Mrs. Drewry was very happy to have peace restored to her household even as it got more hectic. All the children were well now and Harry tasked the boys with weeding corn. The girls were all becoming fine gardeners.

One evening Harry came home with a box under his arm. Samuel's eyes nearly popped out of his head--the box was making a high-pitched peeping sound! Laughter erupted at the poor little fellows expense. Harry promptly asked the little man if he'd like to make sure the box was taken care of. Samuel eyed it and said, "I don't know."

"Come a wee bit closer, me lad," Harry coaxed. Inch by inch the small boy came closer. "Look in," Harry ordered gently.

"Oh!" Samuel cried, "Oh! Baby chicks!"

"You want to take care of them?"

"Can I?" Samuel asked delightedly.

"Of course you can, Sammy-boy! I'll show you how and tell you what you have to do everyday."

Sam nodded, then added excitedly as he realized, "You've been building a coop at the far end of the barn, haven't you?"

Harry threw back his head and laughed, "Smart little man! Yes, sirree."

Later, at supper, Harry explained, "I only bought five. I didn't think I could justify spending any more. Anyway, if one of those chicks is a rooster, they ought to reproduce."

Suddenly, the sound of horses hooves  were heard coming up the drive. Harry got up and went to the door. He was clearly suprised by whom he saw, exclaiming under his breath, "What in the world?" This caused some consernation among the older and more aware members of the family. "I wonder..." mused Mrs. Drewry, rising from the table and also going out the door.

Outside, Harry was standing in the barn lot just like he had almost a year ago. Facing him was the same man, on the same horse, bearing himself with the same condesending attitude.
 
"What?" the man was saying, "You are still here? By now I would have figured that you and your ragged bunch of people would have surely have been gone!"

Harry said "Tthank-you" in a very scathing voice, before continuing. "As for you, sir, I am suprised that you came back after last years warm welcome!"

"You rebel brat!" the man practically spat it out. "You are unfit to even be in the employ of man such as I, much less own land!"

Harry stepped in closer, "I do not work for you nor do I have any desire to do so. I am my own man!"

"You are a boy!" the man shot back.

Harry's temper flared. His green eyes blazed fire. Mrs. Drewry thought she saw the hair on the back of his next stand up.
 
"I am a man." He asserted it with deadly firmness. "If you please, sir, leave this ground, or I will escort you off."

At this the man laughed derisively. Without another word, Harry turned on his heel, marched to the barn and retreived the revolver Mrs. Drewry had threatened to shoot him with upon his arrival.

"Harry," that lady now said, "What are you doing?" She had followed him in.

Looking up, Harry's eyes seemed to have darkened, his face was set, and suddenly Mrs. Drewry realized the soldier was still in this boy--and the real reason he had fought. He made no answer and marched out again. Mrs. Drewry gathered her children around her and started to pray inaudibly.

Harry stepped out the door and closed it carefully behind him. The silence was more effective than if he had slammed it.

The carpetbagger was riding his horse through the stunted corn, trampling the plants that were just beginning to form ears. Enraged further by this wanton act, Harry nearly shot the man in the back. Being a sniper, it would have been very easy for him. However, his conscience would not allow him to shoot a man from behind; especially as he had no idea if he was armed or not. Also, he took into consideration the martial law then in effect. Shooting a Yankee wouldn't be very wise. 'Not that threatening one was either', Harry had to admit to himself. But the Scotch-Irish blood in the Geogrian's veins was up...

"Mister!" he bellowed, "Take your beast out of my corn!"

There was no response. Harry stamped in behind him, reversed the revolver and put all his weight into it. The horse shrieked in pain and took off like a shot. His rider was thrown and before he could regain his senses, being somewhat stunned, the farmer hauled him to his feet and trundled him off down the lane. Reaching the end of the Drewry property, Harry shoved the man out roughly onto the road. As the sleek gentleman groveled in the dirt, Harry said levelly, with deadly calm, "Don't come back, mister."

The man had staggered to his feet. "I want my horse!" He was very angry, but also quiet frightened. Though six inches taller than the young man, he had been suprised at the ease with which he had hauled him to the border of the property. What's more, only a fool would acost a man with a deadly calm like Harry's.

"I understand, sir. I will bring him into town as soon as I find him."

Not wanting to anger the young farmer any farther, the tall man started off somewhat unsteadily. He turned back at one point to see Harry still standing there.

               *******************************************************

It took about half an hour to locate the horse. As soon as he caught him, Harry climbed on and promptly got bucked off. He grunted to James, who had accompanied him on his search, "Only horse I ever rode was an old draft animal."

James nodded gravely. He had ridden a lot before all their horses had either been sold, conscripted, stole, or killed. He didn't think it would improve Harry's mood any to say so; so he wisely kept his mouth shut.

That is how it came abou that the horse was returned--being led by the insulted young man.

To be continued...
 


Sandra Sullivan
06/30/2012 9:49pm

You continue to keep my attention with this great story/novel. Always wanting to know what happens next!!

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    A Gray Kepi

    I saw the opening scene for this story in my head and I knew that I had to finish it. I wrote it over several days. Some of it won't be as intersting or as polished as others.  I even teared up while writing it...but I won't say where.

    The War Between the States and Southern Reconstruction are a period of history that hold a great deal of interest for me. I hope that all my facts are historically accurate. (I rather suspect that as I type it up I shall do some fact checking...)

    Perhaps some day I may be able to turn this into a screenplay...but for right now, I will just post it in sections, or 'parts'. Some will be longer and some will be shorter. And so, without any further ado, here is "A Gray Kepi"