The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 4


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The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 4

  1. 1. Welcome to Chapter 4 of my Legacy! I suggest that you read the prologue and first three chapters to get the full story. A brief recap of Chapter 3: There were births (twins to spare Phineas and his wife Nicole, and a third child for the main Bradford household), birthdays, (Thomas, Bradford heir; Eliza, Bradford spare; the Gavigan twins, cousins; and all three Thompson children), and deaths (John and Chris Bradford). As this is a legacy based loosely on the history of the United States, I feel the need to warn my readers that we are approaching the Civil War era, and that I do intend on dealing with the issue of slavery. As the Bradfords reside in what would be considered the “North,” most of the characters will take on viewpoints to reflect that fact. There will be a few “Southern sympathizers,” who will illustrate a different point of view. I hope that no one is offended by my portrayal of these opposing viewpoints.
  2. 2. The Bradford family was still grieving the loss of Chris, but life marched forward. Patrick was due to celebrate his childhood birthday.
  3. 3. “Alright, my son. Blow out your candles and make a wish. It‟s time for you to become a big boy.”
  4. 4. Patrick grew up well, despite the loss of his grandmother earlier that evening.
  5. 5. Patrick went to bed not long after he finished his cake, but a strange force seemed to keep him from falling asleep. It was almost as if his grandfather were still around. But Patrick knew that to be impossible, as he had passed on.
  6. 6. Patrick was not the only member of the Bradford family who did not find it easy to sleep that night. Elias awoke in the middle of the night, thoughts of his mother and her loss still heavy on his heart. He got up carefully so he did not disturb Uma. He dressed, and wandered downstairs, unsure of where he was going or what he would do when he got there.
  7. 7. It was not long before he grabbed his topcoat and hat and found himself in the small cemetery where his parents had been laid to rest.
  8. 8. “Mother, I do not know what we shall do without you. Uma is a fine woman, but she cannot replace you.” Elias then sighed, and touched the tombstone tenderly. “I suppose that no one ever stops needing their mother. I hope that you and Father are together again, and that you both are at peace.”
  9. 9. As soon as the sun rose, Elias set out to call upon his brother and sister to share the news of their parents‟ passing. He called upon his sister at Gavigan Manor first, as it was the closest to the Bradford family farm.
  10. 10. “Brother, to what do I owe the pleasure of this call?” “Sister, I come bearing some sad news. Father and Mother have both passed away.”
  11. 11. Primrose‟s face fell at the news of her parents‟ death. She knew that they were getting on in years, but the knowledge did not make their loss any easier to bear.
  12. 12. “Mother! Father!” she cried. “What shall I do without you?” “There, there, sister dear. You know how old they were. It was to be expected. Try and take comfort in the fact that they are together in a better place, and that we shall see them again someday.”
  13. 13. “You are right, brother,” said Primrose as she dried her tears. “I grieve their loss, but will take comfort in knowing that we shall not be parted forever. Can I get you some refreshments? A cup of tea, perhaps?” “Thank you, but no. I must be getting to Thompson House to share the news with our brother.”
  14. 14. Elias and Primrose embraced. “Take care, sister.” “You do the same, brother. Mr. Gavigan and I must have you and Mrs. Bradford over for dinner soon.” “Send the invitation to Mrs. Bradford, and she will coordinate the date with you.”
  15. 15. Elias left Gavigan Manor and headed across the town square to Thompson House. As he walked up the front steps, he noticed that a new house was being built in the lot next to his brother‟s home. How the town continues to grow, he thought. I shall have to ask Phineas what he knows of the owners.
  16. 16. “Brother Elias! I did not expect to see you today. Come in, the fire in the sitting room will warm you right up.” “Thank you, Phineas. I admit, my call today is not a social one.”
  17. 17. And then Elias told his brother that their parents had died.
  18. 18. Phineas sighed. “I knew that this day was coming. I hope that they are together, and that they are resting peacefully.” “That is what we all hope for, Phineas,” replied Elias. “I do not know what I shall tell the children. They did love Mother and Father so.”
  19. 19. “I am certain that you will help them bear the loss, Phineas.” “I will have to, Elias. Mrs. Thompson does not seem to have a maternal bone in her body. She will be of no comfort to my children.” “I noticed the house being built next door to you. What do you know of its owners?” “Its owner is a man named Alcott. He is moving here from somewhere in South Simolina.” “Does he own slaves as others from the southern Simerica states do?” “I know not. I can only hope that his desire to move here means that he is for abolishing slavery as those of us from Massimchusetts are.”
  20. 20. Elias rose from his chair. “I must be going, brother. Mrs. Bradford has invited the headmaster of Simsfield Academy over for dinner. She would like to see the children attending the private school.” Phineas hugged his brother. “Of course, Elias. We shall have to get together with our families sometime soon.” “I shall have Mrs. Bradford send an invitation to dinner. She has learned how to make a wonderful dish with lobster that will make Mrs. Thompson green with envy.” “Just what I need; something else for Mrs. Thompson to be envious of.”
  21. 21. “Headmaster, it is so good of you to join us for dinner this evening,” said Thomas in greeting. “I am looking forward to it, Master Bradford.” “Shall we go to the dining room, then?”
  22. 22. “Are you enjoying your dinner, Headmaster?” asked Uma. “Isn‟t Mother a good cook?” interjected Eliza. “Eliza, be still. Children should not speak unless spoken to,” said Uma softly. Uma would not ordinarily care that Eliza had spoken out of turn, but she did not wish the headmaster to think that she had not taught her children manners. “My apologies, Mother,” said Eliza.
  23. 23. “It is quite all right, Mrs. Bradford. Your daughter is correct; you are an excellent cook. I must say that I am most impressed by what I have seen of your family.” “Thank you very much, Headmaster,” said Uma.
  24. 24. The headmaster was so impressed with the Bradford family that he decided to admit all three children into Simsfield Academy. All of the Bradfords were very pleased at the news.
  25. 25. John even made an appearance to celebrate the good news. He did seemed to be concerned about the cost of sending his grandchildren to private school.
  26. 26. Winter soon came to a close, and it was time for the spring planting. Uma would have to do most of the work herself, as Elias was currently running for mayor and spent much time in town campaigning.
  27. 27. She didn‟t mind the hard work. The garden allowed her to help provide for her family and filled her days with purpose. It also made her feel closer to her late mother-in-law.
  28. 28. Before long, it was time for Eliza to become a teenager.
  29. 29. “What should I wish for, Mother?” “You should wish to lead a happy, productive life, my dear.” Eliza scrunched her nose. That didn‟t sound like a good wish at all. She remembered the fairy tales her grandfather used to read her, and how she had once told him that there were no princes in Simerica. Perhaps she would wish for a prince to come and take her to his castle where they would live happily ever after. Yes, that was a much better wish.
  30. 30. Eliza grew up into a lovely young woman. She decided that she would like nothing more than to marry and raise a family. She also wished to see that all children had the opportunity for a good education.
  31. 31. Chris decided to make an appearance to see how her granddaughter had grown up.
  32. 32. Elias could have sworn that he saw his mother that night. But that was impossible, wasn‟t it? Luckily, his thirst for knowledge made the encounter a positive one.
  33. 33. The next morning, Elias took a break from his campaigning to assist Uma with the first harvest of the year. The orchard trees had taken well, and the family was looking forward to tasting the oranges.
  34. 34. Elias smiled to himself as he picked the fruit from the trees. I do wish that Mother could have seen how well her trees fair, he thought. Still, I believe she would be happy with how well Uma cares for the family garden.
  35. 35. I wonder if this will work, Eliza thought, as she looked into the well that Uma had recently put into the garden. All of the fairy stories Grandfather used to read me said that you could toss a coin into a well and make a wish, and the wish would come true. I suppose I have nothing to lose, other than a penny.
  36. 36. Eliza tossed the shiny copper coin down into dark depths of the well, and wished for her prince to arrive. She heard the soft plink as the penny hit the water, and then there was nothing. Well, that did not do anything, she thought. As she was about to turn and go back into the house, a voice broke the silence. “Pardon me, miss.”
  37. 37. “Why, Mr. McCarthy! What are you doing in our garden?” exclaimed Eliza. “I do not know, Miss Bradford. I was on my way into town for work, and must not have been paying attention to my way.” “It is quite all right, Mr. McCarthy. You can see the store from here. I trust that you will not lose your way again. Good day.” “Thank you, Miss Bradford.” George turned to leave, and then looked back at Eliza. “Forgive me for being forward, but I had never noticed your beauty before now.”
  38. 38. George McCarthy leaned in and gently kissed Eliza. For a moment, Eliza was elated. Could Mr. McCarthy be the Prince Charming she had wished for? After George stepped back, Eliza fully realized what had just happened. “Mr. McCarthy, you forget yourself. Do not take such liberties with me again,” she said sharply. “I beg your pardon, Miss Bradford. I shall be going now,” he said, very confused. “Farewell, Mr. McCarthy,” said Eliza. He was a nice boy, but a shopkeeper was certainly far from the prince she dreamed of.
  39. 39. “Eliza, what kept you in the garden for so long this afternoon?” asked Thomas. “I thought I would be helpful to Mother and water the crops,” she replied. “What was George McCarthy doing walking through the orchard?” asked Patrick. “I…believe he was late for work and took a shortcut to the store across the farm,” Eliza stammered. “He looked awful befuddled,” commented Patrick. “I wonder why.” “I do not know. We merely exchanged greetings,” said Eliza. “Children, put the books away. It is time for your father’s birthday party,” called Uma.
  40. 40. It was time for Elias to enter elder hood. Uma had invited the Gavigans and Thompsons to the house for a party to commemorate the occasion. “Blow out your candles, dear. I don’t want the cake to be spoiled by the wax,” said Uma. “Yes, Mrs. Bradford,” replied Elias. He was not at all looking forward to his birthday, and hoped to put it off for as long as possible.
  41. 41. So with his family gathered around, Elias blew out his candles and prepared to grow up. “What did you wish for, Father?” asked Patrick. For all my children to know the same happiness I have, he thought. To his son, he replied, “Patrick, you know that if you tell a wish, it will not come true. You will know soon enough if my wish comes true.”
  42. 42. After cake, Elias and Isaiah settled into play a game of billiards. “I must say, Mr. Bradford, this is a fine addition to your home.” “I know. Mrs. Bradford sent for it as a birthday present for me, and I am most pleased.” “I must attempt to convince Mrs. Gavigan to allow me to have one, although I doubt she will want to give up the ballroom for such an indulgence.” “You are welcome to join me for a game anytime, sir.” “I thank you for your generosity, Mr. Bradford.”
  43. 43. “Have you been following the news, Mr. Bradford? Do you see that the southern states are claiming that their local and state governments take precedence over the national government, and that they will not agree to the abolishment of slavery?” “I have read that, and it is not good news. Do they truly not see the evils of slavery and how the must join us in the North and put an end to it?” “I suppose that it is so engrained into their way of life that it is hard for them to see how they can survive any other way.” “That is no excuse! They must see that for the good of the country, they must move out of the dark ages of slavery.” “You and I are in agreement, Mr. Bradford.”
  44. 44. In the music room, a similar conversation was taking place amongst the other party guests. “I am telling you, Mrs. Thompson, the southern states will not see reason on the slavery issue. This will end in war,” stated Phineas. “Humph,” said Nicole. “I do not see how that matters to us.” “Do you not have a son who will be soon be of age to serve in the army?” asked Primrose. “I should think the prospect of war matters greatly to all of us.”
  45. 45. “Richard is our only son; he will not have to go to war. We will send him out of the country if we must to keep him safe,” replied Nicole. “Would you not do the same with Roger?” “If my son wished to fight for his country, Mr. Gavigan and I would support his decision,” stated Primrose, as icy fear gripped her heart. “And I would do the same for Richard,” interjected Phineas, looking at his wife. “It will not matter,” muttered Nicole. “Some solution will be worked out. They have always managed to come up with a compromise before.”
  46. 46. After the Thompsons had departed, Primrose joined Elias in the game room. “Sister, you do know that this is considered a gentleman‟s game?” “Mr. Gavigan wishes a billiard table of his own. I merely wish to see what the fuss is all about.” Elias chuckled. “I am certain it will be easy for you to see the attraction to the game.” “Brother, you are involved in the politics of the town. Tell me, will this conflict over slavery result in a war between the states?” “I hope not, sister, but I do not think that we will be able to avoid it.”
  47. 47. Primrose looked at her brother with wary eyes. “Mrs. Thompson seems to think that a compromise can be worked out.” “Mrs. Thompson,” stated Elias, “knows nothing of anything that does not involve a new dress or bonnet. There is no more room for compromise on this issue. It is an outdated, barbaric way to make a living by forcing others into servitude.” “I agree with you entirely, brother. I am merely a mother who worries about the fate of her children,” sighed Primrose.
  48. 48. Elias sighed as well. “And in addition to being mayor of this town, I too am a father with sons and a daughter to worry about. I hope that a peaceful resolution will be reached.” “As we all do, brother. Now, let us speak of happier matters. I must say that I do enjoy this game. I may have to allow Mr. Gavigan to purchase a table of his own.”
  49. 49. Thomas awoke early the next morning. He found that he could not sleep. He decided to go out into the garden and take care of it as a surprise to his mother. Despite the early hour, he could not help but feel that he was being watched.
  50. 50. As he began to lean over a strawberry plant to pull the weeds growing at its base, he was startled by an apparition that took the form of his grandmother. “Thomas,” its ghostly voice spoke, “Take care as you weed my garden. Your mother worked very hard on it this year, and I will not have inexperienced hands ruining it.”
  51. 51. “Grandmother?” Thomas asked aloud. “How is this possible?” The spirit vanished into the night, leaving Thomas to question what his eyes had seen.
  52. 52. “You seem awful distracted, Thomas,” stated Patrick later that day as they played a quick game of chess. “What seems to be troubling you?” “It is nothing,” said Thomas. “It does not looking like just nothing.” “Fine. But you must promise not to laugh at me. I awoke early this morning while it was still dark, and went down to weed the garden. As I was doing so, I could have sworn that I saw the ghost of Grandmother, and she scolded me for not know what I was doing.” “Why would I laugh at you for that?” “It is not normal to think you see one who has passed on.”
  53. 53. “Really? Because I could have sworn that I felt Grandmother tuck me into bed last night.”
  54. 54. Time continued to march forward. It wasn‟t long before Rhoda Gavigan departed for Mrs. Seymour‟s Finishing School.
  55. 55. Her twin brother Roger departed for University later that same day.
  56. 56. The Thompson twins celebrated their teen birthday. Rebecca grew up very well, and she looked exactly like her sister Sophia. She took after her mother in her desire for fortune, and hoped that there might be an opportunity for her to pursue a career, an adventuress one.
  57. 57. Richard also grew up well, but he decided that family was the most important thing in his life. Much to his mother‟s disdain, who hoped that he would want to focus on a career, he decided that he would like nothing more than to have many grandchildren.
  58. 58. He wasted little time in finding a young woman with which to share his affections. Renee Johnson was also a family-oriented person, and it seemed to be a match made in heaven.
  59. 59. And lastly, young Patrick was ready to become a teenager as well. He was very excited about growing up.
  60. 60. Patrick turned out to be a rather handsome young man. He sought a life of leisure filled with outings with friends. If he did have to work, he thought that a career in the culinary industry would suit him well.
  61. 61. Thomas was preparing to depart for University, so he tried as spent much time with Patrick as he could. Patrick preferred to pass his time with cousin Richard, so Thomas was rather shocked when Patrick asked if Thomas to join him at a game of billiards. “I must say, Patrick, I am surprised to see that you are not passing the afternoon with our cousin. You two appear to be the best of friends.” “We are, Thomas. We are just having a small quarrel right now.” “What about?”
  62. 62. “We disagree about the issue of state‟s rights. I believe that the southern states are in the right to say that their local governments are more important than the national one. Richard believes that to think so is the same as supporting slavery.” “And do you support slavery, brother,” asked Thomas, almost afraid to hear his brother’s answer. “I do not believe in slavery, but I do not believe it is our place to tell someone how to live their life.”
  63. 63. “It is the same thing, Patrick. Supporting the sovereignty of the south is the same thing as saying that slavery is an acceptable practice.” “It is not! This is the exact argument that Richard and I are having, and I do not wish to have it with you as well!” And with his outburst, he stormed out of the game room. Thomas followed him.
  64. 64. “Wait a moment, Patrick. Do not storm off like that when we are in the middle of a discussion.” “A discussion? You are just like everyone else. You think that your Yankee ideals give you the right to decide what is moral and immoral for everyone. The economy of the South is based on agriculture. If you just abolish slavery, you will destroy their way of life!”
  65. 65. “Perhaps their way of life needs to be changed. Do you not realize, Patrick, that Simerica is the only industrialized country in the world that still condones slavery? We must look to our future. Why, a railroad will be coming to town by winter. You cannot stop progress! The South must catch up with the rest of the world.” “I believe we are at an impasse, Thomas. I bid you good night,” Patrick stated as he walked out of the room and upstairs. “Patrick…” called Thomas, but it was too late. He heard a door slam upstairs. Thomas sighed. He truly did not understand how his brother had come to form such opinions.
  66. 66. Elias sighed as he read the newspaper. There never seemed to be any good news any more. It was becoming less and less likely that the Northern and Southern Simerican states would be able to come to a peaceful resolution to the issues of states rights and slavery. “Despicable how grown men cannot let common sense prevail,” he muttered as he turned the page.
  67. 67. “Is everything all right, Mr. Bradford?” asked Uma as she came into the room. “No, my dearest, it is not. It seems that war of some sort is inevitable now. No one seems interested in compromising.” “How horrible,” muttered Uma. “Do you think…will it affect our boys?” she asked, her voice dropping to a near whisper. “I hope not. More than likely there will be enough volunteers that a draft will not be necessary.”
  68. 68. Uma sat down on the settee and faced her husband. “Have you not heard that Patrick has sympathies with the Southern states? He agrees that they are correct in not wanting a strong central government and that individual states‟ rights should take precedence. Does it occur to you that his convictions might lead him to volunteer to fight for the cause?”
  69. 69. “My son is a Southern sympathizer?” muttered Elias. “How did this happen?” “I do not know how it came about, Mr. Bradford. I only know that he harbors such feeling because Thomas confided in me that they had quarreled over the issue. Mr. Thompson also informed me that Patrick and Richard are not speaking over the issue.” “I must speak with him,” stated Elias. “Today, when he arrives home from school.” “Be careful, dear. I do not wish him to feel that we are all against him.” “I will do my best, Mrs. Bradford.”
  70. 70. As Elias was preparing to speak with his youngest child, Sophia Thompson was boarding a coach to join her cousin at Mrs. Seymour‟s.
  71. 71. Elias‟ conversation with Patrick did not go well, and the entire family was feeling the strain of the conflict. It was with some difficulty that Uma convinced everyone to sit down to dinner the night before Thomas departed for University. “Isn‟t this nice? I must say, I cannot remember the last time we were together as a family,” said Uma, attempting to get conversation started.
  72. 72. “It is very nice. Thank you for preparing such a nice dinner, Mother.” Uma smiled at her eldest child. “Thank you dear. Are you excited about starting University?” “I am, Mother. I want to learn all I can, and then put my knowledge to good use. I know with a bit of hard work, I will be very successful” Patrick coughed. “Are you well, Patrick? Do you need me to send for the doctor?” asked Uma, concern for her youngest child evident in her voice.
  73. 73. “I am fine, Mother. I am merely sick of hearing about how all Yankees seem to think that hard work and education are the solutions to all problems,” replied Patrick, his voice full of venom. “Patrick, for shame!” cried Eliza. “Can we not have one nice meal together as a family?”
  74. 74. “I am sorry, sister. Please, don‟t let me get in the way of your idealized view of the world.” Patrick gulped down the rest of the dinner, and then excused himself from the table. “Why does his insist upon being like this?” moaned Eliza, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.
  75. 75. “I do not know, sweetheart,” soothed Uma. “Now, can I get anyone some dessert? I made a pie.” “No thank you, Mother. I still have some packing left to do,” muttered Thomas as he got up from the table. Eliza and Elias left shortly after. “Oh dear,” muttered Uma. “This conflict is tearing my family apart.”
  76. 76. The next morning, a carriage came to take Thomas to University. Before he departed, he managed to hug his brother. “Take care, Patrick. I hope that you will soon see the error in your thoughts.” “As soon as you see the error in yours, brother dear,” Patrick said, as he pushed out of the embrace and left the room. Thomas sighed. He had hoped that he and Patrick would part on better terms.
  77. 77. “Do not worry over Patrick,” advised Eliza, as she hugged her brother good bye. “I shall see if I can talk some sense into him. He does not argue with me as he does you and Father because he does not take stock in a woman‟s opinions.” Thomas returned his sister‟s hug. “Do not allow this to cause a rift between the two of you. I do not wish for my brother to feel as if he has no friends.” “I shall proceed with caution. Take care of yourself at University, and write to me often.” “I will, dear sister.”
  78. 78. “I am so proud of you, Thomas,” said Uma, as she hugged her son. “Study hard, make many friends, and enjoy your time at University. I wish that I had the opportunity to go to college when I was young.” “I will write to you of all I learn, Mother. It shall be as if you are studying along with me.” “That would be lovely, son,” replied Uma, beaming.
  79. 79. “Farewell, Thomas. I wish you well at University. Take advantage of all it has to offer you.” “I will, Father. I hope that will be lucky enough to meet a fine young woman there, like you met Mother.” Elias chuckled at his son‟s words. “Perhaps you shall. But remember, your mother is one of a kind.”
  80. 80. “Then I supposed I will have to settle for finding someone who makes me as happy as she does you.” “That is all I have ever wanted for you, my son. Now go, before the carriage decides to leave without you.”
  81. 81. His trucks and other belongings securely aboard, Thomas climbed into the carriage and headed off on the long journey to the University.
  82. 82. Thomas arrived at Landgraab Hall late that night. He was greeted by his cousin, Roger, who helped him to get settled into his room and registered for his classes. After a quick meal in the cafeteria and dashing off a short note home to let his family know he arrived safely, Thomas collapsed into bed. He wanted to be rested for his first day of classes in the morning.
  83. 83. Uma sat at the piano, thinking over the her many worries. Patrick was not taking well to his family‟s attempts to change his opinion. He spent most of his time in town at the coffee house, and did not speak of his time there. She worried about her youngest son. She did not want to force her children to believe in the same things that she did, but she did not understand her son‟s viewpoint. “Mother, it’s time for your party. Mrs. Gavigan and Mrs. Thompson have arrived,” said Eliza. “Of course dear. Is Patrick back from town yet?” Uma asked hopefully. “No, Mother. He is not,” sighed Eliza.
  84. 84. “Thank you for bringing the lovely birthday cake for me, Mrs. Gavigan. You truly outdid yourself.” “It is nothing. I could not have my sister baking a cake for her own birthday, now could I?” said Primrose.
  85. 85. And so Uma Bradford prepared for her transformation into an elder. It was not hard for her to think of what she wanted to wish for. As she blew out her candles, she wished for the rift in her family to be healed, and for her youngest child to see the error in his ways.
  86. 86. “Horary, Mother! You blew out all the candles at once. Even Father was not able to do that.”
  87. 87. Nicole and Primrose were also very excited about Uma‟s birthday. Or were they more excited about the fact that it was not yet their birthdays?
  88. 88. Uma aged very gracefully. Her beloved Elias told her that she was even more beautiful now than she had been in her youth. She waved off his complements as attempts to flatter her. Still, she was happy with her appearance.
  89. 89. Eliza challenged her aunts to a game of billiards. “Eliza, you will be joining my Rhoda at Mrs. Seymour‟s School soon, shall you not?” asked Primrose. “I will, Aunt, and I am very excited to go,” replied Eliza. “My Sophia is at the top of her class at Mrs. Seymour‟s,” interjected Nicole. “You look troubled, niece,” stated Primrose, ignoring Nicole‟s attempt to steer the conversation. “What seems to be the trouble?”
  90. 90. “It is Patrick,” she sighed. “He is making life horrid for everyone. He sees fit to pick an argument anyone who does not share his opinion on the state‟s rights issue.” “It must be difficult for all of you,” sympathized Primrose. “Have you any idea how he came to such opinions?” Eliza shook her head. “I do not even know who he spends time with him any more. He and Richard are still fighting.”
  91. 91. “I am so sorry for your troubles, Eliza. Is there anything that Mr. Gavigan or I can do?” “No, Aunt, though I appreciate your offer. The more we try to reason with Patrick, the worse he seems to get.” “Please let me know if you change your mind. I hate to see my brother‟s family distressed.”
  92. 92. “It really is terrible what this conflict is doing to families,” commented Primrose later that night. “I suppose,” replied Nicole. “Does it not bother you that your son is estranged from his best friend and cousin over this issue?” Nicole shrugged. “Richard needs to spend the time preparing for University.” Primrose looked at her sister-in-law, astonished. She had never liked Nicole, but her lack of concern over this rift in the family was the last straw. “I must be getting home. Good night, Mrs. Thompson,” said Primrose as she rose.
  93. 93. Later that night, Eliza found Patrick in the game room. “Do you mind if I join you, Patrick?” she asked. Patrick merely shrugged. “We missed you at Mother‟s birthday party,” she said, trying to start conversation. “I thought my presence would cause more trouble that it was worth.” “Patrick, you are still part of this family. Mother was very disappointed that you were not there.” “I am sorry that I cannot be a good son,” he huffed as he threw the cue stick down onto the table and exited the room.
  94. 94. Patrick decided that a walk was in order to clear his head. He wandered to the coffee house, but found it had closed for the night. He noticed the lights on in Thompson House, and walked through the town square and knocked on the door. Richard answered. “Cousin Patrick! I have not seen you for so long? Come in to the sitting room.” “Thank you, Richard. I admit, this was not my intended destination.” “Regardless, I am glad you came. I know that I have been spending much time with Miss Johnson, but I do miss our conversations.”
  95. 95. “Truly? I thought you were still upset at my position on the issue of states‟ rights.” “You mean that you have not changed your mind, and believe that they have the right to maintain the practice of slavery?” Richard asked his cousin, confusion evident in his face.
  96. 96. “No, I have not changed my mind!” exclaimed Patrick. “The issue of slavery and states‟ rights are not the same! What right do we have to tell our southern neighbors what is right and what is wrong? Are their state governments not able to make their own decisions?” “The issues are one and the same, cousin. Until you can see that, I believe there is nothing left for us to discuss.”
  97. 97. On the other side of the sitting room, Rebecca sat at the chessboard. She had overheard her mother complaining that morning that she was unable to get the material for Rebecca‟s new dress because of the impending conflict between the North and the South. She cared nothing of states‟ rights or slavery or the imminent war or even the fact that her brother was at odds with his best friend. If the conflict meant that she could not get a new gown whenever she desired, it must be ended. To her, it was as simple as that.
  98. 98. Patrick stared into the fire for a long moment before rising from the sofa. “I believe I have overstayed my welcome. Good night, Cousin Richard.” “Let us not part on such terms,” said Richard. “Can we not agree to disagree on this issue?” “No, we cannot,” answered Patrick as he left.
  99. 99. In the drawing room of Landgraab House, Randy London, Jimmy Phoenix, and Thomas Bradford were busy studying for their final exams. “Can you believe that these are the last final exams we shall sit, Randy?” asked Jimmy. “I cannot. It is hard to believe that in less than six months time I will be a married man living in Portsimouth,” Randy replied. “I wish that this was my last exam,” interjected Thomas. “I still have three more years of University before me.”
  100. 100. “You have much left to accomplish while here at University,” laughed Jimmy. “Why, you have not even found time to make the acquaintance of any young ladies. All you do is spend time at the library with your nose in a book.” “Says the man who will marry my cousin Sophia,” smiled Thomas. “You will so enjoy having Aunt Nicole as a mother-in-law.” “Do not remind me,” Jimmy said. “I wish that Mrs. Thompson was more like Mrs. Gavigan.”
  101. 101. What Thomas‟ friends did not know was that he had made the acquaintance of a young lady. He met Carolina Bui one evening on his way home from the library. She was a knowledge-minded young woman, and they had corresponded frequently since that night. Thomas was quite taken with her.
  102. 102. Roger Gavigan, Randy London, and Jimmy Phoenix all graduated with honors, and sat down to one last meal together in the dining hall. “Can you believe that we will all be old, married men before long?” asked Randy. “Speak for yourself, Randy. Miss Sophia has two more years before she finishes up at Mrs. Seymour‟s. That will give me the chance to get established in my law career,” replied Jimmy. “And I look forward to marrying Miss Anna Cleaves and starting a life with her,” stated Roger. “I do hate to interrupt your fun, cousins, but your carriage is here,” said Thomas as he came into the room. “Have a safe trip home.”
  103. 103. Now alone at University, Thomas filled his days by completing assignments…
  104. 104. …and writing term papers. The hall had recently purchased a new contraption called a “typewriter,” which greatly aided him in the process.
  105. 105. But despite his many academic pursuits, Miss Bui was never far from his thoughts. The wrote often, and one day she called Thomas on the telephone to let him know that her family would be nearby. “This is very exciting news, Miss Bui. Do you think that you will have time to pay me a visit?” “I would be happy to. Is there someone who can act as chaperone?” “I will ask our housekeeper, Mrs. Langerak, to stay late. Will that be acceptable?” “Yes, Mr. Bradford. I will see you this evening.”
  106. 106. “It is good to see you again, Miss Bui,” greeted Thomas. “It is a pleasure to see you as well, Mr. Bradford. And this is the fraternity your grandfather founded?” “Yes Miss Bui. I was very happy to have been accepted into it earlier this year. The accommodations are not as fine as the residence hall, but I enjoy the added privacy the house affords me.” “You do have a way with words, Mr. Bradford.”
  107. 107. A smiled crossed Thomas‟ face. “Are you flirting with me, Miss Bui?” “Perhaps,” she replied coyly. “What would you think if I were to say „yes‟?” “I would say that you do not need to try so hard, Miss Bui. I already think that you are the loveliest woman I have ever seen.” “You flatter me, Mr. Bradford.”
  108. 108. “May I kiss you, Miss Bui?” “I thought you would never ask, Mr. Bradford. And please, you may call me Miss Carolina.” As Thomas gently presses his lips to Carolina‟s, he could have sworn that he was flying. He had always dreamed of finding someone that would be to him what his mother was to his father, and it seemed that Carolina was that woman.
  109. 109. “Would you care to dance, Miss Carolina?” “But there is no music, Mr. Bradford.” “Indulge me, please, Miss Carolina,” he begged as he took her hand and slipped his arm around her waist.
  110. 110. “And please,” he whispered, “You must call me Thomas.”
  111. 111. Far too soon for Thomas‟ liking, Carolina‟s father sent a carriage to pick her up. “Thank you for a lovely evening, Thomas.” “The pleasure was all mine, Miss Carolina. May I have permission to speak to your father about asking for your hand in marriage?” Carolina‟s face lit up. “Nothing would make me happier. I will tell him that you will be calling.”
  112. 112. Thomas whistled a happy tune as he walked back into the house. It would be a full day‟s endeavor to call up on Mr. Bui to ask permission to marry Carolina. He had a brief holiday coming up, which would be the perfect time to make the trip. His plans were interrupted by a strange blonde woman who rose from a chair in the parlor. “Thomas Bradford?” she asked.
  113. 113. “Yes, may I help you miss?” “Yes, you can. Please come with me.”
  114. 114. “Why should I do such a thing? It is highly inappropriate for us to be out without a chaperone at such a late hour. Besides, I have never seen you before in my life.” “You are coming with me, and while you do not know who I am, I believe you know some of my friends.”
  115. 115. The blonde woman put a pair of handcuffs onto Thomas‟ wrists, and marched him out the front door of the fraternity into a waiting carriage.
  116. 116. The stopped in front of a strange mansion. Thomas was released from his handcuffs and shoved out of the carriage. He was greeted by a very excited Joy Hanby and Felicia Tang. “What is going on?” demanded Thomas. “Welcome to the Volauvent Society,” said Joy. “We are very excited that you were accepted,” said Felicia. “Here is your blazer.”
  117. 117. Thomas pulled off his overcoat and pulled on the blazer. The logo was strangely familiar to him. “I believe that my father has one of these,” he mused. “I remember seeing it in his wardrobe one day.” “Yes, your father was inducted into the Society during his time here at University,” replied Joy. “He never said anything to me.” “Of course not,” said Felicia. “The Society is a secret, after all.”
  118. 118. Thomas‟ final years of college passed quickly. He graduated with honors, to his parents‟ great joy, and his fraternity brothers decided to throw a toga party to commemorate the occasion. Thomas did not know, but Carolina had been invited to the party, and given permission to attend. “Miss Carolina!” Thomas cried excitedly when she entered the room. “I did not expect to see you.” “It is good to see you, Thomas,” she replied, as the room discreetly cleared. “You must excuse my attire. We wear togas on special occasions to commemorate our Greek fraternal roots.”
  119. 119. It had been some time since the two had seen each other, and they wasted no time in getting reacquainted.
  120. 120. Thomas knew that this was the moment he had been waiting for. He had Mr. Bui‟s permission, and he had gotten a little something from his mother in the mail not too long ago. “Miss Carolina, you have stolen my heart, and I could not ask for a better woman to spend the rest of my life with…”
  121. 121. “…Would you marry me?”
  122. 122. Carolina gasped as Thomas opened the jewelry box. “Yes! Yes, I will marry you, Thomas.”
  123. 123. Thomas felt that his heart would burst with joy. “You make me very happy, Miss Carolina.”
  124. 124. Thomas slipped the ring that had belonged to his mother and grandmother onto Carolina‟s finger. “What a lovely ring.” “Thank you. It is a family heirloom that my grandfather brought with him from Simland many years ago.”
  125. 125. Carolina hugged her new finance, and Thomas laughed as he spun her around. He could not wait to write home and share the good news with his family. “I cannot wait to be your wife, Thomas. I do not wish for a long engagement.” “Nor do I, Miss Carolina. Can you be ready to marry when the summer is over?” “Yes, I can. I am so happy right now. “As am I, sweetheart.”
  126. 126. Eliza took it upon herself to help her mother as much as possible. Patrick‟s opinions and subsequent behavior were still straining the family, and Uma was taking it hard. Eliza wasn‟t quite the gardener that her mother was, but she was learning quickly. She found pulling weeds to be very therapeutic.
  127. 127. Uma enjoyed spending time with her daughter. Eliza would be leaving for Mrs. Seymour‟s Finishing School soon, and while Uma was pleased that her daughter had the opportunity to further her education, she was going to miss her greatly.
  128. 128. The entire Bradford family rose well before dawn to see Eliza off to Mrs. Seymour‟s. While Elias saw to Eliza‟s trunks with Uma‟s direction, Eliza took the opportunity to speak with Patrick. “Patrick, I will miss you when I am away at school.” “Truly?” he asked. “I had thought you would be happy to get away from me.” “Patrick, you are still my brother and I love you.” “It does not always feel like it.” “I do not agree with your opinions, and I do not know how you came to form them. But we are family, and we cannot change that.”
  129. 129. Patrick was confused by his sister‟s sudden declaration. “I wish you would come to the coffee house one day when you are home visiting from Mrs. Seymour‟s. You could meet Mr. Alcott and hear his story. He moved here from South Simolina, you know. He is much more articulate in his arguments than I.”
  130. 130. Ah hah! thought Eliza. Mr. Alcott is the cause of my brother’s opinions. I should like to meet him and give him a piece of my mind. “That would be lovely. I imagine that I will be able to make the trip home much more frequently once the train goes through.” “We are there most afternoons. You can join us any time.”
  131. 131. Uma walked into the sitting room and sat down. “Your father just about has everything set. I do wish you did not have to leave so early,” she said. “Mother, it is a long journey by carriage. If the train were running, I could afford to wait, but I want to arrive at school with enough time get settled in.” “Of course. What were you and Patrick speaking of when I walked in?” “I was merely telling my brother how much I would miss him while away at school,” replied Eliza.
  132. 132. Uma looked at her daughter. She knew that Eliza was not telling the entire truth, but the fact that her children had managed to have an entire conversation without fighting was more than enough for her. “Eliza, dear,” interrupted Elias. “The carriage is ready.”
  133. 133. Eliza rose from the settee and hugged Patrick. “Take care, brother. Write to me often, and I will visit you as soon as I can.” And in a low voice that only Patrick would hear, she whispered, “I am eager to hear Mr. Alcott‟s explanations.” Patrick stepped back from the embrace and looked at his sister with appreciation. “Thank you, Eliza. I will miss you.”
  134. 134. “Have a safe journey, dear,” said Uma as she hugged her daughter tight. “Take care at school, rely on your cousins, and write me often.” “I will, Mother. I am going to miss you.”
  135. 135. And then Elias walked over to his only daughter and hugged her tightly. “My dear, take advantage of your time at school and learn all you can. I know that you will behave as a proper young lady should, and that you will do the Bradford name proud.” “Thank you for sending me to school, Father. I will not disappoint you.”
  136. 136. As Eliza was about to board the carriage, a single tear escaped her eye. She brushed it away quickly and climbed into the coach.
  137. 137. She arrived Mrs. Seymour‟s later that afternoon. Her cousin Sophia was there to help her unpack, and then insisted upon a trip to the dressmakers. Elias had slipped his daughter some money before she departed, and she was excited to try out the latest fashions. After returning to their boarding house, Eliza dined with Sophia and sent a not home letting her parents know that she had arrived at school and was excited to start her education.
  138. 138. “Patrick! What a surprise,” cried Thomas. “I thought Father was coming to help me pack.” “I asked if could come in his place,” replied Patrick. “I wanted to see a bit of the University, and I thought it would be a good chance for us to talk.” “Come in, come in. Everyone else is at class right now.”
  139. 139. “Are you excited to move home?” asked Patrick. “Yes, I am. Miss Carolina and I will be married soon, and we are both anxious to start a family. I am hoping to find a job as well, and put my degree to biology to use.”
  140. 140. “How are things in Simsfield?” asked Thomas. “Is the talk of impending war as hot there as it is here?”
  141. 141. “Yes, hotter even, perhaps. Mr. Alcott and I spend much time in the coffee house trying to make other people understand our position on states‟ rights.”
  142. 142. Thomas sighed. “I had hoped that you would outgrow those opinions, Patrick. I do not wish for Miss Carolina to move into a household that is wrought with conflict.”
  143. 143. Patrick looked at his brother. “I do not see my opinions changing, Thomas. But I do not wish to cause problems for you and Miss Bui. I will keep my thoughts to myself for the sake of peace in the family. Besides, I will be leaving for University soon. You will not be burdened with me for long.”
  144. 144. “You are my brother, Patrick. You could never be a burden. I just wish…” “What do you wish, brother?” “Never mind, Patrick. We must be going, or we will miss the coach.”
  145. 145. The coach brought Thomas and Patrick back to Simsfield. Patrick excused himself, and took to the coffee house. Thomas declined the invitation, knowing that Carolina would be arriving with her family for their wedding shortly. He wanted to be home to great her and introduce her to his family.
  146. 146. As Thomas was scanning the newspaper for any positions available in fields related to natural science, he heard the approach of a carriage. Quickly folding the paper, he headed for the entryway. As he went to open the door, he called up the stairs, “Father, Miss Carolina and her family have arrived!” “I will be down in a moment,” replied Elias.
  147. 147. Thomas ushered Carolina into the sitting room and went to assist her father with her trunk. Shortly after, Elias came down the stairs and Thomas hurried over to his father. “Father, I would like to introduce you to my fiancée, Miss Carolina Bui.” “Son, I am very excited to meet your intended.”
  148. 148. “Father, I would like you to meet Miss Carolina Bui. Miss Carolina, this is my father, Elias Bradford.” “How do you do, Mr. Bradford? I am pleased to meet you,” said Carolina “The pleasure is mine, dear child. Please, I insist that you call me „Father,‟” insisted Elias. “Thank you, Father.”
  149. 149. “Mother, what are you doing? Miss Carolina is here!” “I am putting dinner on the table. I thought our guests would want a hot meal after their long trip.” “Father can finish serving. I am most anxious for you to meet Miss Carolina.” “Of course, Thomas,” smiled Uma. It was hard not to be infected by Thomas‟ enthusiasm.
  150. 150. “Mother, this is Miss Carolina Bui. Miss Carolina, my mother, Uma Bradford.” “It is a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Bradford,” said Carolina. “The pleasure is all mine, Carolina. Please, you must call me „Mother.‟ You will be living her from now on.” “You and your husband are so kind. What smells so wonderful?” “I thought you would enjoy a good meal after your long journey,” said Uma. “That does sound delightful.” “Then please, join us in the dining room.”
  151. 151. The next morning, Thomas Bradford and Carolina Bui stood the music room to exchange their wedding vows, their families gathered around to partake in the celebration.
  152. 152. “Miss Carolina, you are a vision. I cannot wait to marry you and begin our life together.” “Oh, Thomas! I hope will shall always be as happy as we are today.”
  153. 153. The bride and groom promised to love, honor, and obey each other for as long as they both should live…
  154. 154. …and sealed their vows with a kiss.
  155. 155. As the brief ceremony concluded, Uma and Elias rose and clapped for their son. Elias could not help but remember how happy he had been on his wedding day, and hoped that his son would always know such happiness. Uma thought of her own relationship with her mother-in-law, and vowed to be more supportive to Carolina than Chris had been to her.
  156. 156. Patrick was also very excited for his brother. His actions over the past few years might not have shown it, but Patrick cared deeply about his family, and he wanted Thomas to be happy.
  157. 157. “I must say, I am impressed by this luncheon you have put together, Mother Bradford. I must admit, my own skills in the kitchen need a bit of work. Will you teach me?” “I would be happy to,” replied Uma. “I was also wondering if you would mind if I did a bit of redecorating? This is a beautiful home, but I would like to do a bit of…updating.” “Of course I would not mind. This is your home now, and you should feel comfortable in it.”
  158. 158. “What are you thinking of, my dear?” asked Thomas. “Just some new wallpaper, and perhaps curtains in our room, and maybe here in the dining room,” replied Carolina. “I saw some lovely paper patterns the other day.” “That sounds very nice. I am excited to see how it turns out.”
  159. 159. “You know, cousin, it is very good to see you getting along with your family so well,” commented Roger to Patrick when they found themselves alone in the game room. “I have decided that I shall keep my opinions to myself unless I am with those who share it,” he replied.
  160. 160. Roger looked at Patrick and resisted the urge to shake his head. “So your opinions have not changed?” “No, Roger, they have not. But I have come to realize it is easier to keep quiet than it is to constantly be at odds with those I care about.” “That is the smartest thing I have heard you say in a long time, Patrick.”
  161. 161. “Because this is my brother‟s wedding celebration, I will ignore that blatant insult,” said Patrick, “But I must ask that you refrain from insulting my intelligence in the future. Just because I have a different opinion than you does not mean that I am stupid.” “Patrick, I do not think that you are stupid, just misguided…”began Roger. “Say no more, cousin. I believe they are about to cut the wedding cake.” And with that, Patrick turned and left the room. Roger stared after his cousin. “I don‟t know how Uncle Elias and Aunt Uma put up with him,” he muttered.
  162. 162. After the cutting of the cake, Patrick found his sister in the kitchen washing dishes. “Eliza, you don‟t need to do that now, you know? Mother hired some help to clean up after the party. You wouldn‟t want to ruin your new gown by washing dishes.” “Oh, I know that Patrick. Mrs. Seymour‟s staff takes care of all the cooking and cleaning, and I rather miss helping out around the house.”
  163. 163. “Mother commented to me that you have been much more pleasant company as of late. I am pleased to hear that you are keeping your opinions to yourself.” “Thank you, Eliza. It has not been easy.” “I know that Mother appreciates it. She hates thinking that you would go off to University at odds with the family.” “I have not changed my opinions, Eliza…” began Patrick. “I had guessed that you had not,” cut in Eliza. “I merely meant to praise your discretion in airing them. That is one of the marks of a gentleman.”
  164. 164. “Thank you, Eliza. Sometimes I feel that you are the only person in this family that understands me.” “You are welcome.” “Will you have the time on this visit to accompany me to the coffee house to meet Mr. Alcott?” he asked hopefully. “No, I regret that I will not be able to. I must be getting back to Mrs. Seymour’s first thing in the morning as I have an exam tomorrow afternoon that I must prepare for. But I will have a break soon, and we will make plans for then.” “Very good, Eliza.”
  165. 165. After the party ended and the guests departed, the newlyweds found themselves engaging in nervous conversation. “It was a lovely wedding, was it not, Thomas?” asked Carolina. “I thought so. It was not as grand as my cousin Sophia‟s, but I did not think you wanted a large wedding.” “No, it was very nice to marry here where we will make our home.”
  166. 166. Thomas pulled Carolina close to him and whispered, “You seem afraid of something, dear. What is wrong?” “I…my mother told me of the duties of a married woman, and well…I must admit that…it is just…” stammered Carolina. “You are worried about the process of creating a family?” asked Thomas softly. Carolina nodded, closing her eyes in shame. “But I will not shirk from what is required of me as your wife.” “I will not pressure you into anything you are not ready for…” began Thomas. “I am ready. I do want a baby.”
  167. 167. Thomas gazed into Carolina‟s eyes as a shy smile spread across her face. “Are you all right, Carolina?” he asked. “That was…” “Better than you expected?” suggested Thomas. “Thomas,” she admonished, her face turning a deep shade of red.
  168. 168. Thomas pulled Carolina into his arms, and soon drifted to sleep. Carolina, enjoying the warmth of her husband‟s embrace, took a bit longer to fall asleep. As she closed her eyes, her thoughts were of her “wifely duties.” Her mother had quite scared her with her warnings of what would come on her wedding night. Carolina was happy to learn that her fears were unfounded. Though Carolina would never admit it, she was looking forward to the process of creating her family.
  169. 169. Over the next few months, Carolina and Uma became fast friends. Uma had not forgotten how Chris had treated her in the early days of her and Elias‟ marriage, and promised not to make the same mistakes with Carolina. “I am so sorry that you did not get to see the garden and orchard in their full glory,” commented Uma. “As am I, Mother. I look forward to learning how to assist you with the garden come spring.” “And I look forward to the help.” Carolina yawned, and then apologized. “It is not your company, Mother, I am just rather tired today.”
  170. 170. “Are you feeling well, dear? I noticed that you have not had much of an appetite lately. Is there something special that I can fix for you?” “I am quite well, Mother. In fact, I am very happy. I have recently discovered that I‟m going to have a baby.”
  171. 171. Uma heart soared at the news at the same time a pang of jealousy hit her. It had been so easy for Thomas and Carolina to conceive. She pushed the negative feeling away as quickly as it came. “I am going to be a grandmother?” she asked.
  172. 172. “Yes, you are. I have not even told Thomas yet. I am a little nervous about how he will take the news. We discussed having a family, but it is so soon! He has barely had a chance to get established in his career.”
  173. 173. “Carolina, I know for a fact that Thomas will be thrilled at the news. There is plenty of time for family and work; I learned that with Mr. Bradford when we were both your age. Besides, I will help you in any way that I can. What else are mothers for?” “Thank you, Mother. I believe I will share the news at dinner tonight.” “Wonderful! Oh, this this is a happy day!” “That it is.”
  174. 174. Uma had a special dish in mind to serve for dinner that night, and she went into the study to find it in her cook book. There she found Carolina asleep on the sofa. Carefully, as to disturb the young woman, Uma sat down to review the recipe for that night. She remembered the exhaustion she had felt when she was carrying her children, and vowed to make the next months as easy for Carolina as possible.
  175. 175. That night at dinner, Carolina waited for the right moment to share her big news. “This is excellent soup, Mother,” said Thomas. “Is there a special occasion we are celebrating?” Uma looked at Carolina as if to say that this was the time. “Yes, Thomas, we are celebrating tonight. I have recently learned that I am in the family way.”
  176. 176. Elias‟ soup spoon stopped in mid-air and his eyes grew wide. “A baby! I am to be a grandfather?” he asked. “Yes, Father,” replied Carolina. “This is happy news indeed!”
  177. 177. Thomas smiled as he looked at his wife. “This is wonderful news. You must not work too hard these next few months. You have our son to think of.” “Or our daughter,” replied Carolina, returning her husband’s smile. “Or our daughter,” he agreed. “Do not worry, Thomas. I will take good care of my daughter and grandchild,” said Uma as she patted her son‟s hand. “Is Patrick here? I would like to share the news with all the family,” asked Thomas. “No, he is dining with Mr. Alcott tonight,” replied Uma.
  178. 178. ***************************************************************************************************** And on that happy note, we‟ll conclude Chapter 4. I thought you‟d enjoy seeing that John and Chris are still very much around. Thank you very much for reading. I am eager to hear your feedback on my story. Please leave all comments on the thread at Until next time!