Western Fiction posted October 10, 2012 Chapters: Prologue 1 -2- 3... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
Falsely accused.

A chapter in the book AN ORPHAN NAMED JO

Chapter One - Part Two

by c_lucas

This will be the story of Caitlin Anna Wiley. Her name will change to Jo Wiley when, as an orphan, she will be arrested for stealing an apple, valued at two cents.

APRIL, 1877
Scene from last chapter:
“Joleen did a beautiful job with these walls and door,” Caitlin said.
“That she did, me Pumpkin. Now, yeh be off to school. I will be here when yeh be returning.”  Kathleen kissed her daughter on the forehead and received a gentle hug.
“I’ll be seeing you then, Mammy.” Caitlin left the building.
Her friend and classmate, Lila Doyle waited two tenement houses down.
“How be yeh this fine morning, Caitlin?” Lila asked.
“You best not let Sister Abigail hear you. She’ll snitch to Reverend Mother Ruth and you’ll get more hours, scrubbing floors.” Caitlin warned.
“Me father said I should be proud of my language and I’ll not be needing to change it.”  Lila glared at Caitlin.
“Aunt Heather’s husband, Phillip, wants her to take classes to change the way she talks.”
“You always be talking about yer Aunt Heather, but I not be knowing her. Me mother says she be high and mighty since she off and married a doctor. She says her nose be so high that she’ll drown if she went outdoors in a rain storm without an umbrella.”
Caitlin stopped and glared at her friend. “Yer mudder never met Aunt Heather. How can she be saying such things?”
“Sister Abigail says yer aunt worships the Divil.”
“That be a lie. Sister Abigail has never met Aunt Heather and thinks all Irish are dumb. Aunt Heather is guided by Saint Brigit!” Caitlin turned and walked faster to get away from Lila who yelled after her.
“You probably worship th’ Divil, too!”
Caitlin turned and retraced her steps to Lila who stood her ground.  “Be that be anger talking, or yeh?”
 “It be me!” Lila dropped her book strap and swung her fist toward Caitlin’s face.
Caitlin dodged the blow and struck Lila in the pit of her stomach.  The girl doubled-up, holding her stomach, and fought from retching. A few feet away, Caitlin stood still, holding her book strap in her left hand, waiting.

Lila was able to hold her breakfast down. She straightened up holding her stomach and ran toward Caitlin, who stepped aside at the last minute. Lila tripped over the smaller girl’s foot and sprawled out on the ground.
Brigit, I not be wanting to hurt me friend.Caitlin prayed. She reached down and offered Lila her hand. The girl pushed Caitlin’s hand away, got to her feet, and picked up her book strap.  She spit at the smaller girl’s feet and ran. “Yeh be a witch, too.”
Kathleen watched her daughter leave, turned and knocked on the newly remodeled infirmary door, and then entered. She smiled at Shannon and Breanna. “A morning blessing to all.”
Joleen opened the new door and greeted Kathleen, before going back to watch over Shannon’s babies.
“How are yeh this morning?” Shannon inquired as she brought Kathleen a cup of tea.
“A wee bit sore, but I be getting around. Thank yeh for th’ tay and taking care of Caitlin last night." She took a sip and sat down at the table across from Breanna, who crushed arnica plants with a mortar and pestles, the first step in making a healing gel.
“Shannon, please be locking the door.” She turned her attention to Kathleen. “Me family and friends be knowing to knock on the other door. Let’s be having a look at yeh.”
The young woman put the closed sign up, locked the door, and then helped Kathleen to strip to her bloomers. She explored the various bruised areas with gentle fingers, and mentally noted Kathleen’s reply to the amount of pain. Then she removed all the facial bandages except for the nose bandage. When she was finished, she turned toward her mother-in-law.
“Do yeh be knowing what this is?” Breanna held up a small bowl filled with a yellow/brownish mixture. "This be crushed arnica mixed with alcohol. It can be used lightly on burns and bruises. It be a poison if it’s used wrong. I’ll be treating the ribs. Shannon, you can treat the chest, and Kathleen, I’ll be holding a mirror while yeh be treating your face, then I be treating around yer your nose and eyes."
Thirty minutes later, Kathleen had been treated and her bandages replaced with fresh ones. Shannon helped her into her dress, unlocked the door and removed the sign. She helped Kathleen to lie down in Mrs. Kennedy’s old quarters. Soon, the abused woman fell asleep.
Breanna went into the next room. She and Joleen carried the babies into the infirmary. Shannon took the baby from her mother-in-law and moved behind the curtains of Heather’s old quarters. Joleen followed her and kept one baby entertained while Shannon nursed the other. When she exchanged babies, she took the freshly fed baby to her mother.
Breanna thanked her daughter and cradled her grandchild in her arms. Soon the baby was asleep. “Why don’t yeh bring their basinet in here? We’ll watch the babies and yeh be getting some free time before yer brothers and sister get home."
“I be thanking yeh, Mammy.” She hurried back into the other room, brought out the double basinet on wheels and retrieved her art supplies off the mattress.
Shannon came from behind the curtain, cradling the baby she just nursed.  She handed the infant to her mother-in-law and checked out the basinet. When everything met Shannon’s approval, she walked over to Breanna and picked up one of her infants.
“Hold it right there, Shannon. Mammy, look at me.” Joleen started a pencil drawing in her sketch pad. When she finished, she studied it, before showing the women.
Shannon laid her baby in the basinet and straightened the blanket. She walked over and examined Joleen’s sketch. “It’s beautiful.” In her excitement, she took it from Joleen’s hands, turned to show it to Breanna, who had just placed the other baby in the basinet.
Breanna studied the sketch carefully before going to the wall near the exit door. She placed it next to an oil of her and Cullen. “Me darling, yeh’ll be needing to paint these and I will place them here.”

“Please make one for me and I’ll place it next to the painting of Conor and me. Yeh be doing such beautiful work.” Shannon kissed a beaming Joleen on the cheek and gave her a hug.
Caitlin entered the vestibule, bent to take off her shoes and socks. She withdrew a penny from the pauper’s box and placed it in the candle donation box. She chose a candle and walked to her favorite spot to offer her prayers.
The young girl lit the candle from a burning candle and placed it in the last candle holder the end on bottom row. Crossing herself, she started off with a Hail Mary before saying a silent prayer Heather taught her years ago, and adding to it.
Brigit, I be thanking yeh for this fine day and for protecting me and me mother. Thank yeh for keeping me from hurting Lila. She be wrong about yeh, Aunt Heather and me. This be America where she has freedom of speech. Please bless her and help me ta forgive her. I not be wanting ta lose her friendship and I’m sorry for striking her.
Caitlin ended with The Our Father, crossed herself and hurried to the Vestibule to reclaim her shoes and socks.
Father Paul exited the small room, placing something in his mouth before wiping it with the back of his hand.
“What are you doing here? You should be in class.” he glared at Caitlin as she finished tying her shoes.
Caitlin stood and curtsied.  “I be heading there now.” She left by the front door and hurried to the Convent. “I be late.” She tried to enter quietly and came face to face with Reverend Mother Ruth, who stern look bade no good tiding for the young girl. Caitlin curtsied. “My apology, ma’am.” She gulped.
The Reverend Mother pointed toward her office and Caitlin obediently followed.
Lila sat in one of the chairs and when the Reverend Mother turned to shut the door, Lila stuck her tongue out at Caitlin and smirked.
Settling herself in her chair behind her desk, the Reverend Mother kept her stern look and glared at Caitlin. “Well, young lady, what do you have to say for yourself?”
Caitlin fought to control her trembling and maintained eye contact. “What do you mean, ma’am?”  She cast a glance at Lila who appeared to be on the verge of crying.
Casting a glance at both of the girls, the nun’s eyes focused on Caitlin. “You mean to tell me you don’t know why you are in my office?”
“I was late because I stop to buy a candle and say a prayer.”
“And you haven’t did anything wrong? You didn’t strike Lila for correcting you when you started talking that pig talk?”
Caitlin glanced at Lila who was actually crying before turning her attention back toward the Reverend Mother. “I struck her in the stomach after she tried to hit me in the face.”
“Liar! You tripped me after you hit me.” She held her freshly bandage hands up for Caitlin to see.
“You tripped over my foot when I stepped aside to keep you from pushing me down,” Caitlin spoke quietly without any emotions. She was careful to correctly pronounce her words.
“You lying, and I thought we were friends!” Lila started sobbing. She jumped up and ran from the room.
Caitlin watched her run out the front door. I thought we were, too.
“Close the door, pull up your dress and lean over my desk.” The Reverend Mother opened her desk drawer.
Caitlin winched when she saw the Reverend Mother holding her leather strap.
Herbal medicine to treat bruising and swelling.
Herbal medicine to treat bruising.
19th century text books
19th century school life.


Thank you, Reuven Azachi, for the use of your image, "Forgotten."

It is the author's intention to do away with the dialect by the end of this book. Until then;
Cailin = Irish for girl.
Divil = Devil
Fader - Father
Help = hep
Me = my
Mammy = mother
Mudder = mother
Ta = to
Tay = tea
Th' = the
Yer = your
Yeh = you

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