A NOVEL OF TRAVEL BACK IN TIME
It took about two hours of kicking and cajoling Beau to travel at his famous spine-crushing trot to where River Road met the main road out of Harper’s Ferry. We then turned west and road towards where the Newcomer House was supposed to be.
After a few minutes, we topped a rise and I saw what had to be my destination. The Newcomer’s abode sat on top of a small knoll to the right of the main road. As was the custom in this part of the country, the house didn’t set that far back off the road.
It was a two-story home with a dark red brick façade, which must have cost a pretty penny in the 1800’s. I speculated that it measured about 2,800 to 3,000 square feet. There were two giant oak trees on either side of the front porch, which ran the whole length of the front of the home.
Smaller trees were situated in rows along both sides of the house that radiated out, giving the appearance that the home was built in the middle of an orchard. Some of the trees were fruit trees, possibly apple trees, as well as Sugar Maples. Their foliage had started to turn the golden yellow that they were noted for.
As I rode up into the front yard, Miss Daphne, Captain Mosby, and I believe some of the Newcomer family members came out on the front porch to greet me.
Captain Mosby began to laugh and pointing at Beau said, “I see you were jesting when you mentioned the great steed that you had to recover for the trip here tonight.”
I laughed and then with a smile said, “Now Captain, I can’t believe you would mock the noblest steed that Shepherdstown had to offer for this journey.”
We all had a good chuckle, and I dismounted.
I tied Beau to a low limb on one of the oak trees and walked to the bottom of the front porch stairs. I caught Miss Daphne eyes. She was newly attired in a green dress that accented her dark hair, beautiful white complexion and made her dark brown eyes glisten like pools of ebony.
It was all I could do to keep from ogling her. I kept my ardor in check, and taking in the crowd on the porch, bowed and stated, “My name is James Hager, and I really appreciate the invitation of dining at your wonderful home, plus the privilege of meeting all of you.”
This sort of woke Miss Daphne, who seemed lost in thought, because she became quite flustered and uttered, “Excuse me. Where are my manners? Please come in.”