Travels Through Time, part 8
by Jamie

The day that the portrait artist came, Amy was teaching the children a new game. She gathered all the children together and tried to explain it to them.
"All right, I want everything to sit in a circle. I have a new game to teach you. It is called "Red Light, Green Light". Red means stop and green means go,"she explained.
"What is a green light? A red light is like fire, right?" Frederick asked.
"Think of a red candle and a green candle. The red candle would be the red light and the green candle would be the green light," Amy hoped she explained that well enough. Maybe she should not have chosen this game. How could you explain a traffic light to people who don't even know what electricity was. Ben Franklin may have discovered a use for electricity. But, no one had put it to practical use, yet.
"I understand about the lights now, what are the rules of the game?"Frederick asked.
Mrs. Stowe stood in the doorway leading from the kitchen area to the garden and called to Amy and the children,
"Miss Amy, the artist is here. Please bring the children inside to get them ready for the portrait."
Amy grabbed George's hand as she said to the children, "Come children, we can play later. Marianne and I will help you dress for your picture."
Amy dressed Emma in a pink dress with a white ribbon and had Julia dress in a coordinating dress of white with a pink ribbon. The boys all wore little sailor suits. They even gave George a little sailing ship to hold.
Lady Pellew had the artist set a chair for Amy to sit on and have the children surrounding her. Amy asked, "It should be you, milady, sitting on the chair, not me. It may look like I am the mother, not the governess."
"I want you in the portrait, Amy. I think it will be nice. Now, put George on your lap and all of you look at the ship. You could look like you are giving a lesson about the ship,"Lady Pellew explained.
"Or we could be looking for Papa!" Emma exclaimed.
"Or for Lieutenant Kennedy,"Julia said to Amy, who blushed from embarrassment.
The children posed and were like good little sailors for about an hour. Then Paul's nose started to itch and George dropped the ship and started to cry.
While Paul scratched his nose, he accidentally hit his sister, Julia, in the head with his elbow. She didn't care for that and swung at him. Paul backed up to miss being hit and stepped on Emma, who was tired and was sitting on the floor.
Amy shook her head. Why did it seem like dominoes when these kids argued and fought? She wondered when Frederick would get involved. She put George on her hip, stood up and separated the children. She turned to the portrait artist and apologized for the children's behavior.
"It is all right, Miss, I have the basic drawing filled in. I just need some more sittings and I will have the portrait done. Or at least the sitting for the painting part will be finished. I will finish up details on my own,"the artist said.
It was a week filled of sittings for the portrait. Lady Pellew had the sittings only be an hour long. Both Amy and the children were relieved when the portrait sittings were over. Amy felt the same way the children did -- all fidgety from sitting still too long.
The portrait artist let them view the painting when he was almost done. He would finish up the picture in his art studio. Amy was surprised how life like he had drawn everyone. It would be a nice picture when it was done. Amy got another surprise latter that afternoon, when the mail came. A letter from Archie came in the mail for her.
Amy took the letter and put it in her apron pocket. She had the children go upstairs to play in the nursery and then went to read the letter in the privacy of her bedroom. Her bedroom was right next to the nursery, so she could hear what went on in there. She trusted the children would behave themselves.
Amy was excited about getting a letter from Archie. She had given up all hope that he would write to her. Amy sat on her bed and carefully opened the letter, which said,
~~ Dearest Amy,
I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed our walk together.
I am sorry I didn't write to you sooner. I should have told you that
I could not make it to see you before we sailed. You must think I don't care about you, but I do.
I hope you enjoy your new dress. Maybe next time, you can
wear it for me. There will be next time, won't there? Please say there will be.
In a few weeks, we will be back in Plymouth. Please say you will see me. If you need an escort, bring Marianne. I am sure Davey Jenkins
will want to see Marianne again. Davey's arm is almost healed. He asked me to have you say, 'Hello' to Marianne for him.
Life at sea has been still. I don't quite understand it, after all, a war is on. I feel like it is the beginning of a storm. You know the saying, quiet before the storm. I hope not. I like the action of battles, but not when it is non-stop.
I would love it if you write to me. You can send it to me here,
on the Indefatigable. If I don't receive a response, I will take that
as a sign that you don't want to hear from me. I do enjoy spending
time in your company, Amy, and hope to see you soon.
Your obedient servant,
Lt. Archie Kennedy ~~

Amy put the letter to her chest and starred at the ceiling. Amy's heart felt like it was going to burst out of her chest. 'He did care about her!' she screamed on the inside. She was afraid to scream with joy for fear that people would talk. They were all ready talking, who cared? She did. She loved gossip, but she didn't care that the hottest gossip at the house was geared at her and not someone else.
Amy looked down at the letter and then over towards the armoire. The yellow silk dress that Archie bought for her was inside. She never tried it on.
She had hardly even looked at it. All because Trudy made her feel so ashamed
for accepting it in the first place.
Amy got off her bed and walked to the closet. On the way, she left the letter on the dressing table. Amy opened up the doors and looked at the dress. She picked it up and put it next to her. She looked at herself in the mirror and started to dance in her room. She imagined she was dancing with Archie.
Then all of a sudden she heard Archie say, 'I would love it if you wrote to me. If you don't, I will take it as a sign that you don't want to hear from me.'
"Archie! Oh, Archie!" Amy said as she put the dress on the bed and looked at the letter again.
It was dated three weeks ago. In a few weeks he would be here in Plymouth. What did that mean? Would he be here in Plymouth this week? Next week? When? She had to write to him. What to say? Would she just put Lt. Archie Kennedy of the H. M. S. Indefatigable? Would it get to him? What if she wrote
a reply and he all ready thought that she didn't care. But, she did care. She loved Archie before she even met him. Now, he felt the same way about her. She had to write to him. Now, where was a ballpoint pen, when you needed one?
Amy looked in the drawers of the desk and found some sheets of paper, a bottle of ink and a quill pen. There was also a little knife that was used as a sharpener and was talc used to set the ink. Amy always got ink on her fingers as it was. She was afraid she would make a mess. She carefully put Archie's letter away in the drawer with the other letter he wrote to her about the shoes. She wanted a rag in case of a spill, but could not find one.
Amy decided it would be best to check on the children before she wrote the letter. She went into the nursery. The children looked up at her, but it was obvious that they were deep into playing. Amy thought that was good and went back to her letter.
What to say? What about the state of the weather? She thought about telling him how much she loved the dress. How much she wanted to be with him. Wait, scratch that it is 1800 and ladies don't think that way. Well, maybe men didn't either. Well, did Archie think that way? Amy was so confused. Tons of thoughts were going through her head at once and she could not get a grip on
any of them. Amy thought that she first had to get the lid off the ink bottle
and then she could write to Archie. No ink, no letter, no Archie.
The lid of the bottle was not budging and inch. Amy was afraid if she tried too hard the lid would fly off and there would be black ink all over the place. That was the LAST thing she wanted. She wanted hot water to loosen it. Why couldn't there be a bathroom on the third floor? Why couldn't there be a bathroom period. She could have used the hot water from the tap in the bathroom. Amy gave it one more tug and the lid came off. She sighed relief and grabbed some stationery.
She wrote Dear Archie, but the ink would not write for the 'D' and blotted for the 'A'. Amy crumbled up that piece of paper and started again.
~~ Dear Archie --
Did it hurt when you fell out of your hammock onto the floor? What did Simpson really do to you? How long did you stay in that jolly boat? Please, let me be your nursemaid, the next time you try to starve yourself. ~~
Amy promptly ripped up that letter and tried again and again. Nothing seemed to be right. Marianne came to her room to ask a question and got hit
with one of the crumpled up and disregarded letters.
Marianne saw the scraps of paper on the floor and asked, "Amy, what are you doing? What is all this?"
"I am trying to write a letter. It has to be perfect. Do I need a full address on this letter? What if I am not writing it to a building, but to a ---"
Marianne interrupted Amy and replied, "to a ship?"
"Yes,"Amy replied.
"You are writing to your lieutenant, aren't you? I heard a letter came for you today. Does he say anything about my Davey?" Marianne asked.
"Yes, he does. Davey's arm is almost better and he says 'Hi'. Archie has wants me to bring you to town with me the next time the Indy is in dock."
"You are kidding!"
"No, I am not. I will show you the letter, but you have to promise me that you won't tell anyone else what is in this letter,"Amy told Marianne.
"I promise not to tell anyone what is in the letter, but I can't promise you that they won't talk about you and your sailor,"Marianne replied.
Marianne quickly read over the part, where Archie talks about her and gave the letter back to Amy. Marianne told Amy,
"Davey always speaks kindly of the Lieutenant. He says that Mr. Kennedy is a nice man. He told me that he is patient with the midshipmen and is a good leader because of his compassion. Davey also says that Mr. Kennedy is no pushover. He stands up for the little people and against his adversaries."
'Thanks to Horatio,' Amy thought.
"You know, in Archie, ah, Mr. Kennedy's letter, he says that the Indefatigable is going to be in port in a few weeks. This letter was written a few weeks ago. They may be getting here any day now. That means you will be able to see your Davey again! Isn't that exciting?" Amy told Marianne with a smile.
"Yes, I should let you go back to your letter writing. I am going to write Davey tonight. If you like, I will post your letter with mine," Marianne told Amy.
"I have a few questions to ask. Is sending a letter in England different than sending it in America? Will it get to Archie if I only put his name and the name of the ship?"
"Yes, as long as you have the ship's name right, it will go to the ship and
then it goes to the person on the ship."
"But, the Indy is always on the move. How does it get there?"
"That, I don't know. I just know it does get there. I am sure your Lieutenant would love to hear from you even if the letter is not perfect. See
you at supper."
Amy continued trying to write the perfect letter after Marianne left.
~~ Dear Archie --
Thank you for the lovely letter, the dress and the shoes. I cherished our walk together and would love to do it again with you. I hope we can get together soon. Perhaps, I can show you the dress in private. ~~
'Show you the dress in private?' I sound like a hussy. Amy thought to herself. She threw out that draft. Amy looked down at the stationery. She only had one piece left. She had to make this one count.
~~ Dear Lieutenant Kennedy --
I just want to tell you that I, too, enjoyed our walk. I adore the yellow dress you got for me. Maybe someday, I will have an occasion to wear it.
I would like to see you again, if that is possible. I know how busy you can get on your ship, so I don't expect to hear anything from you.
Until the next time we meet,
Miss Amy Bradley ~~
Amy looked at the letter. It was not perfect. She didn't think anything would be. She thought of the last time she saw him and how he kissed her. It was so gentle and sweet. How did she repay him? She freaked out. Would she ever have him kiss her again? All she wanted to do was to fall sleep in his arms. Then, she realized what that sounded like. But, from the moment she was first with Archie, she knew something was right. He made her feel so safe and secure. She loved that feeling. She loved to put her head against his shoulder. As long as he was by her side, she felt complete. Maybe they were soul mates. Who knew?
"Miss Amy, are you going to take us out to play?" Emma asked through
the door.
Amy shook her head out of her reverie and went to do her duties with
the children. She was a governess first and then if there was time, maybe she could fit in her certain sailor. At least she hoped she could.
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