"You will go to Savannah and confer with Colonel Hawking on how to resolve the problem they're having with the militia groups," Lord General Cornwallis instructed. Tavington stood before him, listening to his latest orders.
"Very well, sir," Tavington said. "How many men shall I take with me?"
"None," Cornwallis emphasized, "I don't want to alert the rebels to our movements. I want this to be discreet. We need to make it look like a casual trip, for leisure. Take a carriage. I'll send you a driver, but that's it. You should probably take a servant with you to keep up appearances."
"Yes, my lord, I understand," Tavington said.
"I'm sure you already have someone in mind," Cornwallis said. Tavington remained silent, but Cornwallis continued. "Your girl – what's her name?"
"Juliana, sir," Tavington replied.
"Yes. She'll do."
"Of course, sir."
Tavington stood, waiting, wondering why Cornwallis hadn't dismissed him yet.
"You and Juliana seemed to be on especially intimate terms last week at the final party." Cornwallis had observed Tavington's interaction with the slave girl. His curiosity had piqued that night because he'd been so different with her then than he had been on earlier occasions, better than he'd ever seen him act with her. "I don't believe I'd ever seen the two of you share a dance before."
"Yes, well, it was the last big event of the social season, sir," Tavington said, beginning to formulate his excuse. "I felt that she was entitled to at least a little fun for once."
"How kind of you. I feel I should remind you, however, of the need to conform to standards of behavior becoming of a gentleman."
Tavington's dark brows knitted in confusion. "Sir?"
"I don't have to tell you that while you're in that uniform, Colonel, you represent Britain and more importantly the Crown. We musn't give the appearance of any improprieties. "
"Sir, I don't see how one dance could be mistaken for impropriety," Tavington said.
"It can, Colonel," was Cornwallis's reply. "And I would very much appreciate it if that one mistaken impropriety is the only one that I hear of. Do I make myself clear, Colonel?"
"Yes, my lord," came the reply from a bewildered Tavington.
"Well -- now that that's all taken care of, have a good trip."
The coach came to a stop after about two hours of rigorous travel. Juliana peered out the window, but she couldn't determine a reason for the stop. They weren't near any towns, as far as she could tell.
"Don't worry, we're just stopping for a little rest," Tavington said, allaying her concerns. The coach door opened, and he and Juliana emerged.
Juliana looked around and found that there wasn't much to look at. There was plenty of forest greenery to see, and they had come to a halt alongside a flowing stream that wound and bent on its course alongside the land.
"How long are we going to be here?" Juliana asked.
"Probably about an hour or so. Long enough for a meal, I'm sure. We'll stop here and let the horses rest before we move on." He looked up at the sky and realized that they should have left Charles Town earlier. It would be dark soon. "We might even have to stop over here for the night if we lose the daylight," he added. His eyes turned to Juliana. "I'm going for a little walk. I'd like to think that I could trust you not to run away from me."
YOU ARE READING
For Juliana Harris, life had always been cut and dry: People were Loyalists or Rebels, they were good or bad, they were master or slave. That perception of life changes suddenly one night...