Excerpt from the book "The Patriot Wore Petticoats" A historical fiction novel based on the life of Laodicea "Dicey" Springfield
by Marnie L. Pehrson,
the 4th Great Granddaughter of Dicey & Thomas
Copyright 2004, All rights reserved.
Langston, the bold and reckless rider and expert shot, saves her family and an
entire village during the American Revolution. Having faced British soldiers,
rushing swollen rivers, the "Bloody Scouts," and the barrel of a
pistol, nothing had quite prepared her for the heart-pounding exhilaration
she’d find in the arms of one brave Patriot.
white feather pillows floated in the azure sky and bright rays of
sunlight punctured them, streaming through to heat the afternoon. Two
weeks had passed since Dicey had warned the Elder Settlement without
anyone realizing that it was she who had made the
run to save them. Dicey straightened the parlor, cleaning the furniture
with a feather duster when she heard the pounding of horse hooves
outside the house. She set the feather duster on an end table and bolted
to the window. Holding the curtains together and peaking out, she
counted four men who dismounted and tromped up the front porch steps to
stand before the front door of the Langston plantation house. A tall
handsome young man who appeared to be Dicey’s age led the group. His
torn, rolled-up shirtsleeves which exposed his well-formed biceps
accentuated his muscular build. The four men had evidently recently seen
battle as their worn and dusty clothing hung on them and their bodies
were bruised, scraped and cut.
leader approached the front door and knocked firmly. Dicey put her hand
to the door, “Who is it?”
is Lieutenant Thomas Springfield. My men and I are from the twenty-first
regiment of the
militia. We’ve come to retrieve a rifle that your brother James left
the rifle she had hidden under her mattress, she motioned to Henry at
the top of the stairs to keep Celin, Bennett and Amy upstairs with him.
Their mother and father had gone into town for supplies and left Dicey
in charge of the children.
unlatched and opened the door a crack and looked up into the young
man’s kind eyes. He tipped his hat from his blonde head and his deep
blue eyes locked into Dicey’s chocolate ones. He seemed so familiar to
her.For a moment, there
remained nothing in the world but those beautiful blue eyes staring into
hers. She noted the dimple in his strong chin and a cut in his left
cheek. She wondered what battle had caused such a gash and resisted the
urge to reach up and soothe away the pain that it must be causing him.
shorter, stout young man standing to Thomas’ right cleared his throat,
“The rifle, Miss. Do you have it?”
tore her eyes away and looked to the speaker. “Yes, come in.” She
opened the door wider and the four men stepped inside the home. “Have
a seat there in the parlor. I’ll get the rifle.”
sprang up the stairs and toward her bedroom. Opening the door, she paced
to her bed and pulled the rifle from beneath the mattress. Breaking
herself from the spell of the young man awaiting her downstairs, she
realized that she had neglected to ask for the password. How did she
know that these men were not Tories in disguise, determined to steal the
held the rifle in a ready position and carefully descended the stairs.
Two of the men had seated themselves in the parlor while Thomas
Springfield stood facing the staircase awaiting her return. A fourth man
studied a portrait of Solomon Langston that hung above the mantel.
four don’t look like militia men. I will need the password as proof
that you are who you say you are,” she ventured as she stepped down to
face Thomas Springfield, looking determinedly up into his piercing eyes.
too late to make conditions, Miss Langston. The gun is already in our
possession and its holder too!” teased Thomas Springfield with a
twinkle in his eye and the dimple in his chin deepening.
you think so?” she exclaimed defiantly as she cocked the rifle and
held the muzzle to his heart, “If the gun is in your possession, take
charge of her!” Dicey’s pulse raced and she wondered whether the
possible danger of the moment caused her heart to pound so wildly or the
thrill she felt from Thomas Springfield’s gaze.
studied Dicey’s expression and the determination it held quickly
erased the smile from his face. He began to wonder if he’d misread
her. He felt certain that she was as enamored with him as he was with
her, but now he second-guessed himself. Could this beautiful little lady
really be serious?
she threatened in earnest, Thomas raised his arms slightly to attempt
to quell her vexation with a position of surrender. His deep voice
soothed, “Now there, Miss Langston, I will give you the password. Just
put down the rifle.”
didn’t flinch as she continued to hold the muzzle to his heart, “The
password is musket men, Miss Langston,” Thomas acquiesced.
disarmed the rifle, lowered it from his chest and handed it to him.
certainly are worthy to be the sister of James Langston!” bellowed the
heavy-set fellow who had been relaxing on an ottoman by the window. The
other two men nodded in agreement and approached the pair. Thomas
extended his hand to her, grasped it gently yet firmly and kissed her
fingertips. “Yes, you are a brave young woman. It’s an honor to make
glad she’s on our side!” laughed one of his friends, “She really
put you in your place,
she found herself lost in those deep blue eyes and fought to tear
herself away from his gaze as his three companions started heading for
be leaving you now,
Thank you for the rifle and for a royal display of bravery,” boomed
the heavy set man as he slapped Thomas on the back and pushed him toward
the four men started to exit, Dicey held the door open and watched them
mount their horses and gallop away. Just before going through the gate,
Thomas Springfield turned back over his shoulder, tipped his hat and
smiled at Dicey who stood gazing out the front door. She returned a
dimpled smile and nodded. As the men rode away, over the hill, and out
of sight, Dicey continued to stare in their direction, secretly wishing
the rugged young man with the wavy blonde hair and penetrating blue eyes
would return. Finally, she shut the door, bolted it, and turned to lean
her back against the door. She released a sigh and wondered if she would
ever meet him again.
her back still to the door, she heard a knock. Thinking that the liberty
men had returned, she spun around, unlatched and opened the door with a
smile spread across her dimpled cheeks. The smile quickly fled, as
horror replaced the anticipation of seeing Lieutenant Springfield again.
Tory Captain Gray with his riflemen loomed before her.
struggled to shut the door, but the men were too strong, barged in, and
flung the door so forcefully that it nearly burst from its hinges.