Suitors? I think not

Haley Stock, guest writer

1775: there was gossip of declaring independence in town and the talk of an impending wedding in my house. A wedding to Lundy Taylor Brooks, a suitor trying desperately but in vain for my hand.

My family wants me to be the lady that everyone looks up to. Everyone in the town thinks I am strange. They think that women shouldn’t learn how to read and write, but I want more than this provincial life. I walk through the streets with my nose in a book most every day. My town, in a word: sturdy. It has been here for seven generations, but nearly every single building is new. Since we are near the river, floods destroy our houses every spring.

“Della Joy McComb!” That is my mother,  Flora Judy McComb, but everyone in town calls her Judy . . .

“Yes, Mother?”

“I need you to run into town and grab some carrots and turnip greens for supper. And make it quick please. And stay out of that library!”

Well, this is the way my life goes. Running down the stairs, I jump the railing at the end to come face to face with Lundy Taylor.

“Lundy Taylor, I should have known.”

“Della . . . I . . .” That is as far as he got before I went running from the stairway into the parlor.

“Mother! You set me up. You knew he was here . . .”

“Della Joy! Watch your tone with me and it isn’t very ladylike to rush down the stairs like that. And Lundy is our guest and has a very important question to ask you.” Stunned, I stumble backwards into the wall.

No this can’t be happening. I can’t marry him. I won’t marry him. With that I stormed out of the parlor, nearly toppling my mother and Lundy who was eavesdropping.

“Della!” My mother’s cry and apology to Lundy were left to the wind as I left the house at a dead run . . . Where I was going? I didn’t know. Just away. Away from Mother, away from Lundy, just away from that house. The sound of my own breath and my bare feet hitting the dirt road is the only sound that I can hear, the only sound I can bear hearing. Tears run just as freely as I am. Two miles from the house, still crying, I look up just in time to run smack into someone who I have never seen.

“I am sorry,” I mumble between sniffles while trying desperately to suppress my tears “I should have been watc . . . .” Just then I look at the unfortunate individual that my clumsiness has cast into the dust of the road with me. He is not tall, no taller than five foot seven. His hair is like the golden tips on the grain growing in the field next to us, perfect. I have never actually thought a man was attractive before. It has, in the past, been only the men who are chasing me, but he is the most handsome man I have ever seen.

“It’s ok, are you ok?”

“Yes, I’m sorry, I should have been watching where I was going. I haven’t seen you around here before. Did you just move here?”

” Yes ma’am, we just moved here from Philadelphia. My name is Roswell Robberts.”

“Philadelphia! I have always dreamed of seeing Philadelphia; I have read so many books about it. Oh, where are my manners. Nice to meet you Roswell, I am Della McComb. If you don’t mind me asking, what is it actually like in Philadelphia?” I butt in before he has the chance to speak. I’m talking so fast, that he can’t get a word in edgewise.

“Well Ms. Della . . .”

“Please, just call me Della.”

“Ok, Della, Philadelphia is cold but beautiful. The lake is clear and it gets warm enough to swim in in the summer time.”

“Oh it sounds just like it was described in the books.”

“You read?” He sounds shocked. And now I am embarrassed. So respectfully I quickly avert my eyes from his to the ground trying to hide my embarrassment, but respond reluctantly.

“Yes sir, I read.”

“Oh, don’t be embarrassed, I think it is amazing that you read! I never thought that women would ever start to think for themselves. I have always hoped that I would meet a girl who was intellectual. One who could not only think for herself, but to be able to speak intelligently.”

“So you don’t think it is bad?” Gaining a little bit of confidence I look up to his eyes to realize that they are a beautiful crystal blue.

“No, it isn’t a bad thing. Not at all. I think it is great. I wish more girls were like you to be honest.” Just then a man on a horse came riding fast up to us and came up to a stop.

“Where am I if you don’t mind me asking?” Curiously I look to Roswell before responding.

“Massachusetts, Mr. . . .” Realizing I don’t know his name.

“Mr. Revere,Paul Revere. I am riding to Philadelphia and got lost.”

“Well, that certainly was interesting wasn’t it,” I said turning to Roswell as Mr. Revere rode off in the direction of town which we had directed him towards.

“Yes, it certainly was. Now why don’t you tell me for what reason you were running down the road crying as you were.”

“Well, there is this suitor, Lundy Taylor Brooks, at my house. He wants to marry me, but I don’t want to marry him. My mother is set on me marrying him, and I don’t know how to get her to understand that I do not want to marry him.”

“You are not married then?” He asked as his face lit up in hearing I was not married.

“No, I am not.” I respond curiously.

“Well, maybe I can help you with that a little bit.” Now I am very curious about this statement and am wondering what he has in mind. I am a little bit afraid to ask him, but finally I do.

“What do you mean, ‘Help me’. How would you do that.”

“Well, why don’t we go grab my horse and for starters, I can take you to wherever ‘Home’ is for you. Could we start with that?”

“Yeah we can. But then you would have to meet my mother though.” Hesitation must be written all over my face.

“Well, maybe me meeting your mother will get rid of that suitor Lundy Taylor.” He looks almost as disgusted as I feel about him.

“You would do that for me? Why?”

“Well, I would like to get to know you. If that is something that you would agree with.”

“Well, I think I can handle that.” Taking my hand he tucks it under his arm as we walk to the farmhouse up the road.


The day of the wedding is tomorrow! Roswell has ridden into town to pass the word to the folks. Mother has sent me into town to invite the town folks to the wedding also. After stopping by the librarian and inviting the baker, I see a mother and her son walking toward me.

“Hello,” I say trying to be friendly.” What is your name?”

“My name is Anastasia Marie Chapman. And this is my son Johnny he just turned one year old.”

“Well, Mrs. Chapman, would you and Johnny like to come to my wedding?”

“Well, yes Ma’am, we would love to.”

“Good. Well, we will see you there.” And with that, I turn and continue toward the grocery store. While in the grocery store, I hear people talking about Patrick Henry giving his “Give me Liberty” speech. It was pretty good, at least that is what I thought when I heard this part of it ” What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”(Wirt) There was also talk of the new invasion of Canada, and the battles of Lexington and Concord. Personally, I think that war is just a waste of life. But others won’t agree with that statement. I ask as many people as possible and head back to the house to get ready for the wedding. Just then I catch a glimpse of Mr. Revere.

“Mr. Revere, when are you going to continue you journey to Philadelphia?”

“Two days from now, why?”

“Well, after Roswell and I get married could we ride with you. Roswell is from there, and would like to help you get there.”

“Why, yes! I would love that!”

At home mother’s waiting.

“You know Della, you have really changed since Roswell has come into your life. I used to tell you over and over to “use your manners, and be a lady to our guests.”

“Now somehow Roswell has brought out the lady in you. I am so proud of you!”

“Thank you mother. You helped with that a little bit also. I guess I just needed motivation to change.


Day one:

Today Roswell and I are going to ride with Mr. Revere. Since Roswell is from Philadelphia he has told Paul that he is willing to help him on the journey. We start our fifty eight day trip at four thirty this morning.

            Day nine:

The riding isn’t hard. Rivers will be our biggest threat. Although they shouldn’t be flooded, two of them are, at least in the nine days traveling so far. Mr. Revere is very knowledgeable about the terrain we are traveling on. He has been able to identify edible plants at every stop we make. And he is also very good at cooking them.

            Day eighteen:

I am starting to wonder if I might be pregnant. I don’t want to mention anything to Roswell, not yet anyway. I wish I could have brought my clavichord with me, but that would have been too many things to bring and it wouldn’t have fit in the saddle bag on my horse which is already full of cloths and carrots, dried porridge to cook over a fire, apples and a large supply of water.

            Day twenty seven:

The riding seems to be getting harder. Each step hurts a little more. Roswell is helpful, but he doesn’t know, I won’t tell him, I am pregnant. The rivers are getting worse, which is making the trip more difficult. I want to tell him but I’m scared to because I don’t want him to worry.

            Day forty five:

I’m going to tell Roswell tomorrow, still scared but I feel like it’s the best thing to do. Riding with Paul is very fun, because he knows so much about the train we are in. He keeps telling us fun facts about each area we pass through. We have passed by several Elm trees which reminded me of the  Tree of liberty in Boston Massachusetts.

            Day fifty eight:

We made it! So happy that it is over. But we will miss Paul Revere.

            July 4, 1776. Our county gained its independence today. Ten months after my marriage to Roswell, we have settled in Philadelphia. My daughter, Gertrude Ann McComb has her daddy’s eyes. My special little girl, born on the day that our great country gained its independence for good. And now Roswell, and I can do the traveling that I have always dreamed of doing with her. Where we are going to go I do not know, but we will travel. I have to travel, even if not for my own desire, for Gertrude. I don’t want her to be wanting to travel and not be able to. I want to give her everything I wish I could have had when I was little. And I will.


Works Cited

Wirt, William.Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, as reproduced in The              World’s Great Speeches, Lewis Copeland and Lawrence W.Lamm, eds.New York1973.




“Writing the Declaration of Independence.” The American Revolution, Primary Source Media,                 1999. American Journey. Student Resources in Context. Mar. 2017


“Samuel Adams.” UXL Biographies, UXL, 2011. Student Resources in Context, link Mar. 2017.


“Thomas Jefferson.” DISCovering Authors, Gale, 2003. Student Resources in Context. March                  2017

“Paul Revere Williams.” DISCovering Multicultural America: African Americans, Hispanic                       Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Gale, 2003. Research in Context, 13              Apr. 2017.