Love & Misunderstanding
- 1842 -
It was an unusually bright day in the town of Portsmouth, as many of the civilians awaited an immigrant family from Germany to emerge from their ship which had just recently docked. Among the crowd was my family and our friends the Caldwell family. A hush then fell over the boisterous crowd as a middle aged man emerged, followed by a woman and two children. My father being the ever-so polite gentleman he is extended his hand to the man.
“Jonathan, do stand up straight.” My mother whispered as she poked me in the ribs.
“Welcome to Portsmouth. I am the Governor, Sir Charles Gilmore.”, He introduced himself. “This is my wife Elizabeth, our sons, Vincent and Jonathan, and our daughter Caroline.”
“Heinrich Hoffman.” Mr. Hoffman said shaking father’s hand. “This is my wife Johanna, our son Alexander and our daughter Helene.”
He spoke with a rich German accent which made it quite difficult to understand certain words. He had short slicked back hair and a ridiculous looking mustache that resembled a grey Caterpillar. His face was nearly emotionless as he spoke with my father and it seemed as if he were unable to smile.
Mrs. Hoffman was a short and stout woman who appeared genuinely happy to be here. Her light brown hair was pulled back into a neat bun and placed atop of it was a black bonnet. Her eyes were a beautiful bright blue shade, which I had to say was her best feature.
The boy named Alexander appeared to be near the age of eleven, while his sister Helene appeared to be the age of six, a year younger than myself. As the young Helene’s eyes ventured about, taking in the unfamiliar scenery, I began to take notice of how abnormal she was. Although she did have some strikingly beautiful features, I could not help but notice how frail she looked. Her skin had nearly no color in it whatsoever and if I had not known better, I would have said she was made of porcelain.
“It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Mr. Hoffman.” My father replied as he motioned for Mr. Caldwell to come forward. “This is my close friend Joseph Caldwell.”
“It is a pleasure.” Mr. Caldwell said shaking Mr. Hoffman’s hand. “This is my wife Margaret and our children Matthew, James and Mary.”
Mr. Hoffman looked him up and down. “Are you a Hochwürden?”
“I beg your pardon?” Mr. Caldwell questioned clearly unsure of what Mr. Hoffman had just called him.
“You must forgive my father. He is still adjusting to the English language.” Alexander explained. “He asked you if you were a Reverend”
“Oh.” Mr. Caldwell nodded his head in understanding. “I am indeed the Reverend of the local church.
As they all began to talk, I glanced over at my friend Matthew Caldwell, who I noticed was wearing a mischievous grin on his face. I watched as he reached into his coat pocket and took out a slingshot. He then bent down and picked up a few fair size rocks. At first I had wondered what he would do with them, however, I learned soon enough as he began to pelt Miss Hoffman with them. To this very day, I can still recall her scream.
“Helene, what is the matter?” Her mother asked glancing over at her.
“That boy is throwing rocks at me!” She exclaimed pointing to my friend.
“Matthew Caldwell! How many times have I told you not to play with that slingshot?” Mrs. Caldwell yelled seizing the slingshot. “Apologize this instant!”
“Sorry.”, He grumbled.
The young Miss Hoffman shifted closer to her mother as they continued on with their conversation. Without a doubt it had been done in fear of getting hit again. At that moment I had felt sorry for her. I understood my friend’s character better than most others and I knew that he would make her life miserable for many years to come.
For it was in those carefree childhood years that I had actually cared for the issue. Life had still looked somewhat bright to me back then. I did not realize that I would lose all interest in the unfortunate little girl who had angered Matthew Caldwell.

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