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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)

TITLE: Keep The Flame Burning
By Maria Kana Santos


"Would Danna accept me?" Nell finally found the courage. The fire on the candle stand danced cheerily in the parlour.

His dark brown eyes glued on Nell’s. Henry gently fetched the soft hands clasped on her lap.

“I leave for the Northwest Territory a month from now, Nell. I want to start a family there. The journey will be tough for about six months. For railroads aren’t built yet. We’d go on covered wagons in caravan. I’d take care of you.”

“I want you to be the mother of my children. Will you be my wife?” Henry boldly found his voice.

Danna Owens, Henry’s younger sister, was married to a minister. She was his only carer - because their mother had died when he was fifteen.

“I can’t see my way around your love-struck nonsense, Henry!”

For any attempted logic that such a courtship between Henry and Nell, one to ever brave her stormy opposition.

Henry, noble and true, whom Nell ever cared to know what Christianity meant. She would learn more from him should she become his wife. Henry’s sister's careful scrutiny and presuppositions reasoned against such a union.

Overlayed with anxiety in poor Danna's mind, such marriage could never attain success according to her up keeping of their Christian traditions and personal preferences.

She protested, "What else can she do apart from her preoccupation in society?" Her countenance trammelled with intense anxiety.

"Will she care for you, has she more brain than pretty face? Has she known the mystery of needle, thread and industry to keep house?"

Danna knew that grace and beauty unstained by vanity are said to be identical in all aspects of womanly propriety. She was aware that her imaginary opponent possessed such gift from the Giver she cannot deny. Her own protests sounded like resonating cymbals louder than conscience's patient injunction.

"Oh! Henry is she a Christian like us than what she professes to be? I would be too wary of such frivolity of professions nowadays."

Henry spoke in due honour to his sister to account for peace.

"I know Nell. I trust my better judgment is in perfect accord with God's will."

Henry grew up in a Protestant Christian home. Nell was brought up in a religious and morally principled environment. But Nell learned to trust God and gave her life to the Saviour. She knew her life of self was laden as filthy rags. Now, cleansed before His cross.

“O Nell, you are the Father's will for me.” With decided prayerfulness, Nell was willing to give herself to Henry as he promised to lead her in their walk together.

Repressed words escaped from Nell. They were full of the inexpressible joy of the moment.

"I shall submit to my call. Not by duty or of necessity, but by my love for you." A smile of assent could not be concealed any longer.

"Happiness I have envisioned seemed unattainable for me and for my own grasp and understanding of things." Nell continued.

'God hath not given us the spirit of fear. We shall keep the flame burning in our journey through life together.”

"I never doubted you. Not even a second breath in me, that you are for me. My Lovely Lady, my Helpmeet. You will be the good mother to our future children and a wife of virtue to me. You are God's gift to me, my wife of many crowns. We shall both serve our Saviour in our journey in life together."

In the dark log cottage, the young wife wrote to her sister.

My Dear Florence,

Although I started my day before sunrise, I am sitting up late to finish my letter. I want it to go in the mail that leaves tomorrow.

You would laugh if you could see my clay lamp. A twisted cotton to make wicks lies in the little groove on the side of the clay bowl filled with bear oil. I am writing with my newly sharpened Canada goose quill, in the orange flicker of my lamp.

How is Momma coping with ill-health? Please tell her to not worry so.

People call us “Pioneers” in this foreign land. I guess we are, aren’t we? We braved through many storms, rough mountains, panthers, and unfriendly Indians in the dangerous journey. I will write to John soon about our adventures.

My wick cannot reach the oil base anymore. The flame is beginning to sputter. I will close now.

Love to Momma and Papa.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 11/28/09
Not only have you written in the historical genre, but your story has an authentic feel with your phrases and word choices. Nice work!
Philippa Geaney 12/01/09
I got a little lost with the various characters but you have a great story there. Perhaps I would have understood it better if I held it as a book-- it sure has book potential.