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Till I Come Marching Home
Banner by Rosalynn

Just when Miss Bella began to wonder if supper would have to be delayed, the distinct sounds of Dr. Cullen’s carriage could be heard coming to a stop out front.  Miss Bella was quick to stand, making her way to the door and opening it to admit her guests.

“Good day, Miss Bella.  I’m awful sorry for the late arrival, but the streets of New Bern are so full of commotion we started to worry that we’d never clear the crowd.”  Carlisle Cullen tipped his hat as he walked in, his wife Esme on his arm.  Behind them were Mr. & Mrs. King, the Cullen’s daughter and son-in-law.

“That’s quite all right.  I’m glad you were able to make it, but if it’s as bad as you say, maybe we could offer you someplace to stay tonight.”  Bella turned to see her mother nod in approval as they all entered the parlor once more so the newly arrived guests could rest before supper.

Mrs. Sue came in with a fresh pot of tea and Bella started to tend to her guests.  She poured the tea as Mr. Masen addressed his brother-in-law.  “What happened in town to cause such an uproar?”
Carlisle looked darkly at the other men gathered ‘round the table.  “The only thing that gets people this excited these days, North Carolina joined the Confederacy.  News came down this morning, they’re calling up volunteers.”

At Carlisle’s mention of the Confederacy, Bella’s hand slipped and she burned herself on the hot liquid.  Quickly excusing herself, Bella fled through the house and onto the back porch.  Dreams of fighting had filled her Edward’s head since the first mention of war breaking out.  She feared the worst when it came to his going to war, but also his feelings on marrying before he would join up.  The one mention of the war’s effect on their engagement had not been a pleasant conversation and she did not wish to revisit it.

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