The next day Jane took her almost full dust-bucket and broom into the room of one of the higher ranking soldier’s staying at the Governor’s house. Slowly, as she cleaned, she made her way over to the desk. There sitting out for the world to see were what looked to Jane’s untrained eye to be some sort of military plans. Jane felt a little bad for calling Ben sloppy, this was sloppy. And now she was faced with a dilemma. She could take the plans and give them to Ben, she could leave and tell Ben to come look up here, or she could not say anything at all. The second option seemed the best to her. If she told Ben to look for something up here she wasn’t exactly being a traitor, but she wasn’t exactly being a loyalist either. Middle ground was good. She jumped at the sound of footsteps and voices outside the door. One voice said, “I don’t know why these colonial girls are so proud.”
“Me neither, like that house maid around here. She acts like she’s too good for us,” said another voice.
“Exactly, it’s not like she’s a lady, she has no standing. She should feel flattered that we even know she’s alive,” said the first voice. Without evening knowing what she was doing Jane stormed back over to the desk, grabbed the plans, slipped them in her dust bucket and ran out of the room.
Jane found Ben as quickly as she could. Out of breath she pulled him aside. Ben stood there very concerned as he watched a flushed Jane stick her hand into the dirty dust bucket. Her grabbed her hand and said, “Jane, what are you doing? What is wrong?”
“Hush,” she hissed. “I don’t want anyone to know we’re back here.” She found the plans and shoved them into Ben’s hand. “Here, take these. I found them in one of the rooms. Take them and don’t say anything, and don’t expect this from me again.” Ben looked at the papers and then looked at Jane.
“Do you know what this is?” he asked, very impressed.
“No and I don’t want to. I don’t want to ever talk about this again. Just take them and hide them.”
“Alright Jane, if that’s what you want.” Jane started to walk away, but Ben stopped her. “I know your heart isn’t in this yet, but trust me, you did a good thing. I’m proud of you little Janey.” Jane couldn’t help but smile. As she stood there looking into Ben’s eyes, she thought this might be their moment. He leaned forward and her heart just stopped. This was it, he was going to kiss her . . . “Jane, Ben what is going on?”
It was Mrs. Bradfort from the kitchen. So much for “their moment.” “The Governor has asked to speak with you both. You had better march upstairs right now,” said Mrs. Bradfort. Ben tucked the plans away safely, and the two of them headed upstairs.
Ben and Jane entered the room, surprised to see that the governor was not alone. He was with a soldier, the soldier whose room Jane had just finished cleaning. “Ben, Jane,” said the Governor, “it seems we have a bit of a problem.”
“A problem, sir?” said Ben.
“Yeah, a problem,” growled the soldier.
“Calm down, Tom,” said Governor Trippingdale. “Something has gone missing from the General’s room, something important. A couple of his men saw you leaving his room Jane, and the general seems to think the two of you have something to do with it.”
“I was cleaning the general’s room a few moments ago, sir, if something has gone missing maybe I can help find it,” said Jane.
“Oh, I bet you could,” said the general.
“Tom,” interrupted the governor.
“Don’t ‘Tom’ me, I know they took it. You know they took it. They should be hanged, they’re rebels.”
“With all due respect sir, I don’t know what it is we’re supposed to have taken,” said Jane. That did it. The general was livid. Governor Trippingdal tried to stop him, Ben tried to stop him, but he was a man with murder on his mind.
You filthy rebel! Where are they?” he screamed. Then the General came close, he backed Jane up against the wall. He slapped her once, and then again, and then again. Until she sank to the floor breathless and weak. For a moment the beating stopped and she looked up. Governor Trippingdale was cowering in a corner, and Ben was on top of the General, who quickly threw him off. Ben skidded across the floor and hit his head. The General came over to Jane. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to her feet. She screamed.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, please, let me go,” cried Jane between smothered sobs.
“You liar! What did you do with them?” screamed the General, spraying Jane with spittle as he grabbed her throat. Jane could feel the pressure building up in her head. Her eyes bugged out of her face. She gasped and strained for breath, trying to speak. As consciousness slipped from her she imagined Ben waking up, rising from the floor and coming to her rescue. But he didn’t, he lay there on the ground, blood dripping down the side of his face. Then Jane saw an image of her father sitting in the kitchen, wounded and broken, but glowing in the candlelight.
Thank you so much for following Jane on her journey.