The Heart of a Patriot
Love can Change a Life.but Loyalty can tear one Apart.
I believe I can truthfully quote the phrase "the world came crashing
down about me", for my world indeed has. I've found things that, ever since
I was a child I had believed to be stable, suddenly torn from my life with
such violence that my heart nearly burst.
I myself am Cecelia Penny, daughter of William Penny, late of his Majesty's
cavalry. My father was as much a loyalist in this time of war as any man
has ever been, but his ways were not and never will be mine.
When the war officially began with the colonies, father, as a loyal citizen
of Virginia, re-claimed his place in King George's ranks and rode off
towards Concord - a ride from which he never returned. Seeing that my
mother died when I was small, I found myself quite alone in the world, and
as an only child, the recipient of a large inheritance. At fifteen it was
far too much for me to handle, so for three years I remained suffering in
Yorktown. It took me as long to realize that there was nothing to be gained
through self pity, and within a month I had bought and moved to a mansion
in Charlestown, South Carolina, just a few miles away from the home of my
When Charlestown fell to the British, I was forced to consider the
political side of the war. The British had no right to pressure the
colonials as they had, so after careful deliberation I found myself faced
with patriotic leanings. As the daughter of a respected English man and a
martyr for his majesty, I was forced to keep my private feeling to myself,
and become what was expected of me.
Socializing with the officers was considered a necessary part of the life
of a young lady; hence the invitations to parties began to accumulate along
with the pressure from my cousin to attend them. It wasn't so much that I
refused to mingle with the inhabitants of the city, it was more out of fear
that I chose not to attend. In Alexander's words, I'm a sweet, charming
girl, but in my own opinion, I'm not nearly that. I'm a petite, curvy
thing, and not precisely what you'd call a beauty, Alex says 'adorable',
meaning that I keep my wavy brown hair a bit shorter than normal, feature
wise I'm rather unremarkable, I'm not thin but neither am I heavy, and I'd
much rather put my muscles to work than sit and sew all day.
After my stack of invitations had grown to spectacular heights, I received
a much more significant correspondence from General Lord Charles
Cornwallis, inviting me to attend one of his infamous balls at his nearby
mansion. As my pen was posed to write my refusal, I found myself face to
face with a glaring Alexander.
I fear my sardonic side got the better of me.
He sighed. "Cecelia, why? Why do you refuse to accept your place in
society? Is there a reason you will not meet the other ladies and the
officers? Cecelia.you astound me."
"Alex, I feel uncomfortable among them.I.I can't."
He sat down beside me on the settee. "Cecelia, I love you with all my
heart, and that is why I pressure you. If you never socialize how do you
ever expect to.to."
"Carry on the family line?" I shot back.
From the sheepish look on his face I could easily read his thoughts.
"That's exactly what you and all the others want, isn't it? I know the way
everyone thinks, Alex, I'm young, wealthy and noble.and I need to be
married of to some fine gentleman to raise a family, just like every one
else. Do you ever consider that maybe I willingly choose not to be like
everyone else? Do you ever consider my feelings?"
He placed his arm around my shoulders and hugged me gently.
"Cecee.it's for your own good."
Perhaps it was the look in his eyes, or his use of my pet name, but I soon
found myself at the gates of an extraordinary mansion.
As the carriage slowed to a halt, my Negro driver Samuel assisted me down
and escorted me to the door, and after inquiring when to return, left me
trapped, and quite alone.
On the back lawn, I found countless numbers of scarlet-coated officers and
stuffy ladies, most with towering wigs powdered to absolute whiteness. I
fingered my own neatly curled locks and felt just a bit more intimidated.
In dress I was just as stylish as they were, with my light green silken
dress, pearls and ivory fan. The lace at my neck and the ribbons twined
throughout my hair completed the outfit, and restored a little of my
confidence.but just a little.
For an hour or more I engaged in idle chitchat with a few ladies, more or
less about the treason of the colonials and the triumph of Lord Cornwallis.
I said little and flitted around the officers even less. Unexplainably, I
held in my heart a terrible dread towards the officers of the crown, a deep
fear that chills through my bones even now as I tell of if.
When the ball reached its climax - that is to say the presentation of Lord
Cornwallis - I found myself nearly at the front of the crowd, and, to my
dismay, in the clear line of sight for the General.
Lord Cornwallis was accompanied by two officers, one possessing a clear cut
face and a seeming cloak of fright about him, and the other a mousy sort of
man, the type of which you see only once in your life and spend the rest of
your days trying to forget.
My introduction to the General was, thankfully, brief. I was courteous and
well mannered, despite the rising urge to snub my nose at the pompous and
arrogant manner the man surrounded himself with. Shortly he strolled on,
with the mousy man at his heels like a puppy following a child. The
frightening man, however, held back and turned to speak in hushed tones to
another officer who reminded me much of the first.
Seeing my chance, I quickly turned and made my way back across the lawn,
hoping not to draw any unwanted attention. Only once was I stopped by a
lady who had, at one time, known my father. After a drawn out conversation
on loyalty to the crown, I received an invitation to visit with she and her
family. Shortly I excused myself and whirled around, hoping to escape from
the stuffy climate of formal social life, but instead found myself face to
face, literally, with the officer I had dreaded.
"Forgive me, sir," I managed to say, despite the fact that my mouth was
suddenly dry. "I wasn't paying attention as I should have been, and for
that I beg your pardon."
He smiled. It wasn't a happy, comfortable smile, but it was the grin of a
buzzard as it sees it's prey helpless against it's might.
"You've no need, to fret, milady, all is forgiven."
He brushed past me then without another word, and I found myself feeling
relieved, that is, until I noticed the man's comrade standing directly in
front of me.
"Excuse me miss," He caught up my hand and kissed it in the most chivalrous
way. "I don't believe we've met."
"We have now." I managed a smile, and in return was graced with his.
"May I ask your name?"
I nearly choked on the words, but managed to speak at last. "I'm Cecelia
Penny, daughter of-"
"-William Penny." He finished my sentence for me, and a faraway look
appeared in his eyes. "I rode with your father at Concord.I'm sorry."
While he was speaking I was able to get my first good look at him. He was
young, perhaps only a few years older than I, and he appeared to be the
epitome of what is expected of officers. He stood tall and straight, with a
proud look in his intelligent, steely gray eyes. His chestnut hair was
pulled back into a tail at the nape of his neck, and wound tightly to keep
it in check. His green dragoon uniform was spotless, and nicely tailored to
his reasonably trim figure. Its buttons reflected the sunlight, giving him
the appearance of some sort of deity.
I could tell as I studied him that he, in turn, was studying me, and the
thought perturbed me slightly.
"I didn't seem to catch your name, sir." I said politely, and with much
more benevolence than I was truly feeling.
He started, shocked out of his reverie. "I'm sorry. My name is Captain
Henry Andrew Morrisworth of his majesty's cavalry. I served under your
father at Concord, and now I've fallen under the command of Colonel
Banastre Tarleton, whom, I presume you've already met."
I shook my head, sending my curls into motion. "I do not believe I've had
the.privilege of meeting Col. Tarleton, but his reputation as a fine
officer of the crown precedes him."
Captain Morrisworth chuckled. "Oh indeed you have met him, you had a little
tousle with him just a minute ago."
An incredible nauseating feeling overcame my senses. I had been face to
face with a bloody murderer, a man with the deaths of hundreds upon his
hands - with the souls of countless victims on his heart. 'Bloody Ban the
Butcher'- the scourge of the southern patriots, and here I was, chatting
away with one of his officers.
"P-please excuse me, Captain. I suddenly feel rather ill." I turned away,
hoping he would allow me to leave- but he was not so easy to shake.
"Perhaps if you walked a bit you'll feel well. I know that walking always
I nodded. "Alright, thank you. Now if you'll excuse me-"
"Miss Penny, please allow me to escort you." Morrisworth smiled and gently
began to lead me away from the crowd, despite my volley of protests.
Eventually I felt obliged to give in, and for seemingly eternity, he
peppered me with questions about myself, my family and my father. It was
not until the guests began to disperse that he let me out of his site, and
as I silently hoped all through the carriage ride home, out of his mind.
But deep down inside, I knew I was wrong.