Daniel slurped his ale. His huge hands grasped the cup as if it were a thimble.
“Cheer up, cousin. It takes time to build castles”, he said.
Finn leaned his cheek on his left hand.
“The only castles I want to see are the ones I build. I come all the way over here, leave my Mum and Dad and my dear Hildy, and it comes to this.”
“Well, surely the royals aren’t about to stir things up out here. There’s too many radicals.”
“Don’t be so sure, cousin. That’s what our dear Irish ancestors thought before the English crossed the sea.
“For the love of God, Daniel. How did this happen? I thought George Washington was as pure as the rest.”
“Oh, he’s a good man, Finn. But his closest officers convinced him that the Congress was full of baloney.”
“Well may the new King George fall without rising. Are you hungry Daniel?”
“No, but I am thirsty. Let’s have another !”
John Fitzgerald, the proprietor of Fitz’s Tavern walked to the table and placed a pint in front of his guest.
“What do you make of this ‘King George’ business, Fitzy?”, asked Finn.
“I don’t like it, Finn. But, as they say, if you want to keep your head, best to ‘hear much and say little’.
“True, Fitz. But even the quiet cat has to drink milk. Our new sovereign comes from royal blood, and his relatives have shown what they think of the Irish.”
“Daniel, how and when did you learn about all this “King of America” business?”, asked Fitz.
“I was up in New York in December and about ready to muster out of the dragoons. The last enemy soldier had left only a few days before. My colonel. Benny Tallmadge, a good man, was invited to a meeting at a tavern. After it was over, he came to his officers and told us that General Washington has been persuaded to become a monarch.”
“Those officers of Washington must have had the gift of the gab”, said Finn.
“Why did they do it?”, asked Fitz.
“They were quite angry. Much of the army hasn’t been paid in a coon’s age, and Congress was still dragging it’s feet.”
“Well, you can’t blame them there,” said Fitz. “But surely a few angry men couldn’t make Washington throw away everything he had fought for.”
“Well, there’s the rub, Fitz. Washington had actually given a farewell address to the Army in November. He told them that he sympathized with all the hardships and privations, but he asked them to return home and be good citizens of the new republic.”
“So how did a few teed off officers change his mind?”, asked Finn.
“Well, it wasn’t their wrath that turned the General’s head. He stood up and took notice though when they told him that they would keep the army together and take what Congress wouldn’t give them by force of arms.”
Finn erupted. “To hell with them. They sound just like those they just handed their hats to!”
He threw his cup against the wall.
“You’re very angry and I’m getting very drunk, cousin. Get us some cups of tea, Fitz. We need to decide our course of action here.”
“Keep a lid on it, Finn, said Fitz. I don’t want any trouble in here tonight. It’s been a long day.”
Fitz brought the tea and went to serve a couple of farmers.
“So what do you have in mind, Captain O’Connell?”
“Well, I’ve a mind to head to the Ohio country. The new king has promised land out in that wildnerness to his veterans.”
“Well that doesn’t do me much good, Daniel. I never fired a weapon in this war.”
“You could come with me and help me get settled. Once we’re done making up the place, I’ll give you a piece of property all nice and legal.”
“Suit yourself, Daniel. But I want to make my own way in this new world. I don’t want to be beholden to you or the new King George. Why would you take his land since there’s obviously no love lost between you and the idea of a new royal personage.”
“How much can they touch me out there in Indian country, Finn?”
“Maybe not now, cousin. But give the king a few years. He’ll find a way to put his sovereign fingers on you.”
“Well, I suppose we could go back to the old country –Ireland forever!”
“Not a good idea, Daniel. Don’t you recall why we left there in the first place. I got tired of having a rope put around my neck and watching my pals having their hair singed.”
“Well, where does that leave us, Finn? What do you propose?”
“Daniel, me lad, there’s only one thing to do. We stay and we fight.”
“Now you’re talkin’ old sod. The only question is how. Let’s get some more ale and figure that one out.”
Daniel signaled Fitz for another round.
This blogger is participating in National Novel Writing Month, which began on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word plus novel in 30 days. This is an excerpt of his endeavor.