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Many years and wars had passed since Chelsea’s first capture by hostile Huron warriors. Now, at the age of 48 and newly widowed, all she wanted was to see her identical twin sons alive and well. But since her estranged Mohawk husband had stolen them from her at an early age and took them into Mingo territory, most likely she would never see them again. And what about Sahale? Was he dead or alive? With a pack over her shoulder and a new babe on her back she set out, hoping to find the answers…or die trying.
In late July, 1729, the last of the sun’s rays showered an orange glow over the hilly land and the ten cabins that occupied it. Twenty yards west from a steep wooded ridge, sat the first cabin, a new bedroom built on the cabin’s rear that faced the ridge. Seventy paces south stood a shed that sheltered a cow and a young chestnut mare. Tucked inside the cabin, a family of five sat at a rough-hewn table, the area scented with burning wood and remains of roast duck, carrots, and wild raspberry tarts.
“Chelsea dear,” said her mama, Elene. “It’s your turn to read the scriptures tonight.”
Spry and intelligent, a girl of sixteen with cinnamon hair and turquoise eyes, stood. A gold cross necklace hung about her neck, sparkling in the fire’s flickering light. The necklace, a special gift from her Grandmamma Walker in London, England, had arrived today. Chelsea knew of London yet held no memory of the place even though she had lived just outside the city until she was three years of age.
She lifted the Bible from the candle lit table and began. “We have thought on thy loving kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.” She glanced at her papa, sitting opposite her, brushing a fox pelt, one of seventeen skins he had acquired during his last trapping expedition up in the Canadian region. Seeing his attentive expression, she continued. “As is thy name, O God, so is thy praise to the ends of the earth; thy right hand is full of righteousness.”
Pleased with her reading, Chelsea smiled. Her gaze went to her shy, younger sister, Dawn, who had mispronounced several words during her reading the night before. Chelsea dismissed Dawn with narrowed eyes and wrinkled nose. She considered sticking out her tongue as well, but instead, placed the book back on the table.
Anson slightly frowned. “Chelsea,” he said in a firm tone. “How do you expect to turn into a well-mannered young woman if you continue to behave like a child?”
“Papa’s quite right,” said Elene. “You are the eldest and your two sisters’ example. Remember that.”
Shamed, Chelsea lowered her head. “Yes, ma’am.” She glanced guiltily about and sat in her seat.
“Papa, how many pelts do we have now?” asked Dawn, almost as tall as her older sister. She had blond hair and pale blue eyes, like her mama.
“We have thirty pelts. I plan on selling them at the Albany trading post come September. I hope to have enough to purchase a stud for the mare. I want to start a breeding farm. We have the land, now all we need are the horses.” He looked at Elene and together they shared a smile.
“Time for bed.” Elene stood and picked up the Bible. “Chelsea, do remember to take off your necklace before you get in bed. The last thing I want is to have it end up broken.”
“Bed,” whined Elizabeth. “But I’m not a bit tired.” A gangly nine year old with auburn braids and hazel eyes, she behaved more like her papa, and insisted on being called Beth.
“Tomorrow is going to be a long day with chores and the baking to do.” Bible in hand, Elene went to the maple mantel, the edge of her skirts swishing across the plank floor, and set the book in its usual place.
“Papa, sing us a hymn,” Dawn pleaded.
A twinkle formed in his brown eyes. Elene took her seat next to Beth. “Which one did you have in mind?”
“I want ‘Praise Ye The Lord The Almighty’. It’s my favorite.”
“Then your favorite it is.” After Anson set the pelt aside, he stood and began to sing, his tenor voice loud and clear.
Beth slid into her mama’s lap and settled against her soft chest. She closed her eyes soothed by his every note. Before Anson finished the chorus, Beth sat up, eyes popping open, a queer look on her face.
“What are those strange noises?”
Chelsea sat up straight. She could hear them, too. By now Anson had stopped singing. Everyone remained silent and listened.
Renee has been a dedicated writer for fourteen years. During that time she has taken several writing courses through Writers’ Village University, written three novels and one short story. To keep From The Heart historically accurate Renee did one year of intense research on Colonists, Huron and Iroquois tribes, their customs, dress and habits. From The Heart is her first publication. Currently she is working on another historical romance.
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
No. of Pages: 356
Paper Weight (lb): 14.4
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