|Calico Bush Proposed
Sequel - Abstract
by Steve Michaud
Wednesday, December 19, 2001 10:42:37 PM
Calico Bush Proposed Sequel - Abstract
It is November of 1788, about four years after the end of Calico Bush, and just shortly after Marguerite's eighteenth birthday. As far as the Sargent family was concerned, she was free to leave as she wished -- she was no longer an out-bound girl. She had had this opportunity to leave before; offered to her by Joel shortly after she saved the homestead from the Indian attack. He had offered her a chance to leave a free girl, to be among other French-speaking people without any obligations. She had pondered that moment often, wondering if she had made the right choice to stay with the Sargent's. After all, the offer was only made once, and her passing it up meant she was going to be out-bound for several more years. yet, as she thought about it each time, Marguerite had no regrets for staying right where she was. It had taken her a long time to adjust to life among English-speaking people, and at times felt out of place, but as she grew into a young woman that fateful year, she began to feel more comfortable with them, like family. Ever since Grandmere and Oncle Pierre died, the Sargents' were the only family she had. Now, she faced that decision again -- should she stay with the family that took her in all those years ago, despite her freedom, or would she leave? It didn't take her long to decide. All she had to do was look at the two headstones that she was walking by, and she knew her answer.
Poor little Debby, taken from us all at such a young age. Marguerite could still remember vividly the moments prior to Debby's accident. She had said her first word, and that first word was Maggie's name. It was then when she felt that she belonged as a part of the Sargent family as something more than just an out-bound girl. Then, tragedy struck, and poor Debby died from the burns she sustained. Maggie still teared up with the memory flashing before her eyes like she was caught in some horrid nightmare.
Adjacent to the plot where Debby had been buried was another grave site, this one also evoking mixed emotions, and a flash of both fond and unpleasant memories. Joel, the only father figure she had had left in her life, was taken from the family rather unexpectedly. Nearly two years after the attack of the Indians on the Sargent homestead, Joel had gone out hunting for some game, when without warning he was attacked by a rabid coyote. He wasn't that far from the house when it happened, and Dolly and Maggie rushed to his aid to treat him. It was touch and go, but Maggie prayed on her rosary that he would be alright. Unfortunately, though they did everything they could to try to save him, they were unable to.
Marguerite's thoughts instantly turned to Dolly. To lose first a child in a terrible accident, and then to lose her husband as well, only God must know what a blow to a person that must be. To top it off, Dolly had been seven months pregnant with another child. That child, named Catherine Jolene, will unfortunately never get the chance to know her father. Marguerite didn't quite understand how, but Dolly, despite all of the atrocities in her life, held strong. She managed to take care of the new baby, the rest of the family, and with the help of Marguerite and the children, farm the land. In the past couple of years, Maggie also found Dolly to be a true inspiration to her. The strength that Dolly has shown throughout it all only made Marguerite's respect for her grow. Though they once didn't get along so well, Dolly has now taken a liking to her, perhaps even a mutual respect between the two has developed.
Though Dolly has been able to accomplish a lot for a single mother, she could only do so much on her own. If Ira were still around, she was sure that he would have filled the father figure role with the children. However, he and Abby Welles married the year before Joel's passing, and the two of them moved to Massachusetts. He had originally planned on settling on a plot of land near Joel's, but as their wedding date drew closer, Ira felt more and more compelled to start fresh. He was able to get a job with a ship yard on Boston Harbor, and so the two newly weds left to start their new life together.
That left the next oldest male member of the family, Caleb, to fill in as the male role model for the children. Suddenly Maggie's tears faded into a slight smile, her eyes filled with a spark of light at the thought of Caleb. It was hard for her to imagine that he was once the tenacious young child that would harass her constantly for her heritage. He had changed since then, ever since he returned from his time aboard the Fortunate Star. Ever since then, he has been polite, and even charming at times. The two of them grew very close over the years, particularly after Joel's death. Maggie enjoyed spending time with him, and grew more fond of their time together with each passing day. She didn't dare say so though; Dolly, with all that had happened in her life, had become quite protective of her family, and somehow the idea of her eldest son involved with a French Catholic out-bound -- or rather former out-bound -- girl, possibly even marrying and leaving the family, would not sit well with her, and would only cause more conflict. Had she just thought that? Maggie was astounded that she would ever even consider marriage with an American Protestant of any sorts, much less Caleb. Yet, the thought was there, and there was regret or anger for the thought. She admitted to herself that she loved him, and though it may never work, she would always cherish her time with him. She had so many fond memories of him and their time together. Of all the reasons she could think of, he was the clincher -- she was staying with the Sargents. Marguerite continued to the well to gather water for the evening's cooking, and headed back into the house.
Another evening; Caleb returned from a visit with Aunt Hepsa. Her health had been failing recently, and he and Maggie would take turns visiting with the Jordans, once a week, to check up on her and to assist her, Ethan and Seth in any way they could. Hepsa and the rest of the Jordan clan had become very much a part of the family, and after all of the help she had given the Sargent family over the years, the least they could do is help her in her time of need. While one would visit her, the other would stay home and help Dolly take care of the house and the children. When Caleb stepped foot inside the house, Dolly inquired as to how Hepsa was doing. The somber look on his face told it all. She did not have much longer; an evening left at the most. By morning she would be gone. Instantly, Maggie rushed out, her winter coat only partially on, and with Caleb, rushed over to Hepsa's by a path made along the snow blanketed ice. Upon arriving, the two rushed in, where Maggie took to the elderly woman's bedside. A calm smile swept across the ailing woman's pale face. She then motioned for Maggie to lean closer. As Maggie leaned in, Hepsa whispered something that Caleb could not discern, but he could very plainly see that it brought some comfort to Maggie's face. Though he was sad, it comforted him to know that Maggie would be alright. He would do anything to see her happy; he was even learning to speak French to surprise her. He hated to see how losing Hepsa was tearing her apart, and he vowed to himself that he would do anything he could to comfort her during this horrible time. As he was thinking this, he saw Hepsa seem to go motionless. She had passed, and he hadn't really had the chance to say goodbye. At that point, tears welled in the corners of his eyes, then swept down onto his cheeks. Maggie, crying herself. came over to him and hugged him, attempting to comfort his pain. It was then that Caleb realized just how wonderful she truly was. While he was thinking about helping her deal with the loss, Maggie actually ended up helping him cope. He should have realized, after all this time, what strength she had within her. It made him love her all that much more, to know that he could turn to her for comfort, and she could do the same with him. They held each other, and wept together for several hours into the evening, sharing memories of Hepsa. If only he could tell her how he truly felt about her. But they were from different worlds, and he was certain that she did not feel the same way.
A few months passed after Hepsa passed away, and life appeared to be getting back to normal around the Sargent household. It was May of 1789. The colors of spring brought vibrance and life to the land after the bitter snows of the northeast winter. Though the weather was warmer than the winter, it was exceptionally chilly for the time of year. Dolly dressed the children in their spring coats as they went out to play. Marguerite was in the kitchen, cooking supper for the family, and Caleb was out chopping wood for the evening fire. When the family gathered for supper, Caleb came in from the outdoors, jacket in hand. As the worrying mother, Dolly couldn't help but worry that her son may have gotten sick working hard outside in such a chill. Still, he was a man, and she could not tell him what he could or could not do. This, however, did not ease her mind. All throughout the meal, Dolly couldn't help observing that Caleb was sniffling, a sure sign that he had caught a cold. She kept a mindful eye on him for the rest of the evening.
The next morning, Dolly's fears were confirmed. Caleb was so ill that he could hardly move. He could barely breathe, waves of nausea made it impossible to do anything. Dolly feared that he may have pneumonia. She began to panic; fears of losing yet another child ran through her head. Caleb may not have been her child by blood, but she loved as if he were her child nonetheless. Losing him after losing Debby and Joel would just be too much to bear. She began to ponder aimlessly as to what she could do. The only thing she could think of was to place a white flag outside to alert Aunt Hepsa, then realized that Hepsa had passed a few months back. She had no idea who else would know what to do. Her mind wandered to Maggie, who has seemed to have a knack with caring for the sick. She had cared for the children countless times. She finally decided to wake Maggie and inform her of the situation.
As soon as Maggie found out of Caleb's illness, she rushed to his bedside. There, she cared for him day and night, even sleeping in a chair by his side. Over the next few days, his illness got severely worse. His fever was high, lungs congested. He was delirious. If Maggie hadn't known better, she could have sworn that she heard him call for her in French. Both Dolly and Maggie were wary, worried out of their minds that they may lose him. By the fifth day, he was speaking in gibberish, and Maggie could think of nothing other than to plead with him to not give up the fight. She told him that she did not want to lose another person that she loved and cared for. She knelt on her knees, rosary in hand, and prayed. As she was doing so, Dolly watched on. It was at that moment that she realized just how close the two of them had become -- it was the first time that Dolly realized that they loved each other.
One month later, Caleb still wasn't in the best of shape, but his recovery was coming along quite well. He and Maggie never spoke of that day when she prayed by his side. The fact is, she figured he was so delirious that he wouldn't remember. Maggie also wasn't aware that Dolly had overheard her confession. None of that mattered to Maggie right now; all that mattered was that Caleb was doing much better and was going to pull through. A smile crept across her lips, pleased to know that the worst was over. It was then that Dolly decided to confront her. She informed Maggie that she knew of her feelings for Caleb. She reminisced with Maggie of when they first met her, and how over the years, she had grown to think of Maggie as more than just their out-bound girl, but as part of the family. Dolly had never completely understood why Maggie chose to stay with them, especially after she had turned eighteen, at least not until she saw how she was with Caleb. Dolly told her that she wasn't sure whether he felt the same, but that she couldn't think of any woman she would approve more of. Later that day, Maggie confronted Caleb alone to discuss her feelings for him. However, there was no reason to, because as ill as he was, he remembered every word out of her mouth that faithful moment. He professed his love for her as well, and the two began courting one another.
Six months later, the couple got married. All of the local families came to the Sargent homestead for the ceremony. The highlight of the ceremony came during the recital of the wedding vows -- Caleb, in an attempt to surprise Maggie, recited his completely in French, in honor of her. She was speechless. After the ceremony, the couple began to settle in. They built a new home on the plot of land that was supposed to be for Ira. The two of them went on to have a wonderful life together. They had four children, two boys and two girls. They remained happily married for sixty three years, until she passed away, in his arms, from an unknown illness. Missing his lost love, Caleb passed soon after. the couple was buried side by side, on the land they called home. Some people say that if you pass by where their graves are, you can still hear the laughter of the couple as they remain together, hand in hand, for all eternity.
From: Steve Michaud
Subject: Re(2): My final project -- in the works
Rhea Cote writes:
I don't mind you publishing it if you want to. Just because the basic idea is published somewhere doesn't mean that I couldn't work on a finished product later on. Please feel free to publish it Rhea :-)