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The Schoolmasters Daughter by John Smolens (Excerpt)

The Schoolmasters Daughter by John Smolens (Excerpt)

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
From the author of The Anarchist and Cold comes a gripping historical novel set during the American Revolution.
From the author of The Anarchist and Cold comes a gripping historical novel set during the American Revolution.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Oct 25, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2013

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THE SCHOOLMASTER’S DAUGHTER By John Smolens
Of a Tuesday evening, Abigail Lovell had just entered Dock Squarewhen the music of waterfront commerce, shopkeeps and fishmongershawking their goods, was broken up by the sound of running footsteps, ashout, and then a collision. Twilight made it difficult to see: a boy sprawledon the cobblestones, two redcoats standing over him. Bostonians gatheredround, fearfully silent now. Abigail pushed through the crowd and found thatit was her younger brother, Benjamin, on the ground. One of the Britishsoldiers had his rapier drawn.“And why are you in such a hurry?” the sergeant demanded, holdingthe tip of his blade within an inch of Benjamin’s throat. “Begging your  pardon, sir,” Benjamin said. “It’s my fault.”Every day, such incidents in Boston: the occupier and the occupied.Abigail recognized the other soldier, a Corporal Hubert Lumley, who billeted with a neighbor on School Street. “Sergeant Munroe,” Lumley said.“I suggest it’s nothing intentional on the boy’s part. Merely anaccident. And I recognize him. He’s the schoolmaster’s son, and as you seehe’s—”“I am to see
what 
, Corporal?” Munroe turned to Lumley, angered byhis impertinence. Lumley was perhaps the same age as Abigail, in his earlytwenties. He was dark-haired and the shorter of the two soldiers, but seemedto have considerable self-possession, enough that Sergeant Munroe appearedthwarted, and he returned his attention to Benjamin. “The schoolmaster’sson, you say? On your feet, lad.”Careful of the sergeant’s sword, Benjamin got up off the cobblestones,his britches smeared with butcher’s blood, fish guts, straw, and manure,standing with his back to Abigail. He was seventeen; tall, lean, yet withinordinately broad shoulders, the result of rowing in the harbor. His tricornlay at his feet.“Your hat?” Lumley said. Benjamin nodded.“Well,” Munroe said, pouting, “aren’t you going to retrieve it?”Reluctantly, Benjamin picked up the tricorn, which Lumley snatched away.He began to inspect the inside of the crown.“And where are you going in such a hurry?” Munroe asked Benjamin.
 
“Home, sir. I was just—”“Sergeant,” Abigail said, stepping forward. Both soldiers appearedstartled that she would even think of intruding. “Please, sir. The corporal iscorrect. This is my brother, Benjamin Lovell, and he was indeed on his wayhome. We live on School Street, but a few doors from Corporal Lumley’s billet.”Her brother nodded slowly, wary of the sword which was still pointedat his neck. Incredulous, the sergeant touched the steel tip to Benjamin’sskin, just above the Adam’s apple.
“Sergeant.”
A voice to Abigail’s left, and then, as the crowd parted,an officer approached, causing Munroe and Lumley to stiffen. “No need for 
that 
.”Reluctantly, Munroe lowered his arm, holding the sword at his side.“Of course, Colonel Cleaveland.” Lumley seemed to comprehend thedelicacy of the moment, and he looked up from the hat in his hands. “Andyou might be … Mistress Abigail Lovell?” he said. Several of the people inthe crowd snickered.“Yes, I am Abigail Lovell. And our father is the headmaster at theLatin School, and, well, he’s quick to employ discipline with his ferule. Latefor dinner customarily brings two whacks, one for each palm.” She gazedabout at the crowd, drawing them into the conspiracy. “But, of course, youunderstand this all really has to do with fishing.”Munroe looked as though he’d heard enough prattle, but ColonelCleaveland seemed mildly interested. “How so, Miss?” he asked. “Well, sir.On such a spring evening young men must needs go fishing down to theharbor, but my brother will not be allowed to venture forth until he has eatena proper supper.” There were more snickers:
 Fishing, indeed 
.“Or perhaps if the tide’s out,” she offered. “They might row across theBack Bay to go digging in the clam beds.”And there were consenting murmurs and nods.
 Aye. In beds
. Thecolonel studied the crowd, his gaze deliberate, suspicious. Taller than theother two soldiers, he was a different cut of Brit. Blond hair smoothed back and tied in a neat queue with a fine ribbon. Deep blue eyes, a clean-shaven jaw. “This is not about fishing, young lady,” he announced for everyone’s benefit. “But order. These two soldiers patrol the streets of Boston in aneffort to maintain order.”“But, sir—” she began.“Do not confuse the issue,” he said, looking at her now, and his eyes

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