“Do you know what you’re going to say to her?” Serenity asked as they came near to the home.
“Not exactly,” she replied. “Auntie has had this box for who knows how many years and surely it must have shown its powers to her by now.”
Serenity brought Jeanetta Lynn’s carpetbag close to her. Opening it up, she gazed at the box still wrapped in the brown paper held tightly with twine. “Do you suppose it’s an evil box?”
“I highly doubt it. Why would Auntie want us to have anything evil in our possession?”
“I guess you’re right. This gives me the shivers, even though it’s still covered up with paper.”
Pulling up to the house, Jeanetta Lynn noticed an upstairs window curtain being pulled to the side and then suddenly dropped back into place.
“Serenity, look up. Did you see that?”
“No, what was it?”
“We’re being watched by someone through an upstairs window.”
“Do you suppose it’s Auntie?”
“If it were her, I’m sure she would have waved and called down to us.”
“Now what should we do?”
“I’m going to leave the carpetbags where they are, for something isn't right,” she said in a firm voice, while not taking her eyes off the window. “Also we don’t know who else might want the brass box, like the person in the upstairs window.”
Auntie’s stableman approached saying, “May I help you with your carriage?”
“Thank you,” Jeanetta Lynn smiled. So no one could see the carpetbags, she pushed them way under the seat before stepping out.
As he helped her from the buggy, another man hitched Misty to a post and then turned to help Serenity down.
To their delight, the front door swung open and out stepped Auntie to greet them.
“Come on, you two, climb up here and give your auntie a big hug,” she said with a chuckle to her voice.
“Auntie,” they both squealed in unison while bounding up the stairs.
Once reaching the top they embraced and kissed her slightly wrinkled but still beautiful face.
Sliding her arms about them, Auntie guided the girls through the open doorway and into a room where she announced, “These are my most adored nieces about whom I've been telling you.”
After the bright sunlight from outdoors, their eyes had not yet adjusted to the dimly lit room.
“This is my friend Esther,” Auntie told the girls as she introduced them.
Esther was a tall slender lady wearing a dress of black taffeta that rustled as she walked toward them. “Are you sure it was wise to give them the brass box, being you hadn't told them about it?” she asked of Auntie.
“I didn't feel it necessary,” Auntie answered defensively. “I knew they would arrive filled with questions shortly after opening it. And here they are!”
“Are you sure this is what has brought them here?” Esther questioned.
“Just being here would say that it is,” another voice said from across the room.
By now, the girls’ eyes were adjusting to the low light and they saw Esther as she circled about them.
“Yes, they do have the right look about them. However, can they handle such a gift?” Esther demanded of Auntie.
“If I hadn't thought so, I wouldn't have given it to them,” Auntie insisted.
An unknown voice from across the room spoke up: “Were you alone when you opened it?”
“And did anyone else see the brass box?” came still another voice.
A whining male voice, the type that could easily send chills up your spine, asked, “Did you tell anyone about it, your parents perhaps?”
The questions came so rapidly from every part of the room, that neither girl could comprehend, let alone reply.
“No one has seen it, not even our parents!” Jeanetta Lynn voiced objectionably to his accusations.
“Not either of them?” the voice insisted.
“Let me make it clear to you. In fact, to all of you that no one saw the brass box!” Jeanetta Lynn shouted.
Serenity edged herself behind Jeanetta Lynn, in hopes of hiding from the barrage of questions. Their eyes were now adjusted to the light as they looked about. It didn't take long for them to realize that this was an unfamiliar room to them; one they didn't even know existed. Within the room were both men and ladies of varying ages and dress. They were milling about, while others were seated in groups. A man from across the room stood and walked up to them. His mannerisms and attire were that of a person of great wealth or even a man of royalty. As he approached, his heels clicked together and with a slight bow, he introduced himself.
“My name is Sir William,” he said warmly. “I’m pleased to make your acquaintance. Your auntie has told us much about you both and may I add it has all been most praiseworthy.”
“Thank you,” Jeanetta Lynn whispered.
Offering his arms to the girls, he escorted them toward the back of the room. “Please allow me, for I think you would be far more comfortable sitting upon the sofa. It has been a long journey and seeing all these new faces, I’m sure has been most stressful,” Sir William said gallantly. After seating them, he joined the others in conversation near the far wall. Try as she may to hear what was being said, Jeanetta Lynn was unable to do so.
“Jeanetta Lynn, I wish we had never received that ol’ box,” Serenity whispered angrily.
“I’m getting the same feelings, though it may not be as bad as we’re thinking. It seems that Auntie is a part of this group and have you ever known her to be harsh or unkind to us?”
“Then I suppose we shouldn't fear this.”
Baron Michael von Schlehenried and his lovely wife, Lady Cynthia, were in favor of having the girls join them and came to their defense.
“We need to include those who are of this generation,” the Baron explained. “It’s only through them that our society will survive and remain strong.”
Turning toward the girls, Esther asked loudly, “Serenity, surely you brought the brass box with you?”
“Yes, we did,” Serenity said, now finding it hard to control her fears.
“I think we've scared the poor dears,” said the Baroness Lady Cynthia von Schlehenried, breaking away from the group she walked up to the girls. “Please forgive our rudeness. Be at rest because you both are not in any type of danger.”
“You’re perfectly safe; I assure you,” Auntie comforted them, as the others gathered around them in hopes of calming their fears. “My dears, I’m sure you realized the gift I gave you both was not just an ordinary brass box. Though it’s of exquisite beauty, this is not its true value.” Sir William brought over a dainty parlor chair, offering it to Auntie; she sat down. “Thank you, Sir William. You’re always the gentleman.” Returning her attention to her nieces, she continued, “Standing before you, are members of the Society of Time Travelers. Some are witches and warlocks, some are of royal birth, such as Sir William and Baron von Schlehenried, while others are not. Yet, we are all time travelers.”
“Time travelers?” Jeanetta Lynn asked. “You’re able to go from one era to another?”
“Precisely, my dears, and much more,” said Lady Martha, the society’s leader.
No one knows much about Lady Martha, except that she’s been a member of the society longer than anyone else. She has visited events in history for many decades and helped out when needed.
“As members of the society, we all have a strong desire to serve God by helping others who are in need. To do this, we needed a way to travel from place to place, and from different timelines and all without being seen. This was accomplished by the use of brass boxes that had been blessed with magical powers. Being they appear to be an empty box to outsiders of the society that no one would ever suspect that they are portals into time,” Lady Martha explained.
“There are mortals whose intent it is to fulfill the desires of Lucifer and will do all in their power to destroy our goals,” Auntie expounded. “They wish to change history to meet their selfish needs. We are sent with the blessings of God to intervene otherwise the innocent would be destroyed.”
“How long have you been doing this?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“My dearest, I was given my gift of a brass box a long time ago from a society member from before knights were brave. On the lid of each box is his likeness. He was a brave knight who fought the dragons of evil. This is how we know it’s a portal and not to be deceived by one lacking powers.”
“Are we jumping to a conclusion far too quickly?” asked Charles, a dignified man dressed in a topcoat. “So far you are taking it for granted that they will join us? I don’t remember hearing them say that they will.”
“You’re quite right,” Lady Martha chuckled. Looking at the girls she kindly asked, “We desire you both to join us and our cause. However, if you wish to remain as you are, all you need to do is return the brass box and you will find yourselves back home as if it had never come into your lives.”
“First tell me this, before we give you an answer. How are you summoned when there is an assignment and how does the box fit in?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“These are reasonable questions,” Lady Martha replied. “When one is summoned, we all know who it is, however, only the person chosen will be allowed to respond and no other. At times, there will be more than one needed to accomplish a task. And how this is accomplished is with use of the brass boxes.” Looking directly at Jeanetta Lynn, she continued, “When opening it, didn't you see the bluish-green glow and did you hear the rushing of wind and water?”
“Yes, we did,” both girls said in unison.
“When hearing it, I became afraid and asked Jeanetta Lynn if she would please close the lid,” Serenity added.
“You needn't have been afraid,” Lady Martha chuckled, “yet you didn't know what it was or what it could do. Once you become time travelers and are summoned on an adventure, it will radiate this same glow. When you open the lid, you’ll see a flash of light and be caught up within the rushing whirlwind, being transported to the time in which you have been summoned. Once there, you’ll find a parchment floating nearby telling you what it is you have been called to do. At any time you feel threatened or in fear for your life, all you have to do is desire to return and you’ll be delivered back to where you started.”
The girls looked at her in amazement and even Jeanetta Lynn was at a loss for words.
“Serenity, Jeanetta Lynn,” Lady Martha said softly, “all of us met here for one reason and that is to see if you both are willing to accept the offer of becoming a part of the Society of Time Travelers.”
“Well, my dears, do you wish to join us or not?” Auntie asked excitedly. “No one in our family knows that I’m a member or even how old I am. That is except for the two of you. Now I’m hoping you both will join me in this worthy cause. Do you wish to accept?”
Jeanetta Lynn looked at Serenity, who winked at her in approval. She turned to Auntie, saying with excitement, “It would be our pleasure to accept your offer. Yes, we will join you!”
“Then you both are in agreement?” Lady Martha asked.
“Are you sure about this?” asked Auntie while rushing up to embrace them both.
“Yes, we are,” said Serenity.
Both girls giggled with excitement as not only Auntie embraced them, however, all the members came over to welcome them into the Society of Time Travelers.
Standing before the girls, Lady Martha peered over her lowered spectacles saying, “Being you both have accepted our invitation, it’s time for your first lesson pertaining to being a time traveler. Please rise and follow me.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jeanetta Lynn said as they both followed her to the window overlooking Auntie’s garden.
“What is it that you see out the window?” Lady Martha asked of Serenity.
With imaginations running wild, she stepped forward wondering if there would be witches on brooms, or unfamiliar animals only found in a magical world. However, to her surprise things were just as they had always been. There were no magical cows, witches, or dragons, only Auntie’s side yard. “I see many things,” Serenity said, while glancing quickly back and forth. “What is it that you want me to see?”
“What catches your eye first?” Lady Martha asked more clearly.
“There’s my Uncle William’s buggy. That’s what comes first into my sight. Is this what you are asking for, or do you want more?”
“Is there more you would like to add?” Lady Martha prompted.
“Well, I see Auntie’s helpers. They are bringing in a basket filled with vegetables. I also see some of her animals. Not much more than that. Did I do as you had wanted?”
Lady Martha said nothing but smiled warmly at her. Turning to Jeanetta Lynn, she asked, “And you, my dear, step up and tell me what it is that you see. Please be precise in your description of what it may be.”
Serenity stood back, allowing Jeanetta Lynn to approach the window. Placing her hands on the windowsill, she stretched her neck as far as possible making sure not to miss a thing. “I also see the buggy with Misty still hitched, and standing quietly. Over there are trees with birds flying around them. I see mountains, sky, and flowers. There is a very large red flower to the left with smaller white ones around it. And wait, I can see them, there they are! There are the swings!” she squealed with excitement, realizing how they had remained untouched for all these years. “And there’s Auntie’s dog. And off to the right is the vegetable garden. That’s where he landed after grabbing hold of my shoe while we were swinging. It was funny to watch, though you had to of been there to think so,” she laughed while looking up at Lady Martha, who didn't see the humor in this at all. “Do you wish for me to continue?” she asked shyly while trying not to look her in the eyes.
Lady Martha chuckled softly, relieving Jeanetta Lynn’s stress while saying, “You do see many things. I dare say if I had asked you to continue, you would have added much more to your list. And you, my dear Serenity, you also told me what caught your eyes first. Being you used the buggy to travel here in and will need it for your return, it’s fitting that it has much importance to you both. Even you, Jeanetta Lynn, have not seen all that there is. Yes, there is much more out there, though at this point it is still invisible to you.”
Overlooking the “invisible” part, they both rushed back to the window, searched even harder to find anything that they must have missed. However, try as they may, they failed to see any more than what was viewed on their first attempt.
“My dears, as time travelers you’ll be able to see far more than what’s before your eyes.” Glancing out the window, she continued, “I not only see what you have spoken of, but events that have taken place in the past. Some have been good while others evil. There has been laughter and tears, peace and battles, health and sickness. Soldiers once marched upon these grounds and fought hard for their cause. These battles were bitter and long, bringing tears that would flow along with their blood. After the wars came peace, which was sweet and at times lasting. At other times, it was not. Babies have been born. Some of the elderly lived out their lives in comfort while others did not. So much history can be seen through the eyes of a time traveler. I dare say many more events will take place upon these grounds and you may well become a goodly part of them.”
With this, Serenity pushed her face harder against the glass in hopes of seeing at least one of the events mentioned.
“You can see all that by just looking out this window?” Jeanetta Lynn asked, looking into Lady Martha’s eyes. “If we’re also time travelers, then why can’t we see it, too?”
“In time you will,” Lady Martha assured them. “However, first you must learn how to be a time traveler.”
Leaving the window, Lady Martha took her place with the others sitting upon the sofa and chairs. Wanting desperately to see any of these past events, Jeanetta Lynn stayed behind trying to visualize what they must have looked like, while Serenity joined the others. However, soon realizing that visualizing and actually seeing these events were not one and the same. Slowly, she walked over and joined Serenity.
Taking her place in the middle of the room, Lady Martha spoke to the others. “We must make it perfectly clear to our new members how we’re a society which wishes to serve mankind and not to be served. They need to rid themselves of the natural desire to lust for gain and immortality. God finds this intolerable, as so do we all. However, it is well known that those who follow God’s commandments, while serving out their assignments, shall be truly blessed.”
“Many times I've felt God’s blessings when facing difficult circumstances while on an assignment,” said Charles.
Lady Martha continued, “Dears, when you receive your calls it will be in the capacity of observers, for you will be joining Auntie. And it is her assignment that you will be on. You are only to help when she calls upon you to do so. You must remember this: at no time are we to take sides in a conflict. Occasionally, you may need to step in when you see evil being ruthlessly brought down upon the oppressed. However, this is to be your last resort for the power of good.”
Baron von Schlehenried walked up to Lady Martha and whispered, “It would help if they were to know of Lord Bantam and how their own auntie fought against evil.”
“Yes, you are right,” she replied. “Auntie, will you please tell them about Lord Bantam?”
“Thank you. I would be honored to help teach my nieces this lesson. Though I wish you both never had to hear of Lord Bantam,” Auntie replied.
With a wave of Auntie's hand, the room grew suddenly dark and was immediately replaced by daylight. They were no longer standing in Auntie’s home, but in an open-air market of about the 16th century. It was filled with people both buying and selling wares. Not far off was a group of military milling about while others were sitting astride their horses. Close to the soldiers was an officer conducting his affairs with a merchant. The girls were shocked when a man walked through them, as if they didn't exist and went on about his business. With this, Serenity grabbed for Jeanetta Lynn’s hand and held it tightly.
“We must find Auntie,” said Jeanetta Lynn while turning about to locate her among the crowd.
“I don’t see her,” whispered Serenity, fearful that if staying where they were something else unnatural may happen.
“Look, over there,” said Jeanetta Lynn, pointing to a lady standing by a man with his legs held tightly in stocks. “Isn't that her? That man she’s near must be her assignment.”
As the girls looked on, they noticed a man hastily approaching Auntie and even though they were a considerable distance away, the girls could hear every word.
“Lord Bantam, what are you doing here?” Auntie asked, while walking toward him. “Your assignment is Lord Tanner and he’s on the other side of the city.”
“He can fend for himself for all I care. I have other matters to tend to,” Lord Bantam grumbled.
“What’s more important than your assignment?” Auntie questioned.
“Only this,” Lord Bantam answered. “A long time ago I had heard of an object created by elves that would give the owner powers unheard of by man. It seems that Sir De LaSaul knows where it might be. So all I have to do is become him and it will be mine.”
“You were placed here to watch over your assignment and not this Sir De LaSaul,” Auntie insisted.
“What are you going to do about it if I choose not to?” Bantam smirked. “Too many times I've been forced to use my powers for others, but no longer! Now it’s my turn and no one can stop me. Not Lady Martha, not even God Himself can stop me. So what makes you think you can?”
“I’ll do whatever is needed!” Auntie threatened.
Her threats meant nothing to Lord Bantam as he removed his wand and edged closer to his mark. Auntie slowly drew her wand while never taking her eyes off him. When seeing him aim his wand at Sir De LaSaul, Auntie shot out a spell of her own causing him to become a bantam rooster.
“There,” Auntie said triumphantly, “that should keep you in line!”
While he flopped about in his new body, Auntie reached down for his wand and brass box that had fallen upon the ground. Placing them into her pocket, she said coldly, “Now let’s see you try to destroy another’s life while in this form!”
Moments later the girls were surrounded in darkness and when able to see again they found themselves back in Auntie’s home with the society members.
“How humiliating it is for one as proud as he to be imprisoned in the lowly form of a rooster, a breed that even bears his own surname,” Baron von Schlehenried laughed.
“I only wish my spell would have kept him this way with no hope in sight,” Auntie responded.
“Whatever happened to him?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“I fear he’s very much alive,” Lady Martha replied. “The last we've heard of him was from a society member who had refused to help him. We were told that Lord Bantam’s desire was to destroy your auntie and all that we stand for.”
“Our auntie is in danger?” Jeanetta Lynn gasped.
“She always will be until we destroy Lord Bantam and his followers,” Lady Martha explained. “However, as long as he remains as he is she’ll be safe.”
“What are the chances of him finding a brass box?” Serenity asked.
“Not all members are loyal to the society,” Lady Martha replied. “Some like Bantam have ventured into the realms of the black arts. When discovered, we take from them the implements of our society, mainly the brass box. We’re told that during a blue moon Lord Bantam is able for a time to return to his former self. When doing this he seeks out others like him and bids them to follow. However, to keep from returning to his lowly state, he must use the brass box.”
“And what would he do if he were to find one?” Serenity asked.
“He would go back in time. Then just before your auntie casts her spell upon him, he would cast his own spell upon her,” Lord Phillip explained.
“Does he look like any other rooster?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“At present he’s a rather small and ridiculous-looking rooster with a flattened cockscomb. His disposition, from what we've been told, has become most distasteful,” Lady Martha replied.
Fearing this might be Crazy Bill, Jeanetta Lynn said, “We know of a rooster that fits that description.”
“You've seen him?” Lady Martha asked.
“Yes. He showed up at our home a short while back,” Jeanetta Lynn explained. “We ended up calling him Crazy Bill because of his actions.”
“Is he still at your home?” William questioned in alarm.
“My father removed him from our home. He set him free where there was water, plenty of trees, and vegetation. As my father was walking back to the buggy, Crazy Bill attacked him and Father barely got away unharmed.”
The room grew still and then Lady Martha spoke up, “Yes, this could very well be him. Tell me, do you have the brass box with you or did you leave it back home?”
“It’s still in the buggy, in my carpetbag,” Jeanetta Lynn answered.
“I’ll retrieve it,” Baron von Schlehenried said as he sprinted from the room, returning within minutes with the carpetbag.
Jeanetta Lynn removed the wrapped gift and gave it to Lady Martha. “You feel this is what he’s after?”
“Yes, I do,” Lady Martha replied. “If for any reason you must leave the box unattended, it needs to be protected by an incantation. When on an assignment, it will be automatically protected by a charm, causing it to become invisible until you need it.”
“We never did let it out of our sight all the way here. It was not until we drove up and saw someone peering at us through an upstairs window did we become alarmed. Wanting to keep it safe I shoved it far under the seat of the buggy,” Jeanetta Lynn explained.
“We can see that you both have acted wisely and we are well pleased,” Auntie said while beaming proudly. “I knew I was doing the right thing by giving it to you both.”
“It appears that you did use great judgment in doing so, for they acted with caution, even though they didn't know what it was they possessed.” Lady Martha smiled as she removed the wrapping and placed the box upon the table.
Once on the table it started to glow, filling the whole room with a bluish-green light.
“Jeanetta Lynn, Serenity,” Lady Martha said cheerfully, “it seems you both are being summoned to your first assignment.”
“What do we do?” Jeanetta Lynn asked while turning toward the source of the light.
“Don’t worry for I’ll be with you,” Auntie assured them.
“You will now learn the role of a time traveler by being one,” Lady Cynthia von Schlehenried encouraged. “Enjoy your assignment and it will help you to become wise.”
“Remember all that you have learned here today,” Lady Martha reminded.
Auntie smiled at the girls and then asked, “Are you ready?”
“I think so,” Jeanetta Lynn replied with excitement.
“And you, Serenity, are you also ready?” Auntie inquired.
“As long as you’re with us,” she responded while grabbing Jeanetta Lynn’s hand and holding it tightly.
Auntie reached over to lift the lid and their adventure began.
The sound of rushing wind and water echoed throughout the room as everything went black. Within an instant, they found themselves falling through emptiness broken up by glimpses of warriors in battle and cities in conflict while others enjoyed peace. They witnessed fires, earthquakes, and brief flashes of everyday life as if they were actually living the moment. Being held captive by a storm of rushing air, they feared all was lost and they would never again see their own era. When suddenly came the crackling of thunder and lightning, followed by a gentle, warm breeze of amazing calmness that allowed them to land safely upon the ground.
“Auntie, please tell me that it isn't always like this,” Jeanetta Lynn stated breathlessly. “The landing was fine, but I almost lost my stomach several times during the fall.”
“I don’t know if I wish to do this again,” Serenity complained while trying to stand without falling.
Jeanetta Lynn brushed at her skirt, trying to rid centuries of dust that had settled onto it while they stood hidden in a town’s alleyway.
“I too was a bit surprised on my first travel, but you do get used to it. Other than that, how did you like it?” Auntie asked. “Quite truthfully, now I find it very exhilarating.”
“How can you possibly find anything exhilarating about this?” Serenity questioned loudly.
“There’s our assignment,” Auntie announced while changing the subject. Reaching for the parchment floating nearby she grabbed it saying, “Being this is your first, I’m sure it’s going to be a good one. You are to…” With a puzzled expression she stopped in mid-sentence.
“What is it?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“All that is written is the word ‘Faith,’ and nothing more,” Auntie replied, holding it out for them to see.
“Auntie, what does it mean?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“I have no idea,” she replied. “It could mean almost anything from us to have faith in what we've been sent to do, all the way to it being a place or even a lady’s name.”
“Is this typical?” Serenity asked.
“Most of the time the parchment is very explicit, leaving nothing to guesswork,” Auntie replied. Touching it with her wand, it vanished into a puff of smoke. “I know this place. If I’m not mistaken we’re in Boston, Massachusetts. Oh I hope we’re not too late.”
“Too late for what?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“A party!” Auntie exclaimed. “Come on now, we must be there on time.” She beckoned them while approaching a dimly lit street. “Just what I suspected, it’s the 16th of December, 1773. I can tell by the Indians sitting up there,” she said while pointing up to a balcony. “I can hardly wait; you both are going to have the most wonderful experience. You’re going to witness history in the making!”
“I thought we were going to a party,” Serenity said.
“Yes, we are and it will take place at Griffin’s Wharf,” Auntie said as they scurried along. “However, first we need to proceed to a place called the Green Dragon Tavern.”
"So this is Boston,” Jeanetta Lynn commented while following Auntie down the street. “Outside of the sea air, it isn't much different than Sweetshire.”
“Ah, but girls, it truly is,” Auntie replied. “Have you heard of the Green Dragon Tavern?” she asked once coming up to a huge, brick building. However, before they could answer she continued, “I suspect not. If you were to look in the right books, you might find an artist’s drawing of this very same tavern. Written below would be the words: ‘Where we met to Plan the Consignment of a few Ship loads of Tea, Dec 16, 1773.’ To our very day, no one knows for sure who planned the Boston Tea Party, though it’s said it was the Freemasons and I side with this idea. What is known for surety is why it was planned.”
A British soldier, never seeing them before, grew suspicious and walked up to question Auntie. Waiting until he was close, she smiled, nodded, and politely said, “Good evening,” which appeased his concerns, as he nodded back and walked past.
“Auntie, why are there so many soldiers wearing red?” Serenity asked.
“They are the British, and it’s they whom our forefathers had to fight to gain our freedom and liberty,” she quietly answered. “With the unrest of the times even I’m somewhat fearful of being arrested for some minor infraction. This building we’re going to was purchased in 1764 by the St. Andrews Masonic Lodge. It’s now a community center where people come to spend time and clubs hold their meetings within these walls. The main floor is used by the St. Andrews Lodge and another group called the Ancients, or otherwise known as the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Downstairs we’ll find a tavern. There are also many smaller rooms, closed off with doors that are used by different organizations, one of them being the main headquarters of the American Revolution.”
“The American Revolution?” Jeanetta Lynn asked in alarm. “Are you trying to tell us that we’re here as our forefathers are about to demand our freedom from England?”
“Don’t be fearful because the battles are still years to come,” Auntie said quietly. “This is where it all began. Within these hallowed walls, the Boston Committee of Correspondence was formed and so were the Sons of Liberty who held their secret sessions here.” Pride welled up within her as she dried her tears of joy with a hanky.
“Auntie, I don’t believe it…we’re here where it all began,” Jeanetta Lynn whispered. Taking better notice of the building she asked, “Look up there; I see a small green dragon. Why is it that color?”
“It’s made of brass and has turned green with oxidation from exposure to the weather,” Auntie replied. “Many things in our history have been omitted, feeling they were trivia at the time and never taught in the classrooms. Such as this very building, along with the many taverns where patriots met to discuss our freedom. In addition, did you know that the Sons of Liberty wore a jewel around their necks? It is said to have had a picture of the Liberty Tree on it. And they were also known to have a special language all their own for recognition.”
“Do you think we might see one of these jewels?” Serenity asked.
“Who knows, anything is possible. Though I highly doubt they would have it where people are able to see them wearing it,” Auntie replied. She became quiet as another group of British soldiers passed by. Once they were several feet away, she continued. “There were other groups that were born within these walls. One of them was called the North End Caucus. They were formed to publicly guard the ships bringing tea into port. One of their tasks was making sure that none of the tea could be unloaded.”
“How do you know all of this?” Jeanetta Lynn asked, finding this far more interesting than when sitting in a classroom back home.
“I not only have read of these events, but I've been there and met some of the participants,” she said, with a faraway look in her eyes. “I still call some of them friends to this very day.”
“Do they suspect that you’re a time traveler?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“No, this is information we must always keep to ourselves,” she replied. “You will meet so many famous and some who are not, in our assignment. Such as the men who are part of the North End Caucus. One is Edward Proctor of the St. Andrews Lodge, who was known to be their leader. There is also Paul Revere that served with them. Later on, Revere served in another guard called the Selectmen. They would walk the streets of Boston, two by two, observing the movements of the British troops. All of these groups would meet right here in this very building you’re about to enter.”
Crossing the street gave the girls time to think over all of what Auntie had told them.
“Good day,” said a young man, holding open the door of the Green Dragon Inn for them to pass through.
“Thank you, kind sir,” Auntie replied with a smile.
As they entered into the darkened room they found the main floor filled with men of every age, trade, means, and education. Some were financially affluent gentlemen, while others were not. Nonetheless, all were accepted as members of a brotherhood, united in a cause, and that was a desire for freedom.
Heading for the stairwell, they stepped carefully downward leading to the tavern below. “A meeting is taking place in this room,” Auntie whispered, as they passed by the closed door. “It’s being held by Dr. Warren and Paul Revere with the North End Caucus. They’re talking over what to do about the tea being shipped here by England.”
They couldn't help but hear the men singing loudly within the room.
Rally, Mohawks — bring out your axes!
And tell King George we’ll pay no taxes
on his foreign tea!
His threats are vain — and vain to think
to force our girls and wives to drink
his vile Bohea!
Then rally boys, and hasten on
to meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.
Our Warren’s there, and bold Revere,
with hands to do and words to cheer
for Liberty and Laws!
Our country’s brave and firm defenders
shall ne’er be left by true North-Enders,
fighting Freedom’s cause!
Then rally boys and hasten on
to meet our chiefs at the Green Dragon.
“What is vile Bohea?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“It’s another name for the tea of the East India Company,” Auntie answered, trying not to be overheard by those close by. “It’s a cheap tea that has been rotting away in warehouses in England. The East India Tea Company needs to get rid of it as soon as they can. The British Parliament gave them a monopoly on tea, thus telling the colonies that they are not to buy any other. They've also placed a tax on it just to prove that they have the power to do so. Taxation without representation, along with this East India monopoly has caused the colonists to feel Briton’s tyranny!”
“I would be upset too if this was happening to me,” Serenity declared.
“Who are the Mohawks they’re singing about?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“These Mohawks are not Indians, but patriots who will be taking part in the Boston Tea Party tonight. Some of them are here while others are meeting in homes, putting lamp black and paint upon their faces as a disguise. They can’t afford anyone to recognize that they are taking part in this rebellion. This is why they are calling themselves Mohawks. It’s said that they are also in Edes Printing Office getting ready. One of those men is none other than Paul Revere himself. There are also some who will wrap themselves up in blankets and sit on the balcony of the Old South Meeting House, with others mixing in with the crowd to become the eyes and ears of the rebellion.”
Soon the door to the room flung open and out walked a number of men, mostly disguised as Mohawk Indians. They were whooping as they climbed the steps and into the darkness of the night, all heading to Griffin’s Wharf.
“Come, girls, we can eat later,” Auntie said with much excitement, “for the party is beginning and we mustn't miss it.”
When reaching the wharf, the girls were surprised to find a crowd of over two thousand standing in awe, witnessing an act they had supported from the very beginning, that of dumping the tea into Boston Harbor. Captain Hall and Captain Bruce commanded two ships, along with a brig by Captain Coffin. These were the vessels that groups of sixty Mohawks were directed to come on board to dump the tea.
“Auntie, how did they know that none of these Indians were British?” Serenity asked.
“They had secret signs and countersigns for recognition,” she replied. “One Mohawk would say, ‘Ugh.’ And the second would raise his hatchet and say, ‘Me know you.’ Then the first would countersign by raising his hatchet again, giving another ‘Ugh.’”
“That sounds silly. Though it was ingenious of them to think of something so simple, yet effective,” Jeanetta Lynn responded, brimming with excitement while the Mohawks boarded the three ships and proceeded to dump the tea overboard.
“In less than three hours these men will have broken up 342 chests, consisting of 90,000 pounds of rotting tea, tossing it off the ships and into the salt water,” Auntie whispered.“Afterward, they will disembark and disappear among the crowd. Later on, no one will want to identify them to the British or to each other. One man will say how he would be willing to be a witness against these men, only providing the trial would be held at least 3,000 miles away in London,” she smiled.
“I know I sure wouldn't say anything to the British,” Jeanetta Lynn responded in a whisper, unable to take her eyes off the ships.
“I want our freedom and they say that the only way to get it is for a rebellion to start somewhere,” insisted Serenity.
“Wouldn’t a rebellion just mean death for a lot of people,” replied Jeanetta Lynn. “I doubt if that’s a good idea.”
“This is so exciting just being here!” Serenity softly squealed. “Look at all that tea going overboard and into the water.”
“You mean to say that these people feel destroying another property will make it all better?” asked Jeanetta Lynn.
“You read it in our history books,” said Serenity, “this act is what helped to start the Revolution.”
“What will they say if they were to be brought to trial?” asked Jeanetta Lynn.
“Because of the sentiments of the colonists and the flurry that might prevail, the British will never bring anyone to trial over this. Governor Hutchinson himself said that he would not have a trial in Boston being the jury would either turn out to be sympathizers with the cause, or worse yet, some of the perpetrators.”
“I wouldn't doubt that,” said Jeanetta Lynn.
When the tea had been successfully dumped, the Indians came off the vessels, some returning to their homes, while others headed back into town with the onlookers trailing behind. On the way, Auntie realized that none of them had eaten since early that morning, so once returning to town she guided the girls into the Green Dragon.
Inside, they found men milling about while discussing how King George’s tea looked as it fell in large rotting clumps from the ships. Some even wished they had been able to dump the king into the water along with the tea.
Auntie and the girls had to sidestep these groups as they made their way down the stairwell. By now the room was dimly lit and filled with pipe smoke along with loud conversations. Though as soon as Auntie and the girls appeared in the room it grew uncomfortably quiet, except for a mug crashing to the floor behind the bar. Walking past a group of men, Auntie headed toward an empty table against a far wall with four chairs surrounding it.
“This looks clean enough,” Auntie said while pulling out a chair and sitting down. The girls sat opposite of her, not wanting to be seen in fear of what could happen next.
Moments later, the tavern keeper, wiping his hands on a dirty apron, came up to the table and asked gruffly, “What can I get’ya ladies on this cold night?”
His eyes darted from Auntie to the girls and back, giving them an uncomfortable feeling.
“We’d like to have supper,” Auntie said with an air of authority to her voice.
“And do ya have the means ta be pay’en for this?” he snapped, feeling they may well be beggars from off the street.
However, before Auntie was able to answer, a nicely dressed man of middle age got up from his table and approached them. Seeing this, the tavern keeper’s demeanor changed drastically.
“Yes, it’s a pleasure to serve fine ladies such as you. And we've some good food here in our tavern, do we not, Mr. Wright?” the tavern keeper said sheepishly.
“Ladies, being I've not had the pleasure of making your acquaintance, may I introduce myself?” he said with a slight bow. “My name is Joseph Wright and I have a place not far from here. I see that you’re without a male escort, so may I be of service?”
“Thank you, Mr. Wright, this is most gracious of you,” Auntie responded as he took her hand and kissed it.
“It would be my pleasure,” he said, charmingly.
As Auntie and Mr. Wright talked, a dashing teenage boy walked up and stood next to him. Serenity’s heart leaped as he smiled down at her and she could feel her face becoming flush with excitement. She couldn't help but smile back, which caused her to blush even more brightly.
“May I introduce my son, Master William Wright?” he said, placing his hand upon the boy’s shoulder.
William could not have been more than fifteen years of age and every inch the spitting image of his father.
“I’m sorry, ladies, but I've not yet acquired your names,” he said, looking questioningly at Auntie.
“My name is Mrs. Vernetta Hunnicutt, but you may call me Auntie as everyone else does. And these two charming ladies are my nieces,” she replied to them as she first nodded toward one and then the other. “These are Jeanetta Lynn Parker and Serenity Stewart.”
“It’s indeed a pleasure,” Mr. Wright said.
“Yes, a very great pleasure,” young William added, as he continued smiling at Serenity.
“Being the lateness of the hour, may I take it upon myself to do the ordering of supper for you?” Mr. Wright politely asked.
“Thank you, that would be most gracious of you,” Auntie answered.
Mr. Wright looked around and when seeing the tavern keeper, he motioned for him to return.
“Yes, Mr. Wright, what can I do ya for?” he smiled and with a willingness that seemed to have come out of nowhere.
“Please bring your finest and spare not,” Mr. Wright ordered. “I’ll pay you tomorrow upon my return.”
“So be it, Mr. Wright and I’ll bring ’em the best and plenty of it, too,” he said. Turning about he vanished through the kitchen door located behind the bar.
“We’d be honored if you two would join us,” Auntie suggested, gesturing for them to sit down.
“Yes, that would be delightful,” Serenity interrupted. “I mean, it would be nice if you’d join us. I meant for the both of you to join us. That’s if you would like to, I mean; that’s if you have nothing better to do.” Looking at Auntie, Serenity’s eyes were pleading for her to be rescued.
“For some time now my nieces have had only me to converse with, being sorely deprived of the company of those of their own age; your son would be a welcome change,” explained Auntie, to Serenity’s relief.
“As delightful as that would be, my dear lady, I regret that we are needed elsewhere,” Mr. Wright said, as he looked at his son, who had not taken his eyes off Serenity. “So we’ll take our leave and hope to see you again very soon.”
Auntie and the girls sat silently as the two men slightly bowed, walked away, and disappeared into one of the side rooms.
Within a short while, the tavern keeper arrived with mugs of water and ale, along with three plates complete with utensils, and placed them upon the table. Heading back to the kitchen, he soon emerged carrying a platter piled high with roasted pork, beef, sausages, baked potatoes, squash, and bread, and placed them in the middle of their table.
“I hope this will fill ya,” he said. “There’s more if you’re in need of it. Enjoy.” With this, he returned to tend his bar.
Once those within the room saw that they were no more than just hungry customers, they settled back to mind their own business. The conversations amongst the other customers that had died down became as loud as before, putting Auntie more at ease.
When seeing this, Jeanetta Lynn uttered, “I’m so hungry I could eat all of this by myself.” Filling up her plate to overflowing, she then stuffed a forkful of food into her mouth.
Serenity and Auntie were completely astonished, wondering how anyone could swallow that amount of food without choking on it.
“Serenity, I think we’d best take our share before there’s nothing left,” smiled Auntie.
Jeanetta Lynn, glancing at her reflection in the flat side of the pewter mug, saw the resemblance between her and a chipmunk with cheeks filled with acorns. She put down her fork before swallowing hard.
“I realize that you are very hungry, however, don’t try to eat it all in one mouthful,” cautioned Auntie softly. “Slow down and try to eat sensibly for we’ll be here for some time.”
“It’s just that I haven’t had anything to eat since we left home and I’m ever so hungry,” Jeanetta Lynn said while trying to defend her actions.
“I understand,” Auntie assured her.
“Do you know what’s going on within the room they entered?” Auntie asked.
“No,” Serenity replied.
“They’re talking over the happenings of this night,” she said.
As Serenity looked up, two men walked past them, headed directly to the same room the Wrights had just entered.
“Auntie, who are they?” Jeanetta Lynn inquired.
“One of them is Paul Revere and I’m unsure of the other,” she whispered, while not taking her eyes off them until they had closed the door.
“Their actions tonight in dumping the tea took such courage,” Jeanetta Lynn admitted. “And to think we witnessed this memorable event.”
“Remember, once home you’re not allowed to ever mention whatever you’ve seen, said, or accomplished while on a mission,” Auntie directed.
Moments later the door opened and out strode Paul Revere. When near their table, he said politely, “Ladies, this is a good night for coffee.”
“Surely it is,” Auntie replied, now that coffee was soon to be considered the official drink of the colonies, thus replacing tea. “And may God be with all the Mohawks,” she added.
“I’m sure God will, my dear lady. And may He be with us all,” Revere replied, pausing for a brief second before continuing toward the stairs.
Soon the door reopened and one by one, those in the meeting came out. Some went to nearby tables, while others joined Revere as they climbed up the stairs.
As Mr. Wright and William followed the others, they noticed how Auntie and the girls were still there. Excusing themselves, they went over to join them.
Bowing slightly, Mr. Wright asked, “I pray I’m not being too bold, but may I inquire where you ladies are staying the night?”
“Could you recommend suitable accommodations?” Auntie inquired.
“Yes, The Prancing Colt Inn. I’m sure they’ll be able to put you up for a few nights. When you’re departing for the inn, turn left and walk about a block or so from here. You’ll see their sign out front, for its close by, and you can’t miss it. William and I will make arrangements and they’ll be expecting you. These are troubled times and you shouldn't be out this late. If I weren't needed at home we would stay and escort you there. However, this can’t be. So please head for the inn as soon as you've finished your meal.”
“Thank you and we’ll do as you have advised," Auntie assured him.
“Good, then with our minds at rest,” he said with a parting bow, “we’ll take our leave and Godspeed.”
Heading up the stairs William kept glancing back at Serenity, whose eyes had never sparkled more brightly than now. Even Auntie noticed that Serenity hadn't looked away until all that could be seen were his boots and then nothing more.
“I do hope we see them again,” Serenity sighed, in hopes he would reappear.
“I doubt if they’re going to be returning tonight, so let’s finish our meal and head to the inn,” Auntie said, bringing a forkful of pork up to her mouth.
“Are we going to stay in the inn or will we be going elsewhere tonight?” Jeanetta Lynn asked.
“I feel this is the safest place for us, at least for tonight,” Auntie replied. “In the morning, we may know more regarding our assignment and faith.”
After their hunger was satisfied, though unsure where their next meal was coming from, the girls hurriedly placed bread and meats into hankies and stuffed them deep into their pockets, just before following Auntie toward the stairs. As they ascended, Serenity stretched her neck to see if William Wright may still be in the room they were entering.
Most of the crowd had departed for the evening, which made the room seem larger than before. With only the glow of a single lantern that sat on a counter, the room remained dark as they made their way to the door. Once out into the night air, Auntie and the girls turned to their left, and headed up the street toward The Prancing Colt Inn.