Perspective By Kelly Wuthrich I wake up to the sound of icy rain hitting my window. I look out to see the sky is a dark gray. Elizabeth is sitting on the other window ledge, sobbing softly. When she sees I’m up, she apologizes quickly. “Oh Rebecca, I’m sorry. Did I wake you?” Her voice is thin and soft. I pity her for a moment but then realize she has woken me up and I won’t be able to get back to bed. I scowl and turn over, so that I’m facing the wall and I can’t see her face. She starts to cry again and I can’t help but wonder why, so I turn back around and face her. “Why on earth are you crying?” I ask, as I hear the slaves down stairs, cooking breakfast. “Father and Stephen have left the house,” she says solemnly. “Of course they did, they have probably left for the print shop getting the morning news,” I say, like it is obvious. But I can’t help but wonder why they have left this early. “No, they aren’t at the print shop, Mother is up too.” “They are going to fight.” she says then she turns around and faces the window. She doesn’t speak any more, so I decide to get up and get ready. I ring the bell next to my bed and wait. Soon, Rose comes up. She’s wearing a dark skirt and petticoat with a starched white apron. Her hair is up neatly braided and then twisted into a bun. “You called miss?”
she asks trying to stifle a yawn.
“Yes I did, fetch me my new gown and my porcelain washing pitcher... And make sure the water is warm!” I yell as she nods her head and leaves. I sigh and lay back down on the down bed. A few moments later, Rose is back with my dress on her arm and the pitcher in hand. “Here you are miss,” she says, hastily setting down the pitcher on the cherry wood table next to my bed and the dress neatly at the foot of my bed. “Breakfast will be in the dining hall near your mother’s bedchamber, not the one near the library and study room,” I sigh. That dining hall is downstairs in another wing. I hate walking that far, down that awful winding staircase. She then turns to Elizabeth. “Oh dear,” she says and goes over to rubs her back soothingly. “I know it’s hard, believe me,” I smirk, how could she know? She was brought over here on a slave ship, big deal! She
survived right? I mean her father and brother didn’t go off to fight angry Britains. I turn and rub may face with the cloth and pour water on my hands. I quickly go to my wardrobe and pull out new stockings, a starched petticoat with lace, a thin cotton petticoat, and my cream shift. I quickly put them on and shiver in the cold air. “Can you light a few lamps?” I ask Rose as I struggle with my buttons. “Of course, dear,” she replies, and goes to get a matchstick. I go over to my drawer and get a white cap, my new shoes; the ones with blue silk and the small leather heel. I slip these on and tie my hair back with a cream ribbon. “Are you coming?” I ask Elizabeth impatiently. “Yes… be there in a moment,” she grunts as she pulls her lace sleeve out of the arm. I decide that it’s going to be awhile and look for a cloak that matches my shoes and new gown. A few moments later Elizabeth is ready but her hair is still not combed. “You need to comb your hair,” I point out, looking at her frizzy hair. “It’s fine!” she says and storms out of the room. I quickly run after her as she runs down the hall of all the bedrooms. I walk past my brother as he runs in the opposite direction. I call out, “Who are you running after?”
he replies over his shoulder,
“Mark! He shan’t put on his shoes!” I laugh at this image of Mark, yelling at poor Henry all because of his shoes. I find Elizabeth (finally), sitting at the table eating a biscuit. Her hair is pulled back in a low braid and a ribbon. “Mother did it for me,” she sneers at me. Darius, another slave, comes over to me and asks what I would like. “The usual,” I reply. He bows and turns to the large cart next to the long table. A short while later, Mary and Henry walk in with little Mark. (His shoes were on this time.) Mother comes in with my older sister Annebelle. She sits at the head of the table, usually where Father sits, and Annebelle sits to the right of her. Annebelle is 22 years of age and has an awful temper. I dislike her, but on good days she can be quite fun to be with. Mary sits next to me, as does Elizabeth. Henry and Mark sit next to Annebelle. “As you may know already, your father and brother have left. They were called by Samuel Bucket,” she stops there and another slave comes in
and hands her a lace kerchief. We eat in silence. The only sounds are the clinking of the dishes and Mark murmuring baby talk. The plates are cleared and I walk with Mary and Elizabeth back to our rooms. I put on my hat and cloak and walk out to the hall. Mary and Elizabeth walk with each other whispering. As we walk out the door, my footing slips and I trip. Mary helps me up and I run straight into Mike. Mike is my best friend. We are both 18 years of age. He laughs and smiles at me. We walk towards the center of town and I tell him about my father and brother. “I shan’t know what I am to do!” I exclaim. Miss. Manderly’s house is a few streets away. He doesn’t need to learn things like serving tea and stitching, but I do. We learn about being a gentlewoman with her and he is an apprentice at the nearby shop. I walk with him a few paces behind Elizabeth and Mary. He says farewell and goes into the General Store. I catch up to Elizabeth and Mary as we walk up the steps. Her door is opened by a female slave. We curtsy as does she and we walk into the parlor. “Good morning!” Miss. Manderly greets us politely. We curtsy and take a seat at the table. “We are going to complete our quilts today!” she says and pulls out a large basket with our quilts inside. As we work, we are allowed to talk quietly with each other. “How is your family doing?” Miss. Manderly inquires. “Fine, thank you for asking,” Mary says quickly and raises her eyebrows at us. We smile and nod. “Yes, everything is fine!” we say and go back to stitching. I don’t know why Mary didn’t want to tell Miss. Manderly, but Mary usually knows what she’s doing. We talk and chat but I can’t help but worry about my new dress. My dressmaker was to make one for me this month and there has been no sign of her lately. I keep my stitching nice and even, and embroider my name and the date—April 19,1775. Before long, we have finished our quilts and have to head home. I gather it up and think about the next ball that is coming up. “Elizabeth? When is the next ball coming up at Drew Sanders Mansion?” I ask. “Rebecca? How can you think about that now? Father is at war as well as Stephen! Yesterday could have been the last time you saw them!” she exclaims as we walk out the door. Mary speaks too“Rebecca, you need to think about the other people around you, not just yourself,” she says. I laugh it off.
“I do, like where is our dressmaker? She hasn’t come by to measure me for my new dress!” I run off, even though I’m 18 and shan’t do things so childish. At the table for supper, mother doesn’t come down and I don’t worry at all. I am surprised that she is so upset about it. I mean, we haven’t heard any gunshots so I don’t think there is actually a war going on. I think I spoke too soon. The next day, Mary, Annebelle and I go down to the river banks, and I watch as the Redcoats march past our small valley and down to a nearby field. I am afraid but shan’t show it. A man walks by; his face covered in ashes and dirt, Annebelle, trying to be kind, asks the man if he is alright— “No! How could you possibly think I am?” he replies angrily. “I’m sorry sir!” Annebelle exclaims and bent down in a low curtsy, his face softens a small bit, but then gets hard again. “Just tell your father to mind his own country!” “What?” It’s my turn to exclaim, “My father believes that this country should be separate from the King too! Who do you think our father is?” I shout. Elizabeth looks at me in horror. Annebelle has turned a deep rouge and her head is bowed—low, so low it looks like body without a head from the behind. “Are you not the descendants of Markus Gerilmyer??” “N-no sir, I am Annebelle Clarke, daughter of Joeseph Clarke...” She pauses, as if she is thinking about going on or not. His face, once before filled with confusion, becomes soft, and his eyes seem to show understanding. “I am very sorry, please accept my most utmost apology,” he says to her, barely taking notice of us as we stand a few feet back. “Of course sir, we understand this is a tough time for all of us,” she replies, but her tone is curt and clipped. “Well, I should be on my way.” he sighs. “ Yes, that shall be ideal,” she says back, althought quite quiet. We walk home in silence. We walk down the lane toward our home in which none of us want to go to. Mother has been upset, crying and not speaking to any of us. Our home is quite large, much larger than Mike’s house, who’s house is a simple shop on the first floor and his small home on the second.
We walk in and hear Mother yelling at some male slave, obviously a farm slave, because his shirt and breeches are muddy and torn. We quickly hand our things to Rose, who motions us to go up the stairs to our rooms, so we do. We sit in Annebelle’s room, and talk until nightfall. The troops have moved on, far from our home, as well as Stephen and Father, if they are alive, that is. The days pass and finally we hear then news, Stephen has died. He was shot. I don’t believe it. We are all in the parlor, just sitting there. “Well, do you want me to get the servants?” Mary asks softly. “I’m sure they would be happy to make us something to eat.” “No dear, it’s fine…” Mother answers tiredly. She is all cried out. A messenger had delivered the message to us, just as we had settled down for supper. “What’s going on?” Henry asks, he has just come home late from the blacksmith. He walks into the parlor, and standing close to the fire, Annebelle breaks the news. “Stephen was shot. He, he died,” she stammers and then starts to cry. “I… well…” Henry says, and then gets quiet. Mark and Elizabeth are upstairs in the play room and they don’t know yet. Rose said she would be happy to care for them. “How about some supper? I’m famished!” I say, breaking the silence. “Rebecca!” Mothers’ harsh voice exclaims, “Your brother has just died! How can you be hungry?” “I’m sorry,” I bow my head and sit down. “That’s better,” Mother says stiffly and turns toward Annebelle and Mary, sitting on the hard mahogany seats. “Will you two fetch Mark and Elizabeth? I think it is time to tell them what has happened,” she turns to me; “Rebecca Ann!” she exclaims, how can you be this happy? Stephen is gone, and will never return! We don’t even know about your father! He could as well be dead!” she turns to the fire and I look down again. “I am sorrowful mother! But I don’t have a reason to cry! He is never home, he never liked me and he didn’t even know my name!”
“Of course he does! He was there in my bedchamber when I gave birth to you! He even suggested the name Rebecca Ann!” Mother yelled at me. It finally sunk in. He was my now dead brother after all and I didn’t even care. I was too worried about my clothes to realize what really was happening. “Oh mother, I am sorry! I didn’t understand, but I do now!” I say, now fighting back tears. Henry hands me my blue lace kerchief. “Thank you.” I say and wipe my eyes. Annebelle and Mary come back in with Mark and Elizabeth. “Everything is going to be alright,” Annebelle says and she was right, everything would be alright. The next day was cold and wet. We did not go to Miss. Manderley’s house. I woke up and put on yesterdays dress, the pretty sprays of pink flowers against the light green silk background looked dull, and sad. My starched petticoat had lost what had seemed like an impossibly beautiful white. I brushed my hair and pulled it back with a velvet ribbon. It matched my dress perfectly. I looked into the mirror at my eyes. They were red from crying and the bright green they used to be was as dull as the sky. Father came home two days later. I ran to see him and he had a white cloth tied around his arm & hand, and his walk had a limp. We all ate a hearty stew for supper, with rich potatoes and dark beef. We prayed to the Lord that Stephen was safe in heaven. Mike visited with his sister Samantha and sat with us the next day. We had a funeral service the following week. Our family was broken and would never be the same, but we had each other, and that is what we needed.
Author’s Note The Revolutionary War was a changing war. It happened during the colonial times in North America. We wanted to be free from Britain, and Britain wanted to keep us as a colony. It began on the morning of April 19, 1775. This Story takes place in Lexington, Massachusetts, during the first battle of the American Revolution. The colonial times was a busy and interesting time. Many people moved from England taking the chance to start a new life or coming for religious reasons. For a few years, these times were great for colonists. Then, after the French and Indian War, Britain was left with a huge debt. But the question was: who would pay? Britain or the colonies? Britain began taxing the colonists fast and harsh. The colonists weren’t taxed with representation; and they didn’t like that. Paul Revere, on April 18, 1775, rode from his home in Boston, Massachusetts to Lexington, Massachusetts, warning the people that the British were coming. The militias in towns got prepared for a battle. They didn’t want to fight the British. They wanted peace and for America to be a nation. But if they had to fight, they would. There were many battles all over the Atlantic coast of North America. In a course of 8 years, the last battle was finally fought, in Yorktown, Virginia. The British had surrendered. America was a free and independent nation. Although the war was harsh on Americans, the end was positive. Many soldiers had lost their homes, jobs and family. But the colonists had braved many hard times, and they would again. -- Kelly Wuthrich
Works Cited “Battles.” www.theamericanrevolution.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2012. <http://www.theamericanrevolution.org/battles.aspx>. The website has a lot of the facts and reasons the Revolutionary War started. It has facts of George Washington, the dates and places of the battles. I learned about how and why the Revolutionary War started and the specific dates of the battles within the Rev. War. Independence Hall Association. “The Boston Patriots.” ushistory.org. Independence Hall Association, 4 July 1995. Web. 26 Jan. 2012. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/9c.asp>. This website has a timeline which you can view important dates of the Revolutionary War. I got a lot of information on the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. Masoff, Joy. “American Revolution.” Chronicle of America. 2000. Print. This book is about the life and times of the colonial era. I learned a lot about African slavery, and their attempted escapes from slavery, the clothing of wealthy men and women, and the ways of life in the colonial times. Miklos, Jr., John. The Brave and Children of the American Revolution. Berkley Heights: Enslow Publishers, 2009. Print. The book is about important people in the Colonial Times, specifically women. I learned about the jobs of men and women and women’s rights in the colonial times.