"...I trusted in the Almighty… I knew I could only be killed once,
and I had to die sometime."
-Anne Bailey, 1823

Monday, June 27

Dare You Speak of Madness?

 Madness? You dare speak to me of madness? Dare you say the word out of my earshot and think ye I know not that which you say? You speak the word, but you know not of what you speak. Know you the terror of fire once used for warmth now burning all that you have loved?  Have you heard the sound of a child’s cry for mercy where there is none?

Perhaps, your hand has caressed a lover’s cheek, only hours later to use the very same to clutch a bloody knife; ministering grace and death within moments of each other.  Such are these times, knowing not what the morn may bring. Lying, head upon weary arms for scant hours, called upon too early to war against savages intent upon death and destruction. T’is pure madness which makes a widow’s tale of heartbreak and loss, the entertainment of others, yet t’is this very form of madness which seems my destiny.
image captured by Mark Selter http://www.markselter.com/


Dare I write words of love, of beauty? Of nights when the hearth fire burned bright, memories made, only to be lost to the sound of the muzzle’s blast on the morn.  Shall I write of iridescent flowers dusted across the pasture. Of a shift white and sheer, gossamer as moth’s wings? Dare I write of urgently whispered words? Nay, not for fear of loss. All of this and more I feel! I have felt, and fear losing.


Yet, like moth to flame, drawn to fight the savage. To avenge all that has been lost. Madness. Yes. T’is surely madness, for there are times I feel others inside of my mind, inside of my heart, in my head screaming in fury for their revenge.  T’is their hand at work whilst my rifle is raised;  as my knife plunges.

Captured Moments by Ken Bentley
Image from Don Counts and the Book of Faces
These days and nights passed I have traveled far and wide. To the banks of Laughery Creek where savages tore through a homestead ripping a babe from the arms of her mother and the butt of my rifle took its toll upon a savage’s skull.  Children tossed over painted shoulders, carried screaming from all they have ever known.  Loss so deeply felt by a mother who stood amidst the carnage and chaos. Laughing madly, trying to wake the tiny lifeless babe she had moments before smothered at her breast to keep its cries quiet. Madness, you speak to me of such things? Have you been there flattened upon the grass holding strips of bandage to stanch the flow of ceaseless pumping blood? Have you seen the madness of a mother’s eyes as she recognizes her  unwitting complicity in her child's death?


Image from Rebecca Waterman
This tragedy barely behind me, I pressed onward to Mr. Martin’s station for what was to be a sojourn of happiness with my dear Mr. Mains. I traveled once more with my friend Roundman and again, nary a stranger was met by my friend! All who were near became instant friends, pulled in by Ron’s humor and kindness.  All but one, which remained untamed, and was duly relocated to a more suitable home!


Ah, to be in the arms of my love once more! Time nearly flew by with not nearly enough to satiate our desire to be together. T'is perhaps this, the most true madness; to be separated by hours, days, months and miles from the one whom we love most dearly!


And still even in this fine place the savage was never quiet! Little did we guess the Cherokee were watching us at the mid day whilst we walked aside waggoners Heindl & Linenkohl. I am grateful beyond belief  the attack came only after my friends the Heasleys, Mr. Mains and Mr. Linnenkohl and Mr. Heindl and I were a safe distance to the walls of the fort. 
Image by Amanda Evans and the Book of Faces
 Captains Titus and Martin were spitting mad as men were deployed along the ramparts. I was granted a station at the wall gun, where I believe I turned back many a yellow dog with a bark much louder than any they bargained for!  
Another image from the Book of Faces, via Chetworth del Gato
Yet still the dogs were successful in grasping within their evil limbs the most tender of lambs; the Doctor’s beautiful governess and her young charges, the Doctors four lovely daughters!  One and all taken by the barbarians to the slaughter! And yet the good Doctor carried on, treating the wounded upon the field, ignorant of his pending doom. 

From Amanda Evans - the Book of Faces
 My own dear, dear friend Roundman was selected with a small group of men to press outside the walls of the fort to push the savages back. Imagine my terror upon finding he had fallen in the field, his musket clutched in his hands!  Thankfully, but wounded! I could not imagine myself telling his dearest wife Jane of his loss! Fearing the words “burn the messenger!” I was most gladdened the Doctor was able to ascertain he would stand to fight again!

The day's raid upon Martin's Station subsided, though but a few hours later a wretched evening attack found me outside the walls in company with Captain Titus. Together in the gloaming we two seemed everywhere upon the field! The barrel of my fine smoothbore Lucky became hot to the touch as she sprayed her deadly fire upon the heathens of the night.  

T’was a pure pleasure to find Mr. Boone, who had traveled so many many miles was at my back at all times, loaded and ready whilst I reloaded, and I firing whilst he shoved powder down the hot barrel of his own thunder stick.  The battle raged, until Captain Titus’s sword sprang forth from its scabbard and he personally led the men in a final push to move the savages from the field. Their heinous black forms fading as shadows into the trees from whence they came. 
image from the Book of Faces ~ Retha Elaine Reece
Captain Titus was kind enough to offer a glass of fine Madeira in his cabin as the final remains of the sun slipped behind the mountains. Candles were lit, sparkling glasses set upon the table and bottle uncorked.  Together we toasted the fine young men who had fought so bravely, those who would not be coming home, and those who were fighting still. Though much refreshed from the Madeira I was longing for the comfort of my dearest as I begged leave of Captain Titus.

From the fort I passed the flames of another cabin which had been burned. Another frontier family found themselves homeless and lost upon the land; having lost more than the hard work to build the small cabin which burned like a beacon from Hell itself  in the dark night.

Wearily, I lay in the arms of my love knowing full well we would part on the coming day. Our words, thoughts and deeds were those of two who could not get enough of one another.  The dawning day brought forth shovels and the dead were buried beside the ashes of their lost cabins. 
Captured by Adin Pemberton from the Book of Faces
The parson said a most touching and fine service for the gathered settlers and travelers garrisoned at Mr. Martin's Station, following which, a scant few moments were gathered during which Captain Titus and I were able to greet each other as dear friends.

Mr. Mains escorted me from the fort yard to do a bit of shopping and then a ride with the waggoner returned us to his cabin.

image provided by Mr. Carroll Ross

 My dear friend Roundman came round to collect me from Mr. Mains cabin, knowing full well how much I hated to gather my scant belongings from the small cabin which is Mr. M's humble domain.

Our long journey away from Powell's Valley was filled with talk of our time spent, his narrow escape from the hands of death, and my simple happiness with love, and the sign of hope we'd been sent from heaven above at the close of the day.



My own travels continued, including a brief visit once more to the land of Friendship along Laughery Creek with my lovely friend Marie Blanche. Together we celebrated long into the night amongst friends not seen for a goodly long time.  
Image from the Book of Faces ~ Jeri Vaughn


Sadly for us, though perhaps a blessing upon our unfortunate neighbors, our shining times did not last and but five days later I was sheltered within the walls of Fort Harrod whilst the damned savages taunted, hurling insults, fire and lead upon the fortifications.  
image captured by Mark Selter http://www.markselter.com/


 My good friends Mr. M. Ramsey, Mr. Burns, the Dunkelbergers, the Selters, the Heasleys, Mr. Hagee and his lovely wife were with us as were the dear Parson and his servant Maggie.



T'was so good to share time and a punch bowl with my friends! Mr. Ramsey, Mr. Kell, Mr. MacGillie, Mr. vonDielingen joined the Selters and I in partaking of the communal punch bowl.  Ahhh, therein lies madness, partaken of willingly! T'was most fortunate the Parson had removed himself from the proceedings, lest a sermon would surly have followed upon the Sunday morn following!
image captured by Mark Selter http://www.markselter.com/
image captured by Mark Selter http://www.markselter.com/

image captured by Mark Selter http://www.markselter.com/

image captured by Mark Selter http://www.markselter.com/

T’was pure pleasure having Mr. MacGillie back within our lands, his having traveled most far and wide in the days earlier. He spent a goodly amount of his time sewing a pair of moccasins for Mr. Kell, who will surely wear them out in but a few days. Ah well, yet another form of madness, to speak nothing of the great pleated sleeve generation of fellows being clad by this seamstress of the sand. 
image from Luke MacGillie and the Book of Faces


I believe we three MacGillie, Kell and I shall travel to Mr. Martin’s station in the coming weeks and I shall be reunited once again with my dear Mr. Mains whom I adore and miss madly. I pray he is safe and sound cradled in Powell's Valley awaiting my return.

Nay, do not speak to me of madness, for surely you know not of what you speak. 

Wednesday, June 1

Dreamland

Dearest Readers,
I’ve only just knuckled the sleep out of my eyes this early morn; grasping my pen and paper hoping to gather the  wisps of strange dreams from the night last afore they escape my mind. T’was a dream which started in the arms of my dearest Mr. Mains, an impossibility as he is so many many miles from me. I’ll not cause you to blush by sharing those details but t’was quite warming on this cool morning.
The sound of rushing water, a stream cobbled in sunlight, shadow and splashing white bubbles woke me from dreams within my dream.  
Mr. M and I drank coffee and spoke words of love whilst sitting far above the water.  The images changed in my mind and shifted to a place only accessible in dreams. Strangely, the two of us were now high in the trees with blooming mountain laurel below. The smell, even in my dream was intoxicating, but the view was truly magnificent. 



Mr. Mains and I were strung up in some type of extraordinary apparatus and were flying through the air as if we were birds.  These dream flights were so vivid and strong t’was as if it had been in real life!

I wondered if I had screamed in my bed as I had as I’d crossed valleys high above the tree tops. The worst moment had been when I had somehow missed grasping Mr. Mains hand and found myself flying backwards over the longest distance between one landing and another.


Within scant moments Mr. M’s strong arms were around me and together we pulled ourselves to a landing platform, my heart raced and I could hardly get my breath. 


Again the dream shifted and I found myself once more aside a sparkling river surrounded by hundreds of fairie butterflies fluttering over a carpet of moss.
video



Upon waking my heart continued to soar and a smile remained upon my lips as I reached for pen and paper.