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House Call to the Past Excerpt



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Click on picture to order House Call to the Past
whydah.jpeg
Black Sam Bellamy's ship, the Whydah

Come with me for the strangest house call any doctor ever made

 

CHAPTER I

Maria Hallett shivered as another gust of wind forced its way through the cracks in the house.

"Has the makings of a really nasty one tonight," her mother, Mary, said. "Hope your father makes it back before it’s so bad he can’t."

It didn’t matter how many storms she lived through, Maria would never get used to them. There was something so eerie, so haunting about the Cape Cod winds.

"It’s blowin’ up a foul night out there," John Hallett said as he nearly fell through the door. He hurried to secure the iron rod across it, lest it blow open.

"Don’t make no sense to me!" Mary Hallett growled. "Here you are over buildin’ a new house for the Thacher girl and you can’t even set our own place in order. Might as well as not be sittin’ outside for all the good these walls do us. You can look outside and see the sun by day and the moon by night, the cracks are so big."

"It was good enough for Grampa Andrew this way. I reckon it’s good enough for us," John told his wife. "He never set a lick of paint or a dab of mud to these walls all the years he lived here. Don’t know why we need to do no better than him."

John leaned back on his wobbly chair, his hands held tight behind his full head of black, shiny hair, and laughed.

"’Makes less work for the women,’ he used to say," John said. "Claimed the wind blew the dust right out the other side of the house so Grandma didn’t have to waste her time on such silly matters as dusting the furniture."

"As if she had any furniture to dust!" Mary said. "I remember their house all too well. A disgrace, it was! Course not that ours is any better. And you a carpenter!"

A new gust of wind blew through and little Hope hurried up into her father’s lap.

"I’m scared, Papa!" she exclaimed.

"Now, my little one," he said, running his hand over her long, brown locks. "I won’t let anything happen to you. And that is one thing you can count on."

Off in the distance the long, low moan of a ship’s horn echoed through the fog and the rain. Maria sat up quickly and listened for the sound again. Twice more it blew, warning any other vessels in the harbor that it was heading for shore.

"There’s sure to be a lot of drunken sailors in town tonight," John said. "Best all the young maidens stay clear of Crosby Tavern."

He cast a threatening eye at his daughter. Maria had always had a wild streak in her, and she was as apt as not to wander off, regardless of the storm outside.

"Leave the girl alone," Mary warned John. "Tisn’t any wonder she takes to wandering alone. You’ve not trusted her since the day she was born."

* * *

The family turned in soon after the evening meal was finished. When the small children were all tucked in and the fires had been tended to offer what warmth they could, the older ones followed suit and went off, muttering about the weather.

"No sense in sittin’ up around here," young Joseph said. "Like as not the wind’ll blow out the candles again as soon as I get ‘em lit."

Maria lay quietly on her straw bed. She waited until she was sure all the others in the house were asleep, then she quietly climbed out and began to dress.

In her relatively short years of life, Maria had found more ways to get into trouble than any other resident in all of Yarmouth. Tonight would be no different. The call of the wild storm raging outside enticed her to join it.

Maria made her way down the lane to Crosby Tavern. She knew if she was going to find excitement, that was the one place to look for action.

She cringed, pulling her bright red cape up over her head to try to keep the rain from saturating her. She ran as fast as she dared, given how slippery the boardwalk was.

The door to the tavern swung open as she reached her hand out to run inside, as if the crowd was expecting her. She hurried through it, pulled off her cape and swung it around. The water splashed to and fro, sending the men inside away from her to avoid getting wet.

"Bad one tonight," the tavern owner said to Maria. "I figured you’d be here ‘fore long."

"Hope I didn’t keep you waiting," Maria said, winking at Mr. Crosby. "Had to be sure the rest of them had nodded off ‘ere I left."

"Rounds for everyone!" Crosby called out cheerfully. "Maria’s here!"

The sailors who had pulled into the harbor before knew Maria by reputation. She knew how to lead the men on just far enough to drive them mad, then she would disappear into the night, climb into her cold clammy bed at home and wait for the dawn. This night was destined to be the same as any other when the sailors set in until the weather cleared.

The men, young and old alike, made their way to the table where Maria sat. She talked with each and every one, some alone and some in groups, blinking her huge brown eyes at them and shaking her long, brown curls from side to side.

One young sailor, Maria noticed, stayed by the bar and watched her as all the other men made their way to Maria’s table. Even when she was alone for a few minutes he kept his distance.

Maria summoned Crosby to her.

"Who’s the new one by the bar?" she asked him, motioning towards the stranger with a tip of her head.

"Heard him called Sam," Crosby said. "Guess if you want to know any more than that, you’ll have to ask him yourself."

"Send him over!" Maria commanded.

The tall dark stranger ambled slowly over to Maria, pulled a chair out, turned it around and sat down, folding his huge muscle-bound arms across the back of the chair.

Maria gasped as she watched him. The men at the tavern had always been just plain men to her—something to toy with. This one was different. He was a MAN! She loved a challenge, and Sam was definitely that. She had never really loved a man before, but she was determined that she would win this one over before the men set sail.

"Sure hope it’s a long storm," she said absent-mindedly.

"Why’s that?" Sam asked.

"Hate to see you set sail before your time," Maria answered.

Sam laughed heartily at the young girl, his long black hair trailing behind him. He wondered if the other men had been successful in enticing Maria to have their way with them. He hoped not, as he was determined that he would win her over before he left the shores of Cape Cod, and he wanted to be the first who had loved her.

"Name’s Sam," he said, smiling at her. There was a gleam in his eye as he spoke. "Sam Bellamy."

"Mine’s Maria," she said. "Maria Hallett."

The other men drifted to and from the table, but Sam kept his place, studying her every move. He had never seen a girl like this. So young. So beautiful. So sure of herself.

Suddenly, Maria jumped up and grabbed her cape. She wrapped it about herself and headed for the door. The wind was still fierce and the rain hit her in the face as she ran to the house. She knew she had to get there before her father was up, or she would be severely punished. He still thought of her as a child, but she felt like a woman. Especially tonight. What had Sam done to her?

"Stop!" a voice from behind her called out.

Maria ran faster. The men all knew her limits, and none had ever dared to follow her before. Instinct told her it was Sam. She was tempted to stop, but she wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of thinking he had won.

"Stop!" the voice commanded again.

Such force and power in that voice, Maria thought. It would be so easy to stop and let him do whatever he wanted to with her, but that was not the way she played the game. She continued running until she reached the safety of the house. She ran around to the back of it and entered. She lifted the rod, which she had left ajar to insure her entry when she returned, and set it in place, securing the door against Sam Bellamy.

Sam pounded loudly on the door.

"Go away!" Maria hissed at him.

The pounding continued.

Maria’s heart began to race. Her excursions to the tavern had never been found out by her father, and she didn’t want that to change. Carefully, slowly, she moved the rod just enough to open the door a tiny crack. She knew that with one good push it would open, sending the iron bar crashing to the floor.

"Maria," Sam said. "I just want to talk to you."

"Tonight at Crosby’s," she said. "Now, get out of here! I don’t want my father to wake up!"

Understanding the situation, Sam turned and walked away, vowing to hold her to her word later or he would return to her home, even if it meant facing her father. In the meantime, he would ask around town and learn all he could about the lovely Maria Hallett. He had known many women in his time, but none who had infuriated him like she did.

"She is a witch! And she has me under her spell!" he muttered to himself as he walked to the inn to get at least a few hours sleep before morning came. Like Maria, he hoped the storm would be a long one.

Maria slipped her cape off and threw it on a chair in the corner of the room to let it dry out, then she hurried upstairs to her bed. She piled her clothes on the end of the bed and pulled her nightdress over her head. She crawled into the bed, which was cold, and lay there for a long time, wondering what it would be like to have a man there to keep her warm. Sam Bellamy, she thought, would do quite nicely.

The image of the newcomer kept marching back and forth in her mind’s eye. She pictured his long, curly black hair. She imagined she was running her fingers through it, pushing it back from his forehead. His dark, piercing eyes seemed to stare right through her. His fingers, so graceful and strong, fondled her warmly, causing her to blush, even in the darkness.

With such thoughts as these, she finally drifted off to sleep. She was unaware of the movements around her; it had been a long night.

Mary Hallett was the first to get up in the morning. It was still blowing and raining outside. She hurried to dress in the cold, shivering as she did, and then went to the huge walk-in fireplace. She took the poker and jabbed at the few live coals until the logs leapt into flames. That would last, she thought, until John was there to put more wood on the fire.

Mary went out into the kitchen and began preparing breakfast for the brood. Soon she was joined by John. One by one the children began to descend and gather around the fireplace. First came Thankful, then John, followed by Joseph, Samuel, Seth, Hannah, Mercy and finally young Hope. Only Andrew, who had recently moved to his own home with Mehitable, his new bride, and Maria were missing. John walked in and surveyed the group, much as if he were inspecting them for the day.

"Where’s Maria?" he asked. "I swear, that girl would sleep the entire day away if we’d let her."

"It’s no wonder," Hope said. "I heard her talking to somebody at the door real early this morning. I don’t know if she was comin’ or goin’."

"Who would she be talkin’ to?" John asked, knowing he would not get an answer from anyone but Maria herself.

"I don’t know," Hope said, "but when she got upstairs she was all full dressed. I watched her put on her nightdress and climb into bed."

John went over to the cape he saw on the chair and felt of it.

"It’s still damp," he said. "Hannah, go fetch your sister. Now! Tell her I want to speak to her immediately."

Hannah hurried to obey her father, tripping over the huge timber at the bottom of the stairway and mumbling about the condition of the house, much as she had heard her mother do day after day.

"Maria!" Hannah said, shaking her sister to awaken her. "Maria! You better get up, and you better be fast about it. Hope went and told Pa about you comin’ in this morning, and Pa’s real mad."

Maria rolled over and pulled the covers up over her head, groaning.

"Maria!" Hannah hollered, shaking her even harder than before and pulling the quilts back to let the cold air have its full impact on her sister. "Did you hear me? Pa knows you were out late last night, and he’s mad!"

Maria jumped up and looked accusingly at Hannah.

"And how did he know I was out?" she asked. Hannah was the only one Maria had ever told about her excursions to Crosby’s Tavern.

"It was Hope," Hannah explained. "She heard you come in and saw you come get undressed for bed. She went and told Pa."

"I’ll have that girl’s hide!" Maria said as she pulled her clothes on. She was in such a hurry she did not notice that the hand-stitched embroidery trim of her petticoat was on her backside, rather than on the front where it would be seen by all when her jumper was unbuttoned.

As Maria got downstairs, she realized that all the members of the family were in the kitchen with their mother. All, that is, except John. He sat on a stool in front of the fireplace waiting for his daughter. Fury burned in his eyes as he looked at her.

"I’d like an explanation," he said, trying not to yell. "And it better be a good one!"

"Explanation of what?" Maria asked innocently.

"Of your actions, that’s what. I hear tell you were up talkin’ to someone long before light set in. Now, suppose you tell me who he was and what you were doin’ with him."

Maria wondered why her father automatically assumed it was a him. It could just as easily have been a woman. Still, there was nothing to be gained by arguing such a point with him.

"It was a stranger, Pa," she said. "He was caught in the storm and he set his boat in to dock. He went to the inn, but they were full up, what with the storm and all, so he began to wander the streets, trying to find a place to get in out of the rain."

"And you invited him in?" John asked.

"Pa!" Maria snapped. "What do you take me for? You and Ma ain’t raised no fool! Of course I didn’t let him in! Why, I sent him off packin’ to the Widow Clark’s house. Everyone knows her place is more of an inn than the inn itself."

"Sounds logical enough," John agreed. "But tell me, how is it you happened to be dressed for this meeting? Hope said you had your clothes on when you came back upstairs."

"Why, Pa, surely you wouldn’t want me to entertain a stranger in my night clothes. Why, that’s positively indecent! The very idea!"

John was so taken aback by her quick responses, he completely forgot about the damp cape which sat behind him. If he had questioned Maria about that, she might have been hard put to explain it away.

"Go help your ma with breakfast!" he ordered, shaking his head as he watched her go. "I’ll never figure that one out," he said to himself.

The girls had finished clearing the breakfast table, set the food to cooking for the dinner and were busy at their looms. Maria, of all the Hallett girls, was the most talented when it came to weaving beautiful fabrics. People had been known to come from Boston to purchase them.

Mary came over to the corner of the rear room to inspect each of the girl’s work. She smiled at each of them, then went to Maria and felt the fine finish she had on her goods.

"It is even better than usual, Maria," her mother commented. "Is there a special reason for an added touch today?"

"I can’t imagine what it would be," Maria said, smiling back at her mother. It’s the presence of Sam Bellamy, she thought to herself. He weaves magic over me. Never have I felt like this. If only I could see him again.

"I hate to send anyone out in this weather," Mary said, "but you know it is almost time for Mehitable to deliver. I am worried about her. You know how she hates a storm."

Hope began skipping about the room. "Mehitable Annable of Barnstable," she sang as she skipped. "Mehitable Annable of Barnstable."

"Hope! Enough!" Mary said. "How many times have I told you it is not polite to poke fun at someone else? Not even their name."

"But Mama," Hope protested, "I’m not makin’ fun at her. It’s pretty, Mama. I like the way it sounds." Hope resumed skipping and singing "Mehitable Annable of Barnstable. Mehitable Annable of Barnstable."

Mary knew it was useless. Besides, Mehitable would certainly not be out and about on such a day as this, so she would not hear Hope. She would try to break her of the habit another time.

"I’ll go, Ma," Maria volunteered quickly. "I don’t mind the weather. It will clear my head out."

"Are you sure?" Mary asked.

"Yes, Ma," Maria insisted. "Besides, I helped her last year when Desire was born. I’ll know just what to do if she needs help."

"Be careful," Mary warned. "And if you decide to stay to help them, be sure to send Andrew back home to let us know."

"I’ll be sure, Ma. Lest he’s needed, too. You know how Mehitable sticks to him. She’s scared silly to let him out of her sight. Specially with the storm and all. It’ll be even worse."

"I suppose you’re right," Mary said. "I’ll leave the back door ajar a wee bit, case you need to get in late."

Maria had her cape on, the hood pulled up securely over her head. She dutifully hugged her mother, fretful for each minute’s delay.

Maria ran out of the house. She would go help Mehitable, but she had some other business to tend to first. She headed for Crosby’s Tavern, hoping she would find Sam Bellamy there, even though it was early in the day.

"Well, Maria," Crosby said when she came in, "you’re out and about early in the day. I didn’t figure the storm would scare you away. Somethin’ I can do for you?"

"Yes," Maria replied, seeing that Sam was nowhere in sight. "That newcomer, Sam Bellamy. Any idea where he might be?"

"Last I heard, he was askin’ all over town about a certain young miss, name o’ Maria Hallett."

Crosby grinned at Maria, the wide spaces in between what few teeth he had left, evident.

"Don’t rightly know just how far he’s got," Crosby continued, "but last report I heard he was headed down to your Uncle Jonathan’s place. Course I don’t know if he’s apt to like what he hears there."

Maria ran from the tavern. She had to get to Sam before Uncle Jonathan filled his head with tales that weren’t true. Or even if they were true, she didn’t want Sam to hear them.

* * *

Sam heard footsteps behind him. His black wool jacket was pulled up around his neck and the seaman’s cap did little to protect his face from the wind and rain. The rain sparkled on his face.

He turned to see who was following him, and was not surprised at all to find that it was Maria. Somehow he had known she would come looking for him.

"Sam! Come with me!" Maria begged. "It is far too horrible for either of us to be out here in this mess. Let’s head over to the inn. We can get a good meal and besides, we’ll be in where it is nice and warm."

Maria winked at him through the rain. "Anyhow, I heard tell you were askin’ questions about me. Well, if anyone can answer them, whatever they are, I guess it could as well be me as the next one."

"Your wish is my command," Sam said teasingly. "Lead the way."

Together they ran through the storm until they reached the inn. Sam hurried to open the door and they entered, both laughing and panting for breath.

Sam took Maria’s cape and shook it out at the doorway. He hung it on the row of hooks, then did likewise with his own jacket. He stood back and studied Maria. His eyes rolled back in his head at the sheer joy he felt from her beauty. Suddenly he began to laugh.

"I know I’m all wet, and I probably look a real sorry sight," Maria said, "but it ain’t nice to laugh at a lady!"

"I didn’t think you’d be one to mince words," Sam said. "I wasn’t laughing at you. Well, not exactly."

"Would you care to explain yourself, Mr. Sam Bellamy?"

"It’s just that last night, over at the tavern, I couldn’t help but notice the lovely handwork there was on your petticoat."

Maria turned crimson.

"Today when I asked about town, one of the main things I heard was the beautiful stitching and weaving you do. So, I was sure you had done the work yourself."

"What’s so funny about that?" Maria asked.

"Well, I expected to see it today. I had a mind to pay you a fine compliment about it. But, well, I can see you don’t have it on."

Maria looked at him in embarrassment. She could have left well enough alone, saying that she had opted for a plain one today. But no, she was not one to take the easy route on anything. To make matters worse, she said, "But I’ve donned the same one today."

Maria looked down towards the floor. To her surprise, the stitching was missing. It was then she realized in her hurry to answer to Pa, she must have put it on backwards.

To Sam’s surprise, Maria hoisted her loose gown, which she always wore on top of the petticoat, revealing the intricate embroidery on the back of her petticoat.

"Does it meet your approval?" she asked, dropping her loose gown with the slightest teasing flip, showing no more to this near stranger.

Sam thought of the tales he had heard about Maria as he had inquired about her. With all he had learned, he knew she was a delightful flirt and a big tease, but he was not prepared for such forward actions as these. It made him furious that she stopped with this simple action. He longed to see what other treasures lay beneath the hidden gown she sported.

Midway through the meal Mrs. Howe had served them, Maria gasped.

"Oh!" she exclaimed. "I have to get to my brother Andrew’s house. That’s where Ma sent me. His wife, Mehitable, is due for birthin’ anytime now. I’ve gotta be there in case they need me, with the storm. Mehitable, she’s deathly scared of storms."

Maria put her cape on as she made her escape.

"Wait!" Sam called after her.

"Tonight, at Crosby’s Tavern," she called back to him. "I’ll meet you there."

Sam stood and watched her disappear into the sheets of swirling rain. He returned to his meal. As he ate, he thought how utterly frustrating this young tart was. Never had he known a woman who could infuriate him the way Maria Hallett did.

"Goody," he mumbled. "The townspeople say they call both Maria and her mother ‘Goody.’ Now if that isn’t the strangest thought I’ve ever had. Her mother, perhaps, but Maria Hallett is no Goody—not to me, nor to anybody else, I suspect."

He went up to the room he had taken for the duration of the storm and lay on his bed, staring at the rough-hewn timbers above him, pondering the strange witch Maria. It was like, he thought, she had cast her spell over him, causing him to come at her every beck and call.

* * *

The sixth day after he had set foot on the land at Yarmouth, the sky looked like it might begin to clear. Sam Bellamy knew that he was going to claim Maria as his own, he would have to move fast or he would be gone. The thought of Maria being possessed by another sent shivers up and down his spine.

Sam made his way through the lanes, asking where he might find Maria. Finally, John Dexter informed him he had just seen her toting some of her fabrics to the Thacher home.

"Probably for the upcoming bride," he said. "Thankful is soon to become the wife of young John Hallett."

After getting directions to the house, Sam made his way to the Thacher house and asked if Maria Hallett might be there.

Maria, hearing his voice, dashed out the back way and ran down the hillside towards the Hallett house. Sam, however, saw her and chased after her.

Sam grabbed her, and in the midst of the rain, which was by now no more than a heavy mist, he pulled her to himself, clutching her tightly and kissing her passionately.

Maria swallowed hard to catch her breath. True, there had been other sailors who had tried to take liberty with her, but she had always fought them off. With Sam, it was different. She longed to defend herself against his attack, but she did not have the strength—nor the desire—to push him off. She knew, as Sam did, that in a few hours he would undoubtedly be gone. Gone from Yarmouth. Gone from Maria. Perhaps gone forever.

"Come with me to the inn," Sam begged. "I need you."

Maria could hardly believe her actions. She followed him willingly, even anxiously. While she was afraid of what might await her when they got to the inn, she did not possess any way in which to deny his request.

Sam and Maria quietly made their way up the back stairway to Sam’s room. Once inside, Sam shed his jacket and waited for Maria to rid herself of her heavy red cape.

"Red suits you well," he said to her. "Red is the color of danger to a sailor. A red sky is a warning of bad weather to a sailor. A red flag means trouble on a ship. Red on you means you are the worst enemy man can know."

"You see me as an enemy?" Maria asked, hurt in her voice.

"No, not exactly as an enemy. As a dare. A challenge. Never have I known another woman equal to you. You drive me mad. When I am near you, I cannot control what I think or do. When you are away from me, you are all I can see. My head is filled with your image both by day and by night."

"And just what do you intend to do with me?" Maria asked. She knew the answer, even before he spoke. She knew she should run for the door, for the protection of her home and her family, but she wanted Sam as desperately as he wanted her.

Sam walked to her, taking her once again in his arms. They were so big and so strong, yet they were full of tenderness, love and compassion. He began unbuttoning her loose gown, then slipped it from her shoulders, allowing it to fall to the floor at her feet. He looked down at her shoes. While all the other women he had seen in Yarmouth wore leather Indian moccasins, Maria sported shiny red fabric slippers, which he assumed she had made herself.

Sam knelt down in front of Maria and gently lifted her foot. He removed one of the slippers, then the other. He traced the outline of her toes with his long, slender finger.

Maria began to giggle. She had always been ticklish, especially on her feet. Her reaction caused Sam’s excitement all the more. He began to run his fingers up her soft, smooth legs.

Maria pulled away from him, retreating to the corner of the room. She was in no position to leave, not half dressed, but at least she would make him play games with her before he could claim her as his conquest.

Sam chased after her, placing both hands on the wall around her. Maria ducked, escaping from him, and jumped helter-skelter onto the bed.

"Come and get me!" she challenged.

Sam jumped onto the bed, but she moved just in time for him to land on the feather mattress, sinking into it like an angel lost in a cloud.

"Try again!" Maria teased.

This time Sam was successful. He grabbed Maria and hurled her onto the bed. He placed his leg over hers to prevent her from getting away again. He leaned over her, kissing her and tenderly fondling her taut, bulging young breasts. She was as well-formed beneath the loose gown as he had imagined.

Maria lay still, her breath coming in short gasps from the desire which was building within her. She wanted to tell Sam that she had never known a man before, but she was afraid of scaring him off.

Sam loosened the camisole ties and the string which held her petticoat in place. He carefully removed her garments and made love to her. Long, hard, passionate love.

It was only as their passions consumed each other and Maria screamed from the momentary pain that Sam realized what he had done.

"I am your first?" he asked, shocked.

"Yes," Maria replied. "My first. And my only. Oh, Sam, please say you won’t leave me. Do you have to go back out on the ships?"

"Yes," Sam said, rolling over beside Maria. "But I will find a way to seek a fortune on the seas, then I will return to you. Please say you will wait for me."

"I will wait. And I will watch every day until you return."

* * *

Maria soon made her way back to the Hallett home, hoping no one had missed her. She went to Hannah, the only one she had confided in about her innermost feelings about Sam, and told her what had happened.

An hour later, Maria wept alone as she heard the mournful whistle on the ship. She knew it meant that Sam was gone. She would wait for him, just as she had promised. Still, she could not help wondering if he would be as true to her as she intended to be to him. And she wondered if he would ever come back to her.

CHAPTER II

Dr. Angus McPherson hurried into the house. He seemed to fit into the scene at the old historical farmstead as if he belonged there. It was almost as if he was from another time, yet he thoroughly enjoyed all the conveniences his modern-day life afforded him.

The sweat was running down his face, as he had just finished his daily morning run. He prided himself on his physical fitness, and a ten-mile jog set him in stead for the day ahead.

Dr. Angus, as everyone called him, went to the bathroom and washed his face with a cool washcloth, then he returned to the living room, where he could relax. He loved his slow, leisurely Saturday mornings when he didn’t have to make his rounds at the hospital in Brewster until later. Besides, as an obstetrician, he had only delivered two babies in the whole week, so his case load was lighter than it had been in quite a spell.

He opened the door on his huge VCR cabinet and ran his fingers over the tapes. When he came to the tape of Brigadoon, he smiled and pulled it out.

It’s a fascinating premise, he thought. One day in every hundred years the old town of Brigadoon in the Scottish highlands came back to life.

Dr. Angus’ thoughts spun back to his mother. They had watched this movie together dozens of times. How he missed her. It had been almost a year since she had died, but he felt a closeness to her as he pondered the movie. Instinctively, as if in his mother’s memory, he popped the tape into the slot on the television and turned it on.

He sat in his big old overstuffed chair and put his feet up on the hassock in front of him. He leaned back, prepared to enjoy the mood of the moment to the fullest.

Corky, his lop-eared cocker spaniel, heard him come in and raced to the chair, jumping onto his lap and licking his face.

"Calm down," Dr. Angus said to the dog. "We’ve got a good three-hour run on this one. If you’re going to watch it with me, you better behave yourself."

Dr. Angus laughed at himself. Was he really that desperate? His mother had tried her best to mate him with a number of the influential, available Cape Cod women, but he had not been interested. He had to concentrate on medical school, he had argued with her. Then he had to get his practice established.

Now, sitting alone with his VCR and Corky, he wondered if he would grow old alone. Maybe it was time for him to start looking in earnest.

"For you, Mom," he said aloud, as if she could hear him.

The movie began, and in short order he was caught up in the intrigue of the plot. His mind traveled back in time, through the years, to the quaint Scottish village.

He was so caught up in life in Brigadoon he was unaware of the nasty turn the weather had taken outside until he heard a loud crash of thunder and saw a bright bolt of lightening fill the sky.

At the same instant, there was a loud crack and the electricity went out and the phone rang.

Dr. Angus jumped up. He reached for the power switch on the TV to turn it off so it wouldn’t burn out. Then he grabbed the phone.

"Dr. Angus McPherson," he said into the phone receiver.

"Oh, Dr. Angus!" the woman on the phone shouted. "I am so glad you are home! I think I have gone into labor. Sam is gone and I’m here alone and there is a terrible storm outside and I’m scared and I don’t know anyone here. I just knew we shouldn’t have moved until after the baby came."

Dr. Angus recognized Blair Smythe-Black’s voice immediately. He was tempted to laugh at her, but no one ever laughed at Blair Smythe-Black! He remembered her first visit to his office.

"I am Blair Smythe-Black," she announced. "I am kin of the Kennedy’s. Well, almost," she had said, almost apologetically.

She had gone on to explain that her mother had almost married Sargeant Shriver. And since Sargeant Shriver had married a Kennedy, she figured that almost made her a Kennedy.

"Anyway, my father’s mother was a Hallett," she had told him. "You know, the Hallett’s of Yarmouth."

Dr. Angus knew the Hallett’s of Yarmouth by reputation. Most everyone on the Cape knew the Halletts by reputation, but the reputation wasn’t always that good.

"My great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Andrew Hallett. You know, the one that came over on the Mayflower."

Blair had hung her head sheepishly as she admitted, "Well, he almost came on the Mayflower. He would have, but he missed the boat. It was about ten years later when he finally made it to America." Her eyes had sparkled as she exclaimed, "Well, he did come on the Mayflower that time. So what if it was the ship’s sixth trip across the ocean?"

Dr. Angus laughed silently, now, thinking of how he had decided she was the almost Blair. The woman with a claim to fame—almost. Well, now it seemed that she was going to have a baby, and it sounded like it wasn’t almost to happen, but was the real thing.

"The weather out there looks terrible," Dr. Angus told Blair over the phone. "I know a really fine OB man in Hyannis. Why don’t you let me call him? It would be a lot safer for both of us."

"But you promised!" Blair whined. "I wouldn’t have moved away if I had thought for a minute that you would back out on me."

"OK. I’ll leave right away. You call a cab and get to the hospital. I don’t

want you driving in your condition. I’ll meet you there as soon as I can."

"By the way," Dr. Angus added as an afterthought, "Where is Sam, anyway? Will he be there when the baby comes?"

"Oh, you know Sam," Blair said. "He’s gone out fishing. Only with this awful storm I’m sure he’ll be back in any time now. I’ll leave a note for him. Just in case, I called the Coast Guard and they are going to try to locate him."

"See you in a bit," Dr. Angus said, hanging the phone up and bending over to tie his jogging shoes. He debated about changing his clothes, but decided against it since the weather was so bad. A jogging suit was just fine for a day like today. Besides, he’d have to change when he got to the hospital anyway.

He went to the side door of the house which led into the garage. Corky ran out ahead of him and as soon as he opened the car door the dog was inside, his tail wagging and his tongue hanging out.

"I don’t think this is a good idea," Dr. Angus said, scratching the dog behind the ears.

Corky cried, pleading to accompany his master.

"Oh, all right. But you have to stay in the car when we get there. Most hospitals frown on dogs visiting the patients."

As if he understood, Corky curled up on the seat and went to sleep almost instantly.

The car wound its way over the road which led from Brewster to Hyannis. From time to time Dr. Angus had to pull off to the side of the road until the rain and wind let up enough to see before he continued.

Dr. Angus’s mind wandered off to Brigadoon as he drove along. He wondered what the people in that far-off place would think if they could see such things as automobiles and airplanes.

Highway 6 led right through Yarmouth. As he passed by, he thought of Blair and her Hallett relatives. The ones who almost made it on the Mayflower.

Dr. Angus had always been fascinated by history. That was part of the heritage you had by growing up in colonial America, even if it was nearly four hundred years after the Pilgrims first set foot on the land.

After Blair had told him about the Halletts, Dr. Angus had done some research on his own. He learned that they were quite wealthy people, but that Andrew, Sr., had come over with a passage listing as a "servant."

This had intrigued him, and he had delved farther and farther into the background of the family, until he had learned the truth behind the entry. Andrew Hallett, he had been told, was as tight as could be with his money.

"He could put a Scotsman to shame, he was so tight," the old man from Yarmouth had told him. "A slave could come over free on the ships, so he struck a deal with a friend of his. He came over listed as the other gent’s slave. Then they split the fare, so it cost each of them only half as much as usual. Of course his wife and all six children, who were born in England, also came for free that way."

Dr. Angus listened as the old man spun the time-worn tale of Andrew Hallett.

"As soon as they set foot on American sod, the man began giving orders to Andrew Hallett. Well, he wasn’t about to stand for that! ‘I am Goodman Hallett now that we have landed, and don’t you ever forget it!’ And it was known far and wide that he never took another order from anyone as long as he lived."

Now, passing through Yarmouth, Dr. Angus felt a strange sensation. It was like nothing he had ever felt before.

"It is just the storm," he told himself.

Just then a bright bolt of lightening illuminated a field off to his right. There, standing in the middle of the field, was a man, frantically waving his arms at Dr. Angus.

Dr. Angus weighed the alternatives as he continued on the road. This man obviously needed help, but so did Blair Smythe-Black. After all, she was his patient. This man meant nothing to him. He had no idea even who he was. He owed his allegiance to Blair.

"Hel-l-l-l-l-p!"

The strange man’s voice echoed through the wind, daring Dr. Angus to ignore him.

There were other doctors at the hospital in Hyannis. In fact, they had some of the finest doctors on the Cape. The Kennedy’s had seen to that.

Dr. Angus swung the car around, feeling it veer from one side of the highway to the other on the slippery pavement. This man’s cry for help seemed to haunt him. He could not escape it.

He could no longer make out the figure, as the rain was nearly blinding. He wondered if he had imagined the whole thing. Perhaps he had watched too much Brigadoon.

He pulled the car alongside the road and ran into the field, instinctively grabbing his medical bag. Corky was at his side, barking as they went through the tall, marshy poverty grass. He listened for the voice, but it was silent.

He was sure he had made a mistake. There was no one here, or he would still be calling to them. Feeling quite foolish, Dr. Angus turned and headed back for the car.

"Help!" Again, that voice. "Crack!" Again, a bolt of lightening, revealing the man, still waving frantically for Dr. Angus to come to his rescue.

Dr. Angus soon was standing directly in front of the man. He shook his head, hoping it would clear. Was it possible? Or was the weather playing tricks on him?

The man held a hand out to Dr. Angus. Dr. Angus slowly took hold of it, shaking it. It was cold and clammy, but then so was everything else on a day like today.

"Please!" the man pleaded. "You have to come help me. I have heard that you work miracles for people in trouble. You must come with me."

"What seems to be the problem?" Dr. Angus asked.

"It is Maria, my daughter. She is having a baby, and no one will help her. The midwife will not come to the house. They all say she is a witch."

"A witch?" Dr. Angus asked, talking as they ran across the field towards

Yarmouth. "But there haven’t been any witches since 17—something or other."

"It doesn’t matter," the stranger said. "Just come help her. I am afraid she is going to die. And maybe the baby, too."

Dr. Angus was moved by the anxiety of this man for his daughter. He could not deny him the right to medical care. Besides, wasn’t that his specialty? He was, after all, a baby doctor.

"She may be a witch," the man said, "but she is still my daughter, no matter what she has done."

As they entered the town, Dr. Angus looked around. It was as if he had just walked into another century. The houses were all small, typical buildings. The Cape was full of such homes, but these homes looked to be almost brand new.

Dr. Angus searched for cars and traffic. It was a stormy night, but there were no cars. Not even parked along the streets. In fact, there were barely streets. Here and there he saw a horse tied in front of a house, or a candle light in a window. There were no street lights. There was no sound of anything, save a few voices from inside as they passed one house after another.

"Here we are!" the man said. "Hurry, before it is too late."

He pounded on the door. A woman, dressed in an old-fashioned long, full dress, opened the door. She held a bloody rag in one hand.

"Mary!" the man said. "Thank God he has come to help. I knew he would."

"It is too late," the woman sobbed. "The baby was just born. He is dead. And poor Maria, she is nearly dead as well."

A million questions ran through Dr. Angus’s mind. He wanted to know who these people were. He wanted to know how he got there, and if it was really a different time, or if he was dreaming. He wanted to know why the people thought this man’s daughter was a witch. And how did this stranger know who he was, and that he could help in a medical emergency? "Not now," he said aloud, hardly aware that he had spoken.

"Yes, now!" the man argued. "She needs you right now. In there."

The man pointed to a small cot near the fireplace. The woman was retching in pain, tossing from one side to the other. The baby was on the corner of the cot, the umbilical cord still connecting the lifeless form to its young mother.

Dr. Angus hurried to her side, his black leather bag in his hand. He set it down, opened it and took a scissors out of the plastic seal to cut the cord. He leaned over the tiny creature and felt a very faint pulse.

"I think we can do it," he said to the new mother. He proceeded to push, ever so gently with just two fingers, on the baby’s chest and to blow into its mouth and nose.

Since they all thought the baby was dead, no one had even tried to clean it off. Dr. Angus repeated the CPR technique, his face covered with the coating which enveloped the baby.

He stood back, checking once again for a pulse, when the baby began to cry. Softly at first, then a bold, loud scream.

The stranger came running into the room. He grabbed his daughter’s hand and spoke to her.

"It is going to be all right. I told you people said this doctor could work miracles. The baby was dead, and he has given him life. It is wonderful! Just wonderful!"

Dr. Angus abruptly pushed him aside in order to get to Maria and tend to her. She was hemorrhaging and he knew what he needed.

"Can someone get me some ice?" he asked.

Mary Hallett, who had joined them, looked at her husband in disbelief. John’s stare was equally blank.

"Surely you know it’s only September. There’s no ice to be had for months yet."

Dr. Angus shook his head, puzzled. It is the past, he thought. I don’t know how, or why, but these people have never heard of making ice until everything freezes over in the winter.

"The well," he said. "Is the water from it cold?"

"It’s always cold, bein’ below ground like it is," John answered. "You want I should fetch you some?"

"Yes," Dr. Angus replied. "And hurry! We have to get something cold in here to stop the bleeding."

John called out to Seth to bring some water. Dr. Angus realized, for the first time, that all the family members were just around the corner, anxiously watching his every move.

"Come on, little lady!" he coaxed. "Just try and relax. We’ll have this over in no time."

He handed the baby to Mary and instructed her to clean him off. Mary obediently took him into the kitchen and washed him off. She took a piece of fabric and wrapped the baby in it, holding him close to her and singing softly. He responded by a gurgle, then slipped off to sleep—a calm, peaceful sleep—in his grandmother’s arms.

Seth returned with the water. It was indeed cold, Dr. Angus discovered as he put a clean cloth into it. He packed Maria to try to control the bleeding, and when he was satisfied that it was under control, he reached again into his medical bag.

Dr. Angus held a syringe up to prepare it for Maria. The room was suddenly silent, as they all watched this man work his magic on Maria. He inserted the needle into Maria’s arm, causing her to cry out in agony. Never had they seen such a thing as this.

John came running to Dr. Angus and tried to pull the needle from Maria’s arm. Dr. Angus fought with him, waiting until all the medication was well-drained into her veins. Then he withdrew it, tossing it into the fireplace.

"What are you doing?" John demanded.

"I am giving her a sedative," Dr. Angus replied.

"And what is that?" John asked.

"It is something to make her rest. In just a few minutes she will be calm and it will be much better for her. I don’t want her moving about so the bleeding starts again."

By the time Dr. Angus had finished his explanation, Maria was completely relaxed and asleep. Her arm dropped to the side of the cot.

"She’s dead!" Mary screamed. "You killed my daughter! What have you done to her?"

John grabbed her, trying to awaken her, but it was no use. The sedative had done what it was supposed to do. If only they could understand that.

"You saved the baby, but you killed my daughter! I will see you hanged for this! You are a murderer! You will pay for your sins!"

Dr. Angus pulled one of the chairs up along side Maria and sat beside her. He watched her chest rise and fall with each new breath she took.

"Come here," he said softly to John and Mary. "Put your hands here."

He took Mary’s hand and gently guided it to Maria’s chest.

"Feel that," he said. "That is your daughter’s life. She is not dead. She is merely sleeping. In a few hours she will be awake, but she will not feel the terrible pain she felt earlier."

"You had better hope so!" John sputtered. "For your sake, you better hope so."

After much persuasion, Dr. Angus convinced the rest of the family to leave him alone there with Maria.

"She needs her rest," he explained, "and I will keep an eye on her. It is getting late, and you would be better off going about your regular chores."

Reluctantly, they left him alone with Maria.

Dr. Angus could hear them whispering in the kitchen about his strange means of doing things. He could also hear them preparing the evening meal. He had not realized how hungry he was until John returned with a bowl of soup and a piece of bread for him. He gladly accepted it, and in a few minutes John had returned to eat with him.

"I suppose this all seems strange to you," John said. "I am sorry we have not been too cordial. But we were so worried about Maria."

"Tell me about yourselves," Dr. Angus said.

"I am John," the man said. "My wife is Mary. Our children are Thankful, John, Joseph, Samuel, Seth, Hannah, Mercy and Hope. Then there is Andrew, but he is married and lives across the meadow with his wife, Mehitable. Oh, and of course Maria. But you know Maria."

John pointed to the young girl on the bed.

"That is Maria."

"Do you by any chance have a surname?" Dr. Angus asked. "John what?"

"Beggin’ your pardon, Doctor. I nearly forgot. It is Hallett. John Hallett."

Dr. Angus looked at the man in surprise. So this was the famed Hallett family. The one who had sired Blair Smythe-Black. At last, he was going to have a chance to get acquainted with the infamous Halletts of Yarmouth.

As he studied the man in front of him, he wondered why Blair Smythe-Black would be so proud of such a family as this.

"Of the family of Andrew Hallett?" Dr. Angus asked. "The Andrew Hallett who almost came over on the Mayflower?"

John laughed. "Then you’ve heard of us, I see."

"More than you know," Dr. Angus said. "Far more than you know."

"Andrew Hallett," John explained, "was my grandfather."

"Andrew Hallett, who came here in 1635, was your grandfather?" Dr. Angus asked incredibly.

"Yes," John answered. "Does that surprise you?"

"A bit," Dr. Angus said. "If you don’t mind my asking, what year is this?"

"1713," John answered, appearing amused by the lack of knowledge of this man who had just resurrected a dead baby.

Maria stirred on the cot. Dr. Angus reached over to check her pulse, then smiled at her father.

"She’s going to be just fine," he said. "She should be awake pretty soon."

He had no sooner spoken than Maria opened her eyes and looked up at the strange man who hovered over her.

"Who are you?" she asked. She reached down to feel her stomach. It was no longer bulging with the baby she had carried inside her. "My baby?" she asked, panic-stricken.

"Your baby is just fine," Dr. Angus said.

"Pa?" Maria asked. "Is he lyin’ to me?"

"No, child," he said, "your brand new son is sound asleep in the cradle out with his grandma. He’s as bright and shiny as can be."

To order the book to learn "the rest of the story," just click on the picture of the Whydah above and order.

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