Revolutionary Rosanna Book 1: Resolution
Copyright © 2016 – 2019 by Christina Roberts
All rights reserved
Paperback version printed in the United States
Publisher: Christina Roberts
Library of Congress Registration Number: TX 8-540-359
Effective Date of Registration: November 21, 2017
Design and Compositions: Cover design, interior artwork, text composition, related elements, etc by Christina Roberts.
This work is the intellectual property of Christina Roberts. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or copied in any form or by any means, in any medium or by any method, without proper written permission from the publisher. You may not circulate this book in any format or for any purpose. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents, unless otherwise stated, are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. The author is not liable for any potential historical inaccuracies or misrepresentations of historical persons.
Opening chapter quotes are from period life sources, and unless otherwise noted, are in the Public Domain.
BOOK 1: Resolution
The tale of a woman who joined the Revolutionary War as a man
"To usurp dominion over a people in their own despite, or to grasp at a more extensive power than they are willing to intrust, is to violate that law of nature which gives every man a right to his personal liberty, and can therefore confer no obligation to obedience."
- Alexander Hamilton in The Farmer Refuted, February 23, 1775
Revolutionary Rosanna: Chapter 01
Rosanna pressed her back further against the pillow, her eyes rolling as she grit her teeth.
"Feeling sorry for yourself again, you little whore? Well, stop it! Do you not know how lucky you are? Your earnings are three times as much as any of ours, because of the two buxom members on your chest!"
That's what one of the other women had hissed, oh, so spitefully to her, as if Rosanna should be proud of her physical attractions, or felt esteemed in her ability to woo a man just by a glance, a flaunt of her hand, or a tilt of her face. Daily, adorned with lace and cheap, shimmering gowns that announced her profession shamelessly, Rosanna would run her hands along a man's cuffs, tease him by rolling her slender fingers around his buttons. With a fluttering of her lashes, she entranced the poor fool. He, eager only to take her to bed, produced his pocketbook straightaway for her inspection.
Rosanna shut her eyes tight, groaning at the height of pleasure. Reacting at the right moment was just another trick she’d learned to arouse a man further, because the faster he was stimulated, the quicker her work with him would be accomplished.
He spread himself thoroughly over her, sucking on wherever he very well pleased, for that was his privilege. Running his tongue over her pale skin, biting and hesitating and breathing heavily, sweat ever peeling and sticking to them both, did he shove his arms further around her. He moaned as he injected himself deeply into her.
Rosanna was used to this. To further inflate the man's ego, she exhaled slowly, inhaled with a lurch of her frame, pushing quicker for the climax of the union. Her every tingle, sigh, and moan, at learned intervals, energized the man into thinking he was the only one who could provide her with such pleasure.
In response to her writhing and clawing and pressing against him, he slobbered across her shoulder, claimed her mouth in a very slimy kiss that Rosanna knew was supposed to be romantic.
Before the Great Fire on September twenty, men had often come to the Holy Ground with the idea that they would be a poor wretch's savior for the night. Pleasuring him would be the most fortunate experience of her life, for there was never such a man to love her so deeply before, and after him there never would be again, so near every man boasted.
They deluded themselves. There was nothing enjoyable to being probed and pinched and breathed upon in such a humiliating, repulsive manner. And after each man departed, Rosanna suffered further by the rank odors each of them left behind on her person. However, with much scrubbing and even some bitter tears, she did succeed in ridding her flesh of their imprint.
With a laborious groan did the man at last push himself from her. He salivated over Rosanna's slender figure, large chest, and the cultivated hair and smooth features of her face, one fit for no less than that of a lady. Once more he kissed her, and then slid away and stood, his back to her. Rosanna blinked at the man's rather firm body, but did not care for his soft, chestnut hair or his long lashes or how charming he was.
He took himself into the next room to scrub himself until he reclaimed his pretense of respectability. But she knew what he was really like. She knew the hearts of many men in ways their wives and mothers and sisters never would.
As she lay considering the rut in which her life had become, Rosanna glossed her eyes over the man's pressed and prestigious red uniform. His buckskin breeches were tossed across an oak chair and his spurs lay sideways near the door. The polished buttons on his coat shimmered from slits of waning sunlight peaking between the curtains.
She must have been laying there for longer than she realized, as the officer casually walked back into the room, washed and lovely as a flower after a spring rain. He progressed to button and slide himself up inside his neat and honorable uniform. When he had completed his transformation from False Lover to His Majesty's Officer, he turned to Rosanna and planted a last kiss over her lips. Then, tipping his hat as if she were worthy of such polite posturing, as though she were not a whore, he exited the room.
She rolled her face into the pillow to muffle a laugh of self-loathing.
Six months ago, her father had rather abruptly sold his publishing business and given all the proceeds of the sale to the Continental Congress, for what he termed "the funding of our Glorious Cause." The business had been family owned since the six decades ago that it had commenced by her Dutch ancestors who had sailed across the sea for New York. They had been born and bred of typical, hardy stock, determined foremost to enrich themselves by pure hard work and labor. Unlike the solemn Puritans who delighted in despising pleasure and felicity, her ancestors had enjoyed themselves as they became wealthy, and had taken no shame in further enhancing their lifestyle with education, luxury goods, and expensive clothing. It was, as many a typical Dutch-American colonist focused so completely on the creation of wealth above all else, that her migrating ancestors had not even sought a congregation of worship for six years.
Through the decades, much of the Netherlands mother culture, including her native tongue, faded from her family, and others of her like who lived and were influenced directly by their New England and Yankee neighbors; but the strongest, most important characteristics of her heritage remained. The precious principles and cherished values, the essence of what being Dutch meant, interwove and found a near perfect method of melding in with American Colonial ideals, which produced a unique breed of individual. This was the atmosphere, the soup, in which Rosanna came.
She had been born and raised in as pure a form of an American as her parents knew how to formulate, within an upper yeoman gentry class family. She had been purposefully educated, as her mother would boast, from a strong classical foundation, not only to equal any proper English woman, but on par with the gentlemen as well.
Rosanna had kept her hair in tight ringlets and worn lovely bonnets and dainty heels. With a circle of superficial friends, she used to walk the streets, gaze in through shop windows at candies and fashionable accessories, and of course curtsy a hello to the handsome young men, who would remove their hats and kiss her hand in a most delicate manner.
She had been beautiful enough to be a mention on a regular basis at the neighbors' dinner tables. If any of them recalled her name to utter it to each other now, it was no doubt riddled with pity and disgust.
And then, when Rosanna thought she had stepped over the threshold into adulthood and had before her a perfect sphere in which to be courted, to expand her horizons, to discover herself, her father had destroyed all her hopes and high expectations.
Denouncing her father, Rosanna had run away to, somehow, reclaim the future among the upper echelon of society that she felt to be hers. She did not know what became of the forlorn pair, but in her hardened, bitter heart, she found it a challenge to feel any remorse for them at all.
Thinking of how life had been and how it had turned out depressed Rosanna. She slowly stood and sighed. It was time to clean her body again and stuff some of her earned coins in the secret pouch in her gown that she'd sewn just beneath her left breast. If the mistress found out about her hidden money, she certainly would be thrown out, not into the street, but ironically into Trinity Church.
She grinned wickedly.
To hell with that old crone, and to hell with the Continental Congress and their supposedly God-blessed patriot army! It was because of their futile attempts to break with the Crown that she was no longer a sought-after virtuous girl, but scum of the colonies and on her way to a short life riddled, no doubt, by venereal diseases she would soon earn from her occupation.
Rosanna made haste to cleanse her skin and put on her flashy, cheap gown. She ornamented herself with gaudy jewels and sprayed herself liberally with the perfumes so associated with her occupation. She took herself down a set of lean, wood stairs to the main foyer of the pleasure house. There she smiled at the mingling men and pretended to greatly enjoy their attentions.
Since the war, if it could be called that, had commenced, and especially after the British had taken New York on September fifteen, near half of her clients had changed from merchants, Continental militia, and stupid, young engaged men, to British soldiers longing for their sweethearts three thousand miles across the sea.
She had, at first, been intimidated at their disciplined figures in such splendid uniforms, each soldier clasping a musket. The officers toted swords sheathed against their hips. The more rugged members wore tall black boots they kept shining smooth, or various black, thigh-high garters, while the officers of a more attentive nature to the preferences of etiquette wore white, silk stockings and buckled shoes. The highest-ranking officers sometimes encrusted their golden buckles with gemstones. All of them were well-outfitted with crisp hats and gloves to match and smartly-tied tails, by aid of red bows, at the ends of their regimental coats. Long white or black ribbons queued their waving hair back in low pigtails. Many were young. She would have estimated no older than twenty-five. Their speech was sweet and delicate, their expressions attentive and well-mannered.
But it had all been pretense, just like Rosanna fanning herself and fluttering her eyes at yet another beautiful British soldier who tilted his hat at her. It was part of the game, the make believe, the fun. If she played it well enough, she could catch yet another and grab one more fist full of gold from his pocketbook.
Among the youthful soldiers and gossiping, pot-bellied Tories, Rosanna's eye caught the profile of a young man in a conservative brown coat and gray, cotton stockings. He wore ankle-high hunting boots, covered from feet to knees by black, leather garters. In his fist, he tightly clutched a pair of gloves. Though his tones of expression and gait were humble, the suit itself was well-tailored and of fine material. No doubt, he was the son of some variety of successful merchant.
She wove around the chattering men, determined to win the man for herself, though uncertain of why she wanted him so badly. There must have been something to his slender, slightly chiseled face, firm cheekbones, or carefully-clubbed, nearly black hair that exalted him above the others.
Rosanna sashayed in her wide gown, quite hastily fanning herself. She was upon him before he noticed, as he seemed quite distracted. When she slid her hand over his, he nearly jumped.
"Why, you are quite the nerves this night, my fine man," she smoothly said.
The young man darted her a lowered flash of his eyes and removed her hand quite suddenly, daring to border on rudeness. "Please, miss," he seemed to sigh. "Avert your worthy attentions elsewhere. I am not here for pleasures, but am awaiting a colleague for business."
"Do tell, where is this important colleague of yours?" She moved about him to his front, snapping her fan shut.
The young man swallowed, revealing to Rosanna the intricacies of his awkward situation. Leaning forward, she lowered her voice, "Ah, is your colleague indisposed with a lady up in the chamber? He forgot about his errand with you, yes? Perhaps you should revenge yourself of him and come upstairs with me."
She felt dead in soul to say such things, and with such outward ease. To her surprise, instead of turning to engage in teasing and verbal foreplay, the man abruptly caught her offending hand, which she was raising to run across his face.
His jaw clenched. For some seconds, he could not speak, just squeeze her hand a bit harshly, studying the smoothness of her fingers, the near perfect filing of her nails. His eyes narrowed, he seeming uncertain of her for some seconds. When he spoke, it was in a very low, intolerable tone, "Madam, I suggest you seek other employment before your youth and bloom is wasted upon such undeserving dogs. Surely, and I do not think I am at fault to assume this, you were not brought up within such halls as these. Minute details of your speech, your gait, remind me more of a woman of breeding. But that is not the point. A hot-blooded human as you has far more to offer the world than your current occupation."
Rosanna realized she was digging her nails into his palm and, embarrassed and upset, made to wrench their hands apart.
With a slight bow and smile, he added, "Now, please do not assume my reason for being here. I beg your pardon." The man slipped around her and out the entrance door. Rosanna was so shocked that she was unable to move from her spot for some seconds. When she did, she rushed to the door, near flinging herself bodily from it, to catch a glimpse of the man's retreating figure.
Never had she been so insulted! Yet, his rudeness had been incredibly refreshing. For the first time in months, a man had looked directly at her, addressed her equally, and acknowledged not that she was a woman, but a human. That was what it was to feel life!
She stood for such a long time, at intervals opening and closing the hand he had held, that the mistress caught her lingering.
She huffed, "Rosanna! What do you do there? Wasting my resources? Ungrateful! Get yourself back in the house and earn your bread!"
The mistress roughly pulled Rosanna from the door, slamming it. Ushering the young woman back into the foyer, she clucked and hissed until Rosanna gave in and returned to entertain the men. For the rest of the evening, however, the young merchant man would not leave her thoughts.
New York was not the town it had been before the shots had been fired that began the war. Many people had seemed to have forgotten the pleasant circumstances of their lives before Lexington and Concord. Even as the British had marched in on the heels of the retreating Continentals and commenced spoiling the town and rudely occupying street corners, the citizens had merely sighed and lamented in private of this and that and how it could, should, or used to be.
Seth knew better than to take people's actions at public value. A whole year had passed in which he had kept his opinions private, pacing and grinding his teeth and burning to join his older brother Clayton as one of Washington's Continentals. His brother had helped capture Fort Ticonderoga with the celebrated Ethan Allen. In lieu of saving a dozen men from capture, taking two shots to the same leg, and enduring all such related hardships without complaint, his brother had been promoted to colonel. He wrote the family regularly, missed them and so forth. The more Seth recounted his brother's honorable conduct, which he admired and his mother flippantly disliked, the more he desired to do his part in the protecting of the country.
The previous evening, against his mother's wishes, he had ridden away from their home in New York and arrived at the pleasure house preferred by his friend Howler. The man was a gentleman Whig of eccentric and not altogether agreeable character, near double his age, who had proudly agreed to help him with funds, clothes, and a few days' victuals for his survival on his way to serve Washington. The gentleman had promised not to be indisposed, so that Seth would not have to inconvenience himself by waiting.
Seth was most upset. He had waited the previous evening for near an hour. Howler had been indisposed, indeed. The older man had apologized most adamantly in a letter the following morning and promised to be available at the same time, same place that evening. Seth had come again, but Howler had not pulled through and he could not wait yet another day.
Disappointed in his friend, with reins in his fists and a few days' food, he rode off into the wilderness with a ruffled copy of Common Sense sticking out from his coat pocket.
As New York fell behind him, Seth felt the first sting of his decision. His eyes teared up, for the sorrow he had inflicted on his mother. She was left with his two younger sisters and the liberal contents of her purse for comfort, but he knew those were not enough to calm the weeping and worry she would feel for him—and disappointment. A part of him was upset at her, for she had so resolutely stated that she would not give him a penny should he embark on such a "mission of suicide". In a like previous threatening manner, she had made good her word and stripped his older brother of all his funds. Regardless, Clayton had galloped away—and as Seth thought, as fast as the man could, in order to put the maximum amount of God's earth between he and their Tory mother.
He clicked at his horse and increased his speed to a trot. Washington would no doubt be removing himself from Harlem Heights in due haste, now that the British had taken the town. It was with head held high, but fear in his heart, that Seth Bristow kept his wits and traveled on to meet his destiny.