Running Late

This is for those familiar with my book Treasure on the Southern Moor. To learn more about it, please visit my bookstore, or my Treasure on the Southern Moor site.

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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Quick Writing Update – Sneak Peek Preview!

Hello everyone,

I’m continuing to write the first draft of my third novel. As previously stated, it is a historical fiction novel set around the turn of the century. This draft I plan to have completed around mid-December. There is a YouTube video close to being published that gives a little tid bit of information on one of the scenes I’ve written, yet I thought I would post a story snippet also below! This comes from Chapter 3, and keep in mind, it’s a first draft!

.     Breakfast consisted of hot popovers, a dish called “toad in the hole”, toast, and mushrooms. It would have ordinarily been a wonderful breakfast, yet the children were anxious to be finished and making their way outside.
.     “Hurry up, Ellsworth,” said Brent half an hour later. “I was done ages ago.”
.     “I’m doing the best I can,” said Ellsworth. “Before we reach the seaside, you’ll all be wishing you had taken longer about breakfast.”
.     “I wonder if Father, Mother, and the others have reached the hospital yet,” said Heather.
.     “They probably have by now,” said Allison.
.     No one else said much about Mother and Father, as they were saying their prayers as instructed, and there wasn’t much else to say, and the more they could think about the outdoors, the less they would worry.
.     Breakfast finished, and a few last remarks said to the servants in an attempt to be polite, the children headed outside through the front door and into the gardens, taking a path that would lead them out to the hill country, and eventually to the seaside. Birds were singing close by, and the garden beds and flowers kept growing as though they hadn’t inkling about Mother’s illness. A few puddles still lay about from the previous night’s rain, yet they were quickly drying up, and most of the grass was now dry except for those areas that had remained in shade.
.     “I’m glad you talked the servants into packing a few sandwiches for our lunch,” said Christopher to Ellsworth. “It means we have all afternoon to be out, until tea-time, I suppose.”
.     “I rather think they don’t want us about,” said Ellsworth.
.     “There were very impolite to us if you ask me,” said Allison. “They treated us just as if we were all two years old.”
.     “Oh, it doesn’t matter,” said Ellsworth. “We should be fine until teatime, anyway.”
.     Bridget was feeling the bark of one of the garden trees, and Brent was trying to climb up its lowest branches. They stood for a few minutes there in the flower gardens, listening to the fountain splashing in the distance. Moss had grown around the base of the tree, and Bridget was just starting to pull at it when Ellsworth spoke up again.
.     “Let’s get started toward the seaside,” he said. “It will take us a few hours to get there, especially if we take a few breaks throughout. Besides,” lowering his voice a little, “I see that gardener in the distance, and he always seems grumpy around us – thinks we’re always messing up the garden beds.” He glanced at Bridget’s bit of work with the moss and began to wonder if the gardener was partially right. “Don’t pull the moss, Bridget,” he said aloud. “He might see it later and be annoyed with us all the more.”
.     They set out from the gardens, walking first at a very brisk pace. That is, it was the fastest Bridget could go without running, and it was somewhere around a comfortable, headstrong walk for Ellsworth, and somewhere in-between for the others. The gardens quickly disappeared behind them and looked much smaller, and before long, they were starting to ascend a few hills.
.     “At least we’re taking a more direct path this time,” said Ellsworth, and so they continued.
.     They stopped to rest three times along the way, and their last rest seemed to take some time, though as none of them had remembered to take a pocket watch along, they didn’t know for sure. All they could see was the sun slowly rising in the sky, though they had been instructed in times past not to look directly at it. There were a few streams that ran across the path they took, and they splashed their faces and waded their feet before moving on.
.     The smell of the sea eventually drew nearer, and finally, after crossing a ridge, they could see the sandy shore stretching out far below them. They found the same path they had gone down before and quickly descended, taking in the fresh sea air with deep, even breaths.
.     “Any sign of the others?” asked Heather as they came to the edge of the sand, taking their shoes and stockings back off to feel the sand with their toes.
.     “They don’t appear to be here, yet,” said Allison, “but those look like ships in the distance.”
.     “I think they wanted us to come to the harbor,” said Ellsworth, “but as I didn’t know how to get there, I thought we could follow it in from the beach.”
.     The sound of the waves could be heard lapping against the sandy shore, and they walked over to where they could pick up pebbles and rocks. They tried skipping them a few minutes and found that Ellsworth and Heather were the only two who were any good at it. Then, they set out to their right, keeping the beach to their left and walking along the sand. In the far distance, they could see many things that must have been the docks, and out at sea other small things that must have been the fishing ships, some of them probably quite large close up.
.     “It must be close to noon, now,” said Christopher. “I say, Ellsworth, what about that lunch that was packed us? We don’t have enough to share with the others, and I’m sure they’ll be eating something else on the docks.”
.     “Well, if you’re all ready for it,” said Ellsworth, “then I suppose we can have our dinner here.”
.     They opened the packs that had been sent them by the servants and divided the food up. There was enough for two sandwiches each, with extra bread and cheese and apples for any who needed more. After walking all that way and splashing their faces in water and playing in the sand, they were all quite hungry. Before they could stop themselves, they finished everything that they had brought along.

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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