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 Distance and Time, a Love Lost

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PostSubject: Distance and Time, a Love Lost   Sun Apr 12, 2009 3:03 am

It was spring. A gentle rain had fallen the night before. The freshness of rain mingled with scents of the first flowers blooming in the gardens, the smells of the nearby woods, and of course, the farm odors from the barn and stables. Cathern breathed the morning air in deeply. It was different than the sea air to be sure, but not unpleasant. The farm hands, servants, maids and the like were already awake and going about their tasks, cheerful smiles on their faces. The place was abuzz of course because Cathern was in residence. Something that was, while not infrequent, wasn’t an every day occurrence either.

Cathern had arrived late in the eve before and of course, the whole household was up to greet her and get her settled in again. As usual, Cathern had also brought various trinkets and gifts for her staff. Some things were real rarities in the Caribbean and would have cost a fortune. Of course, most of it was good liberated off enemy ships. A silk shawl for a maid or an ivory handled dagger for field hand was a real treasure. While gifts and money could help ensure loyalty from anyone, it was the thought that they were even considered special that endeared the staff to Cathern.

A voice interrupted her reverie. “Your horse Milady”. One of the stable boys had brought her one of her mares, fitted with a side saddle and a small set of saddle bags. Cathern walked over to the horse and stroked it with gloved hands. “Everything was placed in the saddle bags like I requested?” The stable bay nodded, “Yes Milady.” Cathern mounted the horse and gave it a few more gentle strokes. “I’ll be riding the estate and then visiting the McDraig clan. I’ll be home before dark, if I am not, do send a search party.” Cathern laughed a little and the stable boy joined in and waved as Cathern got her dark as night horse moving.

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PostSubject: Re: Distance and Time, a Love Lost   Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:25 pm

Cathern leisurely rode her lands stopping to chat now and again to some of the men at work in the fields or chopping wood. Although she didn’t know most of the hired hands well, she wanted to at least make the effort. Everything seemed in order. Taking a path through the woods, she even spotted a couple of deer much to her delight. She shared Hew’s interest in the natural world though she was by no means schooled in such things.

After and hour’s ride she got off the horse and walked it a little while to one of the ponds. A heavy wooden bench had been built there at her instruction. Cathern patted the horse then loosely tied it to a nearby tree branch. Opening one of the saddle bags, Cathern pulled out a few sugar cubes. Cathern fed the cubes to her horse that seemed to appreciate the gesture. Retrieving a bit of cheese and sausage from the bag, Cathern took a seat on the bench. She slowly ate her snack, watching the birds come and go, snapping up insects that hovered around the pond. Hew would undoubtedly know the correct names for all the birds and bugs. Cathern sighed a bit then finished the last of her sausage and cheese. “Well, I suppose I should head to his estate”, Cathern said to the horse. The horse blinked and swished its tail. Cathern untied the horse then mounted it once more, heading across her property to the McDraig clan lands.

The day was growing warm and also humid from the evaporating rains the night before. The scents of spring were thick in the air. Cathern headed south to the coast then followed it to the edge of her property. The McDraig clan lands had once belonged to her and she was always welcome to visit though rarely did she since Hew had been gone. Cathern crossed the border and headed for Hew’s house.
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PostSubject: Re: Distance and Time, a Love Lost   Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:45 am

It wasn’t long before Cathern reached Hew’s homestead. His staff of course recognized her and offered warm greetings. As Cathern dismounted her horse one of the hands took the reigns and assisted her. Cathern smiles at the fellow and let him lead her horse away. Camilla proceeded to fuss over Cathern, helping to straighten out Cathern’s riding dress.

“Welcome, welcome Miss Flowers! It’s been too long.” Camilla beamed and led Cathern into the house. Tea was prepared while Camilla chattered on about the goings on at Hew’s estate. Children had born, marriages, a few deaths due to fever, accidents, and in one case a woman dying in childbirth. Over all, the McDraig clan was settling in well at their new location after evacuating Tampico. Cathern in return told of some of her exploits and recent events, delaying the discussion about why she really visited.

“So Miss Flowers, what is the real reason for your visit? Have you heard from Mr. McDraig? We sure do miss him on these long trips.” Camilla smiled then added, “And I know you must be feeling it even more so.” Cathern sighed and nodded. “Yes, yes Camilla. His affairs are why I am here. I have some papers for him from France, from my half brothers. They have some business proposals for him but have heard his ship was lost, run aground and sank off the African coast. Now this hasn’t been confirmed, just rumors that have made it back to ports in France. He has been gone months with no word once again. Did he say where he was heading Camilla? Have you heard?” Camilla shook her head. “No, no he did not say. He rarely does. Sometimes he is very secretive about things.”

Cathern nodded then sighed a bit. She took Camilla’s hands in hers and squeezed the, “I can’t live like this. I don’t know how the wives of long distance sailors put up with the absences, the lonliness, the not knowing. It’s too much for me to bear.” A stream of tears trickled down her cheek and once again and Camilla fussed and held Cathern in her arms, trying to be of comfort. After a few moments Cathern collected herself once more and wiped her cheeks. Feeling a bit embarrassed Cathern got up to leave. Camilla tried to convince her to stay over night but Cathern wanted to be alone. Her horse was fetched; Cathern said her good byes then left at a gallop.

It was dusk by the time Cathern got home. Supper had been prepared but she just picked at it. The house staff noticed a change in the mood and kept quiet, going about their tasks in hushed tones. Cathern sipped a glass of wine while looking over the dining table, lost in thoughts. “Mistress, I have your bath ready.” A few moments with no reaction the voice spoke again, “Mistress, did you wish a bath?” Cathern blinked and finished her wine. “Yes, thank you Sara.” Cathern trudged up the stairs with Sara in tow behind her. Sara helped Cathern undress and was dismissed. Cathern slid into the bath with a sigh. Afterwards Cathern lay in her bed and cried herself to sleep, the loneliness of her bed a crushing weight.
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PostSubject: Re: Distance and Time, a Love Lost   Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:16 pm

The sun peeked over the horizon as a new day dawned. Cathern stirred in her sleep as the sunlight found its way into her window. Muted sounds of voices entered her head and woke her, though her eyes stayed closed. The staff was going about the morning chores more quiet than usual but Cathern was a light sleeper. Cathern groaned a bit at the morning stiffness of her body. She felt her body was getting old, too old she thought for one her age. Oh sure, maybe had she already bore four or five babies like some women her age she should feel this old, but she was still a virgin despite Hew’s advances. Hew. Yes, that chapter was closed now. Just one thing left to do. Slowly she got out of bed, squatted over the chamber pot, did her morning business, then washed up with the water and basin that had been set out the night before.

A knock on the door and a voice announced that Sara was there, ready to assist her with getting dressed. “Come in Sara, I’m deciding what to wear today.” The door opened and her cabin girl/maid entered with a tray of hot tea, two hard boiled eggs and fresh biscuits. “Some breakfast Mistress?” Sara set the tray on the small bedside table. Cathern helped herself to the tea and biscuits, offering one to Sara who politely declined. “What are your plans for the day Mistress? Do you have anything you wish for me to do?”

Cathern looked out the window then nodded, “Yes, I have some things to be put in the attic.” Sara joined Cathern at the window, “The attic Mistress?” Cathern finished up a biscuit then sipped some tea. Spinning about she started collecting a few things up in a pile; some jewelry, a small dagger, some letters. Sara watched as Cathern piled the items on the bed. “What, what are these things?” she enquired. Cathern looked at her young attendant then gently caressed the girl’s left cheek. “They are mementos of a love lost, a passion gone. Pack them up in a chest.” Sara toyed with a few of the items then picked up one of the letters when a thought sprung to her mind. “Oh Mistress, I nearly had forgotten! Two letters from Tampa arrived for you yesterday while you were out. I am sorry, I should have given to you yesterday but you seemed very tired and distracted. Let me go fetch them.” Cathern nodded her permission. Sara placed the letter she was holding back on the pile of items, curtsied and left.

Cathern looked at pile of things amassed on the bed. He was very good to her while it lasted. A marriage proposal, generosity at all levels, a good companion. Well that was in the past. Sara returned with the letters. Cathern opened them and read each in turn. One was from Chantilly, not altogether unexpected as Cathern had invited her to write. The other was unexpected though, from Seamus O’Flynn. Sara watched as Cathern read the letters, her curiosity evident. “You may go Sara; I’ll be wearing simple clothing today and will dress myself.” Sara curtsied once more and departed, though a hint of disappointment was evident that she didn’t get to hear what was in the letters.
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