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An Unwilling Maid eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about An Unwilling Maid.

CHAPTER IX

BETTY’S JOURNEY

Mrs. Seymour, having had the advantage of some weeks to form her plans, had carefully arranged everything for her own comfort, so far as was possible, and Betty Wolcott, after the first pang of parting was over, began to enjoy the novelty of the journey most thoroughly.  Except for a few days spent at Lebanon, Betty had never been from home in her life, and being, as we have seen, a bit of a philosopher in her own quaint fashion, after the first day spent in Mrs. Seymour’s cheerful society she found herself much less homesick than she had expected.  To begin with, the coach was, for those times, very comfortable.  It was English-built, and had been provided with capacious pockets in unexpected places; it amused Betty exceedingly to find that she was seated over the turkey, ham, cake, and even a goodly pat of butter, carefully packed in a small stone jar, while another compartment held several changes of linen, powder, a small mirror, a rouge pot, and some brushes.  Mrs. Seymour had been born and bred in New York, and many of her people were Tories; therefore she hoped to assist the brother who, breaking apart from the others, had taken up arms for the colonists.

Caesar, Mrs. Seymour’s coachman, was a colored man of middle age, a slave of her father’s, and, having been brought from New York to Connecticut, knew the route fairly well.  They broke the journey first at a small roadside tavern, where the horses were baited, while Betty and Mrs. Seymour gladly descended, and warmed themselves well by the kitchen fire, taking a drink of warm milk, for which the good woman who had invited them inside refused payment.  She was deeply interested when Mrs. Seymour told her of their errand, and followed them out to the door of the coach, bringing with her own hands the soapstone which she had carefully warmed for their feet, and she waved a kindly good-by as they rode off, delighted at seeing, for the first time in her life, a “pleasure coach.”

The first night was spent by the travelers in Danbury, where they proceeded to the house of Mrs. Seymour’s cousin, Mrs. Beebe, and were most warmly welcomed.  The Beebe household, which consisted of Mrs. Beebe and seven children (Captain Beebe being with the Connecticut Rangers), trooped out, one and all, to meet them, to inspect the coach, interview Caesar, and admire the horses.  Billy, the second boy, fraternized with Betty at once; and after learning all the mysteries of the coach pockets, helping Caesar to unharness, and superintending the fetching of an extra large log for the fireplace, he roasted chestnuts in the ashes as they sat around the chimney-piece, and told Betty thrilling stories of the attack on Danbury by the British.

“We dragged the feather-beds up to the window,” said Billy, “and mother stuffed a pillow or two in the cracks.  My, how the bullets did fly!  The children were all bid to stay in the attic; but as the roof shelves, you know, it became pretty hot, especially when the fires began, and then mother did get frightened, more especially when she saw the blaze of the Woolford house, down the street.  Didn’t I just wish I was a man, to go and help father that day!  Luckily for us, the wind was in the other direction; father said that was all that saved us.”

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