Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Levi Shares Bitty Beck's Letter

The third of the Hearts Stolen Prequelettes - sharing letters back and forth between Levi and his sister-cousin Rebecca. If you've not read the first two (each is very short), here are the links: 1st Letter from Rebecca    2nd Letter also from Rebecca

Wallace whacked him on the knee. "Come on, finish it. She's been writing on it a month."

June 22, 1836
Daddy said we were going to town tomorrow, so I’m going to write one more little bit before I post this letter then.
He finally hired a carpenter and his son to help get the new big front of the house dried in. That’s what they called it, and I suppose it means to where it’ll keep the rain out. It’s ace high to be sure. Mama and I still had to help because you were gone. Come home now.
That thing I wanted to talk to you about? Well, I figured it out myself with Sassy and Sophia Belle, because you were not home. Mama bought me a new dress with an empire waist and puffy sleeves at the top, but they’re more a fit elbow to wrist. It’s a beautiful green. Boss, and I love it.

Rebecca dipped her quill in the ink, tapped it twice on her blotter, and left herself a moment to picture her new beau. She hated it that Mama and Daddy caught her staring at him instead of working, but well, she was coming fourteen. Already marrying age by some accounts. She tapped the quill again then returned to her missive.

Yes, sir, you will not recognize the place when you finally come home. Have I mentioned I want you here and not running all over the Republic?
Jean Paul has been working hard on getting more land ready for spring planting. He and daddy have been talking a lot about busting out more bottom land. He’s got that thirty acre block west of the smoke house laid by, says he’ll need to run it again before he plants, but it sure looks good.
Bless the good Lord we don’t live there anymore. At the time, I didn’t mind it at all, but we didn’t know any better. Just wait until you see the new front of the house. I mean before it was nice, but now… Well, come home like a good brother should, and you’ll see for your own self. I hate you not being here, please be safe and careful and don’t go and do something stupid.
I love you, brother. We’re all praying for you, Levi. Mama says you’ll be fine, and I agree, but I’d like it a whole lot better if you were here.
It’s getting late. Mama says I’ve got to turn the lamp off, so I’ll start another letter when I have something new to write about. Write back and post it as quick as you can.
                                                                                    Love as always,
                                                                                   Your Bitty Beck

Levi folded the three pages and slid them back into the envelope she’d mailed it in then placed it in his wallet. That he tucked inside his saddle bags, then retrieved the piece of paper and pencil he’d been carrying for better than a month. He’d already read the thing three times to Wallace, and now that they were almost back to Austin, he needed to get something down to send back.
“How old is your sister, Levi?”
He looked to his friend. “Fourteen.”
Wallace tossed another branch on the fire. “Be sure to mention me when you write her back. Maybe tell her about those yaps that ambushed us last month.”
Levi laughed. “No, I am not writing about that. And you need to stop bragging on me like you’ve been doing everywhere we go.”
“God’s own truth. You got three of them.” He laughed. “I loved it when you took that last one’s Arkansas toothpick away from him and slit his throat.” He dragged his finger across his own neck.
Levi couldn’t argue with the truth, but Wallace Rusk had made him out to be some kind of hero. “True, and you bagged the other two. But still, trust me, my friend. Girls don’t want to hear about us killing Comanche.”
“Well how about that lady you met in San Antonio? Now she’s worth writing home about.”
“Wallace, I’m not interested in that girl. She wasn’t much older than Rebecca, and not half as pretty.”
His friend laughed. “She sure was smitten with the great Levi Baylor, famous Texas Ranger.”
“Will you stop that? I’m not great or famous. Really, you’ve got to stop bragging on me.”
“Hey. It ain’t brag if it’s true.”
Levi waved him off. “Don’t you have the first watch?”
“Nope, me and Nick traded.”
He nodded. “Well shut your trap. I got to figure out something to write. We should make Austin tomorrow.”
“How about that band of Kiowa?”
“No, now hush.”

October 13, 1836

Dearest Rebecca, Aunt Sue and Uncle Henry, and my little sisters Mary Rachel, Gwendolyn, and Baby Cecilia.
Hope this missive finds you all well and happy. I’m good. Wallace Rusk, Nick Ward, and I are about back to Austin, so I thought I’d get this written to mail while we’re there. The Major said maybe some leave was in order if the Comanche didn’t start something. If he lets me loose, I may hightail it home for a visit.
Sorry I haven’t written sooner, but we’ve been down south, and I didn’t figure a letter would have much chance of getting to you.
Sure do miss everyone. Is the baby walking yet? How’s the house building coming along? Sounds great that Jean Paul’s going to plant more cotton, not that I care much for hoeing or picking or having anything to do with lint—you can vouch for that Auntie—but I know what a money maker it is.
Uncle, I’m sending a full head right I traded for. Use it however you see fit, or save if for that little valley we found along the Llano, either way I trust your judgment.
Auntie, sure miss your cooking and hearing you nag me about any and every thing. Wallace’s grammar sure needs help, I’m sure everyone will like him if you ever get to meet him.

A low two note whistle drew his attention. He set the paper down and pulled out his pistol. Wallace nodded toward the south. Levi agreed then eased north.