Thursday, July 5, 2012

Anne DeCuir, Chp.7, Gen. 4, 1783






 NOTE: Contains past views of women and their worthBy no means do I support these views or believe in them! I have included them in this story because it is part of U.S. history. 
**************************************************************************** 





~May, 1783~
Dear Diary,

     So many things have happened recently -- I do apologize for not writing about them sooner.  Life, for me, has taken a complete turn for the better and I cannot believe how things are turning out!  England has finally agreed to end all hostilities or violence in America -- we can finally rest assured that America is our nation for good!  And more recently, in April, General George Washington stopped officers from the Continental army from challenging the authority of Congress.  Apparently, the officers felt unfairly treated and did not receive money for their hardships.  General George Washington, however, made sure that they would not challenge the rule of Congress.  I am usually not interested in political happenings, but I did find this a bit interesting.

     I will break the news to you now...  Would you believe me if I said I am off to travel to Charles Town, South Carolina -- yes, the very place I was born -- to live with my newly wedded husband?
     I told you that you would not believe me!  In just a few hours, he will be coming to fetch me, and I must say my final goodbyes to this house, Auntie Abigail, and my life here.  I am going to begin a new life, once again!
     Forgive me for being rude, Diary.  I suppose it is only fair that I share with you every single detail about my new husband!

     It all started a month ago.  I was still nineteen (and I will be turning twenty soon).  I had gone to visit that beautiful place (the place that taught me to come out of my silence), just like I normally did.  I had been visiting at least once a week.  It's just a wonderful place.  So peaceful.  I even started writing about it.  I do so love writing; though, it is hard to be published due to the fact that I am female.
     Anyway, I was at my secret sanctuary, when someone behind me coughed.

 
      For a moment, I just stood there, not turning around.  Mostly, I think I was frozen in fear.  I never see other people come to my secret place.  But the man cleared his throat a second time, and, slowly, I turned to face him.

 
     "Amazing.  Simply odd.  I've never seen a woman on her own, so far away from the village before."  The man smirked.
     "Really? Well, I have never seen a man come to this part of the woods before.  I guess you see something new every day."  I replied levelly, not lowering my gaze from his face.
     The man raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly.  He seemed slightly amused.  He took a few steps closer to me.  It occurred to me that this was a bad situation, my being far from the village, alone with a man I did not know.  But, somehow, I felt safe.  This was my secret sanctuary!  And I knew that I would always be safe here.




      "I have been coming here for two years, and I have never seen someone else here before."  I admitted. 
  


      The man was surprised.  "A beautiful, young maiden like you should not be out alone all the time!  You never know what dangers lurk."
   
    
     I became really upset.  "Oh, so just because you are a man means that you can go out in the woods alone?"
     The man frowned, glaring at me.  "Yes, that is exactly what it means.  You obviously need to learn a few things, young maiden.  I do not appreciate your tone of voice."

 
     I was offended, but I knew that he was right.  It is a man's world.  There is nothing I can do about it.  I tried not to cry, and the man softened.
    "Beautiful maiden, do not cry!  Your face is too pretty to be sad."  The man smiled.  I tried to hide my shock.  No stranger, ever, had told me I was beautiful or pretty.  Most of the other men my age stayed away from me -- they knew me as the town 'mute'.  The odd girl.  They still gave me weird looks when I passed by them in town.  Even though I was speaking again.  Some people do not care about the present, only about the past.  Immediately, I realized that this man was not from town.  He must have come from a place faraway.




     I looked deeply into his eyes and saw how handsome he really was.  He was looking at me with what I judged to be genuine concern.
     "My name is Anne DeCuir," I said, shyly.
     "I am Antoine Barnes.  I am of Charles Town, in South Carolina.  I am here because of the recent death of my uncle."
     "How interesting!  I was born in Charles Town.  I moved here with my father when I was three."
     Antoine nodded.  "I am an advocate.  Sometimes I look to nature to relieve some of my stress," he laughed, looking around.  "This is truly a beautiful place, Anne.  You certainly do have an eye for nature."


     "I think nature can change one's life."  I replied.  "Nature inspires me to write about it and how it affects life.  About how it has affected my life."
     Antoine laughed and laughed.  "My, my.  A little philosopher maiden!  Goodness!"  Antoine kept laughing for a few moments, then quieted down a bit.  "You should be doing something more productive.  You should be a seamstress or should be weaving materials.  Writing and philosophy are for the educated men."
     I tried to hide my disappointment and tried to make myself believe this was true.  He was right.  I really should be a seamstress or something of the like.
    


     For a few hours, Antoine Barnes and I talked.  He told me all about his life at home.  Apparently, he owns the Barnes Mansion and Estate in Charles Town.  He is a famous advocate.  He kept telling me I was so pretty and beautiful (to which I could not stop blushing.  I could not believe someone actually liked me so much!).  He told me he has a garden at his home.  Iridescent flowers that surrounded you and made you feel like you were somewhere mystical.  It sounded like heaven, and I immediately wished I could see it.




     Antoine's life sounded so perfect that I was afraid to bore him with the details of my own life.  I told him I was nineteen, and unwed.  That I lived with my Aunt Abigail.  That my father passed away from a disease about two years ago.  And I told him of the fact that I never knew my mother.  I did not tell him about my silence.  I was afraid he would not be able to understand.  At least not yet.  I told him of our garden, and how I did not have shoes throughout my childhood (I recently had a pair fitted, so at least those years are behind me!).


     I could see pity in Antoine's eyes.  He was obviously very wealthy and well-off.  His life was the complete opposite of mine.  But I wished I could know what it was like on his side.  To live with much money to spare, to purchase items for pleasure and not just survival.  


     "It's too bad you have to wear that dress; it looks like it was made out of a potato sack.  A beautiful woman in a raggedy potato sack is a very sad sight."  Antoine shook his head.




     I looked down at my dress.  Aunt Abigail had sewed it for me.  To tell the truth, it really was made out of a potato sack.  I felt guilty because Aunt Abigail had told me I looked nice when I tried it on.  Suddenly, I felt hot and itchy inside it.




     If only we weren't so poor, Abigail and I.  I was becoming more and more embarrassed of how much of a difference there was in terms of money between Antoine and me.  It was beginning to get late, and I needed to get home to Aunt Abigail.  Antoine told me to turn around.




     I complied, but I wondered what he could possibly be doing!
    "You can turn around, now!"




    I turned around to a bouquet of bright purple flowers!
    "How wonderful!  Oh, my!"  I giggled.  "Thank you, Antoine!"




     "Beautiful flowers for and even more beautiful woman." Antoine said with a grin.  I felt my heart glow.  Antoine did not care that I was poor compared to his wealth!  I told him where I lived and he said he would definitely visit.
     "It's the lemon-drop house," I said, because it was all I needed to say to describe my home.


    Antoine visited a week later.  He could not stop staring at the house.  "It's just so... small."




     "Small is okay, right?"  I asked.  Sometimes, Antoine would say little things that would hurt my feelings.
     "Oh, yes, yes.  I mean, your family is poor, right?  I am just not used to seeing a tiny home like this.  Is there even a ballroom here?"
     "Oh, um, no... but we do have a back porch..."  I said sheepishly.  He nodded.




     I really began to feel like there was something happening between Antoine and me.  I felt so safe in his arms.  No one had ever made me feel so special before.




     "Anne, I think I am falling in love with you."
     "I think I'm falling in love with you, Antoine."  But I wondered.  Was I really?  Wasn't all of this happening a little too fast?  In one week, someone loved me and I loved them!  It was difficult for me to grasp.

      Within two more weeks, Antoine came to the house quite often.  I could not help but notice the disgust on his face when he poked around Aunt Abigail's famous stew, barely eating it.  And there was that one time when he scoffed at the size of the house the first time he saw it...  I guess he is definitely not used to living the life of the poor.  Sometimes, though, it just makes me feel bad.  A bit of melancholy inside, knowing that this lifestyle of mine just isn't 'good enough' for him.  

 
     One night, however, Antoine quietly pulled me aside.
     "I'm leaving for Charles Town in a week.  I... I would like you to come with me, Anne.  Will you marry me?  Come back with me to Charles Town?"
     I was absolutely speechless.  I could not begin to tell you how happy I was to know that I was -- am -- special enough for someone to want to marry me!  I nodded happily.




      "Yes!" I managed to choke out.  "Yes!"


     We had a private wedding a few days ago.  I sometimes do have my doubts about this whole thing.  Charles Town is very far.  I would miss Detroit -- it has always been my home.  I've tried to convince Abigail to come with us, but she swears she could never leave Detroit.

     Aunt Abigail is coming down to say farewell.  I will write later.

     Until next time,
          Anne DeCuir Anne Barnes


******************************************************************************




     Abigail entered the room and saw Anne sitting on the couch.
     "Up early, my dear Annie-Kins?"  She smiled sadly.




     Anne could not help it. She raced into Abigail's arms and started sobbing. 
     "Please come with us.  Please, Aunt Abigail.  If you stay, I'll probably never see you again.  Please!"
     "Oh, Anne!  At one point in my life, I would have done anything to leave.  But now, I would do anything to stay.  This is my one and only home.  I have asked your Aunt Claudette to return here and I won't be alone, dear."





     "Aunt Abigail, I just do not want to leave you."
     "Anne.  You need to leave.  You are being held down here, whether you know it or not.  Your past as an invisible hold on you here.  You must go and start fresh with Antoine."




     "Anne, I love you very much.  You will always be my little daughter, even if I am not your true mother.  I want you to be happy with Antoine."


     "Abigail, you are my real mother.  The only thing you did not do was give birth to me.  I will never forget all that you have done for me, and I will write to you from Charles Town.  I promise."  Anne whispered.
     Abigail nodded and wiped away a fat tear from her eyes.  "There is one last thing I have for you, before you go.  I see Antoine waiting outside.  I want you to take this wooden chest."  Abigail pointed.  Anne stepped closer for a better look at it.




     "It was your father's."  Abigail said carefully.  "He wanted me to give it to you when he died, but I wasn't sure if that was the right time.  It is full of things inside.  Open it when you get to Charles Town."


******************************************************************************




     "Antoine!" Anne shouted, full of excitement.  "You are here!"
     "Yes, I am.  Dear, I would like you to change into that dress I had tailored for you a few days ago.  I simply cannot bear to see you donned in that ratty old potato sack dress any longer!"
     Anne hurried inside to put on the new dress, and promptly returned.




     "Ah, my dear Anne, you are simply splendid in that dress, just as I knew you would be.  Would you like me to get rid of that other dirty old one you had?"
     "No, thank you," Anne replied.  "It will remind my of my life here in Detroit."
     "Well, fine.  As long as you never wear it again.  Time to depart!"
     
     They stepped up into the carriage and the horseman lashed the whip, and they were off.  They were off -- to Charles Town.



******************************************************************************




 *The Antique Legacy*
Anne Barnes

6 comments:

  1. I absolutely love your writing! And the plots are always so interesting! Thanks for writing them i enjoy reading these stories:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!! You really just made my day :) I'm so happy it is a success!

      Delete
  2. Ohhh thats exciting can't wait for the next bit =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just wait until you see their house! :)

      Delete
  3. I kinda like Antoine. He's kinda annoying, rude, and blunt, but such a rich boy. -giggles- as long as he treats her right! I'm glad you put in those views of women since it is what most men would say at that time. I'm glad you're adding stuff like that instead of making things a glossy, happy, fake historical period :D

    I can't wait to see her new life with her husband! I am worried Antoine will not be as good to her later though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, serin! XD Antoine is definitely an interesting character... I'm glad you appreciate that I try to write how things were instead of making it a fake sort of perfect husband/wife life. Though it is sad that men treated women like that, I do my best to show what really happened.

      On the bright side, we'll get to see women's lives evolve into something much more fair! :)

      Delete