The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 9
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Transcript of The Bradford Legacy - Chapter 9
- Welcome to Chapter 9 of my legacy! At this point, so much has happened that a few sentences cant do the story justice. I suggest that you read the prologue and first eight chapters to get the full story. Previously, Patrick, the youngest son of generation three, finally came home to his family. And just in time, as Uma passed on not long after that. Patrick and his sister Eliza reconciled. The troubles of generation four began, as Robert Alcott and Matilda Ryan fought against her parents to be together. And now, on with the story.
- The Bradford family had sat down to dinner one evening in early spring. Conversation covered the latest events of the school day, Carolinas plans for the garden, and Matthews impending University entrance exam. Thomas, did I tell you that I had a letter from Anne and Diana today? asked Carolina. No, dear, you did not. How are they fairing at Mrs. Seymours? he asked. Quite well. Diana is seeing much of Mr. Pasang, and Anne keeps herself busy campaigning for suffrage. What is suffrage, Papa? asked Alexander.
- Your sister is fighting so that she and other women will have the right to vote, replied Thomas. He then chuckled to himself. Anne was born independent; I suppose I should have seen this coming. Matthew looked at his father, aghast. You cannot mean that you approve of Annes activities, Papa. She conducts herself properly, Matthew. She only attends speeches and the peaceful rallies. I am not one to stop my children from following their dreams.
- Matthew snorted. Women have no need to vote. Their fathers speak for them as children, and their husbands when they are married. Anne would do better to spend her time finding a husband than wasting it with her silly notions of equality. But in school, Teacher says that the Declaration of Independence says that we are all created equal, interjected Alexander. You are too young to understand, scoffed Matthew. And it says that all men are equal. Matthew, there is no need to be rude to your brother, Carolina rebuffed.
- Times are changing, Matthew, said Henrietta gently. Perhaps it is time that women were allowed to vote as men are. A womans place in in the home, insisted Matthew. Mama, Grandma, and Great- Grandma lived their lives that way, and they are none the worse for not having the vote. Its a silly notion that will soon pass.
- Henrietta quietly sniffed at her brother. I was merely sharing my opinion. Once a woman is married she has no need for any opinion other than her husbands, Matthew retorted. Now, now, interrupted Thomas. Theres no need to fight. Can you two not agree to disagree on this issue? Henrietta looked at her father, her thoughts drifting to the family rift with Uncle Patrick. Of course, Papa. We shant speak of it again.
- Matthew, have you heard back on your University examinations? asked Carolina. Teacher believes he should have the marks back by the end of the week. I cannot wait to attend University, he replied. I am certain you will get top marks, said Carolina. You always get good grades in school.
- As am I, agreed Matthew with false bravado. His dirty little secret was that his good grades were more often a result of Henriettas efforts than his own. Hes a Bradford, stated Thomas. Of course hell get top marks.
- What else did Anne and Diana have to say, Mama? asked Philomena. They are very excited for Henrietta to start Mrs. Seymours, and look forward to hearing about Matthews time at University, Phily, replied Carolina. Phily sighed. I wish I was going to school soon, too.
- Dont be sad, Phily, said Alexander. Ill still be here, and not long after that Anne and Diana will be home. But Diana will be married, sighed Phily. I miss having all my sisters around. Children, you need to finish up your dinner. I know that you all have schoolwork to finish up before bed, stated Carolina. Yes, Mama, the four replied in near unison.
- Just outside of the city of Portsimouth, at Mrs. Seymours Finishing School, Diana Bradford was waiting impatiently in the sitting room of her boarding house for her sister Anne. Lee Pasang was due at any moment to take the two women to the theater and dinner, and Diana could not leave without her sister to chaperone. Anne came in, breathless. I know! Im late. Im sorry, she said in one breath. Where have you been? her twin demanded. Mr. Pasang will be here any minute. I was at the rally and I lost track of time.
- Diana looked at Anne, puzzled. I dont understand your fervor for womens rights. What do you hope to gain with the vote?
- Everything, Diana. By amending the Constitution to allow women the right to vote, well be on equal footing with the men. It will become more acceptable for us to work outside the home if we chose, to hold our own assets, and not be forced into marriage.
- Marriage isnt so bad, Anne. Look at Mama and Papa. Theyve been happy for years. Besides, she said, blushing, I believe that Mr. Pasang will be proposing any day now. Oh Di, I didnt mean that I think marriage is bad. Its just that so many women marry for the security a husband provides. People should marry for love. And I know that you and Mr. Pasang care for each other deeply. Thank you, Diana replied softly. Mr. Pasang is here for you, Miss Bradford, announced the landlady. Anne rose. Lets get you engaged, she said with a mischievous grin. Anne! Diana admonished.
- I trust that you enjoyed yourselves at the theater? asked Lee. Very much so, Mr. Pasang. Thank you for inviting us, said Anne. It was so romantic, sighed Diana. Romeo and Juliet is such a lovely story.
- Yes, I thought so, agreed Lee nervously. So far, the entire evening had gone as planned. He thought back to the meeting he had earlier in the week.
- Lee had met Thomas for coffee at his dormitory at University. Thank you for coming to meet me, Mr. Bradford. It was nothing, Mr. Pasang. I delight in any excuse to visit my girls. Now, what is it that you wished to speak with me about?
- Mr. Bradford, Im certain that its not secret to you that I care about your daughter Diana. She is the center of my world. I am asking your permission and blessing for her hand, sir.
- Thomas looked at the young man. Gray as he was, he still could hardly believe that he had a daughter old enough for marriage. What are you prospects, son? My daughter is accustomed to a certain lifestyle. I need to know that she will be provided for. When I am finished here at school, I will be joining my fathers business. I will be able to provide a comfortable life for my family. Thomas sighed. He knew that Diana cared for Lee, and he had promised to be kind. Mr. Pasang, you have my permission to ask Diana to marry you. Of course, the final decision does lie with her.
- Are you enjoying your dinner, ladies? The girls nodded. This is a wonderful restaurant, stated Anne. You seem a bit distracted. Is everything all right? commented Diana. Forgive me. Everything is wonderful. Would either of you be interested in seeing what they have for dessert? I would, said Anne, more because she knew it would give her sister and her beau more time to spend together. Waiter, the dessert menu please? asked Lee of a passing server.
- The waiter brought over a dessert menu, and Anne pretended to peruse it, allowing Diana and Lee to hold hands. Do you want to order something? asked Lee, his gaze not leaving Dianas. I cant decide; everything looks so good, but Im stuffed. Lovely, agreed Lee. Anne suppressed a chuckle, knowing that Lee hadnt heard a word she had said.
- Miss Diana, Lee said, pulling a box covered in black velvet from his coat pocket and placing it on the table, I must confess to having an ulterior motive in inviting you out this evening. I care about you greatly, and I am hoping that you would do me the honor of agreeing to become my wife.
- Diana gingerly took the box and opened it. Her eyes grew wide as they took in the sight of the diamond ring inside.
- She took it out to examine it closer. Do you like it, dear? asked Lee nervously. Its lovely, she breathed.
- Diana continued to look at the ring, and Lee bit his lip. Diana had yet to respond to his question, and he didnt want to ask again. Anne took quick stock of the situation, and gently cleared her throat. Di, you need to answer Mr. Pasang, she whispered.
- Oh! crie