the back garden and began pluck the apples from it dropping them to the ground where I could pick them up. He would try to aim for my head but always missed on purpose with a few swear words added in trying to make it seem like he was being realistic. We

picked every single apple that was not bruised. Eli bruised several when throwing them away from me. We took them back to the kitchen and placed them next to the strawberries.
“Have you ever made pie before?” I asked.
Eli I guess was actually a decent cook since he lived with his uncle they had to do their own cooking.
“Once, I burnt it.” he replied.
“I am going to teach you to do it properly.” I began to assemble ingredients, for the family recipe that I stored in my head.
“Why would I want to learn, if you are going to be making them for me?” He asked stacking up the ingredients into a tower.
“What happens when I get stolen away again. What will you eat?”
“All of the pies that you will store for me in the cellar.” he winked sending his tower tumbling but catching anything that could spill.
I rolled my eyes and smacked him lightheartedly in the gut. He stumbled backward and collapsed over a chair.
He cracked open an eye. “Guess I need not learn how to bake now eh?” he asked.
I crossed the room to him and pulled him up. I pointed to the apples
“Start cutting.” I ordered mixing the crust ingredients.
Eli saluted and began to chop apples swiftly. I watched the knife in his hands slice through every apple skillfully, and sometimes he would spin the knife around his fingers to impress me. I ignored him continuing to form my crust. We both finished and put the halves together. We lit the oven and

put in the three pies we had created in to bake. “You have to check them every so often to
make sure they don’t burn. They are usually done as soon as you can smell them.” I instructed sitting in the chairs in the kitchen eating more strawberries. Eli came to sit by me.
“It sure is no wonder you smell like strawberries if you eat them all the time.” he teased.
I threw a strawberry at his head and he caught it in his teeth.
“Good trick.” I said tossing him another that he also caught.
We were down to the last three strawberries when Lily and mother returned with their arms loaded with groceries. Mother had not been out for a while so I should have expected she would do some shopping. Lily looked quite pleased and I assumed that she had convinced mother to buy her several things she wanted.
“Did you pick any strawberries?” she asked looking at the remaining three.
“Yes.” I said handing her one popping one in my mouth and tossing the other to Eli. “They re all gone now though.” I said as if it was not obvious.
Lily rolled her eyes. “Do you still work?” she asked Eli wondering why he was at our house.
“My uncle said I could start again after I got married. He think Trinity would be a distraction in my mind and I could burn myself. Which is possible and I do not have a problem taking a month off.”
“A month?” Lily asked.
We had not decided on a day but a month seemed like too far away. I wanted to be married in a week.

“You had best start working on invitations then.” said mother ruining the happy day dreams.
I pulled on Eli arm. “We will be in the parlor.” I muttered. “Check the pies.”
I pulled him from the kitchen and up to the parlor where I fetched some paper from the writing desk and brought it out to the central table.
“We should start with the note in the paper.” I decided fixing my pen and dipping it in ink.
“Eli Commondew, betrothed to Trinity Smith. Wedding to be held at Edenton Port Church. On August 11th” I wrote as I read allowed
“That is only a little boring” Eli sarcastically commented.
I looked at him waiting for a suggestion.
He waggled his eyebrows at me and began to proclaim. “Eli Commondew, fell in love with Trinity Smith. They are betrothed. due to be married. The moment of their greatest happiness shall occur on August 11th at their local parish.” he paused switching back to a regular voice. “Is that a real date?” he asked.
“Why not?’ I shrugged I had just written a date. August 11th seemed just as good as any other day, it still seemed terribly far away though it was less than a month.
“Marvelous” he intoned. “That inscription will do just fine for the paper.” he said poking the drying ink so his finger came away black. “I will drop it by the printers on my way home.’ he picked it up blew on the ink and tested it with his finger again before folding it into his pocket.
“What about invitations?” I asked
“Can people not just read the paper and come if they want?” he asked begrudgingly

obviously not wanting to make invitations and decide whom to invite.
“I would not mind if they did.” I said not wanting to make professional invitations. “If no one shows up it will be You, Mother, Lily, your uncle, and me.” I ticked off on my fingers.
“That will fill the front pew.” Eli said said smiling. “and we will fill the altar.” he grinned reaching across the table for my hand. I flipped it palm up and he placed his hand in it his fingers running across the ring on it.
“Trinity! You have an appointment with the tailors for your wedding dress, I told him I would send you over.” Mother called from the kitchen.
“I will leave now.” I said getting up and taking off my apron.
Eli followed me to the kitchen where I hung my apron and then opened the door outside for me. “Mind if I accompany you? I can go to the printers after I leave you to be fitted.” I nodded. and step out the door taking Eli’s arm for an escort. The sun was shining down on us and it was beautiful. I felt like skipping but held my legs still in a normal walking form. Eli paused outside the tailors and kissed my hand as I went inside.

The doorway was lit by only a small sunlight that came through a small window. I thought maybe the shop was closed but I heard some whistling in the back so I followed the sound, I almost bumped into a small man with a balding head and round spectacles, the tailor.
“Hello, Miss Smith, your mother told me you would coming over. Your getting married I hear.”
he looked up at me. “Yes,” I said smiling as I thought of Eli. “I came
to be fitted for a dress.” “Yes, yes.” he nodded checking something in
a book. “ What is the date.” he asked. “August eleventh.” I said wondering if that
was too soon to have a dress finished by. The tailor jumped, startled by the number.
“Well, we will have to work quickly then” he said hastily circling some notes. “Follow me and we will get you measured then pick some fabric and you can pick it up in a week.”
“Thank you!” I said enthusiastically. Wedding gowns took a while to sew together so he must have been doing me a large favor.
The tailor led me abruptly to a step in the middle of a mirror with rooms around it. I stepped up and he began to measure me.
“Any particular style?” he asked dragging out a step stool to stand on to take measurements.
“Simple?” I said unsure of what I wanted.
“Of course it will be simple, with your time limit and the new styles that I am hearing about from London, it will be simple.” He said harshly like I should know better.
I grimaced and tried again. “I think poofy summer sleeves would be nice.” I said.
The tailor motioned for his apprentice to write something down so I must have made a good choice.
“Skirt?” he asked measuring my leg.
“Just plain down, maybe pleated in the front.” I guessed again.
The tailor nodded and motioned me to follow him to his racks of material. I stepped down and
followed to the whites. After checking prices I found a cheaply priced
white embossed flower fabric. The tailor wrote some more notes and then told me to see him next monday. I nodded and left the shop. I was so excited, I knew Lily would share in my excitement and I planned to bring her to the final fitting. I more or less danced home in my excitement. The preparations were finished as far as I was concerned mother would have a few more things she would want to do but I could not imagine anything to do now but wait.
The days leading to my wedding were all very similar. Eli would come to my house early in the morning and stay all day unless I had something to be done then he would accompany me on my mission always offering his arm as an escort, and occasionally Lily would attach herself to his other arm. The days were a blur by the time the wedding day reached me, but before the day they seemed to drag out.

I woke very early the day of the wedding, I had not been able to sleep the night before in anticipation but my adrenaline and energy would be keeping me awake for a intolerably long time. I took the dress box from under my bed and laid the perfect dress on my bed. The tailor had done a magnificent job in the stitching. I marveled over it before undressing from my night clothes and putting on the accompanying petticoat the tailor had made. The petticoat was very lacy and itched but I found it too beautiful to complain. I then called

Lily to help button my dress and smooth it. I was determined that mother was not to see it until I was fully dressed. I sat in front of my mirror to study my hair. Lily decided for me to pull it all up under a lacy cap. I was not of a mind to make decisions so I let her do as she wanted. She brought out a new cap I had not seen before and I hugged her when she said she had made it special for me. She arranged it gently on my head letting a few dirty blonde curls fall out the edges in a most perfect way. She hung the rose necklace around my neck. Its dull gray a satisfactory contrast to my white dress. It matched the metal ring that had been present on my finger for nearly a month. I smiled at myself and saw the person in the mirror grinning back ecstatically.
I had taken a bath the night before and was crystal clean. Lily had followed suit and was also clean, and dressed in a lavender colored dress very similar in style to my own. Her hair was done up in a matching way a straw hat with a violet ribbon and flower perched on her head.
We were both very jittery as we walked down the stairs to where mother was waiting. We had borrowed a covered carriage to keep us all from getting dirty or dusty on the way to the church. Mother was more controlled and not smiling excitedly she was tapping her feet in anticipation as we rode to the church. She complemented my beauty but I suspected from her responses that she had peeked at the dress during its hiding. Eli was already dressed at at the front of church with his backed turned to the doorway so as not to see me when I walked in. I saw the back of his suit and felt like somersaulting down the aisle in excitement. I

reprimanded my nerves and the organist waited for my mother to be seated before playing the notes of my march down the aisle. I was being escorted by my cousin, Leo, Matthias and Hannah’s father. It saddened me that my own father could not give me away but I knew if he had been giving me away it would not be to Eli, the love of my life. I reached the front and Eli finally turned and caught my eye. I reached for his sweaty palm, both of our eyes popping at the sight of the other. Eli looked more handsome and charming and wonderful than I could ever picture. I tried to concentrate on the sermon and the words of the pastor but all I kept seeing was Eli’s dark drown eyes and shaggy light brown hair. Finally the pastor stepped towards us and we turned to face each other. My hands were shaking as ELi held them. My mouth was forced into a grin that had been there so long my mouth was getting sore from being a constant upturned position, but yet it refused to turn down. The pastor turned to me, it was time for me to tell Eli sensibly how much I loved him. I squeezed his hand, and he returned it.
The minister began. “Do you Trinity Smith promise to give the best of yourself to Elijah Commondew?”
“I do” “For better or for worse?” “Yes.” “For richer or for poorer?” “Yes.” “In sickness and in health?” “Yes.” “Until Death do you part?” “Yes.” I ended my limbs becoming jittery in all

the excitement. The minister asked Eli the same questions
and with each yes my already impossible large grin grew until my entire body was smiling.
The minister finished and Eli echoed his final
“By the power bestowed in me from our loving God, I now pronounce you man and wife.”
Eli was leaning into my face almost before the pastor finished the words his lips melting mine as he kissed me. I had never kissed Eli before our wedding day and I was glad I had waited it made the emotion so much more meaningful.
A short dinner with drinks followed the celebration and true to his word Eli drank more than he had with his uncle the night of our engagement.
The trivial enjoyment of children no longer fascinates me, I would much rather prefer to be celebrating my wedding.

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