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Deleted Scene — Invasion! — Delay

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These two snippets came from Chapter 9 – Delay.

The first occurs as Dolley, Sukey and James Smith ride down Pennsylvania Avenue to meet the British. I pulled it when I realized there is no way Sailing Master John Webster would let her do that alone: he’d either encircle the cart with a force superior to that of the British horsemen, or accompany Dolley whether she wanted to be accompanied or not. Tactically sound, but dramatically dull.

The second occurs as Dolley accompanies Lt Frederick to Suter’s Tavern to meet Mr. Pleasonton. I killed it and added a few snippets where Dolley’s befuddled by hundreds of ordinary people recognizing and cheering for Blue Lightning.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Warning! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The following is a deleted scene, mercilessly cut from the heart of the novel and tossed screaming into the outer darkness of this web site for your sadistic amusement. It’s raw stuff, unrefined, un-wordsmithed, probably not even spell-checked. Read at your own risk!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One group of men were marching in formation and in step, fifty sailors of Commodore Barney’s flotilla, led by Sailing Master John Webster; following them were two teams of four horses, each pulling a five-ton, eighteen-pounder cannon. He’d seen Dolley’s tactical turban before, grinned and waved as she approached.

“Blue Lightning goes to war!” he shouted, then saluted her, and the men behind him cheered. He stopped when she drew near, motioning for his men to continue marching, many of the men ogling her and Sukey with wonder.

Do the men know who Blue Lightning is? “Any sign of the British, Mr. Webster?”

He waited a moment as the cannons rumbled by.

“No, madam, just rumors that they’re riding down Maryland Avenue.” His grin faded. “You’re going to meet them? Good Lord! Detachment, Halt! We’re coming with you.”

Dolley signaled to Sukey and Smith to continue, leaned from the saddle and explained what they were about to do, and why. “Our success depends on fast, fresh horses trained as Cavalry mounts, hit and run, not decisive engagement.” He was staring at her, probably considering physically restraining her for the nation’s good. She continued. “The cart needs protection from the enemy that will ride around us. Please have your men grab the six-pounder abandoned at the Mansion and meet me at the south Rock Creek bridge. And tear down every street sign in sight!”

Without waiting for a reply she kicked Abigail forward, hearing “Three Cheers for Blue Lighting” from the flotilla men.

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[Sailors guarding streets of Georgetown cheer as Dolley rides by]

Lieutenant Frederick glanced at her. “Why’d they cheer for ‘Blue Lightning’?”

“Um . . . ” It was hard for Dolley to think clearly over Sukey’s soft snickering. “I was about to ask you the same question, sir. Some secret activity you’d like to talk about?”

Sukey began to chuckle. They passed a massive eighteen-pounder cannon, pointed down the street and manned by sailors eager to greet the British.

“See?” Dolley said. “They recognized you again, Mr. Blue Lightning.”

Frederick guffawed. “They must be mistaken in the dim light, madam. I’m far too young to be Blue Lightning.”

Too young indeed! Dolley glared at Sukey, biting on her forearm in a vain attempt to muffle her laughter.