Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Bit of Riddle Enacted at the Brandywine Battlefield!

So I was Googling The Riddle of Penncroft Farm yesterday and came upon something that was downright thrilling.

First, let me explain that a crucial part of The Riddle of Penncroft Farm takes place before and during the Battle of Brandywine, on September 11, 1777.

In that battle, the British general, Howe, staged a feint attack against the Americans who were waiting at Brandywine Creek to stop the British advance on Philadelphia. At the same time, Howe led the bulk of his troops up the western side of the stream and crossed it at a ford that Washington didn't know about. He then came down behind the untrained American forces. The resulting fight took place near a Quaker place of worship, the Birmingham Meeting House, in an area called Sandy Hollow.

What I discovered yesterday was that several years ago, in conjunction with a re-enactment of the Brandywine battle, Birmingham Meeting House put on a little play based upon The Riddle of Penncroft Farm!

Here is the link: on-hallowed-ground-sandy-hollow.

It is thrilling for me to know that part of my story was acted out in exactly the place I imagined it to have occurred! Here is an excerpt of what I think the little play was probably based on.

I was in such despair that I didn’t hear anyone approaching until I saw him standing next to me—a man in a scarlet jacket with little wings on the shoulders and a tall helmet of black fur. Even without it, he was the tallest man I’d ever seen, that British grenadier.

Without a word, we stared at each other. Then he drew one arm over his face to wipe the sweat out of his eyes. I didn’t move, though I could feel the blood dripping down my own face and the sting of the sweat running into the cuts on my cheek.

His eyes flicked over me and then down to Will and the telltale cockade on his hat.

My brother,” I said, and opened my palms to him in appeal.

Still silent, the grenadier set down his musket and swung the pack off his back to the ground with a loud thud that showed how very heavy it was. Then he gathered Will up in his arms and carefully laid him down upon the wagon bed.

 Be that drink?” he asked, jutting his chin toward the barrel of perry.

I nodded my head, speechless.

I could use a bit o’ drink. Seventeen miles I’ve marched since dawn. Seventeen miles in all this heat. ’Tis enough to kill a man, even without the efforts of this lot.” He jerked his thumb at Will.

I swarmed up the slats, filled a cup, and thrust it at him. The soldier drained it in one gulp and held the cup out for more. I hastily obliged. After downing the second cupful, he picked up his pack and musket.

Thankee, lad,” he growled, and plunged back into the woods before I could thank him in return.