The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 14


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The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 14

  1. 1. Welcome to Chapter 14 of my legacy. The Cliff‟s Notes version of the last chapter is as follows: Carolina and Jan clashed over how Jan and Matthew treated their children, Jefferson and Elizabeth. Timothy Ryan passed away, leading to a reconciliation between his widow, Rebecca, and their daughter Matilda. Henrietta was finally freed from her evil husband when he died, but she was left in rather dire financial straights. Henri‟s troubles were soon solved when her sister, Phily, invited her to live with her and her companion, Meadow, in the Thayer mansion. Meadow and Phily adopted a little girl, Jane, and she, Henri, and Victor settled into domestic tranquility. Thomas worried about how Matthew would run the family when he was gone, and rightfully so. After Thomas‟ death, Matthew began to meddle in the affairs of his siblings again, but Phily had had enough of his behavior and called him on it. Jefferson overheard their argument, and now fully understands what type of a man his father is. Confused? Then I suggest you go back and read the first 13 chapters of the legacy, and the two interludes. And now, my dedicated readers, I give you Chapter 14 of the Bradford Legacy.
  2. 2. Summer was coming into its full glory. Elizabeth Bradford was passing the morning weeding the family garden. For many years, this chore had fallen to her grandmother, Carolina, but she was really starting to show her years. Lizzie‟s mother, Jan, was the first wife who took no interest in learning about the garden, so the task fell to Lizzie. The teenager thoroughly enjoyed the garden, and took great pride in tending the land that her great-great grandmother had tended. Carolina was immensely proud that her granddaughter had taken up the family tradition.
  3. 3. There were some in the family, mainly Jan, who felt that gardening was now beneath the family. She had repeatedly told Lizzie that she did not want her gardening, and especially not in her good clothes and without a hat. After failing to find her daughter in the parlor or music room, the only two acceptable locations for a young lady in the mornings in Jan‟s opinion, she stormed out to the garden. “Elizabeth, what are you doing?” she demanded. “Weeding, Mother.”
  4. 4. Jan took her daughter‟s elbow and forced the girl to face her. “I have told you that I do not want you to garden. The manual labor will ruin your hands, and the sun will ruin your complexion, and no one will think you a lady.” “But Mother, Grandmamma asked…” “Do not interrupt me, child. This had gone far enough. Since you seem incapable of following simple direction, I shall have to punish you for your disobedience. You will not be accompanying us to the theater this evening.”
  5. 5. Lizzie‟s face fell. “But Mother, you promised.” “And you have disobeyed me. I am your mother, and you must do as I say. Now, inside. I don‟t want to catch you pulling weeds again.” “Yes, Mother,” she replied in a small voice.
  6. 6. Lizzie fled to the safety of her room, and promptly burst into tears. She had so been looking forward to attending the theater that night, and now she was being denied that small pleasure. It’s so unfair, she thought.
  7. 7. Jefferson, her twin, heard her sobs and went rushing into his sister‟s room. “Lizzie, what‟s the matter?” “Mother told me that I can‟t go to the theater tonight, because I ignored her command that I not garden any longer.”
  8. 8. “Oh, Lizzie,” he said, as he did his best to soothe her distress. “That‟s dreadfully unfair.” “I so wanted to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream, too.” “I know you did, Lizzie. I wish there was something I could do. “So do I, but you know how Mother is. You‟ll have to tell me all about it tomorrow.”
  9. 9. Jefferson wandered to the garden where he found his grandmother. “Is Lizzie unwell? I asked her to tend the garden for me today, and I come down to find it only half finished.” “Mother scolded her for gardening, as she doesn‟t think it a fitting pastime for a lady, and is punishing her by not letting her come to the theater with us tonight.” “How horrible! Lizzie was so looking forward to going.” “I know. I wish there was something I could do.”
  10. 10. Carolina thought back to her conversation with her late husband, Thomas. “Perhaps there is something that you can do, Jefferson.” “What do you mean, Grandmamma?” “Jefferson, your father values your opinion greatly, as you are his heir. Perhaps, if you speak to him, you may be able to sway him on this matter.” “Do you really think that would work?” “I have no idea, Jefferson, but I do know that your father would do almost anything to make you happy.” “I‟ll ask him, then,” said the young man with a voice full of bravado. “Is he in his study?” Carolina nodded. “Best of luck.”
  11. 11. Jefferson marched into the house. He paused at the closed doors to his father‟s study, gathering his courage. With a deep breath, he raised his hand and knocked on the door. “Come in,” he heard a voice reply.
  12. 12. “Ah, Jefferson! How are you, my son?” “I am quite well, Father. There is a matter of some importance that I wish to speak to you about.” “Of course, of course. What is on your mind?” “Father,” he said, choosing his words with care, “Mother has forbidden Elizabeth from accompanying us to the theater tonight, and I am here to intercede on her behalf. She was very much looking forward to attending, and I would like you to allow her to go.” “I see,” said Matthew. “Do you know why your mother punished your sister?” “Yes,” Jefferson replied slowly. “She is being punished for ignoring Mother‟s wishes that she not garden.”
  13. 13. “And do you think,” Matthew replied, with eerily icy tones, “that it would be appropriate for me to override your mother‟s decision?” “I think that as head of the household and family, you should have final say on everything that goes on in it.” “Very true, but your mother is the expert on how to raise a young lady. I believe that I will allow her judgment to stand, and your sister will not be joining us at the theater tonight.”
  14. 14. Inwardly, Jefferson sighed. He had really hoped to change his father‟s mind. “In that case, I would like to remain at home tonight as well.” “Oh, I don‟t think that will be possible, Jefferson. You see, by pleading your sister‟s case for her, you‟re meddling, and that is something that only old women should do. Your punishment for meddling will be to come to the theater with us, knowing that you sister is at home and miserable.” “Yes, Father.”
  15. 15. “Is that all?” “Yes, sir.” “Good. Be ready to leave by six.” “I will,” said Jefferson.
  16. 16. Jefferson returned to the garden, where Carolina was now resting on the bench from her labors. He joined her, and she noted the crestfallen look on his face. “It didn‟t work, Grandmamma. I‟m sorry.” “It‟s not your fault, Jefferson. We may have gone about it in the wrong way. You were asking him to do something for Lizzie; not you. I think that was the flaw in the plan.”
  17. 17. Jefferson shook his head. “No, it‟s me. I‟ll never be a good head of the family.” “What makes you say that?” “I don‟t…I can‟t…Father worships me, yet I can‟t convince him that my opinion counts for anything! If I, as his son and heir who he professes to value above his own life, can‟t sway him, how am I supposed to lead the family?”
  18. 18. “Jefferson, ability and skill will only take one so far.” “I don‟t understand, Grandmamma.” “It is our choices…that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
  19. 19. Jefferson thought for a moment, concentration heavy on his face. “So you think that simply choosing to be a good leader of the family is more important that whether or not I have the ability to do it?” “Yes. Think about it. Your father has all the attributes of a natural leader – charisma, persuasion, and tenacity – but he chooses to use it for his own gain. You, on the other hand, want to do what is best for the family as a whole. By making the choice to make decisions that will benefit everyone and not just yourself, I have a feeling that you will become one of the best heads of the family that the Bradfords have ever seen.” “Thank you for your vote of confidence,” he smiled. “I hope you‟re right.”
  20. 20. “Jan, are you almost finished fussing? We have a train to catch,” said Matthew, as he tapped his foot with impatience. “Yes, just let me…” she said as she caught back an errant stray of hair with a clip. “Perfect! Is Jefferson ready?” “I sent Mother in to check on him. We can meet him in the foyer.”
  21. 21. Carolina straightened Jefferson‟s bowtie, and smiled. “You look very dashing.” “Thank you, Grandmamma. I still wish Lizzie was coming. It won‟t be any fun without her.” “Jefferson!” Matthew‟s voice called. “We‟re ready.” “Go,” smiled Carolina. “Try to have some fun. You never know what might happen.”
  22. 22. Matthew and Jan strutted out like a pair of peacocks, Jefferson tagging along behind with reluctance. “Come, son! This will be a wonderful evening.” “Really, Jefferson. You must look so sulky. It‟s very unattractive.” The young man plastered a fake smile on his face, and prepared to put on a performance of his own.
  23. 23. The Bradfords arrived at the theater, and Jefferson braced himself for what he thought would be a horrible evening without his sister.
  24. 24. He opened the door, and his gaze was instantly drawn to a young woman in a stunning blue dress. It was almost impossible for him to take his eyes off of her.
  25. 25. The young lady must have felt Jefferson‟s eyes on her, for she turned around and smiled. “Mr. Bradford, how nice to see you.” “Thank you,” he replied. “I‟m dreadfully embarrassed, but I don‟t remember being introduced to you.”
  26. 26. “Oh, forgive me! You must think me horribly forward. I am Marsha Bruenig. Your sister, Elizabeth, and I were seatmates for a time in primer school.” “Goodness, I didn‟t recognize you at all.” “I though not. Is Elizabeth with you?” “No, she was unable to attend the theater this evening.” “How disappointing. I was hoping to sit with her.”
  27. 27. “Would you mind, Miss Bruenig, if I sat with you instead?” Marsha smiled. “I would like that very much, Mr. Bradford.” Jefferson offered Marsha his arm, and the went in to find their seats.
  28. 28. They chatted for a few moments, to fill the time before the curtain rose. It was clear to everyone but Marsha that Jefferson was enthralled with her.
  29. 29. Jan touched her husband‟s arm to get his attention. “I think that it is time to think of prospects for Jefferson.” “Why do you say that?” Jan nodded in the direction of her son and his companion. “It‟s best to sway his affections while he is still young, and can be influenced in the right direction. We can‟t have him going down the same path that your brother did.” Matthew looked discreetly at Jefferson, and nodded. “Once again, my wife, I can see that you are right. Perhaps you should think about your acquaintances with daughters about his age?” “Of course. And you of your associates as well. I‟m certain that between the two of us that we shall be able to come up with a suitable match.”
  30. 30. While Jefferson, Jan and Matthew were enjoying Shakespeare, Carolina decided to take Lizzie for a walk. “Grandmamma, where are we going? I‟m supposed to be at home, and I don‟t really feel like facing another one of Mother‟s lectures.” “First, Lizzie, your mother said nothing about you staying at home tonight; she simply forbid you to go to the theater. Second, I shall take any lectures your mother may have to offer. As to where we are going, it is this shop right here.”
  31. 31. “Grandmamma, this is a pet shot.” “I know that, dear. Now, which one would you like?” “Like?” “Yes, Lizzie. I would like to get you a pet.” “But why, Grandmamma?” “Because, dearest child, you deserve to love and be loved by someone unconditionally. Now, would you like a dog of a cat?” Tears welled up in Lizzie‟s eyes, and she looked away. “Thank you, Grandmamma.” “You are welcome, dear child.”
  32. 32. After a few minutes of looking around, Lizzie leaned over to pet a Scottish Terrier on the head. “I like this one,” she said with a smile. “He‟s an excellent dog,” said the shopkeeper. “I‟ll call him Jacques.”
  33. 33. “I hope that he will make you happy, dear,” said Carolina. “Oh, he will, Grandmamma. I just hope that Mother and Father won‟t mind to much.” Carolina smiled to herself, secretly hoping that they would mind a great deal.
  34. 34. Later that night, after the theatergoing party had returned, Lizzie snuck into her brother‟s room. “How was the play?” “It was pretty great. How was your night?”
  35. 35. “It was pleasant. Grandmamma took me into town, and she bought me a dog.” “What does Mother have to say about that?” Lizzie shrugged. “I don‟t think she knows yet, and Grandmamma promised to…take credit for the idea. Tell me about the theater. Was it splendid?”
  36. 36. “The play was pretty good. Say, I ran into your old desk mate, Marsha Bruenig. She was sorry that you weren‟t there tonight.” Lizzie grinned. “Isn‟t she wonderful? I really should spend more time with her. I‟ll have to have her over one day after school.” “I think she‟d really like that,” agreed Jefferson.
  37. 37. That night, Jefferson dreamed of Marsha for the first time. He hoped that one day, he would be considered worthy enough to be the recipient of her affections.
  38. 38. The next day, while Lizzie and Jefferson were at school, Carolina took it upon herself to make sure that Jacques was entertained.
  39. 39. Jan came into the room under the pretense of checking to see that the maid had cleaned it satisfactorily, but truly to see what the strange noise was. When she spotted the little dog, she demanded to know what it was. “It‟s a dog, Jan,” replied Carolina sweetly. “I would have thought that you could identify one.” “And what, pray tell, is it doing in my house?” “Why, I got it as a gift for Lizzie.”
  40. 40. “Why would you do such a thing?” “Because I thought Lizzie would like it.” “Elizabeth was being punished last night, and you took her out for a present?” “You merely forbade her going to the theater, Jan. You said nothing about us leaving the house.” Jan glared at Carolina. “If that creature ruins any of my carpets,” she threatened as she turned on her heel and stormed out of the room.
  41. 41. In the city of Portsimouth, Philomena and Meadow Thayer were enjoying their daughter, Jane‟s practice session at the piano. When Jane missed a note and Phily didn‟t comment on the fact, Meadow turned to her companion. “What‟s wrong?” “Nothing‟s wrong, Meadow. Why do you ask?” “Because you didn‟t comment on Jane missing that note. Something‟s bothering you, and I would like to know what.” “Meadow, our lives are nearly perfect. What more could I want?”
  42. 42. “Victor and Jane get along so well. He‟s been so patient with her…”
  43. 43. “…with your help, Jane is at the top of her classes…”
  44. 44. “…and Victor will pass his university examinations with flying colors, no doubt…”
  45. 45. “…his study habits have rubbed off on our daughter…”
  46. 46. “…and Jane loves us all so much. Really, Meadow, I can‟t ask for more.” “You neglected to mention one member of our family; your sister, Henri,” commented Meadow.
  47. 47. Phily sighed. “You‟re right. I‟m worried about Henri. I thought that she would be happier, now that that horrid man she called a husband is gone. But she‟s not the same. She mopes about, and only Victor seems to be able to hold her attention for more than a few moments at the time. I wish I could do something for her.”
  48. 48. “I had noticed that about her too, but I was afraid to speak up. After all, she is your sister. I was thinking; perhaps a change of scenery would do her some good.” “What do you mean?” “I think that we should all go a trip.” “Meadow, we can‟t go gallivanting off to SimEurope again, as much as I‟d like to take Henri there.” “I wasn‟t thinking quite so far, darling. What if we went up to the mountains for a few weeks? The air would be good for the children, and it would force Victor to take a break from his studies. And Henri would be forced out of her routine.” “I was kind of hoping that we might go visit Alex and Katie. I had a letter from them the other day, you know.” “No, you didn‟t tell me that! How are they?”
  49. 49. “Quite well. Both of them were hoping for more children, but that doesn‟t seem to be in the cards for them.” “And how does little Peter get along with his…cousin, Lenora?”
  50. 50. “They‟re the best of friends, and practically inseparable. Katie is secretly hoping that they‟ll make a match of it when they get older, so Lenora can truly be her daughter.” “How sweet! Isaac is fully reformed, then?”
  51. 51. “I don‟t know if Alex or Katie would say that, but he certainly adores his daughter. He spends practically every free moment with her, and even helped put a second story onto the house so that she and Peter could have their own rooms.”
  52. 52. “It sounds like they‟re all very happy.” “They are, which is why I‟d like to go visit them.”
  53. 53. “I‟d love to go, Phily, but I don‟t see how it would be possible. The trip to Simta Fe alone would take almost two weeks, and you‟d want to stay for a while, and then there‟s the trip home…” “Oh, I know it‟s an impossibility for this year. I do want to go, though.” “Of course. I‟d love to see more of Simerica, now that I‟ve had my fill of SimEurope. Now, what do you think about the mountains? Should I make the arrangements?”
  54. 54. Phily thought for a moment. “I think the mountains would be a wonderful excursion for all of us. I‟ll speak to Henri.” “Excellent. I‟ll book the hotel, and make arrangements for the train. Do you think we can be ready to leave by the end of the week?” “Of course we can. I think that this trip will be exactly what we need.”
  55. 55. The morning of their departure, Jane was dancing about the dining room. Her new travelling dress suited her perfectly, and she couldn‟t wait to take the trip on the train. “I‟m going to the mountains, I‟m going to the mountains,” she sang. “You won‟t be going, if you don‟t get on the coach that just arrived,” laughed Meadow. “Come grab your suitcase and bring it out.” “Yes, Meadow,” she replied, as she rushed to the foyer to grab her bags.
  56. 56. “I‟m so very excited,” said Jane as she joined her mothers in carrying their bags. “I‟ve never been to the mountains before.” “I think you‟ll like it very much,” said Phily. “My cousins Robert and Lawrence went there when they were about Victor‟s age, and they had a grand time.” “Remember though, Jane, that while we may be going to a more rustic setting, I still expect you to act like a little lady.” “I will, Meadow.”
  57. 57. A few moments later, Henri and Victor followed with their travelling things. She was a little leery of their trip, worried that she would be bored without her usual distractions. She had consented to come only because she thought the clean mountain air would help bring back the color to her son‟s cheeks that late nights of studying had drained. Victor, ironically, was looking forward to the trip for a similar reason. He had noticed that his mother was paler than usual, and that she rarely left the house. He was hoping, as Phily was, that a change of scenery would do his mother good.
  58. 58. The party arrived in Three Lakes, and after checking in at their hotel, set out to explore the little town. After several hours on the train and then a carriage ride to the hotel, they elected to walk around the village for a while. “What‟s that?” asked Jane, pointing to a fenced in area with large targets set up. “It looks like an axe throwing yard,” replied Victor. “Oh! Can I try? Please?” “No, Jane; you‟re too small,” smiled Meadow. “I think I‟d like to give it a go,” stated Victor.
  59. 59. Henri and Jane followed Victor into the axe yard. “Jane, please take a few steps back,” called Meadow, who was watching from outside the fence. “Yes, Meadow,” the girl replied, and took three small steps backwards. Victor picked up an axe, hefted it over his head, and prepared to throw.
  60. 60. The axe was heavier than Victor thought, and it slipped from his grasp as he went tumbling forward. Jane laughed. “You missed.” “I know,” he grumbled. “Perhaps you should spend some more time out of doors, instead of locked up with your book,” commented Henri. “Maybe, Mama,” he replied. “This week will be a good start, I reckon.” Phily turned, and looked at a large cross section of a tree trunk. “Jane, come here and look at this.”
  61. 61. “That‟s a big tree,” said Jane. “It‟s a old tree,” corrected Phily. “You see these rings? Each one represents a year that the tree was alive. This tree was alive when your great-great-grandfather, John, landed on the shores of Massimchusetts.” “Really?” asked the little girl, who suddenly took a greater interest in the display. “How fascinating,” muttered Victor as he studied the rings. “This will be an excellent addition to my biology paper.” “Victor,” said Meadow, “Must you think of your schoolwork all the time?” “You‟re right, Miss Thayer. We are supposed to be on vacation; I shall not speak of my studies again.” “Excellent. Now, as much fun as this has been, I have made appointments at the spa for your mother and aunt. Can you watch Jane for us?” “Of course, Miss Thayer. Should we be headed that way now?” Meadow nodded, and the party departed, Jane being dragged by the hand by Phily.
  62. 62. Once at the spa, Henri decided to get a massage. As the masseuse worked on her muscles, Henri could feel the years of tension being kneaded away. When her hour was up, she felts more relaxed than she had in years.
  63. 63. While Henri was having her worries worked away, Meadow and Phily enjoyed the sauna. “I can‟t decide which I like better: this spa, or the one in the south of SimFrance.” “Oh, that‟s easy for me,” smiled Phily. “I prefer this one.” “Only because everyone here speaks Simlish, and not SimFrench.” “Exactly.” “That‟s not a fair way to asses the two locations, and you know it.” “I know.” Phily wiped her brow. “I think I‟ve had enough of the sauna. Shall we retire to the hot springs, and see if Henri is there?” “An excellent idea. I wish I had thought of it myself.”
  64. 64. After a quick stop in the bathhouse to change, the pair joined Henri, who was already enjoying the waters. “This trip was an excellent idea, Miss Thayer. Thank you so much for bringing me and my son along.” “It was nothing, Mrs. Hutchins,” replied Meadow, who noticed Henri wince at being called by her late husband‟s name. “Perhaps, if it is all right with you, we can drop the formalities? We‟ve been sharing a home for so long it seems silly to call each other „Miss‟ and “Mrs.‟” “That would be lovely, Meadow. I must insist, however, that you call me Henri as Phily does.” “Of course!” Phily smiled at the exchange. Henri was showing signs of her old self once again.
  65. 65. “It‟s not fair!” whined Jane. “I wanted to go to the spa as well.” “You can, Jane, when you get a little older. Besides, it‟s good for Mama and Aunt Phily and Miss Thayer to enjoy a little grown up time.” “I suppose,” she pouted. “Now, Jane, don‟t sulk. We‟ll get to go explore the town again tomorrow.” “Good. Do you think you can help me convince Meadow and Phily to let me try log rolling? I really, really, really want to try.” “Maybe they‟ll let you if I‟m the one to go with you.” “Please? I really…” “Yes, I know you really want to. We‟ll see about it in the morning. Now, I think it‟s time for you and I to head to bed.”
  66. 66. It took a little cajoling on Victor‟s part, but he managed to persuade Meadow and Phily to let Jane try her hand at log rolling. “Victor, be careful,” pleaded Meadow. “Don‟t worry, Miss Thayer. I will be. Are you ready, Jane?” “I hope you‟re ready to get wet,” she smirked. “Oh, I don‟t think I need to worry about that,” retorted Victor. “Ready…set…go!” cried Phily as the youngsters began. The three women watching cheered them on.
  67. 67. It was only a mater of moments before Jane lost her balance and tumbled into the water.
  68. 68. “Horary!” cried Victor. “I win!” “This time,” spouted Jane. “I demand a rematch.” “Something tells me that a rematch would have the same outcome, Jane.” “Not fair! When I get bigger, we‟re coming back here and trying again.”
  69. 69. “All right, Jane. That‟s enough. You wanted to try, and so you have. Now, out of the water. You and Victor need to get changed so that we can to have lunch.” “Yes, Phily,” sighed Jane.
  70. 70. After lunch, the family headed for one of the smaller lakes. Meadow and Phily took off for a walk, while Henri sat down to watch the children.
  71. 71. Henri smiled as she watched the children play by the lake. Victor was busy teaching Jane how to fish, and they were laughing. He was teasing her about not wanting to put the worm on the hook. There was no greater joy for Henri than seeing her son happy. His early years had been so full of rules and limitations and scolding that she was often amazed at how well he had grown up.
  72. 72. “Penny for your thoughts?” Phily‟s voice broke through Henri‟s trance. “Just thinking about how nice it is to see Victor so happy.”
  73. 73. “You look happy too, Henri. Happier than I‟ve seen you since we were small. I‟ve been worried about you. You‟ve seemed so out of sorts lately.” The elder sister smiled. “It‟s so strange. It‟s been so long since I‟ve been happy that I scarcely remember how.” “What do you mean?”
  74. 74. “Much of the time, I felt as if I was nothing more than a pawn, being moved by others. I‟ve almost forgotten how to think for myself.” Phily took Henri‟s hands in hers. “Those days are over forever, Henri. You can call your soul your own again.”
  75. 75. “I know, and you‟re one of the reasons for that. You stood up to Matthew. I never thanked you for that.” “Don‟t mention it.” Henri smiled, knowing that Phily wasn‟t one to accept praise. “What are you going to do with your newfound freedom?” “Well,” said Henri as she smoothed her skirt, “I was thinking about taking up the suffragette banner that Anne had to put down because of Eldon‟s poor health.” “That sounds like an excellent idea. You‟ll make an excellent suffragette, Henri.” “Thank you. Besides,” she said with a wicked grin, “I can‟t think of anything that would upset Matthew more.”
  76. 76. Just then, Victor let out a cry. “Look at this one, Jane!” “Victor, that‟s a huge fish! Oh! I think I have one, too!” “Reel him in, just like I showed you. Quickly, you don‟t want him to get away.”
  77. 77. A few moments later, Jane was looking proudly at her first catch. “It‟s not as big as yours,” she said. “No, but your fish is a lot prettier. It‟s a rainbow trout. See all the colors?” “It is a pretty fish. See, Phily! See my fish!” “Very nice, Jane. Are you going to keep it, or throw it back?” “Keep it, of course. Victor said we could eat it for dinner. He‟s going to clean it.”
  78. 78. That night, after a feast of fish that the young folks had caught, Jane and Victor lingered around the campfire. “This has been such a fun trip,” sighed Jane. “It‟s a shame we have to go home tomorrow.” “I know. I really wish we could have spent more time here.” “Do you think we can come back, someday?” “I hope so.” “Will you come, too?” “Of course I will, Jane. You and I will come back here to Three Lakes sometime in the future.”
  79. 79. Meadow soon appeared by the fire. “Children, I hate to break up your party, but we have an early train to catch tomorrow.” “Of course, Miss Thayer. Come on, Jane,” he said, rising and offering her his hand. “Thank you, Victor,” she smiled. She kept her hand in his as they walked back to their rooms.
  80. 80. Back in Simsfield, Jan was very busy. She had been thinking heavily about marriage prospects for her son, but kept coming up with blanks. Most of her friends‟ daughters were too old or too young to be eligible. Those that were of the right age, well, most of them Jan did not consider suitable for Jefferson. She sighed. This was going to be a bigger challenge than she thought.
  81. 81. “And how has my lovely wife been passing her morning?” asked Matthew as he came into the dining room. She sighed. “I have been racking my brain for suitable prospects for Jefferson, and I cannot find anyone that would be acceptable.” “That is most unfortunate,” he replied. “I have been doing the same, and I have come up with nothing as well.” “This will not do! If we don‟t act quickly, he‟ll become infatuated with that Bruenig girl. She‟s not a bad sort, but I know we can do better for our son.” “Calm down, Jan. I‟ll consult my sisters Anne and Diana. They have several acquaintances that we don‟t; perhaps one of them will be a suitable match.” “An excellent idea. They are both fine ladies, even if Anne was a suffragette for a time.” “Precisely.”
  82. 82. Carolina was feeling a little odd that day. She couldn‟t quite place it, but she knew that something was about to happen. “Oh, Thomas,” she sighed. “I miss you so much. I‟ve done the best I could to influence Jefferson to be the kind of person that Matthew is not. I hope that it will be successful.” She stared into the eyes of her husband‟s portrait. “I‟m so tired, though. I think, darling, that it is time for us to reunite.”
  83. 83. Carolina wasn‟t the only one that noticed that something seemed off. “Grandmamma, is something wrong?” “I don‟t think so, Lizzie dear. I just have the strangest feeling that it won‟t be long before I‟m reunited with my dear Thomas.”
  84. 84. “Oh, Grandmamma,” sighed Lizzie, hugging her close. “Now, no tears my dear.” “I‟m just worried. You understand me like no one else here does.” “Don‟t fret. Jefferson will take care of you. Trust in him, dearest.” “I will.”
  85. 85. Carolina then went and found Jefferson, and hugged him as well. “Remember,” she said in a low voice, “You will be a wonderful head of the family. Do all you can to make sure your father doesn‟t drive it into ruin.” “I will, Grandmamma. I‟ll make you and Grandpappa proud. “I know you will, Jefferson. And take care of your sister. She‟s such a gentle soul.” “I‟ll do everything I can to make sure that she‟s taken care of.” “That‟s my boy.”
  86. 86. Carolina turned to Jan, who had entered the room with Matthew. “Take care of the family,” she said briefly. “Why, Mother, of course I shall,” she replied.
  87. 87. “Matthew,” she sighed, “I hardly know what to say to you. Do your best to be a good head of the family, and to meet everyone‟s needs.” “Of course, Mama,” he replied, kissing her wrinkled cheek. “I always have, and I always will.”
  88. 88. Carolina looked about the room. She had lived a good life, and all of her children, save Matthew, had turned out to be good, kind people. She was content.
  89. 89. And just as she had thought, Death came to reunite Carolina with Thomas.
  90. 90. Carolina Bradford died at the age of 82. She left behind six children and eight grandchildren. Jan watched, emotionless, as her mother-in-law slipped into the Great Unknown. At last, she thought. I am finally undisputed lady of the house, and all of the other Bradford women will look up to me. Matthew sobbed as he watched his mother pass, but they were fake tears. He was sorry to lose his mother, of course, but she was old. With her gone, there was no one left who could overrule him.
  91. 91. But Carolina was missed most by those who loved her best. After Jefferson helped a distraught Lizzie to bed, he went down to the kitchen to make her some tea. While he waited for the kettle to boil, he broke down himself. “Oh, Grandmamma, I hope I can be half the heir that you think I‟ll be. I wish that I had you here to guide me.” The kettle whistled, and he wiped his tears, not wanting his parents to see him in such a state. He poured the tea, and took it upstairs.
  92. 92. With Carolina now gone, Matthew and Jan could go about their business without anyone interfering. “Jefferson, I was most distressed by your last report from school. You are not performing as well as I would like.” “Father, I am averaging a 95 in all of my classes.” “In the village school,” Matthew scoffed. “If it weren‟t so far away, we‟d send you to a private academy. You will be taking your University examinations soon, and I expect you to lead your class. Starting now, you will begin a new study regimen that I have devised.” “Yes, Father,” nodded Jefferson, knowing that it was easier to agree with him. “And Elizabeth, of course, will be heading off to Mrs. Seymour‟s,” said Jan.
  93. 93. “Actually, Mother, I was hoping that I might be allowed to take the entrance exam for SimRadcliffe.” “I beg your pardon?” gasped her mother. “I would like to take the examination to get into SimRadcliffe, instead of going to Mrs. Seymour‟s. I think that my marks are good enough to get me in. Aunt Anne is allowing Esther to go.” “Nonsense,” dismissed Matthew. “No daughter of mine is going to college. You will go to finishing school, and learn how to be a lady.” “Father…” “No, the matter is closed. You will not speak of it again, Elizabeth.”
  94. 94. “Yes, Father,” she said, defeated. Inwardly, she sighed. Would her parents ever let her do anything that she wanted?
  95. 95. True to his word, Matthew began Jefferson‟s new study schedule the next day. He personally supervised Matthew‟s homework, and checked it for accuracy and errors, and often made Jefferson redo it until Matthew was satisfied with the results.
  96. 96. He also came up with a reading list for Jefferson, and would check on his progress frequently. He would quiz the young man on what he had learned, causing Jefferson to stress and frequently forget what he read. This led to more hours in the study under Matthew‟s tutelage.
  97. 97. Of course, Matthew still found plenty of time to take part in his favorite leisure activities, including billiards.
  98. 98. He took to reading the paper every morning before he went to work, in his study with a cup of coffee. He had never taken much interest in the world, but knowing about current events made small talk at the office easier. After skimming the front page, he turned to the society pages to see what the members of his extended family might be up to. He frowned at the obituary section, as it was full of names that were all to familiar to him.
  99. 99. Richard Thompson passed away at age 77. He leaves behind a wife, Renee, two children, and two grandchildren. Rebecca Thompson Ryan passed away at age 79. She was predeceased by her husband, Timothy. She is survived by a daughter and grandson. Mercy Alcott, beloved servant of the Alcott & McCarthy families, passed away at the age of 81. She has no known living relatives. George McCarthy passed away at age 78. He is survived by his wife, Eliza, his daughter, Amelia, and grandson Garrett.
  100. 100. Of course, a few pages latter, there was much happier news. Mr. and Mrs. Abhijeet London are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Myrtle, to Mr. Alonzo Phoenix, son of Mr. and Mrs. Cole Phoenix. Mr. and Mrs. Lee Pasang are pleased to announce the engagement of their son, Amos, to Miss Kea Centowski.
  101. 101. Anne Bradford Bear made note that her children were spending far too much of their summer indoors. “Esther, Eldon, what do you say to a small lawn party later this week?” “A party, Mama?” asked Eldon, not looking up from his book. “Yes, just a few of your cousins. It‟s been such a lovely season that you both need to spend some time out-of-doors. Esther?” “That sounds fine, Mama.” “Wonderful. I shall make the arrangements straight away.”
  102. 102. The party was in full swing, and there was a rousing game of ball going on. Eldon was watching, a wistful look on his face. Lizzie noticed, and went up to her cousin. “How are you, Eldon?” “Pretty fair, Lizzie, and you?” “Quite well. You know, I don‟t really feel like playing ball. Is there something else that we could do?” “Would you fancy a walk? The woods are lovely at this time of year.”
  103. 103. Lizzie and Eldon walked for a while, chatting away happily, until they came upon a small stream. Lizzie had her hand in the crook of Eldon‟s arm, and she had noticed that their pace had slowed, and that she was offering him more and more support as their walk went on. “Eldon, do you mind if we stop here for a while? I‟m not used to walking so far, and I‟m a bit exhausted.” “Of course,” he said, relief evident in his tone.
  104. 104. They plopped themselves down by the stream, and lounged in the sun. “This is nice,” sighed Lizzie. “I can‟t remember the last time that I had such an afternoon.” “I know,” replied Eldon. “I know that I‟m not as strong as other boys my age, but I wish Mama wouldn‟t fuss so much.” “It must be hard for you.” “I suppose I shouldn‟t complain. By all accounts, I should consider myself lucky to be alive, but I can‟t help but wish that I was like everyone else.” He closed his eyes, and rubbed at his temples. “Headache?” she asked. He nodded. “I suppose we shouldn‟t have walked so far. But it was so nice to talk with someone who didn‟t treat me like an invalid.” “Put your head on my lap. It will be softer than the ground.”
  105. 105. He gingerly put his head on his cousin‟s lap. “I don‟t want to crush your dress.” “Don‟t worry about it; I probably have grass stains all over it.” She began to massage his scalp. “That feels wonderful,” he sighed. Lizzie smiled. It was nice to hear someone say that she was doing something right for once. “This must be nice for you, too, to get out from Aunt Jan‟s eye.” “Mother‟s really…” “Lizzie, you don‟t have to pretend with me. I know how particular your mama is. Neither of us have a great lot in life, do we?” “I supposed not,” she muttered, blinking back tears. One escaped, and fell onto Eldon‟s forehead. “Oh, Lizzie, I didn‟t mean to make you cry. Here – have my handkerchief.” Lizzie took the offered square of fabric, and wiped her eyes.
  106. 106. She leaned back, and Eldon put his arm around her. “I‟m so worried about what will happen when I get a little older,” she confessed. “I‟m afraid that Mother will force me into marrying someone that she deems worthy.” Eldon sighed. “It‟s too bad that we can‟t get married when we‟re older. We suit each other so well.” “That we do, but it can‟t be. We‟re first cousins, and our parents would never agree to that.” The pair lay in silence for a long time, lost in thought.
  107. 107. Suddenly, the tranquil silence of the forest was broken by a twig snapping. Lizzie and Jefferson both gasped, and sat up quickly. “No need to worry; it‟s just me,” called Jefferson as he came into sight. “Oh, thank goodness,” said Lizzie as she let out a breath she didn‟t realize she was holding. “Nope, just your brother, but you two really should be getting back. Mother and Father will be expecting us home before too much longer.” “We better get back, then,” Eldon said, standing and offering Lizzie his hand in assistance.
  108. 108. The three teenagers began a slow walk back towards the Bear house. “Lizzie, why don‟t you go ahead? I need to ask Eldon about the SimHarvard entrance exam.” Lizzie smiled at her cousin. “Thank you for a lovely chat.” Eldon returned the smile, and Lizzie dashed off to join the game of croquet that had started on the lawn.
  109. 109. The dreamy smile remained on Eldon‟s face until he caught Jefferson staring at him. It quickly melted as he saw the disapproval in Jefferson‟s eyes. “It‟s not like that…” he began, but Jefferson held up a hand to silence him. “I know, Eldon, but I‟ve got to ask you to be careful. Lizzie, well, she‟s not accustomed to affection, and she‟s liable to fall for the first man that looks twice at her. You‟re first cousins, so that‟s not an option.” “I know,” sighed Eldon. “But a part of me can‟t help wish that it was. She one of the only people who doesn‟t treat me like I‟m a piece of Mama‟s fine glassware.” “There is something you can do for her.” “Anything.” “Eldon, I‟m sure you‟ve heard the rumors that my father…arranged Aunt Henri‟s marriage for his own benefit.” “Yes, I heard Mama and Papa talking about it one night when they thought Esther and I couldn‟t hear.” “I‟m worried that he‟ll try to do the same thing with Lizzie. She‟s not nearly as strong as Aunt Henri is, and she‟d never survive it.”
  110. 110. “But you just said I can‟t marry her, Jefferson, so what am I supposed to do?” “I‟m hoping that you can help me find a husband for her amongst your friends at University.” “How is you arranging Lizzie‟s marriage different than what your father did to his sister?” “Because I want to find someone who will be able to provide for her and care about her in the way that she deserves.” Eldon thought, knowing that all his cousin was saying was true. “Okay. I‟ll help.” “Thanks, Eldon.”
  111. 111. As summer began to wane, things in Simsfield continued to change. Diana Bradford Pasang and her husband, Lee, grew into distinguished elders.
  112. 112. As did Anne Bradford Bear, and her husband, Joseph.
  113. 113. Not long after his sisters‟ birthdays, Matthew had Diana and Anne over for the promised family council meeting. With a certain amount of smugness, Jan presented her idea of having her sisters-in-law help her secure spouses for Jefferson and Lizzie.
  114. 114. The twin sisters looked at each other. Unbeknownst to Matthew, Eldon had confided Lizzie‟s fears to his mama. Anne had, of course, told her sister. And both had heard of Matthew‟s confession to Phily, that he had arranged Henri‟s marriage for his own benefit. No conversation was needed between them before the both gave the exact same answer at the exact same time. “No, I don‟t think that will be possible.”
  115. 115. “Why not?” demanded Matthew, as Jan struggled to keep a pleasant smile on her face.
  116. 116. “Why Matthew, I would think our reasoning would be quite clear. Jefferson and Elizabeth need to be free to choose who they want to marry. After all, you wouldn‟t want them to end up miserable in their marriages, like poor Henri did,” said Anne, with a knowing tone. “Besides, they should marry for love,” said Diana. “Is that not what we all deserve?”
  117. 117. Matthew was preparing a biting retort when Jan placed her hand on his arm. “I‟m so sorry to hear you say that. Of course, we were just looking for you to help make some introductions and not to „arrange‟ anything. Is it not a mother‟s prerogative to look out for the well being of her children?”
  118. 118. Matthew politely said goodbye to his elder sisters. Their unwillingness to help frustrated him, but such a minor bump in the road would not deter him from his plans.
  119. 119. Jan went to comfort her husband when he came back into the parlor. “I can‟t believe my sisters,” he muttered. “Don‟t worry about it,” she replied. “We‟ll figure out a way to find suitable partners for our children. It will just mean that we‟ll have to go into the city more to make some new friends.” “That we shall, Jan. That we shall.”
  120. 120. Unbeknownst to Jan and Matthew, Jefferson was helping Lizzie study for the SimRadcliffe entrance exam. One night, they were busy reviewing history when Lizzie yawned. “I think I‟m going to call it a night.” “Slacker,” he said with a sly grin. “Leave your book on the sofa; I‟ll put it away. I have to review for my geography exam tomorrow before I retire for the night.”
  121. 121. After Lizzie left the study, Jefferson marked their places in the history books, and put them back on the shelf. He then pulled another volume, and settled back onto the couch. Geography had always fascinated him, and he wanted to see as much of the world as possible.
  122. 122. “Jefferson, what are you doing still up? It‟s past eleven!” worried Jan as she came into the room. “Is it? Goodness, I lost track of time. I wanted to review my geography before the exam tomorrow.” “Of course you did,” she said. “But you cannot expect to do well on your exam if you don‟t get a good night‟s rest.” “You are right, Mother. I‟ll go up to bed right now.” “That‟s a good boy,” she said as she left the study to head to her own bedroom. Jefferson soon followed, his geography book tucked under his arm.
  123. 123. After changing into his pajamas and lighting his bedside lamp, Jefferson took one last look at the map of Simerica. “How much the country has changed over the years,” he muttered. “To think that my great-great- grandfather had a hand in its development.” He heard the hall clock strike midnight, and he put his book down.
  124. 124. He didn‟t turn to bed straight away. Instead, he thought about John Bradford. I wonder what kind of a man he was, he wondered. As they often did, his thoughts turned to his sister. He was worried that his parents would assert their rights to chose a husband for her before he had a chance to introduce her to someone that would genuinely care for her. He would have to move carefully if he was going to be successful in his plans.
  125. 125. As summer slowly began to fade, Lizzie began to prepare the family garden for a round of fall planting. With Carolina now gone, there was no one else to worry about what would happen to the plot of land.
  126. 126. Jan saw what Lizzie was up to through her bedroom window, and wandered out into the garden. “Elizabeth, why are you doing that?” “Someone has to fertilize the ground, so that we can plant a fresh round of crops.” “Why would we want to do that?” “Why, Mother, Grandmamma told me that this plot has been worked since great-great-grandmother Chris. Aren‟t you going to take it over?” “Of course not! We have no need to garden any longer.” “But you let me harvest it earlier.” “Well, it would have been a shame to let all those eggplants go to waste. However, from here on out, no one in the family will be gardening.”
  127. 127. Lizzie put down the sack she was holding and looked at her mother. She really didn‟t want to see the family garden go dormant, but she knew that her mother would have much to say if she protested. “Of course, Mother. I understand completely.” “Oh, Elizabeth, I‟m so pleased that you‟ve seen reason at last. Now, why don‟t we go into the parlor and look over some new dress patterns?” “Actually, Mother, I was hoping that I might have permission to go into town. Esther will be leaving for school shortly, and I would like to get her some ribbons as a going away present.” “Of course you may,” smiled Jan, pleased that Lizzie was taking an interest in something ladylike. “Please be home in time for dinner.” “I will, Mother. Thank you.”
  128. 128. Lizzie procured the desired ribbons, and decided a visit to the bookstore would be a nice treat. She wasn‟t really paying attention to where she was going, and nearly crashed head-on into her aunt. “Really, Lizzie, you should pay attention to where you‟re going,” Phily smiled.
  129. 129. “Aunt Phily!” the younger woman cried, flinging her arms about her aunt. “I haven‟t seen you in so long.” “I know,” Phily sighed. “Your father and I had a terrible row a few years ago, and I‟m not welcome at your house. If I hadn‟t decided to call on Anne today, we might have gone even longer without chatting. Do you have some time? Would you like some coffee?” Lizzie nodded. “That would be lovely.”
  130. 130. The two ladies got coffee, and spent several moments getting caught up on each others‟ lives. “How are you doing, Lizzie?” asked Phily, deciding that the time for small talk was over.
  131. 131. “Fair, I suppose. I finally figured out how to get Mother to be nice to me; pretend to be someone I‟m not.” “Lizzie, don‟t,” urged Phily. “Don‟t become someone you‟re not just to make others happy. Henri did, and you see what happened to her.” “That‟s what I‟m most afraid of – that Father will use me as he used Aunt Henri, and arrange a marriage for me that will suit his needs.” Phily had heard from Anne about Matthew‟s latest scheme, and her blood boiled. “If he tries, you come straight to me,” ordered Phily. “Or your Aunt Anne. We‟ll protect you. Your father will not sell another Bradford woman into marriage for his own benefit again.” “Thank you so much, Aunt Phily. That is a great weight off my mind. If I could be so bold as to ask your assistance with another matter…” “What do you wish?”
  132. 132. “I wish to go to SimRadcliffe instead of Mrs. Seymour‟s.” Phily smiled. “Of course you do. I wish that I could have gone to college instead of Mrs. Seymour‟s when I was your age. Will you be able to take the entrance exam?” Lizzie nodded. “I have no doubt that I‟ll be able to pass. What I‟m worried about is actually getting there. I don‟t think Father will pay for it.” “He won‟t. Let me speak with Miss Thayer. She always has funds for pet charities of hers, and I imagine that anything to upset your father would be a worthy cause in her book.” “May I write to you? We can finalize plans that way.” “Of course you can write me! Where should I send my replies? I doubt your father will like me writing to you.” “Send them to Aunt Anne. I visit Esther lots, and Father doesn‟t mind me calling there.”
  133. 133. Soon, the sun set and Lizzie jumped up. “I must be getting home – I promised Mother I‟d be home for dinner and now that she‟s being pleasant I‟d like her to stay that way.” “Go,” smiled Phily, kissing her niece on the cheek and pressing some coins into her hand. “In case you need me, I‟m only a train ride away.” “Thank you, Aunt Phily.”
  134. 134. Lizzie was true to her word, and had started spending more time with her schoolmate Marsha. One afternoon, they were enjoying conversation over a game of chess in the parlor.
  135. 135. Jefferson heard his sister laughing, and wandered in to see what had her so joyful. He was pleasantly surprised at what he found.
  136. 136. “Miss Bruenig! How nice to see you again.” “And you as well,” she smiled. “I trust that you have been well?” “Very. I‟ve been busy studying for my entrance exams to SimHarvard.” “Of course you have. Will you be going there soon?” “This fall,” he nodded. “I‟m looking forward to it.”
  137. 137. Lizzie smiled to herself as her friend and brother made polite conversation. She could see that her brother was enamored with Marsha, and decided to act. “Jefferson, I really need to practice the piano. Mother will be horrified at my lack of progress if I don‟t. Would you mind finishing up this game of chess with Miss Bruenig?”
  138. 138. Naturally, Jefferson was more than agreeable with his sister‟s plan. He and Marsha finished the game that she and Lizzie had started, and began a new one.
  139. 139. Their chat eventually turned to their plans for the future. “I must admit, I‟m excited and terrified by the idea of attending SimRadcliffe,” she said. “My sister would like to attend also.” “I know. I am hoping for that as well. Having someone else from my class there would be a great comfort.” “Going away from home is one of my concerns as well, Miss Bruenig. I look forward to learning all I can, but being in unfamiliar surroundings will not be agreeable.” “Please, you must call me Marsha as the rest of my friends do. We are friends, are we not?” “Of course we are, Miss Marsha. And you must call me Jefferson, as my friends call me.”
  140. 140. Shortly after that, Marsha rose. “I really should be getting home. Thank you for a lovely afternoon.” “The pleasure was all mine, Miss Marsha. Please, call again soon. Lizzie enjoys it so, as do I.”
  141. 141. After Marsha left, Jefferson sighed. She asked me to call her Marsha. She considers me a friend. Perhaps, with time, she will come to care for me.
  142. 142. He dreamed of Marsha again that night, and of excursions in the city, a wedding in the orchard, a trip around the world, and several brown-haired, green-eyed children. I’ll win her over somehow. I know it.
  143. 143. ************************************************************************************************************************* I hope you enjoyed Chapter 14. In Chapter 15, you can look forward to Jefferson and Lizzie heading off to college, Matthew, Jan, and Henri becoming elders, and the last of Generation 3 taking their final bow. Will Eldon and Jefferson succeed in helping to find Lizzie a husband who cares about her before Matthew can interfere? Will Phily have to intercede? And, of course, will Jefferson succeed in winning over the elusive Marsha? Stay tuned. I‟ll close with a shot of Thomas and Carolina‟s graves. I‟m going to miss these two greatly, but part of playing a legacy is learning to let go of your Sims. As always, I thank you very much for reading. Please leave comments on the thread at