Chapter Thirteen - Murder

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The very next morning Grace descended the steps for her morning walk only to find herself staring in puzzlement about the front foyer for her usual walking companion who, usually very punctual, was strangely nowhere to be seen. After a brief inquiry of a Dragoon nearby, Grace was told quite bluntly that Private Tanner would be her escort from now on as Private Lorry was placed on a different assignment. She was furious. Utterly hurt and angered by what she quickly assumed was a willful and malicious deprivation of one of the very few comforts she enjoyed as a prisoner of war, Grace immediately stormed to the study to lend Tarelton a piece of her mind. She had had it with his devious ways and could think of him as nothing less than the very worst of captors, regardless of the fact that she was treated very well for a prisoner of war, in a situation a thousand times better than those American prisoners who suffered onboard the cramped, foul-smelling British prison ships up and down the coast.

Upon being informed by his secretary that Tarelton was not in the study but rather outside preparing to embark on a scouting mission with about a third of his men, Grace proceeded in her same determined manner to find Tarelton outside. The Dragoons milling around her were quite taken by their fuming prisoner who stormed past them in a bold and presumptuous manner that did not surprise them in the least, as they were now quite used to her unusual boldness and headstrong nature. Although they proceeded to watch her carefully to ensure that she would not try and escape, they made no moves to stop her as they thought the sight of her challenging the Colonel might be a very amusing one indeed.

"Colonel Tarelton!" She demanded once she was outside but was too late. The colonel was already seen riding off with his scouting party into the early-morning light. He was too far away to hear her and seemed to have no intentions of looking back. Her venting would have to happen after he had returned, she concluded as she stormed back into the house in frustration.

In defiance she refused to step foot outside of the house that day and instead chose to read and converse with Rebecca whenever she got the chance.

It was after supper by the time Tarelton and the rest of his scouting party had returned.

"Ma'am you're going to get yourself into an awful lot of trouble." Cautioned Rebecca as Grace declared that she would go straight away to see Tarelton about the injustice he had heaped upon her.

"I am resolved to voice my complaint to that dreadful man!"

"Alright, but I would advise that you wait until after he has had his supper to go for the Colonel is far less merciful on an empty stomach than a full one." Rebecca insisted as Grace, plagued also with hunger, conceded.

"Okay, perhaps I shall wait as I myself am quite famished but the second I am finished, and not a moment after, I shall go see him."

"Very well then."

---

At the same time that Grace was being persuaded by Rebecca to postpone her complaints, Tarelton walked in the front door exhausted and covered with mud and sweat. Desirous of his supper, he proceeded to make his way to his study in order to take off his helmet, uniform jacket and sword so that he might wash his face and hands off in the porcelain basin that sat near his desk in preparation for supper. As he was washing his face off in the refreshingly crisp water, trying to stay the increasing affliction of inner turmoil that he felt, especially after the lack of success that his mission had ended in that day, a sudden knock came furiously on the door.

"Colonel Tarlton, Sir!" A voice from the other side of the door called out, rousing Tarelton from his endeavor to tidy up.

"Come in." He called out flatly as he finished drying his hands and face off.

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