The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 2


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The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 2

  1. 1. Welcome to Chapter Two of my Legacy! I suggest that you read the prologue and Chapter One to get the full story, but I’ll do a quick recap. John Bradford, our founder, left his home in Simland to forge a new life in New Simland. There, he met and married Chris Chase, a server in the local tavern. They had three children: Elias, Primrose, and Phineas. Elias left for University at the end of the first chapter, which is where we pick up in Chapter Two. Enjoy!
  2. 2. John and Chris Bradford were playing a game of chess in their sitting room one afternoon. “John, have you heard from Elias? How does he get along at University?” “I had a letter from him today, my dear. He and Isaiah Gavigan have settled in nicely.”
  3. 3. “John fairs nicely. He finds the course load to be much more than he anticipated. The assignments his professors give take up much of his day.”
  4. 4. “He often finds himself working late into the night to keep up with the work.”
  5. 5. “John, that is horrible! My poor little boy.” “Chris, do not fret. He finds time for enjoyment as well. Elias makes note of the large library and its vast selection of books. You know how much he enjoys reading anything he can get his hands on.”
  6. 6. “Elias is most pleased with the piano in the drawing room at his residence. He hopes that he will be able to procure one for the house here once he returns from University.” “John, that would be wonderful. You know how much I love music. Now, I suggest that you pay more attention to our chess game. I have you in check.”
  7. 7. At the Landgraab Residence Halls, Elias Bradford and Isaiah Gavigan were seated in the dining room for their evening meal. “I say, Elias, how does your sister get along?” “I would not know, my friend. She corresponds with you more regularly than I. You two are to be married when she comes of age, after all.” Isaiah smiled. “I know. I was merely curious if she had mentioned me at all.”
  8. 8. “Isaiah, I am most certain that you are all she thinks of. Now, I must ask you to excuse me.” “Where are you off to?” “I have an engagement with a young lady I met in town, a Miss Uma Chen. She and her mother are visiting nearby friends for the week, and I asked permission to see her this evening. I am quite taken with her.” “Well, what are you waiting for? I shall see you before classes tomorrow.”
  9. 9. Later that evening, Elias stood outside the dance hall with Uma. “Miss Chen, I have had a lovely time this evening. I must admit I am reluctant to see it end. Would you care to join me for a dance?” “Mr. Bradford, I thought you would never ask,” replied Uma.
  10. 10. “Mr. Bradford, you are a fine dancer. Where did you learn?” “From my mother. She has a love of music and dance. You are quite good yourself.” “Thank you. I have been taking lessons as part of my education.” “Miss Chen, I must confess that I am quite taken with you.” “Mr. Bradford, I enjoy your company immensely.”
  11. 11. Elias knew he was being forward, but found himself pulled to Uma by some strange force. He gently kissed her, and felt as if he were floating on air. “Mr. Bradford!” exclaimed Uma. “Miss Chen,” Elias stammered, “Forgive me! I forgot myself.” “You do, Mr. Bradford. But I shall forgive you.” “I am most grateful, Miss Chen.”
  12. 12. Elias arrived back at the residence hall on a high. He had spent a wonderful evening with the woman of his dreams, and it seemed that she felt as strongly about him as he did about her. He was greeted by a blonde man wearing a dark suit who began flapping his arms like a chicken when he saw Elias. “Elias Bradford?” “Er, yes?” Elias answered slowly.
  13. 13. “You, sir, will be coming with me.” “I beg your pardon, but we have never met. I will most certainly not be going anywhere with you.”
  14. 14. The blonde man then pulled out a pair of handcuffs, and put them on Elias’ wrists. “I do believe that you will be coming with me after all, Mr. Bradford.”
  15. 15. The carriage took Elias to a large mansion that was somewhere on the outskirts of the University. There, he was greeted by a large group of students, several that he had befriended during his time at school. They presented him with a blazer and welcomed him to their Society. Elias didn’t quite know what to make of this induction. It did, however, give him an idea.
  16. 16. With the savings that he pooled with Isaiah, he founded the Bradford Society, a fraternity for the male descendants and the spouses of the Bradford daughters. The small house wasn’t much, but Elias knew that it would grow to be one of the most respected fraternities on campus.
  17. 17. Elias’ college years passed quickly, and before he knew it, he was celebrating his graduation. He invited Uma over for the party. They had corresponded regularly, but the distance between the University and the Chen house made it almost impossible for them to see each other.
  18. 18. Despite the time that had passed since they last saw each other, Elias’ feelings for Uma had not changed. In fact, they had grown stronger. Unbeknownst to Uma, Elias had written to Mrs. Chen for her permission to ask Uma for her hand. Elias knew that this moment was perfect for what he had planned these past months to do.
  19. 19. Elias pulled Uma into the hallway of the house. “Miss Chen,” said Elias, dropping to one knee, “I have admired you since the moment we met. You are the most lovely lady I have had the privilege of meeting. I am hoping that you will do me the honor…”
  20. 20. “…of becoming my wife.” Uma gasped. “Mr. Bradford, I know not what to say.”
  21. 21. “The ring is quite beautiful. Wherever did you find it?” “It was my mother’s engagement ring. My father brought it with him from Simland when he came here many years ago, and it has been in the family for several generations.” “I would be honored to wear this ring and be your wife, Mr. Bradford.”
  22. 22. A wide smile broke across Elias’ face. “You have make me the happiest man in Simerica, Miss Chen.”
  23. 23. Uma smiled as she admired her ring. “It will have to be a long engagement, Mr. Bradford. My father was most insistent that I not marry before my 21 st birthday, and my mother will want to follow his wishes.” “I would like to wed as soon as possible, Miss Chen, but I will respect the wishes of your family. The time will allow me the opportunity to become established in my career, and to make the final additions onto the farm.” “Then let us set a date for early spring four years from now. It will give me ample time to finalize my trousseau.”
  24. 24. Later that evening, Elias sat in the sitting room of the Bradford Society House. His graduation party had been a success, and he was graduating from University magna cum laude. The next morning, a carriage would arrive to take him back to the family farm. Elias sighed as he got up to finish packing. He had much to do when he got home. Find a job, oversee the final expansion plans for the house, and make arrangements for his wedding to Miss Chen. The next few years would be busy ones.
  25. 25. Back on the Bradford farm, Phineas was squeezing in a bit more reading before the carriage arrived to take him to University. “Phineas, I know that I do not need to tell you that your studies these next few years will be important. I know that you will make your mother and I proud.” “Of course, Father. I am anxious to learn as much as I can. I have great plans for after graduation.”
  26. 26. “I am determined that I will be able to provide the best home possible for Miss Thompson. She has an affinity for the finer things in life, and I want her to want for nothing.” “And you do not mind that your betrothal agreement requires that you take her surname?” “No, Father. Elias will carry on the Bradford name, and that will be enough.”
  27. 27. Chris entered the sitting room at that moment. “Phineas, your carriage is here.” Phineas got up from the settee and went to hug his mother. “Goodbye, Mother. I will write as often as I can.” “I know you shall, my son. Now, say your goodbyes to your sister. You have a long journey ahead of you.”
  28. 28. Primrose pulled her brother into a tight embrace. “Take care of yourself, Phineas. Don’t ignore Miss Thompson in your pursuit of knowledge.” “I will not, sister. Take care, and keep me posted on your wedding arrangements.” “You do not care of my wedding arrangements! They bore you to tears when I speak of them at dinner.” “Yes, but I will miss hearing of them all the same.”
  29. 29. As Phineas entered the hallway, he was caught off guard when his father suddenly pulled him into a hug. “Safe journey, my son. I had not fully realized it until know, but you have slept your last under this roof.” “Father, I will merely be away for four years. After that, I will move into Thompson House on the other side of the town square.” “I know, Phineas. But I will miss you all the same.” “I shall miss you as well. Goodbye Father.”
  30. 30. Early the next morning before the sun had risen Chris was sitting down to breakfast when she heard the wheels of a carriage slow to a stop in front of the house. She wondered who could be arriving at such an hour. She then heard a shout of thanks, and the carriage started up and took off. A door opened, and she heard a voice that she had not heard in person for four years.
  31. 31. “Father! Mother! I am home!”
  32. 32. After many hugs and much catching up with Chris and Primrose, Elias and John settled into a game of chess. John was eager to hear of Elias’ plans for the house, and more about the Miss Chen that Elias had written so frequently about. There was one matter that took precedence, and John started with that. “So, my son, have you decided what you want to pursue as your career.”
  33. 33. “I have, Father. You know that I have always had a love for the theater. I have decided that is the career path for me.” “The stage? Do you have any idea how unrespectable a profession that is still considered? And the hours you will have to keep because of it? And what of Miss Chen? Is she agreeable with your choice?”
  34. 34. “Father, it will be another four years before Miss Chen and I can wed; it is her late father’s wishes that she not marry until she is of age. That gives me ample time to advance in my profession. I intend on becoming the finest actor Simerica has ever seen, and after that, I am more than willing to change my career path and find another way to make my livelihood if Miss Chen objects.” “So you have thought this through. Very well. I left my homeland in pursuit of a dream, so I can certainly understand your desire to fulfill yours. I trust you will do the Bradford name proud. Now, shall we see if dinner is ready?”
  35. 35. It turned out dinner was not ready, so John and Elias spoke of the garden as they waited. Elias was pleased to hear that the harvest was expected to be the best yet, and he knew that his Miss Chen would be eager to learn how to tend the garden from his mother. “Father, I think that we must plan to put an orchard in soon. Think of the harvests we would have then!” “Those trees are expensive, Elias. It will be a few more years before we can afford that. But your mother would love them. Perhaps we can put them in next spring.”
  36. 36. During dinner, the topic of conversation turned to Primrose’s birthday the next day, and her wedding to Isaiah Gavigan, which would come the day after that. “Primrose, are you excited?” asked John.
  37. 37. “I am, Father. It seems that it was just yesterday that you arranged my marriage with the former Governor, and now it is practically here.” I know it, thought John. It seems just yesterday that I held you in my arms as a baby, and now you are almost grown and about to wed. Aloud, he asked, “And your trousseau? Is it set?” “Oh, yes. Mother and I have picked out several dresses in the newest styles. The dress that I shall wear for my wedding is especially divine.”
  38. 38. John excused himself from the table. When he left the room, Primrose turned to Elias. “Elias, you must tell me the truth. Is Mr. Gavigan a good man? Do you think we will be as happy as Father and Mother have been?” “I had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Gavigan while at University,” began Elias, “and he is a fine young man. I believe you two will be very happy together.” Primrose smiled. “Thank you, Elias.”
  39. 39. As everyone settled in for the night, a questionable man skulked across the front yard of the Bradford farm. John had once written to his family back in Simland of the unsavory nature of some of the town’s inhabitants, but it seems that their numbers had only multiplied since then.
  40. 40. Despite the thief’s best efforts, the local magistrate was able to apprehend the criminal, and the Bradford family was given a handsome reward for their part in the capture.
  41. 41. After the excitement of the previous night, the entire Bradford family awoke late on the morning of Primrose’s birthday. Primrose was the first to rise, and after a quick breakfast, she spent much of the day at her easel. She knew that her new role of wife would not allow her as much time for these simple pleasures.
  42. 42. That evening, with her family and intended gathered to help celebrate Primrose transition into adulthood. She could not decide what wish she wanted the most. After much deliberation, Primrose decided to wish for a happy life with her husband-to-be in her new home. She leaned forward and blew out the candles on the cake.
  43. 43. Primrose grew up into a lovely woman. The resemblance she bore to her mother was now evident.
  44. 44. After cake, Isaiah and Primrose had a moment to converse alone. “Miss Bradford, I am looking forward to our nuptials in the morning.” “As am I, Mr. Gavigan. I have spent years preparing my trousseau, and I am certain that I have everything I will need.” “If you do not, we shall simply go into the city and purchase it. I am a man of means, Miss Bradford. You shall want for nothing. If you want a new dress or bonnet, all you must do is ask.”
  45. 45. Talk of new dresses, bonnets, and trips to the city made Primrose realize how much she cared for the man who would be her husband. She was not a shallow woman, but she did have an appreciation for the finer things in life.
  46. 46. The next morning, Primrose and her family walked to Gavigan Manor for the wedding. Isaiah greeted her on the front walk and promptly dropped to one knee. “Mr. Gavigan, what are you doing? We have been betrothed for years.” “Miss Bradford, I want to do this properly, so I beg your indulgence. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
  47. 47. The ring contained one of the largest diamonds that Primrose had ever seen. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head as she stared at it. “Mr. Gavigan, I would be most honored to be your wife.”
  48. 48. On an impulse, Primrose threw her arms around Isaiah. He proceeded to pick her up and spin her around. “Come, my dear,” Isaiah said. “You must get ready for the ceremony, and I must help my father with setting up the ballroom.”
  49. 49. Soon, the Bradford and Gavigan families gathered in the ballroom of Gavigan Manor for the wedding of Primrose Bradford and Isaiah Gavigan. Phineas was even able to attend, having just finished his studies at University the day before.
  50. 50. As Primrose looked at her new husband, she thought back to the wish that she made on her birthday. She did not know what the future would hold for them, but it seemed that the new Mr. and Mrs. Gavigan were off to a good start. As Phineas watched his sister and Isaiah exchange vows, he thought about his own upcoming wedding.
  51. 51. Nicole Thompson had traveled to the University for a visit one afternoon. They arranged to meet at the University square.
  52. 52. While they too had been betrothed for quite some time, Phineas has still felt the need to make things official with Nicole.
  53. 53. “Miss Thompson, I know that this is a mere formality, but I feel I must ask. Will you marry me when I have completed University?”
  54. 54. Nicole had looked at the ring for a long moment, inspecting it from every angle. “Miss Thompson, you are making me nervous by not answering my question.”
  55. 55. “Mr. Bradford, yes, I will marry you. I have known we would marry since I was a teenager. Your asking is, as you said, a formality. I do appreciate this lovely ring.” “You seem more interested in your ring, Miss Thompson.” “You know that I like pretty things, Mr. Bradford.”
  56. 56. And so, the day after the Gavigan wedding, Phineas Bradford and Nicole Thompson meet in the garden of Thompson House to exchange vows.
  57. 57. The bride and groom promised to love, honor, and obey each other, for as long as they both should live.
  58. 58. And with those simple words, Phineas Bradford became Phineas Thompson.
  59. 59. As it was a fine morning, the guest mingled in the garden following the ceremony. Elias and Primrose spoke at length about her new home. “The kitchen is wonderful, Elias. I can cook things that the stove at the farm would never have allowed me to do. Mr. Gavigan is quite impressed with my household skills.” “I am glad to hear that you are fairing well in your marriage, Primrose. I hope that I will be as fortunate as you when I wed.” “You will soon find out, my dear brother.” Elias smiled. “Yes, Miss Chen is due to arrive tomorrow.”
  60. 60. The guests soon moved inside for the luncheon. Nicole already had ideas on how she could redecorate the house now that she was its lady. “Mr. Thompson, don’t you think the dining room could do with some artwork on the walls? We shall have to travel to the city and see if we can procure a decent painting.” “My sister Primrose is an excellent artist. Sister, would you be willing to paint something for our dining room?” “I will try, Brother. Running the manor is a full-time job, you understand.” “How kind of you, Mrs. Gavigan. But I was hoping for something a little more professional.”
  61. 61. The next day, Elias stood in the sitting room, staring out the window. “You know, son,” John said, “Your staring will not make the carriage come any faster.” Just then, Elias heard the sound of carriage wheels on gravel. “She is here!” he exclaimed. John smiled at his son’s excitement. “I will fetch your mother. Go and greet your young lady, and we will join you in a few moments.”
  62. 62. After paying the driver and bringing in the trunks, Elias led Uma into the sitting room. “It is a pleasure to see you safely arrived, Miss Chen. I trust you had a good journey?” “Yes, Mr. Bradford. I am happy to finally be here.” “Are you ready to be introduced to my parents? They are very excited to meet you.” “I cannot wait to be introduced to your family, Mr. Bradford.”
  63. 63. “Miss Chen, I would like to introduce you to my mother, Mrs. Chris Bradford.” “How do you do, Mrs. Bradford? It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” “I am quite well, Miss Chen. I too am pleased to meet you. I have long wondered about the woman who captured my son’s affections. I must say, you are even more lovely than he described.” “Thank you, Mrs. Bradford.”
  64. 64. “And this is my father, Mr. John Bradford.” “Miss Chen, you are most welcome. I trust your journey was not too difficult.” “My journey was long, Mr. Bradford, but it is now behind me. I look forward to getting better acquainted with you and Mrs. Bradford in the years to come.”
  65. 65. “Miss Chen, I must ask you about Elias’ career in the theater. Do you approve of his life on the stage?”
  66. 66. Uma replied to John’s inquiry slowly. “Mr. Bradford, I am not an aficionado of the theater, and I would much rather a husband who worked in a more traditional career. However, it is his dream to be a successful actor, and I do not feel right keeping him from that dream. Mr. Bradford has assured me that he will find other employment as soon as he has achieved success on stage. I believe this to be an acceptable solution.” John smiled again. “Miss Chen, I believe you and I will become great friends with time.”
  67. 67. And so the Bradford clan gathered on a summer morning to watch the marriage of Miss Uma Chen and Mr. Elias Bradford.
  68. 68. Elias and Uma exchanged vows in the room that Elias planned to be a music room. Both his brother and sister were in attendance, along with their spouses.
  69. 69. And as the bride and groom sealed their vows with a kiss, Elias hoped for the same happiness that his parents had shared in their marriage.
  70. 70. John couldn’t stop himself from applauding the newlyweds. He was practically glowing with pride. This moment was one he had dreamed of many times on the ship that carried him from Simland to Simerica. His firstborn son had found a suitable wife, and would soon be carrying on the Bradford name and legacy.
  71. 71. Chris had cooked a wedding dinner for the entire family, but Elias had eyes only for his bride. “Mrs. Bradford, I must complement your dress today. I have never seen you looking more beautiful.”
  72. 72. “Thank you, Mr. Bradford. My mother and I spent many hours working on this dress.” She paused and a slow blush crept across her cheeks. “I wanted to look special for you.” Elias reached over and took his wife’s hand in his. “Your plan was a success, Mrs. Bradford. You do look very special.”
  73. 73. Later that night after their guests had departed, Elias and Uma retired to their bedroom to get reacquainted. “I passed my exams and graduated with honors, Mrs. Bradford. I am doing quite well in my career as well. I am certain that it will not be long before I can leave the stage behind and find a work in a more respectable profession.” “I am certain that you will, Mr. Bradford.”
  74. 74. Elias then pulled Uma close. “I have missed you these years, my love.” “As I have missed you, Mr. Bradford.” “You know, I have the responsibility of producing an heir for the Bradford line.” Uma smiled a shy smile. “I believe that I may be of some assistance to you in that, husband.” Those were the last words spoken between the two for the rest of the night.
  75. 75. Uma awoke the next morning with a smile. She hummed to herself as she made up her bed. She wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but she had been very nervous about her marriage to Elias and leaving her old home. Elias was just as sweet and kind as he had been during their courtship, and his family seemed eager to embrace her as well. She had truly lucked out. And soon, she hoped, there would be children to carry on the Bradford name.
  76. 76. Late that summer, as Chris was out tending her garden, she received an urgent summons from Gavigan Manor.
  77. 77. Primrose was in labor with her first child.
  78. 78. Several hours latter, Primrose introduced Isaiah to their new daughter, Rhoda. “She is absolutely perfect, Mrs. Gavigan. Look! She has my eyes.” Primrose laughed. “If you think she is perfect, wait until you meet your son.” Isaiah nearly dropped Rhoda. “My…son?”
  79. 79. Primrose walked over to the crib and returned with a black-haired, blue-eyed baby boy. “Yes, your son Roger. I am a twin, you know.” Isaiah smiled as he observed his children. “Mrs. Gavigan, you have done well.” Primrose gazed into her son’s eyes. “Yes, husband, I believe I have.”
  80. 80. Over the summer, Uma settled into her new role as wife. She spent her mornings assisting with the tending and harvesting of the family garden…
  81. 81. …her afternoons working on her logic at the chessboard…
  82. 82. …or reading in the comfort of the sitting room. It was there that Chris found her one day as she returned home after visiting her grandchildren. “Mrs. Bradford, I hope that you have had a productive afternoon,” stated Chris. Uma looked up from her book. “I have, Mrs. Bradford. I have learned a new recipe that I am eager to try out. May I be in charge of dinner tomorrow?” “Of course you may. Now, let us sit and have a little chat.”
  83. 83. “How was your visit to Mrs. Gavigan and her children?” “It was lovely. The twins are growing so quickly. I can hardly believe that they are learning to walk and talk already.” Uma felt a pang in her chest. Though she and Elias had been married for several years, there had not been any signs that she was with child. Chris looked at Uma. “Do you have any news that you would like to share with me, daughter? Any news that might make an old woman very, very happy? Uma sighed. “No, Mrs. Bradford. I have no news for you.”
  84. 84. At that moment, Phineas and Nicole were engaged in a heated discussion. “Mr. Thompson, you have not bought me any jewels since my engagement ring! Your sister has been given a fine necklace by her husband.” Phineas sighed. Nicole never seemed to be happy unless he brought a present home for her every day. “Mrs. Thompson, my sister has given Mr. Gavigan a son and heir. And that necklace has been passed down in their family for generations. It is not exactly new.”
  85. 85. Nicole got up from the settee and began to leave the room. “It is not good for me to get so upset in my delicate…OOH!!!” Elias jumped up. “Mrs. Thompson, what is the matter?”
  86. 86. “It would appear that your firstborn is about to make his appearance. Don’t just stand there; go fetch some help!” “Right away, Mrs. Thompson,” Phineas cried, as he ran off to send Zeeshan Warner, their butler, to fetch his mother. “This had better mean that I get a necklace,” muttered Nicole.
  87. 87. Chris arrived at her son and daughter-in-law’s house just in time to assist with the delivery of her third grandchild, a girl that Phineas named Sophia. She took her hair and eye color from her father, but her skin favored her mother.
  88. 88. “Mr. Thompson, we will have to see about hiring a nursemaid. I cannot keep up my social obligations and care for a baby at the same time.” Phineas sighed. He had hoped that Nicole would feel some maternal pull towards their child, but that did not seem to be the case. “I will speak to Mr. Warner. I believe he has a widowed sister who may be interested in the job.” “Very good, Mr. Thompson.”
  89. 89. It was late that evening when Chris returned to the farm. She was pleased as punch about her new granddaughter. As she entered the sitting room, she saw Uma with her nose in a book. “Mrs. Bradford, may I have a word with you?” asked Chris. “Of course, Mrs. Bradford. Just let me put this book away,” replied Uma.
  90. 90. “How does Mrs. Thompson fair?” asked Uma. “She delivered a healthy baby girl this afternoon. Three grandchildren I now have. I can hardly believe it.” She drew in a breath before continuing. “I must admit, Mrs. Bradford, I am somewhat disappointed that none of my grandchildren have come from you.” Uma gulped. She had feared that a conversation like this was coming. “Mrs. Bradford,” she began, but Chris cut her off. “No, I have not finished yet. Mrs. Bradford, it is your duty to provide my son with an heir to carry on the family name. It has been years since your marriage! Why are you not yet with child?”
  91. 91. “I do not know!” cried Uma, getting up from the settee and trying to escape to her bedroom. Chris blocked her way up the stairs. “You will listen to me, Mrs. Bradford. Elias has been patient with you, but my patience is worn out. You must produce a son and heir for this family. If you cannot, we will have to find someone who will.” “We have tried,” Uma muttered. “We try all the time. I do not know why we are not successful.” Chris sniffed. “I suggest you try harder.” Uma pushed past her mother-in-law and out into the rain.
  92. 92. It was there Elias found her when he returned from work, sobbing uncontrollably. “My dear, whatever is the matter?” asked Elias, putting his arms around his wife.
  93. 93. Uma only began to sob harder at her husband’s kind words. How could he continue to love her when she was unable to give him a child? “Nothing. It is nothing, Mr. Bradford,” Uma lied as she went into the house. Elias knew that his wife was not telling him the truth, but decided not to push her for the moment. He didn’t want to upset her any more than she already was.
  94. 94. Later that night, Elias and Phineas met up at the local tavern to catch up. “So, Mr. Thompson, how is marriage treating you?” asked Elias. Phineas sighed. “Mrs. Thompson can be…difficult…if she does not get her way. She heard that Mr. Gavigan gave our sister a necklace for the birth of her children, and is practically demanding one from me for the birth of Sophia.” Elias laughed. “You knew that she was materialistic when you married her, brother.” “True, I had not realize how much of her personality was consumed by it, though.”
  95. 95. “And you, Mr. Bradford? How goes your marriage?” Elias frowned. “Mrs. Bradford was upset by something today. I returned from work to find her in the garden, sobbing, oblivious to the pouring rain. She claims it is nothing, but I have never seen her so sad before. I don’t know what to do.” “Perhaps she would like a new necklace also.” “Somehow I think this is bigger than a necklace.”
  96. 96. While Elias and Phineas were at the tavern, Uma was still distressed by her conversation with Chris. She ate dinner alone that night, and mostly pushed her food around on her plate. She loved her husband and new home, but if she could not give him a son, what hope did she have of holding her position?
  97. 97. The next morning, Elias called upon his sister. Primrose invited him to join her in a game of chess. “I must say, sister, you have improved your game greatly since your marriage.” “Thank you, brother. I think my success at this game is due more to your distracted state then my increased ability. What is on your mind?”
  98. 98. Elias pushed his hair out of his face. “It is my wife. She became greatly upset by something yesterday while I was at work, and she will not tell me what. Does she not know that I would do anything to help her?” Primrose shook her head at her brother. “Are you really so naïve, brother?” she asked.
  99. 99. “She is the only wife who has yet to have a child,” said Primrose. “She knows that you need a son to carry on the family line, and I imagine the pressure is getting to her. Mother said that she was going to speak with her about it.” “Mother spoke with Mrs. Bradford?” asked Elias. Primrose nodded. “I believe their conversation took place yesterday while you were at work.”
  100. 100. Elias rose from his chair. “Sister, please excuse me. I believe that I need to go speak with Mother.” Primrose pulled him into a hug. “Be gentle with her. Mother only believed she was acting in the best interest of the family.”
  101. 101. Elias arrived home to find his mother reading in the sitting room. “Mother, I hate to interrupt you, but I must speak with you at once.”
  102. 102. “Mother, did you speak with my wife about the fact that she is not yet with child?” Chris did not like Elias’ tone of voice, so she was guarded as she replied, “Yes, why do you ask?” “I found her in the garden when I arrived home from work yesterday. She was visibly upset, and I can only conclude that it were your words that got her into such a state.”
  103. 103. Chris looked at her son. “She should be upset. It has been years since your marriage, and there are no children to show for it. Both of your siblings have given me grandchildren, but not her! Of all people, you should understand that you must have a son and heir! I felt it was my duty to remind her of that fact.”
  104. 104. Elias groaned. “Mother, you should have spoken to me first!” “I did not wish to bother you.” “Still, it is a conversation I should have had with my wife, not you.” Elias thought again about how upset his wife had been yesterday, and something still did not make sense. “I cannot believe that Uma would be quite so upset about not providing me with a son yet.”
  105. 105. “I may have suggested that you would find someone who could give you an heir if she could not,” Chris muttered. “You told her what?” exclaimed Elias. “You heard me the first time, son.”
  106. 106. Elias could feel his temper rising, but he knew that shouting at his mother would get him no where. “Mother,” he said. “I cannot believe you said such a thing. I take my marriage vows seriously. I would never put my wife aside; I love her too much. We are both still young, and there is ample time for children. I ask that from here on, you refrain from speaking with Mrs. Bradford. I cannot have you upsetting her further.” Chris had the grace to look ashamed.
  107. 107. “Elias, I apologize for speaking to your wife about your private marriage matters. I will not do so again.” “Thank you, Mother. Now, I must speak with my wife. Have you seen her?” “I believe she is in your room. She said something about being exhausted from her work in the garden this morning.”
  108. 108. Elias entered their bedroom to see his Uma sound asleep, a soft smile spread across her lips. She looked so peaceful that he didn’t have the heart to wake her. Instead, he slipped into his nightwear and crawled into bed, pulling her close as he settled into the covers. Tomorrow, he would make sure that she knew how much he cherished her, and that he would never forsake her. But now, she needed her rest.
  109. 109. The next morning, Uma awoke and rose to dress. “Mrs. Bradford,” said Elias from the bed, “May we speak?” “Of course, my dear,” replied Uma as she turned around. Elias jumped out of bed and rushed over to Uma. “Wife, you are with child!” he exclaimed as he rubbed her stomach. “I am,” she said with a smile. “I finally am.” Elias looked up at his wife. “I never doubted that it would happen, my love.”
  110. 110. Uma made herself an omelet for breakfast. Her pregnancy has increased her appetite greatly, and she practically inhaled her food. Chris entered the dining room on her way out to the garden and looked at Uma. “Good morning, Mrs. Bradford,” said Chris.
  111. 111. Uma rose from the table. “Good morning to you as well, Mrs. Bradford,” Uma replied. Chris gasped as she saw Uma’s waistline. “Why, you are with child!” Uma could not help the smug look she gave Chris. “Yes, I am. Mr. Bradford is most pleased.”
  112. 112. Several months later, Elias found himself stopping at the general store on his way home from work. Uma was due to give birth any day now, and Elias wanted to pick up a little present for her.
  113. 113. Uma rose from the chess table. Her pregnancy was exhausting her greatly, and despite the early hour, all she wanted to do was go to bed. She felt the baby kick. “I will get to meet you soon, little one,” she said as she rubbed her stomach. “I can hardly wait.”
  114. 114. It was then that Elias walked in the front door. “Hello, my dear. How are you and my son keeping?” Uma smiled at her husband as he talked to her belly. “We are quite well, Mr. Bradford. You are home later than normal. Did something happen at work?” “Not at all. I merely had to stop in the village to pick something up.”
  115. 115. He pulled out a beautifully wrapped box and presented it to Uma. “For you, my dear. It’s a little something I wanted you to have to let you know how much I cherish you.”
  116. 116. “For me?” asked Uma. “Mr. Bradford, you shouldn’t have.” She tore into the wrapping paper and squealed with delight. “Such lovely earrings! Are they…” “Yes, my dear. They are sapphires. Now, shall you go and try them on?”
  117. 117. “So, do you like them?” asked Elias as Uma examined herself in the mirror. “Very much, Mr. Bradford,” replied Uma. She kissed her husband gently. “Thank you.” “No, my dear. Thank you. You are a wonderful wife, and I am certain you will be an even better mother. I want you to know that I will never put you aside, and will love you always.” Uma could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. Everything was finally as it should be.
  118. 118. The next morning, Uma awoke feeling strange. Her back hurt more than normal, and she felt a hot bath would soothe her. Before she could call for the water, a sharp pain ripped through her. “Augh!! Mr. Bradford, your assistance is required!” she screamed.
  119. 119. Elias burst into the room. “My dear, what is the matter?” Uma gazed lovingly into the dark eyes of her baby. “Mr. Bradford, I would like to introduce you to your son.”
  120. 120. “My son?” stammered Elias. “Yes, Mr. Bradford. I am delivered of a healthy baby boy.” “My son!” exclaimed Elias. “I have a son! I am a father!”
  121. 121. “What is all the commotion about?” asked John as he came into the room. “Father, I would like to introduce you to your grandson, Thomas Bradford,” said Elias. John nearly burst with pride at his son’s statement. “He is adorable, Elias.”
  122. 122. Later that morning, Chris found herself in the nursery. She walked over to the crib and picked up her grandson. “Hello, Thomas. I am your grandmother. I am most pleased to meet you.” Thomas cooed at her, and Chris smiled. “I believe that you were worth the wait.”
  123. 123. The entire Bradford family doted upon the little heir. John especially cherished his grandson, and if Thomas was not in his crib, you would most likely find him in his grandfather’s arms. “You are quite perfect, little one,” said John. “Now, let me put a fresh nappy on you before your grandmother and I head out for your cousins’ birthday party.”
  124. 124. The Gavigan twins were growing up quickly. The more they grew, the easier it was to see the resemblance the bore to their parents. Roger seemed to have inherited none of his mother’s features and looked exactly like his father.
  125. 125. While Rhoda only favored her father in her eyes.
  126. 126. With the Bradford and Gavigan families gathered, Rhoda and Roger celebrated their birthdays.
  127. 127. Over desserts, John talked with Isaiah about his family. “I can hardly believe that my grandchildren will be starting school tomorrow. It seems just yesterday that they were born,” said John. “I know,” agreed Isaiah. “Do you and Mrs. Gavigan ever think of having more children?” A shadow crossed Isaiah's face. “I do not think so, Mr. Bradford. Your colleagues have advised against it, given how ill it made Mrs. Gavigan the first time around.”
  128. 128. Roger grew up well, and seemed to take after his grandmother in regards to his love of learning.
  129. 129. While Rhoda filled her days with more creative pursuits.
  130. 130. On the walk back from Gavigan Manor that night, John and Chris stopped to stargaze. “Mr. Bradford, I must confess a wrong I have done to Uma. I told her that Elias would put her aside if she could not produce an heir.” John looked at his wife in shock. “What would compel you to say such a thing?” Chris sighed. “I was upset that she was the only one who had not yet given me grandchildren. I though I was looking out for the well-being of our family, but I see know that I was wrong.” “I think you know what you must do, Mrs. Bradford.”
  131. 131. The next night, both John and Elias elected to join Phineas at the tavern. Uma and Chris ate their dinner in relative silence, until Chris cleared her throat. “Mrs. Bradford, I owe you an apology.”
  132. 132. Uma looked at Chris with surprise. Chris continued. “I never should have spoken to you as I did. It was not my place to interfere in your marriage, and for that, I am sorry.” “Your words hurt me greatly, Mrs. Bradford,” Uma said icily. “I meant for them to do so, Mrs. Bradford,” said Chris sadly. “I was selfish.”
  133. 133. Uma looked at Chris. “You were selfish, Mrs. Bradford, but I will accept your apology. I do not wish for this quarrel of ours to continue any longer.” Chris let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you.” “Besides, I have some news to share with you,” continued Uma.
  134. 134. “I believe I am with child again.”
  135. 135. “That is wonderful news!” exclaimed Chris. “Do you have any idea when the baby will arrive?” “If I am correct about being with child, it should arrive early in the fall.”
  136. 136. That night, Uma discovered that her instincts were correct, and that she was indeed expecting.
  137. 137. The next day was Thomas’ birthday. Uma carried him down from the nursery for the small family gathering she had planned.
  138. 138. The family gathered in the dining room to celebrate the birthday. Chris had baked a cake for the occasion.
  139. 139. “Make a wish, my little man,” said Uma as she blew out the candles.
  140. 140. Thomas grew up into a handsome little boy. Other than his eye and hair color, it was hard to see any of Elias in him.
  141. 141. Elias set about teaching his son to talk.
  142. 142. Thomas was not always a willing pupil, but he was a fast learner. His favorite word quickly became, “Mine!”
  143. 143. John continued to dote on his grandson. He began to regret the hours that his job caused him to spend away from home, and he soon came to a decision.
  144. 144. John retired from the medical career after achieving more success than anyone in the town had before.
  145. 145. The next morning, Uma awoke to a familiar pain in her abdomen. “Mr. Bradford, it is time!” she called.
  146. 146. After a relatively quick labor, Uma delivered a baby girl.
  147. 147. “Mr. Bradford, I would like to introduce you to your daughter,” said Uma, as she handed Elias the baby. “She is almost as beautiful as her mother,” said Elias. “What shall we call her?” “I was thinking Eliza,” said Uma. “Hello, Miss Eliza Bradford,” cooed Elias. ************************************ And this is where I will leave you. Thank you for reading, and watch for updates on 
  148. 148. Doesn’t Nicole just looked thrilled about getting married?