Thanksgiving Day, 1885

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
On Thanksgiving Day, 1885, a teen makes the choice to runaway from her family home, all in the name of trying to protect them.

Submitted: April 22, 2016

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Submitted: April 22, 2016

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Thanksgiving Day, 1885

 

 

Thanksgiving Day, 1885

Today is Thanksgiving Day, and for the first time in my sixteen years I have nothing to be thankful for. As I write this short massage in you, my trusted and loyal journal, my hands are shaking uncontrollably. I am cold and ever so alone. Snow is beginning to fall from the sky, cold and wet and white, and I fear I will not live through the night. I am sitting in a doorway of a closed shop with only this tight dress that makes it hard to breathe to keep me warm.

Why I am sitting here along on Thanksgiving Night? You see, I have disgraced my family, I have betrayed them in the most shameful of ways. I do not know how to put into words what I have done. It is despicable. It is unspeakable. But most of all, it is heartbreaking to think about. Now I can see I did the right thing in running away. I know Mother would have never understood, nor would my family.

It does not matter now, anyway. I have entered a world, one where nothing is as glamours as I thought, or as nice. It is crawl and I have to fend for myself. I know if I go back home I would have to explain why I ran away, and when I did, I know they would have disowned me. I would not blame them for doing so, I know I would have done the same.

Right now as my family enjoy a warm Thanksgiving dinner, hosting a party in my honour, they will soon realise I am gone, and be disgraced. I hope one day they will understand why I did what I did, but I fear they will not. Tomorrow my body will be found and the reason for my running off will come to light.

 

 

I stop writing to wipe away the cold tear that runs down my cold cheek. I am unable to carry on writing at this time; the memories that are coming to mind are too painful to think about. I close my journal and place it next to me on the stone step than wrap my arms myself to keep as much warm as I can. Resting my head on my arms and closing my eyes I can do nothing to keep the memories away.

 

~~~~~~~

 

4 hours ago

 

Miss, your mother would like to speak with you in her personal parlour.” My maid, Ella, said walking into my bedchamber, her English accent heavy as she pants for breath. Her eyes wise beyond her years burning into my back.

“What does she wish to speak to me about?” I asked, not turning to face her.

Ella walked up to stand behind me, brushing my hair behind her back as she met my eyes in the looking glass before us. “Look how beautiful you are in that dress.” A smile tugged at the corner of her lips.

I did my best not to let the blush form on my cheeks. No one had ever called me beautiful before. With brown eyes and dark brown hair that came just below my shoulders and not a single good-looking feature on me, all bachelors look to the other girls in town to take as their wives. Not that had ever bothered me before, but I have seen it concern my parents, with only me to marry and the youngest of their children, my father was doing his utmost to get me married. And it was getting to that time for me to marry.

As of late I have captured the eye of Mr Davis, a handsome and wealthy bachelor that had just moved back into city after moving away to expand his business across America. I have met with him over three times already and I would be lying if I said I did not find him interesting to talk to. And he is handsome.

Ella’s voice brought me back to myself, banishing all thoughts from mind. “I do not know, Miss. She just requested you in her parlour right away.”

Thank you, Ella.” I said, dismissing her. She bowed her head and walked out of the bedchamber, closing the door behind her. Once she was gone I checked myself in the looking glass than left my chambers, heading down the many stairs to the main floor where Mother's parlour was located.

I knocked on her wooden door and waited to be called in. “Enter,” I heard Mother's high-pitched voice call. There was something about it that felt warm and dreamy today, and that filled me with dread and fear. Taking a deep breath, I pushed open the door and entered.

Ella said you wished to speak with me.” I said, closing the door and stepping deeper into the room to stand in front of Mother’s writing desk, which was littered with accepted letters for Mother’s Thanksgiving Dinner Party later this evening.

Oh, yes. You father and I have some news in which to tell you. Mr Davis will be around later today, he has taken quite an interest in you over the past few weeks, been asking about you and taking every opportunity to talk to you.”

Asking about me in what way?” I asked, although by the tone of her voice, I already had a feel I knew why he was asking about me.

Mother gave me a look, one that told me to stop being silly. “Mr Davis is one of the wealthiest bachelors in the city, and is at an age he wishes to marry. He has taken a keen interest in you, Isabel; I think he may even wish to court you tonight.”

Mother-” I began to say but I was cut off.

No ifs or buts, Isabel. Your future is set. You will meet with Mr Davis today and then accept him proposal when he asks you.” Mother stood then, looking tall and powerful. “That is the end of this discussion. Now, if you will excuse me, I have much work to do. Mr Davis will be here in an hour, be ready.”

With that Mother went back to her work. I turned to leave but her voice stopped me before I could reach the door. “Send in Hannah before you meet with Mr Davis.”

Yes, Mother.” I said, leaving her room and closing the door.

Mr Davis was what I wished from in a man: he was rich so he could support me and our children, he was handsome, cleaver, and most of all, he was kind and had compassion. So why did it feel me with sickness to marry him?

As I felt back to my room, all I could think about was how I did not want to marry him. And to do so would be unkind of me, he deserved someone that would give their heart to him, not someone who would marry him simply because her Mother told her to do so.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

2 hour later

 

Would you take a walk with me, Miss Rivers?” Mr Davis asked, giving me a bright smile. I would have been lying if I said he was not handsome, with enchanting and bewitching smile. With dark hair and green eyes, creamy skin and tall build, he would make a perfect husband and would give any woman beautiful children. Any woman would be happy to be standing in my shoes, and tied to remember this as I smiled up at him.

I would like nothing more.” I answered, accepting his arm. That was a lie, I would like something more than to be standing here with him, I would like to be in my chambers alone thinking about all that was to come.

We walked out of the house to take a turn around the garden. Even in late fall the gardens are breath taking. Mr Davis talked the whole time, filling the silence with his musical voice. I smiled and nodded, but I do not listen to what he is saying.

When I revised the invited to the dinner tonight in honour of Thanksgiving. I could not miss this chance to talk to you once more.” He said now. “When I am away from you I cannot breathe; it is a funny feeling I have for you. When I first saw you standing talking with Miss Mayor I knew I have to talk to you.”

At this point we had come to the stone bench that sat beneath the old willow tree, I sat down, glad to be off of my feet. “Would you like to sit with me?” I patted the seat next to me, looking up at him.

He gave me another smile as he shook his head. “I am afraid I cannot. I will have to keep this visit short until tonight; I have only come around to ask you a question.”

At his words I could do nothing to keep my heart from beating fast inside of me. My whole body began to shiver with fear and with hope.

Mr Davis keeled down before me and took my hands in his. His green eyes looked deep into my brown ones. “Miss Rivers, over the past few weeks my interest in you has taken me by surprise and I find myself thinking about you all the time, not a day goes past that I cannot get you off my mind.” I cannot help the smile or the blush from coming to face, not matter how much I tried.

And I find myself thinking of you, as well.” It was not a lie, I often find myself thinking of him, but not in the way I led him to believe. I do not love him; I do not even care for him. My heart belonged to another, one that was not wealthy or what my parent would think suitable. Nevertheless, I gave my heart to him. I often caught myself thinking of how I did not wish to marry Mr Davis. I would love nothing more than to marry him, but I knew Mother would not understand. I knew he would never be able to look after me the way Mr Davis could, and it had been Mother’s dream to bring both the Davis family and the River family together. She had her heart set on me marrying Mr Davis.

Miss Rivers, would you do me the honour of marrying me?”

Could I be able to sacrifice my happy for that of my Mother’s? Should I have to? Do I want to? All of those questions, and more, kept going around and around in my head, making me light headed. Luckily for me I was sitting down, because if I hadn’t been, I knew I would have fainted.

“Miss Rivers?” Mr Davis asked, reminding me I have a question to answer.

As I looked into his deep green eyes I knew of my answer. I knew what I had to do.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

30 minutes later

 

You refused him?” Ella asked, standing in the doorway of my bedchamber, looking at me with disappointment in her dark blue eyes.

I looked back at her, tears in my own eyes. “I had no other choice, Ella. If he found out about me, what I did, he would never forgive me. I would be disgraced. I cannot bring him into my life, not until this is sorted out.” I said, pointing to my rounded belly. “Mr Davis needs someone that would love him, I am not that person.”

“You will learn to love him, Miss. When your parents find out…” She begun to say but I stopped her.

“I cannot learn to love another. My heart is already filled with love; I cannot fit one more person into it, for if I did then it would burst open.”

She stood above me for a long time, looking down on me with pity. “You must understand. This boy that you have given your heart to, is he worth it? You may lose all of your family, be disowned. Is it worth it?”

Ella was the only one that knew about the other one- she does not know his name, that is much too dangerous, for her and for him- and that beautiful star filled night when I gave him my heart and body to him over four months ago. Since then I have not heard from him and I am left picking up the pieces of my life, and sorting out the mess he had made. Even so, I cannot get him off of my mind.

“Miss, look at me.” She said, sitting down on the bed next to me, taking my face in her hands and looking deep into my soul, the deepest anyone had ever looked before. “Do you not think it time to forget him? It has been four months, and still no word.”

I stand up and push her aside, discussed at her. “How can I do that? He is all I think about. My belly is filled with butterflies whenever I think about that night. And I do not care if I lose all of my family for him, he is worth it, and always will be.”

I heard Ella sigh as she stood up. “You have made your bed, now you must lie in it.” She walked over to me, putting her hands on my shoulders. “I will help you in every way I can, but I will not lose my job over this. I have a family I need to provide for. If you are not careful you will be you one day.”

I thought about what she said, thinking everything over. It was true, if I lose my family how was I meant to bring up my child? I would have to get a job, work in the only place I can. But I knew how long the hours of a maid were, after all, I have had a maid since the day I was born. I knew Ella never saw her daughters, she missed them deeply: I saw it written on her face. Would I be able to do this job and bring up a child? Alone. Ella was married, she had a husband somewhere whom helped with rising the children. I would be alone, just myself and my baby.

“I do not wish to overstep my mark, but I would think about this long and hard. This is the rest of your life. He will ask you once more, tonight at dinner. Accept.”

I shook my head. “I cannot accept, Ella. Why do you not understand that?”

You parents will be disappeared in you. For who would wish to take you as their wife now?” she gave me a weak smile. “You deserve better than this, do not forget that.”

That was the question I had been asking myself for the past four months, who would want me now? I was no longer pure or innocent. And was that not what all men wish to have? A wife that had never been touched before, for her husband to take her body of the night of their wedding. I cannot give that. Not to Mr Davis, or anyone. I gave mine away to a boy that does not care.

“Mother thinks Mr Davis will not ask my hand in marriage until tonight at dinner. I have made up my mind, Ella. I know what I wish to do.” I said, standing tall. My mind is made. “I cannot accept his hand. He will find out about me, and my unborn child, and God only knows what he will do then. If anyone finds out my family will be disgraced, and I cannot have that. With this in mind, I know what I need to do. I need to go, get away from here before anyone else finds out.”

 “Go? Where do you wish to go?” Ella walked over to the bed and sat down, her head must be spinning. “What would your mother do if she found out?”

I walked over and sat next to her, taking her hands in mine. Hers were cold and dry- true hands of a maid. Despite only being five years my senior she was wise beyond her years. I thought that was because she had seen more things that I, experienced more of life then I would ever.

You cannot tell my parents, Ella. Promise me you will not tell me?” I pleaded.

Tell them what?” she asked, looking worried all of a sudden, and she had good reason to.

They will try to stop me if they ever found out. It is important that you do not tell them. Promise me?”

I promise. Tell me what you are thinking?” she said after we both had been silent for some time.

I took a deep breath, readying myself. “I am planning on running away. Tonight. As soon as the sun is down, I will run and never look back.” Ella opened her mouth to say something but I stopped her. “Do not try to talk me out of it; I have made up my mind. Nothing you say or do can stop me.”

Ella did not say anything for a long time. She just sat at the end of my bed looking at me, looking deep into my soul thought my eyes. “If there is nothing I can do to stop you from leaving, what can I do to help you?”

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

1 hour later

 

As soon as night fell over the city, Ella and I walked out into the gardens, being quiet as to not attract any unwanted attention. We went over to the garden gate at the very back of the grounds, the one that had stopped being used over three years ago when the new grand gate was added.

“Are you sure I cannot help in any other way?” Ella asked, handing me the small bag in her hands- inside was enough money to get me to New York and something to eat. I have also put my trusted journal in there as well.

I am sure. I have put you in enough danger as it is. I should never have told you about my plan.” I gave her a tight hug. Saying goodbye to my maid was harder than I thought possible, I did not know how close I was to her, or how much I would miss her when it was time for me to say goodbye.

How long are you planning on being away?” she asked then as we broke away.

Just a few months. I will be back as soon as it is safe. And after I have had my child and gave her a good home, one that would treat her as she should.” I did not know what I was having, but a girl I wished for.  “Expect me back long before the spring.” I promised.

I walked away then, not turning back as I heard Ella call 'goodbye' to me, I did not turn back when I heard the gate door close, and I was too far away from my home when my mother let out a heartbreaking scream when she found out I had gone.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

As the memories fade away I do not regret my plan to run. I know if my parents found out I had refuse to marry Mr Davis they would have disowned me and I am more than sure they would have done more than that if they found out the real reason I had ran away. Right now I know they know I am gone, and I know Ella has told them the cover up story. I was to take a quick walk of the gardens to clear my head before the party and was to meet Ella in my chambers. Only when she arrived she found a handwritten note from me explaining that I had ran away because I was too scared to get married.

I do not know how my parents had taken the news. Just as I imaged they would, I presume. I just hope Ella had not gotten into trouble because of me.

I was meant to have gone straight to New York from my house but there was not a way for me to get there until morning, and since I do not have enough money for me to stay in a hotel- I also fear if I do someone will recognise me and let my parents know I am there- I will have to stay on the streets until the next carriage comes.

I wish morning would come soon, my very bones are hurting from all the shivering I am doing, and no matter how or where I sit the wind and the snow still managed to get to me. I wish I had let Ella pack me a wrap or a blanket, anything to keep the chill from me.

It takes sleep awhile to come to me but it does. And along with the blissful darkness of sleep comes the blackness of death.

Just before sunrise, I take my last breath and my soul leaves this crawl world behind.

My body was never discovered from its hiding place in the back doorway of the abandoned shop, and if it was my parents never got word of my death. I am glad of that. For if they did they would have known the reason I gave them and the reason for my running away were different.

If I had known I was to die that night, I think I would have done a few things differently, but it is too late to think about that now.

This is my last message to this world, the last time you will ever hear of me. I do not know why I told you my story; all I know is that I needed it to be said. I have done that. You can make up your own mind if I did the right thing or not. I do know mind.

You know my story now. You know my name, my past, and you know what became of me. That is all you need to know. I guess this is where we part ways. Goodbye, old friends.

 

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A/N- I would just like to say thank you very much for reading this short story, I hope you liked it. Please don't forget to leave me a comment with any suggests/feedback you might have.

 

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