Soldier of Conscience
That’s the title of my work in progress, detailing the adventures of Luke Boniface who at the age of fifteen found himself among the ranks of Benedict Arnold’s army marching north from Maine towards the land called Kebec, or, as the French settlers called it, Québec.
Luke, the fourth youngest of the six Boniface sons, had no real interest in the politics of the day; his reasons for joining Arnold’s group were twofold, and simple. One was to find his elder brother Isaac, who had left the family farm and gone north to seek land and a farm of his own. The second was simply to seek adventure. The trail from Maine to Québec was harsh and dangerous, Luke had been told. This fired his sense of adventure even more.
The Boniface family farm would pass to Matthew, the eldest son. Matthew was a true countryman, placid, hardworking, who loved the land. Isaac was ambitious, romantic, and adventurous. He had no wish to spend his life as a labourer on his brother’s farm, so when he heard the land beyond the Kenebec River was richly arable, and there was so much of it, he decided to head north in quest of some of that land. In the two years since, only a couple of letters had been received from him and Luke’s mother fretted over this long silence from her second son. She worried some ill had befallen him.
Luke wished there was some way he could set his mother’s mind at rest, but he had neither the money nor the information to go seeking Isaac. Then he heard Benedict Arnold was coming to speak at the town hall and made certain he was among those gathered to hear the fiery, fuelled with vigour man . Arnold’s mission was to urge all able-bodied men to follow him on his march to take Québec City.
There and then Luke saw how he could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. If he joined Arnold’s forces he was sure not only to encounter lots of adventure but to seek Isaac also. Naturally, his mother was not happy. With Isaac gone, and Joshua, her third son, at a seminary, poor Mrs. Boniface was going to be left with only her husband the dependable Matthew, and her daughters.
Now her youngest wanted to join a ragtag army and head off through Lord knew what dangers! It is not to be wondered at she was not at all happy at the prospect of her baby. Luke was persuasive, and in the end was allowed to go.
Had he known just what awaited him on the arduous march through the dense woods, bitter cold in the winter months, hot, humid and alive with blackflies and mosquitoes in summer, he would not have been quite so excited. However, adventure, danger and excitement a-plenty he did find. Much of it excited Luke’s conscience. Follow orders, or do what to him seemed right? In the end, Luke even found romance… a romance which set him yet another dilemma. Should he continue with Arnold or – should he follow his conscience?