Chapter 4

 Every Saturday Hildy MacCool took a walk by the sea. It helped clear her head.

Today was particularly cool, a sign that winter was not far away.  She held the letter in her hand to her cheek.

She had opened it as she passed Atrium’s tall, grey round tower on the way to the beach. While she had been excited about receiving the letter, the contents now  wrinkled her brow.

“Why, that Finn Laverty. He is stubborn as a mule!”, she thought. She looked at the letter and read it again.

“Dearest Hildy,

My love for you cannot be expressed with this pen. Were I to be able to walk the glen with you, I would be the happiest man on earth.

You are the most charming of women.  To have gained your regard is to me a miracle of miracles.

I am now in Baltimore with my cousin Daniel Connell. We met in Virginia as the war with the British concluded.

What had appeared to be a light to all mankind, and ours, has been dimmed by recent events. But it is not for you to worry your dear heart about such matters.

For me, these happenings will not stand. I have travelled hundreds of miles from my home in the mountains to see if I cannot do something about them.

Our future rides in the balance. Should I fail, be assured that my heart will sing of you in heaven.

Your lover,

Finn Laverty”

Hildy sat in the sand and wept. She mumbled to herself, “What has that fool boy gotten himself into?”

Finn rubbed his arm, which ached from the puncture.

“That should keep you from dying before your time, young man”, said Dr. John Stevenson.  He had just administered a smallpox inoculation to his patient.

“Can you do anything about the royal germ, doctor?”. Finn looked at the physician with what Daniel called his “pervasive air of disgust.”

“Why, I think he can cousin. Why do you think I wore out our behinds on those horses coming up here?”, said Daniel.

“Well, I may not be able to give you a shot for the King George disease, Finn, but I can introduce you to someone who is as perturbed as you over the matter.  I’ve arranged for us to meet him”, said Stevenson.

“Good, doc!  Tá mo bhríste trí thine!”, said Finn.

“C’mon, Finn, you know my Gaelic is pretty thin,” said, Stevenson.

“He said his pants were on fire”, laughed Daniel.

“Well, despite your overuse of the enemy tongue doctor, you are still a mick”, said Finn.

“Except I’m a Presybyterian, Finn.”

“Won’t hold that against ya, doctor. Before we leave your apothecary, I am wondering if you have another kind of medicine.”

“I think he is talking about the kind you give for a broken heart”, said Daniel.

“Woman trouble me lad?”, asked Stevenson.

“Yes, doc’. I got a letter from her this morning. I miss her terribly.”

“The only shot I know that works for that Finn is whiskey. Let’s meet at Fells Point at noon and I’ll buy you a few rounds, and introduce you to a fellow democrat.”

Finn and Daniel walked out of Dr. Stevenson’s office into the autumn air.

“Finn, I will see you at the hotel for lunch. I’m hobbling over to Pratt Street to see about a new pistol.”

“All right”, Finn nodded.

As he walked by the harbor, Finn took out the letter from Hildy.  He sat down near a ship loading sugar and read it for at least the 5th time:

“Mr Laverty,

It was with great anticipation that I opened your letter. Knowing it was from you, I could not wait to read the contents.

If what you wrote in regards to me is based on truth and honor, I will consider myself to be the happiest woman in Ireland.

Given the state of affairs there, come home. I am waiting for you hear in Ulster.

Yours, with all sincerity

Hildy MacCool”

“For crying out loud”, thought Finn. “What am I supposed to do with this?”

Putting the letter back in his jacket, Finn took out his Bible. When he was low, he read the Psalms.

Randomly opening the text, Finn read Psalm 55.

“Listen to my prayer, O God.

Do not ignore my cry for help!

Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles.”

Finn paused for a minute and prayed. “Lord, you surely know this to be true about my troubles are great. Help me!”

He read on.

“How quickly I would escape-far away from this wild storm of hatred.”

Finn thought,”Heading home would give me relief.”

He looked back at the worn page.

“It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that.

It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me-I could have hidden from them.

Instead, it is you –my equal, my companion and close friend.

What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.”

“Oh Hildy, why do you do this to me?”, Finn moaned.

He couldn’t abandon his new life in America. Couldn’t Hildy see that.  What kind of life would they have back under British oppression in Ireland?

Finn took one last glance at the Psalm:

“Give your burdens to the Lord and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.”

“OK, Lord. I get the message. Just help me convince Hildy.”

He got up and walked past the harbor warehouses and headed toward Fells Point.

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.

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