Saturday, August 6, 2016

Elise Brinston, April 2, 2016: The Final Chapter

Note to the readers: Unfortunately, I will not be able to continue The Antique Legacy in the way that I originally planned to.  I have crafted a graceful end to the story with this final chapter.  I don't know how many people still even check to see if there have been updates, but if so, I would like to apologize to you for not completing the legacy in the way I had intended.  This story was a large part of my life for a very long time, but now I think it is time for me to focus my time on other things in my life. I have really enjoyed the ride and developing my skills as a writer and I want to thank you all for riding along with me and (hopefully!) enjoying the story.  The wonderful comments that have been left here over the years have meant so much to me, and I hope that everyone will carry a piece of this story in their heart forever, as do I. :)  That being said, I hope you all enjoy the final chapter of The Antique Legacy. <3 Take care!


April 2, 2016
Dear Diary,

     Hi, my name is Elise (I'm not really sure how else to begin!).
     I've never kept a diary before, but I decided to start today because we had a substitute teacher today in AP French class who randomly urged us to keep a diary because one day we'll "treasure" the thoughts we once had as teenagers.  Don't ask me why she said this -- I really have no freaking idea.  It was so random and out of place -- she didn't even say it in French! But there was something so nostalgic in her voice when she said it, that I couldn't disregard those words of hers (probably unlike most of my classmates, who only care about getting out of class early).
    So, here I am! I hope I'm doing it right!

     AP French is actually my favorite class.  My mom says that our ancestors were French, so admittedly that's partly why I like it so much.  I've also done extremely well in that class, which helps! French just comes naturally to me.  I mean it is in my blood.
     A lot of things have been really crazy and unstable this year, but French and my amazing teacher, Mademoiselle Lucienne, have been a consistent rock in my life where I have been able to find some peace.

     Actually, it was during AP French when we had a schoolwide lockdown last month.  Our class was in the middle of taking a test when a woman's voice on the loudspeaker notified us that an armed intruder was in the building, walking the halls of our school.  It was the longest forty-five minutes of my life.  A couple of my brave classmates turned off the lights and pushed a desk against the door.  I felt frozen in place for a couple of seconds, but then I followed everyone else behind Mademoiselle Lucienne's desk, where we all huddled together on the floor. A few of my classmates started crying. Mademoiselle Lucienne pursed her lips and closed her eyes.  I hugged my knees to my chest and tried to feel anything but numb.

     I  remember thinking, in the tension-filled silence, about how I would probably die, but that I only wanted to remember the good things in my final moments.  I thought about hugging my mom, about the wonderful, late-night conversations with my dad, about celebrating the win of my four-by-800 meter relay with my track teammates.  All my best memories were with my favorite people.  
     I was really sad because I had just gotten into a nasty argument with my sister, Marie, and I'd said some terrible things I didn't mean.  I didn't want that to be the last conversation we had.  At that moment, I would have given anything for one last chance to make amends.

     The police saved all of our lives that day, arresting the intruder before he could really harm anyone.  Honestly, I would argue that he harmed us all anyway, because even though we escaped without a scratch, the emotional scars run deep.
     I now experience a lot of anxiety and that's actually another reason why I want to start keeping a diary.  I think it will help me sort through my thoughts and work through these issues.

     Now, I'm always so cautious to speak to people nicely and as happily as possible, because what if, for some reason, it is the last chance I have to speak with them? I want the good to live on, and not the bad.  
     I guess I'm trying to say that I learned a lot more than French in French class, and I couldn't be more grateful for each and every lesson. :)
     Granddaddy passed away a couple of weeks ago.  These past two years were really hard for him health-wise.  Things were difficult, not only for him, but for Nanna and Mom.  Mom drove to the hospital every day to be there with him.  She was nearly always by his side, watching and waiting to comfort him and see if he needed anything.
     I'm grateful for the opportunity I had to say goodbye to Grandaddy.  Marie and I visited him one night and told him how much we loved him.  He told us that he loved us too and he gently placed Marie's hand on his cheek.

          Mom told me that one night while she was visiting him, Granddaddy sat up in bed and hugged the space in front of him -- as if he were hugging a person.  I believe that he did hug someone.  I've been told that he was very close to his parents.
     Granddaddy lived much longer than the hospice staff told us he would.  In fact, according to them, he lived for nearly a week "too long".  Mom told me we come from a line of strong hearts.
     It's really hard for me to look at the obituary because I look at it and think, "That's my granddaddy.  He was really special.  Didn't you know that? Didn't you know him?"  
     But in my heart of hearts, I know that all the other people in the obituary must have been special, too.
     At the funeral, there was a slideshow of chronological images from Granddaddy's life.  It was beautiful, and I couldn't be more proud of him.  Those pictures are truly a slice of his life, put on display for all to celebrate and admire.
     Sometimes, it makes me wonder about my ancestors.  Who were they?  I'll bet they sure were special.  I wish I could have met them.

     Before he died, Granddaddy gave me an old family tree that he had constructed over the years, and it goes all the way back to a woman named Elizabeth Laurier in the 1700s.  Granddaddy once told me that his grandmother had diaries from our ancestors, but unfortunately, they were destroyed in a terrible house fire.  Grandaddy had the privilege of reading diaries from the first five generations in our recorded family history before the diaries were destroyed.  He told us a few stories about them over the years, but the only one I remember was about a woman named Antoinette Barnes.  Grandaddy told me she was made famous because she disguised herself as a man and played the cello to perfection. Apparently, she won many, many awards for her expertise for playing the cello, but once she declared that she was a woman in disguise, she was shunned by many in Charleston.  Sometimes I wonder if her family supported her.  I hope they did!

    I wish that I would have asked Granddaddy more about the diaries when he was still alive, but I was too young to really care much.  It makes me so sad because now I would give just about anything for the chance to read my ancestors' journals.  I wonder if my future descendants will one day read this? What a crazy thought!

     I wish my ancestors' lives could have been celebrated like my grandfather's was at his funeral.  I know they must have been amazing people too, and something tells me they did not get the recognition they deserved.
     Next summer, Mom promised to take Marie and me to Detroit to visit the house where  Elizabeth Laurier once lived.  Mom says the house is one of the few still preserved from Elizabeth Laurier's time period.  Unfortunately, the house is no longer in our family, but it is able to be toured, and don't worry: I will be taking a lot of pictures!  The house has been remodeled for minor changes a few times, but the one thing that has not changed and is supposedly what the house is known for is a clock that Elizabeth Laurier purchased, which is said to have never stopped ticking.
     I guess time never really dies.



*The Antique Legacy*
Elise Brinston

Monday, July 4, 2016

Antoinette Clancy, Chp. 4, Gen. 5, 1801

Dearest Diary,

     I suppose it has been a while -- perhaps much too long, since I last wrote. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me, my old friend! There is simply so much to say.

     Bartholomew left us recently. Well, he did not quite have a say in the matter, as it was our father who ordered him to stay at his mansion for a couple of months. Father claims that it is key for Bartholomew to live at the Barnes Mansion for the time being so that Father can teach advocacy more effectively; and, therefore, Bartholomew will be able to learn advocacy more effectively.  Mother was not supportive of the idea, but Bartholomew reluctantly agreed to go.  
     Bartholomew later confided in Mother that the only real reason why he wanted to go was because he was preparing to stand up to Father and rebel against the pressure to follow in Father's footsteps as the next advocate.  I have a feeling this has only made Mother worry more.
     The day Bartholomew left, we just locked eyes and stood in silence for longer than socially reprimanded.  

     "Farewell, my Nettie," Bartholomew said softly.

     "Goodbye, Bartholomew.  Take care."
     I wanted to say more.  Oh, how I wanted to say so much more!  But neither of us know how.  We haven't known how since last spring -- I have been unable to forget the sharp words he spoke to me, and we have both avoided conversations with each other since.
     How I miss him.  Even before he left the house, I missed him.  I miss the person he was, but is no longer.  
     Forgive me, Diary, but I must change the subject to something that will make me smile.

     Diary, you would not believe how successful I have been with my plan to master the cello!  You see, dressing up as a boy has truly paid off!

     At first, I was just so afraid that the tutor Mother and Ivan hired would catch on to me, or that Bartholomew or Franklin would rat me out.  But Mister Jeremiah has become quite fond of me, and he is very pleased with my ability.  Besides, Franklin never pays attention and Bartholomew rarely attended lessons because Father had him start seeing another tutor because having piano skills is more desirable or respectable or something of the sort (I think he just does not trust Mother's judgment).  I think that both of my brothers have been so wrapped up in their own lives that they have forgotten me.  

     A few months ago, this would have hurt me, but now, I'm almost grateful.

     Forgive me, Diary, but I must go now. It is time for my lesson, and I need to put on my costume! I promise it will not be long before I return.

     Your friend,



     Anne was painting when she heard the notes floating down the stairs.  They glided into the study and swirled around her ears -- such a beautiful sound that she paused from her work and closed her eyes.


     She was tempted to stop him and ask him where he learned to play like that, but he appeared so caught up in his melody that Anne scrapped the thought.  Soon, trying to stop the mysterious young man seemed like the worst idea in the world as the music swept around her and brought tears to her eyes.

     This skinny young man with the glasses, this man with the feminine fingers -- he reminded Anne of one of her own.  Somehow, she felt connected to this scrawny, yet graceful figure as he strummed each perfect note.  It was like she knew him, but he was just a stranger.  Well, he was, but the music was not.  The music felt like a part of her soul.
     And then, the unthinkable happened.  The young man came out of his trance and met Anne's eyes.

     Simply the oddest expression came over the young man's face!  His face seemed to twist into a mixture of a polite smile and a horrified wince.  He immediately stopped playing and appeared rather uncomfortable.

     "I-I-I'm so sorry, Moth-- Madame," he stuttered in a higher voice than Anne expected to hear.  "I-I..."
     "Oh, my heavens, please do not apologize, young man!" Anne walked up to him.  

"Your music was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard in my life!"
"I think you are something amazing.  I do not know who you are, but I know beautiful sounds when I hear them, and I have not heard nearly enough of them.  Please, enlighten me.  Who are you, and how  ever did you learn to play like that?

"Thank you. Uh, and my name is An-- Anderson.  Uh, Anderson Worthington.  And I, uh, I am friends with Franklin."

"Oh," Anne replied.  "I'm glad to hear that.  It's just that I'm very concerned about him.  I did not know that he had any friends.  He's been very troubled, but as his friend, I'm sure you know that."
"Um, yes. Yes, of course.  I am aware."
"Anderson, you seem like a very kind young man.  I am surprised that I have not met you before. You certainly look very familiar. "

     "Well, Madame Clancy, my Father has suffered a, um, bankruptcy in his business.  I, uh, can no longer afford to pay for my old tutor anymore.  Franklin told me about Mister Jeremiah, and the cost is much more, um, affordable.  In order to help my family, I-I had to sell my own cello. Franklin said I could have my lessons here, with him, and that I could share his cello.  I will do anything to be the best, but if you do not want me come here anymore, I will not. I, um, I am sorry."

     "Anderson, you are very thoughtful and ambitious.  Of course you are welcome here.  You will always be welcome here. I have no doubt that you will be the best."
     "Thank you, Madame Clancy.  It really means so much to me."
     "Say, Anderson, have you met my daughter, Antoinette?"
     "Uh... No. I... cannot say that I have."
     "I would love for you to meet her.  You remind me a lot of her.  I think you would really enjoy her company.  When she was a child, she wanted to play the cello and I think she would love to hear about the cello from someone who is so passionate."
     "Well... Um, it would be a pleasure to meet her sometime."
     "I wonder if she is in the attic.  I asked her to look for something for me up there today.  I can go and get her if you would like."

     Anderson chuckled nervously. "Oh, no, Madame Clancy.  Please do not bother.  I must get going soon, anyway, and I do not want to rush through meeting your daughter.  Thank you so much for the kind words and for allowing me to continue my lessons here at your mansion."

     "I understand, Anderson," Anne said, turning to leave.  "I hope I will see you around here again soon.  Please never give up on your dream to be the best.  Do whatever it takes to follow your dream!"


     Antoinette stood in the room Anne and Ivan shared, gazing at her reflection in her mother's mirror.  Anne, Ivan, Franklin, Millicent, and Agnes were all eating supper in the dining room, but Antoinette told them she was feeling ill and had lost her appetite.  It was true, but not the real reason why she was skipping supper.

     If I had been born a boy, I would not have to sneak around and lie like this.  Nettie studied her features in the mirror.  Her beautiful long eyelashes, her soft long locks, her rosy red cheeks.  All of them fought against her aspirations and forced her to cover up the things that made her who she was so she could follow her heart.
     I'm lying to everyone, but maybe I'm lying to myself, too.  Maybe I'm doing myself a disservice by wearing that hat and mens' clothing.  Maybe I should not be covering up who I really am.  
     Nettie almost stopped.  She almost reconsidered what she was about to do -- and what she had done so many times in the past few months in order to continue her lessons with Mister Jeremiah.  Almost.
     Shaking her head as if the thoughts were crazy, Nettie opened her mother's dresser drawer and fingered Anne's small pouch of coins.  Mother was talking about visiting the tailor to be fit for a new dress.  Nettie bit her lip and slipped some of the coins into her corset.  Head hung low, she quietly trudged out of the room and went up to bed.


*The Antique Legacy*
Antoinette Clancy

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Antoinette Clancy, Chp. 3, Gen. 5, 1800

~Spring, 1800~

     Antoinette couldn't sleep.  It was quite the untimely hour, but she was not fatigued.  She just had a restless feeling.  There was something that needed to be done.

     Antoinette sighed.  Time had passed, indeed, but she still had dreams.  Aspirations.  And she needed to move forward.  She had spent hours sitting at the top of the attic steps, listening closely to her brothers' cello sessions, straining for the tutor's every word, closing her eyes as each painfully timid note floated up to her (the boys were absolutely terrible at playing the instrument, and had no confidence, to boot).

     She spent hours at night while everyone was asleep, stealing Bartholomew's notes (Franklin did not bother himself with the chore of paying attention) and song pieces to try to learn on her own.  It may have been difficult, but with her brother's neat handwriting and her memory of the tutor's words, a tenacious Antoinette taught herself how to play.
     But even though she was capable of that great feat, she knew that it would not be enough to become a great cellist.  She needed someone to help her.  She needed feedback.  She had an idea.  Another plan.

     "Franklin?" She whispered.  "Franklin, wake up.  I need your help."
     A muffled groan.

     "Antoinette?  You should not be awake now!  The spirits could attack you!" 
     "Stop being ridiculous.  I really wish you would cease this... this utter rubbish about spirits and ghosts!  Whatever you've been doing in that forest--"
     "What do you want, anyway?  Did you wake me up just to scold me?  Because if so, just leave me be.  I am trying to sleep."
     "I need your help with something.  Please wake Bartholomew and meet me in the music room.  I want you to see something."

     After a little more convincing, Franklin and Bartholomew finally agreed to follow Antoinette to the music room.
     "Franklin.  Bartholomew.  This is something that I've been working on for a few years.  When you two were having your cello sessions, I tried to learn along with you by listening from the top of the steps.  I stole your music when you went to bed and I played by myself at night.  I want you to listen to me play.  Please."

 Hope is a little lemon-drop candy

 It might go along with a touch of tea

A hint of sweet in a bitter sea

It will bring a smile back to thee.

    It was a sweet, melancholy tune.

     "Nettie... that's all very well and good, but...  I mean, it's very impressive, but..."

     "W-what do you mean, 'but'?" Antoinette's heart sank.
     "We all know good old Bart doesn't know what he's talking about, Nettie.  I think you did a nice job, and it seems like you have some talent, but who on Earth cares?"  Franklin laughed.

     Antoinette shot a glance of ice at Franklin.
    "You know what, Franklin?  Just leave.  I have not the slightest clue why I even invited you down here.  And you know what?  Even if you don't care about my playing, I do!  So just go back up to bed and obsess about ghosts just a little more!"
     But Franklin only laughed and barely budged.

     "Look, Nettie.  I think what you have done is impressive, too, but Franklin has a point.  Even though it's evident that you have some skill, what could you do with it?  I know you have done much sewing with Mother, so why don't you just forget about this instrument and work on that instead?"

     "Just forget about the instrument?  Just forget?  Have you lost your mind?"
     Antoinette received a blank stare.
     "I love that instrument.  And I am not going to forget about it.  And you know what else?  I'm disappointed in you.  I thought that you would be there for me.  I have done this all by myself, and I was just hoping that you would be supportive of me, since no one else is!"

     "But it is just a trinket!  There's more to life than that.  I would support you if you chose to do something more productive--"
     "No, Bartholomew!  It is not just a trinket!  It is music.  It is love.  It is my way of showing the world that I am just as talented or even more talented than you are!  I am sick and tired of you two always getting everything while I am forced to follow a specific life expectation of cooking and sewing.  I am fully able to do whatever you can.  In fact, I think I can do more."

     "You think I have freedom, Antoinette?  You think I get to do what I want?  You are absolutely wrong!  I go over to Father's where he forces me to study book upon book about law and advocacy.  I hate it.  And you know that.  I've spent hours telling you about the stars, and how much I love gazing at the above, and Father would never accept that.   You are still innocent from Father.  Count yourself lucky to live in a world where you are safe and of peace of mind.  You still don't know what he did to our family."

     "Well, tell me already so I can join your worthless, ridiculous little pity party!"  Antoinette screamed.

     "Father... Well, he cheated on Mother.  And I witnessed it when we were very young."

     "And, Nettie, that's the real reason why we left.  I did not want to tell you, but if it helps you understand me a little better, and why I have such a grudge against him..."


     "You know, Bartholomew?"  Antoinette said slowly, voice trembling,  "That's all very well and good, but... I mean, it's very impressive, but... in the end, if you truly cared, you would support me no matter what happened to you, or Mother, or us.  You would support me no matter how important the cello is to you, because you know how important it is to me."

     "Bartholomew, I have always believed in you."  She turned and walked away.


     Things seemed to be going well for Anne.  She was finally happy at last.  Truly happy.  She did not feel like she was lying to herself, like when she had been married to Antoine.

     She knew her children were being brought up to become very nice young men and women, thanks to Ivan's entrance into her life.  Anne still shuddered at the thought of poor Bartholomew trudging along to his father's, but she took pride in knowing that he at least spent most of his time away from Antoine's.

     Sometimes, Anne wondered about the old lemon-drop house.  Who was taking care of it now?  Ah, how the times change...
    Antoinette entered the room, looking a touch troubled, and Anne shifted over to make room for her daughter to sit down.

     "Mother, how I have looked up to you!"
     Anne, touched, smiled.  "Me?  But whatever could you mean by that?"

     Antoinette looked away.  "Mother, I am nearly sixteen years old.  I am old enough to take on the truth.  I want to hear it from you, and I would like you to be completely honest with me.  Please."
     "Anything, my dear.  Anything you ask, you shall hear the truth from me."

     "I want to know what really happened the night you took us and left Father."

     "Oh!"  Anne was shocked, but she knew that her daughter was too intelligent for any 'dancing around the subject'.
     "Well, Antoine and I had been having some difficulties getting along.  You see, I was extremely upset with his treatment of me, but mostly of you.  Franklin, too.  All he cared about was Bartholomew, and carrying on the family name.  And, of course, having me behave like he believed I should."

     "He once told me that he would find another wife if I continued acting in a manner that was inconsistent with his wishes.  That's exactly what he did, in a way.  That night... I found him with another woman.  It was the final straw.
     "I did not want to tell you because I wanted you to remember him in the best spirit possible.  But since you want only the truth, there you have it."

     "Mother, you are so strong.  You did not let him control you.  You did something that made you a hero."

     "I'm flattered you feel that way, dear, but..."

     "No, Mother.  You did something so admirable.  Instead of letting him control you, you took charge of your own decisions.  You did something all by yourself, without anyone's help.  You didn't have anyone, but that didn't matter to you."

     "Maybe you'll see it one day, Mother.  But you are my hero.  You have taught me to be a fighter."

     "Antoinette, always fight for what you believe in.  You are such an intelligent young woman and I know you have so much more potential than sewing and cooking could ever offer."

     "You're right, Mother.  You're right."


     A rather mysterious figure stood outside the Clancy Mansion.  Straightening the glasses, the figure started for the abode.

     Clearly nervous, the figure climbed up the steps, fidgeting with those baggy brown trousers.

     The figure crossed the foyer and headed for the steps.

     It seemed to take an eternity to reach the top.

     Franklin seemed to be arguing with the tutor about something when the figure finally turned towards them.
    "Excuse me, sir," the figure said with a very strained attempt at a deep voice.

     "I, uh, heard you might be able to tutor me.  I am quite the talented cellist, better than my friend, Franklin, here."


*The Antique Legacy*
Antoinette Clancy