ladytimedramon: (Default)
ladytimedramon ([personal profile] ladytimedramon) wrote2009-07-27 05:53 pm

Real Cats Don't Wear Boots, Chapter 7

Chapter 7

The young men began working hard to fill their father’s wishes.

Michael, when not running the mill, began actively courting Anne Baker. When Michael got up the nerve to finally ask for Anne's hand in marriage, it was greeted with enthusiasm… and one stipulation. Both Anne and her mother believed that the actual house was too small (I have to admit… I always wondered how Jacob and his wife managed living in the one room house… AND had three children). As part of Anne’s dowry, Mr. Baker would call in favors from some carpenters to add a second floor to the main house.

During construction, the brothers “temporarily” moved into the hayloft. I had a sneaking suspicion that, for Henry and William, the move would be permanent.

In his own way, Henry began to follow his father’s wishes as well. There were many days that Henry departed at sunset and returned when the sun rose. Some of the farmers who came by with their grain commented on seeing Henry with the barmaid, Molly Flowers. Apparently on this world, being a barmaid was not considered a “respectable” position. I suspect this was only one reason that Michael was irritated with his brother. Personally, I believe that Michael wanted the free labor his brothers would provide until he and Anne had children old enough to work in the mill.

Both men seemed to resent their father’s wishes for William. It would be at least another year before William could qualify for this world’s equivalent of a university. If Michael had his way, he would most likely find a way to convince William to put his life on hold for at least 12 years. Henry was too wise to fall into that trap, but William was far more kind-hearted. That was probably why Jacob asked me to look out for him.

Honestly, William was far more intelligent than the average “peasant” I had met. He also appeared more intelligent than the clerics (who generally had more education than the peasants). In my opinion, William could become a magistrate… but not if he remained tied to the mill. If we were back in space, I would have recommended William to the police academy. I would have to make certain he went to university… if only to initiate William’s break from the mill.

It’s a good thing that Michael and Henry had both been a bit afraid of me since the night I defeated the wolf. Otherwise, they would have tried to stop William from attending his classes at the church. Unfortunately the beginning of school coincided with the reopening of the mill and planting seasons.

There started to be hard feelings all around. Michael and Henry wanted William there to work the mill. William and Michael thought Henry should spend less time carousing at the tavern and more time at home. Henry and William thought Michael should butt out of their business. And while the brothers argued, construction on the house continued.

The second floor took shape rather quickly for all of the primitive construction methods. Workmen brought carts laden with wood planks. They removed the roof, framed out a whole second floor, and added another fireplace. I admit, watching the work was fascinating. Where I came from the entire project would take maybe a couple of days. Here it took a good month (with all of the workers there, including using something referred to as “plaster” to smooth the walls of the existing room and applying a coat of what the humans called “whitewash” to the exteriors of the buildings – it didn’t appear to serve any purpose beyond making everything look cleaner).

Once construction was complete, another cart appeared with some furnishings. “These were sent by Mrs. Baker,” the men explained. “She said to be careful – they belonged to her mother.” The men hefted everything up the stairs and into the empty rooms. Michael appeared a little nervous when he realized one of the beds was a double[/URL]. Married life is going to be a bit of an awakening for him. Henry looked at his brother and snickered.

Then came the wedding. It was a simple affair at Brother Bartholomew’s church. Well, to be honest, it was simple by my standards. I could spend years telling about some of the weddings that I worked on police detail (some of which I would love to forget). Anyhow, the priest conducted the service. Michael nervously said his vows to Anne. After she did the same, they exchanged rings. Brother Bartholomew pronounced them man and wife and they kissed. Anne’s father had set up a simple luncheon in the schoolroom. A hired carriage came to take the new husband and wife back to the mill; Henry technically owned the family’s horse and cart and he claimed that he needed it this evening.

The last of the guests departed, leaving Henry, William, and Brother Bartholomew. “There’s no sense goin’ back to the mill tonight,” proclaimed Henry as William helped clean up. “Not much sense going there any night any more.”

“What? Why?” William appeared bewildered.

“’Tis Anne and Michael’s house now; we are the unwelcome bachelor brothers. I’ll bet you that we’re uncles before the year is out.”

“But Michael needs our help,” protested the dutiful younger brother.

“FREE help,” returned Henry. “Mark my word, we’ll have to earn our room, which will be the hayloft. And if that be the case, I’d sooner find something to my liking more than working in the mill.”

“That is enough,” Brother Bartholomew interrupted in a firm voice. “Henry, you have indulged in more than your share of toasts to the couple. If you have plans, you’d best be seein’ to them. William and I will clean up.”

Without a word or a backwards glance, Henry left the church. I heard the horses gallop off. “Brother Bartholomew, is what Henry said true?” asked William.

The priest took a deep breath. “There will be changes at home, ‘tis true. But not necessarily the way Henry thinks. Of course there will be an adjustment period. Anne is moving to a new home and becoming a wife; Michael is now a husband and must run the mill. Soon you and Henry must be on your own paths through life. But it does not change overnight.”

As if to punctuate the priest’s words, the sun began to set outside the window. “I guess you are right,” William agreed.

“Henry might be right about one thing, though. Michael and Anne may desire privacy tonight. Henry most likely has a place to sleep already planned. You and Puss are welcome to stay the night at the church. I doubt you will be missed until at least noon of the morrow.”

“Thank you, Brother Bartholomew.” William made a bed of some blankets on the floor of the school room. He lay awake, staring at the ceiling. I felt sorry for the kid. His simple life was only going to become more complicated as time went on.