Poem: "The Listeners" by Walter De La Mare.

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  • Topic: Family
  • Pages: 6 (2168 words)
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  • Published: November 21, 2005
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The Story Of The Traveler.

Belief in ghosts is almost as old as the human race. Men in every age have refused the idea that physical death means annihilation and have clung to the belief that the soul lives on in some other world than this.

It was the turn of the century. The year was 1800 and it had been a long past year for the family of Kindlewood. The father of the household was christened Edward; he was a well-respected (upper-class) general. The mother, Marianne Jane, had been wed to Mr. Kindlewood at the age of sixteen and had born him his first child at the age of eighteen. Marianne Kindlewood was an esteemed homemaker, a loving person who was loyal to her husband and faith. The family also included the four children who ranged in age from five to nineteen.

First of the siblings was Timothy aged nineteen, secondly Grace aged fifteen, then Mohammed aged nine and lastly Othello at just five years old. The Kindlewoods had lived all their lives in a large establishment, quiet secluded from civilization. Their past relatives descended from the smile of Africa, The Gambia, who had been shipped over to England for use as slaves and servants.

The past year, as I previously stated, had been long, full of variety and unpredictability.

The year started as any other. The family were all celebrating the eve of the New Year, Gathered round the warmth of the glowing, crackling fireplace, exchanging jokes and laughter. The two youngest of the family of the family, Othello and Mohammed were asleep and the elder of the siblings sat with their parents. As they sat in the light of the burning fire, a knock struck upon the large oak door at the front of the manor. Startling the drowsy family, Mr. Kindlewood roused from his seat at once, with a slightly perturbed expression upon his face and attended to the disruption. A muffle of voices could be heard from the direction of the knock. Three voices spoke, that of Mr. Kindlewood and two other gentlemen unfamiliar to Mrs. Kindlewood's ears. They spoke for a short while and then silence. After ten minutes or so, Edward reappeared in the doorway of the room, and wished that the night was ended and the children be bedded. Timothy and Grace said their good nights and went to bed as their father requested. Edward (Mr. Kindlewood) sat back in his chair, his body tense and stiff as if he would break at the gentlest touch. His face now looked blank, no expression, yet his eyes looked glazed and shone in the glow of the burning fire, as if he had cried for a century.

Mrs. Kindlewood could sense a familiarity about his posture and when she looked deep in his eyes, a feeling overwhelmed her which was not pleasant.

"What news Edward", were the only words which she needed and was able to speak. In reply she got the news that the two gentlemen who graced their presence that evening were messengers, Privates sent from the Royal Battalion. A senior British officer had been captured by the Tippoos of Mysore. It was the start of the siege of Seringapatam and the British army required the rising star of the general staff, Edward Kindlewood. Edward was to be posted to southern India to lead the 33rd regiment until further notice.

Several days past and, with much regret, Edward Kindlewood left his loving family and set off across oceans to an awaiting Battalion. Over the days before Mr. Kindlewoods departure, the family became closer than ever before, maybe it was because they knew in their heart of hearts, that these days would be the last they would see their father and husband. But these thoughts, although heartrending, did not show through and the days past happily and memorably.

Time passed and Mrs. Kindlewood kept herself and the children busy. She and Grace tutored the two boys while Timothy set to work as a carpenter. He learnt the trade from his father, who in his retired days earned his keep making furniture for the neighboring village, ten miles east. Timothy took the role...
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