Ch 32 Benjamin's Betrothal
It has been about 10 months since we started courting, and we are more in love than we ever have been. A few minutes ago, I asked Robert Field to accompany me into his study. I asked, “Robert, you know that I have followed all your courtship rules. I am now asking permission to take the next step and ask for Elizabeth’s hand in marriage. May I have your blessing?
Robert looked at me with surprise and stated, “I am surprised that you want to marry her this young, but you have been courting for almost a year, and you both seem to be well matched and in love, so yes, you have my blessing. You know that you will have a betrothal ceremony tonight or tomorrow, that is if she accepts your proposal, but I am confident she will. At that ceremony, you pledge to marry each other. You will post banns and get married soon after.
I stated, “Thank you for your blessing. I know the procedure since I have had two siblings marry before me already. I also know that we will have to bundle in bed too. This will be the ultimate test of my self-control, but I promise to wait until the wedding night to be intimate.
He said, “Good, now go out and get betrothed!”
I said, “Yes, Sir!” and we chuckled.
I came out of the study and approached Elizabeth who was chopping carrots for dinner. She looked up at me as I was coming her way. She stopped chopping, and I asked her, “My Dear Elizabeth, when you are finished, do you want to take a walk with me?
She looked at me and gave me a sweet smile, “Yes Benjamin, I would love too, just let me finish this.
Her mother approached her and took away her knife and said, “I will finish this for you! Benjamin might have something pressing to talk to you about. She winked at me, and I knew what she was implying. I winked back offered by arm for Eliza to link, and we walked together out to the garden path to the big maple tree in her back yard by the barn. I stopped looked into her lovely, hazel eyes. Her long lashes blinked, and she looked into my eyes, and I could see my future there.
I gave her a hopeful look and said, “Dear Eliza, I have loved you for a long time. You have been my reason for getting up every day and working hard. I want to wake up with you everyday and forever. Will you be my wife, my confidant, my lover, and the mother of my children forever?
She answered with an expression that melted my heart, “Yes Ben, I have waited a while now, and I would be honored to be your wife and the mother of your children.
We both leaned forward and shared our first kiss under the tree in her yard. The kiss was sweet and full of promise. It was passionate, and I felt butterflies in my stomach. We kissed for a few minutes, and we forced ourselves to stop before we went too far. We were holding our chests breathless from the kiss. It was so passionate.
I looked at her and said, “Wow! That kiss made it hard to hold my urges. Let us go back and announce our betrothal to your parents, and then we will go tell mine.” She nodded yes because she was still catching her breath from our kisses.
We went inside and told her parents. They congratulated us, and then we went to my home and told my family. My parents were thrilled for us. Jacob was home this weekend, and he congratulated us too.
I told Eliza that I was going to talk to Jacob for a few minutes, and that she could help my mother with some tasks. She said, “Sure, I know you want to talk to him alone.” She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, and I left with Jacob. We went to our room and I asked, “So when are you going to take the plunge and propose?
Jacob answered, “Well, I want to wait until later this year because I want you to be married first. I will almost be ready, but I want to save money to buy land soon after because this house is already crowded with Joseph’s family, and you are getting married soon, so the house will be full. I know mother would not mind, but I think Anna and I want to have lots of children and will need a large home of our own. Plus, I need land to help with my trade.
I said, “That sound reasonable.”
He said, “Do not get me wrong. There is nothing more that I would like but to marry now. My self-control is starting to be limited. Anna and I are very much in love, but we are not in a rush. I would like to propose in the fall on the big hill in Charlestown. The trees will be in full color by then, the scene of the water from there is gorgeous. I think it will be very romantic to propose where we started to court. What do you think?”
I replied, “That will be epic, Jacob. I asked Eliza in her garden under the maple tree by her barn this morning. It is where we decided to court too. Fall on the big hill will be perfect for you both. Are you planning to marry there?
Jacob replied, Well, I think it would be too cold to wed there. Remember how cold and snowy Joseph’s outside wedding in January was? I think we will have ours at her house and a meal here.”
I said, “Yes, I remember all to well. It was very cold that day. Anyway, I am going to wed in Eliza’s yard by the tree. It will be early spring, so we should be fine. What do you think?
He said, “Well, you always have the option of her living room if it rains, snows or it is too cold. You know how March can be unpredictable.”
I said, “True. I want to ask if you can ask father and Joseph if it is okay to build an addition on top of Joseph’s living space. Eliza and I might need our own room. That way, you can take down this wall adjoining Hannah’s old room, so you and Anna could stay here when you wed.
He said, “That is great idea. I will ask father about that later.”
We left our bedroom and went downstairs to find Eliza’s parents there. They had news that the church elders were coming to do the betrothal ceremony tonight, so they brought Eliza’s Sunday dress over. They gave it to Eliza, and she went up to Hannah’s old room to change. My father rushed over to Hannah’s house and asked them to come over this evening for our betrothal ceremony. My mother went to the shop and told Joseph and JJ to be at the home for the ceremony and supper afterward.
I rushed back upstairs and changed into my Sunday best. We were ready. Everyone showed up on time. The elders came. Eliza and I stood in front of each other and pledged to get married soon. We set a date for March which was 6 weeks away from our betrothal ceremony. We needed to post banns three times, and we chose Genesis 2:24. This verse says:
Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. (Gen 2:24 KJV)
The minister, Mathers, would preach on this verse one Sunday when the first of the banns was posted. The 3 banns would be posted every other Sunday. Then we would get approval to marry.
We ate a celebration supper of roast turkey, carrots, mashed squash, corn bread and butter, and ale or cider to drink. After we all ate, her parents mentioned that since we all were in the tailoring field, they would make Eliza’s dress. She said, “I want it to be a surprise.”
On Sunday when first of banns posted
We were sitting together in church when our betrothal was announced. We were asked many questions. One was about her age. She was only 17 which was young for a young lady to marry. They felt she was too young, but she said that we were in love and that she was ready. They noticed that she was not immature and felt that since I was older, that the match was made well. They approved the betrothal and we could marry shortly after the third one was approved, and it was...
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