Chapter Two - Departure

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Grace never forgot that story and even now as she held her trembling sister close it was the first thing that flashed through her mind. It had been the first story she had heard of the infamous Tarleton where his vile nature did not seem to be the entertaining fiction spun by most other soldiers. Even still, she was not afraid of him, nor of what he could do. 

He was only a man - merely human - death was the worst he could bring upon her. Whatever he did he could not touch her soul, he could not destroy her completely. What was there to fear?

Just then there came a loud knock at her door, rousing both her and her sister's immediate attention. 

"Come in!" 

Called out Grace as she heard the knob turn and her fourteen-year-old brother, Samuel stepped into the room with one of her father's muskets slung over his shoulder. His face was a mixture of seriousness and boyish excitement as he spoke.

"Grace, Mother wants you downstairs in the front parlor as soon as you can manage."

Grace smiled at her young brother's humorous attempt at sounding more mature than he really was.

"Thank you, Samuel. Tell Mother I shall be down as soon as I am dressed."

He nodded his head.

"Alright, but do hurry, Mother wants us long gone before noon."

"Yes, Samuel, don't you worry."

She assured as her brother turned and left the room.

"Come now."

Grace turned to her sister after her brother left the room,

"Today's going to be a big day. Just think, we'll soon be with Papa safely in his camp and surrounded by friendly soldiers who will protect us. Now, go along and get into a comfortable dress of yours, then help Millie pack your things."

Abigail nodded her head in obedience and placing a quick kiss on her sister's cheek, she too left the room.

Once she was alone, Grace proceeded to throw on one of her simple, comfortable dresses of light green and white fabric. In a swift flourish of motion, she did up her hair and pulled on her thick, leather riding boots before running down the hall and practically sliding down the banister. 

The whole house was a flurry of activity with servants dashing every which way carrying boxes containing portraits, clothing, silverware, jewelry and just about anything else valuable that one could possibly imagine a house to contain. They were fitting what they could into the two carriages waiting outside.

Their neighbor and dear friend of her father's, Mr. Smith, suddenly appeared standing beside the doorway with his hat politely settled in his hand. A quiet look of understanding was found upon his face as he patiently aided in the chaos, dutifully helping the few hired servants they had to bring whatever they carried outside into the waiting carriages. 

"Mr. Smith!" 

Grace called out as she treaded down the last few steps and made her way towards him. 

"Miss Lewis! Very good to see you, though I wish it were under better circumstances."

"Indeed, I think we all would have rather meet at a later date under pleasanter conditions than to be brought together so suddenly like this. I do thank God, though, that it is not an unpleasantness born by what has happened and only by what could. Have you been here long?"

"No, not very long. I arrived less than a quarter of an hour ago with Mrs. Smith. Our own carriage and wagons are outside already set and packed with our belongings. We thought it best to journey together with your family since your father is away and it is not safe to be traveling alone in this war."

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