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Authors: Aaron McCarver

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Around the River's Bend

BOOK: Around the River's Bend
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The Spirit of Appalachia, Book 5

Around the River's Bend

Gilbert Morris and Aaron McCarver

© 2002 by Gilbert Morris

Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
www.bethanyhouse.com

Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.bakerpublishinggroup.com

Ebook edition created 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—for example, electronic, photocopying, recording—without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.

ISBN 978-1-4412-6235-6

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.

Cover illustration by Joe Nordstrom
Cover design by Dan Thornberg

Dedication

To my friend Aaron McCarver—
a friend that sticketh
closer than a brother!

Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Character List

Part I: Sabrina

1. A New Kind of Woman

2. Big Ben

3. The World Turns Upside Down

4. The Necklace

Part II: Sion

5. Back to the Mines

6. A Man of Honor

7. Strange Encounter

Part III: The Journey

8. A Rocky Voyage

9. It's a Big Country

10. A Fork in the Road

11. New Acquaintances

12. Welcome to the Frontier

Part IV: The Earth Breakers

13. Learning New Ways

14. Cabin Raising

15. Too Many Suitors

16. A Serious Suitor

17. Housewarming

18. Harvesttime

19. A Horrifying Injury

Part V: The Captives

20. A Time of Giving

21. Terror at Home

22. No One but God

23. Pursuit

24. A Wedding and a Proposal

Dear Reader

About the Author

Back Cover

Character List

After Sabrina Fairfax's father dies, Sabrina comes upon a deed to a piece of land in the New World. The description of her property is vague, and she doesn't even know if the deed is legal, but since she has nothing to lose, she decides to set off across the sea. She struggles with the unidentified emptiness she feels inside her while at the same time trying to adjust to this strange new land, where log cabins with dirt floors replace the finer things she was accustomed to back in England. Endless suitors make their way to her doorstep, while the man who can truly make her happy watches patiently as her servant.

Sabrina Fairfax
—When Sabrina's father dies, she is forced to leave the life of luxury that she has always known and make her way to America to claim a wild tract of land her father had purchased. She struggles with an emptiness that she can't identify.

Sion Kenyon
—He grew up poor in Wales and worked as a farmer and a miner before being jailed for a crime he didn't commit. Sabrina agrees to take him to America as her indentured servant. There he learns to hunt, fish, and live off the land.

Rees Gruffyd
—Sion saves Rees's life when Rees is injured in a mining accident. Sion feels indebted to Rees for taking him in when he had no job and no place to live.

Hannah Spencer
—She is a friend to Sabrina as she learns the ways of the frontier. She finds herself attracted to a handsome newcomer, even though she is promised to Fox.

Fox
—He thought his relationship with Hannah was secure until a stranger from the Old World threatens to take his place in Hannah's life.

Josh Spencer
—Hannah's brother is determined to help Hannah get her land free and clear with the help of his boss, Andrew Jackson.

Hawk and Elizabeth Spencer
—Hannah and Josh's parents struggle to stay out of their children's lives as the children learn to make good decisions.

Part I

Sabrina

December 1791-March 1792

Chapter One

A New Kind of Woman

Long slanting beams of pale sunlight illuminated the dusky shadows in the room where Sabrina Fairfax lay soaking in a copper tub filled with soapy water. The bars of light swarmed with tiny motes of dust that rose from the multicolored carpet, and for one moment Sabrina opened her eyes and watched them sleepily. “They dance like tiny butterflies,” she murmured, then smiled and sank her body lower into the warm water. “I'm starting to talk to myself—the first sign of losing my mind. I'll wind up in Bedlam if I keep on doing that!”

The renovated bathroom had once been one of the smaller bedrooms on the upper floor. It was large with a high ceiling of copper tiles inlaid with intricate designs of shells and ivy. The twin floor-length windows were decorated with light blue damask draperies now pulled back to let the light in, and the dark wooden floor had a large and colorful Wilton-type carpet in the center.

The room had been painted white with accents of gold around the door, windows, and dado. An assortment of framed pictures of outdoor scenery, all with horses in them, covered the walls in all shapes and sizes. The pictures had been chosen by Sabrina, and while some were very expensive paintings, others were simple sketches that she had bought simply because they appealed to her. She was a young woman who lived by whim, and since she was the daughter of Sir Roger Fairfax—his only child, in fact—she could afford to indulge most of her desires. Several of the pictures featured horses jumping over fences. One was a painting of a fox chase with a young woman leading the riders, and since the woman was Sabrina herself, she favored it. She had hired Sir Charles Patton, one of England's foremost artists, to do the painting, and despite his protests she had dictated every item of the painting—even insisted that the dog be true to life. Sabrina let her gaze rest on the hound that led the pack. “Good old Thor,” she murmured. “Next Thursday's the hunt. I'll have to remember that. I haven't been out in two weeks now.”

It had been a pleasant fall, but now that they were in December the weather had turned chilly. Individuals like Sabrina Fairfax could insulate themselves against the biting, icy winds and the freezing snows with money. Money would buy warm fur coats. Money would buy warm underwear and thick socks and tight boots. Money would buy endless logs to burn in the huge fireplaces, driving away the chills and protecting the wealthy. The poor, of course, shivered and hugged their thin clothing about them and nurtured the few coals that they could afford. Sabrina Fairfax knew little of this, for she had scarce contact with any world save that of the wealthy who inhabited London's environs.

A faint sound caught Sabrina's attention, and she twisted her head around until she could see the far side of the room. A very large multicolored cat had gotten up from the red plush chair and was stretching mightily. The cat yawned, exposing an enormous red mouth, then jumped out of the chair and came across the room, regarding Sabrina with round green eyes. The tortoise-shell cat with a beautiful coat reared up on his hind legs, placing his front paws on the edge of the copper tub. Sabrina laughed as she stroked his fur. “Why don't you jump in, Ulysses? You could use a bath, too.”

The cat stared at his mistress for a time as if waiting for her to say more, then turned and went back to his chair. He curled up and went back to sleep at once.

“You're the laziest cat I've ever seen, Ulysses. You don't do anything except catch a few mice. I should rent you out as a mouser.”

Sabrina took her eyes off the cat and idly lay luxuriating in the warm water. She loved baths and scandalized the whole household by insisting on at least one every day. Paul, one of the servants, was kept busy hauling gallon after gallon of hot water up the stairs and then emptying it later. Sabrina had heard him once whisper to her maid, Cecily, “Gor! She don't do nothin' but lay around in that hot water. It's a blazin' wonder she ain't puckered from head to foot! Maybe she is, hey?”

Sabrina glanced down at her soapy form to assure herself that she was not puckered yet. The sight assured her, for at the age of twenty there was not a sign of a pucker. She was a tall young woman with long blond hair now tied up to keep it dry and a pair of astonishingly large and brilliant green eyes. She didn't think of herself, however, as a true beauty. She felt that her face was too broad, her cheekbones too prominent. Still, men didn't seem to notice her imperfections. They were dazzled by the directness of her glance, the creamy texture of her skin, and her tall, erect carriage. She was a full-bodied young woman aware of her own charms and not in the least averse to using them to tease the men that came flocking around her.

Finally Sabrina sat up and called out loudly, “Cecily—Cecily, where are you? Come here at once!”

The door opened, and a diminutive young woman with thick white towels over her arm came sailing in. She was no more than eighteen and was as small and thin as her mistress was tall and statuesque. “I 'ad to get the fresh towels, didn' I, miss,” she protested. “I can't do everything!”

Sabrina laughed. “No, you can't. Here, I think I've had enough of this.” She stood up carefully and stepped out onto the thick crimson rug that had been placed to catch the water. She stood as Cecily industriously dried her off. Finally she said, “Here, that's good enough. Now the powder.”

As Cecily fussed over Sabrina, powdering her and helping her into a thick, fluffy robe, it never occurred to Sabrina Fairfax that most young women never got this sort of care. She had been accustomed to it from the time she was a child, and now it was the way the world operated as far as she was concerned.

Leaving the room, she walked down the hall barefooted, turned into a huge walnut door that swung silently as she entered, and moved across the room to stand before a dressing table. Her clothes were laid out on the bed, and she snapped, “Hurry up! It's cold in this room. You let the fire go down.”

“Well, that's Paul's job, ain't it, now?” Cecily protested. She went over and poked the fire up quickly, then was back and helped Sabrina dress. First a fine white linen chemise and then a pair of white silk pantalettes ending just below the knee. Next came the fine silk corset with whalebone stiffening at the ribcage and sides that Cecily fastened tightly in back, pulling and tugging until it met her satisfaction. Cecily then helped her into a pair of fine silk stockings, and Sabrina stepped into a three-tiered panier that was arranged at her waist. Finally, Cecily slipped a dress of light green silk over Sabrina's head and fastened it.

Finally Sabrina sat down and said, “Now see what you can do with my hair. It's a mess! I should have washed it.”

“Oh, miss, it would 'ave taken forever to dry! We'll do that later in the day.”

“I'm going riding today. We'll have to do it tomorrow.” Sabrina pulled several pins out of her hair and let it fall over her shoulders. The long blond tresses were thick and lustrous and took considerable care—which she herself never gave it. She had been glad to find Cecily, who had been with her for two years now, and was better at fixing hair than anyone Sabrina had found in all of London. Cecily was a rather flighty young woman, nervous and prone to crying jags at times when things did not go right. Nevertheless, she was a marvelous hairdresser, and now with skilled fingers she gathered Sabrina's hair back off her forehead and then proceeded to make ringlets around the sides and back, curled the ends under, and then tied the back up with a dark green ribbon.

“You're going riding with Sir Charles?”

“Yes, but it won't be a long ride. He tires so easily.”


You
never tire!” Cecily said firmly. “I don't see 'ow you do it, miss.”

“How I do what?”

“How you sit sideways on a 'orse. Wot keeps you from falling off backward? I can't tell for the life of me.”

“There's a horn that goes to the side. I keep my right leg hooked around it.”

“It don't seem natural, though, sitting
sideways
on a horse. None of the riders at the races do.”

“The jockeys? Well, of course not! They're all men.” A rebellious streak surfaced then in Sabrina, and she muttered, “Men have all the best of it.”

“Well, don't you worry none about it. I'll bet you do just as well as they do, even if you do 'ave to ride a horse funny.”

BOOK: Around the River's Bend
2.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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