The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 5Presentation Transcript
Welcome to Chapter 5 of my Legacy! I suggest that you read the prologue and first four
chapters to get the full story. A brief recap of Chapter 4: The Bradford children and their
cousins grew up, and the entire clan got embroiled in the growing conflict in Simerica
over the issues of slavery and states’ rights. Thomas, the heir, went to college and fell
for the lovely Carolina Bui. They married, and a baby is on the way.
As this is a legacy based loosely on the history of the United States, I will warn you again
that we’re in the Civil War era, and this will be a theme for at least this chapter and the
next. And now, on with the story.
Eliza Bradford stood outside the coffee shop her younger brother Patrick had taken to
frequenting with Mr. Horace Alcott. She was anxious to meet the gentleman who had
influenced Patrick’s opinions regarding states’ rights, and subsequently led to a rift in her
family. The train trip from Mrs. Seymour’s Finishing School was tiring, and Eliza wanted
nothing more than to enjoy a hot beverage in a comfy chair, but she did not enter.
Instead, she took a few moments to observe the two men unnoticed.
They sat on a sofa before a roaring fire, engaged in what appeared to be an intense
conversation. She took a deep, bracing breath and opened the door.
Patrick was unaware that his sister was standing outside waiting. He and Horace Alcott
were engaged in a lively discussion about the news of the day.
“Can you believe that South Simolina has voted to secede from the Union?” asked
“I can hardly believe it, even thought I read it myself,” replied Horace.
“What do you think this will mean for the Cause of states’ rights? Will the other southern
states follow suit?”
Horace looked at his young friend. Patrick’s enthusiasm for the issue of states’ rights was
unmatched, even in Horace’s home state of South Simolina. But while Horace
sympathized with the plight of his kinsmen in the South, he had moved to the North to
avoid the oncoming conflict.
“I imagine that there will be other states that follow South Simolina. But I do hope that a
peaceful resolution can still be reached. War is not as romantic as it sounds in ballads,
my young friend.”
It was at that moment that Eliza made her way over to her brother and his companion.
“I do hope that I am not interrupting anything important,” she said.
“Eliza!” cried Patrick, jumping up to kiss his sister on the cheek. “I did not know that you
were coming home!”
“Rebecca and I were both longing for a home-cooked meal, and decided to come home
for a few days. I promised you that I would come here and meet your friend, so here I
“Of course. Eliza, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Horace Alcott. Mr. Alcott, my sister,
Miss Eliza Bradford.”
Horace rose and extended his hand in greeting.
“Miss Bradford, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” he said.
After a moment of hesitation, Eliza extended her hand to Horace. “As it is for me, Mr.
“Please, join us. We are just discussing the news of South Simolina’s secession.”
Eliza sat down and turned to her brother. “I overheard a discussion about that on the
train. It is true, then?”
Patrick nodded emphatically. “They are the first state brave enough to stand up to the
Simerican government. Mr. Alcott thinks that the other Southern states will soon follow.”
“Now Patrick,” interjected Horace, “I said that I believed that is what would happen.
Nothing is certain. For all we know, South Simolina could change her mind tomorrow.”
“You know that will most likely not happen,” said Patrick. “The southern states are
standing up for their sovereign rights. This is wonderful news.”
Patrick launched into a monologue about states’ rights, but Horace did not hear a word
his young friend was saying. He was gazing at Eliza, thinking that she was the loveliest
young woman that he had ever seen. One of his hopes with his move to
Massimchusetts was to find a bride, and it seemed that he may just have done that.
Eliza noticed Horace watching her, and she fought back a blush. He was by far one of
the most handsome men she had ever met, and she found his Southern mannerisms
dashing. Cousin Rebecca had told her of the fine house he owned next to Thompson
House, and she knew from local gossip that he had a steady job and income. Horace
seemed to be exactly what Eliza had wished for all those years ago in the wishing well.
She just needed a way to get to know him better.
Patrick’s voice broke his sister’s thoughts.
“Why Eliza, I don’t believe you have heard a word I’ve said!”
Eliza smiled at her brother.
“Forgive me, Patrick, for not being very good company. It was a long journey, even on
the train. I think I will head home now.”
Horace rose, took Eliza hand, and placed a soft kiss upon it.
“It was lovely to meet you, Miss Bradford. I hope that I will have the pleasure of seeing
you again soon,” he said.
“Thank you, Mr. Alcott. I have enjoyed this afternoon as well,” she replied.
Patrick rose too, and gave his sister a hug.
“Will you join us for dinner? It would mean much to Mother,” she asked.
“And to you as well, I think,” he replied. “Of course I will. See you soon.”
“Well, Mr. Alcott, what do you think of my sister?” asked Patrick.
Horace had a far away, dreamy look on his face, and did not seem to notice that Patrick
“I say, Mr. Alcott, are you unwell?”
“What?” asked Horace. “No, I am quite well, young friend.”
“Then what has you so distracted?”
“Patrick, you must help me with something,” implored Horace.
“You must help me get to know your sister better.”
Patrick looked at Horace with an expression of interest and confusion.
“Eliza? You want me to help you get to know Eliza better? Whatever for?”
“She is the loveliest, most amazing woman I have ever met. I am quite taken with her.”
“My sister!” exclaimed Patrick.
“Yes, Patrick, your sister. Perhaps you have not noticed, but she will make an excellent
wife for some man. I am determined that man shall be me.”
Patrick thought about what Horace had said for a long moment. He certainly did not
want to think about his sister in such a way, but she could not do much better for a
husband than Horace. It would be to Patrick’s advantage to have an ally in the family.
Perhaps assisting in making this match would be to his benefit.
“All right, Mr. Alcott. I will help you get to know my sister. But I must warn you, if you
hurt her in any way, you shall answer to me and my brother Thomas.”
“I give you my word as a gentleman,” replied Horace. “Thank you, Patrick. Thank you
so very much.”
A few nights later, Carolina sat in the study of the Bradford Farm, enjoying a good book.
Her pregnancy was progressing well, despite her greatly increased appetite and near
constant fatigue. Eliza’s visit had been lovely, but Carolina was glad that their guest had
gone back to school.
She didn’t even notice when Thomas entered the room.
“What is it that has you so enthralled, dear wife?” asked Thomas.
“A wonderful new book,” she sighed. “My, it grows late! I should be heading up to bed.”
“Are you unwell?” asked Thomas with concern.
“Your son,” began Carolina.
“Or daughter,” smiled Thomas.
“Or daughter,” she agreed, “seems to take up most of my energy. Your mother says it is
normal for a woman in my condition to be more tired than usual.”
Thomas reached out and gently rubbed Carolina’s growing belly.
“Now see here, little one. You must not tax your mother so.”
“Thomas, you are being ridiculous. The baby cannot hear you.”
“Perhaps not, but it doesn’t hurt for him or her to start to learn to respect his parents,”
“I suppose not, dear,” replied Carolina. “Now, I really must be getting to bed. I’m so
Patrick was very excited. He had convinced his parents to allow him a trip into
Portsimouth. It was the perfect opportunity to get Horace and Eliza together.
“Eliza, it is Patrick. I am going to be in Portsimouth tomorrow, and was wondering if you
would care to join me for dinner…you would? Excellent. Shall we meet at Londoste at
about 6:00? I will take care of the arrangements. See you then.”
Patrick then dialed a different number.
“Mr. Alcott? Yes, this is Patrick. Meet me at the train station tomorrow morning. We are
meeting Eliza for dinner in Portsimouth.”
That night, Eliza arrived at Londoste to find Horace waiting for her, but Patrick was no
where in sight.
“Mr. Alcott, this is a pleasant surprise. I came here to meet Patrick for dinner,” said Eliza.
“Yes, Patrick is actually the one who invited me to join him tonight,” replied Horace
“Oh! Do you know where he is now?”
“Yes, he will be joining us shortly. Please, sit down,” he said, gesturing to the chair
across from him.
Horace cleared his throat.
“Miss Bradford, I have a confession to make. I asked your brother to set this dinner with
you so that I might have a chance to get to know you better.”
“You did?” replied Eliza, a bit dumbfounded.
“I did. Your brother speaks of you quite often. He says that you are the only person in
his family who does not chastise him for his opinions. And then when we met a few
months ago, I thought that you were the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I
simply had to find a way to spend some time with you.”
Eliza was grateful that the candlelight did not give away the blush that was creeping
across her face.
“Mr. Alcott, I am flattered by your interest in me. Since we are being honest with each
other, I have be trying to figure out a way to spend some time with you as well. I was
planning on speaking to Patrick about it.”
“This is more than I could have hoped for, Miss Bradford.”
“Please, I insist that you call me Miss Eliza if you will be courting me,” said Eliza. She
hesitated, then said, “You do wish to court me, do you not?”
“That is my intention, Miss Eliza.”
From there, the conversation flowed easily between Horace and Eliza. By the end of the
meal, Eliza felt that she had known Horace her entire life, and Horace was certain that
Eliza would make an ideal wife for him.
“I must say, Miss Eliza, I am sad to see this evening come to an end. May I have
permission to call on you at Mrs. Seymour’s?”
“You may, Mr. Alcott.”
“Please, Miss Eliza. It is Horace. Let us make a toast. Waiter! Some champagne!”
“What shall we toast to?” asked Eliza.
“To the future!” cried Horace, his voice full of joy.
“To a happy future,” amended Eliza, raising her glass.
“To a happy future,” agreed Horace.
Horace reached across the table and took Eliza’s hand in his.
“When will you graduate from Mrs. Seymour‟s?” asked Horace.
“In just over a year,” replied Eliza.
“Miss Eliza, I know this may seem soon, but I would like permission to speak with your
father about asking to marry you.”
“You have it, Horace. There is nothing I would like more that to be your wife.”
Eliza sighed softly to herself. It seemed that her grandfather was right, and that there
was a prince waiting for her after all.
Carolina rose from the sofa in the music room. Uma was playing the piano to try and
distract her from her discomfort, but it wasn’t doing any good.
“Are you all right, dear?” asked Uma. “Should I send for the doctor?”
“No, thank you. I just need to bide my time until the baby is born.”
“Poor dear. This has been so hard on you.”
“It will all be worth it when I hold my son or daughter,” replied Carolina with a small smile.
“Now, if you will excuse me, I think I will go take a warm bath and then retire for the
The warm bath did ease many of Carolina’s aches, and she was on her way to bed when
a ghostly voice spoke to her.
“Take care with my great-grandchild. My, but it will be nice to have a baby in the house
Carolina whirled around and could not believe the apparition before her eyes.
The phantom vanished almost as quickly as it appeared. Carolina took several deep
breaths in attempt to calm her nerves.
“Goodness! If I did not know any better, I would say that I met Thomas’ grandmother.
That…thing looked exactly like the portrait of Chris Bradford that hangs in the entrance
hall. But that is impossible. She has been dead for years.”
Carolina shook her head.
“I must be overtired. I should be getting to bed.”
Carolina’s rest was a short one. Before long, she awoke to pains in her stomach.
Thomas awoke to the sounds of his wife’s cries of pain.
“Carolina, what is wrong? Are you hurt?”
“Baby…” she managed to gasp.
“Baby? Oh! The baby is coming! I’ll go fetch Mother. She’ll know what to do”
Before long, Carolina was holding a tiny blonde-haired, green-eyed baby girl in her arms.
“Hello there, precious,” she cooed. “Mama is very excited to finally meet you. Your
name is Anne. Now I will get you settled into your crib, and then, I shall check on your
Anne’s twin Diana was another blonde-haired, green-eyed beauty.
“They look exactly alike,” marveled Carolina. “However will we tell them apart?”
“As they grow, you will see differences in their looks and personalities,” said Uma. “I do
believe that Anne will have her father‟s curly hair.”
“And they both have your eyes,” smiled Carolina.
“Or yours,” said Uma.
The entire family was very excited by the arrival of the twins.
The morning after the excitement of the twin’s arrival dawned with Patrick’s departure for
University. The family was seeing Patrick off with a bit of relief. While he had been less
vocal in his opinions on states’ rights recently, everyone knew that they had not changed.
Everyone walked on eggshells around Patrick, not wanting to start an argument. The
final goodbyes consisted of polite conversation about the weather and the hope for an
uneventful trip on the train.
“Take care, Patrick. Do not study too hard,” said Uma.
“You’re telling me not to study? Mother, are you well?” joked Patrick.
“That is not what I said, Patrick. Do not neglect your studies, but do not spend all your
time at them. Enjoy the University social life. Perhaps you will meet a nice girl you can
settle down with.”
Uma hugged her youngest child tightly, thinking of how she used to hold him as a baby.
It seemed like only yesterday, and now her baby was practically grown up.
“Take care, son,” said Elias as he hugged Patrick goodbye. “Write and call often.”
“I will, Father. Now, I must be going or I will miss the carriage to the train station.”
And without a look back, Patrick headed off to begin his studies at University.
“Thank you again for joining me for dinner, Mr. and Mrs. Bradford, and Miss Eliza,” said
“Thank you for inviting us, Mr. Alcott. It is good to get to know our neighbors,” replied
“You have a lovely home, Mr. Alcott,” commented Uma.
“Thank you, Mrs. Bradford.”
“What brought you to Massimchusetts, Mr. Alcott?” asked Elias.
“Upon the death of my father, I found our family to be deep in debt. I was forced to sell
his lands to pay his creditors. I had no attachments to South Simolina, and decided to
come north to seek my fortune,” replied Horace.
“Did your family own slaves, Mr. Alcott?”
Horace nodded. “I freed them when my father died. It is a rather outdated practice that I
do not agree with. However, one of my former slaves chose to accompany me here.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Horace. Dinner is ready,” called a voice from the hallway.
“Thank you, Mercy. We will be right in.”
“Thank you, Mercy. You have outdone yourself, as always.”
“It wasn’t anything, Mr. Horace. I’ll be in the kitchen if you need anything.”
“Please, enjoy your dinners,” said Horace, gesturing for Elias, Uma, and Eliza to begin.
“This is quite excellent, Mr. Alcott,” said Elias.
“Thank you. I will be sure to pass your complement on to Mercy. She takes great pride
in her cooking.”
“This is a rather large house for a bachelor, Mr. Alcott. Do you have any plans for
marriage and a family?” asked Uma.
“Nothing would make me happier,” replied Horace. “That was another reason that I
moved north. Without my land or my family’s fortune, I was not in a position to take a
bride. One of the things I love about Massimchusetts is a man’s ability to make his own
“You sound a great deal like my father, Mr. Alcott,” commented Elias. “He left his home
in Simland to make a life for himself here.”
“He sounds like a man that I would have liked to know,” agreed Horace.
“He was a fine man. I miss him greatly,” sighed Eliza.
“You knew him then?” asked Horace.
“Yes, but he died when I was a child. He would always read me fairy tales about princes
and princesses, and they always ended with everyone living happily ever after.”
“Is that not what all princesses deserve?” said Horace.
Elias snuck a glace at the interaction between his daughter and Horace. For some time,
he had felt a sneaking suspicion that Eliza had found a beau. He suddenly had a better
understanding of why they had been invited to dinner that night.
“Mr. Bradford, would you care to join me for a drink in my study?” asked Horace.
“I would be delighted to do so, Mr. Alcott.”
“Ladies, we will join you in the sitting room momentarily,” said Horace, rising from the
Horace and Elias retired to the study to share a glass of brandy. Horace fiddled
nervously with his glass and hoped that his guest did not notice.
“This is excellent, Mr. Alcott. Wherever did you find it?” asked Elias.
“It is one of the few things I was able to save from the creditors,” replied Horace. “Mr.
Bradford, I have something of importance that I would discuss with you.”
Elias looked at Horace, and noticed the sweat that was beginning to form on his brow.
Elias inwardly chuckled. He knew exactly what Horace was about to discuss with him,
and Elias already knew exactly what his reply would be. It was quite obvious that
Horace and Eliza cared greatly for each other, and Elias wanted nothing more than for
his little girl to be happy. That didn’t mean that Elias wasn’t going to make it easy for
This should be amusing, thought Elias.
Horace set his glass down upon the desk.
“Mr. Bradford, I have grown quite fond of your daughter Eliza. She is sweet and kind,
and I would like nothing more than to make her my wife. May I have your permission to
ask for her hand in marriage?”
Horace was so sincere in his request that Elias didn’t have the heart to string him along.
“Mr. Alcott, it is not an easy thing for a father to see his little girl grow into a woman. I
want her to have a happy and secure future. I believe that you will be able to give that to
her, and so I give you my blessing. The final decision, of course, rests with Eliza. If she
is willing to have you, I am content with the match.”
“Thank you so much, Mr. Bradford.”
“When do you plan on asking her?”
“As soon as she has graduated from Mrs. Seymour‟s.”
Elias extended his hand. “Welcome to the family.”
Eliza’s foot was tapping nervously.
“Eliza, do not fidget. It is not ladylike,” chastised Uma. “I would think that almost four
years at Mrs. Seymour’s would have taught you such.”
“I am sorry Mother, but I cannot help it. What is taking them so long!”
Uma repressed a sigh. She had a pretty good idea of what conversation was occurring
in the study, but was not about to share with her daughter.
“I am certain that it is men’s talk, and they will be out shortly.”
Shortly after, Elias and Horace emerged from the study.
“Mrs. Bradford, Eliza, we must be getting home. It is growing quite late,” said Elias.
Uma rose and accepted Horace’s extended hand.
“Thank you for a lovely evening, Mr. Alcott,” she said.
“The pleasure has been all mine, Mrs. Bradford, Miss Eliza. I hope to see you again
“Good bye, Horace,” said Eliza as she followed her parents out the door.
Patrick and Richard were both staying in the Landgraab residence halls, but they
avoided each other. One evening, Patrick saw that Richard was in the sitting room, and
decided to join him.
“I have not seen you in some time, cousin? How have you been?” asked Richard.
“I am well. I spend much of my time in Portsimouth, attempting to get others to see the
difference between the issues of slavery and states’ rights.”
“You have yet to outgrown those opinion?”
Patrick scowled at Richard.
“No, I have not outgrown them, nor am I likely to. I knew that I should just have gone up
to my room. I am not in the mood to argue with you.”
“Excuse me. I will not trouble you with my presence any longer,” retorted Richard, and
he got up and left the room.
Patrick groaned. Horace was the only one who understood him, and he was miles away.
“It was so nice of you to meet my train, Horace.”
“Truthfully, Miss Eliza, I wanted a few moments with you,” said Horace as he caressed
Eliza’s cheek. “I have something I wanted to discuss with you.”
Horace dropped to his knee and pulled from his coat pocket a velvet-covered box.
“Miss Eliza, I love you more than words can say. I would be honored if you would
agree to be my wife.”
Eliza’s eyes filled with tears of joy. Her handsome prince was ready to whisk her away
to his castle, and they would live happily ever after. She found that she could not
speak at that moment, so she had to nod her head vigorously.
Horace smiled at Eliza’s reaction to his proposal as he slipped the ring onto her finger.
“I did not think myself capable of rendering you speechless, my dear.”
“Oh, Horace,” she sighed. “I have never been so happy in my entire life.”
Horace rose and pulled Eliza into his arms.
“You make me very happy as well, Miss Eliza.”
“I shall not be „Miss Eliza‟ for much longer.”
Horace laughed. “No, Mrs. Alcott does have a much nicer ring to it.”
Eliza and Horace were married on a beautiful, unseasonably warm winter’s day in the
garden of the Alcott house. The entire Bradford extended family attended the nuptials.
Eliza was certain that she was the luckiest woman in Simerica at that moment. She
could not wait to embrace her new role as Horace’s wife, and hoped that she would soon
get to know the joys of motherhood.
Later, during the reception that followed the ceremony, Eliza pulled Patrick into a hug.
“I cannot thank you enough for introducing me to Horace,” she said.
“The pleasure was all mine, sister dear. I hope that the two of you are very happy.”
“I am certain we will be.”
Later that night, as Eliza fell asleep in her husband’s arms, she thought of how perfect
her wedding had been. Her last conscious thought was one of hope that the rest of her
life with Horace would share that perfection.
Shortly after Eliza’s wedding, it was time for Anne and Diana’s birthday. Anne, as the
elder of the twins, got to go first.
As Uma predicted, Anne had inherited her father’s curly hair. She was a happy, forthright
child who did not know how to sit still for long. The family could tell that she was going to
be a handful.
Diana, who was about an hour younger, grew up shortly after her sister.
Diana wasn’t quite as sweet as her sister, but she was just as active. She looked a lot
like her grandmother, and she was quickly becoming the apple of her father’s eye.
“I am sorry that you weren’t feeling well enough to join us for the twins’ party yesterday,”
Carolina sighed. “I am just so tired. Your son or daughter exhausts me greatly.”
Thomas reached across the table and took Carolina’s hand.
“So it is my child now, not ours?”
“When he or she is causing trouble, yes, it is yours alone,” she smiled.
“Other than being tired, are you well?”
“Oh, yes. Your mother takes good care of me, and is a great help with Anne and Diana.”
“I was craving something sweet yesterday, and she make me the most delicious
dessert,” said Carolina.
Winter turned into spring, and soon Patrick was preparing for his final exams from
University. Eliza invited him to dinner one night to celebrate his gradation.
“Have you settled upon what you what to do?” asked Eliza.
“I have, Eliza. You will have heard about Fort Simter?”
“The fort was bombarded by troops from the South Simolina army, and the Simerican
troops defending it surrendered.”
Patrick took a deep breath before he spoke. “I have decided that I am going to join the
South Simolina army.”
“You are going to do what!” exclaimed Eliza.
Horace looked at Patrick. “Are you sure that is what you want?”
“It is only a matter of time before the Simerican government decides to act. I can think of
nothing I would rather do than defend a Cause in which I believe deeply.”
“Patrick, have you discussed this idea with anyone? You will have to fight, possibly even
kill. Is that something you can live with?”
“Eliza, calm yourself. In a few months, this conflict will be over, and the South will be
allowed to go its separate way,” replied Patrick.
Eliza looked at Horace, silently pleading with him to help her. She could not allow her
baby brother to run off to war.
“Patrick, are you certain this is what you want?” asked Horace.
“I have never been more certain of anything in my life.”
Horace looked at Patrick, and saw nothing but sincerity in his face.
“Patrick, if you are intent on joining the South Simolina army,” he began, “than I shall
go with you.”
“Horace!” cried Eliza.
“Eliza, I have been thinking about this for some time. States’ rights are near and dear
to my heart as well, and my friends are the ones down there supporting the Cause. I
cannot help but feel that this is something I must do.”
“Excellent! We can leave by the end of the month.”
A heartbroken sob escaped Eliza’s lips as she fled from the dinner table.
Carolina put down her book and rose from the sofa in the study.
“Is everything quite alright, Carolina?” asked Uma.
“My back is sore tonight,” she replied. “I think I will try reading in the sitting room for a
while; I believe the settee is a bit softer than this sofa.”
Carolina had barely entered the sitting room when she felt the familiar pains of labor
come over her.
“Thomas!” she screamed.
“What is it, my dear,” he asked, as he came running into the room.
“It is time!” she managed to gasp.
“Oh, my,” he said.
“What is the matter?” asked Elias.
“The baby is coming,” replied Uma. “Go make yourself useful; stoke up the kitchen fire
and put a pot of water on.”
“Of course, Mrs. Bradford,” said Elias, rushing to get out of the room.
A few hours later, Carolina introduced their daughter Henrietta to the family. She had the
brown eyes and hair of her father and grandfather.
And then, she introduced their son, Matthew. He had his father and grandfather’s brown
hair, and his mother and grandmother’s green eyes.
Uma fussed over her newest grandchildren constantly. Little Henrietta especially
seemed to respond to Uma’s affections…
…While Elias took a shine to his grandson.
“I do hope that you shall have a brother at some point, Matthew. With three sisters, you
will hear nothing but talk of dresses and bonnets. You must have someone to speak with
about things such as billiards.”
Matthew gurgled in agreement with his grandfather’s statement.
Once Carolina had fully recovered from the births, she too could almost always be found
with one of her babies in her arms.
Before long, Anne and Diana were ready to celebrate their childhood birthdays. Uma
threw a small party for the occasion, and invited the family to attend.
While Carolina got ready to assist Anne, Thomas took charge of Diana.
“All right, Anne. Blow out your candles and make a wish,” said Carolina.
“Pretty, Mama,” laughed Anne, as she reached out for her cake.
“Yes, it is a very pretty cake. But you mustn't touch, darling. The candles will burn your
fingers. You can have a piece of cake after.”
Diana did not seem interested in her cake, so Thomas had to blow out the candles for
“There, little lady. You are ready to become a big girl now,” he said.
Anne grew into a lovely child. Her curls and striking green eyes made Thomas worry
about the boys in her class. She had all the makings of a true heartbreaker.
Diana, while still quite pretty, was not as dazzling as her twin. Her features were a blend
of her mothers and grandmothers.
The next morning, after Anne and Diana were safely off to school, and the babies had
been fed and bathed, Uma wandered out into the garden. The little snow left from winter
was fast melting in the warm spring sun, and soon it would be time to plant.
Uma was worried. Patrick had finished his studies at University, but he had yet to return
to Simsfield. She knew from Primrose that he had not settled in Portsimouth. It was
almost as if he had disappeared entirely. She sighed. Patrick had become so distant in
recent years. She would have to speak with Eliza to find out what was going on.
The sun ducked behind a cloud, and Uma shivered. It was time to go back inside and
check on her grandson and granddaughter.
“Are you going to catch the ball this time, Anne?” asked Diana. They had returned from
school, very excited and full of stories of their classmates. As Carolina had just gotten
Henrietta and Matthew settled down for a nap, the girls were sent outside where they
would not wake the babies.
“Yes, Diana. I am ready. Please do not throw it so hard this time,” replied Anne.
“I do not know what you are talking about,” said Diana.
“You almost hit me in the face the last time!” exclaimed Anne.
“It slipped,” said Diana, with a shrug.
In the midst of their play, the girls did not notice a man in a strange gray uniform
approach the house.
Patrick smiled at the girls as he listened to them play. He thought back to when he and
Thomas were younger, and the game they used to play. Those days seemed very long
“Excuse me,” he said.
Anne and Diana abandoned their game.
“Who are you?” demanded Diana.
“I am your Uncle Patrick,” he replied.
“Why have we not met you before?” asked Anne.
“Your father and I have disagreed about some grown up matters. Is he at home? I
would like to speak with him.”
“Yes, he just got home from work. Would you like to come in and see him?” asked Anne.
“I think it would be better if we spoke here. Could you ask him to come out, please?”
“Patrick! Mother has been worried about you. Wherever have you been?” asked
Thomas as he came out the door. “What is that you are wearing?”
“Thomas, I have come here to tell you that I am joining the South Simolina army.”
“You are what!” exclaimed Thomas. “Is this about your stupid belief in states’ rights?”
“It‟s not stupid, and deep down you know that,” retorted Patrick. “You‟re confusing the
issue with slavery again, brother.”
“Have you thought about what this news will do to your family? To Mother? She is not
young any more, Patrick. I don’t know how she will bear it.”
“Can you not see that this is something that I must do? I have believed in the Cause of
states’ rights for years. I am finally doing something that will make a difference.”
“You have not answered my question.”
“Our parents have always encouraged us to follow our hearts. I am doing so. Besides, I
shall not be alone; Horace is coming with me.”
“You are dragging our brother-in-law into this folly?”
“I am not dragging him; he volunteered. He feels it is his duty to support his brothers in
Thomas looked at his brother for a moment. He could tell that Patrick had made up
his mind. Thomas knew that there was a very real chance that this could be the last
conversation he would have with his brother, and he did not want them to part on such
terms. He closed the distance between them, and hugged his brother tightly.
“Patrick, you and I do not agree on this issue, and it is unlikely that we ever will. But
you are my brother, and I love you. Let us part as friends.”
Patrick returned the hug warmly.
“Thank you, Thomas.”
“Take care of yourself and Horace, and come home safely.”
“I shall, brother. Please give Father and Mother my love.”
“Are you not coming in to say goodbye in person?”
“No, I have much to do yet. Horace and I leave tonight. Goodbye.”
And with those words, Patrick turned and heading towards town.
Thomas went back into the house in a daze. He did not realized that he hung up his
coat and hat and found his way into the sitting room until Elias’ voice broke into his
“Thomas, what is troubling you?”
“Yes, who were you speaking with outside?” asked Uma.
“Patrick. I was speaking with Patrick. He told me…he said…he has joined the South
Simolina army, and is leaving with Horace tonight.”
Shock and fear took over Elias.
“What?” he exclaimed.
Uma buried her face in her hands. She had feared that Patrick would do something rash
“My baby,” she cried.
“I should have stopped him,” muttered Thomas.
“What could you have done, son?” sighed Elias. “Your brother has always been
“Still, I feel that I should have done something.”
Uma began sobbing. Thomas rose and stood before her.
“Mother,” he began.
“Oh, leave me alone!” she cried, and fled the room.
Elias sighed, and got up to follow her.
“Let me speak with her, Thomas,” Elias said softly. “This news is not easy for any of us
Elias found Uma in their room, laying on the bed. Her tears had subsided, but she was
still very upset. He laid down to join her.
“Do you think that we can talk him out of this nonsense?” asked Uma.
Elias was silent for some time. “I do not think so. He has always been the most
headstrong of our children. Patrick truly believes that he is doing the right thing.”
“But he could be killed!” cried Uma, and her tears began to flow again.
Elias pulled his wife to his side and held her close until she had regained her composure.
“That thought terrifies me as well, dearest. But we must be strong, and place our faith in
a higher power. Besides, we will need to support our daughter in Mr. Alcott’s absence.”
“This is true. Eliza will need her mother now more than she ever has. I can put on a
brave face for the rest of the world to see.”
“And when you cannot, I shall be here to comfort you,” said Elias.
“As you always have,” agreed Uma.
Later that night, Patrick arrived at the Alcott home for his departure to South Simolina
with Horace. Mercy answered the door.
“Mr. Bradford,” she greeted him.
“Mercy, I have asked you many times to call me Patrick.”
“Yes, Mr. Bradford. Mr. Horace is waiting for you in the sitting room.”
“You don’t like me very much, do you Mercy?”
She looked at him with cold eyes. “Mr. Horace belongs here with Miss Eliza. You’re
taking him away. No, I don’t like that.”
“Are you ready, Horace?” asked Patrick.
“As I’ll ever be,” Horace replied.
“How is Eliza?”
Horace sighed. “She has not resigned herself to my decision, though she puts on a
“We shall not be gone long. In a few months, this will all be over, and you’ll be able to
“That is what we must hope for.”
Horace got up from the sofa.
“We really must be going. Eliza! Patrick and I will be leaving soon.”
Eliza descended the stairs slowly in response to her husband’s call. She had been
putting this moment off for as long as possible. She did not want Horace to go, but she
did not see how she could prevent it. Eliza was determined that she would send Horace
off with a smile, even if it only lasted for as long as it took for him to walk out the door.
Patrick rushed over and hugged Eliza tight.
“Do not fret, sister dear. Horace and I will take good care of each other, and we’ll be
back before you know it.”
Eliza returned the hug just as fiercely.
“I trust you to keep that promise, Patrick. Be safe.”
Patrick then excused himself to allow the married couple a more private goodbye.
“You do understand why I must go?” implored Horace.
“Yes,” lied Eliza. “I wish you would not, though.”
Horace pulled his wife close. “I promise you that I will come back to you, my dear.”
Eliza stepped back and gazed at her husband, committing his image to memory.
“You had best keep that promise,” said Eliza. “I do not know what I shall do if anything
happens to you.”
“I love you,” said Horace. He gave Eliza one last kiss, and whispered, “Goodbye.”
“Goodbye,” she returned.
Horace met Patrick in the hallway, and the two jumped on their waiting horses and took
off, heading south.
It took Eliza an entire minute before she threw on her coat and hat and ran off after
Horace. But by then, it was too late. The two men in gray had already vanished into the
“Oh Horace!” she cried. “Why? Why?”
She fled back into the house, blinded by her tears. Mercy saw Eliza’s distress, and
followed her up the stairs.
“Miss Eliza…” she started.
“Oh, go away!” wailed Eliza. “Just leave me alone.”
Eliza ran into her room, and bolted the door.
“Miss Eliza, please let me in,” pleaded Mercy. “I just want to help.”
“No one can help, unless you intend on following Horace to South Simolina and dragging
him back home.”
After several hours of crying, Eliza finally fell into a restless sleep. She didn’t know that
Mercy had waited outside the door the entire time, listening. When she heard Eliza’s soft
snores, she breathed a sigh of relief.
Poor dear, Mercy thought. Mr. Horace better come back. She needs him.
Eliza filled her days as best she could, pushing her worried thoughts of where her
husband was and what he was doing away as quickly as they came. She spent much of
her time reading in the study, alone. One afternoon, she could stand her solitude no
longer. She put away her book, and went off in search of Mercy.
Mercy was in the sewing room, working at the machine that Horace had spent a
ridiculous amount of money on not long before he left.
“Mercy,” interrupted Eliza. “I was wondering if you would care to join me for a game of
“I don’t know how to play,” replied Mercy.
“I can teach you.”
“Alright.” Mercy knew that Eliza was really looking for companionship more than a chess
“You are a fast learner, Mercy.”
“I have a good teacher,” was her reply.
“Mercy, I am sorry for the way I behaved on the evening Horace left. I should not have
slammed the door in your face the way I did.”
“’Twas nothing. You were upset. I know you weren’t mad at me.”
“Thank you, Mercy.”
“Thank you for the game, Miss Eliza. Maybe we can play again tomorrow. It’s time for
me to start supper now.”
Mercy took herself to the kitchen and began preparing the evening meal. Soon,
wonderful smells began to drift into the sitting room.
Eliza inhaled a deep breath, thinking of how much she enjoyed Mercy’s cooking.
Suddenly, her stomach lurched. The smells wafting from the kitchen no longer had the
appeal they had a few moments before.
“Oh my,” muttered Eliza, clutching her stomach and covering her mouth. “I think I’m
going to be ill.”
Eliza ran to the bathroom just in time to empty the contents of her stomach into the sink.
“Miss Eliza, are you unwell?” called Mercy.
“Yes, I am,” Eliza replied, after rinsing out her mouth. “I think I will go lay down. If I am
not feeling well in the morning, I will send you to fetch Mother and the doctor.”
Eliza soon discovered the cause for her sudden illness when she felt a kick in her
“Why, Miss Eliza! You are with child!” cried Mercy.
“It appears so. You will have to let out some of my dresses.”
“Are you going to tell Mr. Horace?”
“Yes, I will write to him at once.”
Across town, Isaiah and Roger Gavigan were conversing in the sitting room of Gavigan
“Did you read the paper today, Roger?” asked Isaiah.
“About the President declaring a state of insurrection? Yes, I did. It is not good news.”
“No, it is not. There is a call for volunteers to serve in the army as well, I hear.”
“Yes, cousin Richard called me about that today. He is planning on signing up, along
with Jimmy Phoenix and Randy London.”
“What are your plans, son?” asked Isaiah, afraid to hear the answer.
“I do not plan on going to war,” replied Isaiah. “I feel I can do much more good here. I
believe Uncle Elias is planning on retiring from being mayor soon, and I plan on running
to fill his seat. Besides, I cannot leave Anna and our daughter.”
Isaiah let out a sigh of relief.
“I am selfish enough to admit that I am glad to hear that you are staying here. I worry
about your sister and how she will take the news.”
“Rhoda will bear the news well. She is strong. I am more worried about how the
Thompson family will deal with having a son and son-in-law going off to fight.”
Isaiah chuckled. “I would not like to be present when Mrs. Thompson hears about
Richard’s enlistment,” he agreed.
In the city of Portsimouth, Sophia Phoenix, née Thompson, was playing the piano in her
parlor. The baby was settled for the night, but she had expected her husband home
hours ago. She was worried about Jimmy. She heard the front door open, and she
smiled, quickly switching over to a song she knew to be one of his favorites.
“You know how much I love that song, dear,” smiled Jimmy.
Sophia looked up from the keys.
“Jimmy, was are you wearing?”
“It is a Union uniform. I have joined the army.”
Sophia was stunned by the news. Jimmy had to help her up from the piano bench and
over to the sofa.
“Why?” she asked. It was the only word she could manage to get out.
“Sophia, you believe as strongly as I do that the union of the Simerican states must be
preserved. We cannot allow the South to rebel in this way. I have to do my part. Randy
and your brother Richard are going with me.”
“And what of me? Have you thought about what I will do if something happens to you?”
“Have you thought about our son, Cole? About what will happen to him if he has to grow
up without a father?”
“I have Sophia. I did not come to this decision lightly. But I cannot stand by and do
nothing. The very future of our country is at stake.”
“But how will I survive while you are gone? What shall we live on?”
“I have arranged it with my law firm that you will continue to receive a portion of my
salary. It will give you enough to pay the rent and bills. You can always go and stay with
your mother for a time if you get lonely.”
“No, no,” replied Sophia. “Rhoda is right next door. We can keep each other company,
and her Wendy can be a playmate for Cole.”
“I will come back to you, Sophia. I promise.”
Next door, the Londons were engaged in a similar conversation.
“You did it,” said Rhoda.
“I told you I was going to,” replied Randy.
“Rhoda, everything will be fine,” began Randy.
“You do not know that,” she retorted. “I will have to put aside my artwork to take care of
the baby while you are gone. Just as I was starting to gain some notoriety.”
“Edwina needs her mother,” said Randy.
“Oh, go away. I am angry with you right now.”
Nicole Thompson heard the front door open. Richard was home from work much later
than usual, she thought, as she went into the hall to greet him. She froze when she saw
“What have you done?” she demanded.
“I have joined the army, Mother.”
“You have done WHAT!” exclaimed Nicole.
“You heard me, Mother.”
“Well, march yourself back to wherever you just came from, and tell them you have
changed your mind.”
“I cannot do that.”
“You can and you shall,”
“I want to do this, Mother.”
“Now see here,” began Nicole.
“No, Mother,” interrupted Richard. “You are going to listen to me for a change. I know
the risks of war, and I am willing to take them. I believe in the abolishment of slavery in
the entire country, and the need to maintain the union between the states. I am going to
war to fight for my beliefs, and I am prepared to die for them.”
“You are the only son of this house, Richard. There are others who can fight for you.”
“I would never ask another to fight for me, Mother. Excuse me, I must speak with Father
Richard found Phineas in the sitting room. He was staring into the roaring fire.
“Father,” began Richard.
“I heard you just now. You are going to war.” Phineas suddenly sounded very old and
tired as he spoke the words.
“I am, Father. Please understand; this is something I feel I must do. The abomination
that is slavery has gone on long enough. It is not right! I have to do everything in my
power to end it.”
“How does your wife feel about this?” asked Phineas.
“She supports my choice, but I know she does not want me to go.”
“Richard, all my life I have told you to follow your heart. I had thought that you would fill
your life with a family and career. If this is what your heart is telling you to do, I will
support you fully.”
“Thank you, Father. Your blessing means much to me. I must go and prepare Renee;
we leave tomorrow morning.”
Renee was in their bedroom.
“And how is my beautiful wife?” he asked. “And our child?”
“Our son is fine, as am I,” she replied. “Did you get your orders?”
Richard nodded. “We leave tomorrow morning.”
“It’s so soon,” she muttered.
“Come here,” he said.
“I wish you didn‟t have to go,” said Renee.
“You know I must,” Richard said.
“I do. I am just selfish. I want you to be here for the birth of your son.”
“You will write to me all about him, and I will get to meet him myself soon enough. Now,
you look tired. Let’s go to bed.”
Richard and Renee crawled into bed. Richard soon fell into a deep slumber, but sleep
did not come to Renee that night. She pulled her husband into her arms, and tried to let
his deep, even breaths soothe her nerves.
She was scared. Scared that he would be hurt, scared that he wouldn’t come home,
scared that she would never know what happened to him. But Richard believed in the
path he had chosen, and it was her duty as his wife to support him. She would put on a
brave face for the world, and cry her tears when no one could see.
“I love you,” she whispered, pressing a kiss to his forehead. “So very much.”
At the Ryan Estate, Rebecca and her new husband were discussing the news of the day.
“Your brother leaves tomorrow?”
“Yes, Renee is seeing him off at the train.”
“Are you entertaining any notions of running off to war?” asked Rebecca.
Timothy snorted. “None whatsoever. I cannot leave my business in the hands of
another. Besides, there is a fortune to be made!”
“And if a draft goes through?”
“I have a man in one of my factories who is willing to serve in my place. He will be
compensated handsomely if it comes to that.”
Rebecca sighed with happiness.
“Husband, you are so smart. You have thought of everything.”
“You do not think me a coward for not wanting to fight?” asked Timothy.
“Of course not! I think you are one of the few men I know who has the common sense to
stay far away from this war. Now, let us enjoy our dinner. Your cook did an excellent job
preparing it, and I understand there is a soufflé for dessert.”
The next morning at the train station, three couples said their goodbyes.
Randy and Rhoda ignored the others on the platform, and exchanged a passionate kiss.
“Hurry back,” implored Rhoda.
“As soon as I can,” agreed Randy.
Sophia clung to her husband.
“Sophia, you will be fine. The law firm will take care of everything, and I will be home
before you know it.”
“It’s not the money,” sobbed Sophia. “You are all I need to be happy. I just want you to
come home safe.”
“Oh, my love,” he breathed. “I will do everything I can to make sure that happens.”
Richard caressed Renee’s cheek.
“Take care of yourself, and the baby. I cannot wait to hear what he looks like.”
“Be safe, and come home soon,” was all she could get out without her face and voice
“Train‟s comin‟!” called the station master. “All passengers prepare to board!”
The three men climbed aboard, and with a loud whistle, the train steamed off into the
Three women stood on the platform for a long time after the train had vanished into the
distance. None of them knew when, or even if, their husbands would return.
“Come, Renee, you must be exhausted,” said Sophia, breaking the silence. “Let us
return to my house for a cup of tea. You can rest for a while there, and take the
afternoon train back to Simsfield.”
“Thank you, Sophia. That sounds lovely,” she said.
“Yes, it does. I’ll bring Edwina over, and she and Cole can play,” interjected Rhoda.
And this is where I will leave you. This is the first time John has scared someone, and
poor Thomas lost control of his bladder when it happened.
Coming up, the Bradford clan deals with having five members at war.
Thank you very much for reading. I really love to hear your feedback on my story.
Please leave all comments on the thread at Boolprop.com. Until next time!