Adeline’s War of 1812 Journal: July 1815
©2012 Mollie Pearce McKibbon
I cannot describe how I feel. I am such a maelstrom of anger, horror and terror. It happened that this morning I awoke to the growling of Pirate. I had heard him growling and whining earlier, but I was so weary I just looked over at the babes still asleep, hushed Pirate and fell back asleep. It was a brief time because Pirate refused to be ignored and he kept growling, and barking at the door. I could hear footsteps on the small porch and then, Henry called out, “Down Pirate, hush.”
Then as I stumbled sleepily to the door to open it for Henry, I heard him call out.
“Addie, don’t come out. Promise me you won’t open the door.”
“Henry, what is the matter? Of course, I’ll come out if something is amiss. Do you think I am aninny?”
“No Addie. Wait until I fetch Father. Please stay inside until I get back.”
I was puzzled and alarmed, but I agreed not to open the door. Instead I dressed and began to prepare the morning meal of porridge. Henry made it a habit to visit when he arose, bringing us milk from the morning’s milking. Charlie and Andrew are still nursing, though I am training them to drink from a cup as well. Henry often eats his breakfast with us.
Henry and Father returned and spent some time talking quietly, then I heard them wrenching something from the door. Pirate was beside himself with desperation to get out.
Father finally knocked on the door and I let him inside.
“Adeline,” he said gravely, “This cabin is no longer safe for you and the boys. I must insist you move back into the house.”
“But Father,” I implored, “the house is too small for all of us now. What do you mean, the cabin is too dangerous?”
Charlie and Andrew both sat up in their beds, rubbing their sleepy eyes.
“Addie, did you hear anyone outside your door this morning?” asked Henry coming in behind father.
“No, I didn’t…well, I guess Pirate did, because his growling woke me up awhile ago. I was too tired to pay it mind.”
“Addie, someone has killed the boys two kittens and nailed them to the cabin door.”
“What?” I staggered backwards and grabbed the post of the settle near the fire. “Bourke! Bourke did that?”
“Adeline, this man is not rational. You are in grave danger.” said Father.
Isn’t it enough that Bourke kidnapped me, killed my dear Charles,and burned our home? Now he’s driven us out of our new home and threatened our lives. We come through a war across our borders and in our own country and now we are fighting a phantom.
I have made up my mind to accept Brigadier General Houghton’s offer. I will have to send my boys to England so that they will be safe. My heart is breaking.
Tuesday, July 4, 1815
Arthur Randall came by with his mother and aunt the day after the kittens were killed. I had just finished washing and hanging the boy’s clothes out to dry. At first, I thought it was Robert and my heart began pounding from mortification after our last conversation. However, as the wagon came closer, I realized it was Arthur. His mother and aunt went into the house to visit my mother and Evvy. Robert had his son, Adam, on his arm and called out to me.
‘Adeline, may we talk?”
I tried not to stare at his empty sleeve as he limped towards me. I put down the basket and we went to sit on the bench near the well, the place where Charles had proposed to me.
“Does your injury cause you much pain?” I asked him.
“Sometimes, not always. Mostly it exasperates me not being able to do what I did before. I’m not much use anymore, Addie. We lost the Battle in New Orleans and I lost my arm.”
“It must be very distressing for you,” I said. “We are so glad that you have returned safely and that the war is over.”
Arthur sat watching Adam playing with some stones. “War doesn’t seem to be over for
you, Addie. I don’t understand why you refused my brother’s proposal. He could offer you and your children the protection you need. “
My cheeks began to burn. “ I didn’t refuse him,” I whispered.
“He says that you did,” insisted Arthur. “Why ever would he think that?”
“I… I don’t know,” I answered “He came to tell me Bourke had escaped and I broke down and cried. It was such a shock. He asked me to marry him almost in the same breath…but…”
“He didn’t wait for your answer, did he?”
I shook my head and Arthur sighed. I picked up Adam and brushed dirt from his tiny fist. He cuddled up to me and began sucking his thumb.
“Do you think you could learn to love him, Adeline?”
I thought of my two sons without a father and remembered Robert’s many kindnesses and considerations.
“I think perhaps I already do care for Robert,” I mumbled into Adam’s curly hair.
“Good,” said Arthur, reaching out for his son.”then you should tell him .”
“He has been avoiding me. I think that he is angry with me and besides, I don’t wish him to marry me out of a sense of duty or pity.” I felt annoyed with my stubbornness but could not bring myself to admit my own doubts. I was very uncomfortable with the entire conversation.
“Adeline, do not let pride stand between you and your safety, not to forget the happiness and comfort of your children. I know for a fact my brother has loved you since the day you first arrived with your parents, ten years ago.”
Arthur looked down at me with a slight smile. “Believe me, Adeline, duty and pity have nothing to do with Robert’s feelings for you.”
And that, Janetta, is when Arthur left me to join his mother and aunt. So now what should I do? – Adeline