The post today features a fun monthly thing that I found on a fellow writer/blogger’s site called Snippets of Story-A Grand Blog Thing from Whisperings of the Pen. It looked interesting and fun, so I’m going to do it! What this is about is that writers can post excerpts of their stories (without explaining anything, I may add) so readers can get a random glimpse of their works in progress. So without further ado . . .
“You must take care, Governor—it should be a misfortune if you were to fall asunder,” said Dr. Saugrain circumspectly.
Lewis glanced towards him with transient provocation at his bold candor. But Dr. Saugrain smoked his pipe coolly, not in the least contrite to have spoken out so.
“I would not let illness best me,” replied Lewis at last.
“I trust not—but that is not for you to say,” answered Saugrain, “A man of any constitution may be taken by ailment, should he not be careful. You have the appearance of one who works by the hour and who does not rest—and—” the doctor paused, calculating his next words, before continuing, “—and he who employs temperance may best profit from it, I assure you.”
Lewis felt heat rise into his cheeks swiftly, and feigned the act of reviewing the landscape with deliberate concentration. “I presume you advise me with goodly meaning,” he said.
“Aye, sir. You may believe it. Don’t take this with offense, pray, but as a physician, I am driven to address that which I regard as vital. You, Excellency, must surely see, and as a friend, it may be hoped that you know my ‘goodly’ meaning.”
Strong Hearts © R. E. Williams
Sam was present this particular Saturday evening, as a matter of fact. He stood in the midst of half-a-dozen sweet young creatures, giggling and fluttering their lashes with their best trifling. “Oh Sam, Sam! There’s a dance starting up! Do take me!” sparkled several of them with hopeful expressions. He laughed and put his arm round the slender shoulders of the nearest little blond, who he took a slight fancy to just now.
“I feel a yearnin’ for a dance, don’t you missy?”
“Wouldn’t mind,” she murmured shyly, pretending to try and break away from his hold, though her eyes showed she liked it in fact.
And together they stepped onto the flat platform and he, with much energy, turned the girl about on her toes with the agility of any fellow who lived most his life swinging off and on the backs of wild steeds.
She giggled and screamed with delight as he twirled her by the hand, until their felicitous moments ended abruptly when a tall, swarthy figured appeared, elaborately garbed in a leather shirt, festooned with brightly colored sinews, and deerskin moccasins that resembled boots.
“Wal! If it ain’t tha’ injun!” chortled Sam with contempt as the Crow, White Wolf, moved forward with a stolid expression, obviously desirous of the young wrangler’s partner.
“I dance,” said White Wolf in his broken English, fixing his eyes on the girl’s pale face, for most of the females in Independence felt specific awe of the Indian brave.
The Doll Society © R. E. Williams
“Bonjour Andy, but how did you get out of keeping store for your father, ah?” Leon gave me a small kick. My temper was already sore, but I said nothing, lips taut.
“A wonder that father of yours even let you of his sight, oui?”
I glared up at him, my face going crimson with mortification and rage. Boyish impetuosity gripped me. Yet Father had strictly said that ‘twas folly for temper to best a man. I tried desperately to remember that in these ominous moments.
“Mon Dieu! Has your tongue been lost?”
“No,” I said, willing my voice to soften.
In Henri’s black eyes, there flared a malignity, a cruel, effacing malignity. Its hostile gleam showed as he laughed gallingly, “Is thy bereavement so great as this? See there!” he pointed to something in the river, and I turned. “Perhaps that is your uncle! There!” For a moment a dark, long thing in the water seemed corpse-like, and I choked on a gasp, before realizing that it was a mere piece of driftwood. A burst of rage came over me then, wild and severe. Fury burned hotly in my chest as I whirled around and drove a fist at Henri’s grinning face.
To Seek, To Find © R. E. Williams
Leolin stood very still, as though suddenly frozen. He did not respond to Dominic’s taunt, did not speak, did not breathe it almost seemed. His senses streamed someplace nearby . . . an instinctive realization, and he recoiled into the shadow of the tree behind him, his steps terse yet fluid.
Where? He drifted in almost a glide towards the undergrowth nearby, a thick shrub and the large oaken trees rising to massive heights, looming above all the land. Leolin’s eyes flashed about, his lips drawn tightly, glancing about the shadowy forest—searching.
“Taking a respite,” called Dominic from the clearing with trebling stridence that carried thunderously about. Leolin did nothing to reply. He paused again, and listened. His mind’s eye coursed through the gossamer foliage, through the thick wood, lit upon a crumpled thing—a breathing thing, wrapped in unconsciousness. He knew it was unconscious—but alive . . . stunned. His senses retrieved something else. It was not hostile. This he felt, but hesitated before striding on.
He finally continued to walk, but found the creature moments later, behind one of the bushes in the tall blades of grass, a mass of thick dark hair tumbling over its face. Leolin stood over it, motionless.
Early Dawn © R. E. Williams
They came when the mantle clock struck eleven in the morn—a whole spread laid out—sumptuous spread that Milly hated to look upon, for it symbolized a great loss to her home and to the land itself—the land which her family’s countrymen defended—this would go into the stomachs of those odious blue-clad creatures . . . Milly could not help but consider them to be so . . . they who entered this country in all their detestable imperiousness . . . outsiders. She trembled with internal wrath; such a wrath that overtook her as she watched the officers ride into the yard, brandishing upon their belts gleaming knives, at their backs a whole squadron of Bluebellies.
Against the Wind (One Year Adventure Novel) © R. E. Williams
Mary breathed slowly, with great effort, as she rose from the cushion bed on the floor, and stepped to the window, the moon shining whitely upon her figure as she stood thus, painting her dark features with the illumination of that nightly orb. Her heart continued to pound, feverishly. Could she go down? Could she? She shut her eyes, feeling the warm evening breeze caress her. She must. She must. She walked with a stiff pace from the bedroom and moved down the corridor as might a faint spirit in drifting motion, down the ceramic steps, across the courtyard with its bubbling fountain, till she had reached the curtained doorway of the triclinium. Voices floated out to her ears, and she did nothing but listen with a fast-beating heart that threatened to tangle every moment. There, hark! Tribune Laevinus’ deep, resonant voice, rang through the quiet air, for though it was not loud, it was indeed piercing.
Mary shrank from the curtain, her lips trembling. She wanted to flee, to return to the safety of her room . . .
The curtain was flung aside and Daniel filled the doorway with a smile playing at his mouth. His head bent towards her, his eyes fixed upon her with a never-before-seen intensity. “Mary!” came her name in a strident whisper, and his mouth touched her cheek, lingering before he drew away again. “What are you doing—do you mean to listen to us dine? The Roman won’t bite,” he laughed—a jubilant, triumphant laugh—triumphant because he had stolen a kiss at last.
Daring Passage © R. E. Williams
Feelings ran high these days. The streets could often become a place of danger, as young colonists would pelt Redcoats standing on the city hall steps with balls of snow and clods of ice—perhaps even rocks. On some occasions there would be a reckless Lobster back who could not bear the torment, and he would return the hostility, using his musket for a cudgel, which merely resulted in heightened ire. Moreover, there was a mixed populace of differing loyalties. A number of Tories went about, many of them of the wealthy class, some of the middle—and all of them amidst the growing band of hot-blooded Patriots, who spurned them and showed acute resentment towards these “traitors”. In fact, the Latham’s neighbors were Tories, thus bringing upon them the harsh criticism of Mr. Latham. He did not pause to speak with the lord of the flanking home, rejecting all effects of courtesy on the Tory’s part.
“Come father—we shan’t dance with a King’s soldier. I vow it, oh…That we might simply attend. You can’t deny us this, for we have waited the whole year long for it,” implored the eldest Latham daughter, Edith.
“I don’t know as to trusting some young lassies that have such fluttering hearts. You will find one of them to have a handsome countenance, and then you will forego the cause and be his partner. Ah, what a sorry picture!”
“You credit us with little merit, Papa,” pouted Judith, two years Mariah’s senior.
“Who can give it to three pretty little gooses?” he answered, cruelly, but sardonically.
“Oh let them go Father,” said Mother, patting her husband on his shoulder, beaming. “Twill not hurt a thing to let them. And our dear little Mariah ought to have her coming out, as she is nearly sixteen.”
“She is but a child,” mused Father, who could sometimes lapse into troughs of stubbornness.
Mariah, present in the room, rose to a state of high-dudgeon, for she did not care to be named a child. However, the feeling slipped away rapidly, as she hadn’t the disposition to remain offended for such a while, and nor was she given to flights of passion. She instead sat demurely on the lounge, listening to her sisters and mother wheedle at father.
British or American © R. E. Williams
Diana always liked to sit on the kitchen steps with Beulah and Little Sam, and hear the cry of the whippoorwills, the varying song of the mockingbirds . . . the redbirds at their perches, trilling away . . . Little Sam knew every bird call . . . had learned them as a little boy when his pappy, Big Sam, took him out into the fields—from the morning calls to the noon ones, to the songs of the twilight when the birds were beginning their nightly chorus. “Dat be a jay,” said Little Sam, cocking his head to one side. Diana and Beulah distinguished a loud, discordant cawing from the nearby bush on the side of the yard.
“Dem jays doo be a might nusanse. Dey eat at de hoss and cow feed, and dey pester de hens cuz they be wantin’ to eat der eggs.”
“But they ah a pretty blue,” said Beulah, studying the blue and white creature that careened heavily into the air from the foliage.
“I hate them,” Diana declared, “They have fattened themselves upon the chicks of our hens . . . those poor hens . . . they fear for their young.”
“Dey be thieving birds,” nodded Little Sam, stretching out his long legs before him. He paused, listening, and pointed towards the shadowy garden. “I heah de swallows . . . and a loon,” and he glanced towards the gleaming pond that the property’s brook ran into.
“Dem loons like to play tricks. My pappy was tryin’ to git one for Massah Daniel, foh a dinnuh cuz some folk come ovah sudden-like . . . Pappy knew dere be a big loon at the pond, so he went dere. He crept up reel quiet . . . heard dat loon near a mile away, so he came after Mistuh Loon, and saw ‘im sittin’ in de pond. Oh, dat bird was a big ‘un, and Pappy raised his gun—he cud git it from wheah he stood, and aimed . . . and he didn’t even shoot, because when he looked agin de loon was gone. It couldn’t ‘av heerd him, but it noo.”
“Wasn’t the Massah mad?” asked Beulah.
“O, o! Massah Daniel heerd from mah Pappy, and he himself go’ed out wid some other menfolk, and tried to git dat big loon. Dey circled round de pond—dat bird was sitting right in de middle of it. It couldn’t fly and it couldn’t swim, cuz dey’d shoot it either way. Dey all aimed at it, but in de blink av an eye it was gone quick as dat . . . dere was only a hen dat night instead of a big loon. No one could git it evah sinse.”
Strong Hearts © R. E. Williams
There hadn’t ever been anything like it in the clan before, and all who soon learned of it could not fathom the tremendous import of it. “It” was what Diana had done. Diana Wayland, of Oak Orchard Plantation in old Fairfax County, a land of gentleman farmers with their passels of hands—Diana Wayland had written something—and she had been published.
“’Tisn’t for a gentlewoman—the like! Oh, oh fancy writing those works of the Devil himself!” Aunt Jane Young cried with real alarm, wringing her hands. “What would Martha say of it—and Mary Young would surely be scandalized, even now as she’s laying in her grave!”
Elizabeth merely laughed—laughed with merry glee at her mother’s horror: laughed at the whole tumult uproariously. Dear, quiet, modest Diana—published! To be sure, the thought appealed to Elizabeth Young as vastly amusing. Everyone was speechless—and yes, as Elizabeth was, entirely amazed.
“Oh, but she has always had a mind of her own. A bit revolutionary, the lass is,” ruminated Uncle Patrick with a pucker at his brows, “And she’s always had spirit—something Martha could never tame—yes, Martha had spirit too…but…this!”
“Methinks ‘tis shameful,” declared Aunt Jane.
“But it’s only a poem, mama, now. A poem ‘tisn’t a novel. Aren’t these rhymes such romantic little tricks?” said Elizabeth, looking up from the paper.
Louise nodded, “Very lovely,” in her sweet, agreeable way.
Strong Hearts © R. E. Williams