Okay so this story is based off a legend my grandmother told me about. I have always been interested in the Cherokee people who used to live in Northern Georgia since my own grandmother was part Cherokee. She said that her own grandfather was the son of a Cherokee man and a farmer's daughter. When I asked her how the Cherokee man, whose name is lost in time, met the farmer's daughter she said that he was badly injured and his horse accidently made his way onto the property. The farmer found him and nursed him back to health, and he and the farmer's daughter eventually ended up having a son. Now this story is loosely based on her own story because as much research as I did I could not find any proof or any more details about it. With that said, this is how imagined the story took place with some creative adjusting to make it more interesting.
Please leave me reviews because I worked really hard in collecting all of the information used, and I would hate for efforts to have been in vain.
Northern Georgia 1859
Inside a carriage made of the finest woods the Southern state of Georgia could provide was a woman of high class accompanied by her two daughters. The woman, who held herself with dignity of a noble, peered at her eldest daughter with clear distain unveiled in her eyes. Her lips, which were pursed together as if she had tasted the sourness of a lemon a habit she had formed at a young age to show she was displeased, were withered from the position they had held for nearly the entire carriage ride. Quickly her eyes analyzed the sight of her daughter and had automatically reported the troubling imagine of the girl to her lips so that they could show her displeasure outward. Honestly, she wondered to herself, how many times must she go over the regulations of a lady before her first born finally understood them? The fine lady would have simply fainted from embarrassment if the girl's betrothed had seen her at that moment.
The first thing, she noted mentally as the carriage made its way to the outskirts of the small port town, was her hair. It was simply a mess. She had told her daughter to rise before the sun so that she could properly prepare herself for the journey. But of course, acting within her own rebellious nature, the girl never even stirred until the carriage had arrived accordingly on time. They had struggled to get the wrinkled gown she was currently wearing over her head before they had rushed to the carriage. That act alone had caused them to become nearly an hour late. And the girl refused to use a bonnet to hide the mess! Her sister on the other hand was as beautiful as a fine painting. Her hair neat, her dress pressed, and her posture could have matched a queen's own.
Reaching to her small silk purse, the mother of the two girls pulled out a fine comb carved out of ivory, pushing it into the hands of her eldest, she hissed, "Clarrisa pull your hair down and comb it. We will be arriving to meet your father soon I simply refuse to allow you to look the way you do. I cannot have you meeting your fiancé dressed like a maid who has not seen a comb a day in her life."
"Oh Mother please," Clarissa exclaimed as she toyed idly with the comb's teeth, "We both know you and Father are marrying me off to an old man. I doubt he will even be able to see what I look like let alone give me children."
Clarissa's younger sister drew in her breath at her sister's bold statement, eyeing their mother carefully as if she were ready to exit the moving carriage if her mother made even the slightest of movement. Caring for both her mother and sister dearly she had always hated the sharpness of her sister's tongue. And she feared for the wrath that Clarissa's words would bring forth from their strict mother.
"Clarrisa you will not speak such vulgarity again," with that said she reached out quickly snatching the girl's auburn hair down from the messy bun it had been in, "Comb it now or you will not be arriving with us in this carriage."
Complying with her mother's request, Clarissa began to comb through her long curls, snatching at the tangles she had missed earlier that day. Her mother eyed her carefully, clearly making it known that she would up hold her threat, the matron stated, "I cannot believe you sometimes Clarissa."
"Mother," Clarissa sighed dramatically.
For the rest of the carriage ride the three were silent taking in the landscapes before them. The silence was an awkward one filled with disapproval, rebellion, and one stuck in the middle of the latter two who felt more than uncomfortable.
When the sun was marking noon in the horizon broken by small foot hills symbolizing the beginning of a nearby mountain range the carriage halted in front of a planation home. The home, which sat on a large hill, overlooked the peach grove that grew with in the large valley beneath. Clarissa knew the home belonged to man her parent's intended on marrying her to just like she knew that it was more of a business deal, than a deal of romantic origins. This knowledge alone was reason enough for her to cause her mother as much grief as possible. She knew her father had no designs in the engagement for he would have come to her and asked her opinion on the subject matter like he did so many other times.
This was solely her mother's doing as a way to tame her wild ways. Not that she believed she was wild, Clarissa simply thought of herself as more modern where her mother had been more traditional. But really in truth her father was to blame for her modernization. He had been the one to send her to the French boarding school in Paris for most of her young adult life. And though she had learned the proper ways of a woman inside the school; she had also gained from the education how simply droll it all was. She had come to the conclusion a year ago that bonnets and girdles were nothing more than a man's way of controlling a woman for his own selfish desires. She most certainly did not enjoy wearing either one of those torturous contraptions, and because of this she stopped wearing them. After that decision she began to make many more of her own, and most of the girl's inside the finishing school began to follow her lead. And in leading them she led herself to expulsion returning to her traditional, narrow-minded mother who would have surely traded her at birth if she had known what kind of daughter Clarissa would have turned out to be.
A young man wearing a business suit carrying a cane in his right hand stepped onto the porch of the house as he waited for the carriage driver to help the fine ladies exit from inside. Once the carriage driver had been paid her greeted the women with a warm smile as his blue eyes trickled from beneath the beaver skin top hat he wore, "Welcome to my father's home Mrs. Bealwood."
Her mother extended her hand out to him so that he could kiss it, all the while replying, "So you must be the dashing son of Mr. William Oxford. Why my husband mentioned you would be in Georgia for the summer. I am so pleased that this was true."
"Why Mrs. Bealwood you are too kind. I am afraid though that your husband's information was false however because I will be remaining in Georgia for the rest of this year. You see, I have come to help my father settle some old affairs of his."
"Well now hearing you will be staying for an undetermined amount of time pleases me greatly. Speaking of which, where is my husband and the elder Oxford at this time? My husband's letter stated he would be here but as far as I can tell you are the only soul on this planation. We saw no one else, not even working in the fields."
"Ah yes," the younger Oxford quickly took up the arm her mother had offered him as they made their way inside of the home, "That is why I am here to greet you. You see your husband and my father are attending some business in just outside of Savannah. They will return in two day's time."
"How unfortunate it is from them to miss our grand arrival," Clarissa spoke up unable to stop her words from flowing forth, "But fortunate for you to be able to enjoy the company of three women all to yourself."
Shooting her daughter a dangerous look, the Mrs. Bealwood growled, "Clarissa darling, why do you not take Elisa-Marie to her room?"
"I would Mother," she swiftly answered, "But I do not know where her room is seeing how we have just arrived."
"Well now," the gentleman on her mother's arm exclaimed eyeing her with interest, "I will escort you to your rooms so that you may rest before dinner. I will have one of my employees bring your bags up to your rooms shortly."
"That would be lovely," Elisa-Marie softly murmured cutting off any further conversation between her mother and sister at the time.
"Very well follow me."
Clarissa, who had abandoned the mind numbing task of embroidery, roamed through the massive meadow behind the home of Mr. Oxford's grandeur home gazing dreamily at the herd of horses he owned. Unlike her sister, Elisa-Marie she dreamed often of things she knew was beyond her reach. She yearned for an adventure like those she had read of in the books she loved so much and that her mother disapproved of so much. And she could not control her hopes of something more than what was expected of her.
It had been nearly two days since their arrival, and there was still no word of her father. Most likely, she concluded to herself, he was detained from them because of business matters. After all his company was an international one that traded with many foreign nations. The company specialized in rare crops that only seemed to grow well in the conditions only Georgia could provide. He helped local plantation owners in distributing their crops not only in the Americans but in Europe and even some parts of Asia. There was no doubt in her mind he was solving some kind of dilemma and Mr. Oxford, a partner in his business, was there by his side.
She shuttered at the thought of the old man who was now reaching the middle of his fifties. It was not that he was old but more of the fact that she had been traded to him as a way to ensure her family's place in the business. Her father had no sons of his own, and it was a well-known fact that Mr. Oxford's only son was presently engaged to a southern bell by the name of Clementine Dwight. With Clarissa's own father well into his seventies there was but only one choice. She would marry Mr. Oxford, and in time bare a son from both of their families who would continue to do their business for the company. This way the only to ensure her families welfare in the business would not be ignored if the date of her father's untimely death came.
And, she knew Mr. Oxford was a kind man with a gentle soul. However, she could not change the yearning in her heart for passion instead of family duty as the first born daughter.
"Miss Clarissa I was wondering where you had fled too," the younger Oxford declared interrupting her thoughts from behind.
"Ah James," just saying his name brought a severe blush to her cheeks, "How wonderful it is see you!"
"Do you really mean that?" he questioned eyeing her carefully.
She was unsure of what he meant by his question, but she was quite positive there was something there in its meaning than just what the words presented, "Of course I am!"
"I am glad to hear it," he smiled brightly at her as he did a sweeping motion with the cane he was so fond of caring around with him, "Shall we go for stroll the weather is wonderful today?"
She nodded her head earnestly, "Why of course we can! I am so pleased that we have run into each other because I have been meaning to ask you if you knew when my father would be returning."
"Oh yes I have just received a letter this very morning. Your father, as well as mine, has been detained for the time being in Atlanta. It appears that a good number of their horses they were selling have been stolen by bandits while on their way to North Carolina. They are trying to locate the beasts so that they can satisfy the buyer otherwise they will lose three or four of their most profitable ranchers."
"Oh my," Clarissa exclaimed, "How horrible."
"Indeed it is but enough of business matters, I came to talk to you about something else."
Raising her eyebrow at him questionably she asked, "Well then James go ahead and ask."
Clearing his throat James turned towards her. The expression in his eyes was more serious than she had expected, "I know that you are here because of possible discussions of marriage between my father and you. I find it rather heartbreaking that a woman with such radiance will be wasted on a man who is well beyond her years."
Stepping back to get a good look at James's face, she replied in a soft, confused tone, "That, sir, is a very blunt statement indeed."
She noted instantly that her comment had caused the bottom of his neck to flush red as he apologized, "Excuse me for my bluntness Miss Clarissa. I only spoke accordingly because you have such a sharp tongue yourself. I meant no offense by my comment."
"Nonsense," she placed her gloved hand upon his cheek tenderly, "the truth is I would rather have passion but I do not have a choice in the matter. There is nothing that can be done about it."
"Passion," he drew out the sentence as if he were weighing his words very carefully, "is something I lack in my own engagement."
She went to question him on the meaning of his statement when the sound of her mother calling her stopped the words in her throat. James pulled away from her touch instantly, his eyes darting to the direction of the house as if they had been caught doing something sinful by God himself. Nervously taking her arm in his own, he led her to the house, "Once again Miss Clarissa I do sincerely apologize for my blunt statement."
Clarissa smiled politely at him as they climbed the stairs together under her mother's watchful eye from the front door.
"Clarissa I would like you to go into the parlor for some music. Your sister, bless her heart, has been struggling to play the classical music all day. I cannot bear one more minute of her awful playing. Please for my own sanity's sake go relieve her of it."
"Would you like to join me in the parlor James?" Clarissa turned toward her escort who seemed to be watching the horizon keenly.
"I wish I could," he gave a stiff smile as he made to leave the porch, "However with my father gone I must see to the planation myself. I will no doubt enjoy your company at dinner."
"I look forward to it," Clarissa called after to him as he strolled at an usually fast pace to the stables.
"Clarissa," her mother snapped dragging her attentions back to reality.
"Mother?" she played innocent knowing very well what her mother was going to say.
"Clarissa do not under any circumstances think for a minute I do not know what you are thinking."
"I do not know what on Earth you are ranting about Mother. I have done nothing, and I am not in the process of planning whatever conspiracy you have convinced yourself of. Now if you please, I will save the piano from Elisa-Marie's pounding at your request."
"Do not think I am ignorant Clarissa," her mother futile called after her, "He is engaged and you are as well. Do not scandalize your family with silly girlish affairs."
"Mother," Clarissa paused inside the door frame as she passed the elderly Mrs. Bealwood, "Calm your nerves before you faint I have no malicious intentions in mind. We were only having a stroll around the property while he explained to me why Father and Mr. Oxford were being detained. That is all."
Connecting with her daughter's eyes she warned, "Be sure that it remains so."