(photo by R. E. Williams)
Thus introduced, attention turns to the mentioned two men, [Lewis and Clark] who had returned as of 1807, to the east, from the their long journey into the west to the Pacific, which to all here on this edge of the continent was a region of unknown, of utter mystery, giving to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark an estimable title in the land, dubbed the “young heroes” as they were known to all. They were hailed, lionized, venerated by everyone far and near. This debut into celebration, for the two men, bequeathed them with marvelous fame, unimagined. This bloom, this splendor, fashioned them somewhat with pride and gladness. In October of 1807 their return roused probably every town on the map, namely in Fairfax, where the eye is trained. A runner flew on horseback on autumn day, down the street of the town past the church to the green and by that evening everywhere rang the news of the Corps of Discovery’s arrival at St. Louis.
That night Patrick Young held a dance, as it had been formerly arranged for, but it became one celebrating the tidings brought to them that day, and a toast was given to the Corps, followed by jubilant cries of “Hear! Hear!”
“Here’s to those gentlemen, who have done us all a fine service, I wager,” declared Uncle Patrick a second time, after first toasting the two captains themselves.
“God bless them!”
Applause rang out mightily, alacrity touching all present. “May they live well on this side of the Mississippi,” cried someone else, and more wine was drunk. Diana, aback of the hall with Peg, glanced around, moved by this rejoicing, and wondrous. She often thought of what a splendid adventure it would be as that of that expedition, and decided then that Captain Lewis and Captain Clark must be admirable persons forsooth, that they earned the commendation of everybody about. Peg leaned over and whispered, “There is talk that they might pass through here—I mean, one of them—Captain Lewis, I believe, as he is to be traveling to the Federal City.”
Strong Hearts © R. E. Williams
She made a comely picture of maidenly agility and dainty equanimity, with her chin raised and dark hair streaming down her back, girlish countenance bright with the pleasure she always found in riding her mare. For at least an hour she engaged in this, till at last ready to be done she pulled on Addy’s reins with excellent control and skill, looking round briefly, and not expecting in the least to see a tall, lean figure by the gate, ostensibly watching her. She gasped softly and stopped short in mid descent from the saddle, and her foot, missing the stirrup, went down as did she. In a second’s time the fellow had bounded with agility to her side and had her up upon her feet, “Heavens! Are you all well?” queried in a concerned way. Mariah glanced up, recovering from the tumble, and perceived the visage and whole form of that person—scarlet and gold regalia and military cap, removed and squashed under one arm as he used both hands to set her at rights once again, though indeed her mortification made itself known by her burning cheeks and speechless tongue.
“Yes—yes!” she said confusedly, not comprehending a thing at the moment save that her savior’s eyes were very blue and his bare fair head towered over her own hooded one.
“Are you quite sure? You took quite a fall” he persisted, the blue eyes full of that kindly concern that occurred to Mariah as not in the least unfavorable.
“I am quite sure,” she had regained her full senses, and stood erect then, crimson face downturned in mortification.
“You ought to be careful,” said the young man, and looked reluctant to leave her, “You might have been hurt. There now, can I assist you to your home?”
“No thank you,” replied Mariah, rather coldly. “I think I can do well on my own. You are very good to have helped me, but I am not frail.”
“Ah . . . very well,” he laughed a bit, but not without provocation. He said nothing for a moment, as though searching, his piercing eyes fixed on her, before he remarked, “You are a fine rider—very fine. Who taught you?”
“He’s exceptional, then. He taught you well.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Here now,” he gently caught Mariah’s arm as she began to hurry away. “Forgive me for detaining you. You’re a sharp lady, heavens!” Her glare apparently startled him. “There now, have I offended you?” Mariah had jerked away and continued in a rush towards the stable.
Mariah paused, turning to glance at him. “No, sir, but I must go.”
“Methinks you dislike me. I had no malicious intentions, ma’am.”
“I didn’t suppose that, sir.”
“Couldn’t you tell me your name?” he flung out at last, seeing that Mariah would not remain a moment longer.
“I’m sorry, sir. But I cannot.”
He sighed. “Well, then. I see. Good day, ma’am. Good day.” He replaced his cap, doffed it and bowed, but Mariah had already fled into the safety of the stable, gasping and dismayed. Alarm gripped her tightly. Oh yes, poor young Mariah was badly shaken. She had been nearly surprised out of her wits, having never been so hard put to in that manner, by such a determined person. And she could not forget, of course, her father’s command. When he said something he meant it—it became iron rule, unquestionable and fixed. But her troubles did not end there. She prayed that this first encounter would be the last, in regards to the King’s soldier, but by ill-fortune met him, at church.
British or American © R. E. Williams
“Hush,” said Sam. “Now, listen,” he glanced at Jim and Dick a second before fixing his eyes on Archie. “Us—we’re ‘specially invited by Black Hoof, see. That’s why we get to go to the Moon dance. But it happens they be needin’ someone—someone like you. I reckon they’d tolerate you, ‘cause you’re just what they be needin’. Reckon you’ll be right fine for what they need. So listen, you come along with us, but keep your mouth tight closed.”
“What do they need me for?” asked Archie uncertainly.
Sam grinned a little, but shook his head. “Now Archie, ain’t you never heard of Moon dance?”
“No-o-o . . .”
“Gaw. You don’t know the ways of the Shawnees. They’ll be needin’ a sackrafyce.”
“A sackrafyce?” reiterated Archie, his heart beginning to tangle and race. Faintness swept upon him. Surely the dampness couldn’t be affecting him now! But it was as if the night had swooped down like a black crow and clasped its icy claws round him. He felt cold, gooseflesh crawling over his entire being. He knew precisely what a sacrifice was. He had read that word numbers of times, having reviewed it in Father’s dictionary for the thrill of it. According to Mr. Webster’s dictionary, a sacrifice was a dread ritual . . . a barbaric, deliciously terrible ritual that always shook him badly whenever he even read it. He had confided this to his mother once and she had declared he wouldn’t be permitted to read the dictionary anymore unless he promised to look up only nice and pleasant words. But Archie now only thought of the awful connotation of that word sacrifice . . . a barbaric, heathen practice, Mother had called it. Archie shuddered.
Sam looked down into Archie’s pale, ghostly face, so delicately cut of features, the sensitive mouth quivering. Sam had always thought Archie such an absurdly gentle little creature. Now that opinion increased by tenfold. Archie needed to be hardened up, he decided.
Against the Wind © R. E. Williams
Hope you enjoy these!
R. E. Williams