Here is a snippet from the sequel to Love's Vengeance
Timothy Colter had his back turned as he tied Sebastian to a post and smiled to himself, hearing the titter of giggles coming from behind him and inside the house near the front door. It was, no doubt, Lizzie’s constant irritations and little sisters, eleven-year-old Clara, nine-year-old Esther and little five-year-old Ruth, jockeying for a spot in the window to look out, as he turned for the steps.
“Esther, go tell Lizzie that Tim is here!” Clara ordered.
“No ,you go! I want to see Tim!” Esther returned juggling for a better view as Tim made his way to the front landing. He watched the three, positioned at the slim window that edged the front door and waved with an amused smile at the three, causing them to titter with excitement while jumping up and down.
The door was opened abruptly and all three girls spilled out onto the veranda to meet him. He was immediately hit with a gush of excited questions.
“Tim, is it true you are here to speak with father?” Clara exclaimed, hugging his hand to her cheek. “We overheard father talking to Lizzie. You are going to get married? Yes?”
“Are you going to be our new uncle?” Ruthie piped up, tugging at his suit coat with chubby little hands and gazing up at him, all wide-blue eyes and bouncing-brown curls.
“Not uncle, Ruthie. Brother in law. He will be our new brother,” Clara corrected her little sister patiently.
“Should I go find Lizzie?” Esther offered. “She is out in the backyard.”
“No Esther, let's just let Lizzie be, for the time being. Could you announce me to your father though?” he laughed, untwining himself from Clara and Ruthie’s grip and then lifting Ruthie into his arms. “And please girls let me speak with him alone for a moment, will you? Can you find him and then run along for just a bit? You will be the first I speak with—after Lizzie, of course. Can you do that for me?” he asked as he entered the house and just within placed Ruth to her feet.
“Of course Tim!” Clara assured. “Come along girls, let’s go call father. Tim you wait in the parlor.” She gestured to the room off the front hall and then with a blur of matching blue gingham and brown curls, the three scampered off in search of their father.
Tim rose from his seat as the Reverend Norton paused at the entrance to the modestly furnished parlor. His dark suit, one of only a few meager ones that he owned, was well worn and equally as modest as his home. His short cropped graying hair and whiskered face looked older than his forty-six years.
“Timothy, greeting and salutations! Praise God, for this wonderful day.”
“Praise God, Reverend, and thank you for accepting my request for our discussion.”
The Reverend reached into his breast pocket of his coat and produced the parchment note which preceded Tim’s visit by days.
“Your proposal was met with great enthusiasm by
. Her regard for you runs deep.” Elizabeth
“Of course, as does mine for her, Reverend Norton.”
“You are aware that no dowry will accompany…”
“Lizzie is the only dowry I require, sir,” Tim assured quickly.
Reverend Norton chuckled warmly at the exuberance of the young man before him.
“Please sit Tim, and let us discuss your immediate plans.” He gestured to the sofa and took a seat in a chair positioned across from him.
“As you are aware sir, I have no home of my own at this time and my means of support is afforded by my merchant trade. I have accumulated the wealth to provide for a wife as I outlined in my proposal. A home will be in the offing within the year. In the meantime, Lizzie will live with me in the family home and of course, will be close to you and yours, which is both our wishes.”
“I am sure you wish to proceed in a timely manner and as the King's representative is in this parish I could perform the ceremony at my chapel, however, the banns will need to be published for the next three Sabbaths and the King's fee is five shillings. Your other option would be to apply for a license from the governor in Saint George. He being currently available, this might be accomplished in but days. You would have the option of paying a rather steep fee of twenty-five shillings for a ceremony at some other venue, which Lizzie seems to have her mind set that your home would be the perfect setting.”
Tim chuckled warmly. “I think my mother would be in agreement with that option as well. I believe she is polishing the silver as we speak. Of course you will consent to perform the ceremony?”
“I will, I will,” he affirmed with a nod.
“I will pay the King's fee to you as well.”
“It shall be well received, I assure you. Have you thought more on our discussion before your last voyage?” he asked with a raised brow.
“I have and will be of service when I can, for your endeavors. Robert and I have discussed it at some length and we are of a like mind to find some way and means to get those in question to some safe haven when the need arises.”
“Yes,” Reverend Norton nodded in agreement. “That seems to be the stumbling block. Solomon is an accepted member of the community but the other three darkies currently at rest with him while they recover from their ordeal at sea—we will be hard pressed to find them safe haven.”
Tim nodded. “We will put our minds to it and come up with a plan. The warehouse and contents in Jamestown must be dismantled and the moving and building of the new warehouse at Williamsburg will require a lot of brawn and those three can be part of our crew for the time being. Free men of course, but laborers, none the less.”
“Solomon has indicated they will be well enough to travel in short order,” Reverend Norton informed, then rose from his seat. “But enough of this business, I believe you have a young lady waiting to see you in the backyard, if I am not mistaken,” he said with a smile, folding up the parchment note again, before placing it inside the breast pocket of his jacket.”
“Reverend Norton, with your permission I would like to speak with Lizzie, alone for a few minutes, if you don’t mind. We will be in directly,” Tim nodded.
“Yes Timothy, I believe you will find her there,” he inclined his head to the backyard, with a warm smile. “Her mother and I will await you here.”
Tim looked out the veranda doors to see Lizzie seated upon a bench under a tree. He also noted Clara and watched as Lizzie shooed her away. “That little scamp!” Tim thought good-naturedly. “So much for surprise.”
Lizzie Norton smoothed the lilac muslin gown over her waist and arranged the puffed sleeves until uniform, just below the elbow. The sleeves were the only concession her father would allow to her modest everyday gown which was required to be appropriately modest for a minister’s daughter. Her light-brown hair which was a heavy mass that hung to her hips when allowed to hang free was twined in a genteel bun at her crown and just a few wisps of tightly curled tendrils were allowed to fall over one shoulder.
Tim opened the door, stepping out to the back veranda and closing it softly behind him. He leaned against the railing at the top of the landing, waiting until Lizzie noticed him before starting down the steps and walking slowly in her direction with a measured stride and a smile upon his lips.
Lizzie admired Tim as he started down the stairs. He was appropriately attired to come to ask for ones hand in marriage as she expected he would be. He wore a dark-brown velvet suit coat, with an embroidered waistcoat. His collar length light blond hair was pulled back in a leather tie at the nape of his neck.
His eyes locked with hers as he slowly made his way across the yard and she could barely keep herself seated demurely as he approached with hands clasped behind his back, sauntering slowly and playfully. She had not seen him for nearly three months. Not since his last visit before he left when they had stolen away for a romantic carriage ride. It had been a terribly long three months! Her only contact was the letter of intent that preceded this visit, addressed to her father and eloquently asking his consent to call upon him to formally request her hand in marriage.
She had been hoping for this day for years, ever since their earliest adolescent days when, at first, she would see him only at Sunday church services. As time passed and in the last year they had began to spend some time together courting. He had not been exclusive and his adventures at sea were an off limits subject but she had always been saving herself for him and had prayed diligently for this day to arrive. She wanted to leap into his arms now but somehow she kept her seat and allowed him to come to her.
Tim smiled and with amusement as he casually approached, he observed. “Well just look at you Miss Norton—all calm and serene, looking as beautiful as the last time I saw you. I am proud of you Lizzie. You’re going to let me get through this, I do believe.”
“I am ready to leap off this seat and into your arms this instant Master Colter, so you had best make haste and ask what you have come to ask,” Lizzie said with an excited squeal.
Tim chuckled and came to a stop and as he dropped to one knee before her, Lizzie’s feet bounced with excitement and she covered her mouth with both hands.
Tim outstretched his hand and Lizzie giddily placed her trembling one into his steady one and placed her other hand in her lap, calming herself with a deep breath in and out and then her smile was unstoppable.
“Lizzie, when I think of home, I think of you. When I think of love, I think of you. I cannot think of a life without you in it and to be sure I never suffer that fate—Elizabeth Mary Norton, would you please do me the extreme honor of consenting to be my wife?” Tim finished, lifting her hand to his lips for a gentle kiss.
“Yes, Tim! Yes! Yes! Yes!” Lizzie exclaimed and then as he came to his feet, she was in his arms and he lifted her off the ground, turning her as they shared a deep kiss, sealing the deal.
A chorus of high pitched screams and then giggles preceded Clara, Esther and Ruthie as they rushed from the side of the manor where they had stole away to watch unseen and soon it was a jumble of five sharing the private moment as they clung to the couple, jumping up and down with excited glee.
Reverend Norton and his wife watched from the back porch, laughing as they observed the mayhem before them.
“I would venture to guess that they all say yes,” Enid Norton confirmed to her husband with a laugh, then called. “Girls let them breathe, please!”