Sundering of Empire – excerpt intro Marguerite



Marguerite was startled into wakefulness by a sudden and very loud snore from the British colonel lying next to her in his bedroom.  She wondered what had happened to the family who used to live in this rather affluent house.  ‘Probably a prominent merchant linked to the rebels and had thus fled for his life along with his wife and family,’ she thought, ’but now it houses four British officers.’ Being set adrift with little or no prospects for the future was something she understood all too well.  She was born in 1756 to Geoffrey Walker, a sergeant in the British army who was killed in the battle on the Plains of Abraham in 1759, and Claudia Marceau, a French-Canadian woman he met in Quebec.  After her father’s death, her mother, left with an infant and no income other than Geoffrey’s meager savings, gradually made her way to the city of Boston.  Finding employment as a laundress and seamstress for the officer corps stationed in Boston helped feed and house her and Marguerite, but just barely.  She tiptoed out of the room to go to the lavatory down the hall.  Pausing by the colonel’s coat, she reached inside and pulled out a packet of official papers.  Marguerite smiled at how easy it was for her to get information.  Most of the officers who chose to keep her company fell prey to her charming smile and her witty intellect.  This colonel mentioned he had gotten new orders simply because Marguerite said how much she had missed him the last two weeks while he was on patrol and now she had those orders in her hands.  Marguerite quietly opened up the paper and read its contents putting to memory, the details.  She slid the packet, now put back together, into the pocket and proceeded to get dressed.  The colonel woke slightly and noticing that Marguerite was dressing mumbled, ‘don’t forget your money, love.’


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