Emma sat by the fire and did her mending. She was, to the minds of the three British Regulars currently being served ale by her father, quite occupied with all of her mind focused on the task at hand. After all, with her hands full, wouldn’t her mind be as well? And what harm could an unmarried girl of 16 do anyway?
“So, it’s agreed then? We’ll march on this so-called continental army one week hence?”
Emma set her next stitch carefully and paused to change to her other needle, one already threaded with a different color thread.
“Quite agreed. And then we’ll have done with this nonsense.”
A herringbone stitch, held down with two running stitches, and then it was back to the primary color. Soon enough, the seam repair would be done. Perhaps before these men had finished their drink. And she’d be off with her basket to deliver it to the patriot washerwoman who would know what laundry to fly to signal her message. There, it would be picked up by one of the young men of the colony who knew the meaning in the hanging of 2 black aprons side by side. The message would get to General Washington. Emma let a little smile come to her face, glowing with very real pride in her work. Let the Regulars think it was pride in stitchery, only she would know her true worth.
Elizabeth and Caroline both leaned out the windows of their second story bedroom and watched the Regulars march down the street.
“Mother said they might station a soldier here in our house.”
Caroline nodded once to punctuate her words and then looked back down into the street.
“Lina, that would be silly. Where would they sleep? Our house is just big enough for us.”
Elizabeth was three years Caroline’s junior, and those years were evident in her words now.
“Sarah said the soldiers took her parents’ bed and put them all in the garret. Like servants.”
“And they stood for that?”
Caroline pulled her sister in and pulled the shutters tight.
“What can they say, Betsy? Regulars haven’t exactly been respecting our rights as British citizens for some time now.” Caroline flopped onto the bed with a dramatic sigh and looked up at her younger sister. “It’s as if the Magna Carta doesn’t even exist.”
“That’s ridiculous, Lina. His Majesty would never tolerate that sort of thing. This is probably just the fault of those rebels I heard about.”
Sitting up quickly, Caroline stared at her sister in surprise.
“What have you heard? I’ve… I’ve been reading their writings and I think… I think-”
“Treason, the lot of it.”
Elizabeth glared at her sister and Caroline’s mouth hung open for a long moment.
“Treason. They’re rebels, Lina. Rebellion is treason.”
Caroline looked away and didn’t respond. She was, however, decided in one thing. She wouldn’t be telling her sister about the trousers and shirt hidden in the clothes press or about what she was planning for this evening after all.