Laodicea "Daring Dicey" Langston

Patriot * Revolutionary War Heroine * Mother

 

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.

Daring "Dicey" 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.

Billowy 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 midnight 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.

The leader approached the front door and knocked firmly. Dicey put her hand to the door, “Who is it?”

“This is Lieutenant Thomas Springfield. My men and I are from the twenty-first regiment of the South Carolina militia. We’ve come to retrieve a rifle that your brother James left for us.”

Remembering 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.

Dicey 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.

A shorter, stout young man standing to Thomas’ right cleared his throat, “The rifle, Miss. Do you have it?”

Dicey 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.”

Dicey 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 gun?

 She 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.

“You 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.

“It’s 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.

“Do 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.

Thomas 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?

Deciding 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.”

Dicey didn’t flinch as she continued to hold the muzzle to his heart, “The password, Sir.”

“The password is musket men, Miss Langston,” Thomas acquiesced.

Dicey disarmed the rifle, lowered it from his chest and handed it to him.

“You 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 your acquaintance.”

“I’m glad she’s on our side!” laughed one of his friends, “She really put you in your place, Springfield !”

Again, 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 the door.

“We’ll be leaving you now, Miss. 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 door.

As 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.

With 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. 

She 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.  

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The Patriot Wore Petticoats

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