The best laid plans of mice and authoress’s

Sometimes all the planning doesn’t help. Calliope or perhaps Erato has been sitting on me lately (much to my husband’s annoyance). Here’s the start of what she’s suggested, a rather simple, but fun Regency romance. This time with no spies.

Working Title Charlotte
author Amelia Treader

1. An Unfortunate Sequence of Events

Gout and dropsy plagued old Lord Pockington’s last years, but it was the pneumonia he caught during the hard winter of 1811-12 that finally carried him off. A hardened gamester, he had left his estates encumbered with so much mortgage debt that the income barely covered his interest. His son and heir, John a captain in the army of occupation in Paris had similar expensive tastes in entertainment. His daughter Charlotte secretly yearned for the chance to experience the exciting life of the ton in London, but was by far the most level headed of the last of the DeVere’s. No sooner had his vicar and somewhat more sober crony Dr. Answorth buried him in the churchyard than an express arrived from Paris.
John enjoyed the night life in Paris after Napoleon fled to Elba. He and his brother officers sought release from their memories of the real dangers and hardships of the Spanish campaign with the thrills of gambling, drinking and whoring late into the morning. His particular road to perdition was dice. In a desperate attempt to clear himself from his debts, he threw double or nothing hoping to sum more than double threes. He threw snake-eyes. Left with 50,000 pounds in debt and no way to pay, he quaffed his last glass of champagne then headed upstairs do to ‘the honorable thing’. The gamblers below hardly noticed the bang when he blew his brains out.
A few days later the family solicitor, Mr. Cruise gathered Miss Charlotte DeVere and her friends Dr. Answorth and Mrs. Answorth together to read the will and decide what to do with the estate. The situation was dire.
“Miss DeVere, your father’s estate was severely encumbered, and your brother Mr. John’s debts were the last straw. I’m afraid you will have to sell Pockington Hall, its contents and grounds. The London house went years ago. Maybe we can keep some of your mother’s jewels.”
“Surely my mother’s portion should come to me. I can live on that.”
“Yes it should, but the interest on 10,000 pounds is hardly sufficient for the costs of the estate. To be blunt, even if we sell the Hall at a favorable price there may not be enough proceeds left over to cover the portion due you.”
Charlotte gasped, “Surely.”
“I’m sorry but until the estate is fully settled, there is nothing for you. I could give you 5000 pounds in return for your signing your portion over to me when it is finally settled. I’m confident that the settlement will not be much higher.”
Dr. Answorth hardly needed the prodding his wife and helpmate gave him to speak. “No! None of this. Miss DeVere, you can stay with us while this is sorted out. At the vicarage. I mean your father helped with my preferment and I am glad to repay the favor.”
Mrs. Answorth continued in a more coherent manner. “Miss DeVere, you know we’ve never had children and the rectory is so big. Dr. Answorth and I just rattle around in it. It would be a great favor if you’d come and stay with us. We’d like to have the company of young people again.”
Charlotte started to refuse, then realized that there was no way to refuse without hurting her friends. “I – I couldn’t impose on you, but if you insist, I’d be happy to stay at the vicarage.”
Mrs. Answorth clapped her hands with joy. “Then it’s settled, you’ll move in with us. We’ll make a happy family while you sell the hall. Then we can see what fortune awaits.”

A few days later Mrs. Answorth looked exhausted in the morning at breakfast. “It’s Dr. Answorth. He’s caught a chill again and I was up all night nursing him.”
Charlotte inquired after his health.
“It’s not bad, but he sinks so low when he is ill. I am promised to visit with the widow old Mrs. Chatsworth this morning.”
“I could do it Mrs. Answorth, if you’d like. I’d like to be helpful. You’ve done so much for me.”
“If it’s not an imposition. I don’t want to make you a drudge Miss Charlotte.”
“No it’s not. I need the walk. Is there anything I should bring her?”
“Just your company. Her son looks after her wants, but she’s housebound and gets so lonely. She used to be able to make it to church on Sundays, but recently even that’s become too difficult for her, poor thing.”
Charlotte went back upstairs to her room and changed from her delicate muslins into the coarse woolen dress she wore when she went rambling about the countryside. As she descended, Mrs Answorth remarked, “You look just like a farmers daughter, Miss Charlotte. Shouldn’t I send for the carriage and have you dress as befits your station?”
“My station? The daughter of a profligate old gambler who spent us into the poorhouse. No I’ve had enough of these airs. Besides, this way I can wander about for the exercise.”
“But?”
“Surely Mrs. Chatsworth will appreciate my company, even if I dress like this.”

The Chatsworth farm was a few miles away from the vicarage, but the weather held clear and Charlotte made good time. She was nearly there when a young man in a curricle pulled up beside her and stopped. He was dressed in the latest London fashion with a tall hat, stiff collars so high that he could only turn his head with difficulty, a tie whose mathematical excellence required an hour in the moring to achieve and a traveling cloak with several layers and buttons as wide as his hands. His horses were showy ‘fifteen miles an hour tits’. Charlotte looked at them with dismay, they may have been showy, but they were in poor condition and exhausted. If they did fifteen miles an hour, it was only for a few minutes at a time. The man’s tiger evidently agreed and met her glance by looking away in shame.
“I say, countrywoman, is this the way to Pockington Hall? The directions they gave at the pub in the village were so confusing. This road is so small and muddy, I’m sure we must be lost.” The road was one of the better ones in the district.
“Why do you ask?”
“I’m thinking of buying it, but my old man told me to always inspect the goods before laying out my blunt. He was a canny one he was. So before I offer I want to see it.”
“Oh. Well, yes. You’re on the right path. It’s a mile past the next farm, on the right. Though you might want to return by the main road. Go out the front gate and you can’t miss it.”
“Well, that’s simple then. Thank you. Just to show that Frederick Oswith isn’t a welsher, here’s this.” He tossed her a shilling, then hied his horses and drove off.
Charlotte fumed, “What a mushroom, a bobbing block and a fool, I hope he doesn’t buy my hall.” all the way to Mrs. Chatsworth’s.
Mrs. Chatsworth was overwhelmed by her visitor, the daughter of the lord of the manor, and last of the DeVeres. Charlotte did her best to reassure the old woman, and in the end, after an hour or so of conversation she departed.
Charlotte climbed the down to see her beloved home, so soon to become the abode of someone else. Possibly even that detestable mushroom she’d met on the road. She shuddered at the thought, then turned and started towards the main road to make a loop out of her walk. The weather, which had started so clement began to darken with the threat of rain. The threat became real as a steady drizzle began to soak down.
The noise of a curricle approaching from behind interrupted her reverie. That young man was driving past her again. She forced herself to look away. It didn’t help. He stopped and asked her, “Countrywoman, since you were so helpful and it is starting to rain, would you like a ride to the village? I have to find that blasted solicitor.”
The raindrops coming both larger and more frequently forced Charlotte to accept. With the help of the tiger, she mounted the curricle. The man introduced himself, “I’m Freddy Oswith. My father saved up the readies and wants me to become a country gentleman with them. I’ve been looking for a suitable hall for the last two years. Finally found it.”
“I’m glad.”
“And you are?”
Charlotte looked away, both in shame and shyness. Freddy muttered “Suit yourself,” to himself and urged his pair onwards. After a few moments he shot a glance at his fair companion. She was uncommonly good looking, not at all what he expected a farm woman to look like, and yet, somehow she looked familiar. He thought for a moment then realized he’d seen her portrait at the hall.
“You’re Miss DeVere, aren’t you? The owner of the hall.”
Charlotte reluctantly admitted that was true.
“Then what are you doing out here, dressed like a farm woman? I’d like to know.”
“Visiting an elderly neighbor who needed the company.”
“Ah, the noblisse oblige. I guess I might have to learn to do that.”
No, usually Mrs. Answorth visits her. She couldn’t so I did.” Charlotte looked away. This conversation was over as far as she was concerned. Closer acquaintance hadn’t improved her opinion of Mr. Oswith. Freddy in his usual style didn’t understand subtle messages. He turned to her and asked, “Why are you selling? It’s a spanking place, just what the doctor ordered.”
Unfortunately Freddy should have concentrated on his driving. He wasn’t a good enough driver to let his concentration lapse, no matter how charming its object. His leads got caught in the near horse’s feet, then wrapped around the right axle of his curricle. In a moment, the horse stumbled, the thill snapped and the curricle pitched sideways dumping him and his fair passenger into a tangled heap in the mud and slough on the side of the road. After a few intimacies that were well beyond the normal bounds of social etiquette, Charlotte and Freddy managed to disentangle themselves and stood by the side of the road.
His tiger, normally taciturn started to speak. “Governor, she’s broke, and the horse probably lamed.”

Freddy, despite his supercilious manner, was not dim. “I can see that.”
“What are you going to do?”
“If Miss DeVere is fine, we will lead the horses to the village and see if there is some carriage available that isn’t insufferable to ride.”

Having adjusted her dress and dusted as much muck from as she could, Charlotte gave Freddy her fiercest gaze. She shouldn’t have done that because it was also her prettiest gaze. Freddy was dazzled rather than threatened. “Mr. Oswith, we will neverspeak of this again.”
Fine, suits me. Not my finest hour, you know. Can you walk to the village?

Charlotte took a few trial steps then collapsed.
“I guess not. Looks like your ankle is banged up.”

She nodded. The pain only added to her intense dislike of the parvenu. Freddy addressed his tiger, “Henry, it looks like you’ll have to manage the horses and curricle yourself. I’ll support Miss DeVere.”

“No you won’t! I’ll wait here.”

I’m sorry Miss DeVere, but it’s raining hard already, and will only get worse. You’re coming with me.”

Chapter Outlining

One thing I’m trying is to make a fairly complete chapter outline before putting fingers to keyboard. It’s an experiment, which means either it might work as I expect with faster and easier writing, or it might not. However it is worth trying.

Here’s an example outline for another book in the Simon and Katherine series.

It’s rough, but should demonstrate the way the outline works.
Romance 3
Working title Simon’s Dilemma. (need a better one.)

chapter 1 wedding. They use the banns so Aunt Anne-Marie and Sir Reginald et al can attend. Anne-Marie warns Katherine about married life while the Reverend makes another attempt at getting Simon to be a vicar. He explains a little of his history and reasons. Make sure the church is described as well as dresses. Sally should be featured, but she’s still too young to be seriously romantic, except she thinks not.

chapter 2 London. Simon is told he’ll become Sir Simon. various social connections as he sorts out his new role. Katherine takes up with Freddy’s wife. There are a few social conflict/spats as they begin to learn to be spouses. Is there going to be a side trip to Denmark? The cloth deals need to be developed in any case. Need to introduce start of romantic tension. Is Katherine recruited/warranted here or later?
Simon approaches Freddy about getting money to Marie. Katherine hears about this and begins inquiries. Eventually Freddy’s wife tells her a little. Simon has to come clean about it. They have more than a bit of an argument.

Chapter 3 Cambridge. Simon needs to learn ciphers, codes, secret inks and various aspects of tradecraft. Simon heads up alonebecause they aren’t talking to each other. Normal nomenclater, maybe a playfair cipher, a couple of inks and how to use them, and the use of chalk and chips to monitor when you’re watched. When and where does he get his iron cane? when and where does he get martial training, if any. Simon is pursued, while there by a local beauty, could even be a bit entangled. Remember just holding hands was considered risqué, so it could be completely innocent on his part.

Chapter 4. Katherine gets into trouble. (Gambling? Someone who thinks she’s one of the loose set?). Uncle Reginald, and more importantly his wife Emilia explains something about being married and what the mores are. She ought to know because Reginald has a roving eye among other parts.That Simon did something when he was on his own, unmarried and to keep his cover intact, well toughthat’s the way it is –get over it and soon. Unless she wants him to stray, she’d best hie herself to Cambridge.
Fennians strike on the trip? (Katherine, Aunt Emilia, Cousin?) Katherine’s response is reported to her uncle and she is recruited. (but only after a reunion with Simon). Katherine is pursued by a young man, who doesn’t understand the meaning of no.
Can connect with Katherine’s cousins. (Is the unmarried one the interest? certainly could be for a diversion).

Chapter 5. Forgiveness.
Simon tells Katherine everything. The problem is now what do to with the two people who think they’re in love with them. Decide to keep up the pretense of the argument and bring their pursuers together. Thus solving the problem. Katherine’s still unmarried cousin is in on it and thinks it great fun.

Chapter 6. A college ball. A comedy of errors. Practicing their tradecraft Simon and Katherine dupe their amorata’s into finding themselves in the same dark room. Misunderstandings and hilarity ensue. The two are ‘compromised’ even if they didn’t do anything. (they do somethings, but nothing we’d consider problematic – as the man reaches to stroke her leg or simply kiss her hand she mumurs “oh Simon”, “what the hell?”) They really don’t fit together. Katherine’s cousin is a much better fit for the man. As they find out quickly. Trouble is everyone expects the two to get hitched soon.
Chapter 7. More confusion. Cousin really heartsick about man. He’s beginning to take notice. Wishes he could be more forward, but can’t because of his situation.

Chapter 8. An explosion. Katherine’s married cousin’s lab has an explosion. (they really didn’t understand the dangers). The cousin’s husband is fine – he’s out of the way but a handsome young scholar is temporarily disabled. This makes him an object of romantic interest, especially for the woman who chased Simon.

Chapter 9. Conflict of Interest. The pair’s wedding plans proceeds apace. Except things keep getting in the way. For example walking down the street they couple spy one or the other of their real loves and stare. Or at another ball, they dance with the wrong partners. The man goes out of town to deal with some estate business, and the woman is more or less literally thrown into the arms of her true love. Simon and Katherine have something to do with this. Possibly arranging a ride in the country or something that allows the accident to happen. (for example, since he’s recovering, he could go in a carriage and she with him. It breaks down or has a horse go lame.).
Chapter 10. Regrets, and resolutions.

Chapter 11. Denmark ? Connection a Hessian captain Ewald is now General Ewald in the Danish army (REAL). Simon and Katherine arrive under cover of Freddy & wife. (Cover or Aegis of).
Packet boat 1-2 weeks of misery. Well could be but Katherine is game for anything.
So Simon has to know something about the banking/wool trade. Not a lot but enough to be believable. Guess what he learns in Chapter 10. Ewald should know Sir Reginald, which serves as the link. The man in Chapters 3,4,5 could be detailed to go with them. Awkward, but allows freedom of action for the other.
Chapter 12. Denmark ctd?
Chapter 13. Simultaneous back in Cambridge. Woman from 3,4,5 and the HYS begin to see more of each other. Woman sends a “Should we?” letter to man. Cousin distraught that he might be hurt.
Chapter 14. HYS and woman elope (or it seems like it – maybe post banns in his home parish).
Cousin sends letter to Man from 3,4,5. Goes home to father in London.

Chapter 15. Return from Denmark. Debriefing. (LONDON).
Chapter 16. Cousin and man 345 hook up. Might take a while to sort it out.
Final Chapter. I thought having Clarke being posted to the Mediterranean fleet would be a good idea. He can carry Simon and Katherine part way. Malta, Gibraltar or even Corsica (think the Brits still occupied it) Possibly southern Italy.

Authoresses are wierd people

Just realized how weird we are. I was looking at my twitter feed, and seeing what was suggested to me. I hadn’t played with twitter, until my husband suggested that it would be good for publicity.  I won’t name names, as they don’t need any more publicity, or at least any free publicity. All I can say is I was not amused. (Though Queen Victoria never said that.)

It strongly suggests that authors really are weird birds. I guess if you want to write stories, sitting back and having pap fed to you isn’t palatable.

Doing my homework.

I was just doing some homework for my next book, “the doctor’s wife” and found I’d mixed up some things. It may make it easier if they’re correct.

  • The doctor’s wife was actually a beautiful young doctor’s widow. She was living in Mt. Holly and her dalliance with the Hessian Colonel Donop helped keep his brigade out of the way during the assault on Trenton. Donop and Rall (in Trenton) were not the best of friends, so it probably didn’t take much to entice him away. There was a different woman in Trenton who took pot-shots during the battle and killed a Hessian captain. By the way the oft-told story that the Germans were drunk out of their skulls was a canard invented by their British employers to explain why an isolated outpost was left in such a vulnerable position.
  • She was almost certainly a rebel spy, and almost certainly recruited by Robert Morris or his wife Margaret Morris. He wasn’t just a rich Philadelphia businessman who used his fiscal skills to keep the rebel army alive, he recruited agents and ran an intelligence service throughout the war. It could have been Washington who recruited her, but he was otherwise detained at the time.
  • Colonel Donop was not a very sympathetic character. Scared by the defeats at Trenton, Trenton again and Princeton he evacuated Southern New Jersey (obligate New Jersey joke here – who wouldn’t?). He took 150 wagons of plunder but left his wounded and ill soldiers behind. He certainly had his priorities straight.
  • Some of the units I have marching off didn’t. I’ll have to steel myself to read some rather boring stuff so that I’m right and you don’t have to.

So the plot could go something like:

  1. introduce the young wife and her husband
  2. husband marches off to defend New York and promptly gets killed. 
  3. wife is distraught and therefor willing to risk it all by spying on the invading army. Can introduce various turncoats, semi-turncoats, and legitimate agents, with a series of mistakes.
  4. Donop marches south from Bordentown to deal with the South Jersey rising. The south jersey rising was a combination of militia and the Philadelphia associators initiating a series of small battles in late November and early December 1776.
  5. She and Donop fiddle while Trenton burns. How far do they go?
  6. A romantic redux. Either a dashing Hessian who joins the rebels (they did, about 1/4 of the Hessians ended up staying in the USA. Mostly they were prisoners who liked what they found, but not all), a handsome rebel soldier, or possibly her dead husband isn’t quite dead.  I have to think this out.

Hillerman Country

I’m accompanying my best friend on a trip to Albuquerque NM. It’s right out of one of my favorite author’s books, though not as scary.

This shows some of the petroglyphs from the petroglyph national monument.

Albuquerque and the Sandia mountains.

 Another neat petroglyph

An approaching snowstorm from the top of Sandia Mountain.

On Dialog, Grammar and Spelling

While you’re not supposed to obsess over bad reviews, sometimes thats a little hard to avoid. The part that stung the most was that my amateurish work was full of spelling and grammar mistakes.

One problem is that, at least in the US, you submit your work to the KDP and then release to the world. Center/centre, color/colour and a number of other spelling differences are simply going to be wrong. The real buggers to find are homonymic misspellings. One that I caught after the initial release and corrected was heal/heel (“He turned on his heal”?). I’m sure there are others. This is one place where Kindle publishing shines because it is easy to upload fixes. Finding these homonymic errors is one place where the new Word shines, it underlines them with a blue squiggly and it convinced my linux-loving husband to let me get a windows machine.

Grammar is different. In one simplification, there are two parts of novel, dialog and the rest. The rest should be in reasonably clean English. However no one really speaks in perfectly grammatical English. If you think you do, listen to yourself. You’ll be shocked at what you hear.  So my dialog attempts to be realistic, which means “nuts to you” if you’re a grammar nazi. That said I do have a tendency to write long and complicated sentences, and a history of proof reading my husband’s scientific papers has inured me to the passive voice.

Pecan Pie

Memorial day is almost upon us. Being a Yankee holiday from the late unpleasantness between the states, it wasn’t celebrated down here until recently. Here’s a good Southern recipe.

Crust:

  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. (optional but good with a sweet filling) 1 tsp sugar
  4. 1 stick margarine (about 1/4 lb)

Mix these together until well homogenized.  An electric mixer works great as does a pastry knife, but a fork will do the job as well.  (I’m faster with a pastry knife than a mixer, but a mixer is easier on the arms).  When done it will be about the consistency of corn meal.  Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (or longer – it will freeze well at this stage) to chill and harden the margarine.  (prepare the filling during this time).
The simple way to prepare the crust is then to add cold water in small increments, followed by mixing to form a ball that holds all of the mixture together and is not sticky (you can add a little flour to dry it out if need be).  Do the mixing by hand with a fork or a spoon as it is important to be gentle with pie crusts.  Then roll it out on  a floured board and put in the pie pan.
To make a flaky pastry,  reserve about 1/3 of the mixture and add water to the rest.  This time you want the wetted mixture to be slightly sticky.  Roll the mixture out and place some of the dry mix on it (use about a tablespoon of the dry mix).  Fold over twice (once lengthwise then once across).  Repeat rolling out, adding mixture and folding until all of the dry mix is used up.  Then roll out all the way needed for the pie and put it in the pan.  (this is a bit more complicated than the first way, and the first way works fine if you’ve never made a pie crust before).
To make the filling (for a 9 inch deep dish pie crust):

  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1/2 cup sugar
  3. 1 cup corn syrup (I used “golden eagle” brand which is mixture of corn syrup, molasses and honey )
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 2 tbs margarine (melt if you’re doing this by hand otherwise just blend it in)
  7. 1 cup (or slightly more) Pecans

Beat the eggs, sugar & margarine.  Add the vanilla, syrup and salt.  Beat some more.  It should be slightly opaque and foamy.   Put the pecans in the prepared (unbaked)  pie crust and pour the mixture over it.  Bake in a preheated 325 F oven for about 50-55 minutes.  Remove and cool.

Simon doesn’t want to let go.

I’d been planning to work on another book set in the American revolution, and probably still will. I’ve heard authors say that their characters come to life and to a certain extent dictate what you do. Never really believed it. My mistake.

Simon and Katherine don’t want me to take a break. As I try to work out the plot line for the new book, they sneak in, unbidden and demand attention. Without really trying I’m further on a plot line for a third book with them, than I am on the new one.

It would start after the first and cover their wedding and posting to Vienna.

  1. Wedding in St. Osyth. They’ve been convinced to post the banns rather than use the special license Wolfe brought. This means that their family has a chance to gather. This allows a few discussions and family secrets to emerge.
  2. Back to London. While getting ready to be posted there are things to do. They might connect with Freddy (the banker who is worried about cloth sales to ‘Denmark’) and Katherine can get into some sort of trouble. Maybe do something with her friends that is subject to misinterpretation.
  3. Cambridge. Simon has to learn how to use codes, ciphers, secret inks and various 18th-19th century tradecraft. Sounds like I’m channeling LeCarre here, doesn’t it? They did use surprisingly sophisticated techniques so he’d need to learn them. Gives me a chance to catch up with a couple of loose ends.
  4. On Clarke’s ship. He’s posted to the Mediterranean fleet. I’ll have to do some research for this. The little bit the navy appears in Katherine’s choice didn’t require much because it wasn’t very long.  (I did have to research the shipyards, though).
  5. ???

They have to pick up a romantic interest somewhere. In the French Orphan it was originally going to be Sally and Wilcox, but that didn’t work out. O’Reilly sort of grew on me, and her. I wonder who it will be this time?

Preliminary draft of chapter 1 for the next book, “The Doctor’s wife”

No I don’t mean Dr. Who.
This is set in the American revolution and is a fictional back-story for a woman, known only as “the Doctor’s wife” who was a revolutionary agent in Trenton when the Hessians occupied it. She took a few pot shots from her window from behind their lines on Christmas morning 1776, and (probably) shot one Hessian officer. 

Chapter 1. Call to Arms

The sun was just rising on the morning of July 6th1776, its rays illuminating the bedroom on fifth street where Elizabeth and John Graydon were sleeping. Elizabeth stirred as the light awakened her. She kissed her husband awake. The last few days had been exciting, with the Continental Congress, now the Congress of the United States, declaring independence from Great Britain. There had been fireworks, speeches, and toasting.
Today was different, sad. The Philadelphia Associators were set to march to New York today. To join General Washington and the rest of the continental army in defending the biggest city in the nation, for it was now a nation or at least was becoming one, against the, now foreign, British and German aggressors. The Regular army under General William Howe with their Hessian mercenaries had been camped on Staten Island for the last few weeks, and it was only a matter of time before the attacked the city. They had to attack before Admiral Richard Howe, the general’s brother sailed for shelter in the fall.
“John,” she asked, “do you have to go?”
He stirred, they’d only been married three months, and sleeping next to a beautiful woman, waking to her touch, was still a novel and wonderful experience. They’d married as soon as John had finished with his course in medicine at the Pennsylvania College. They would have married earlier, but the college rules prohibited married students. They’d had three months of the joys of marriage, though Elizabeth had not yet been sized by its fruits.
“Liz,” he mummered in her ear, “I’m their doctor. Their surgeon. I cannot stay home. You know that.”
It was true. His friends had all signed up, like their fathers before in the Seven Years war, to defend their nation. He could not decline, not without a deep and personal feeling of shame.
Awake, John continued, “in any case, Dr. Reed is too old and the Associators are the cream of society. I’ll be in good company.” He reached over and held her tight. “We don’t muster until mid-morning. There’s time to say goodbye.”
The Associators mustered in the green to the south outside the Philadelphia State House. Their commander, the chairman of the committee on public safety and defense, John Dickinson, addressed them. He stressed that it was everyone’s responsibility to defend themselves, and even though he had absented himself from Congress – abstaining rather than voting against the declaration of independence, he was cheered. It wasn’t that long ago since the former colonists rose up to defend their rights as Englishmen.
Then they marched off with a new flag flying along with their regimental banners, one still had the thirteen stripes of the old one, but a blue field with stars instead of the union jack. The drums beat the time and fifes piped to keep their spirits high as the marched north toward Easton, to catch the ferry to Trenton on the morrow and begin marching on the main road to New York.
Elizabeth and her maid Molly waved and cheered as the Associators left. It helped to keep them from crying over the absence of their loves. Sadly turning to trudge back to the, now too, quiet house on fifth street they ran into her uncle Cadwalader.
“Fine troops. You should be proud of John.”
“Uncle, what are you doing here? I thought you were with Smallwoods’ regiment in New York.”
“I came down from New York on the flying machine Thursday. I had to tell General Dickinson where to report.”
“Where’s John going?”
“The associators will join General Washington’s flying column, outside of Elizabethtown. The British are on Staten Island. The flying column will make sure they stay there.”
“Good.”
“Ma’am?” Molly requested, the caution clear in her voice, “what are we going to do?”
“About what?”
“in the fall?’
“I thought we’d move in with John’s parents in Lancaster.”
“Lancaster?” Uncle Cadwalader exclaimed, “That’s an awful town. No you mustn’t stay there. Why don’t you stay with my wife in Trenton?”
“Trenton?”
“It’s near Philadelphia and she would appreciate the company.”
“Molly, what do you think?”
“Ma’am, I’m from New Jersey. I like Trenton.”
“Uncle, can you write to my aunt? I would be very happy to join her in Trenton.”
“I will. Now were you wanting lunch?”
“Yes I would, but we haven’t prepared anything at home.”
Molly spoke up, “Ma’am if you will walk with Mr. Cadwalader, I’ll prepare a meal.”
“That would be good, Molly.”
As Molly left, Uncle Cadwalader spoke, “That’s a good girl, your Molly. Is she married? You’re not going to lose her are you?”
“No she won’t leave me, at least not until after my John returns. Her husband was his man and is now with the artillery.”
Elizabeth recognized someone as they strolled along Market street. “There’s Mr. Peale, I’m sorry Captain Peale.”
As a wedding present for John, Elizabeth had been sitting with Charles Peale. In the small world of Philadelphia, Charles, John and her were friends. Despite their friendship, it was still expensive, but worth every shilling. It wasn’t done, and might never be. Peale’s brother James had already left for New York with Smallwood’s brigade and was posted to Long Island. Charles himself was an officer in the Philadelphia Associators and could only paint when off duty. So her painting was started, but waiting on the rare times that Captain Peale could be Mr. Peale the artist.
“Captain Peale! When would you have time for a sitting?”
“Mrs. Graydon, I’m sorry but with the Regulars landing in Staten Island, I’ve had to put my brushes away.”
Uncle Cadwalader, waited quietly. “Oh,” Elizabeth blushed, “I’m sorry. Captain Peale this my uncle General John Cadwalader from Smallwood’s regiment. We were heading to my house for a repast, would you be interested in accompanying us?”