My Pulse Quickens to Set Foot on the Home-Shores Again

15 September 2012

It's time for another edition of Character Letters! This month we are hearing from Kenneth Hughes, British infantryman and a character in Rifles in the South Field. He lived in Bradford on Avon with his widowed mother and sister before coming to America to fight against the rebelling colonials. Kenneth has a steady hand, and an eye for details. His paper is the best available to a lowly foot soldier, which isn't very nice, so it follows that he wouldn't waste any space by doodling in the margins.

. . .

12 January 177—
Boston, Massachusetts
My Dear Mother,

At last I am safely on American shores and take this time to pen a short epistle to you. I know Jemima will fret if she does not hear from me soon, so I mean to write her a letter as soon as yours is sealed, but please do not show her this one, and if she asks, says it was meant for your eyes only. The news I contain below is not something I wish to be repeated to all the girls of Bradford on Avon. 

To sum it up in two words, it's perfectly dreadful. Savage. Untamed. Not a decent British pub to be found for miles, and all the newspapers arrive three weeks late. What's worse, none of this seems to bother the colonials. But it is to be my home for goodness knows how long, so I'd best make my peace with its feral wilderness. A soldier must shoulder his burden. My only comfort is that I will not be here long — most likely the rebels are the sort that couldn't shoot straight if they tried — and will soon be home and in the warm comforts of civilized society once more. Just the thought of a good cup of British tea and some of your warm biscuits makes my pulse quicken to set foot on the home-shores again.

I know you will be sighing at these lines and wondering why your one son hasn't any gumption. And I can assure you that I'm not here in America shivering and quaking like Burns' "cowran, tim'rous beastie". I wasn't raised fatherless to start at a shadow. But the bloodlust that flowed so heavy through Father's veins seems to thin in mine, and I sometimes wonder why we don't just let these colonials alone. They're fools to stand up against the British crown, of course, but haven't we also done foolish things in the past?

This letter was meant to encourage you, but I fear I have done the opposite. I am only weary and dull of mind; I suppose that will pass. I pray God will keep you and Jemima in good health for the duration of this trial. As for myself, pray that the whole bloody affair is swiftly over.


Your faithful son,
—KENNETH.

4 epistles:

  1. AHH It's will from BBC Robin Hood. :D

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  2. I am a horrible commenter, but that letter was so well done I had to say something! :D It's tells so much about the character, and he comes across so clearly... I am definitely intrigued by the story now! Love it!

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  3. Love the letter, Elizabeth. I'm really looking forward to reading this book one day. Especially looking forward to reading more about Kenneth. I have a thing for British men especially if they wear any type of uniform.

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