Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sample Saturday - October 18, 2014

Welcome to Sample Saturday. This week's sample is a couple of pieces from a scene I cut from Trail of Storms. When members of the family are in grave danger from a Yankee patrol, Mrs. Bingham comes up with a plan. I changed several names and marital situations in the course of completing the novel. You'll note that Jessie hadn't yet told me by what name she was known.

“No one leaves this house tonight,” Mrs. Bingham said, her voice firm. We may need to vouch for each other.”

“What?” Jessica asked in a sharp tone.

“We don’t know what may happen, and we need to be here together,” her mother reiterated. “In fact, whose birthday may we celebrate tonight?”

“Mother!” Hepzibah said. “Whatever do you mean?”

Charity Bingham laid her crochet aside, got to her feet and went toward the kitchen. “We need a little wine, a cake, and the remnants of a feast.”

“I’ll eat the feast for you,” Luke said, hunger in his eyes.

“We all must eat,” his mother said, and left the room.

Jessica and Hepzibah looked at each other and at George. “Has grief tumbled her senses?” he asked.

“I can’t say,” Hepzibah said. “She’s never been like this before.”

“I reckon she has a plan,” Jessica said. “To what purpose, I don’t know, but she’s been thinking, I can tell it.”

By the time the clock struck eight, a solemn merrymaking had begun in the dining room, with the delayed meal eaten and wine and plum cake passed. Two empty wine bottles adorned the table. Two extra place settings sat on the table with food scraps upon the plates, the forks and knives in disarray.

At this point, missing members of the family show up, and further preparations for the "party" are made. Then, the family receives visitors.

Mrs. Bingham held a wine glass to Hannah’s lips. “Drink this,” she said, and the girl drank some before her mother deliberately spilled the rest down the front of her dress.

“Please drink some wine, Mr. Granville,” Mrs. Bingham insisted, and he did so, as George slid into his seat. “You two must not fight any more this evening. It is a festive occasion.”

The family sat at the table, picking at the plum cake on their dishes, waiting. The hush was so complete that they clearly heard the parlor clock ticking away the minutes.

Even though it was expected, the sharp knocking on the front door caused the women to jump. Mrs. Bingham picked up her wine glass as she arose, and went to the door, followed by Luke.

“Good evening, gentlemum,” she said when she had opened the door, her words slurred. “What can you do for me?”

A Yankee captain pushed his way past her, as she followed, protesting mildly.

“Granville!” the man said. “We’re here to arrest you for murder.”

“Whaddayou mean,” Charity asked. “It’s his birthday. We’ve been havin’ a little party.”

“Yesh,” Robert said, staggering to his feet. “Motha Bingham makes a fine plum cake. You wanna a piece?” He lifted the platter from the table, then stumbled and dropped it near the captain’s toes, and it shattered across the floor. “Oh! I’m sorry,” Robert groaned, and stooped over to retrieve the cake from the splintered china. “This piece don’t look too bad. Here,” he said holding it out to the officer, who stepped back.

“You’re drunk,” the man sputtered.

“Yesh,” Robert grinned. “It’s my birthday.”

“How’d you get that bruise?” asked the captain.

George stood up. “We had a li’l dishagreement. His wife got drunk and lost her meal, an’ I teased her. He dinent like that.” He grinned and sat back down, his legs seeming to give out on him.

Charity took the captain’s arm. “If you don’t mind,” she said, walking him toward the front hall, “we need to finish the party. It musht be seven o’clock already.”

“It’s past nine o’clock, madam,” he said, shaking off her arm. “Good night to you.”

When she had shut the door on the captain and his men, Charity Bingham put her back to it and slid to the floor. Her family, except for Hannah, gathered around her, and after a few moments, she raised her head and said, “We have to leave tonight.”

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoyed my Blog Book Tour!

Click the "My Books" tab at the top of the page for more information about my books and short stories, including the newest story, Happy Halloween. Purchase links are included. The "Special Collections" tab includes information and links to my novella, Faith and the Foreman, and a short story in the Owenverse, Bloodied Leather, which gives a glimpse into the future of the Owen Family. Don't forget to come back next Saturday for another sample of my writing.

Bestselling author Marsha Ward wrote the novella, Faith and the Foreman, in the Timeless Romance Anthology Old West Collection. She is the author of an acclaimed novel series featuring the Owen family. Book 4, Spinster's Folly, won the 2013 USA Best Book Award for Western Fiction, and recently was named Finalist in Western Fiction in the 2014 International Book Awards. A former journalist, Ward has published over 900 articles, columns, poems and short stories. She is the founder of American Night Writers Association, a.k.a. ANWA.

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