Wherein the Doctor, in his guise as Surgeon's Mate, travels to Fort Loudoun upon ye Tanassee River, delivers a mail packet, gives and receives Yule gifts, sees his first snow of the season, eats his first onion pie and is inadvertently married to two Cherokee sisters.

Snow had fallen in the night and covered everything in a thick blanket of white. It was still falling in heavy flakes when I stepped out of the barracks to have a look. Kirby and a few others stood outside under the eaves and watched the snow fall.

I swept the infirmary floors and neatened the beds a bit, but as there was little for me to do, I left the Doctor and his new Nurse and went down the the barracks again.

Maggie and some of the other women decorated the entire fort with fresh greens, which gave it a most festive and gay appearance.

I got into my cups at mid day. I made a meal of a large sweet potato with butter and brown sugar, and ate it right down, skin and all.

For a bit of entertainment for those assembled in the barracks, Pvt. Kirby had me read for him his letters that I had brought along. He opened them carefully to preserve the wax seals as best he could, then passed them into my hands. They were as follows:

Dear Sir,

If it be quite convenient and agreeable to you, I'll beg the favour of you to lend me fifty pounds for the space of three months precisely; any security that you shall require and I can give, you may freely ask. A less time would not suit me; a longer, you may depend on it, I shall not desire. Your answer will oblige, Sir,

Your very humble servant,
B. Jonas


There was a time when if any one should have told me that I would ever have written to you fuch a letter as I am now writing, I would as soon have believed that the earth would have burst asunder, or that I should see stars falling to the ground, or trees and mountains rising to the heavens. But there is nothing too strange to happen. One thing would have appeared yet more impossible than my writing it, which is, that you should have given me the cause to have written it, and yet that has happened.

The purpose of this is to tell you, Sir, that I shall never wait on you again. You will truly know what I make myself suffer when I impose this command upon my own heart; but I would not tell you of it, if it were not too much determined to me for have a possibility of changing my resolution.

It gives me some pleasure that you will feel no uneasiness for this, though I should also have been very averse some time ago even to have imagined that; but you know where to employ that attention of which I am not worthy the whole, and with a part I shall not be contented. I was a witness, Sir, yesterday of your behaviour to Miss Henley. I had often been told of this, but I have refused to listen to it. I supposed your heart no more capable of deceit than my own: but I cannot disbelieve what I have been told on such authority, when my own eyes confirm it. Sir, I take my leave of you, and beg you will forget there ever was fuch a woman as,

Your humble servant,
Francis Winifred
We all had a bit of fun at poor Kirby's expense over this, even Chief Little Carpenter and the Parson.

There were firings of the wall gun and the cannons. Ensign Boggs and a crew fired a cannon from one bastion, and Sgt. Nutcher and his crew fired from another. The report echoed all through the hills and down the valley.

Doctor Anderson dispenses his Stout whilst drummer Hamilton holds the lantern.

Several jiggers of rum, two mugs of Stout brewed by Doctor Anderson, wine from the fine ladies in Captain Demere's quarters, and then a good dark ale from Pvt. Newell left me feeling quite in the merry spirit of the season. I think it would be safe to say that I had tossed off my full bumper.

We sang songs in the barracks after dark for the publick that filed through, a good mixture of Christmas songs and the standard military fare we usually sing.

The crescendo of the evening's festivities came with the night firing of the cannons and wall gun from three of the four bastions followed shortly thereafter by the much anticipated 'pie supper'.

With the barracks full to nearly overflowing, we all gathered round the long tables full of every kind and creed of pie that one could imagine. Beef pies, egg pies with cheese, onion pies, fried apple pies, and all kinds of berry and fruit pie known to man. I was loan'd a tin plate by young Private Gamble, as my meager wooden bowl was hardly sufficient to he task of holding a multitude of pies. We all stood 'round and, once released, attacked the tables and their contents with great enthusiasm!

I filled my plate on the first pass with a cold beef pie, a hot egg pie with cheese, a blueberry pie that also contained spiced raisins, a shambling shepherd's pie and another pie I could not identify, but ate all the same.

When I got to the end of the table and my plate was full, I discovered the fried fruit pies wrapped in thin paper. I had no room for them on the large tin plate, so I took two and placed them carefully into my coat pockets!

I even partook on Mr. Ross' excellent onion pie! I have never before had anything of the sort, it was magnificent!

There was a rather large cluster of mistletoe hung in the barracks, and I made note that Eagle Woman and Corn Blossom, Cherokee sisters from the nearby village of Toskegee had decorated their hair with sprigs of the stuff. I took the opportunity to gives them kisses upon both their cheeks. Shortly thereafter, I was reliably informed that this now meant that they were my wives!

Eagle Woman and Cornblossom

After my fill of pie and merriment, a group of us played One and Thirty in the guard house.

I went to bed about 9:30 while others were still up. I threw my blankets over my face and blocked out the world. The last thing I recall before sleep was Ensign Boggs. "Mr. Roberts have you retired?" says he.

"Yes sir I have." says I from under the blanket.


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to my friends Eagle Woman and Cornblossom. It is good to see that you are in good health. I should have come with the doctor to visit with you. I chose Mansker's Station instead.

Bible Man

M'Lady Bothernot said...

As usual a charming description of the day's events. I look forward to reading more of your adventures in the new year.