Reading Common Sense

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man debates if he should back up the Revolutionary War or remain loyal to the King.

Submitted: January 08, 2014

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Submitted: January 08, 2014

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I stand in front of the crowd. I boom as I tell them not to panic and to go back to their homes. We will meet again tomorrow at the church.  I step down the stairs and approach my family. My wife looks up at me, frightened.  We start walking down the road, my arm around her when she whispers, “Do you really believe this will turn into a war?”

I do. But I shake my head to keep her from worrying. My wife is too beautiful to worry about war. She worries about the children and dinner and the chickens, but it’s my job to worry about the town. I am the leader of a little settlement here in Pennsylvania. My brother and I moved out here after a dispute with our father, as people moved close to us we decided to organize a town, and I became our leader.  News of rebellion finally reached us. Going against England, betraying the king over a tax increase. A man here and there was killed by military men and people revolted.

I’ll admit, my ties with England are none. I grew up only hearing stories of the Mother Land. I haven’t even seen the sea that connects the two lands. But I’m a loyal man, and I know that this isn’t my rebellion. This isn’t my fight. When we get home I start the fire while Abigail goes down to the cellar to get food for supper. The fire starts up and fills our cabin with warmth.  My oldest chases my toddler and I grab him by the wrist and tell him to stop fooling around.

As I walk outside to milk the cows and bring the horse into the barn I think about the land I’ve raised my children on. The King has not stepped on this earth. I built my house here. John, my oldest, walks in and helps me carry the buckets back into the house. I pour myself a glass of warm milk and sit down next to the fire. Abigail hands me a plate, cornbread with butter, cheese, stewed cabbage. We must have run out of the deer I shot. I ask her if she would like me to go hunting tomorrow. She runs her hand over my head, and says that she needs me and John to ride into town to get a few things instead.

The next morning she has the horses packed before I’m even awake. I ask her if I need to milk the cows first. She says not to worry about anything, just try and be back before it’s too dark tonight. I wake John. The nearest town with enough shops to get everything Abigail wrote down for us is nearly a two hour ride. She packed a few things for us to sell: eggs, cheese, a few hats she and Katherine made. As we ride into town I can’t help but notice the increase in soldiers. In their red coats and stood around the streets. In thick English accents they talked about the king. We start at the general store. John runs right to the sweets and stares at them so longingly. I show the shop keeper what I have to sell that  Abigail packed for us. He says he’ll take them for store credit.

I tell the shop keeper what we need: jars, thread, needles, a bucket, fabric, white flour, sugar, tea, nails, paper, a pencil, rope, and chicken feed. John convinced me to get the sweets. One for everyone. As he gathers everything, I notice a small pamphlet with the title Common Sense. I ask him if I have enough store credit for the pamphlet. When he says no, I ask if he would mind if I owed him. I promised I’ll be back tomorrow with more eggs and cheese. He agreed and I asked why I didn’t have enough, it’s always been enough before. He told me about the tax on paper and tea and sugar. I took a step back. I had no idea the tax was that much higher.

John and I rode home slowly. We talked honestly about the rebellion. He said his friends were ready to join the army that is rumored to be led by George Washington. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said he didn’t believe them until he saw the soldiers in town. I told him I didn’t believe it either.

The next morning John and I went out to the woods. We set traps quietly. Guns ready to fire in case we saw any deer or squirrels. Neither of us told the family what we saw in town. We didn’t mention the tax increase, and I didn’t show Abigail the pamphlet. I didn’t have a chance to read it. We were able to shoot a few birds and a squirrel. When we got back home Abigail was sitting outside fuming. I asked her what was wrong. She told me there were soldiers in our house, telling her that we must allow them to stay there and that we have to feed them and let them stay as long as they needed. When I went inside they introduced themselves. They said they heard I was the leader of the settlement and thanked me for my loyalty to the King. Then the handed me a paper with the law that I cannot turn them away. I have John pack up the children’s things and tell him to go to their uncle’s house.

While Abigail skins the squirrel for dinner I hang the birds up in the cellar. I take a moment to sit down to read Common Sense. I don’t realize how much time has passed when I finish. When I go back upstairs, the pamphlets words cloud my head when Abigail hands me a plate. I look around at the soldiers who are unapologetically dirtying up my home.

The next day I send Abigail to have my brother bring the children back home so that I can leave to go back to town fully knowing my family is safe even with those soldiers still in my home. I ride into town and stop by the general store to pay off my debt. And then I ride to the town hall and tell them to send someone from Washington’s army to my town so that the men can sign up for the war.


© Copyright 2020 ChristinaNicole. All rights reserved.

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