The day had been hot and long, certainly she was not used to dancing, not used to being touched. Nina assumed that in most places dancers were gloved even on hot days, but for the last three years no one had bought new gloves. There were simply none available since the non-importation agreements – made with such passion in town meeting. Now here they were at a wedding — bare-handed. Non-importation agreements were fine until there was something one needed, like gloves.
Nina slipped back out of the long windows toward the rose garden. She found a bench in the flowers and gratefully sat. Her legs felt weak, she felt flushed and her heart was beating in a most uncomfortable manner. She blamed the dancing, but sitting there in the warm June sun, she grudgingly admitted that Alex, her intrepid rescuer, was the culprit. She had sworn off men so many years ago. Vowed never to marry again. She assured herself she was safe because of her short marriage, and that there was no time or room in her life for such discomfort – physical or emotional. It was good she would leave, and that he would go back to Cambridge. Chances were, this time she really would never see him again.
She concentrated on the beautiful garden. In the warm dry weather the flowers had bloomed early and now waited, suspended in glorious splendor, their petals so far open they nearly drooped. A few had already stopped trying to hold on, and masses of color littered the nearby ground. It was clear from the empty stems, that those flowers that had been fresh and pretty this morning, had been cut for the ceremony, or the party here at the house. She scooped a handful of pale purple and yellow petals into her hands and breathed in the heady scent.
Roses reminded her of that day John and his sisters had taken them all out to hear the latest preacher, a red Indian with a booming voice. They had sat near the host’s house and their rose garden, facing into the field – along with hundreds of other people. It was so unlike her father’s church. There had been no mention of theology, or of readings or careful translation of the bible, such as he and other ministers did. No this man preached of finding Jesus through one’s heart not one’s head. It had seemed alien at the time, but spoke to her now with so many changes whirling around her.
She had been proud that day when her young husband left to fight for Great Britain and the King against their Catholic enemy, the French. She realized after his death that she had never really understood, her heart had not understood that he should go and fight in a war which had ended in Europe and for which the treaty had already been signed.
It was different this time. This unnatural civil war, as the newspapers called it, seemed inevitable. Just as she had moved from her parent’s home; forge her own life, with marriage, child, and an early widowhood, so America was ready to be accepted as a full member of the Empire with rights equal to all Englishmen. That Parliament did not agree, would not grant them membership or a vote, even though the colonies were important members of the mercantile world and consumers of British made goods, rankled.
She wasn’t sure how she felt about Alex flirting with her, making her feel things she would rather ignore, but she could not help be proud that someone who was a friend of sorts, was engaged in routing the British Army out of Boston.