Preview of Facing The Enemy: A Caroline Classic Volume 2
Written by Kathleen Ernst
Published 2014 by American Girl Publishing
Chapter 1 - A Spring Adventure - May 1813
Caroline Abbott smiled as she walked down the hill in the little village of Sackets Harbor, New York. Finally, a soft spring day had arrived! The winter had been long and icy, and then hard rains had pelted the countryside. Today, though, May sunshine sparkled on the blue-green waters of Lake Ontario.
Soon the "Abbott's" sign that hung above her family's shipyard came into view. Caroline's mother had been in charge of the shipyard for almost a year now--ever since war had broken out and Papa had been captured by the British. Caroline missed Papa terribly. She was also very proud of Mama, who had kept the business going.
Caroline shielded her eyes with her hand and squinted over the water. Almost all travel to and from Sackets Harbor involved ships on Lake Ontario. Now that the winter's ice had melted, the first supply boats of the year would arrive any day. That would be something to celebrate!
Caroline was concentrating so hard that she didn't see Hosea Barton, the sailmaker, until he walked from the yard.
"Good morning, miss," he said. "See any boats out there?"
"Not yet," Caroline sighed. "I was hoping to see Irish Jack's boat. He promised Mama last fall that he'd bring supplies for the yard as soon as the ice melted. And I am waiting to see what new colors of embroidery silk he brings!" Irish Jack was a family friend, and he never failed to tuck a few sewing supplies for Caroline in with his other cargo.
"I hope he comes soon," Hosea said. He sounded more worried than excited.
Caroline looked at her friend. "Is something wrong?"
"We're completely out of sailcloth," Hosea told her. "I have nothing left to work with."
Caroline stared at him in dismay. She hadn't realized how badly the supply boats were needed. "Did Mr. Tate send you home?" she asked anxiously.
"No, child," Hosea assured her. "I'm running an errand for him. Mr. Tate is trying to keep me busy. We're all waiting to see Irish Jack's boat, though. We're desperate for the supplies he's carrying." Hosea tipped his hat and continued on his way.
Caroline walked slowly into the shipyard. Since war had been declared, the workers had been busy making gunboats for the American navy. It was usually a treat to spend time here--Caroline liked watching the men turn pieces of wood and bits of iron into huge ships. Now, though, the spring afternoon no longer seemed quite as sweet.
In the shipyard, Caroline saw Mr. Tate talking to Mama. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Abbott," he was saying, "but if those supplies don't some in the next few days, we'll have to close the yard. We need bolts, nails, tar, paint...without them, we can't work."
Let's pray our supply boat arrives, then," Mama told him. "We have to finish that gunboat."
Mama went into the office and closed the door behind her. As Caroline watched Mr. Tate walk away, she thought about what she'd heard. Her chest suddenly felt fluttery inside as a new worry struck her. The supply boat being late is bad enough, she thought, but what if Irish Jack doesn't arrive at all? Caroline knew that British ships were always prowling Lake Ontario for American boats to capture or sink. She realized now that Irish Jack's boat would be a special prize. An enemy captain could take Jack and his men prisoner--and deliver all those supplies to the British across the lake in Upper Canada.
Caroline tiptoed closer to the office and peeked in the window. Mama sat on the stool in front of Papa's desk, her face in her hands. Caroline knocked on the door, then opened it. "Mama?" she called. "It's me."
Mama sat up straight, looking startled. "Oh! Caroline, I--I didn't know you were coming today." She picked up a stack of papers and tapped the edges on the desk to straighten them.
"Grandmother said I might," Caroline explained.
Mama nodded. But she looked as if her mind was somewhere else.
"I heard you talking to Mr. Tate," Caroline said. "And Hosea told me that he's used the last of the sailcloth. Could you borrow some supplies from the navy shipyard?"
"I asked." Mama shook her head. "The navy shipbuilders have nothing to spare for us. Everyone is waiting for the supply boats. The soldiers and sailors are even running low on food! The supply boats will bring them barrels of salt pork and bags of pilot bread." She sighed. "At least we have our garden. Still, if Irish Jack doesn't come soon, our shipyard will be in trouble."
Caroline swallowed hard as she imagined the dangerous trip to Sackets Harbor. "Do you think the British might have captured his boat?"
"It's possible," Mama admitted. "But perhaps he's just been delayed by bad weather. All we can do is wait."
Caroline nodded, but Mama's answer didn't make her feel any better. Since the war began, she sometimes felt as if she spent all her time waiting. Waiting for news. Waiting for the supply ships. And most of all, waiting for Papa to come home. Waiting could be so hard.
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