The Great Day Approaches and...A Mystery!

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Posted by Many Flags on December 02, 2000 at 05:40:36:

2nd December, 1758
Allemangel, County of Berks

To my Uncles Quasi and Angus -

It is near daybreak and I have been awake for the past several hours, not being able to sleep after being awakened by Sign Talker's recent arrival. My brothers Three Tales and Robert have been working with me here at the unfinished cabin, laying the chimney the last several days. It is a fine structure and within the next week, if the weather holds, it should be habitable. We have most of the "wedding cabin" complete, this is what Tales and Robert call it. In a little over a fortnight, I will be a married man. I have not seen my Magdalena for more than a week since we are so busy here getting all ready. My joy is overflowing and my brothers laugh as they tell me that whenever they mention the word "wedding", I blush. Well, there are thoughts on my mind, that is to be sure!

Several hours ago we were awoken by noises in the forest surrounding this unfinished cabin. We arose, loaded our rifles and waited. When what to our wondering eyes should appear, but a tiny wagon and one tiny horse. With a little old man, so lively and quick, pushing the horse this way and that, we knew in a moment, it was Sign Talker. His small horse named Bristlebrush was pulling him this way and that and would not stop until it had reached the doorless cabin.

"What ho!" shouted Sign Talker and he proceeded to tell us how he had whispered in Bristlebrush's ear two days before, that they were off to see Cousins Flags and Tales, when the wooly animal took over running this way and that, and didn't stop until just now, two days later, when he had reached the cabin. Try as he might, Sign Talker could not stop the animal as it crashed through woods, small towns, across creeks, over hillocks, as Sign Talker alternately pushed and pulled the horse, jumped on his back and dozed, cursed, screamed and cried out, but to no avail. Bristlebrush did not stop trotting pell mell, 100 yards this way, 200 yards that way, until they had reached this spot. This small hairy animal is certainly amazing!

Sign Talker delivered a message to us from our cousins Malcolm and Davey, still with the 77th Grenadiers in the western part of this colony. It seems that much has happened, Fort Duquesne has fallen, troops are pulling back east to Fort Ligonier (the name of the Camp by the Loyalhanna) and to Fort Bedford at Reastown. The previous message I received from Drummer Armstrong has been ammended and our scouting help is not longer needed. That is good, for my wedding and my planned visit to Seamus's cabin is foremost in my mind.

Speaking of Seamus. Does he improve? Please tell him the news of Duquesne and the defeat of the French here in Pennsylvania. I believe we no longer need worry about that enemy. However, I warn you of something else which has come about, and this is a mystery.

Yesterday, as we were working on the chimney of this cabin, we heard a musket shot, then loud groaning off in the forest. Leaving Robert to continue the masonry work, he seems adept at building and its plans, Three Tales and I took our rifles and investigated. About 50 yards from the cabin, along the creek which runs near here, we found a man drawing his last breaths. He had been shot through the chest, it looked as if with a large caliber ball, and his life blood from his lungs bubbled out. We made him comfortable and attempted to staunch the blood, but we knew he only had minutes to live. We asked if he could tell us his name and how this had happened. The man's eyes fluttered for a few seconds and barely audible, he whispered two words, "red bud"! Thus, the man's soul flew to the eternal.

This man is unknown to us. A traveler perhaps, maybe someone with a message for us, we know not. He was dressed much like us, with a walking stick, but no weapons. With no other homes near this place, other than 5 miles to the southeast where the aged ones and Three Tales have their cabins, we have no thoughts as to this man's destination. He was decidedly traveling from the west. Was it a stray shot which took him out? Was the shot meant for one of us brothers at the cabin?

We laid the man's body under some logs beside the cabin, waiting until this morning when we have light to bury him. When Sign Talker arrived, he examined the body by candlelight, but had no ideas as to his identity or reasons for his death. We signed the man's last words, and upon seeing our sign for "red bud", Sign Talker's face became grim, but then he shook his head and signed, "I do not understand what this means". In my heart, I believe Sign Talker knows something he is not telling us. Is the dead man from a place which has red buds? Was the man's last name Redbud? Was the shot which killed the man fired by someone known as Redbud. It is a mystery, but we will be wary in case there is some mischief afoot.

I close now, dear uncles. Light has come up over the mountains and we must be about burying the "red bud" man and finishing this cabin. It is cold here and I look forward to coming north and spending some time with you and Seamus as we relive old times and do some hunting....that is, after my beloved Magdalena and I wed. I will send this message off with Sign Talker in a day or so, after he rests from his ordeal with Bristlebrush. Our Indian friend snores loudly in the corner beside the unfinished chimney covered by his well-known ragged buffalo robe. I notice by the light of today that his small wagon is filled with goods, Sign Talker may want to do some bartering before he hads north. Expect my arrival a few days after the wedding which will occur on the 21st of this month. If you have ever heard the phrase "red bud" in relation to musketry and death, I am curious to know this.

I pray God that Seamus has improved! Pax Aye!

Many Flags and his brothers Three Tales and Robert

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