"Chaw of tobacco..." Ephraim mumbled and shook his head as he remembered his foolish attempt to woo couple of ladies in town. He was so glad that Milly was kind enough to teach him and his brothers important things about courting. He was delighted that Adam had brought such a loving woman in their homestead. It's been only few months since Milly's arrival to the Pontipee farm, but Ephraim and his brothers managed to get comfortable and closer to their sister-in-law.
The truth was, he never dreamed of seeing or meeting any girls in his life. Ephraim had grown up on the big farm with his brothers and parents. He had been in town only once or twice when he was just a little kid. His mother was a kind Christian woman and she made sure to visit town at least once a year and attend church gatherings together with her children. But one time, when one of the local town boys started bullying Daniel, all of the Pontipees came to defend their brother and got into a big fight.
That was the last time he had been in town.
Besides, the girls weren't very common in those places anyways. He had never seen girls. Just very few and most of them were grown women...After the accident of his dear parents, Adam hired a teacher and a care taker for his brothers. Strict Mrs. Bailey with a pointy nose, big jaw, and scary eyes. Of course, thanks to his, Frank's and Gideon's mischievous pranks the woman ran away from them and never returned. Ephraim sure was glad that the wicked witch of the west had finally disappeared. As the time went by, they forgot the manners their mother had taught them and became more and more rough, unsociable, uncouth and brash.
The Pontipee brothers grew up on the farm completely isolated from civilization. All Ephraim knew was his brothers, taking care of animals, and plowing fields.
Arrival of beautiful Milly changed everything for him and the rest of the boys. She was gentle yet strict and sensible like his mother. Milly had offically become his older sister.
She had taught them dancing, etiquette, how to socialize, and most importantly, how to be a real gentleman.
He and his brothers spend a whole month learning the proper ways of courting girls. The month flew away quickly, and the long awaited barn-raising was in just one day. Ephraim gazed up at the dark sky and the beautiful moon that was shining down at him. It was the beginning of August and nights were still shorter and days were longer.
He brushed the horses in the stables, checked on the fences, locked the barn door and headed towards his house. He and his brothers had a long day, and all of them were anxious and maybe a little bit nervous of what awaited them the next morning.
Ephraim stepped into the cabin and quietly entered his room. Frank was already snoring, Benjamin was also asleep. Caleb and Gideon both had their eyes shut, although Ephraim wasn't sure if they were sleeping yet. He quickly undressed himself and lay down on his bed wide awake. He turned to Daniel who was also awake, their beds were next to each other.
"Tomorrow's a big day." Whispered Daniel and beamed at him.
Ephraim sighed and closed his eyes. Indeed tomorrow was going to be the most exciting, different, and nerve wrecking experience.
The next day, Milly gave the boys the colorful shirts she had made for each and every one of them. Ephraim sported teal colored shirt that suited his dark green eyes. Milly herself had put on a beautiful dress that she had quilted from Mrs. Pontipee's old fabrics.
"Cleanest finger nails I ever saw." Said the wife of Adam as she investigated all of the six younger Pontipees. Silly Gideon had overtried with washing and had damaged his thumb.
"What's holding you up?" The oldest Pontipee brother asked as he stood in front of the door. "If we're going to the barn-raising, let's go!"
"Come on boys!" Milly exclaimed and everyone exited the cabin very excitingly.
As the wagon approached the social gathering, Ephraim became overwhelmed with so many people. The cheerful children running around, gentlemen dressed in fine suits, women with bonnets chattering amongst themselves. What an exciting day it was!
Adam had not yet stopped the wagon fully, when suddenly, Ephraim and his brothers heard a happy voice far too gentle to be a man's.
"Milly! Oh Milly!" Exclaimed lovely blonde girl in peach colored dress.
"Alice!" Cried out excited Milly. The pretty blonde who's name happened to be Alice jumped up on the wagon and embraced the Pontipees' new sister-in-law.
Before Ephraim could wonder who this Alice was, bunch of other happy and eager ladies came running to greet his oldest brother's wife.
"Dorcas! Sarah!" Milly exclaimed. The pretty young women crowded the wagon and started telling Milly how they missed her. Ephraim had never before seen so many girls in his life and all were so different and unique in their own way. He couldn't help but wave at one of the girls wearing a green dress. He noticed how Daniel looked at her, as if she was the most rare treasure in the world. Pleasant chatter continued when all of a sudden, Ephraim's eye was caught by a beautiful dark haired girl in a pink dress. There was something different about her. Her bright smile and clever expression made her stand out from the rest and Ephraim was sure that she was more than just a pretty face.
"Oh Milly, it's been like ages!" Said she with a giggle and continued laughing and telling stories of how things had been going in town after Milly had left. The cheerful voices of the girls echoed like sweet summer rain. The pretty dark haired girl was so concentrated in the group chat that she didn't even look at Ephraim.
When the young ladies saw that their dear friend had brought lots of baked goods with her for the collation, one of the girls, who stood out with her tall figure and cat-like eyes told Milly that she would take the bread over to the table. But Benjamin managed to stun Ephraim and the rest of the boys with his confidence, by offering his help to the gorgeous lady. Young woman smiled and thanked him politely. The two walked away like a real couple. Ephraim could see why Ben would like her. She was stunning, alluring, and looked like a beautiful mare.
"I couldn't let a little lady like you heft that." Frank's quick-witted words made the fifth Pontipee brother look back at the remaining girls and boys. Frank had eagerly jumped to aid a lovely brunette in a yellow dress. The girl blushed hard as she led Frank towards the tables. Ephraim couldn't help but chuckle. This modest girl did not seem to suit Frank's hot headed personality, but then again, Milly had mentioned to them that sometimes opposites do attract.
He gazed down at the pretty girl in pink dress. For some reason, she had managed to catch his attention and Ephraim felt like something weird was happening to him. Something that he had never felt before.
"Can we help?" She and the other girl in the green dress asked Milly. Before they could take the deserts, Ephraim and Daniel both jumped to offer them their help.
"Allow me, ma'am." Ephraim said softly as he took the cake from Adam's hands and offered his arm to the beautiful girl who had attracted his attention. She in turn smiled at him and they both walked towards the table.
"You can put it right here." The young woman said softly.
Ephraim obeyed and placed the desert on the picnic table. He tried to avert his gaze from the girl but he just couldn't. Why was his heart soaring like this? What was happening to him?
"Thank you for the assistance." The dark haired girl managed to say with a grateful smile.
Her smile...he couldn't take his eyes from her. Ephraim nodded with a little smirk.
"My pleasure." He finally said soothly with his tough, rusty voice.
"I haven't seen you in town before. Do you come here often?" The pretty girl asked him and her eyes started to twinkle with excitement.
"No, I actually don't. In fact, this is my first social event here." Ephraim answered and glanced at Adam and Milly, who were busy unloading the wagon.
He gazed back at the beautiful brunette who made his heart pound like no other. Noticing that he was looking at her, the girl blushed and tried to avoid his gaze.
"What are you looking at, Mr. Pontipee?" She asked shyly
"You, Miss." Ephraim replied with an ease. "And please, call me Ephraim." He quickly added. The last thing he needed was any formality with this lovely girl. He wanted to be her friend.
"Alright. But you must call me Liza." The girl answered sweetly and smiled.
"That's a real pretty name." Ephraim said with a soft, gentle voice.
Before they could continue speaking with one another, Frank and the dark haired girl in a yellow dress approached them. Ephraim introduced Liza to his fun-loving brother Frank, while Ephraim got to meet Sarah, the girl who managed to win Frank's heart. The way his younger brother looked at her made him realize that something was definitely happening to all of the six younger Pontipees.
"Come on everybody! Get your partners, there's gonna be dancing!" The townspeople called out.
Ephraim noticed how excited Liza became when she heard about the dancing. So he took hold of her hand and led her towards the dance floor.
"Would you like to dance?" Liza asked happily.
"I'd love that." Ephraim answered with a smile tucking on his lips. Before he could do anything, a dark haired man clothed in a fine suit approached them. He shot Ephraim a dirty look and grabbed Liza's arm.
"May I cut in?" He asked smugly. Ephraim didn't know how to respond to this. He knew that whatever this gentleman was doing also displeased Liza because she frowned. Fighting him was totally out of question. Ephraim and his brothers had all promised Milly to be on their best behavior. Trying to beat some sense into his head, wasn't an option either. The man didn't wait for Liza's response, he quickly grabbed her and took her away from Ephraim.
Ephraim looked at Liza with utter disappointment and confusion. What on earth was happening? He looked around and realized that his brothers were all in the same situation.
The local town boys had snatched the girls from Pontipees and led the young women on the platform. Frank quickly motioned to his brothers and they all went up to the dance floor and stood aside.
The music started to play, and the six women started dancing with the local town men. Ephraim stood in the middle with Gideon and Benjamin. In front of him danced a golden haired girl in blue dress. He gazed back at Liza who was twirling in the first row and couldn't help but smile after her. Her fiery and bright expressions made his heart skip. The way she moved and beamed with mischievous looks made Ephraim forget everyone, but her.
Little Gideon anxiously tried to cut in and dance with pretty Alice, unfortunately he failed. Ephraim sighed and continued watching the dance in disappointment. He wished he could take the place of those town boys.
He felt Gideon's hand on his shoulder, the youngest Pontipee was motioning something. He looked at the first row and saw Caleb and Frank who where dancing with Liza and the girl in a green dress. Ephraim's eyes lit up immediately and he grinned. The two girls also seemed much happier when they found themselves in the arms of the Pontipees. In the beginning, the young women looked bit bored while dancing with their lousy partners.
The music changed and the townsmen grasped the two girls and continued to spin with them. This time, when Caleb and Frank decided to cut in again, Daniel also joined them quite confidently and snatched Sarah, the girl whom Frank introduced him earlier. Caleb, Frank, and Daniel whirled with Liza, and two other girls very gracefully.
The music changed again, Ephraim looked at the two remaining brothers, Benjamin and Gideon. If Frank, Caleb, and Daniel had confidence to cut in and dance with the ladies, why wouldn't he have that much confidence? Without another thought, he grabbed the girl with golden curls and spun her around. Gideon and Benjamin also revolved with the remaining girls. Now all of the Pontipees were involved in the dance with the lovely girls, and the town boys stood aside feeling quite awkward.
Soon enough, Ephraim saw a mustached man who jumped and took his place. He snatched the girl in a blue dress, and the others suitors had done the same thing. The Pontipees were yet again without their girls. As the couples started circling the seven brothers, the Pontipee boys desperately tried to cut in...but they couldn't manage it. Ephraim and his brothers became frustrated, and for a minute Ephraim was filled with anger. Why couldn't he dance with Liza or one of the other girls? But when hot-blooded Frank almost knocked over one of the suitors, Milly rushed up to the dance floor and led the brothers aside. She gently offered her arm to Frank and the pair started dancing. Everyone stopped and watched them. Ephraim looked at them with admiration, indeed they were both such great dancers.
When Frank and Milly finished their cute performance, Milly grabbed Daniel and Gideon and pushed them in the center. Liza and the girl in the green dress did not even hesitate, the two girls quickly jumped in their arms and they lifted them in the air. Ephraim wished that he could take his younger brother's place so that he could dance with Liza. For some reason, none of the other girls made his heart flatter so much as this pretty brunette did.
He jumped together with Frank and Caleb, and the rest of the girls leaped in their arms. He lifted Sarah and swung her around.
The music changed yet again, and the town boys started competing with the Pontipee boys for the girls' affections.
Frank, Caleb, and Gideon showed their manliness and incredible skills on the boards and quite soon enough, the action started taking place where the building supplies were. Ephraim stood next to Benjamin and proudly looked at his brothers. He occasionally glanced at Liza who was too thrilled and excited to even notice him. She watched Frank and Gideon's stunts in amazement and clapped her hands happily.
Ephraim did not have a chance to even interact with Liza, she was always taken and everyone wanted to dance with her. Even Frank seemed desperate to grab her. With a little sigh, Ephraim continued dancing with the golden haired girl and they tried to make their way back to the dance floor. But suddenly, music stopped, and when Ephraim turned around to see what was happening he saw Daniel and one of the town men. The suitor was bringing it up to fight, but Daniel tried to shake his hand. The two went up on the boards and started arm wrestling. Ephraim couldn't help but feel anger rising up to his cheeks. Daniel tried to take the high rode but this rat did not give up.
" Take 'em Dan!" He shouted together with his brothers. He felt utterly disappointed when poor Daniel lost his concentration and fell from the board.
Caleb went up to give a try, but soon enough, he too was taken down by that unpleasant and irritating man.
Ephraim was about to go up there himself and put that rat in his place, when Frank cut in and started wrestling with the man. Ephraim smirked at his brother...he was sure Frank would take him down.
And that's exactly what happened! After few tense minutes, the smugly looking man fell from the board and Frank took down every single town boy who went up to challenge him.
Soon enough, Ephraim went up on the boards himself together with Daniel and Caleb. The four brothers started a wonderfully synchronized dance routine. The people clapped and shouted at them excitingly. The six unmarried girls were all in awe and cheered happily.
Ephraim and his brothers did a cartwheel and then jumped from the boards in different directions. Little Gideon went up there and did few flips, he was later joined by Frank who practically stole the show. All eyes were on him, and Ephraim couldn't be happier for his younger brother.
After Frank finished his incredible performance, the girls waved at the Pontipees and showed their interest to dance with them. When Ephraim saw Liza in his direction, he eagerly leaped towards her. Finally, he had the chance to dance with her. Ephraim led her up on the boards, but before he could lift her in the air, she was snatched away from him by one of the townsmen. His heart stopped for a moment...He looked at Frank in shock and slowly made his way towards the dance floor, where the girls were finishing the dance with their suitors.
He went up on the platform with full confidence...he didn't care anymore. After all, he tried his best...he and his brothers showed the girls that they were much stronger and better than those lousy and wimpy men.
Ephraim looked at Liza again, and he knew that these heightened feelings and emotions he had was all because of her.
The music was ending, and the girls started their final curtsies. There was a little pause, before he knew what was happening, Ephraim saw Sarah running in his direction. In few seconds, the girl jumped into his arms and he caught her strongly. The music ended then, and the townspeople applauded.
Ephraim glanced again in the first row and found himself surprised and bit disappointed when he saw Liza in the arms of Frank. But he shook it off and smiled at Sarah, who was nervously gripping him.
All of the six girls had indeed chosen the Pontipee brothers over the local townsmen and showed it by leaping in their arms. What Ephraim couldn't understand was that all of the other girls partnered up with the same brothers they had met when they greeted Milly. The tall gorgeous girl was in the arms of Ben, little Alice chose Gideon, golden haired girl was in Caleb's arms, Daniel had caught the girl in a green dress. Only Sarah and Liza had chosen different partners. Did Liza really like Frank?
After all, Frank had demonstrated his manliness during the whole barn dance. Was she really falling for him? Ephraim did notice couple of times that Frank and Liza made quite a team together. Both were amazing dancers.
And why was the thought of that making him extremely sad? He gently lowered down Sarah and she thanked him politely. Ephraim nodded and smiled at her. Sure she was pretty, but it didn't feel the same. He felt completely different with Liza...only she made his heart soar and flatter so much. What was happening to him?
Finally, it occurred to Ephraim: He was in love with her.
Adam approached him with a proud and excited look on his face.
"That's my brother!" He exclaimed happily and petted Ephraim's shoulder.
"Oh boys, you were all so great." Milly added excitingly.
For some reason Ephraim couldn't concentrate on what people around him were saying, he was too concerned with what Liza and Frank were chatting about. She seemed to be enjoying his company, and that made Ephraim very jealous.
But when he noticed how Frank looked at Sarah from a far, excused himself, and made his way towards her. He realized that Frank was actually more captivated with another girl.
Ephraim walked towards Liza, when she saw him coming her way, she grinned happily and ran up to him.
"Oh Ephraim!" She exclaimed. "You were so wonderful and gracefully, and so..." She started but then for some reason blushed and did not finish her sentence. Maybe Liza thought that she was giving him too many compliments and was crossing the line. Ephraim never felt so happy before...this girl was actually interested in him...and he...was already in love with her. Her bright eyes and beautiful smile was all he could think of. He wished he could always be in her company.
"So were you." Ephraim answered her calmly.
After that, he offered her his arms and they wondered away. Liza told him many stories about the social events and balls she had visited back east. She made him taste her cookies that she had baked for the barn-raising. Of course Ephraim was impressed with her. He loved listening to her. She made very simple stories sound so interesting and funny. Couple of times Liza made him laugh so much that his stomach started to hurt.
He loved how she wrinkled her nose in disgust when she told him about her suitor George. She was so cute and adorable. But when Liza's mother demanded something from her daughter, she tried to get few things from the wagon but slipped and almost fell. Ephraim caught her on time in his arms. For a moment, he wished he could kiss her...but he did not want to scare her off.
Ephraim told Liza about his large ranch and big family...he wished to take her with him. Everytime he told her something about the his farm animals or his old childhood stories, her eyes would become all brightened up and she would smile at him excitingly.
"That's so funny!" She laughed when he told him about the childhood pranks he and his brothers did.
"Yep. We were mighty mischievous kids." Ephraim said lightly.
"Oh, you won't believe what me and Martha did once." Liza said eagerly. Martha was the girl in a green dress who had stolen Daniel's heart from the very moment. Liza had told him that she and the other five girls were all very good friends and all of them loved Milly dearly as their big sister.
"Come on, I will introduce you to Martha, Ruth, and Dorcas. They're over there with your brothers..." Liza sounded so excited. She paused for a minute and took a deep breath. "...and um, would you like to meet my parents?"
Ephraim was waiting for these words! He wanted to have the permission of Liza's parents and court her properly...the way, Milly showed him and his brothers.
He nodded and smiled. "I'd love to." Before he could move, Liza grabbed his arms and started running towards her folks.
But soon enough, they were stopped by the town mayor who started announcing about the barn raising...
As Ephraim, Liza, his brothers, the girls, Adam, and Milly listened to Mr. Perkins together with the rest of the crowd, the Pontipees decided to join the barn raising competition about a little halfer that Milly fancied.
Liza wished Ephraim good luck before he and his brothers went to raise the barn of Mr. Henry Higgins. The fifth Pontipee, and all of the Pontipees for that matter were completely unaware of the disastrous incident that would occur at the barn raising.
All Ephraim thought about was that he needed to win the heart of Liza and her family and wed the girl as soon as possible. He loved the idea of marriage and longed to be in his oldest brother's shoes now more than ever! And for some reason, he couldn't stop his soaring heart!
Thank you for reading! Please leave reviews!
As you all know my favorite couple from the movie is Ephraim and Liza. I really wanted to write something from Ephraim's point of view again. Because he is so quiet and less used in the movie unfortunately, I had to give lots of personality to him myself. Hope I did justice to his character. Big shout out to andreamama for few ideas and her constant support. You are amazing! I can't wait for your stories!
Anyway, I always wondered what Ephraim would think during the barn dance because he seemed do distant and yet so involved in it. I have few other stories in my mind...one about Seven Brides again and the other about The Magnificent Seven 1960 version...not the new one. Lol
If you have any questions, suggestions, or ideas, don't be shy. I encourage you to let me know what story you would like to read about Seven Brides For Seven Brothers. This is such a small fandom and I hope we can all grow it. After all, there are so many characters in this movie...we can write as much as we like lol.