Loading...
Menu
Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Historical  ➡  Colonial America

Adelé van Soothsbay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adelé van Soothsbay

by JH Terry

 

 

Copyright © JH Terry 2015

 

Table of Contents

 

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Introduction

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The Birth of Higgles

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The Birth of Adelé

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The Old Lady

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. A Helping Hand

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Mr. Pickles

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The Dinner

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Higgles the Good, Adelé the Better

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The van der Bergh’s Song

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Naughty Adelé

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Higgles Giggles Pudding and Pie

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Uncle Pieter Fritter

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Prince Issac Raspereski

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Higgles Gone!

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Tomadelé

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Raucous and Bonfires

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The Strange Man

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Louis van Pargoo

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Trouble in Ohio

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. The Ball

#
p<{color:#000;background:transparent;}. Sailing Nowhere

 

 

 

 

I: Introduction

 

Since the beginning of time men and women, like cavemen, have traveled from one place to another, or migrated. Notably are the Mongols in Mongolia, the birds in the sky, or one moving to a new home today. People move for several reasons – a place that is better or more bearable than what they have. It is just like when one is at home and no food is left. Therefore, he or she must move to the store to get food, or else life always at home with no food would be unbearable. Especially without pizza, chocolates, ice cream, soda, or other sweets and goodies that make our tummies feel so good and happy inside to stop that rumbling of hunger.

 

A long time ago, all the way back in the sixteen hundreds (or 1600s), people also found places to be unbearable in a place called Europe. In Europe there are the countries of England, France, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Portugal and the Netherlands. These were the main countries during this time that were looking for land elsewhere, and found it in a place called the New World. In the New World one finds the continents of North and South America. The Portuguese, or those who live in Portugal, came to the country of Brazil. The Spanish, or those who live in Spain, came to many places. These include where one finds the countries of Mexico, Argentina, and Chile, and even the states of California, New Mexico, and Texas. The French, from France, came to the province of Québec, in Canada, where French is still spoken at today, forming the colony of New France. This was along the Saint Lawrence and Mississippi Rivers, with the Atlantic Ocean to the East and the state of Louisiana to the South. The English, from England, formed settlements, or communities, in Jamestown, Virginia, and the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Maryland. The Swedish, from Sweden, came to the state of Delaware and were the first to make log cabins in America. Their colony was called New Sweden, which was later taken over by the colony of New Netherlands. New Netherlands was a settlement of the Dutch, or those from the Netherlands. New Netherlands was taken over later by the English to form the states of New Jersey and New York.

 

It is in this period of time that shall be looked into, that of New Netherlands before it was taken over by the English. New Netherlands was first formed after Henry Hudson, a Dutch navigator and explorer, sailed up the Hudson River, which starts at New York City and ends at Albany, New York, for anyone who knows anything about New York like the writer of this book who was born and raised there. After Hudson’s discovery, many Dutch also moved and lived there, with Dutch names still there till this day, like the part of New York City called the Bronx after Jonas Bronck, a Dane, or one from Denmark, who came to move from his home to New Netherlands. Life there was prosperous, but rulers, or presidents with unlimited power, were strict, as were the social standards at the time, making those who were creative, original, and just different out of the way of others, especially if it was a woman. Women were wives or daughters, never anything else, and as mere property making their lives without happiness, a voice to speak with, nor were they able to have jobs. They only ran houses, if given permission by their husbands, but mostly were meant to only have and raise children. However, not all women wanted this for their lives, like that of Adele van Soothsbay, the most extraordinary girl and woman of this time, and like all extraordinary people a story is her call to fame and the rest is that story although fiction at least since we believe in her in our imaginations we can at least call her reality there.

 

 

 

II: The Birth of Higgles

 

On April 4, 1639, Jan and Sarie van Soothsbay became the new parents of a beautiful baby girl. She had hair of golden locks, eyes as blue as sapphires, and skin like alabaster. The husband and wife of four years were very happy over the birth, since their successes before were futile due to the hostile climate of the New World, which were they were at was called, later to form the United States of America, and the death of three children before of various illnesses. To have such luck for them seemed to be a blessing.

 

“Yes,” said Dr. Meukle. “She is a very beautiful and sensitive little girl. You must take good care of her if she is to be healthy. You must guard her with the utmost care. One day she might be the belle of New Amsterdam, or of all New Netherlands.”

 

“All New Netherlands!” exclaimed Sarie out loud with such emphasis that Jan began to feel troubled about his wife’s feelings.

 

Sensing that the doctor’s talk was doing her no good, especially if this child were to die as well, Jan said, “Thank you good doctor, I will take good care of them from here.”

 

“You?” asked the Dr. Meukle with a slight smile as Jan had forgotten his place as a gentleman by saying such a thing.

 

“I mean I will take care of them in the hiring of help and setting the maids to look after them,” said Jan quickly remembering what he was saying.

 

“Of course,” said Dr. Meukle. “Enjoy yourselves.”

 

“Good bye Dr. Meukle,” said Mrs. van Soothsbay as she lay in bed with her little girl.

 

As Jan showed Dr. Meukle out of the house, Dr. Meukle said, “You have a fine girl there, do not worry that she will end like the others. She is more sturdy than they were, and do not worry I know that from experience.”

 

“Thank you Dr. Meukle,” said Jan.

 

“Now,” said Dr. Meukle. “All you have to do now is try for a boy, that is simple enough.”

 

Slightly angry at this thought of another baby so soon, especially with all the trouble they had with the others, Jan said, “Thank you doctor for the thought, but I must really do other things right now.”

 

“Yes,” said Dr. Meukle. “Good night, Mr. van Soothsbay.”

 

“Good night,” said Jan as he closed the door in the doctor’s face.

 

Dr. Meukle smiled to himself as he went to his carriage, with the driver looking to him perplexed.

 

“I am glad someone has a sense of humor while I freeze myself to death,” said the driver who seemed like ice.

 

“Oh, hush up Hendrik,” said Dr. Meukle.

 

“What’s so funny that you have a smile on your lips?” asked Hendrik.

 

“That man will have only trouble with that child.”

 

“Do you mean that will die on them too?”

 

“No, Hendrik. That one will live, but the cost of keeping her will be too much for that generous offer of life. They love her already too much; I see it in their eyes. To them she is mere perfection, even when she is a horrible ogre, and that will be no help to them at all. I feel sorry for any other child that they might have, for that child will suffer.”

 

“How do you know that sir?” asked Hendrik.

 

“I saw that same look of the family when I delivered the Wilson’s baby.”

 

“You mean the birth of the beautiful Carina Wilson?”

 

“Yes, the beautiful and troublesome Carina, who brought her parents into debt as she sailed away with some Spanish adventurer to the South, leaving them on their own to suffer. It is not my place to tell a parent what to do or not, but if I were them I would not be so foolish with a mere child.” With this Dr. Meukle went into the carriage as Hendrik sped away from the van Soothsbay home to another house where one’s health was not all well.

 

“Ahh,” said Jan as he entered again into the room where his wife and little girl lay. Sarie was playing with the child’s hands, holding her as close as possible in case soon she would be taken away. Jan looked to her and said, “Do not worry, Sarie, everything will be fine. The doctor says that she is strong and will live to be an adult.”

 

“Are you sure?” asked Sarie very skeptical.

 

“Yes,” said Jan. “He gave me his firm advice before he left.” Looking to the little girl Jan said, “Oh, she is so beautiful, beyond all compare, like a snowflake or angel. Let’s call her snow.”

 

“Snow?” asked Sarie. “No child of any respectable family has ever had a child named snow, and besides in the snow there lie dead bodies. Our daughter shall have a name that gives warmth and laughter. What about Spring?”

 

“No,” said Jan. “No daughter of mine will have a name like Spring.”

 

“Well, then,” said Sarie, “What about your grandmother’s name?”

 

“You mean Higgles?”

 

“Yes, it is such a light name, it makes one feel happy just to think of it and even more to say it.”

 

“Yes,” said Jan. “I think in honor of my dear grandmother it is the perfect name. Higgles van Soothsbay.” With this the little girl made a gurgling noise that seemed to say that she accepted the name as well. “Well, with that agreed at least we have the most beautiful little girl with the most beautiful name.”

 

“Yes, and we do not need any more children with this one in our heart so dearly.”

 

“Yes,” said Jan. “With this one so wonderful what would we need with another child?”

 

Jan then held his wife in his arms, who held Higgles in her arms, all happy and cozy within the warm room, just to themselves not needed nor wanting anyone else to be there as well, though sooner than they thought they were to have a new edition to their home.

 

 

III: The Birth of Adelé

 

Everyone was surprised and moody when the day finally came. Jan was angry, Sarie was disappointed, and Higgles wished that it would never come. It seemed no one wanted that day to come, but they were there, except for Dr. Meukle, of course, who always liked to get paid for the job he did.

 

Higgles was two years old and could walk graciously to her parents’ happiness. Today, though, no one really looked at Higgles that much at all, they were worried of what was to come. Meukle could see that his predictions of before were right. Higgles was a spoiled brat to the core, so much that Jan asked the doctor to give Higgles a piggyback ride, to which Meukle looked straight into Higgles’s eyes and growled like a tiger, causing her to run away scared to her dolls in her room. Jan did not ask again about the ride or anything about Higgles to Meukle.

 

It took five hours of waiting, in that everyone was in a state of despair. Meukle was concerned that Sarie would suffer the most, and Jan was concerned that he would eventually suffer the most then. They had come to this point of time only because Higgles had asked for it, and being a spoiled brat Higgles always got what she wanted. It was February 8, 1642, a night that they would all remember.

 

“Wahhhhh, wahhhhh!” screeched a high-pitched voice.

 

“The baby is born!” thought everyone at once. “Is it a boy, a girl, short, tall, fat, skinny, clever, or giddy?”

 

Out walked Meukle from the room in silence. “Well?” asked Jan of Meukle, who just looked at him with indifference as he went to the dining room for a drink of tea. Impatient, Jan walked into the room to see that Sarie too was silent as the baby squirmed in her arms, crying here and there. Jan walked up to see the baby as well, remarking its features in silence as well, when others poured in also silent. Finally Higgles barged in ready to see the animal made for her especially since she was tired of being alone.

 

Up onto the bed Higgles marched up to where her new little sister was and looked on with disgust. “What is that?” she asked angered.

 

Looking up to Higgles, Sarie said, “You sister, of course.”

 

“She’s nothing like I asked you for. I asked for blue eyes like mine, not brown, and golden curls, not brown, I even asked her to have flowing hair, not to be almost bald or look like a turnip!”

 

Indeed, as everyone looked to the child she did have short brown hair, brown eyes, and her face was shriveled like a turnip root. Yes, this child was not another Higgles for she was ordinary and plain. She did not have Higgles’s beauty, nor will to live and sturdiness. It seemed to all there that the child would not live like the others before Higgles. It seemed like such a waste to have had the child – to be born only to die.

 

“I am sorry Higgles,” said Sarie. “We had no idea.”

 

“I hate that thing you call my sister,” said Higgles. “She is not worth even calling her that. My life will be ruined by everyone knowing that she is my sister, and no one ever thinks about me,” said Higgles as she began to cry.

 

“Oh Higgles,” said Jan as he held her in his arms. “Do not cry. The child is so weak that she will not live long enough for anyone to know. Does that make you happy, dear?”

 

Suddenly a crash was heard as they saw Dr. Meukle at the door. “You fools, that child is going to live to be an adult. You should be grateful that you are given such a child while some get none at all, but I know that my talk is wasted on you. You have decided your own fates, but treat the child with care. One day you may need to depend upon her and she will no longer be there to rescue you from your fates.”

 

Dr. Meukle then picked up his items and left the house. Suddenly the others there, hoping to see another beautiful baby, left as well, disappointed, with the butler, Gregory, closing the door as he went outside walking to a local pub where he lost a bet that the next child would be prettier than the first.

 

Jan looked to the little girl and his heart was quite hard, to think that their favor with everyone else should have come about so low once this child was born. Jan looked into Sarie’s eyes and could see that she felt the same way that he did. He was very disappointed, too disappointed to even touch the creature as he walked over to Higgles’s room to be her slave for the moment.

 

Seeing that she was all alone, Sarie called for a maid, Mary.

 

“You called, miss?” asked Mary.

 

“Yes,” said Sarie. “Take the girl away to her room. Let her be nursed by your sister.”

 

“You do not wish to nurse this child like you did with Higgles, miss?” asked Mary slightly concerned.

 

“I do not wish it,” said Sarie coldly.

 

“What is her name,” asked Mary as she picked the child up.

 

“I really do not know what would be best now,” said Sarie without caring.

 

“I think the most beautiful name in the world is Adelé, miss. Perhaps you may call her Adelé?”

 

“Yes, Mary,” said Sarie still not caring. “We will call her Adelé van Soothsbay. Just take her to your sister to take care of her.”

 

“Yes, miss,” said Mary as she took the little baby in her arms through many passages, past the room of Higgles, where the rest of the family was happy together, past the dining room, kitchen, and outside the back of the house where the servants were gambling in a cock fight. Little Adelé shook from the cold, but dared not utter a word, sensing, as all babies do, that her care was in other hands, hands that could do with her anything that they wanted to. Adelé knew that her mother and father did not want her, especially everyone around her who had been there at first, except for Dr. Meukel, of course, who gave her a broad smile when he held her in his arms, but suddenly became quite at the look given by the mother.

 

Soon Mary entered a little freezing house next to the big warm house she had just left, where her sister was with a baby of her own. Mary’s sister, Gertrude, was not a nice person. She loved to complain and argue, because of this Mary knew how Gertrude would treat the baby as she treated the other babies that the van Soothsbay’s had, with a lack of care leading to the death of the others. Mary, seeing the baby as her responsibility, came in and set to work getting blankets to cover Adelé and putting on her heavy coat.

 

“Where are you going with that baby?” asked Gertrude, her teeth black as tar.

 

“I am going to the old lady,” said Mary truthfully.

 

“You mean the witch?” asked Gertrude.

 

“She is no more of a witch than you are,” said Mary quickly as she left the little room with Adelé in her arms.

 

Angry, Gertrude went to the open door and said to Mary as she walked through the thick snow on the ground and flying in the air, “You’ll wish you hadn’t said that Mary, for when you bring that baby back here I’ll show you how much of a witch I can be.”

 

Mary walked forward in the darkness until Gertrude could no longer see her. Gertrude then closed the door to the little house proclaiming loudly to herself how she would kill the little baby, just to get back at Mary.

 

 

IV: The Old Lady

 

Mary walked in the snow, her feet tired and Adelé as quite as a mouse. Soon the houses on the street were no more as she walked further into the forest where hardly anyone ventured. Concerned that the baby was dead, Mary slightly pinched Adelé who shrieked like a pig.

 

“I am sorry,” said Mary to Adelé, who had begun to cry. Mary kissed Adelé on the head. “Soon we will be at the old lady’s house and she will help us.” Soon Mary saw a light and was relieved. “You see, Adelé, there is the house.”

 

Mary was soon at the little brick house, on which there read the words on a wooden sign: Helen Heinz, midwife extraordinary. Mary came to the wooden door of the house, and knocked on it three times. Silence. Again Mary knocked on the door when suddenly above she heard a window open, with something rolling on the roof. Looking behind her she saw a blob of white, perhaps the biggest snowflake ever, fall from the roof onto the porch behind her. However with a closer look she saw that it was an old lady with a rifle in her hands, dressed only in her nightgown.

 

“Good evening,” said the old lady as she looked to Mary. Then, as she raised her rifle at Mary’s head, “or good night.”

 

“Mrs. Heinz, you do not know me, but I am Mary Green. I work at the van Soothsbay home, where Mrs. van Soothsbay just had this little girl, Adelé.”

 

Mrs. Heinz looked to Adelé, but said, “So what, the van Soothsbays are no friends of mine.”

 

“My mother said that when I was born it was hard for her to feed me milk, so she came to you and I am here today.”

 

“Green you say? Never heard of you.”

 

“My mother was Marjorie van Steen then.”

 

“Oh, of course. Did she remarry?”

 

“Yes,” said Mary. “She died five years ago.”

 

“I am sorry to hear that, but why did not the family come with the little girl?”

 

“They do not want her like the eldest one that they have.”

 

“Oh, Higgles the brat?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Oh, I know of her. It was good you brought her here,” said Mrs. Heinz as she lowered her gun to the ground. “Come in for a spot of tea, dear, you look tired.”

 

Mary smiled, as Mrs. Heinz remembered. “Oh dear, left the keys upstairs. I have a spare though, in my hair.” With a swift movement, Mrs. Heinz took from her large mass of white hair a golden skeleton key, opening the door to the toasty house inside.

 

Adelé looked around with surprise and happiness, as the house was cream colored inside, with cozy chairs, warmth, and a well-lit fire as well. Mrs. Heinz closed the door behind them and gestured for Mary to sit down on a chair. There was already tea set out, as if she was ready for Mary and Adelé to come.

 

“Have a spot of tea and some biscuits,” said Mrs. Heinz, to which Mary readily wanted to do, but she remembered poor, hungry Adelé. Seeing this, Mrs. Heinz said, “Give me the baby. I want to take a look at her.”

 

Mary gave Mrs. Heinz Adelé as she began to eat the tea, saying all the while, “Thank you, Mrs. Heinz, thank you, thank you.”

 

As Mrs. Heinz looked to Adelé there was a frown on her face. “What is the matter?” asked Mary.

 

“Matter?” asked Mrs. Heinz with a slight smile. “No matter at all, it is just that I saw another baby born with this birthmark seven years ago, a child of the van Pardoos.”

 

“You mean those who live alone in that house on the hill?”

 

“Yes,” said Mrs. Heinz. “But they are not alone.” Mary was perplexed at this answer, but continued to listen to Mrs. Heinz. “In any case, she is strong, but with my guidance she will be healthy and wise. Leave her here with me for the next few months.”

 

“But…”

 

“But nothing,” said Mrs. Heinz. “I know of your sister who cares for nothing, and under her protection the child will die. You must leave the child with me. In case they wish to see the child, use your sister’s child in her stead. They will not notice the difference.”

 

“How do you know so much?” thought Mary aloud.

 

“Leave that to me. When walking take the longer route back to the van Soothsbay home. Trust me when I say this, it will be immensely to your benefit.” Suspicion clouded Mary’s mind as Mrs. Heinz said, “If I knew that much which I have already said, then at least trust me in what I say now.”

 

Mary was still slightly suspicious, but she listened to what Mrs. Heinz said, and left Adelé in her care.

 

“Do not worry, Adelé,” said Mary. “You will be safe here, and well fed.”

 

“Yes,” said Mrs. Heinz. “Now, Mary, you do as I have told you, and have faith in me, it will reward you well.”

 

Mary shook her head to agree and then left the two as she walked the long, forested way home.

 

 

V: A Helping Hand

 

Mary walked in the snow, her fingers freezing now and wishing she had stayed at Mrs. Heinz’s house. At least Adelé was safe, she thought to herself. Mary was feeling confused over all that had happened before, unsure of the future, and was not noticing what was around her. She was walking in the Gloomy Forest, a place between the settlement and wilderness. New Netherlands had grown from a little village, that is true, but still the vat amount around them was still filled with those outside the domain of the Dutch government in the colony. Yes, many different people lived there – English, Dutch, and Swedes – but everyone still were able to get along. Everyone was afraid of the Native Americans, or Indians as they called them then by mistake with Christopher Columbus thinking that he had come to India by sailing west and not the Americas. It was a time of great suspicions, lack of trust, and wars between the groups, or just between the Native American tribes.

 

Mary knew a lot about these stories, being told from an early age about them, and their horrible result for the people living in New Netherlands who were at the wrong place, at the wrong time.

 

These thoughts were largely in Mary’s mind, when suddenly before her, as she walked on a bridge, she saw two black shoes. Looking up she saw they formed long black boots, with above that gray knickers (or the pants of the time), and a short brown coat. Looking to the face Mary was astonished. He had a deep scar on his right cheek that went from his ear to his lips. His eyes were light blue and his appearance like that of a wolf. He was perhaps thirty years old, but his appearance looked as if he were sixty.

 

The man smiled at Mary, his teeth yellow, black, and rotten.

 

“Good evening,” said the man. “Nice weather we are having this morning. Only too bad you had to come here to see a humble man like myself wandering about with no money or home. I was wondering if you could give me a little bit of money, not much, I just really need some. I am all frozen inside, and it would really be of a big help to me if you would. I’ll pay you back with interest – my word is my bond.”

 

“I am sorry,” said Mary. “I do not have any money, and I am going to where I live right now. Perhaps you should go to the church if you need warmth so badly.”

 

However, as Mary tried to walk away, the man blocked her pass. “I think I do not want to go to church,” said the man. “Perhaps you can take me to your lodgings.” Mary was silent. She did not like the sound of this.

 

“No,” said Mary firmly.

 

The man grabbed a hold on Mary’s arm as she screamed into the air. “No, tonight you are going to be a good little girl!” exclaimed the man.

 

“Unhand her now,” said a deep noble voice. The man, seeing who it was, threw Mary over the bridge into the icy water below. As Mary sank deeper and deeper, she hardly noticed what was going on above her. She held her breath, and tried to swim, but she did not know how too and her clothing was too heavy for her to rise up. She closed her eyes, preparing for the worst, when suddenly something grabbed her up out of the water and onto the ice. Before her everything seemed fuzzy as she felt herself being moved onto a horse and raced elsewhere.

 

Mary felt scared, who was with her? Her heart raced as she tried to remember all that happened to her. She screamed out loud, but it was only a murmur, as her lips were frozen together except at a few places.

 

Soon the horse stopped and Mary was carried off of it to a place of warmth and light. She couldn’t open her eyes, but she could sense the light through her eyelids. She heard a large commotion near her as people screamed and asked continually, “What happened?”

 

Exhausted, Mary fell asleep as she felt her body being tossed here and there.

 

 

VI: Mr. Pickles

 

Mary woke up to find that she was in a reasonable bed and room. She could see that now it was daylight, and everything was as usual in New Netherlands. She wondered where she was at and how she got there, when suddenly the door opened and a maid entered.

 

“Morning, miss,” said the maid to Mary, to Mary’s astonishment.

 

“Morning,” said Mary. “Do not call me miss, though, I am a mere maid like you are. Excuse me, but where am I at?”

 

“Oh,” smiled the maid. “You are at the house of Mr. Pickles. He saved your life last night in the woods.”

 

“Mr. Pickles?” thought Mary, not knowing who that was.

 

“Do you not know who Mr. Pickles is?” asked the maid surprised.

 

“No,” said Mary.

 

“Why, he is the man who sells all the pickled food in New Netherlands.”

 

Yes, thought Mary, she had heard about Mr. Pickles’s Pickles, but thought the owner had a different name.

 

“What happened to the man who attacked me?” asked Mary.

 

“Oh, Mr. Pickles killed him last night. You see Mr. Pickles, strangely, felt that he should go for a ride last night. And, what do you know; he hears your scream and tries to help you out. You were as cold as ice, and we thought you would die of the cold, but I guess you are very strong so you did not.”

 

“Yes, I guess I am very lucky then,” said Mary. “I must return back at once to where I work.”

 

“But Mr. Pickles would like just to see how well you are, at least,” said the maid.

 

“I am sorry,” said Mary as she got out of bed, “but I must do my job.”

 

“At present that is to at least say thank you to the man who saved your life,” said Mr. Pickles at the door.

 

Mary took one look at him and felt strange. She felt something she had never felt before, an extreme liking for the man. He was a gentleman in everyway and his deep blue eyes seemed to penetrate her soul with happiness. Mr. Pickles, however, stood at the doorway waiting for what she would say.

 

“Thank you,” stammered Mary.

 

“Has the chill frozen your tongue as well,” snapped Mr. Pickles.

 

Regaining her senses, Mary said coldly, “No.”

 

“Good, now you may go back to your job. Your clothes are on the side, and next time I would not walk the dangerous route or else you can count yourself dead.”

 

With this Mr. Pickles left with Mary perplexed and angered at the man. As Mary changed her clothes, she asked the maid, “What did I do to him?”

 

“Oh,” said the maid. “He thought you were a lady, and not a mere maid miss.”

 

“I suppose he would not have saved my life if I were a maid. Just like men.”

 

With that Mary left the house of Mr. Pickles and walked briskly to that of the van Soothsbays. She knew that they would be worried about where she was at and Adelé, but she knew that more than worried, they would be angry.

 

Soon Mary was there only to see that everything was normal. Mr. and Mrs. van Soothsbay were playing with Higgles as usual, and even they had not noticed that she was gone.

 

“Morning, Mary,” said Jan. “Fetch us some tea, we are famished with being with Higgles.”

 

Quickly Mary went to the kitchen to find the cook Deborah. “Deborah?” asked Mary.

 

“What?” asked Deborah.

 

“Did they ask for the child yet?” asked Mary.

 

“No, they have not asked for her once since she was born. Shows how rich people can be cruel as well to their children.”

 

Oh, thought Mary in surprise. To Deborah she said, “They want some tea.”

 

“On the table,” said Deborah.

 

Mary took the tea on a silver tray and took it to the van Soothsbays. With that day and the following days the attitude was the same with the bringing of tea, lunch, dinner, and breakfast, but never for Adelé. For eight months the van Soothsbays stayed the same, never once asking for her, and not caring whether or not she was alive or dead. Mary checked up on Adelé always at Mrs. Heinz’s house to make sure that she was all right, all the time not noticing that there was one who watched her every movement to and from the midwife’s house.

 

 

VII: The Dinner

 

Eight months after the birth of Adelé the van Soothsbays were having a ball at their home, not because of Adelé, but because they thought it was a good time to show off Higgles at her finest. Mary was still as vexed as ever over this lack of caring for Adelé, but she bit her lip and said nothing.

 

That evening it seemed as if everyone in New Amsterdam came to the cozy home, even Mr. Pickles. As he entered there seemed applause for Mr. Pickles from everyone, though Mary did not understand why. As she looked out at him from a crack in the kitchen door, suddenly his eyes rested on hers. Quickly she stopped looking and worked in the kitchen.

 

After everyone had come, dinner was served, and Mary, along with her sister, served out the dishes to everyone. Mr. Pickles seemed intrigued at Mary’s job as he looked at her, to Mary’s detest. Once everyone had their bowls and began to eat, Mr. Pickles began to speak.

 

“About eight months back,” said Mr. Pickles to them all. “I had the strangest reasoning to ride in the winter snow down to the river along the long path to New Amsterdam.”

 

“You mean that route, the dangerous one?” asked Sarie van Soothsbay.

 

“Yes,” said Mr. Pickles. “Strangely enough I saw a young woman there being hurt by an ugly, evil man. I killed the man and later saved the young woman’s life.”

 

“Very brave of you Pickles,” said Colonel Richard von Struppel, a regular in the New Netherlands army.

 

“Yes,” said Pickles. “To my surprise, though, this young woman was only a maid. On further investigation I followed this young woman to see what compelled her at that hour to go to the woods. I thought perhaps she led an evil cause, or was friends with the Indians, so that I must do my job and have her arrested and put in jail.”

 

“Here, here,” said Colonel von Struppel.

 

“However,” said Pickles as Mary squirmed as she had, in the appropriate setting, to stand next to the wall without saying a word. “I found that she went to the old witch of the forest.”

 

“Dear you know what!” exclaimed the colonel.

 

“Oh my goodness!” exclaimed Sarie.

 

“Anyone for some more soup?” asked Mary out of place, as Pickles looked to her as shocked as the others.

 

“Mary,” said Sarie. “Mind your place.”

 

Silently Mary put down her head. She was about to leave to check on the kitchen, when she heard behind her.

 

“She went to the witch so that it could raise her child with no father!” exclaimed Pickles as faints and body slumping to the ground could be heard. Mary quickly left the room to the kitchen, closing the door as she did so, but she heard the door open again as Mr. Pickles came up from behind her.

 

Astonished by this Mary left out of the kitchen to the back door, but Mr. Pickles was still behind, grabbing her by the arm. “Let me go!” exclaimed Mary.

 

“Not until you tell them the truth,” said Mr. Pickles. “The man I killed was your husband, was he not?”

 

“What!!!!” exclaimed Mary.

 

“Of course,” said Mr. Pickles. “Not your husband, but the father of your child.”

 

“What!!!!!!!!!!!!!” exclaimed Mary feeling very sick at what Mr. Pickles was saying.

 

“So, who is the father?”

 

“Mr. van Soothsbay,” said Mary without a thought about what she was saying.

 

“Ah, ha!” exclaimed Mr. Pickles. “That horrible man will see the truth of the matter of his bad manner.”

 

With that Pickles left Mary outside, who just realized what she said, as she scrambled back to the dining room, hearing again fainting and body slumping to the floor that were before awaken after the first fainting spell.

 

Mary opened the door to see Sarie on the ground in a lump, Jan with his mouth open wide, and Higgles screaming for more soup. Pickles looked to Mary and exclaimed, “This is the mother of Mr. van Soothsbay’s child!”

 

“What!!!!!!!!!!!” exclaimed Mary in surprise.

 

“You said the father of that child was Mr. van Soothsbay.”

 

“Yes,” said Mary, “but its mother is Mrs. van Soothsbay.”

 

Suddenly Mr. Pickles’ face turned blood red as he realized that he was wrong in what he had said. He came onto the floor, trying to awaken Sarie as Jan realized that he did have a daughter named Adelé.

 

“Adelé, at the witch’s house,” said Jan, suddenly feeling a bit of feeling for his child. “Is she dead?”

 

“No, sir,” said Mary. “She is the healthiest child I have ever seen.”

 

“But, I thought she was already dead,” said Higgles. “Why isn’t she dead?”

 

“Mary Green,” said Jan. “Why did you leave my child in the hands of the witch? Are you in league with her?”

 

“No, sir,” said Mary. “I left her there because I knew she would die here under the care of my sister, Gertrude.”

 

“That’s a lie!” screamed Gertrude nearby as she pushed Mary, causing Mary to fall onto Mr. Pickles’ back, her skirt covering his head. Mr. Pickles tried to stand up, carrying a screaming Mary on his back. “I would never harm a hair on the head of the children of van Soothsbay.”

 

Mary rolled off of Mr. Pickles’ back, and said aloud, “That’s a lie.”

 

“What do you mean, Mary?” asked Jan.

 

“She is the reason why the other babies died, sir,” said Mary truthfully as Gertrude stood angered. “She hates your family. The only reason why Higgles is still alive is because Miss Sarie took such good care of her. I did not want little Adelé to die too since she had such a pretty name.”

 

Jan looked to Gertrude, and said, “I do not believe you Mary, not one bit.”

 

Gertrude’s anger turned to a smile as she said to Jan, “You are right sir, for I was not going to tell you, but she is the one who killed those children. Taking them to the witch to be fattened up, only to have the both of them eat them to the bones.” Again fainting was heard.

 

“When, and at what times did this happen, Gertrude?” asked Jan.

 

“Well, why, not long after they were born sir.”

 

“Really?” asked Jan.

 

“Yes,” said Gertrude.

 

“That is strange,” said Jan. “When the children were under your care, especially when it was Mary’s job to take care of my wife in those days.”

 

“Well, urr, ummm, well she would take them from me at night, sir.”

 

“To fatten them, when they seemed like only thin sticks when we would visit them?”

 

Seeing that nothing was going her way, Gertrude was about to run to the door, when Mr. Pickles stopped her. “Get out of my way!” screamed Gertrude.

 

“Never,” said Mr. Pickles. “You dirty beast!”

 

Looking to Mary, Jan said, “Bring me my daughter so that I might see that what you say is true. I am trusting you Mary, but if you run away I will catch you.”

 

As Mary left, the others stayed in the house for what seemed to be an hour. Soon they heard the rushing of feet as Mary entered the room again, this time with Adelé and the old lady. Everyone seemed flabbergasted, but to see the little girl as plump and rosy, her brown hair cascading down, from the shriveled prune that she was before, made them feel differently about the child. Sarie awoke to see the child and say, “Whose child is that?”

 

As Jan stood up and took Adelé in his arms, he said to Sarie, “This is our child, our little Adelé.”

 

Everyone went around the child, adoring it as Higgles, angry, left to her room to play with her dolls. Even Gertrude was mystified as the local constable, or police officer, took her to jail. Mary looked around to see that Mrs. Heinz was not there, but walking in the street. Walking out, Mary called out, “Thank you!”

 

Mrs. Heinz looked back, only to smile, and walk into the darkness of the forest to her house. As Mary went back to the house she could see how happy everyone was. She then closed the door as celebrations over Adelé commenced, but what would happen next no one would have guessed.

 

 

VIII: Higgles the Good, Adelé the Better

 

As will be remembered by the reader, Higgles was very selfish. She did not like anyone at all, only to use them as their slaves. This is the problem with the only or youngest child sometimes, parents tend to spoil them rotten. Even the writer should know that best, for it was the youngest for eleven years.

 

However, Higgles was jealous of Adelé. Adelé, once she went to school, was the most clever, whereas Higgles struggled, perhaps because she was always fiddling with her looks and not her books. Adelé, once she learned to play piano, was hired by all in the village to play. Higgles, on the other hand, played only the piccolo, and believe the writer when I tell you that even in this her skill was very, very low. In everything Adelé succeeded, while Higgles could not even make a dent. However, the place where Adelé had not made a dent was in the favor of her parents to Higgles. They still favored Higgles’s jolly attitude to Adelé mathematical one. They acknowledged the wisdom and skills of Adelé, but to them the funny nature of Higgles was worth one hundred times more than one Adelé. However, Adelé did not mind as she became older, reaching the age of eight with no problems, when one day Higgles ignited the match.

 

Adelé was writing a song on paper, a song for a couple next door. They had asked her to play a song especially for them. As Adelé was doing this Higgles had in her mind a bad thought to act out. As Adelé finished the song, Higgles came by and asked of her, “So, Adelé, what are you writing?” Adelé looked at her with surprise since they never talked, and suspicions rose in her mind. “Fine then, do not even talk to me, your sister. I guess I have to cry out to mommy and daddy that you are being rude again and not talking to me!!” exclaimed Higgles with Sarie entering the room.

 

“Again, Adelé?” asked Sarie. “Stop acting bad or mean to your older sister, show her at least some respect.”

 

“Yes, mother,” said Adelé as Higgles smiled to herself.

 

With this Sarie left, as Higgles said, “So, what are you writing?”

 

“A song for Mr. and Mrs. van der Bergh.”

 

“Really, why?”

 

“They would like a song just for them.”

 

“What kind of a song?”

 

“A peaceful song, I suppose. I must go now,” said Adelé as she placed the music in her chair. Adelé then ran upstairs to her room.

 

Seeing that no one was around, Higgles smiled to herself as she opened up the chair to look at the sheet of music. Higgles, as noted before, could read music enough to try to play the piccolo, and she smiled to herself as she said, “I think this composition needs a few new lines here and there.”

 

 

IX: The van der Bergh’s Song

 

Mr. and Mrs. van der Bergh waited in anticipation for the afternoon when Adelé came by to play for them her song. They were newly wedded and were hoping that the song would help them in later times when they were busy, stressed, or forgetful to remember how lucky they were to have each other.

 

Adelé entered the house as the couple were sitting in their living room in this anticipation.

 

“Good afternoon,” said Adelé politely to Mr. and Mrs. van der Bergh.

 

“Good afternoon, Adelé,” said Mrs. van der Bergh.

 

“Yes, afternoon Adelé,” said Mr. van der Bergh. “Would you like some tea first, or to play first?”

 

Seeing how their faces longed for the song, Adelé said, “Play first, and then tea.”

 

Both husband and wife smiled happily at this choice and sat down on the sofa as Adelé prepared herself to play, when suddenly, upon looking at the music, her hands in mid-air, she stopped in horror.

 

Seeing that something was wrong, Mr. van der Bergh said, “What is wrong, Adelé?”

 

“Nothing,” said Adelé to both husband and wife with a little smile. “I just remembered, I was not going to use the music sheet at all in any case.” With a quick movement Adelé threw the paper out the window, as it sailed onto Higgles’s head below, as she had walked over just to hear how badly Adelé would play the piano.

 

“Urggh!” exclaimed Higgles’s voice outside the window to the surprise of Mr. and Mrs. van der Bergh.

 

“What was that?” asked Mr. van der Bergh.

 

“An alley cat,” said Adelé with a slight smile.

 

“With that sound?” asked Mrs. van der Bergh.

 

“Yes,” said Adelé, “and to get rid of such a nuisance, this will do.” Adelé had picked up some ink from a table near the piano pouring it outside the window.

 

“Ahhhh, uggg, urrrr,” came the sound from the window with silence once more afterwards.

 

Adelé walked back to the piano, readying herself for her practice. Now, thought Adelé to herself, I can do this, I remember it that much. With a brisk movement her fingers gently touched and sounded out the beautiful strings of the piano, its music filling the streets and homes of all of those in New Amsterdam, New Netherlands, and even the entire New World. It was a song of such beauty that not even the writer can write it with the same warmth or in any tongue made up my men and women, for it was a song truly from the locked heart and not the suspicious brain. A song of innocence from one who embodied it all with no thought as to her having it.

 

Tears were seen along the streets, even dogs and cats hugged in understanding that life was too precious to fight over being different. Rats got off the ships and finally bathed in the sun that had for so long been to them a mere dream or tall tale. The trees swayed gathering the sunny sky, which had before been cloudy with even its clouds dispersing from such angry notions as raining and causing to those below sadness.

 

Suddenly the music stopped, and Adelé looked to Mr. and Mrs. van der Bergh to see them crying. “I am sorry,” said Adelé.

 

“Why?” asked Mrs. van der Bergh.

 

“My song has made you sad.”

 

“No,” said Mrs. van der Bergh. “Only truly happy to be alive to hear such a sweet sound. It is a very miraculous gift you have Adelé, never let it go.”

 

“Yes,” said Mr. van der Bergh. “You have a true gift. Thank you for such a song, it was more than what we asked for and we are truly happy that you have made it for us.”

 

“Your welcome,” said Adelé in her usual innocent manner.

 

“Your parents are blessed with such a child,” said Mrs. van der Bergh. “Now, you better go back home, and try to write that song down so you do not forget about it.”

 

As Adelé got off of the chair, she said, “You need not worry about that, it is in my special place since it is loved by you who are special to me.”

 

“That’s a good girl,” said Mr. van der Bergh. “Now, run along home.”

 

Adelé left as Mr. van der Bergh said to his wife, “I love you.”

 

She in turned smiled and said, “And I of you.”

 

 

X: Naughty Adelé

 

However, Adelé would soon learn that thanks were not what she was to receive at home. The scene before her was more horrid than anything she could have imagined. Before her was Higgles, happy and giddy, nothing wrong with her blond curls, but with some ink on her pink dress. Mr. Jan van Soothsbay was also fine, but with some black ink on his white shirt, but the worst was Sarie her hair stained, along with her dress and the skin on her face. Higgles had won after all.

 

“There you are,” said Sarie angrily. “Where were you at?”

 

“Playing a song for Mr. and Mrs. van der Bergh next door.”

 

“This song?” asked Higgles as she showed the music that she had distorted.

 

“No,” said Adelé. “Someone tampered with that.”

 

“I do not rightly care young lady,” said Jan. “I will not raise any naughty children in this house who throw music sheets and ink out windows on people’s heads! People around the neighborhood will not be pleased at all by such a thing. What if you had hit the governor with that, or even Mr. Stuyvestant. You must act better, or you will be taught the hard way how not to act naughty.”

 

“But Higgles changed the music on my sheet!” exclaimed Adelé.

 

“It doesn’t matter,” said Sarie. “We heard your song, the most disgusting I have ever heard. If Higgles did change it then you should have accepted it for she was only doing it as a favor to you since it was so bad. Now, Adelé, you go into your room and think about what you have done to my hair.”

 

“You are so hypocritical!” exclaimed Adelé.

 

“You mean hippoplitical,” said Higgles with a smile, thinking she was right over Adelé.

 

“You are so stupid, that is not even a word,” yelled Adelé at Higgles.

 

“That is far enough, Adelé,” said Jan. “Up to your room now young lady, and no dinner for you.”

 

Angrily Adelé ran up the stairs as Higgles smiled to herself.

 

“What does hippoplitical, or hypocritical mean?” asked Sarie.

 

“It means we are all fat hippos and not her,” said Higgles with a broad smile at how smart she was.

 

“I really cannot stand that child,” said Sarie.

 

“What?” asked Jan who was not listening to them at all.

 

“She called us fat hippos,” said Sarie with a tear coming from her eyes.

 

“Oh, Sarie dear,” said Jan. “Do not cry, I will straighten Adelé up, or it is off to Uncle Pieter’s wilderness she goes.”

 

Yes, thought Higgles to herself. No more Adelé ever again then, and it will be like it was before she came, just us.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

When Mary had returned to the van Soothsbay home, she cursed herself for staying out so long. She had strayed yet again into Mr. Pickles, a man who at first was very friendly to her, but was getting continually colder and colder. She did not understand, especially on that day when he passed her by with only a shy hello and continued to walk on. They said that he was a bachelor, but that he was aiming to marry Miss Flora Wilson, the sister of Carina Wilson, and another problem to the parents. With these thoughts she entered the house to learn of Adelé’s plight. Being the caretaker of the child since birth, Mary quietly and quickly went up to Adelé’s room to see how she was.

 

Mary felt sad as she saw Adelé on her bed crying to herself. Mary went to the bed and stroked her head. Adelé was surprised to see her, but gave her a big hug.

 

“My goodness,” said Mary. “All of this for little me?”

 

“Yes, and more if you want it,” said Adelé as she gave Mary a kiss on the cheek.

 

“Oh, you are a little angel,” said Mary. “It is only sad that your parents do not realize that yet.”

 

“It doesn’t matter, Mary,” said Adelé. “I have you, and that is all that matters.”

 

“I must be at the dinner table in my usual job, but I got you a little something,” said Mary as she gave Adelé some bread and cake.

 

“Thank you Mary,” said Adelé. “However, you do not look too happy. What is it?”

 

“Well,” said Mary. “It’s Mr. Pickles. He has passed me today coldly, and I do not know why. Perhaps he no longer likes my friendship or hates me?”

 

“How do you know unless you ask him?” asked Adelé.

 

“Hmmm, it is not right for a maid to ask that of a gentleman.”

 

“I do not like these classes, a maid lower than a gentleman so that she cannot be his friend. It is wrong, why is it so?”

 

“I do not know, Adelé, maybe because people like to count the little things when the bigger things are really what count. We are all the same, it is just that people like to feel unique by hurting others sometimes, and making that shown always, that is all.”

 

“I do not like it. I think it would be wonderful if you and Mr. Pickles got married.”

 

“Ahhhh!” exclaimed Mary silently. “Mr. Pickles and me? Ha, ha, ha,” she laughed, but the thought had always been in her mind. “Adelé yes it would be very nice, me as Cinderella, he as my prince, but it could never be. He is more than likely going to marry Miss Flora Wilson. They will make a fitting match.”

 

“I think Flora Wilson is the ugliest thing in the world.”

 

“Oh, Adelé, do not talk like that. It is wrong, you are being just as bad as them.”

 

“Yes, Mary.”

 

“Now, I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”

 

“Good night, Mary.”

 

“Good night, Adelé.”

 

With this Mary left Adelé to sleep as the talk of before stood in her mind, and she as Cinderella with Pickles her prince.

 

 

XI: Higgles Giggles Pudding and Pie

 

The next day Mary again was walking in the market, when suddenly she noticed Mr. Pickles was besides her. Sensing she ought to say something, but unable to she just said, “Good morning, Mr. Pickles.”

 

Mr. Pickles looked her in the eyes and said coldly, “Good morning, Mary.”

 

As he walked away, Mary ran to him, “I am very sorry, but I feel I have done onto your great self an error of the most horrible kind, and I am very sorry for that.”

 

Pickles looked into her eyes and said truthfully, “You have done no error great Mary, it is I who have done the horrible error, but soon I will rectify it, do not worry.”

 

“I do not understand, Mr. Pickles?” asked Mary.

 

“Mary, let’s talk in the church,” said Mr. Pickles hurriedly as they walked to that area. The church was cold and drafty, in its front stood a picture of Jesus, the savior to those of Christian religions. “Mary,” said Mr. Pickles. “Of late I have acted very coldly to you, and I am sorry for this. There is a very big reason for this. I have found that I, a gentleman, have been very wrong, and would like you, a maid, to be my wife.”

 

“What!!!!!!” exclaimed Mary.

 

“Must you always say that?” asked Pickles.

 

“But, I am a maid.”

 

“I know, but I will ask van Soothsbay to grant me such a favor and you will be one hundred times richer than anyone on this island. Just say yes Mary, and it will all be yours.”

 

“But…”

 

“Why say but, Mary, we feel the same about each other, all we need to do now is make it formal.”

 

Mary smiled a broad smile and said, “Yes.”

 

“Good,” said Pickles. “I will talk to them about it this afternoon. Continue with your shopping, Mary dear.”

 

With that Pickles left Mary surprised, but she left happy. As she walked out of the church, though, she noticed on the street a little commotion with children around. Coming closer, she noticed it was Higgles! She was harming the boys of town, with kisses! The girls beside her all began to sing aloud:

 

Higgles Giggles, pudding and pie,

Kiss the boys and make them cry,

When the Girls come out to play,

Higgles Giggles shows them the way!

 

The poor boy, Walter, the son of Colonel von Struppel, was crying for help from anyone. Mary pushed the girls out of the way and looked to Higgles who was frightened for the first time in her life.

 

“Miss Higgles,” said Mary. “What are you doing?”

 

“Leave me alone you stupid maid,” said Higgles pushing Mary to the ground. Adelé, who was passing by, saw this and ran to the crowd. With all of her might, Adelé pushed Higgles down to the ground into the mud. “Ahhh!” screamed Higgles that her dress was all in mud.

 

“Thank you,” said Walter to Adelé.

 

“No problem,” said Adelé as her ear was grabbed a hold of by a pair of bony fingers. All the children ran away as Adelé looked to the person holding her ear, Mrs. Whippet, the most horrible woman in New Amsterdam, nay, the world! She was more like a witch-like skeleton, her body practically bones. She taught the local school, where the crowd had been at unfortunately, and particularly hated little girls.

 

“We like to push, do we not?” asked Mrs. Whippet. “Well then, little Adelé van Soothsbay, let me help you with your push home to be punished thoroughly by your parents young lady.”

 

“Mrs. Whippet,” said Mary after standing up. “This girl in the mud pushed me first, Adelé only pushed her back.”

 

“So what?” asked Mrs. Whippet. “You are a mere maid, for all I care it is your job to be pushed around in any case, so why should that be any different.” Looking to Adelé, she said, “Now, you spoiled little brat, it is time for you to suffer.”

 

Dragging Adelé by the ear, Mrs. Whippet took her to the van Soothsbay home, with Mary following behind, trying to stop Mrs. Whippet, who only pushed Mary onto the ground. Higgles followed behind ready to give her full story, and behind her the entire town.

 

The doorbell to the van Soothsbay home rang loudly, as the butler opened the door surprised at such a view. “How may I help you, Mrs. Whippet?” asked the butler.

 

“I have to talk to Mr. and Mrs. van Soothsbay about this disorderly child.”

 

“Indeed,” said the butler quite concerned. “Right now?”

 

“Of course, you fool, and I will wait if need be until I do see them.”

 

“Yes, madam,” said the butler. “Please enter.”

 

Mrs. Whippet rushed in through the door to see in the living room Pickles, and Mr. and Mrs. van Soothsbay talking together. Seeing Mary’s muddy face Pickles stood up alarmed as his teacup broke onto the ground.

 

“Mr. Pickles!” exclaimed Sarie at her broken china.

 

“What is wrong Mrs. Whippet?” asked Jan concerned.

 

“This child of yours, Mr. van Soothsbay, pushed her sister down to the ground in front of the school.”

 

Jan looked to Adelé angrily, especially by the crowd. “Mr. van Soothsbay,” said Mary.

 

“Not now Mary,” said Mr. van Soothsbay. “I am tired of you Adelé. I wanted to be nice to you, give you a chance, but you have failed me and my patience. Now, I am forced to send you to your Uncle Pieter to straighten you up. Mary shall go with you, or to go on to some other service. You, Mary, are no longer to be a paid servant of mine.”

 

“Do you mean that?” asked Pickles in such a happy manner that it seemed too happy to everyone there.

 

“Yes,” said Jan. “Why, do you want her?”

 

“Yes,” said Pickles. Walking over to Mary, he said to her, “Will you be my wife?”

 

To this half of the ladies in town fainted in the streets outside. “Yes,” said Mary happily. Onto her finger he slipped a ring, and looked into the surprised face of Mrs. Whippet. “Now, crone, look up to my future wife.” To Mr. and Mrs. van Soothsbay, he said, “That is all I came for today. Believe me when I say that never again will I want to be in this horrible house ever again.” To Mary he said, “Quickly put your things together and Adelé’s, we shall travel to see Pieter.”

 

Mary left upstairs, as Jan asked of Pickles, “I do not understand Pickles?”

 

“Mary and I will take Adelé to Pieter, you do not need to worry about that cost. Just remember this, enjoy the future you are making for yourselves.” To the people outside he said, “Goodbye good people of New Amsterdam, go about to your work and do not stay for the show any more for it is over.”

 

The people left with many females disappointed at losing the Pickles fortune, even Pickles’s maid. Soon they were ready to leave as Jan and Sarie sat still surprised, Higgles trying to get their attention but they were insensible to her. Mrs. Whippet still held Adelé’s ear in her hand. “Is she not getting a more severe reprimand?” asked Mrs. Whippet.

 

“Uncle Pieter’s place is severe enough, Mrs. Whippet, in the Catskill Mountains. So be happy that yet again you have made an innocent’s life miserable.”

 

Pickles picked up Adelé’s trunks, as Mrs. Whippet let go of her grip and Mary took Adelé’s hand. “Goodbye,” said Adelé to her parents and Higgles, and yet she felt no real loss as she left the house, for she felt her affections were at most for Mary, the only one who ever truly cared for her.

 

Pickles, Mary, and Adelé left the house of the van Soothsbays for the time being, but when they would return many years would have passed by, along with many outstanding changes.

 

 

XII: Uncle Pieter Fritter

 

For what seemed like days they rode from New Amsterdam to the Catskill Mountains, the place of Uncle Pieter Fritter. Adelé was astonished by all that was around her – forest, upon forest, upon forest. In this forest there lurked Indians, some rumored to be friend, other foe, other respectable, but most savages and cannibals. Adelé had never met an Indian before, but just the word Indian put fear into her heart to say it, as brave as she might be.

 

Adelé wondered who Uncle Pieter might be. She had heard that they were relations, but she did not know much about him, just that he was supposed to be cruel and mean. Across from Adelé sat Mr. and Mrs. Pickles. Before they had left on the trip Mary and Pickles had been married, despite the social waiting of the time, but that had not mattered to them since marrying a maid was not a good thing socially either. They seemed happily consumed in themselves, but that did not mean that Mary was not worried about what would happen to Adelé. Mary looked to her from time to time and could see that she was worried.

 

“Who is Uncle Pieter?” asked Adelé.

 

“He is your father’s, father’s half brother,” said Mary truthfully.

 

“Why does he live all the way up here?”

 

“He trades with the Indians furs, beads, and other items. They say he makes a good living.”

 

“Indians?” asked Adelé surprised and scared.

 

“Yes,” said Mary. “He is friends with the Iroquois, who form the Five Nations, a council with the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, and Seneca. He does not like your father nor others from New Amsterdam much. The last time I saw him was before Higgles was born, and your parents made a trip to see him. Drunk, and angry, he yelled and screamed at them such horrible names they decided to never come back, and he never wanted them to come back. You see, your father’s father and Pieter were always at odds with each other and never got along. Pieter felt the same about your father and his kind ways. He is known to be miserly, so just be careful Adelé about what you say or do around him.”

 

With this the conversation ended, but Adelé wondered why Uncle Pieter hated his brother and her father so much enough to cast them away from him. She thought Uncle Pieter must be a horrible beast with red eyes, green teeth, white hair in odd places, and shriveled skin with veins and arteries to be seen on his face, hands, and neck. She felt a cold shiver go down her spine in the thought of him and had a sudden urge to return home and not be there at all. However, Adelé understood that was her fate and nothing could change that.

 

Adelé wondered how long she would be there- a day, a month, six months, or a year? What if her family forgot about her all together, her slaving away with Uncle Pieter to bring home the skins, to shoot Indians who wanted to hurt them, since it was documented in stories in the newspaper that these people were capable of such things.

 

What if the Indians captured her? Would she be forced into their way of life, or even to be the wife of the chief? Adelé began to feel sick at such a notion. She was only eight years old, she was too young to have such a horrible fate as to be married. Adelé had never thought much about marriage before, but now she put an end to those thoughts and decided she would rather die in a blaze of glory killing as many assaulters as possible than to live her life in such a fate with no one caring what happened to her at all.

 

The sky became darker and the air thicker with fog. Adelé could only see the shadows of trees and the shadows made by the mind when scared. She could not even trust her reality since she was now in a place where that was no longer the same.

 

Suddenly a shot rang out in the air and the carriage passed along violently. Adelé looked outside to see that the driver had fallen onto the ground and the carriage was moving along with no one to control it!

 

“What is happening?” asked Mary frightened.

 

“The driver fell to the ground,” said Adelé.

 

“Let me grab a hold of the carriage,” said Pickles.

 

“No!” exclaimed Mary.

 

“Do not worry, Mary,” said Pickles calmly. “If we are to live, I must take the reigns.”

 

Mary nodded her head in agreement as Pickles opened the door, but unfortunately, as he did, the carriage hit a bump in the road, causing Pickles to fall onto the ground as well.

 

“Peter!” exclaimed Mary, which was Mr. Pickles’s first name.

 

Again the carriage hit a bump in the rode, however this time it caused the carriage to turn over and Mary to bump her head unconscious. Adelé, who had been holding onto her carriage door, was lucky since the carriage had fallen on the side opposite to where she was sitting. She was hanging in the air as her little arms tried to support her weight.

 

“Mary?” asked Adelé, but Mary was still unconscious.

 

Seeing that there was a need to get help, Adelé climbed out through the carriage door window onto the carriage itself into the dark, misty air. Adelé walked off the carriage onto the ground calling out for help, but only hearing her voice in return. No one was near, and Adelé felt all alone once again in her life. Behind her to the forest she heard a howling noise – it was a wolf. Adelé became scared and tried to get on again on the carriage, but it was hard to do so. However, as she tried she did not notice that on the road behind her a figure moved closer and closer to her, a knife in his left hand and a musket in his right.

 

 

XIII: Prince Issac Raspereski

 

Eight years had passed since Adelé had left the home of the van Soothsbay’s to go to the Catskill Mountains to live with Uncle Fritter. No one knew exactly what had happened to Adelé, Mary, Mr. Pickles, nor of their carriage driver, and yet no one really cared, especially not Mr. Jan van Soothsbay. When asked by curious others in the district about his daughter or the others, Jan simply replied coldly, “Who cares?” Whereas, when Mrs. van Soothsbay was asked, the answer of, “What about Higgles? Is she not the most adorable woman in the world?” would be given, and the thought was gone.

 

After a time everyone began to forget about the four, but rumors soon spread as with anything that is not known nor understood. They would say that Jan had paid a group of Indians to massacre the lot as revenge on his reputation lost by three of the four, with the carriage driver a sad but needed victim in Jan’s need. Others said that Adelé had killed the others, fled to a forest and lived with a witch there playing piano to her, a talent that they said was too good to have been natural but given to her by the devil. Others said that Sarie, in a need to get rid of the more intellectual and brilliant Adelé in order for Higgles to have a chance, paid off Uncle Pieter to have them all killed. However, none of the reasons were found out to be true or false, so they could only speculate about such things.

 

However, everyone was involved with Higgles. She was nineteen now, beautiful, youthful, spirited, and, of course, still as horrible and rotten as before. She teased the boys with kisses now rather than forcing them onto the boys. She used her beauty to further her status with those around her, getting them all to be her dice and she the one who rolled them. Everyone seemed to like her, and yet they never knew why they did. Perhaps it was because she looked so much like an angel that they thought that she could not possibly ever be anything not like that in her mind. However, with that they were very wrong.

 

Higgles had spent already two years trying to find herself a husband, for that is what respectable women at her age did, but she was having many problems. For Higgles the right man had to be rich, energetic, witty, rich, rich, and rich. She did not mind having someone who was ordinary, or boring, but he had to be someone whom she could rule over and always have her way with. Rich old men were easy for a young beauty like Higgles to handle, but she thought that would be too boring. She wanted a man who was exciting, that man was Prince Isaac Raspereski.

 

It was an ordinary party at the governor’s mansion that evening as Higgles, as always, was the head of the ball with her card full on names as familiar as being alive. However, that fateful evening in the year of 1658 a new person had come to town just the day before to no one’s knowledge. Higgles, like everyone, was amazed by the looks of Prince Raspereski, for he had jet black hair which clung neatly to his forehead, handsome dark brown eyes, and stood at a tall height for the times and by his looks was physically fit. As he walked through the room rumors of him spread so fast that everything was known about him as he passed from person to person. He was a Polish prince, he was wealthy, and had come to the New World for a wife and adventure. The women and girls in the room giggled and readied themselves for his presence, while the men and boys were either jealous, not caring, or sensed that it was the perfect time for a drink or two as their wives would not be boring them constantly with their constant nagging.

 

Soon, Isaac reached Higgles, who gave her best smile for the man, but it was not contrived. She actually felt for this adventurer a want to travel to unknown destinations, that her pampered life with her parents was boring enough and that getting her way with the same people was at it limit.

 

Isaac gently kissed her hand and said, “Dear Higgles von Soothsbay, I presume?”

 

“Why yes,” said Higgles in her feminine charm, “and you are?”

 

Isaac smiled as he said, “Why, Prince Isaac Raspereski, of Polish descent, at your service.”

 

“Well,” said Higgles looking to her dancing card. “It is only sad that I have no room to dance with you tonight.”

 

With a step closer to Higgles, beyond the convention at the time, Isaac whispered in her ear, “Who needs cards when I see in your eyes you are mine?”

 

Higgles blushed, but who blushed more was Sarie, and even more than her Jan. Jan rushed over to Higgles and said to the Prince, “Good evening Prince Raspereski, we have all heard of your titles.”

 

“I see,” said the Prince stepping back away from Higgles, but the damage had been done and Higgles was smitten. “I have heard of them a well, is that not a coincidence.”

 

“It is only too bad that Higgles’s card is full this evening,” said Jan happily without showing it. “I suppose that you will dance with the other ladies.”

 

Throwing her card to the floor, Higgles said to Isaac, “I am free now.”

 

“Higgles!” exclaimed Jan.

 

“Let’s dance,” said Prince Raspereski taking Higgles to the floor as Jan and Sarie looked in despair. Then suddenly, as if by magic, the music began to play as Higgles and Raspereski danced upon the floor, their movements intricate like that of the music. To Higgles it seemed as if they were only there and no one else, but she was right to a degree because no one had dared to go onto the dance floor yet, perplexed by all that had happened so far.

 

Higgles began to feel dizzy as the room turned round and round and only before her in the changing world that was still there was Isaac. His smile showed pearly white teeth, a rarity in the World. Higgles smiled and let her conventions go as she danced and then suddenly they stopped, but looking around she saw that now others were also dancing as they had been. Looking deep into Higgles eyes Prince Isaac said, “Will you do me the favor of accompanying me to the West?”

 

“The West, when?” asked Higgles alarmed.

 

“Tomorrow night?” asked Prince Isaac, his eyes blazing, but this moment was over soon enough.

 

Jan walked over to the two, taking Higgles by the arm and saying to the Prince, “I am sorry Prince Raspereski, but my daughter is feeling very fatigued at the moment. She must be going now. Thank you very much for your concern, but we must go.”

 

“But father, I feel fine,” said Higgles.

 

“We are going now,” said Jan in such an authoritative tone that Higgles felt threatened for the first time in her life.

 

“It is all right, Miss von Soothsbay,” said Isaac as he kissed Higgles’s hand good night. Looking into her eyes he said, “Until we meet again.”

 

Jan then took Higgles away from where Prince Isaac was as he looked on at her and she at him. Jan, Sarie, and Higgles then left as the dance continued and Prince Isaac stood constant on the dance floor.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

When they returned home, Jan was furious with Higgles.

 

“Higgles von Soothsbay, I cannot believe you acted in such a manner with such a man,” said Jan.

 

“I did nothing wrong,” said Higgles unsure of what was Jan’s problem.

 

“Nothing wrong?” asked Jan perplexed. “You defied me in front of everyone by dancing with that man, and you even enjoyed dancing with him!”

 

“But father…” started Higgles in her sweet tone that usually calmed Jan down, but this would not be.

 

“Do not, ‘but father,’ with me Higgles, you have acted abominably. You go to your room right now young lady for acting so bad. I cannot believe that you acted in such a way.”

 

“But father I love Prince Isaac, and he wants to marry me and take me off to…”

 

“That is quite enough Higgles,” said Sarie in a harsh tone. “I have taught you well that you must look for the money and see it first, there is no such thing as love when you want to be the richest girl in New Netherlands. Of course later on you can marry for love, but for right now you must marry only for money. With an old man you can get rich quick and within a year he will be dead, and your looks will still be there.”

 

“But I do not want an old man,” said Higgles sadly. “I want Prince Isaac.”

 

“This has gone far enough,” yelled out Jan at Higgles. “Off to your room, never to see Prince Isaac ever again or you will finally, the first time in your life, feel the terror of my wrath!”

 

Scared, Higgles ran into her room sobbing as Sarie looked to Jan in a worried face. “Perhaps you should not have been so mean to her, Jan.”

 

“What do you mean?” asked Jan coldly.

 

“I mean you may have caused her not to want to be here, only to run away to that ruffian. You know as well as I do what kind of man Prince Isaac is, but she does not. We must get her to understand what that is exactly.”

 

“That is what I am doing, protecting my daughter,” said Jan angrily at Sarie. “She is to stay in her room until that man is out of this city, even if I have to bury him in a grave alive to make sure that he never comes back, I will before he bothers us again.”

 

“But…”

 

“No, Sarie, this time my word is final. I will not be humiliated ever again, I suffered enough with Adelé, I will not have the same fate with the only daughter I have left.”

 

With this the conversation was ended as Jan and Sarie went upstairs to bed, but little did they know how soon Sarie’s fears would be realized.

 

 

XIV: Higgles Gone!

 

After Jan and Sarie went to sleep, and the light in their room finally was turned off Prince Raspereski smiled to himself as he stood next to Gregory, the butler for the van Soothsbays. Raspereski and the butler had known each other before a long time ago, but as to what that relationship was no one could guess and its revelation shall be given later on to the dutiful reader of this book.

 

The two whispered to each other beneath a maple tree as the warm night wind blew in their faces, moving the whispers away from them outwards towards the north.

 

“So, you are sure of the matter at hand,” said Raspereski to Gregory. “That is the argument that they had, and that was her response?”

 

“Yes,” said Gregory with a tone of being annoyed. “Must you repeat such things always?”

 

Quickly Raspereski hit Gregory over the face with his hand bringing Gregory down to the ground. “The need for repeating such things is my business, not your worry butler.”

 

“Perhaps they in the house would like to know of what you plan?” asked Gregory with a sneer in his tone. “Perhaps I will do that if you do not show me more respect.”

 

“And perhaps I will beat you senseless so that the little brain you do have is gone once I am finished with you.”

 

Gregory was about to talk, but realizing that Raspereski was a man to his word, he decided to be quiet as he stood up. Smiling sweetly he said, “I suppose more information for you will not be too bad for me.”

 

“Yes,” said Raspereski with a cold smile. “However, the parents are, by the sound of that horrible snoring, probably asleep. Now, I will whisk myself within this girl’s room and cause trouble for all.”

 

Raspereski, with his flowing cape of purple velvet pushing against the warm wind, walked over to the kitchen door of the van Soothsbay’s home as Gregory looked on with a lack of caring, as well as to a degree a wicked smile of revenge on his lips.

 

Raspereski crept into the house, his leather boots quietly touching the floor as if he knew about where all the creaks in the floor were, and the necessity of not touching them. Actually, he had even gained this information from Gregory just in case because knowing Gregory there was always a lack of trust that must be taken. Raspereski tried to dash the thoughts of Gregory and his trust out of his mind as his heart yearned only to find Higgles’ room.

 

He crept through the hallway, past the dining room, up the staircase, past Jan and Sarie’s room, and finally reach that of Higgles when a dog’s howl was heard from outside – Gregory was to have his revenge after all. Jan and Sarie stirred from inside of their room as Raspereski quickly fled into the doorway of another room.

 

Hearing Jan open the window from inside of his room, he heard him say, “Gregory, is that you?”

 

“Yes, Mr. van Soothsbay.”

 

“What are you making a racket for, man?”

 

“Why, Mr. van Soothsbay, it is to make a warning to be on the lookout for any characters tonight.”

 

“Any characters? What do you mean?”

 

“I mean, sir, that I, as your humble servant, will take watch, but if someone should happen to enter the house unsuspectingly I will catch them by howling like I just did.”

 

“Howling? Why not blow the man’s brains out?”

 

“Well, for a servant to do so of a gentleman might mean the dead of this servant sir, and what more honor for you sir if you did the killing, impressing all of New Amsterdam with your skills.”

 

Jan pondered on this; Gregory smiled as he saw this. “Well, I…um…you are entirely right, Gregory. Howl only when there is an intruder, or else your rations will be given to the dogs.”

 

“Yes, sir,” said Gregory happily.

 

Raspereski was in a tight spot, that he knew. Gregory happily waited outside for him to return with or without Higgles in his arms to howl like a crazy, drunk wolf for everyone in New Amsterdam to hear. If he passed by Gregory and Jan freely, then he would still need to deal with the others of the city who would not let him leave to his carriage in peace, even the police would take him to jail for stealing another man’s daughter against the father’s will. Raspereski did not think that this adventure would be so dangerous, nor so difficult. Yet, he would not leave without Higgles. Then, he thought up a wonderful plan.

 

Jan was sleeping beautifully as he heard the howl yet again.

 

“What is the matter?” asked Jan of Gregory. “Is he inside?”

 

“What do you mean, sir?” asked Gregory. “I did not howl at all.”

 

“Yes you did, I heard you howl you idiot!” exclaimed Jan. “Are you too stupid to understand that you were howling?”

 

“But sir, I did not do any howling.”

 

“That’s it Gregory, you go to your house this instant and no more howling out of you before I beat your brains in, even though you have so little anyway!” With a thud Jan slammed the window closed and went back to bed to sleep. However, again he heard the howling.

 

“What is going on?” asked Sarie who was now awake.

 

Angrily Jan went to the window to see that Gregory was indeed still outside, having just discovered that Raspereski was probably who made the howl he had been waiting for revenge the easy way. “Do not worry, Sarie,” said Jan. “I have a violent temper that has to be taken care of with Gregory’s head.”

 

Jan put on his bathrobe and left his room, closing the door behind him as he walked down the stairs to outside. He did not see Raspereski, who was waiting in the shadows, but once the flicker of his candlelight and sound of his feet were out of range, Raspereski slipped into Higgles’s room.

 

Higgles had been dreaming of Raspereski, of their dance, his adventurous spirit, and of course those eyes that stay and lingered on her as she had left, telling her more than a thousand words proclaiming love by anyone ever in her life. When she awoke to those eyes again in her face she felt as if she were still dreaming and she sighed.

 

“If only it was really you,” said Higgles aloud with a sigh.

 

“But it is,” said Raspereski with a beaming smile for Higgles. She was so shocked that she could not say anything as Raspereski put his long index finger to his mouth and whispered, “Shh.” Higgles listened to this, and seeing that she would be quiet, Raspereski said, “I wanted to talk to you to let you know for yourself that since the moment I laid my eyes upon you I loved you.”

 

“And I of you,” whispered Higgles.

 

Suddenly, from outside, they heard several loud howling noises as Jan said out loud, “Now, let’s see if you howl anymore with you head and brain permanently bruised, and off to your house with you.”

 

Raspereski smiled his gallant smile to Higgles, and then said, “I am here for one reason, to take you with me tonight.”

 

“Take me, where?” asked Higgles surprised.

 

“Out West, to a plot of land I have bought for myself there. I have already had a house built to epic proportions there, with servants caring for it until my coming there. All it needs is someone to share it with, Higgles, someone like you. Will you do me the great honor of being there with me? Will you come with me out west?”

 

“Well, I…um…I…”

 

“Higgles?” asked a voice outside of her door, it was Jan.

 

Quickly as the door swung wide open Raspereski hid under Higgles’ bed as she pretended to be sleeping. Jan walked into the room and looked to Higgles with a smile. Raspereski dared not to move as Jan was near the bed, though due to his tall height his legs stuck from out under Higgles’ bed, though not shown due to the darkness of the room.

 

Jan then sat on Higgles’s bed, crushing the right side of Raspereski’s face. Jan affectionately stroked Higgles’s hair and said to her, “You are the most beautiful girl in all New Netherlands, it is true, but more than that you are my daughter and I love you. I know you probably do not understand now why I act the way that I do, but I act this way only because I love you so. I only hope you will listen to me for once, for I know what is best for you, my little Higgles.” Jan then kissed her goodnight, and got off the bed leaving Raspereski with the right side of his face dark blue. Jan then closed the door to Higgles’s room, entering his own and went to sleep.

 

Raspereski quickly got out from under the bed and stood up to view Higgles whose eyes were open. His face close to her, Higgles frightened by the right side of his face dark blue, Raspereski whispered to her, “Let’s go. Quickly get ready my dear.”

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

Within half an hour Higgles and Raspereski were ready to leave the van Soothsbay home. Raspereski ecstatic as his face was still blue, but this time it was regular blue, not dark blue. Higgles, on the other hand, was happy to be with Raspereski but still felt as if there was something deeply missing, and that leaving her parents was not right to do though she did want the adventure that Raspereski was to give to her. Raspereski smiled to her, knowing that she was worried, but his smile made her feel sure of herself and no longer worried about the unknown future for the both of them.

 

Quietly they tiptoed down the hallway past the room of Jan and Sarie, who both had trains for noses as they snored heavily and loudly. Out of the hallway, the tiptoed down the stairs, past the dining room, but then Raspereski remembered that Gregory might be back waiting for him outside of the kitchen door. The only way to go out would be by the front door. So, Raspereski led Higgles to the front door, opening and closing it softly, and then the two walked quickly to Raspereski’s carriage, where an old man was waiting to drive it.

 

“Fredrick,” snapped Raspereski to the driver. “Now, move this carriage once we are inside slowly at first, then once we have reached the city limit drive as fast and as safe as possible.”

 

“Where to?”

 

“To Ohio, you idiot!” exclaimed Raspereski as he put Higgles into the carriage, closing the door softly as they went away quietly as Jan and Sarie dreamed horrible nightmares of being with a wild beast of an animal, unable to be tamed, and Gregory had in his hands a rifle, no longer being wise enough not to kill a gentleman like Raspereski, vengeful with every brain fiber left in his head.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

“This is an outrage!” exclaimed Jan to the others at his home the next day. Higgles was gone, Raspereski had vanished without a trace, and Gregory had been right on the need to look out. Nothing could have made Jan feel worse than that a servant had been right when he had been wrong. He even caused Gregory to be hit several times with a stick for his being right. Poor Gregory, being a servant definitely was not a place worth betting for.

 

However, a week passed as no sign still turned up of Higgles or of Raspereski. Poor Jan and Sarie, if only they could have prevented it! Higgles was probably his wife by now, and all of New Amsterdam was talking of the daughter who was worse than Carina or Flora Wilson combined, even worse than Adelé.

 

More and more people talked about how horrible Higgles was, and more and more they began to speak about how kind and useful Adelé had always been. Yes, Higgles was beautiful, but those were the problem children. Adelé had her smarts to herself, but at least she did not run off disgracing her family in such a way that an adult would understand was wrong, and Higgles was already nineteen years old, old enough to be considered as one.

 

The more and more people began to remember about Adelé, they began to remember about her disappearance, as well as that of Mr. Pickles and Mary, as well as the carriage driver, whose name was Ichadottle Reep (his mother was so confused about what to name him that she added the names Ichabob and Hettbottle, the names of his grandfathers, together).

 

As Jan was drinking tea one evening and reading the local paper in the living room as Sarie knitted something she would even call unrecognizable, they heard voices outside the front of the house talking to each other.

 

“Why yes,” said a woman’s voice of high-pitch and aristocratic. “This is the house where that little shameless girl ran away from.”

 

“No,” said a little girl’s voice.

 

“Yes, Miss Georgina. Yet, you only heard it from me, but that Miss Higgles was only bound to be that way in the end. Everyone said it behind their backs, if not up to their faces.”

 

“But why behind their backs?” asked Georgina.

 

“Why, silly goose, if you ask in their faces they will not like that at all. No need to be rude to one’s face, it is uncivilized.”

 

“It is more civilized to say it behind their backs?”

 

“Yes, all respectable people do it.”

 

“But is it not cowardly?”

 

“Listen, dear, no one wants to know if someone really likes them, only the thought that a person likes them. If they really wanted to know the truth either they would have worked for the police or gone mad. Besides, we are not Puritans, you know. With an attitude like that I might think that you had changed your religion.”

 

“No, Mrs. Jacoon.”

 

“Good, let’s go.”

 

“But what about the other daughter? What was her name?”

 

“Adelé, dear, the sweetest thing ever. I suppose if she came back at least some of their image will lose its tarnish, but of course they cannot.”

 

“Why not?”

 

“Why, she is dead.”

 

Jan gasped, “Dead?” asked Georgina.

 

“Why yes, died years ago, an Indian party captured her and did horrible things to her, as well as to Mr. Pickles and his maid Mary. It is too horrible even to think of child.”

 

“Oh, but do tell me Mrs. Jacoon,” said Georgina, her voice rising in anxiousness, “you are the best person for telling me such things. Was she scalped?”

 

Jan had heard enough, he rushed over to the window, looking down at the elderly lady and little girl below, saying roughly and uncaringly as he had ever said anything in his life, “I will give you wretches five seconds to move along before I…”

 

In a bolt, both the woman and little girl ran away as Sarie went over to Jan. “Jan,” she said warmly, but he could not be comforted.

 

“Oh all the things in the world. One daughter run off with a prince, another daughter made into another Indian legend, what next to be immortalized in town as the only man to be so tarnished and lose all my hair by fifty? What did I do wrong to gain this horrible fate?”

 

“Oh Jan,” started Sarie.

 

“Oh no, dear, it is hopeless. Nothing seems to be going right.”

 

“If only we had Adelé still, then at least things would seem better now, at least we could have saved some of our reputation,” said Sarie aloud with a sigh.

 

“It is not too late,” said Jan to Sarie who was perplexed.

 

“What do you want to do? Get another girl to pretend to be Adelé?”

 

“No, woman, get Adelé here.” Sarie was still perplexed, when Jan, seeing her face, said, “Adelé is still alive dear.”

 

“What?” asked Sarie concerned. “What about the note from Uncle Pieter saying that he found their carriage broken apart and no one on the carriage?”

 

“Oh, that,” said Jan with a smile. “You, as usual, did not listen to all of the letter dear.”

 

“But I proclaimed out loud, ‘oh good, she’s dead,’ as did Higgles.”

 

“Well, I thought you were referring to her being out of our lives forever. Did you not listen fully to that letter? Of course she is alive, being raised in Heaven knows which ways by Uncle Pieter. Of course, she is still with Pickles and Mary.”

 

“Pickles and Mary? What are they still doing there?”

 

“Opened up a business up there with Uncle Pieter, I hear they are very wealthy up there. I just do not understand what education they have there. I guess she will be all right since Mary has been there at least. She will be growing up well and healthy, as well as be suitable enough to live here with us for a while.”

 

“For a while!” exclaimed Sarie. “I was only joking about bringing back Adelé.”

 

“I wasn’t. I need my reputation back, Sarie, and Adelé has always been favored by the others, at least now by doing this we will gain back our reputation until Higgles comes back and that prince’s neck is wrung out.”

 

“And what about Adelé?”

 

“What about her?”

 

“What to do with her once Higgles comes back?”

 

“Why, Sarie, we send her back to Uncle Pieter, maybe he can marry her off to a good old Indian chief who loves the sound of her atrocious music, that is what.”

 

“Yes, Jan, you are absolutely right. Why keep her here, when we only need her for that little part, and then we can finally rid ourselves of her forever and be with Higgles again…”

 

“Never letting Higgles out of our sights, of course.”

 

“Yes, never again, she is too precious to us now, never again.”

 

“Yes, but at least we have Adelé to help us in gaining her back.”

 

“Yes, Adelé.”

 

 

XV. Tomadelé

 

At once a note was dispatched from Jan to Uncle Pieter Fritter in the Catskill Mountains. It detailed the following.

 

Uncle Pieter,

I know that we have not talked for that long of a time at all. However, eight years ago I left into your care my beloved daughter, Adelé, in order that you might make her into an inspirational and mature youth. Now that she is at the age of sixteen I feel that I must take her out of your hands and make her a part of the society that still reigns here in New Amsterdam, her home. I, and Sarie, feel that this is the most appropriate time for her to get into society that she might wed an exceptional young man, and further her own fortunes in such a way. Please send our beloved daughter at once, for life without her has lost its pride and joy for so many years as we await readily her return to our hearts, making them complete once again.

Her father, your nephew,

Jan van Soothsbay

 

Jan and Sarie laughed with glee at the letter, sure that no one would notice the real intentions of their need for Adelé.

 

“It will be perfect,” said Sarie with a short laugh. “They will end Adelé down her by carriage, then we will take care of the rest. She will not be able to leave since we will have the money, as well as her reputation to discard if she does want to leave once hearing about the running away of Higgles.”

 

“Besides,” said Jan wickedly to Sarie. “She was never that smart at all. She will never guess that while Higgles is gone that she is merely a replacement for the time being.”

 

“Oh Jan,” said Sarie, her golden hair now a faded yellow like that of wheat. It was true that her former beauty had been long gone, but now she was merely worse, an old like crone, with Jan looking just the same with shorter hair. Age had definitely set in, with the cruelty of both showing obviously in their faces. “It is perfect.”

 

“Yes,” said Jan. “Perfect.”

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

As the days passed by Jan and Sarie waited for the arrival of Adelé. They prepared their house for the arrival, with Adelé’s room fitted with bars on its windows, just in case, and her room was next to that of Jan and Sarie, so that they could hear everything that went on I her room. However, they received a letter a week and a half later from Uncle Pieter Fritter.

 

Jan and Sarie looked to the letter interestingly. Why had Uncle Pieter sent it? Jan ripped open the letter and read the following.

 

To Jan van Soothsbay, the arrogant

I have read your letter, with some difficulty as to trying to ascertain who taught you to write and it full of more humor than the time when you were a baby and you accidentally ate the dirt on the lawn thinking it was candy (thought I forgot, hey?). I would have advised you against such a thing, I advised Adelé against going, but she wants to come all the same. So, I have written this letter to let you know that I, the illustrious Pieter Appleton Fritter, will be coming along too to ensure her a safe journey, and for you to stock in your house two months’ worth of rum, whisky, potatoes, and meat (I mean real meat like cow, no opossum like you fooled me with last time), for my one month visit (you know I like my food), or else I can demote your status in New Amsterdam to that of mere black stains on high society, understand?). We will be there by the 25 June, if not earlier, so beware and be ready.

Oh, love (huh, huh)

Pieter Fritter

 

Jan was furious at the letter, so furious that he did not let Sarie read its contents. “What is the date today?” asked Jan of Sarie.

 

“Why, the 23rd of June, why do you ask?” asked Sarie as Jan’s face looked in horror.

 

“Where the devil is the person who delivered the mail?” asked Jan as he went to the front door, opening it to see the mail deliverer wanting to be paid for his work. Looking to Jan’s face, the man was about to leave when Jan exclaimed, “What took so long for this letter to come here?”

 

“Storm along the way,” said the mail deliverer stunned at Jan’s anger. “Carriage almost washed into the Hudson River, the driver was very lucky.”

 

“Who was the driver?”

 

“Herbe Grench,” said the man still stunned.

 

“Well, you tell old Herbe Grench that he was lucky enough to survive the storm, but to watch out for he will not survive my wrath!” With a jolt the man left as Jan slammed the door. The butler Gregory stood near the door, hoping to escape Jan’s wrath, when Jan said, “Gregory, go to the market with the cook, get as much liquor and food that you can. Do it now Gregory, as quickly as possible, then the cook must be ready with that food for a feast as soon as I command for it.”

 

Within a few seconds Gregory had left, happy to be out of danger and finally go outside on the summer day. Sarie looked to Jan perplexed as he sat down on a chair in the living room. “What was that all about? You say nothing to me anymore?”

 

“Pieter will be here within two days’ time, with Adelé.”

 

“Pieter?” asked Sarie also slumping into a chair. “That changes everything. With him around our reputation will never be up again, even with two hundred Adelés. We should just not have them come at all.”

 

“Not have them come? They will be here in two days’ time, Sarie. Pieter is no fool, he knows what we are up to. We must just give him food and be as kind as possible, I do not know what to do.”

 

“What if we had someone wait along the road to tell them not to come?”

 

“Sarie, do not act stupid. He’ll find another way of coming, he always finds out a way to make everything turn out good for him.”

 

“Then we can kill him.”

 

“Kill him?” asked Jan concerned. “Why talk in such a way?” Jan stood up and walked around to see if anyone was near or listening, but there was no one, and then he walked back over to the living room to talk to Sarie.

 

“The food, Jan. You know as well as I do that Pieter loves to eat. So, we will simply poison him, to the benefit of us. Call it old age, I mean no one would suspect it, besides the apothecary has certain drugs that seem to act the same way.”

 

Jan thought on the matter, and the more he thought on it the more he liked it. “Yes, Sarie,” said Jan with a smile. “You are a very smart woman, I am just glad I have always treated you good.”

 

Sarie gave an evil smile back, “I know I am.”

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

It was soon the 27th of June, and Sarie and Jan waited patiently as the sun dawned upon New Amsterdam. They had prepared the rooms and food was ready since the 23rd, but no one showed, nor was their news of a carriage ahead from anyone. Then came the 24th, 25th, and the 26th, each with its waiting and concern. Sarie constantly complained about the wasting of the fresh food needed to be brought in everyday, but it seemed that nothing could change the waiting so Sarie complained in vain.

 

Jan was starting to talk to himself lately, telling himself that Pieter was making him wait, had used it as an excuse, that no one was coming. Jan would pace the entire living room for the day, edging to the window if he heard a carriage coming towards the house, but only to see it pass by or stop with visitors to their house, but Sarie would politely entertain the visitors as Jan would pace in the dining room, to the concern of the visitors.

 

On this morning, Sarie awoke to hear pacing downstairs. She saw that she was alone in her bed, Jan had obviously not been to bed since his side was not slept in. Getting out of bed and going downstairs to the living room she saw Jan, his hair is disarray as if he were a wild man, mumbling to himself again.

 

“Jan, it is just sun rise,” said Sarie concerned. “Did you sleep down here last night?”

 

“Sleep!” exclaimed Jan with an evil laugh. “She asks if I was sleeping, of course I did not sleep.” Then, Jan said in Sarie’s voice, “But why Jan when I slept so well?” Returning to his voice, he said, “Because I am waiting for him.” Again in Sarie’s voice, “Waiting for who dearest?” In his own voice, “Who? You foolish woman, Uncle Pieter. He did it on purpose, he is going to make me wait, throw me off guard, but oh no he won’t. He doesn’t know that I know that he would do exactly what he has done. You see he knows that I would naturally be sleeping and thinking that he is not coming, cunning as he is, but he does not know that I know that he would know I would do such a thing. You see, it is extreme logic, Sarie. If I do what he does not think I would do then he will not know that I am doing it and I will throw him completely off guard!” Again he laughed with an evil screech, “Yes, Uncle Pieter is cunning, but I am more cunning.”

 

“I do not understand one thing you are talking about,” said Sarie looking perplexed.

 

“You do not understand anything. I knew he would do this, he likes to make me crazy, he likes to make everyone crazy, even the very ground he stands on. He did it to my father, you know. All about that intellectual part of him, I cannot understand it. He doesn’t act normal, he doesn’t even look normal, let alone talk like a normal person. You know what he does sometimes, you can be talking to him about balls and ballets, and he goes on and talks to you about properly decapitating someone. Can you believe that? How many times my mother fainted in his presence? Then he would give a high, bellow for laughter, and act as if he were somehow better than us, though he said that he would not even have to think in that way because naturally it was already there.”

 

“The audacity of him,” said Sarie as she looked on what Jan said in horror.

 

“Yes, the audacity of him. Uncle Pieter Appleton Fritter, I wonder why his mother, Ingrid Popreun, had to re-marry to Captain Hendrik Fritter. It could have saved us some embarrassment at least. A member of our family living in friendship with those savages up North, it is an outrage, and now he will come here in his mountain furs, swarthy skin, and dirty language and manners to drive our name to the ground. Whatever happened to respectability? I do not understand the world these days, I just do not understand it.”

 

“Oh Jan, it will not be too bad,” said Sarie.

 

“Ha, ha, ha,” laughed Jan in a wild-like manner. “Not too bad, do you know what happened with him the last time he came to our house? My father said Pieter had enough to drink, but of course Pieter wanted more to drink. He ran out of the house, shouting in the street such profanities that one woman knocked over her lamp form a fainting fit and set her house on fire! Of course, they saved her and her house, but then Pieter was nowhere to be found. We then searched for him along the houses, only to find him walking around the town in his pajamas drinking whisky heavily from a jug. The embarrassment was just too much. People walked on the other side of the street, let alone even look at us.”

 

“Oh Jan,” said Sarie concerned.

 

“Oh yes,” said Jan in Sarie’s voice. Then in his own voice, “I would have never thought that at my age I would have been so embarrassed, after we worked so hard to gain back our reputation, telling off Uncle Pieter never to bother us again, though we tried our best to make him civilized to our own futility. Oh, he is a bringing of black magic, nothing more but always worse.”

 

Sarie was about to speak when they heard a horses approaching down the street. Looking outside, though, they just saw two hooded figures riding on horses, both with the look of being two men, though they could not see their faces.

 

“Jan,” said Sarie. “I think that you should have a little rest. I mean, I think that you better look saner when Uncle Pieter comes. If anything I feel he will take more satisfaction in your worry than if you are happy.”

 

“Oh,” said Jan noting that what Sarie said was true. “All right, I will.”

 

As Jan was about to walk up the stairs, Sarie behind him, there was a knock on the door. Jan and Sarie stared to the door, not knowing what to do, when, after a minute of silence, the knocking returned with other knocks without stopping, as if one was pounding open the door. Jan took from off of the wall a musket already loaded and opened the door to see the two hooded people who had been on horses before.

 

“May I help you, strangers?” asked Jan concerned but confident.

 

“Yes, you may to a cup of ale,” said the person to the left, who took off his hood to show it was Uncle Pieter to Sarie’s and Jan’s surprise. “For us both,” said Uncle Pieter as the other hooded person took off his or her hood to show it was a young boy with a hat on. Yet, something about his dark brown eyes showed a spark of intelligence, whereas his hair was cropped, he wore a filthy old hat and his skin was slightly tanned and smudgy with the dirt of toil.

 

“Well,” said Jan with a look as if he wasn’t surprised at all, though he was. “I see that you have come Uncle Pieter with a visitor. Where is Adelé?” With a snort of laughter both Uncle Pieter and the boy laughed at what Jan had said with great amusement, though neither Jan or Sarie understood what was so funny. “At least you have maintained your sense of humor in your journey,” said Jan with a sneer at Pieter. “Now, what do you want here that you did not bring Adelé?”

 

“Oh Jan, nice to see you too, you and your father are so much alike, always making me laugh with the first thing that comes out of your mouths!” exclaimed Uncle Pieter. “Do you not see her?”

 

Angry, Jan said, “No, I do not. If you mean she is dead then you can kindly go now with you boyfriend for all I care.”

 

“Urrr,” said Uncle Pieter with an anger that made Jan take a step backwards even with the musket in his hand. “You big fool, Jan. This here boy is Adelé.”

 

Jan and Sarie looked in amazement as the boy sure enough took the hat from off of his head to show the long, flowing brown hair and the face that was Adelé.

 

Jan and Sarie still stood transfixed by the sight of Adelé as all of their hopes of an easy regain of their lost reputation into society vanished. Adelé was definitely a tomboy as she wore clothes like a boy, unheard of by any woman of the day, even the rebellious ones, and she even walked like one.

 

Suddenly Jan heard a thump and looking behind him saw Sarie cold on the floor. As the maid helped with Sarie, Jan turned to Uncle Pieter no longer transfixed, but angry.

 

“Who has been caring for my daughter all of this time? She is not in the attire of a lady. I gave her to you to take care of and this is how you bring her up?”

 

“Bring her up?” asked Uncle Pieter with a sly smile. “If anything you act as if I asked her to come, you must remember without so much as a word of my accepting her coming she already was on her carriage up here. And if I hadn’t received that letter in time she would be dead by now.”

 

“What do you mean?” asked Jan.

 

“They were hit by an Indian party, and your precious Adelé here would have made a fine scalp if I hadn’t come in time to save her from her fate, as well as Mary and Pickles, too bad the carriage driver wasn’t so lucky.”

 

“Speaking of Mary and Pickles, where are they?”

 

“Why, they went to Boston on some business with their children. They say they don’t want to set foot again in this town, how did they say it, too many ignorant people.”

 

“The audacity,” said Jan with anger still in his voice rising.

 

“Children?” asked Sarie revived.

 

“Yes,” said Adelé, speaking for the first time. “Six of them.”

 

“My goodness,” said Jan with a sneer. “That shows you how busy they are up there, too busy with having children than to look after my child.”

 

“Looking after Adelé is my business, Jan, that is why we are here temporarily.”

 

“Temporarily?” asked Jan concerned.

 

“Yes,” said Uncle Pieter with a gleam in his eyes. “Did you think that I was going to leave her to a bunch of weasels like you? You still will never understand Jan, your mind is too small like your father’s, perhaps in death you will finally think big.”

 

“I do not like your insolent tone, Pieter,” said Jan.

 

“Fine then, we’ll go, with a short stop to the pub, if course,” said Pieter turning around with Adelé doing the same.

 

“Wait,” said Jan remembering the need for Adelé to stay. “Pieter, Uncle Pieter, I am sorry for the way I have acted. You look different, younger than before,” said Jan, though it was a really big lie.

 

“And you definitely look worse, the worst I have ever seen anyone in my life,” said Uncle Pieter truthfully. Jan smiled falsely, though he was angry inside, and said, “Please, do come in.”

 

Uncle Pieter smiled, letting Adelé come in first as he trailed behind. Jan closed the door behind them, his eyes filled with anger and worry at the same time.

 

 

XVI. Raucous and Bonfires

 

A week had passed since Uncle Pieter and Adelé had come to the van Soothsbay home, and the result was havoc in the household. Jan and Sarie learned early enough that Adelé chewed tobacco, drank ale, could shoot a gun, swore as bad as Pieter, and liked it. Tutors were brought to teach Adelé about etiquette, sewing, and other feminine necessities, as food and drink was brought day and night to Uncle Pieter, who seemed to have been starving for weeks due to his enormous appetite.

 

“Already a week and it seems that we have spend more than we ever did in any year,” said Sarie angrily in her room to Jan as she combed her hair and he sat on the bed. “It is ridiculous how much he eats, where does he put it all. I would not be surprised if he just threw it out of the window.”

 

“I’ve checked,” said Jan in despair. “Not a crumb.”

 

“Then the servant must be helping him.”

 

“No, I check the times they are in there, even checking their mouths, nothing.”

 

“Then I do not understand, it is humanly impossible. To eat so constantly, and that bell he rings when he wants more. Just yesterday he finished a whole turkey, for breakfast! How can anyone do that?”

 

“This is Uncle Pieter, Sarie, he is capable of disappearing and reappearing if he really wanted to. The man is a mystery to me, and he seems to use that mystery to his advantage.”

 

“But Adelé, she would know all of those things about him.”

 

“Of course, but if Pieter ever found out we asked, then he will not act so polite as to just stay in his room.”

 

“And that Adelé, I never knew that she was such an uncivilized girl. She throttled the Etiquette tutor after he pointed at her with a knife. A small thing like her doing that to a man, especially him who is so fat. I cannot believe what is happening in this week alone, yet alone this year. Higgles gone and Adelé a throttler. I did not know that having Adelé around just to get around the problem of Higgles would cost so much.”

 

“I don’t know, Sarie,” said Jan with a sigh of despair. “At least she speaks properly, and she is not running after princes or behaves unlike a lady to the degree that Higgles did.”

 

“I cannot believe what you are saying,” said Sarie surprised. “Adelé better than Higgles.”

 

“We gave Higgles everything and she ran away from us, and Adelé we always threw away and she still came back here to be with us. I don’t know, perhaps Dr. Meukle was right.”

 

“There you are being soft again,” said Sarie. “You know as well as I do that Adelé is a freak of nature, raised by that witch made her crazy, and that Mary was no better. We should have been harder on Adelé, taught her how to think properly and those problems with her fighting poor, defenseless Higgles would have never happened. If anything we need to be hard on Adelé, Jan.”

 

“Or else what?”

 

“Or else nothing, we will destroy all of those other thoughts from her head forever. You must not be weak anymore, Jan, weakness is not good in the least. Listen to what I say, remember I told you not to be too hard on Higgles, look at what happened. Now, listen to me, do not be too kind to Adelé, she uses it to use others and act as if she is innocent. Well, she is not. She is a cold, cunning creature, I should know I had her. I knew it when we first laid eyes on her she would be trouble, but I never knew to this amount. We must be hard upon her in order to make her a better person, Jan. Believe me when I say this, for I am right.”

 

Jan looked to Sarie, seeing her eyes determined and unwilling to change her mind. “All right, Sarie,” said Jan. “If you feel it must be done.”

 

“I know it must be done,” said Sarie. “Higgles was only in the thought of love about the prince, sooner, rather than later she will get back her mind.”

 

Suddenly a scream was heard from the hallway. Jan quickly opened the door to smell something burning coming from out of Adelé’s room, rushing inside he saw something that shocked him. It was Mr. Broek, the table manners teacher, tied up in a chair, his mouth tied closed with a piece of cloth, surrounded by twigs and branches set afire.

 

Jan kicked the twigs aside, patting them down with a bed sheet to stop them from burning. Once the fire was put out, Jan untied Mr. Broek’s mouth.

 

“What happened?” asked Jan concerned and Mr. Broek’s hands and feet were also untied.

 

“Your daughter, Miss van Soothsbay, and I had a misinterpretation.”

 

“Misinterpretation?” asked Sarie concerned.

 

“I was trying to explain to her the best way to eat and prepare a turkey, when she told me the way Indians do it, a most barbarous way, and I told her so and that Indians and anyone who followed their cooking skills were uncivilized, with a small reference to her Uncle Pieter.”

 

“Well?” asked Jan concerned that Uncle Pieter had learned of this.

 

“Well, she told her Uncle Pieter (Jan let out short cry), who promptly told me how Indians properly roast Europeans to get the best flavor out of them. He ten proceeded to tie me to this chair, and after she had brought the twigs and he was starting to light them, she was dancing Indian style around me chanting something in some horrible language. They then left me here taking away all of my books and things until you came in.”

 

“Where did they take those books?” asked Jan. However, before Mr. Broek could say anything screaming from the street below could be heard.

 

“My goodness,” said Sarie. “The front of the house, in the street!”

 

Down the stairs Jan, Sarie, and Mr. Broek rushed to the front door to the most horrible scene they had ever seen. Mr. Broek began to cry as all of their faces were flushed with warmth. It was Uncle Pieter, in traditional Indian attire, with the pile of things that were Mr. Broek’s burning in a bonfire, along with food from the stores of Jan’s and Sarie’s home.

 

“My books!” exclaimed Mr. Broek in despair. “All from England, gone to be no longer used. It will take me months before I can get new ones, and I am not sure that they have the same books. Oh,” as he sobbed again.

 

“Let’s close the door,” said Jan as he did so as Uncle Pieter attracted a larger crowd.

 

“Do you think they know that he lives here?” asked Sarie, but as they looked outside they saw the eyes of everyone looking to them and Uncle Pieter pointing to the house.

 

“Oh drats,” said Jan angrily. “Now we will have no reputation worth saving at all. What is Uncle Pieter saying?”

 

Standing next to the door, Jan heard Uncle Pieter saying to the people outside, “Yes, I come from the Iroquois Nation to the north.”

 

“Aren’t you a white man?” asked a little boy.

 

“Yes, white by skin but Indian by heart. They are my brothers, as we hunt deer, squirrel, fish, and people in the forest.”

 

“You hunt people?” asked a little girl.

 

“Yes, but the tastes between people are different. I prefer Dutch, entirely irresistible you know, for they taste like chicken.”

 

With screams several people ran away. One man said to Uncle Pieter, “You are crazy!”

 

“Perhaps I am, but I think you will taste like turkey, my favorite. I would watch my house if I were you tonight.” Scared, the man ran home and closed his door, but like all the others they closed their doors but still stared at Pieter through their windows. “Remember, dear people of New Amsterdam. I’ll be seeing you all as you sleep tonight!”

 

The faces in the windows disappeared. Uncle Pieter laughed out loud when suddenly from behind he heard walking, spinning around he saw it was a constable. The man had a smirk on his face over Uncle Pieter’s clothes as he said, “Good morning.”

 

“Good morning,” said Uncle Pieter with a hatchet in his hand.

 

“Where might you come from?”

 

“I am a fur trader from up north, I am the uncle of Jan van Soothsbay, Pieter Fritter.”

 

The constable took one step backwards, not due to what Pieter said but what was behind Pieter. Looking behind, Pieter saw that it was Adelé in her traditional Indian headdress and her face painted with various colors.

 

“What is this?” asked the constable.

 

“This is Adelé van Soothsbay.”

 

“But…urr…you are dead!”

 

“We are both dead in this world my friend,” said Uncle Pieter with a smile. “Would you like to join us? All it takes is a touch of my hand, come it won’t hurt a bit.”

 

“NO!!!!!!!!!!” screamed the constable as he ran away.

 

“I guess he doesn’t like our traditions, Uncle Pieter,” said Adelé.

 

“Yes, but then I don’t like his either,” said Uncle Pieter. “What Indian eats people? How ignorant can someone be?”

 

Uncle Pieter and Adelé smiled to each other and then went back to dancing around the bonfire. Jan and Sarie stared from inside hopeless against it as Mr. Broek cried over his books.

 

 

XVII. The Strange Man

 

Silence filled the street as Uncle Pieter and Adelé stopped dancing once the bonfire was put out. They noticed that everyone had closed their curtains, even the van Soothsbays.

 

“I guess our fire is gone out and we have to go back inside, too bad it was very warm,” said Adelé saddened.

 

“Who said we have to go back inside?” asked Uncle Pieter with a question-like face. “I would rather cause more havoc in good old New Amsterdam than take their nagging and complaining. So, people here think they are so high and mighty. They forgot a time, long ago when they first came, when they need the Indians help and even ate dead human bodies to survive. Well, I’ll show them how mighty a race they are.”

 

Uncle Pieter then stormed down several streets with Adelé behind him, but stopped when into view there came a mob of men, some who were prominent citizens and others of the docks of New Amsterdam. News had already traveled of Uncle Pieter’s display and no one seemed happy to know that amongst his or her “happy, civilized” community there was a cannibal loose. At the head of the party stood Peter Stuyvesant. Though not well liked by the people of New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant was still director general of the colony, since 1647 he had this post. He was a man of the Dutch West India Company and had lost his right leg after an attack on the island of Saint Martin. His hooknose seemed to hide more than the usual mucous of other noses, but a sinister meaning to his life so far. His dark brown eyes seemed to emit an aura of coldness and authority, whilst his long hair seemed groomed to an unreal perfection. Even his wooden leg seemed to have an air of being a master over all. Yes, Stuyvesant was cruel and heavy with his taxes, and very religious, but at least he could help the citizens solve a threat to their normal lives, a threat like Uncle Pieter.

 

Stuyvesant walked over slowly to Uncle Pieter, as if his wooden leg were an actual leg just disguised by the human eye. The others stayed behind as he edged over, Uncle Pieter and Adelé staying where they were.

 

“Adelé,” said Uncle Pieter concerned. “You had better walk back to the house.”

 

“But…”

 

“No, but, Adelé,” said Uncle Pieter. “I have serious business.”

 

“Who can tote a musket, or drink a shot of whisky, or even ride a wild stallion as good, if not better than you? Me, and you know it. I am going nowhere, do not worry, if anything they will get hurt.”

 

Uncle Pieter smiled at Adelé’s courage in willing to help him. “Fine then, stay, but stay here as I walk up to Mr. Stuyvesant.”

 

Uncle Pieter walked up to Stuyvesant, with both looking the other in the eyes. There seemed calmness to both on the outside, but a hidden hatred on the inside. “Hello, Pieter,” said Stuyvesant with a smile. “How are your savage friends doing? Sent you to do some scout work, learn about our defenses, destroy our city and kill our men, set our children as slaves, and our women…”

 

“Do not tell me you believe the garbage you fill in the heads of others,” said Pieter with a sneer. “Since the West Indies, Stuyvesant, you have been a thorn in my…”

 

“Side?”

 

“No, lower and more smelly.”

 

“You have no respectability, sir, only you would say something so nasty out loud. Do you have no manners? What is it about us here that you hate so much that you live with such savages? Is it because they are uncivilized? What, do you wish that you could be that way too?”

 

“If you must know they are more civilized than you have ever been, you just do not understand how civilized they are.”

 

“What, wearing that ridiculous dress?”

 

“If anything your frilly dress is ridiculous. What is the point of what you are wearing? To look better than everyone around you and have their envy, at least they dress because they need to stay warm and it is the only clothing they have. You will never understand Stuyvesant, never. You and these people are sad, too sad to even try to understand, but perhaps that is the problem. Letting you people off I ignorance has changed nothing, only made that ignorance worse and innocent people will suffer, those who are Indian and Dutch.”

 

“Dear me, Pieter, you should have been an orator, you speak so well. I see that your audience, the worms in the ground have gone up to congratulate you for they are the only ones stupid enough to listen.”

 

“Too bad you are stupider than a worm, Stuyvesant.”

 

Anger showed throughout Stuyvesant now as Uncle Pieter still remained calm, an unnatural ability of his. As Adelé stayed behind she looked to her left as an old woman passed by the side of the street, who smiled at her. The face seemed very familiar to Adelé, but before she could think of this the woman had turned a corner and gone, leaving her face out of Adelé’s memory as if she had not just seen her.

 

“I could talk for hours, Pieter, but then what would have been the point of this mob. They do not like your tolerances of others, especially savages, so I suppose you can try to convince them but at least they will not be as ‘tolerant’ to listen as I have been. I hope you enjoy your fate, as well as that of this girl here, I suppose it is sad that you only came here to die. Too bad.”

 

“Excuse me!” exclaimed a foreign voice through the crowd pushing several out of the way like a huge boulder through trees. The person soon came closer, showing a young man, perhaps of 23, who was thin, scrawny, with red hair and blue eyes. He also showed several freckles upon his face and his dress was that of sure sophistication and of one who was rich, as he carried with him a horsewhip by his side. Behind him he drew forward a brown colored horse with well-groomed hair that shone in the sunlight. The man seemed very angry and cross as he walked over to Uncle Pieter and Stuyvesant. He seemed not the least surprised by the outfits of Uncle Pieter or Adelé, or perhaps it was because he did not care. “Stuyvesant!” exclaimed the man in an angered tone. Stuyvesant’s face blanched as the man came closer. “Stuyvesant!”

 

“Why, dear Mr….”

 

However, before Stuyvesant could continue what he was saying, the man continued. “What is going on here?” said the man still angry.

 

“Nothing to concern you, Mr. van Pargoo.”

 

“But I am concerned, so what is the problem?”

 

“Why sir, well, these two are dressed in the clothing of savages and have proclaimed in public their cannibalistic ways. If anything, I feel your father would be…”

 

“Leave my father’s name out of such a disgusting show. I have never seen anything more disgusting in my life. Are you people uncivilized? In Holland, such a thing would never happen since laws still dictate that land, not here with you a mere monkey with a musket.” The crowd began to whisper at this as Stuyvesant became red in the face now. “These people have done no harm, Stuyvesant, you know that as well as I do. It is in the law that one is innocent until proven guilty.”

 

“Yes, you are right,” said Stuyvesant like a defeated dog. “How silly for me to have forgotten.”

 

“How lucky for me to have remembered and have rescued you from doing such a bad thing. If it must be known, my father sent me here (with a look of astonishment on Stuyvesant’s face) because he thought you might just try something like this. He likes doing business, Stuyvesant, but he doesn’t like mobs or lawlessness. He did not like you going to New Sweden that much, but it was economics and he lived with it, but it was wrong what you did to those people, forcing them to go through the wilderness to face obvious death amongst the Indians. No one deserves a death like that. It is what differs the civilized from the uncivilized, Stuyvesant, the law and how it is enforced. If one is unable to do that correctly then they are not fit for such a post.”

 

With anger in his eyes and a sneer in his voice, Stuyvesant said, “Of course I am fit for this post, boy.”

 

“I do not like that tone, Stuyvesant, keep it lower or my family might just go to Jamaica like we wanted to. Besides, the weather will be better for my father’s health. But of course, once we get there we will not hide our feelings for you or your colony.”

 

Sensing a need to keep Mr. van Pargoo happy, Stuyvesant said, “You are right, I am sorry for this crowd around me, a mob more like it. (To the people in the street Stuyvesant turned) Good people of New Amsterdam, go home these people dressed as savages will not bother you. Do not worry, good bye.”

 

Sad at not being able to have a true mob or riot, the men of New Amsterdam left, muttering things left and right. Some went home, while others went to the drinking house for a drink or two, leaving at last only van Pargoo, Stuyvesant, Uncle Pieter, and Adelé on the street. Van Pargoo looked to Stuyvesant, who bowed to the van Pargoo, as van Pargoo climbed onto his horse, before he left though he looked to Adelé as if he had only just seen her before in curiosity. Looking to Uncle Pieter he said, “What is your name?”

 

“Pieter Appleton Fritter, and this is my grand niece, Adelé van Soothsbay.”

 

Van Pargoo looked to Adelé with increased curiosity as he asked her, “Might your sister be Higgles van Soothsbay?”

 

“Why yes,” said Adelé concerned.

 

“I never knew she had a sister. I suppose you are saddened by her running away then.”

 

“Running away?” asked Uncle Pieter concerned. Jan and Sarie had told them that Higgles had gone to the Netherlands to wed a respectable owner of a textile mill.

 

“Yes, she ran away about two months ago with a Prince Isaac Raspereski right under your parents’ nose,” said van Pargoo still addressing Adelé.

 

“You mean they lied to us?” asked Uncle Pieter with anger forming in his throat. “What for?”

 

“What else for?” asked Adelé as she looked beyond to the Atlantic Ocean, dark blue in color. “To gain back their reputation.”

 

Van Pargoo still stared at Adelé with curiosity, and when she caught his stare she began to grow angry and turned her face away from his view. “I will show them,” said Uncle Pieter not noticing the look of van Pargoo. “That is why they called for you Adelé, and if I hadn’t come.”

 

“I am glad you did,” said Adelé as she took and held the hand of Uncle Pieter to assure him that everything would be all right.

 

“Perhaps I will see you both again,” said van Pargoo in a refined manner. Looking to Stuyvesant he said, “Do not forget my promise, Stuyvesant, or you will be left with only your ego and pride to defend yourself against the people, who are probably your worst enemy. Haa!” Van Pargoo had used his horsewhip to his horse to ride it past them, turning to the left in the direction of the forest.

 

Seeing that van Pargoo was gone, Stuyvesant sneered at Uncle Pieter, “Been used again by the van Soothsbays, eh Pieter? Too bad you are not clever enough to stop that from happening.”

 

“You be good Stuyvesant,” said Pieter. “Or I’ll send you to the afterlife, and even you know that you are not going to the place of Saints.”

 

Angry, Stuyvesant said, “You be careful, Pieter, or you might just say something that you will regret forever, and I’ll be there to make sure you suffer.” Stuyvesant smiled evilly as he walked over to the drinking house to get the men of New Amsterdam more excited in wanting to kill all the savages in the New World.

 

“Let’s go,” said Adelé to Uncle Pieter, who nodded in agreement as they walked away. After they were a few steps forward, Adelé asked, “Uncle Pieter, did you notice an old woman walking away as you and Stuyvesant were talking?”

 

“No dear,” said Uncle Pieter. “Stuyvesant takes a like of energy just to look at, with his evil face, let alone listen to. Why?”

 

“She seemed to smile at me, and her face was so familiar to me, but I forgot what she looked like now.”

 

“Well, ask one of the maids at the house I suppose, perhaps you will find out who it is.”

 

“Perhaps,” said Adelé assuredly, but in her heart she had serious doubts if that were to happen.

 

Soon they had reached the van Soothsbay home, and Uncle Pieter knocked on the door, but no one answered. Again Uncle Pieter knocked, and yelled, “I’ll stand here all day knocking and yelling until you open up, you hypocritical swine.”

 

Soon the door was opened by Jan who had a look of extreme anger on his face, which became even worse as he saw what Adelé was wearing. “This is outrageous!” screamed Jan.

 

Sarie, who had just come into view behind him, said, “Not so loud, Jan, the neighbors.”

 

“I have never been so humiliated! I cannot stand you anymore, Pieter, you are insufferable. You almost burned down my house and my reputation is no more. You might as well as leave, her (as he pointed to Adelé) with you. There is no more point to anything, I am ruined and all my life I have worked so hard and came so close. Why did I ever have any children at all, when they only curse my name and leave me to be destroyed? I wish I never had any children at all.”

 

“At least not Adelé, but Higgles dear,” said Sarie in a sweet voice.

 

“She is even worse, that Higgles,” said Jan looking to Sarie. “At least this one did not run away with a savage!”

 

“Jan, you are being unreasonable. At least she found a man with money, this one will only be fit to marry the dogs. A week so far of training, and what to show for it? Only that she doesn’t drink whisky by the bottle at the table, no, now she drinks it with a swig here and there when she thinks no one is looking. If anything, Higgles at least is the best of the two.”

 

“Where was Higgles honor that she left? At least this one came back when we called for her, and all her life we have treated her miserably. If anything we should at least be grateful.”

 

“Grateful? Oh please, have you got a conscious now Jan.”

 

“Perhaps I do, Sarie. I guess being a witch is not the highlight of my day like it is for you.”

 

“I guess you act proud, if it were not for me we would not be here, you would not be as rich as you are now.”

 

“Be quiet Sarie.”

 

“Be quiet? I guess you do not want me to tell anyone your darkest secrets, but then again at least by being just a witch mine aren’t that bad at all. I guess you would like to go to the jail you belong.”

 

“Talk again and I’ll wring out your neck!” Sarie quieted down as Jan looked angry enough to do it. “I will not tolerate this tone from you any longer. I have put up with your nagging tone for too long. We will train Adelé for one more week, and if she is not respectable enough by then, then we will give her gladly back to Uncle Pieter and never bother her again. However, under this roof, Adelé, you are no longer allowed to wear that clothing. As for you Pieter, do whatever you want but no longer disgrace my name.”

 

“And no more lies or cunning,” said Pieter angrily. “I do not like being used, or that of my friends.”

 

“Good. Then at least that is settled, do come in before everyone in New Amsterdam makes this place into an exhibit of weirdness.”

 

Uncle Pieter and Adelé entered the house as Jan closed the door, ending the raucous that had filled the day so far.

 

 

XVIII. Louis van Pargoo

 

A week had passed, and Adelé and Uncle Pieter had stayed. Adelé was doing so well in her lessons that it pleased Jan thoroughly enough to escort her around town. People were amazed by the difference of Adelé’s dress, but soon they began to look upon Jan respectably and even asked them over for tea sometimes. Sarie was too angry, though, to even talk to Adelé, whom she still loathed. It seems strange that Sarie hated Adelé so much, but that will be shown much later as to why.

 

However, the only reason why Adelé acted so well was because she wanted to find out who that old woman was. Through hours of torture of talking over and over again, the same questions at teatime. “So, you lived with savages? Is it true that they wear skins for clothing? What is that paint they wear on their faces? Well, it doesn’t matter anyway, it looks barbaric no matter why they wear it? I am just so glad your parents were able to bring you down here and no longer be influenced by those beasts. Perhaps we should get missionaries to bring the Lord to their lost souls? It is only the fitting way to make them civilized, why, if I were in their shoes I would want someone to civilize me too!”

 

Adelé would smile, try to get in a word of objection here and there, but sometimes it just felt as if it was not worth it. How could one get out of so many an ignorance so deep that no one had actually even seen an Indian, let alone understood their philosophies on life, which were, to Adelé, more logical than that of any civilized one she had read so far. It seemed strange to her how ignorance and prejudice stood next to each other like two brothers, but she said nothing to anyone but Uncle Pieter, when she did seem him. However, these times were fewer, since Uncle Pieter took to meeting Louis van Pargoo during the day as the two would discuss business. Sometimes Louis would come on the off chance of seeing Adelé, but each time he called on her she was off with Jan to more tea parties. Besides, seeing van Pargoo would anger Sarie.

 

As Adelé learned on the first day of her meeting van Pargoo from Jan was that his father was Johannes van Pargoo, the owner of van Pargoo Trading, a lucrative business of shipping goods from other places in the world to those in New Amsterdam, reputable in their trade, and who had ties with all of the other businesses in the Netherlands. They were the ones to bring trade to New Amsterdam to its great height six years ago, and seemed to be running things to a degree, within the law of course, but with enough influence to keep Stuyvesant in line, which was greatly needed due to Stuyvesant’s evil tendencies.

 

However, one day as Adelé and Jan were walking to tea she eyed the old woman walking on the other side of the street, Adelé now knew that the face she had seen earlier in her life, but the woman quickly turned out of view. Sensing she might not have another chance after another week and a half, Adelé said politely to Jan, “Dearest me father, but I have forgotten my handkerchief, do you perhaps know where the nearest shop is that I might procure another?”

 

Jan smiled to Adelé and said, “Why yes, down the street here, let’s go.” Jan then took Adelé by the arm as he escorted her down the same street that the old woman had left to, but Adelé could see that the woman was gone. However she went with Jan to the clothing store just the same, but was surprised to see as they were going in Louis van Pargoo was coming out. He blushed red at the sight of Adelé, and polite said “hello” and bowed, as Adelé did the same.

 

Jan, sensing the reason for Louis’s blushing said to Adelé, “I think that I can go to tea with Mrs. German alone today, Adelé, besides, you would find it boring (To which Adelé agreed with the shaking of her head, the remembered her mistake, as Louis smiled at her error). I think that I can leave you unharmed in the care of Mr. van Pargoo. I will see you back at the house.” With a lighter step Jan walked away from Adelé and Louis as he walked over to the house of Mrs. German.

 

“I am glad to see you in a dress of less color and more frill,” said Louis as Adelé looked at him with no gladness at all. There was something about him that made him forgettable in her mind. “May I escort you?”

 

“Where?” asked Adelé, her curt manner gone. “To the graveyard.”

 

“Our politeness is gone, I see.”

 

“Yes, and you can see I am going.”

 

“Going where? You father went in the opposite way.”

 

“I have to find someone.”

 

“Who? A handsome young man who has your heart, too bad, lucky fellow.”

 

“No, that is not what I live for,” said Adelé with a look of disgust at the thought of such a man. “I need to find an old woman.”

 

“You mean the one with the shawl full of wholes, white hair, and a weather-beaten face who just passed by the clothing shop not ten minutes ago?”

 

“Yes,” said Adelé surprised. “Do you know where she went?”

 

“No, but I know who she is and where she lives. I can show you.”

 

“No need, just tell me where, I can find the way.”

 

“I would be nice enough to let you go, but as I am a gentleman I do not want you to get hurt. A young woman with those clothes on in New Amsterdam is never safe.”

 

“How am I safe with you then?” asked Adelé with a tone of curiosity.

 

“My reputation is at stake, I cannot afford to not be.” Adelé looked at Louis amazed, but still composed.

 

“All right then, let’s go then to where she lives.”

 

“All right then. It is a long walk though, so do get ready for the journey, especially with those boots.”

 

“Oh, I hate these clothes,” said Adelé after walking only a few meters.

 

“Why?” asked Louis.

 

“They hurt my feet, and there is no point to them.”

 

“Of course there is a point,” said Louis with a smile. “To annoy the wearers and make happy the lookers.”

 

However, Adelé was not happy about his joke. “I guess you can joke around, I just wish you were wearing these and not me.”

 

“Well, if you must know, I have worn them before.”

 

“Are you joking?”

 

“No, I went to university in Holland, in the Netherlands, before I came here to work for my father. I did some plays, and as you know women cannot be in plays, and I do have a woman’s face…”

 

“You dressed as a woman? No!”

 

“Yes, you have me cornered,” said Louis as Adelé could not stop laughing and picturing Louis in a dress, let alone a woman. “I have to say it was no joke, such a reference to my own experiences.”

 

“Why are women not allowed in plays?”

 

“Well, I really don’t know,” said Louis surprised at this question. “I suppose it is just a custom.”

 

“I hate customs and traditions,” said Adelé. “They are so backward, what help are they?”

 

“Some people need their traditions, Adelé,” said Louis. “It makes them feel as if they are like carrots, with roots in the soil for something. Without those roots they have nothing. Besides, do you Indian friends have customs and traditions?”

 

“Yes, but their customs are gentle.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, they are.”

 

“My mother was killed by Indians in the West Indies when I was a boy. I do not call that gentle Adelé.”

 

“Then she must have provoked them, or else they would not.”

 

“You must understand, Adelé, that no one is better than anyone else. Even Indians have their different tribes, and fight their own wars to gain over the others. No one is without his or her prejudices, and no one is free from his or her own differences. To say that one were would be foolish and the speaker even more foolish.”

 

Adelé thought about Louis’s words, and knew them to be right. Even the Indians fought each other. She supposed no one was without his or her prejudices. But then she remembered something. “At least the Indians are not here to reap the benefits of the land, they love the land and take care of it. They understand how precious it is and do not use it.”

 

“True, but then again gaining profit off of the land is not all that bad.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Well, the New World has valuable resources that we can utilize. I feel that it is beneficial to the economy of the Netherlands to use it.”

 

“Why?”

 

“The world is run on money, Adelé. The New World has assets that drive nations. If the Netherlands comes here first and uses them entirely to their benefit we will be a global power, or else we will be swept over by England, France and Spain. Spain already owns most of Central and South America, Adelé, the necessity of the New World is purely for money. If we are not at the head, then we will be in danger as others will take that place willingly.”

 

“Is that all you care about – money?”

 

“No,” said Louis truthfully, “but there is no point in saying that the world is all flowers and teacakes, I mean that it is all happy and truthful. I know you probably cannot understand right now, Adelé, but that is the truth about life.”

 

“No it is not. You can be different Louis, if you wanted to be. What is so wrong in being different?”

 

“Being different never pays for anything, Adelé. If you want to be successful you must play by the rules of others.”

 

“You are nothing but a coward.”

 

Louis looked angrily to Adelé, who still kept her feet firm about what she had said. “Perhaps I am,” said Louis coldly as he stopped ten feet away from a little brick house. “We are here. You can go up yourself, but I, the coward, shall wait out here for you.”

 

Adelé seemed saddened by what she had said, sensing that the word ‘coward’ had hurt Louis deeply. “Louis,” she said suddenly. “I am sorry, please do come in.”

 

“No,” said Louis firmly. “I would rather not.” Louis, then looking to Adelé guilty face said, “Oh no, not because of you. She would not like me to come as well. We haven’t talked in nearly twenty years, so I suppose that you should go yourself.”

 

“Of course,” said Adelé unsure of going, but still she walked up to the brick house. On a wooden sign on the house, which was shining with a lacquer finish, read the words: Helen Heinz, midwife extraordinary.

 

Adelé walked up to the wooden door of the house, but upon knocking on it she noticed that the door was already open. Unsure of what to do, Adelé heard a strong, lively voice say, “Come in already, I haven’t all day.”

 

Quickly Adelé gave one look to where Louis had been, but was surprised to see that he was gone. She supposed it was the word coward that had made him not want to enter, and then she walked into the little house. Adelé saw the creamy color of the house inside, along with cozy chairs and a continuous fire, which seemed to never die out.

 

“Good afternoon, Miss Adelé van Soothsbay,” said the old woman of before with a smile.

 

“Good afternoon,” said Adelé unsure of the old woman now and her motives.

 

“I see that you do not remember or just do not know me. I am Helen Heinz, midwife. I took care of you when you were just a little baby, and your parents did not want you around.”

 

“You?” asked Adelé. “You were the one Mary told me all about, who took care of me while my mother and everyone else were unable to take care of me.”

 

“Well, dear,” said Heinz as she squished her lips together like a fish, making her wrinkles show clearly. “Your mother and everyone else could have taken care of you, but I was the only one willing to take care of you.”

 

“The only one?” asked Adelé saddened. “What about Mary?”

 

“Mary would have if she could, of course, but she was the maid to your parents. If you must know that Mary is the reason why you are here today. If you had been left to your parents you would have died, no changes in that.”

 

“But why did my parents not want me?” asked Adelé.

 

“That is not the question Adelé, it is why did they want you. They had Higgles, and for her they wanted a playmate, but when you were not exactly what they wanted they turned against you. You see, Adelé, you must understand your parents before you can fully judge them. You must find out why they did this to you, not just get angry with them. Believe me you are not the first to suffer so, and you will definitely not be the last.”

 

“I never knew a mother could hate a child so.”

 

“You mother does not hate you, Adelé,” said Heinz with a warming smile. “She is just blind with a certain prejudice against you. It may take a little time for you to understand it, but soon you will. However, you must remember that your father is a very weak man at times, very influenced by your mother and older sister. He probably spoiled them rotten, and this is how they turned up. Now, I know that there is no good reason for what he did, but you must understand him. Soon Adelé you will be leaving New Amsterdam forever, and you must know about these things or else they will live in your heart hurt forever.”

 

Adelé looked to Mrs. Heinz with uncertainty in her heart, but by what Mrs. Heinz said it would make sense why her parents acted the way that they did to her all of her life. “Thank you, Mrs. Heinz.”

 

“Thank you for coming, Adelé. Now, tell Mr. Louis van Pargoo that the next time he comes here that he should enter and not think that I am still angry with him. Twenty years is too long of a time to wait to tell him something very important.”

 

“Yes, Miss…ur…Mrs.”

 

“You can call me Helen,” said Mrs. Heinz with a sweet smile.

 

“Thank you, Helen,” said Adelé happily. With that she left the house and walked outside. She watched her movements as she did not want to be hurt by anyone as she was walking. Suddenly she felt someone next to her. Looking around she saw that it was Louis, coming out of nowhere.

 

“How was it?” asked Louis coldly.

 

“Where did you go?” asked Adelé. “She wants to see you next time in friendship.”

 

“Oh,” said Louis his manner still cold. “I just went for a walk in the woods.”

 

“Oh,” said Adelé. “I really hope you know that I thank you for escorting me. That was very brave of you.”

 

“Did Mrs. Heinz tell you to say that too?”

 

“What?”

 

“Never mind, I have work to do Adelé, we must hurry quickly to your house.”

 

“Yes, Louis,” said Adelé slightly hurt by Louis’s attitude as they walked quickly to her home.

 

Upon bringing her to the door, however, Louis stopped and said, “Enjoy the rest of your day, Miss van Soothsbay.”

 

“I do not know what is bothering you Louis, but I do hope it was not because of what I said. I would not like to hurt anyone, least of all you.”

 

Louis looked into her eyes with a slight anger, which hurt Adelé completely. She edged for the door when he said, “Why me least of all?”

 

Adelé looked to him stunned, “Because you have been the kindest to me in New Amsterdam since my visit. Goodbye, Louis.”

 

With this Adelé walked into her house as Louis walked away, down the street to his father’s business.

 

 

XIX: Trouble in Ohio

 

It had been four weeks since she had left her father, Jan, and mother, Sarie, in New Amsterdam, but Higgles van Soothsbay was completely miserable. The trail to the plot of Prince Raspereski in Ohio was very rickety with Indians as trouble along the way. Higgles had never been outdoors before, bad for the complexion of course, let alone been to anywhere outside of New Amsterdam. Higgles seemed happy with the trip at first, being with the prince, but afterwards even he began to get on her nerves and she hoped that as soon as they came to Ohio, they would return to New Amsterdam. She did not understand why the prince liked Ohio so much, it seemed to have more trees and mud than anything civilized.

 

To spend the time, as boring as it was, Higgles began to ask Isaac all about himself, to which the reply was always cold and that a wife should not ask that of her husband. Yes, the two were married, but Higgles wished she could undo all of that now. She was no longer happy with Isaac, who also seemed bored with her. She was not happy in the least. Her hair had so much moisture from rains that the color of her hair had turned from gold to hay yellow. That definitely made matters worse.

 

“I cannot stand this place, Isaac,” Higgles would moan always. “I want to go back home.”

 

“Do not be silly,” Isaac would say. “We have not even reached there yet. Once you get there, your majesty (said by Isaac with a sneer in his voice), then you can be as cozy as you were in New Amsterdam.”

 

However, within two weeks, just when it seemed that they were about to cause mutiny, the coach stopped at a spot of land with several tree roots sticking out of it, save for a small log cabin in its middle. Isaac opened his window, and said to the driver, “Where are we?”

 

“Your home, prince,” said the carriage driver.

 

Higgles looked and saw the log cabin, giving a scream of disgust and crying out several tears.

 

“Are you sure this is the place?” asked Isaac of the carriage driver.

 

“Yes, prince, as on the map.”

 

“I have been robbed,” said Isaac as Higgles continued to cry. “Oh, shut up you foolish girl. It is only a log cabin. We can stay there for a while.”

 

“STAY THERE?” asked Higgles stunned. “I was just crying that that was the only house that we had. I am not staying there.”

 

“Oh yes you are Princess Raspereski,” said Isaac with anger in his voice. “Or I’ll leave you here alone, you spoiled little brat.” Higgles cried, but she got out of the carriage, walking over to the log cabin as Raspereski watch the carriage driver unload their items. All of the time he told the driver, “I am watching you, no funny business, understand me?”

 

The man would hiss at Isaac, meaning that he was not happy with the arrangement, but continued unloading, putting all of their things into the log cabin. Then, once he was finished, he said, “Would you like me to fetch for you some provisions, Prince Isaac?”

 

“No,” said Prince Isaac, “but you can go now, leaving your carriage.”

 

“But, there are Indians…”

 

“That is your problem,” said Prince Isaac with a smile. “Now, get out of here.”

 

The man left as Higgles looked to Isaac in disgust. “That was low of you,” she said with an air of being better than him.

 

“As if you were not that low either,” said Isaac as Higgles turned her head away. “Let’s get inside our home, dear.” Isaac pushed Higgles forward as they headed to the log cabin. It was cold, damp and small inside. There was only a table with two chairs and a small bed inside. “Make yourself at home,” said Isaac to Higgles as he closed shut the door.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

It had turned to nightfall as Higgles finished taking care of the little log cabin that was theirs. Isaac had told her that as a woman it was her job to clean the house and that as she did it he would be trying to shoot down some dinner for them to eat. He said that if she was not done by nightfall that he would make her sleep outside in the rain.

 

Higgles felt miserable. She had never before realized that a woman was so inferior to a man in society, and now she was suffering for all her years of being a spoiled child, spoiled into believing that she could always get her way.

 

The house was clean, of course, but it wasn’t what one would call truly clean. If anything, the house was more ‘wiped.’ Since Higgles had no experience with cleaning she did not know what to do, but at least she knew what clean looked like and her efforts were far from it. She felt angered by her inability to do this right, and began to get scared of what Isaac would do to her. However, as time dragged on she noticed something. It was already pitch dark and Isaac was nowhere near.

 

Higgles became scared. Even though she hated Isaac she needed his help. Where was he? Did he run off? She did know that he did take a horse from the carriage, but then again that was Isaac’s type of attitude to everything – in style. However, the forest around the cabin was heavily wooded – no horse could travel amongst it easily. Higgles then began to know what happened. Isaac used the cleaning as a diversion as he ran away. Looking into his things, she saw a letter written to him by someone named Gregory Rembrandt. Looking to the letter she read:

 

Ernest,

Do not worry, I am living here in New Amsterdam, you will be safe here. I am living with a family of idiots called the van Soothsbays. They would not notice the difference of you being here even if you licked their faces everyday. Besides, they have a horror of a child named Higgles, beautiful mind you, but don’t you get into trouble with her, she’s like poison. You take care of yourself and I await your arrival.

Your brother,

Gregory

 

Higgles was astounded by this letter, but also angered by what it said about her and her family. Then, she found another piece of paper, a clipping, which read:

 

Today, the criminal Ernest Rembrandt, who paints people faces with different Rembrandt works as he finishes the deed murdered two people. This makes the total equal to eight as this elusive criminal is still at large. It may take days before he is caught, but as the constable who first found the murdered victims points out, “When I get that Rembrandt I will paint something on his face, something that will be make his like milk to my cannon fire!” Of course, the constable said before was slightly drunk after what had happened, but you would be too if you saw one dead with a great piece of artwork of his or her face.

 

Higgles did not understand, though, what was Isaac doing with these things. What did he have to do with Ernest or Gregory Rembrandt? Was he trying to get a hold of them? Suddenly she heard a noise from outside. She stuffed the letter and clipping under her dress as the door opened. However, to her own horror, she did not see Isaac there, but an Indian man with a hatchet in his hand smiling wickedly. Higgles, being as she was, fainted as the man’s face dimmed from her sight and she dreamt horrible things happening to her. She even heard Isaac’s voice saying, “You got what you need, just make sure you do a good job. I do not want another problem.”

 

Another problem? Higgles did not understand as she was led away to whichever way her captors were taking her.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

It was morning when Higgles woke up again. She was very tired and strained from the night before. She looked around her to see that she was in a log cabin with several others in there with her, several other woman Indians. She was surprised how calm and peaceful the women were as they worked, their children amongst them. They seemed to be working exceptionally hard as they milled corn to make flour and other items. Higgles was surprised by all of this, but then she remembered, where was she? Then suspicions clouded her mind as in walked a tall Indian man with moccasins on his feet and hide for pants and a shirt. He walked over to Higgles, who began to scream and resist, but the man picked her up onto his shoulder, carrying her outside. She saw several more Indians working together peacefully, just looking at her for a moment as she screamed, and then returning happily to work.

 

After about a five minute walk the man entered another log cabin, which was warm with fire. He placed Higgles down on the ground gently before a group of old Indian men. Higgles was scared and the man who had carried her left the cabin.

 

Out of nowhere Higgles heard a voice say in a French accent, “My dear, what is your name?”

 

Looking to the right corner of the cabin she saw a balding priest who seemed quite thin, but not very old, at most fifty. “Higgles,” she blurted out without thinking.

 

“Higgles, I am Father Bernard DuPré, a fur trader in these parts. I was lucky enough to find a party of Indian men taking you to a cliff to drop you over. Luckier still, I had some of my Mississippian friends here help me to save your life. Of course one of the rogue Indians, I believe that he was Iroquois, more and more of them lately sadly, left to tell whoever sent him to do it news of its failure. However, that means that you are not safe, my dear. The Mississippians are fighters, of course, but the Iroquois are very strong, and if we do not want these people to suffer with use as a bother as well we must leave at once.”

 

“Leave?” asked Higgles happily. “Where to?”

 

“I have some business in Canada, but that can wait, my child. Would you like to go to New Amsterdam?”

 

“Yes, completely,” said Higgles happily. “How did you know that I might want to go there.”

 

With a smile, Bernard said, “You had a handkerchief on your person that read van Soothsbay, are you at all related to Pieter Fritter?”

 

For the first time in her life, Higgles was happy to be related to Uncle Pieter. “Yes, I am his niece.”

 

“And he trades with the Iroquois, if I am not mistaken?”

 

“Perhaps,” said Higgles unsure of where this was leading. “Well, I really do not know, I have never met him before.”

 

“Never met your own uncle, my child, that seems very strange.”

 

“Well, he hates us, it is not so strange.”

 

“Oh,” said Bernard sadly.

 

“But, my younger sister, Adelé, was killed by Indians when she traveled to the Catskill Mountains.”

 

“You do not seem sad with this.”

 

“Well, she was no loss if that is what you mean,” said Higgles with laughter shared by no one. Seeing this she stopped laughing.

 

“Well, I will take you to your home in New Amsterdam. Perhaps I can sell my fur there. Besides, I can talk to your parents about your dear Uncle Pieter.”

 

Unsure of what was happening, but not caring since all she really wanted was to go home, Higgles said, “All right.”

 

With that Bernard talked to the old men about something in, of course, another language unknown to Higgles. After ten minutes, however, they seemed to have reached an agreement as Bernard led Higgles out of the cabin to a carriage of his with several furs on it. Soon, the two were off, Higgles covered warmly by the furs, as they left the Mississippian village behind them.

 

 

XX. The Ball

 

It was already two days since Adelé had met Mrs. Heinz, and since then she had not talked to Louis van Pargoo. It seemed that he did not want to talk to her, making Adelé feel bad about what she had said to him. However, in the evening would be the ball, but Adelé was not excited for that. She would rather be with Uncle Pieter playing card games than go to the ball. For her, being a lady fit for society was boring. It seemed as if women were meant only to be the symbol of a man’s pride, and that made her sick to her stomach. She hated that feeling, rather wanting to live alone than to live as that. However, she could see by the eyes of Sarie and Jan that they felt differently. She did not understand what they liked about it so much, but they certainly did.

 

On that night, half an hour before the ball was to start, she was getting her dress ready by a maid, when Sarie entered. She looked to Adelé’s dress in disgust, even though she had said to Jan after he showed it to all that it was ‘beautiful.’ With a cold tone, Sarie told the maid, “Get out.”

 

With a flash the maid was gone. Sarie walked over to Adelé.

 

“Why must you always be cruel to me?” asked Adelé angrily. “Always you have hated me, why?”

 

“Why?” asked Sarie slightly amused. “Of course, I know why. You remind me of only one person I have met before, a person who was just as freaky as you, my mother.” There was a pause as Sarie continued. “Yes, my always perfect mother. She always did everything correctly and properly. I could never get her approval, the odd one out. She always helped everyone and I was always selfish, inconsiderate Sarie. I guess I could have been a good, helpful girl like my other sister Anne, but then I wouldn’t be me, I wouldn’t be normal. Yes, but even when I made the mistake of having you she also took care of my imperfectness in raising you up.”

 

“You mean Mrs. Heinz is my grandmother?” asked Adelé surprised.

 

“Of course she is,” said Sarie angrily. “I guess she never told you, but then it is just like her to hide it up and keep it in her pride. You too are just the same, always against people like Higgles and I, just trying to live normally while you freaks destroy the world. Luckily for me I raised Higgles to be someone wonderful, who married herself a real prince, not some Indian savage like you will!”

 

“If I am lucky enough I will never marry. I would rather die than to marry someone you call normal.”

 

“Do not worry, Adelé,” said Sarie coldly. “No one normal would want you anyway. Get ready my dear, your entrance will be coming soon.”

 

Adelé looked out of her window sadden by what she had heard. Now she understood nearly everything, Jan comforted his spoiled wife and child because he thought that to make them happy was to make himself happy. Suddenly, Adelé heard shouts from downstairs. Opening her door she heard screams and shouts of ‘Higgles, you’re back,’ ‘life was dull without you,’ and ‘where have you been.’ Just by the shouts Adelé knew that Higgles was back, and no one remembered that she existed at all.

 

Adelé walked down the stairs quietly, passing by the dining room unnoticed as she could hear Higgles recant her story. She also heard shouts as Higgles talked of news clippings.

 

To the kitchen Adelé walked to the back door to see Uncle Pieter talking angrily with another man, a priest with balding hair.

 

“You must see the seriousness, yourself Pieter, of such an assault upon the Mississippians. We do not want the Iroquois to know of where we are leaving. We need your help Pieter to make them wait a while until they come after us. Can you do that?”

 

“I can Bernard, anything for a good old friend,” said Pieter with a firm handshake with the priest.

 

Adelé walked outside to the two men, as Bernard stood transfixed. “Who is this?” he asked.

 

“Oh,” said Pieter with a smile. “My great-niece, Adelé van Soothsbay.”

 

“So, you are not dead. I am surprised, especially when your sister believes you to be.”

 

“And everyone else when she is here. It is no matter though, Uncle Pieter I am ready to go back home.”

 

“Really?” asked Pieter.

 

“Yes, there is nothing to make me stay. However, I want to go and see Mrs. Heinz first.”

 

“Of course,” said Pieter. “I will take you there. Goodbye Bernard.”

 

“Goodbye, Pieter,” said Bernard. “Be good, and remember what I told you.”

 

“How could I forget?”

 

After walking some distance away from the house, Adelé asked Uncle Pieter, “Who was that man you were talking to?”

 

“Why, that was Bernard DuPré, a fur trader who I knew when I was still fur trading before you were even born. He is a good man, a priest as well. He needs my help in getting his Mississippian friends out of Ohio. I must help him as best as I can, though it would be dangerous.”

 

“Oh Uncle Pieter, at least I will be there to help you.”

 

“No you will not, Adelé. I know you are stubborn, but not this time young lady. I will not have you dying for something like that. Besides, you are not coming with me.”

 

“What do you mean, Uncle Pieter?”

 

“You’ll see once you have come to Mrs. Heinz’s house.”

 

Adelé began to feel excited. Was she to live with her grandmother? However, if she did then Uncle Pieter would be alone, and that did not make her happy at all. She loved Pieter and to leave him was not what she wanted in the least. She felt confused, even more so, as they opened the door to Mrs. Heinz’s house to see no one other than Louis van Pargoo sitting to a cup of tea. Louis seemed as shocked as her to see the other there, Louis even slightly blushed at her presence.

 

“Good evening,” Louis mumbled from out of his mouth. “You look radiant this evening, Adelé.” It wasn’t until now that Adelé realized that she still had her ball dress on.

 

“Thank you for your compliment, Louis,” said Adelé also feeling uneasy inside.

 

“Well,” said Mrs. Heinz to Adelé. “Are you ready my dear?”

 

“Ready for where?” asked Adelé concerned.

 

“Ready for your trip to the Netherlands,” said Uncle Pieter. “Your grandmother and I decided long ago that once you reached the age of sixteen that I should bring you back here. She sent that to me in a letter when you were just born. She said that you would come when you were eight years old, that you would be in trouble as you would come to my place in the Catskills, so that I must take a look out to make sure you and the others were safe. Luckily I did find you, as well as Mary and Pickles. I have trained you to have courage, Adelé, but now it is time for you to be a lady.”

 

“I don’t want to be with those people, Uncle Pieter,” said Adelé. “I don’t want to leave you.”

 

“I will not be there for you forever, Adelé,” said Uncle Pieter. “Besides, you will have Mr. van Pargoo to transport you over to the Netherlands and to take care of you.”

 

Adelé looked to Louis, who was red in his face yet again. “Mr. van Pargoo does not seem to like my company in the least Uncle Pieter. He has not talked to me in two days, hence the redness of his face.”

 

“I am sorry, Adelé,” said Louis. “I know I have not talked to you for this time, but it was something else. I would be honored to take you to the Netherlands, until such time as when your Uncle Pieter will join you.”

 

“Are you coming Uncle?” asked Adelé surprised.

 

“Yes, but I must take care of work first alone. I will meet you there as soon as I am able. Until that time Mr. van Pargoo will take care of you.”

 

Looking to Louis, who was still blushing, Adelé said, “Thank you. I am glad you are not angry with me.”

 

“Oh, do not worry about that,” said Louis truthfully. “We better go. You do not need any packages, we will get you your things once we get to the Netherlands. Besides, your grandmother has placed several things for you upon the boat already, which will be enough for the journey.”

 

Adelé looked to Mrs. Heinz, who smiled and said, “Now do you understand my dear?”

 

“Not everything, but still I am happy about that I do know.”

 

“You must grow up into the real world now, Adelé,” said Mrs. Heinz thoughtfully. “By being with your Uncle Pieter you have grown up beautifully to be an individual, but you must now live in the world. At least now you will not be like others and change yourself for what they want.”

 

“But, grandmother, I do not want to marry,” but as she said this Adelé noticed that Louis’s skin was no longer red by very white.

 

“You will marry one day Adelé, and even though he may not be like you entirely, he will respect you because he will love you. I know that you have many questions still unanswered in your heart, but you must believe me that you will marry and that he will take care of you and respect you always. You fear marriage because you do not wish to have someone treat you badly, but not everyone is like that. You must open your heart if you are to experience that happiness that will be yours.”

 

Adelé looked to Louis, who smiled shyly and said, “Are you ready, Adelé?”

 

“Yes, I am ready.” Looking to Pieter, she said, “You’ll be there soon?”

 

“Yes,” said Uncle Pieter. “Do not worry, I’ll let Mary and Pickles know all about it. They’ll be happy and perhaps visit you one day. You must leave this place Adelé, for the world is much more than just New Netherlands, it is a sea of knowledge that no one here can truly understand.”

 

Adelé smiled to Uncle Pieter and hugged him goodbye. She then went over to Mrs. Heinz and hugged her as well. With parting words, she and Louis left the little brick house, never to return again.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

As Adelé walked quietly next to Louis, she began to think of all that had happened so soon. She had in one day learned so much, the education of life. Louis looked to her in understanding, but something was still troubling Adelé.

 

“Louis?”

 

“Yes, Adelé?”

 

“Why are you taking me to the Netherlands?”

 

Silence filled the street, but just as Louis was going to speak they saw commotion ahead of them in the street at the van Soothsbay home. They walked quickly over to the shadows so that no one in the house could see them. Adelé was scared that they had noticed that she was gone, surprisingly already, but by the voices she could hear that they were not talking about her.

 

“What are they talking about?” asked Adelé of Louis.

 

“They are talking about Prince Isaac Raspereski, the husband of your sister.”

 

“What of him?”

 

“The scoundrel. He was no prince after all, but a murderer who was wanted for his crimes in the Netherlands. He was known under the name of Ernest Rembrandt. I heard of him before, did horrible things with his victims. I cannot even repeat them that they are so horrible. It seems that your butler was his brother.”

 

“Gregory!”

 

“Yes, Ernest hoped to stay low in New Amsterdam working for his brother, but when he heard of Higgles he hoped to marry her in a sort of want to, well, not for money but just to break her pride.”

 

“Too bad it didn’t work.”

 

“Well, actually he got so tired of her he tried to get the Iroquois to kill her off, but that did not work since she was saved by the Mississippian Indians.”

 

“Of course, Bernard DuPré, he helped to save her and brought her here.”

 

“Exactly, there goes that Ernest now. Of course, that was why he left in such a hurry and to have gone to Ohio. What prince in his right mind would go there? The police have been looking for him, but no one ever made the link. Tells you what having money does to people sometimes.”

 

“How did he get all of that money though?”

 

“He stole it from his victims, all wealthy. I guess he wanted paradise in Ohio and only got Higgles, who is perhaps the greatest demon in disguise.”

 

Suddenly they saw a young man dressed in fancy clothing being held by two constables, but the man was resisting arrest.

 

“Unhand me, you fools, I am Prince Isaac Daniel George Pierre Rupert Raspereski,” said Isaac. “I have come here for my wife.”

 

“Really?” asked a constable. “What are you prince of?”

 

After a pause of two minutes, Isaac said, “Do you dare question a prince?”

 

“Do you dare not answer the question?”

 

“Well…urr…I am a prince of Bavaria.”

 

“With a name like that?”

 

“What is wrong with my name? I am a Bavarian prince I tell you, unhand me at once.”

 

“Really, I guess you can tell the others in jail that too, ‘prince,’ because that is the only royal suite you are sleeping in tonight.”

 

“Unhand me this instant. Higgles, Higgles, my love, it is me, Isaac, your loving raspberry!”

 

“You made me clean that log cabin!” exclaimed Higgles with tears. “Go to jail for all I care you mean man.”

 

“I guess it does not matter that he killed all of those people to her,” said Louis to Adelé as the commotion on the street left and the van Soothsbays and their guests went back into the house for the ball. “Let’s go now to the ship.”

 

“Now will you answer my question?” asked Adelé.

 

“What?”

 

“Why are you taking me to the Netherlands?”

 

“For your safety, Adelé. Remember, I told you before you should not be alone and I consider it an honor to protect you.” However, Adelé could see that Louis was leaving something out of what he was saying. The two walked to the ship as Prince Isaac still protested his innocence, now in a fake German.

 

 

XXI. Sailing Nowhere

 

Soon Louis and Adelé were on the ship and the anchor was raised. Louis showed Adelé to her room and trunks bought for her by her grandmother, as he said to her, “If there is anything you need, anything at all, let me know.” With that he left to take command of the ship.

 

Adelé began to look through her items when she saw that on the inside of one trunk was a letter addressed to her. Adelé opened it to see that it was from her grandmother.

 

Adelé,

I that upon reading this letter there are no problems that exist in your mind as to your past or future. However, I must remark one thing, which I had not discussed to you before. You probably know that on your wrist you have a birthmark, very plain, oval-shaped, but it is still there. However, I have been a midwife for many years and there was only one child that I know with the same mark, born seven years before you. It is a rare occurrence that such a thing could exist – the same mark at the same place, but then again nothing is coincidence. Such a mark would mean that the two people would be attached to each other always. That man, within the month, shall be at the Netherlands at the same time as you. Look to what I say as truth and learn to understand this man. For when you do begin to notice that you two are so closely together, you will see that what I have told you before will be true. Oh, by the way, I am a witch.

Your loving grandmother,

Helen

 

Adelé began to feel happy and please as she took care of the items of her trunk. She did not notice the knock upon her door and Louis come in.

 

“Adelé?” asked Louis, as she turned around startled.

 

“Oh, Louis,” said Adelé. “How may I help you?”

 

“Do you need any help at all?”

 

“Oh, not at all Louis.”

 

“I just wanted to check on you.” Suddenly, Louis noticed something on the ground, looking Adelé saw that it was her grandmother’s letter. Louis then reached down for it as Adelé tried to beat him to it, when Adelé became startled by something. Looking to his wrist she saw the same birthmark on her own. Louis, shyly, handed out her letter back to her, but he noticed the shock in her eyes.

 

“What is it?” asked Louis. “Is it a love letter?”

 

“That is why you came along,” said Adelé in a mere whisper. “You noticed my birthmark.”

 

Louis looked to her honestly, and said, “Yes.” For what was a long time they stood in silence just looking at each other. Never had Adelé thought it would have been Louis. No wonder he had been so cold to her before, and so red in face after having been to Mrs. Heinz’s house when she had entered. “Well,” said Louis. “It is a long trip to the Netherlands. At least we can have time to talk, which I am sure you undeniably wish to do very much. Good night, Adelé.”

 

Quickly Louis left the room, Adelé still startled. Adelé, realizing what had happened lay down upon her bed and looked from out of her window, still amazed by what had happened. The darkness was vast, with the full moon showing the only light of the vastness outside.

 

Adelé then quickly got up and left her room, going onto the deck. She looked around seeing Louis at the side of the ship watch the moonlight upon the water. She quietly walked over to him. “Excuse me dear, Mr. van Pargoo,” she said with a gracious bow, catching his attention. “Would you do me the honor of this dance?”

 

Louis smiled, and said, bowing as well, “It would be my honor, Miss van Soothsbay.”

 

Then, taking her in his arms they danced on top of the boat as the two men were taking the watch for the night, looking on from time to time impressed with the show before them.

 

  • * * * * * * * *

 

It would take several months before Uncle Pieter would come to the Netherlands. He had successfully help the Mississippians run away from the Iroquois, almost at a loss to his own life. He spent everyday with Adelé, even after she did marry Louis, with both sometimes dressing in costumes and riding along the countryside shooting animals for meals and, of course, drinking, but those adventures would be only befitting for another story or two.

 

In time Higgles would remarry, this time to an elderly aristocrat, who ended up upon death to have gambled away all of his money leaving her still in the hands of her parents, abusive Sarie and poor Jan. However, it was later learned that Jan and Sarie had stolen money from the bank where he worked to get Higgles her things, causing Jan to go to prison, alongside Prince Isaac (or Ernest Rembrandt who still called himself a true Bavarian prince), and leaving Higgles and Sarie alone, in their own misery selling potatoes for a living.

 

Mrs. Helen Heinz, Adelé’s grandmother, did later die, but after bringing in a grand total of three hundred children into the world (from all types of peoples).

 

As to Mr. Peter Stuyvesant, well he was the caretaker of New Amsterdam until 1664, when the British invaded the little colony, happily for the people since no one liked him. Therefore he was kicked out of his place without any fighting at all, to live his life still later on like a miserly old man.

 

However, Adelé still played her music, under a pseudonym of course, and wrote some of the greatest symphonies ever heard, influencing even the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, though they called him a genius. However, unfortunately, in a great fire her works were burnt, leaving her works forgotten forever except those who had heard of them and remembered how to play them. Perhaps future readers will remember her as Adelé, the composer, gun-toting, horse-riding, alcohol drinking, honest, courageous, but most of all, the understanding lady.

 


Adelé van Soothsbay

In the 1650s Adelé van Soothsbay lives in New Amsterdam, New Netherlands, neglected by her parents in favor of her older sister, Higgles. Their relationship unravels further when in anger she attacks her sister. In punishment she is sent to live amongst fur trapper uncle Pieter Fritter. As the years finding their reputation damaged by Higgles running away from home, her parents send for Adelé. In horror they realize their daughter knows absolutely nothing about being a lady or manners, wears boys clothing, can shoot a gun, drinks alcoholic beverages, and rides a horse like a man. By going back home Adelé begins to realize a world she left too young to understand.

  • ISBN: 9781310601538
  • Author: JH Terry
  • Published: 2015-10-09 21:50:12
  • Words: 32033
Adelé van Soothsbay Adelé van Soothsbay