CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION

"Alright, if you're gonna act like hogs, you can eat like 'em!"

Milly replayed those words over and over again in her head.

"Maybe I was too harsh, perhaps I acted in anger," she thought. "No, those boys deserved it; somebody has to get them to stop acting that way." Should she have pushed over the table? Should she not have? Did she yell too much? She questioned every move she had made during her tirade. This continued as she went through bouts of rage, then tears, then anger, then back to tears yet again.

When she finally gathered herself and stopped to look around at the bedroom she had stormed off to, she started to come down from her stupor, and her furiousness was slowly replaced by curiosity. She looked up from the bed she had thrown herself on, and took in her surroundings.

Against one wall there was a small chest, carved with intricate designs––a family piece, she assumed. She noted the pile of quilts stacked on it; not quite dirty, yet not quite clean either. Next to that was a bench, with what looked like boots under it, though they were so muddy she couldn't quite tell. Adam had sat one of bags down on it, and the other she found sitting in a rocking chair across the room.

On the next wall was a lantern, and under it a chair with a mountain of clothes piled atop it, leaning against the chest of drawers. Walking slowly, so as to not alert the boys downstairs to her movements, she worked her way over to it, and checked her reflection in the mirror that sat upon the chest.

Despite being used to looking unkempt, chopping wood isn't the easiest thing to do and stay tidy, she was pleased to find most of her hair in place, and her eyes not too swollen from the tears she hadn't intended on shedding. Slowly, she wiped her face on her apron, and smoothed back her hair. She didn't plan on letting them know how much they had upset her.

Her eyes wondered across the room to another table, with a washbasin on it and chamber pot below, and she quickly went over to splash some water on her face. However, she wasn't surprised to find that when she went to pour the water, the pitcher was empty.

She picked up the tattered kerchief that sat next to the bowl and held it thoughtfully. Milly supposed it had started out red, but now it was decidedly brown. She wondered how much a man had to work to turn an entire kerchief brown. She smiled at the thought of how hardworking her new husband was, but then remembered why she was up here in the first place, and hastily put it back down.

Working her way over to the bed to straighten the blankets she had ruffled, she looked up at the wall. There was a single window and two portraits, one hanging on each side. She suspected them to be Mr. and Mrs. Pontipee, in photographs taken back east before they made their way out to Oregon, long before they had this rowdy brood of sons. On the side table next to the window was another lantern and a dusty Bible, which had obviously sat in its state for quite some time. Over the bed hung a framed cross-stitch piece, of what looked like a Bible verse.

Moving her bag and sitting down in the rocking chair, Milly began to think. It wouldn't be long until the boys went to bed, and she'd have to face Adam again.