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  • Mj Pettengill

In Search of Spiritual Refreshment


Letter from Home

The night had fallen, and though my pocket-handkerchief was soaked in tears, they continued to fall from my eyes. There was no end to it. They had just begun. I had not been so low-spirited and sick at heart since Mother’s death.

I re-read Abigail’s letter, starin’ at the words, “county farm.” It was as if I had learned of her death.

How was it possible? Although I suspected Mrs. Blake to be an old biddy, I saw how she looked at my sister. She was jealous and greedy, but I thought that Moses could be trusted. I could not stand the idea of her in that wretched place. Mother told us how cruel it was. She warned us, tellin’ us that we must be good and work hard, or we might end up there.

Most people were hooligans or simple-minded. Some were just kindly old folks, who had no one to care for them as they waited at death’s door. Of course, there were the ones like Abigail, who went there in shame, carryin’ a child with no man claimin’ to be the father. A place where such a man would be the poormaster, overlookin’ my sister while unwillin’ to shoulder the burden of fatherin’ his own child, was hellish indeed.

I went from sadness to anger, and then disbelief. My sister, again, threw herself at the mercy of God, not lookin’ to blame Silas and that fancy tart that he chose over her. She always accepted her fate without a fight. I could not understand her tellin’ me not to worry. How dare she expect me to be like her, a frail flower, wiltin’ under the pressures of the wieldin’ sword of men?

I stuffed the letter back into the envelope and looked out over the amber lights of the city, stunned to spot August on the street lookin’ up at me. I blew out my candle. It was my fault for not checkin’ to see if he was there. It had become a regular activity for him. I had to ask myself, and without an answer, if I liked it or not.

I sat in the dark until my rhythmic sobs emptied into a gentle flow of tears. I looked out, and he was gone. How I longed to be embraced. He must have thought me to be in peril at all times.

I knew that I could not go downstairs. The chatter and questions would have done me in. I preferred to sleep in the attic, but then they would have suspected that I was with August, who I did not see a fraction of the time that I had led them to believe.

I tried to pray, but it would not happen. I was angry with God. He did nothin’ but disappoint, punish, and hurt innocent folks, seemingly opposed to women. If I opened up to Him, unlike my innocent sister, I would commit blasphemy, ensurin’ my place in Hell.

To reach a level of comfort, and in search of spiritual refreshment, I closed my eyes and passed through the hidden door, the safe and private place that I went durin’ such times, where I was never alone. ~Sarah Hodgdon ~ December 4, 1872 ~ Fall River ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Excerpt: The Angels' Lament Etched in Granite Historical Fiction Series, Book Two

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