Several weeks later, the Congress received the reply they had been waiting for from King George III. The men were rather somber as they listened to the words of a king that many thought to be a tyrant…
“I don’t understand,” said Purity. “What’s happening?”
“The king is basically saying that the Colonist’s way of seeing the situation is wrong. He’s saying that THESE men are manipulating loyal British subjects into rebellion. He says those who stop leading the people to rebellion will be granted mercy…” said Prudence.
“So, they won’t get in trouble?” asked Bea.
“No, they’ll go to jail – probably for the rest of their lives. But they’ll live,” said Prudence.
“And the men that don’t stop leading the rebellion will be killed – by hanging,” restated Purity.
“Yes, it’s a lose/lose situation. There is no winning with the king,” explained Prudence.
“The colonists have no choice but to rebel against the king and make a life of liberty,” said Bea.
“And pursue happiness,” said Purity.
The girls worked quietly into the evening, saying nothing to each other.
Purity couldn’t sleep. She knew she and Bea would be going home soon and that the events of the American Revolution would soon be a distant memory.
But watching the young people of this time period, particularly the young women, made Purity very aware of how lucky she actually was.
Almost all young girls of this time, who were her age, were already married with several children hanging from her skirts.
Purity had many choices: she could join the army and fight injustices in the world, she could go to college and work for a better life. She could get a job and just support herself for a few years after she was done with school.
“But which way is the right way?” asked Purity. “What should I do?”
Prudence saw her middle sister sitting in the candlelight and got up. She got up, grabbed a shawl from a nearby chair and put it around her sister’s shoulders.
“I’m sorry if this adventure isn’t as exciting as some of our others,” remarked Prudence. “Maybe we can take a road trip to San Francisco the next time we see each other.”
“I’d like that,” said Purity. Purity looked over at Bea sleeping comfortably in the bed. “Bea thinks I’m lucky to be turning 18.”
“Everyone is in a hurry to grow up – until they are grown up,” whispered Prudy. “You want some hot tea?”
“Yeah,” answered Purity. She waited until Prudence set the hot tea cup onto the table and sat down before she continued… “I want to be happy, Prudy!”
“Ok, so how do we make that happen?” asked Prudence.
“I don’t know,” replied Purity.
“Yes you do. The answer is inside you. Try not to work too hard getting to the answer. Just let it come to you,” said Prudence.
“Tell me what I should do, Prudence -”
“No, you MUST make this decision for yourself, because you have to live with the decision,” said Prudence. “I wish I could do more for you, but you aren’t a little girl anymore. You’ve gotta start making decisions and living with the consequences of those decisions. YOU have to take action. You have to get the ball rolling.”
Prudence looked at her sister in the candlelight. Then, she continued…
“You have EVERYTHING you need to take your life and make it yours,” Trust that! I believe in you, Purity. Try not to make everything SO important. Life will go on with whichever choice you make. But know this – if you don’t choose something – life has a way of choosing for you.”
Purity heard a loud “meow” down on the street. She moved over to the window and looked down at a young girl huddled next to the building. She was as close to the building as possible trying to keep warm. A very angry cat sat next to the young girl. The girl had taken the cat’s dinner. And she was eating it ravenously.
The girl looked up at Purity with hollow sad eyes.
“It’s a delicate dance between ‘going with the flow’ and making decisions about your life,” replied Prudence.
“Now, let’s go back to bed,” said Prudence. With that, she beckoned for her younger sister to bend down and she kissed her, ever so sweetly on the forehead.” “You are too tall, girl!” They both laughed and went back to bed.