TEARS OF THE FOOT GUARDS
SCHERZO - STAVE XLV
S T A V E
Geordie hunched over a card table, working a quill over stolen paper. A ‘grab’ after the company had subdued a rebel post in a Westchester farmhouse before setting it ablaze. Now, in the log hut with the tang of green wood, he wrote. The rest of the Company tucked away after a thirty mile march back to Fort Knyphausen.
I think of you, and my cond’tion brightens. I imagine nothing sweeter than your Charms, but it is your tender Hart, so wound’d by life and trials, which you have sirrendered to my keeping that I Cherish most. Indeed, I suirrender to you in this letter should it fall into Wrong Hands and x-pose me to derision as becomes a Fool. So be it, let Comp’ny and Regment know that I hold You above all comitments and would suffer the conseequences if I must choose no matter how dire. Such is the Prize that I give myself over to aband’nment. It humbles me. How rare one finds this and when discovered, one is Over Whelmed. Like the old gospel tale of a Treasure hidden in a field, and when Found, the man in his joy sells all that he has to buy the field. And yet I would not put you in jeoparty to assuage my Heart. I thank the Creator that you are protected from the Hardship of the bearacks. And yet it is my selfish Hope that you are not so content I am away you.
Our Situation has improved greatly with the huts completed. On sunnier days they are quite warm whatever cold. Though at times we lack wood, nothing goes to waste. All is ufed for fuel. I say this not to burden you, but to convey our true State, for, no doubt, you may hear many x-aggerations about the conditions in the lines.
We have returned from an attack on a Rebel stronghold of some 450 Continentals of which our Grendier Company had the greatest Burden. I, myself, had no mean part, breeching the house door with my shoulder along with another grenadier known to you. He is a thundering devil, magnificent in approach, cruel in delivery. No man endure his Assault. He cuts them all down. Why, you ask, do I tell you this? Providence threw us Together in the Attack and I stood side by side as his Equal. He saw this and in his odd silence gave me my due where in other circumstances would, himself, tried to have finished me.
A number our Company were mortally wounded which brings me to sad news: George Harrison has been kilt. He is a great loss and we mourn him much as he was of the Original Company. Too many are fallen over these years and those left are not the same as when they first Come Over. We venture how can we go back – we are so Altered. I fear home will be as Foreign as this Land. I have come to hate Time and Distance. I am a child in its Hands and am put where it wills regardless of my intentions. But I am Safe and with Safety I will at last come to You. In Philadelphia, in a Papist church, a candle will always burn – an eternal flame – ardent in the face of elements that might put it out. It is no mere memory and migrates Soul to Soul. We are linked – I follow you through the day and sit next to you. In the quiet, feel me there. Feel me upon this Page . . .
Dalrymple fucked her from behind, dripping with perspiration as she, naked on the bed, could no longer support herself on her arms and laid her torso flat leaving her rump in the air. The bed frame moaned as she could not, so intense the feeling as she, engorged, reached and grabbed with all her might and would not deflate it by breaking silence. No amateur theatrics on her back as with Geordie, the skin along her collarbone flushed bright red; Dalrymple knew how to give what her body wanted. No Conscience, no Guilt, only the Truth of beautiful persons in steamy consummation, artists in the ultimate duet, spellbound and finding in the other their match.
He kissed her as her husband might; he had to return to his regiment in the lines. Grisham was away to her sister on Long Island for a fortnight, leaving Obedience and the servants. She’d snuck him in and had him trod behind her up the stairs to sound as one, but to no avail. Binah caught him coming down to depart before sunrise. “Good morning,” he said without a hitch. “Good morning,” Binah replied. And from then on he would come and go as he pleased.
“I will return,” he said as they stood in the foyer, and nibbled Obedience’s ear as she held closed the banyan he’d given her.
She grabbed him. “Not yet.” The banyan came loose and her naked with love marks on her neck. He cupped her breast. “Cold,” she startled and slapped his shoulder. “Go on, then.”
He kissed her again. “Soon.”
She closed the door, the cold biting her ankles, and trudged back up to bed, never noticing Binah, still as a mouse at the end of the hallway.
In her room, she fell upon the bed, sheets a tussle, and she, an odalisque before the fire. Goose bumps, and she lurched up for the covers, knocking over the night table with the Italian book and a letter between its covers. She picked it up, tapping the corner on her wrist.
And what am I to do about it? Didn’t plan any of this. Just happened . . . as they had just happened. I’m as much its victim as him – he has the high ground. I mourn ‘us’ as much as him.
She opened the letter and read the last line:
“. . . Miss me, my Love, please – Deorsa”.