Friday, September 24, 2010

One Day Mystery - Ending

It is a good thing I have established a certain time and day to post on here, otherwise I'm afraid this blog would get forgotten because Fridays just have a way of sneaking up on me.:}

Last evening I had my second online writing class. There were lots of technical problems at first, but they got fixed. One thing about that class was that Mrs. Morecraft, the instructor, read my assignment to the entire class! (Okay, this is not just a class of a hundred people. There are nearly 1,000 members signed up and I'm sure many of them are families which means that there were even more!) Mrs. Morecraft really liked my story and praised it as well as offered a few suggested changes. (She did get my permission first.) That is the first time someone besides friends and family have read any of my stories. Now there is a contest going on in class. If I want to enter, I have to write a poem or story that is no fewer than 17 words and no longer than 1,000. It can be on anything I want. Hmmm. I'll have to think about it. I have until Oct. 14th to get it in.

Does anyone want to read the assignment I sent in?
And now, here is the rest of last weeks story.

One Day Mystery - Part 2

It was nearing three o’clock before the Prescot family embarked on their expedition. After careful examination, the children had agreed that the islands marked were one and the same which made things easier, however, each map had a different part of the island marked. Dad decided to head for the point closest to the mainland first.

Because of the rocky ground, it took a little while to find a place where they could safely land. Tying the boat securely and pulling out the maps, they set off with Ren in the lead. No one talked much as they quietly moved along through the beautiful fall colors.

Although not certain they were in the exact place marked on the map, Ren figured they must be close enough and the four searchers began their hunt. For nearly fifteen minutes they sought for the treasure which had been placed there two weeks before. At last the chest was found by Mrs. Prescot in the hollowed stump of a tree hidden by bushes.

The chests used by Uncle Fremont never opened with a key, instead they had a hidden spring which opened them. When Mom touched the spring, the lid flew open revealing several Indian arrowheads, a fine bead necklace and a beaded purse. There was a note typewritten as usual in the bottom.

“I knew you were studying Indians in school, so I thought you might enjoy these genuine Indian pieces I picked up in my travels. Ren, see if you can figure out how to attach these heads to some arrows and try shooting with them. It is more difficult than you think.
I hope you all enjoyed your hunt.
Uncle Fremont”

Hardly had the note been read and the contents examined briefly when Leann begged, “Please can’t we go follow the other map now?”
Ren added his plea to that of his sister’s though it wasn’t needed. Mr. Prescot had already set off back to the boat.
“Oh, I wonder what we’ll find!” Leann could barely sit still for excitement.
Swinging their small boat around the island, Dad guided it towards the spot marked on the unknown map.
“There’s a little cove to the left, Dad,” Ren called out pointing ahead.
“I see it.”
Leann looked at the map again and squealed, “I think that is the place!”
Before they had even landed, she was peering around at all the trees which sheltered the little cove. Did one of them hold a secret? Where was the answer to this map to be found?

Clambering up the steep slope a few minutes later with Ren beside her, she whispered, “What will we find?”
“I have no idea,” Ren answered. “That note could have been floating around for years, I suppose. We may not find anything.”
Nothing daunted by this thought, both children set to work examining every place someone might hide a note. Not knowing what they were looking for made the search all the more difficult, but neither one would give up. Mom and Dad were looking as well, yet the sun was rapidly moving towards the western sky and the cold wind had picked up before anyone noticed.
“All right everyone,” Dad called when the fast falling light drew his attention to the approaching night. “Only ten more minutes before we have to leave and head back. It’ll be dark soon.”
Ren and Leann, each determined to find whatever it was they had come to find, redoubled their searching. It just had to be here.
Then, just as Dad called that the time was up, Leann gave a shout. “I found it! Dad! Ren! Mom, come see!”
Hurrying to her, the others discovered that she was trying to climb a tree in which, securely fastened on a large, rather high up branch, was what looked like a watertight bag of some kind.
With a boost from Dad, Leann was able to climb up to the bag. However, it wasn’t until Ren joined her with his pocket knife that they managed to get it off. The light was just about gone as first Leann and then Ren were helped out of the tree.
“Let’s wait to open this until we get back to camp,” was Dad’s suggestion.
“I think that would be a good idea,” Mom assented. “Do you all want to eat now?”
“I’m too excited to eat, Mom.” Leann sat holding the mysterious bag with both hands.
Mrs. Prescot laughed.

It was very dark, and the cold wind coming off the water gave a feeling of oncoming winter. Soon a fire blazed up and all sat around it with cups of hot chocolate in which they dipped their peanut butter sandwiches. When at last the simple meal was over, Leann handed the bag to Dad.
All eyes fastened on him as he opened it, reached in and pulled out some paper. Spreading it out to see the writing by the firelight he read:

‘To whoever finds this,
If you found this, we hope you also found a bottle with a map in it. If you didn’t find the map, would you please put this back so the one who finds the map can find this? Thanks.
If you also found the map, congratulations! We put the map in the bottle and set it afloat on July 4th of 2006 from along the Michigan side of Green Bay. How long did it have to wait to be found? We hid this note only two days after that when we were camping.
It is our hope that you will write to us telling about finding the map and note. Here is our address.
Don, Andrew, Catherine, Alyssa and Emily Mortonson’

“And they give an address of Bayfield, Wisconsin.”
“Oh, let’s write to them tomorrow!” Leann’s enthusiasm was contagious. “Why did they leave a note and send a map in the first place, Dad?”
Mr. Prescot shrugged and stirred up the fire some more until it blazed brightly. “Why don’t you ask them when you write.”
“We will, won’t we, Ren?”
Ren nodded, adding thoughtfully, “I wonder how old everyone is and if they homeschool too?”
Mrs. Prescot laughed. “That would be rather fun, wouldn’t it?”
“Just think,” Ren went on, “we couldn’t find Uncle Fremont’s note so we had to search for it, and then we found both his note and this other one. I’m glad we had to look for Uncle’s note.”
“Me too!” Leann yawned. “I like mysteries that can be solved in one day.”
The rest of the family laughed.
The End

So, did you like it? Oh bother, I just realized that I have forgetten to get a picture of the picture that went with this story. :{ So sorry. Do you still want it?

Friday, September 17, 2010

One Day Mystery - Part 1

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
It is a beautiful morning here with cool breezes drifting in through the open windows. The sky is a pale blue with some rather wispy clouds scattered here and there. Except for the traffic of Broadway, things are still rather quiet.

I started my first online writing class last evening. I signed up to take Mrs. Morecraft's seven week course. I enjoyed it so far. :) This week has been rather crazy, so I didn't get a lot written, but I do have something to post.

Thanks Abigail and Hank for leaving me comments. I see you are both wondering about that Indian. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't tell you what he is doing because he hasn't told me yet.:) I suppose you'll just have to wait until I find out. I am enjoying writing this story even if I don't know all that is going to happen. I know somethings, but others, like the last few parts, just came up.

This story, is one that Lauren gave me the instructions for. I haven't gotten to ask her if she liked it yet. Maybe I can on Sunday. I forgot to take a picture of the picture, but will try to get that up later. So, if you read this and there is a picture, I got it up, if not, well, . . .:)

Characters: 4
World Count: 2500
Instructions: Mystery in 3rd person

One Day Mystery
Rebekah Morris

Terrence Filmore Prescot V, known to all his friends as Ren, frowned in thought as he gazed out over the blue grey waters of Green Bay. To his right he could see the dark shoreline of one of the few small islands, and, if he stared hard enough, he could just make out the faint haze that marked either Chambers Island or the state of Michigan. He never had figured out which it was.
“Humph,” he snorted shrugging his shoulders under his heavy jacket. Turning his back to the chilly autumn wind off the bay, he again searched the rocks with his eyes. “It has to be here somewhere. There’s the twin rocks,” he muttered half aloud. “And over there is pancake rock. I know he put it here. He said he would.” He ended with another snort and shoved his hands deeply into his pockets.

The crunching of dry leaves and snapping of twigs along with heavy breathing caused Ren to look up towards the path which led back to the Prescot’s camping site at Peninsula State Park in Wisconsin. His sister, Leann, came panting up, out of breath.
“Did . . . you . . . get . . . it?” she gasped.
Ren shook his head. “I’ve looked everywhere. It just isn’t here.”
Leann sucked in a lung full of the crisp, chilly air. “But Uncle Fremont said it was,” she protested.
“I know but--” Ren shrugged. “I think someone else must have found it.”
“How could they? And who? No one comes up here in the fall, and it was here less than two weeks ago.” Leann’s twelve-year-old logic made perfect sense to her year older brother. Yet, that didn’t explain the fact that the bottle with a special note in it was missing.
“Well, I can’t find it,” Ren stated.
Before more could be said, a voice called them back to breakfast, and they both answered eagerly.

During a breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast cooked over the fire along with cups of hot chocolate, Ren told about his fruitless search.
“Dad, do you have any ideas of what might have happened to it?”
Mr. Prescot looked thoughtful. Every year since the children were small, his brother had visited the same park a week of two before the Prescot family took their vacation. During his visit, he would leave a note for the children with a map which would lead to a treasure of some sort. The day before the family would leave, a postcard would be handed to them telling where to look for the note. Each year it was in a different place, and each year the map led to a different treasure.
Looking across the fire, Dad asked, “What does the message say again?”
Ren pulled the postcard, now with heavy creases in it, from his pocket and read:

“Between the twin and pancake rocks
A bottle there you’ll see
And bring along some extra socks
Before you set to sea.”

A chuckle came from Mrs. Prescot who often found these rhymes amusing. “I didn’t know we were going to sea,” she smiled.
“We can’t if we don’t find the note, Mom,” Leann sighed.
“Let’s say we all head down and take another look,” Dad suggested. “You coming too, Honey?” he questioned.
“I’d love to, but--” and Mom looked at the dishes.
“Okay,” Dad laughed. “Come on kids, let’s help before we take off for the morning.”

It was nearly thirty minutes later before the Prescot family was back on the shore looking for the missing bottle. By then the sun was well above the horizon and the warmth of its rays helped dispel some of the chill. It soon became evident that the bottle with its note was just not there.

“Some one must have taken it,” wailed Leann.
“Who?” Ren asked. “I think it washed out to sea.”
“If that is the case, it might have washed up somewhere else along the coast. Mom, you and Ren head along that way while Leann and I take a look at the coast farther up here. We’ll meet back at the camp site at 12:00.”

Eagerly the two parties set out. The parents were just as interested in finding the bottle as their children for this was a special part of their vacation which no one wanted to miss.

For nearly an hour Ren and his mother moved down the shoreline. More than once they had to make their way through the foliage of trees and bushes with their autumnal garb of red and orange, yellow and brown which grew some times right to the water’s edge.
Ren was growing discouraged. They had found several bottles, but not the one they wanted. When he spied yet another bottle washed up between two rocks, he paused and looked long at it. It seemed different than the other ones. Scrambling quickly down the rocks, he reached into the cold water and picked it up. There was something inside it! Hurriedly he pulled the cork and tipped it up. A trickle of water ran out onto his hand.
“Mom! There is something in here, but it got wet inside and it seems stuck.”
“Well, bring it along like that. We don’t have time to keep going if we are to get back by noon. Perhaps it will dry enough to get it out on the way back.”
Ren hoped so, and after handing the bottle to his mom, he climbed up the rocks.

Arriving at the campsite, they found Dad building up a fire while Leann got out the hot dogs. On the table sat a bottle.
“Did you find it?” were Ren’s first words to his sister.
Leann shrugged. “We aren’t sure. There seems to be a map in there, but no note. What did you find?”
Ren set their bottle beside the other one. “Don’t know. It was wet inside and the paper seems stuck together.”
“Two bottles with something in them. We’ll have to examine their contents after we eat. Our brains will work better with some food.” Dad grinned at the children as he handed them each a long stick.
They both laughed. Lunch sounded good to them too. The bottles would just have to wait.

Almost an hour later, four brown heads were bent over three pieces of paper spread on the picnic table. Two of them, obviously maps, were badly smeared and wrinkled by water but still fairly legible. The third paper, a note of some kind, had become so saturated that all the ink had run, making it one blurred mess.
“We have two maps, but which is Uncle Fremont’s?” Leann glanced at her brother.
Ren pointed to the one he had found remarking as he did so, “This one probably because it had a note with it.”
“But why was the other map in the other bottle to begin with?” persisted Leann.
Ren shrugged.
Mrs. Prescot tilted her head and began somewhat slowly, “What if, . . .” She glanced at her husband and raised an eyebrow, “we tried to follow . . . both maps.” The children looked up, excitement gleaming in their brown eyes as their mom continued. “They seem to be heading to nearly the same place, . . . over to an island.”
“Oh, can we do it? Can we really! Oh please say we can, Daddy!” The children had jumped up eagerly and now gazed imploringly at Dad.
For a moment he sat frowning then, with a quick smile he answered, “Why not.”
“When can we leave?”
“How are we going to get there?”
“Should we really take extra socks or was Uncle just joking?”
Dad put his hands over his ears and thundered, “I call an emergency planning meeting right here and now. Everyone sit!”
Leann giggled and sat down.
“Now, since we were instructed to take extra socks along, though I haven’t the faintest idea why, we shall follow orders. Second, I know where we can get a boat to rent, but while I’m doing that, you two,” here he looked at Ren and Leann, “will have to figure out which island it is and where we are to go on it. Mom, think you could pack us all a supper to take along in case it takes us longer than we think, and anything else we might need besides our socks?”
Mom laughed and nodded. The children already had their heads back over the maps.

Come back next week for the conclusion.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meleah's Western part 21

Good Morning my Fabulous Friday Fiction Fans!
I loved all the comments I've gotten.:) Thanks! Now should I respond to the comments with another comment? Or should I just wait until the next Friday? What do you want?
Yes, Joseph, I think you could think of something else to do.:) After all, it might be hard to do the same thing since Abigail doesn't go around in hoop skirts all the time. Or does she?:) I wouldn't worry too much, Abigail. :)
Elisabeth begged for another Western, and several people didn't like how I had left it last time. Sorry. But, like I told someone, you never know what is going to happen when you sit down to write. There are times when your characters just have a mind of their own.:) I know, if you don't do a lot of writing, that sounds ridicules, but its true!

This week has gone by quickly. I taught two writing classes on Wednesday, and then yesterday I signed up to take a writing class. :) I am also working on my Scribblers writing assignment. So, I am writing. I won't be writing this evening though because we'll be down in Branson and tomorrow we'll be in Silver Dollar City! :) I can't wait! I haven't been there for four years!

For some reason, I have a feeling that most, if not all of you have skipped this until after you read the Western. Maybe I should start putting the story first and the introduction last.:} But here is the story.
Part 21

For over an hour Ty and Sally rode in complete and utter silence. With Carson gone, they both felt a great and heavy loss. Why hadn’t Carson noticed the sound? He had heard it enough times, hadn’t he?
Ty knew they would have to find some way to get around that river to continue their journey to Fort Larramie. But how? Was it best to try to go around the mountain? Should they try to go west for a while and try to cross it? Would the river go down enough in a day or two to get over it, or would it continue to rage with melting ice and snow from the mountain tops? Wearily he considered all these problems and questions. Normally his mind quickly formed solutions to any problem. He knew the best way was to meet trouble head on, but somehow, today was different. He shook his head. Different yes, all was different now.

“Let’s bed down here, Sally,” Ty pulled his horse up beside a clump of tall trees whose branches were green with tiny leaves.
Sally dismounted and camp was set up. The pack horse was gone, so all they had was what was in their saddle bags. In moments, Ty had a fire burning and was pulling out his rifle.
“I’ll see if’n I can’t jest get us some meat. Ya wait for me here.”

Nodding, Sally finished unsaddling her horse and began to rub it down. When she came to its right foreleg, the horse moved away.
“What is it, girl?” she asked softly, feeling of the leg. “Well, no wonder ya were limpin’. Ya got it cut. Was it tryin’ ta get out ‘fore the river came?” Her soothing voice and gentle hands calmed the horse. Carefully she washed and bound up the leg. “I reckon perhaps we ought ta jest let ya take it easy for a day or so, till ya get better.” Softly she rubbed her horse’s nose.
Nickering, the horse nuzzled Sally’s shoulder as though to agree.

Sally checked Ty’s horse for injury, but found none. With her duties thus completed, she sat before the fire and waited. Every now and then she would get up, put a few more pieces of wood on the flames and then resume her seat.

The sun, which had been sliding down towards the western sky, now cast a last bright gleam around the mountain peaks causing the snow to glitter and glow in a dazzling evening display. In the east, the sky was beginning to change to a dusky blue, and here and there a brave little star peeked its face out as though to see if the king of the day had really gone to bed.

Sally gazed up into the sky as the sun disappeared. No moon was to be seen. Ty was not returned, and Sally began to wonder where he was. A soft whinny from one of the horses made her listen. Soft footsteps were heard. They were limping slightly, Sally could tell, and coming from the other side of the fire.
No answer.
In silence Sally drew away from the fire’s glow into the shadows and quietly pulled out her gun. Who was it? The footsteps halted just beyond the light.

The horses moved a little restlessly but didn’t act very frightened. Sally knew it was a human being, but who? And what did he want? She swallowed hard. Her hands were shaking and her heart racing. At last she could stand the silence no longer.
“Come out inta the light, or I’ll shoot.” She hoped her voice didn’t give away the fear she felt.
A soft rustle of leaves and a dark form glided into the light. Sally gasped. It was an Indian, and he had a gun!

For several seconds Sally stared. True, she had seen many an Indian before, but never when she was alone at night on a strange mountain side. Cautiously she too stepped into the light and looked at her visitor.
“Huh,” the Indian grunted and sank onto the ground and looked into the fire.
Sally could tell he was old and tired. She grew bolder and stepped closer. “Who are you?” she asked.
“Huh,” was the reply.
Another step closer and Sally could see the weariness in his face. “Would ya like some water?” she asked feeling for her canteen with her left hand while her eyes never left the Indian’s face, and her right hand still grasped her pistol.
Taking that for assent, Sally handed it over.
The Indian took it and raised it to his lips. After tasting a little at first, he tipped it up and took a long draft. “Much good.” And again he drank deeply.
Sally smiled faintly. “Are you hungry?”
A grunt was the answer.
It was difficult to carry on a conversation with someone who only grunted to every question asked, yet Sally kept trying. “My brother went huntin’ ta try ta find meat. When he returns, you are welcome ta join us.”
“Huh, good,” was the reply.
“Are there more, I mean, are you alone?” Sally ventured at last to ask after several long minutes of silence.
Sally breathed a sigh of relief. If he was alone, surely he was not someone to fear. Now if only Ty would come.
The Indian heard him before Sally did. He arose and held his rifle with both hands.
“It might be Ty,” Sally whispered.
Sure enough, Ty’s voice called out as he approached. “Sally.”
“I’m right here, Ty, an’ we got a visitor.”
The next moment Ty stepped into the light and saw the Indian who, when he heard Sally’s response, had sunk back down and let his rifle rest on his knees.
Ty eyed him a moment and then said, “Welcome.”
Ty had brought several rabbits, and soon Ty, with the help of their Indian visitor, had them skinned and roasting over the fire.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Garden Plot

Here it is a nice, slightly chilly Friday! Just the perfect kind of day to read Friday's Fiction.:) (But then I don't know what day isn't the perfect kind of day either.)

Thanks Abigail and Hank for leaving me comments! :) I miss it when there aren't any.:) By the way all boys in WI, I want to know what you all think too.:)

I did get more writing done this week. And it is probably a good thing too, since I was running out of things to post again.:) Now I have added to my supply. I don't like Thursday evening showing up and realizing that there is nothing to post! This week wasn't quite as busy as last week, but it seemed to fly by much faster. I am working on cataloging all our books! When we are finished, anyone who wants to should be able to search our books online! How does that sound? The only thing is that I am only in the 400's out of 5,000 or so.:} Anyone want to come help?

Okay, this story was one I had written, didn't like, gave to Mom, she thought it wasn't "quite right" either and there were some major problems in it. Well. After leaving it sitting for several weeks, I started it again. I kept the main story plot, but changed nearly all the rest of it. So, what do you think of it now?

Characters: children (Since the picture had a young lady in it, I decided that "children" meant anyone unmarried.:))
Word count: 1500 - 2500
Tense: 1st
Special Instructions: Child's journal spanning at least two weeks.

The Garden Plot
Rebekah Morris

August 1, 1860
Dear Diary,
I have never written a diary before. It always seemed such a grown up thing to do, and I never expected to have one for years to come. However, before Papa left on his business trip, he gave this little book to me, and I am to write in it so that he can read all that happens when he returns. I’m afraid it won’t be interesting, for what does one write about when nothing exciting happens? Perhaps if I keep my eyes open something will come.
The garden is in full bloom right now. It is all pink, orange, red, yellow and green. With some other colors too. I miss walking through it all with Papa.

August 2, 1860
I do have something to write about, only it isn’t exciting. A man has called on Leah. Ward said they met at Mrs. Balsom’s party last week. I saw him this morning, and I must say I don’t like the looks of him. I’m sure Leah would call me silly, but I can’t help it.

August 3, 1860
That man is here again. Why is he suddenly calling when Papa isn’t at home and poor Mama is sick in bed? I asked Ward that, and he shrugged. Of course the man has an excuse. He said he was bringing a book he thought sure Miss Leah would enjoy. Clara and Sophia came to me for sympathy because that man called them infants, and Leah told them to run away.

August 5, 1860
I didn’t write yesterday because it was Sunday, and we spent time in Mama’s room. Besides, there wasn’t anything to write about. This morning I went out to the garden with the little girls, and we found Leah on the seat by the water. She looked so pretty in her pink dress. Sophia wanted to sit in her lap, but Leah wouldn’t let her for fear she would get dirty. Leah didn’t use to be like that. I was going to say something that wasn’t very nice, but Ward called us and we skipped over to see what he, Travis and Douglas were doing. They had found a little hiding spot in some bushes, and when we crept in, we found we could go nearly all the way to the water or to the path from the house. We were enjoying ourselves when I saw him. He had gone to the house, but now he was coming down the walk towards Leah! One of the slaves must have told him she was out there. From our vantage point we could watch without being seen. Ward wouldn’t let any of the younger three go near for fear they would be discovered. The man stayed for an unusually long length of time before departing. I don’t know what they talked about for we couldn’t hear them.

August 6, 1860
It is evening, and we’ve had a perfectly dreadful day. In the first place it rained and so of course we were forbidden to go out. The six of us children were holding high carnival in the parlor. Travis and Douglas had nearly all the floor covered with their engines and tracks while Clara and Sophia had at least a dozen dolls and their wardrobes spread across the furniture. Ward and I were both deep in our books. Mama always lets us take our toys and play in the parlor on rainy days as long as we don’t break anything, since only very good friends call in the rain. But Mama doesn’t know him.
Not one of us knew he had even arrived until he walked in the room and exclaimed,
“Well upon my word what is all this?” And he raised his eyeglasses and looked at us all with great disdain.
Just then Leah entered. She scolded us all for being there, telling us that we had no business to be in the parlor and ordering all our things out at once or they would be disposed of. I looked over at Ward and for once neither of us could think of a thing to say. It was Travis who spoke.
“Why do we have to go? Mama always lets us play in here when it rains.”
“Children should be seen and not heard,” Leah said. “And you shouldn’t question your elders.”
“She does let us, Leah,” Clara asserted gathering up the dolls in a blanket.
“Yes she does!” Travis stamped his foot. “And I won’t leave, ‘cause no one’s supposed to call in the rain.”
I have never seen Leah that angry. She ordered Travis to his room adding that he would get no supper. Travis wouldn’t go.
Sophia walked across the room and stopped right in front of him. Planting her little hands on her hips she said quite loudly and distinctly looking directly up at him, “No gent’lman would tum talling on a lady in da rain. Not less she ‘vited him.”
Leah was horrified. She rang for Aunt Lucy and had us all hustled off to our rooms in disgrace. I heard him tell Leah that a taste of a birch switch might help our manners. I didn’t hear Leah’s reply. But the idea that he would even venture to make such a remark doesn’t say much for HIS manners.
I have spent the rest of the day trying to comfort the girls who are certain they will never see their dolls again. Oh I wish Papa were here.

August 7, 1860
Leah has hardly said a word to any of us all day. I feel we are still in disgrace. We did find all the dolls and trains in the nursery this morning, but no one felt like playing. We spent time out in the garden not talking much, just being dismal. Even the bright flowers and butterflies didn’t cheer me up today. He came briefly today. I wish he wouldn’t come at all.

August 8, 1960
I feel like rejoicing. He didn’t come at all today! It is so late now that I’m sure he won’t come now.

August 9, 1960
I was supposed to go to town today with Leah to match some ribbon, but she wouldn’t let me. She said I had been too naughty. And she drove away without me. Ward was in a terrible fume because of it all, and I had a perfectly awful time trying to keep him from doing anything rash. How I wish I could talk with Mama about it all. But she is too sick to be bothered. When Leah came home he was with her. Oh how I detest him!

August 10, 1860
Things really must be dealt with soon. He actually slapped Douglas for “being impertinent” when he had simply told him that his constant presence was growing tiresome! Leah didn’t see it. What would she have done if she had? Ward is ready to go on the war path.

August 12, 1960
It was a huge relief not to have him around at all yesterday. Sunday is now a wonderful day. Mama was feeling better, so we spent some time with her though she is not well enough to deal with him.
This morning, instead of coming to the house, he walked directly out to the garden where Leah was. I saw him from the nursery window. I didn’t tell anyone because they were all happy. Later when Ward mentioned to me that he hadn’t come, I told him. He said we must do something. We just can’t wait for Papa to come home. But what can we do?

August 13, 1960
We are concocting a plan. Well, Ward, Douglas and I are. This is the second morning that he has gone directly to the garden where Leah was waiting. This time we know it was deliberate because Ward was in the bushes watching, and he heard them say that this way was working out much better for the peace of the children. Ward wouldn’t tell me what else they said, but he looked unutterable things at him when he rode away.

August 14, 1960
He came to the garden again. I think our little plan will work. At least I hope it will! Now if we can only keep Leah in the house tomorrow morning, all will be well. It is evening and everything is ready. We had to tell Travis and Clara, but dared not tell Sophia for fear she would spoil it.

August 15, 1960
He came and then went away in what looked like a towering passion. If he will only stay away. We kept Leah in the house by getting Aunt Lucy to call her for instructions about Sophia’s new dress. And then Mama help out wonderfully by asking for her. But I will tell what we did, now that every hint of it has vanished.
Clara and I managed to smuggle one of Leah’s dresses to the boys who had gathered pillows, rags and anything they could lay their hands on. Clara added her large rag doll saying she would gladly part with it for good if it would only get rid of him. Very early this morning, we went to the garden. All but Sophia who had to be measured for her new dress. With everyone helping, it didn’t take long to arrange the dress, stuffed with the rags and pillows so that it appeared to be sitting on the bench by the water. Clara’s doll occupied a prominent place with its head covered by an old bonnet of Leah’s. Unless you were actually quite near it from the side or the front, it did look like Leah. We left a note pinned on the dress saying if he wished any further friendship with Leah then he must speak with Father. Until Papa’s return he was ordered to stay off the premises of Monarch Estate because he was disturbing the peace and harmony of the family with his ungentlemanly behavior.
In the afternoon, Leah sat out in the garden for a long time. Perhaps she was waiting for him. I don’t know. She is out there now.

August 16, 1860
He didn’t come at all today, and Leah hardly talks to us. Ward assured me it wasn’t because of what we did because she don’t know about it.

August 17, 1860
He came today. He rode right up to the house this morning and demanded to see Leah. Sophia, Ward and I were with Leah when the slave brought the message. I think Ward was very polite when he stood up and told Leah that he didn’t think Papa would want him calling on her when he wasn’t home. Before Leah could reply, Travis, Douglas and Clara burst into the room shouting that Papa was home! We all rushed like mad things down the hall and stairs to surround Papa and almost smother him with kisses. I don’t think any of us except perhaps Ward and me even saw him standing almost in the corner with a scowl on his face. Leah must have forgotten him entirely while we were there. At last Papa sent us all out to the garden so we wouldn’t disturb Mama.
After the younger ones were in bed this evening, Papa came in with Ward to my room, and we told him all about that man and what we had done. Papa’s mouth twitched several times when we told about our plot in the garden, and he had to cough. He didn’t scold us at all. He did tell us that he has sent that man away for good. I knew he would. But, I must stop writing, for I’m going to give this to Papa to read in the morning. Oh I am so very glad Papa is home! Good night.

The End
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