Running Late

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 2: A Rushed Beginning; Pgs. 33-36

.     Several oak trees surrounded the small brick house. Their wet limbs stretched over its roof as though reaching for the dry inside. Had it been early autumn, acorns would have been raining down around the house and hitting the slate and thatch roof with solid thuds. The roof was made of half slate and half thatch because Mr. Underwood had become a good deal poorer in the last several years than he had once been and only had money to put slate over those areas that always seemed to leak. The leaks had stopped, and as it was early spring and not autumn, there were no acorns hitting the roof. Plymouth had nearly forgotten autumn in all the recent storms and bad weather. It was spring they all longed for, and it was spring that was coming. The town of Plymouth was only a half-mile away from the Underwood’s house, down a short country road that snaked through the woods and led quite suddenly into the town streets. The country house knew nothing itself of the town, for it was well-hidden and out of sight among the several oak trees.
.     Adrianna Underwood was sweeping. She was sweeping because she had been brought up well and knew that a house should not be left until the floors were swept – and her father had told her to sweep them anyway. And she did what she was told to do because she had been taught how to behave well, and generally she did behave well, for she was that sort of girl. She was ten years of age.
.     This morning, she had risen at the crack of dawn. When she had, she found that the rain had lessened, only pitter-pattering on the roof and making a quiet splash on the puddles outside. The air was crisp, and she knew it was going to be a good day. I can’t tell you how she knew this, but if you have ever woken up in the early morning air into a diminishing rain and increasing sunlight and known what a good day it was going to be, then I’m sure you know what Adrianna felt like. She had washed and dressed as soon as she had risen, putting on her simple, peach-colored dress with a teal-colored sash around it. That had been hours ago. Now the rain was gone completely, and beams of sunlight had taken its place among the trees, spilling through bows and limbs and lighting in patches on the ground. A morning thrush was singing outside, and the smell of baking bread came out through the open door.
.     The truth is that Mrs. Underwood had died nearly ten years ago, right after Adrianna was born, and Mr. Underwood had then left sailing the high seas. He had settled down in Plymouth, though as no one knew much of where he had come from and as he had become poorer, many of the townsmen and women looked at him with suspicion. He was too poor to have servants and yet rich enough to have his own land, and therefore Samuel Underwood had to be looked upon as a gentleman, though no one knew where he had gained the money and status to own the land. Mr. Underwood made it a point not to speak much about his past years of sailing. The reason for this was that he knew that the life of a sailorman was generally not one of keeping estates and raising a family and having tenants and setting up city shops or anything else that might be regular in the life of an Englishman. All Plymouth knew was that Mr. Underwood knew a lot about ships and docks and rigging and sails and things that any respectable landsman (and especially townsman) would know nothing about.
.     Yet Mr. Underwood knew there was such a thing as the respectable gentleman that could be found on the seas, and there were some of his old friends that knew so, too, and remembered. Adrian and Adrianna did not remember a thing about sailing the seas, as Adrian was only one when Captain Underwood became Mr. Underwood, and Adrianna just born. They had grown up around the docks, though, and knew as much about ships in harbor as a sailorman does about ships out at sea.
.     “Oh, I do wish we had more time,” said Adrianna as she turned from the window, putting down her broom and looking forlornly about the room.
.     “Oh, come along,” said Adrian, not unkindly. He was packing a white canvas sack, the same one he had used to bring his father dinner the night before. “We haven’t time, and there isn’t any,” He fingered the inside of the sack, which had been drying in front of the fire for some time. It was only very slightly moist now.
.     “Are we really going away?” asked Adrianna for the hundredth time that morning.

Audio Continuation of Story; Pgs. 36-38

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Joshua Reynolds on Conservative Cornerstones – Author of Children’s Books, Young Adult, Historical Fiction / Family Stories – Finding Conservative Thought in Olde Books. Check out my Authoring Conservatism Post. Look up my two books, The Williams House and Treasure on the Southern Moor in my bookstore!

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