“Mother, Mary’s at the door!” I heard George cry out.
“Well, let her in you daft boy” came the reply from Ellen, my wife.
Now, do I go and see what she wants this time, or do I stand my ground, as I said I would if she married that convict, Fred Brady. I have no doubt, he has spent all their money at the pub again and she’s here for a handout.
I’m sure all fathers have high hopes for their daughters. As a child, she showed a determination that you couldn’t budge. I remember one time, I asked Mary to help me round up some chooks to dispatch for the week’s dinners. Without hesitation, she pointed to the four that we needed to catch.
“Why them?” I asked.
“That one is a rooster, they don’t give eggs. Those two are old, they don’t give eggs, and that one I just don’t like, she’s mean!” she replied.
Headstrong, she insisted, “That’s the four.”
So, I suppose it’s no surprise that she didn’t listen to me. It’s hard, trying to etch out a life on this godforsaken land, so far away from England. My wife and I, came here to start a family and give them opportunities to make something of themselves. Free to choose any man, she chose one that would bring her only heartache, and said it was for love!
“Bill, get in here. It’s Mary, she’s crying.” I heard my wife cry out in a most unusual tone.
Then, in a muffled cry that escalated to a scream, I heard Mary “He’s dead, Fred’s dead!”
Looking at the story that might be behind my convict’s wife and children being left destitute even though she had family living near her, got me thinking. Her parents were free settlers and Mary, who was born in the colony, married two convicts. Maybe, her family disowned her and offered no support. I have a daughter, so I looked at how I might feel, to channel my creative writing. I found, not having a narrator, but looking at Mary from someone else’s point of view, worked well.
Hi Darryl, what a great story. I had two free marry convicts and you have given me a thought to follow. I did get a little confused with wife referred to as mother. I know that this was the case in many families but it threw me a bit. But I did love the description of the chooks, and a fathers desires for his daughter. I have a wonderful picture of Mary. Punctuation is not my forte, but I did wonder if there should be some sort of pause perhaps “Mother”, “Marys at the door”.
A wonderful story and description.
Glad it provoked a thought to follow. Sorry for the confusion, maybe I need to re-think my approach, but the story is from the father/husband’s point of view and what he hears from another room. Punctuation was almost non-existent for me at the start of the first UTAS course, that and spelling, but I’m working on getting better. So, thanks for the encouragement.
I enjoyed your story. You captured my attention at the start by wondering what Mary wanted, and I certainly got a surprise when i got to the end to find Fred had died.
Your role as a father has definitely added to your understanding of how Mary’s parents would have felt about her marrying convict Fred, and I like the way you told the story about the chickens in the middle. My only constructive criticism would be to just watch punctuation.
Well done. Thanks.
Surprise, that’s great for me, not so much for poor Fred. Yes, the situations I get into with punctuation. I’m not sure if I will ever get it right, but I will try.