Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

Chapter 9:

Author’s Chapter Notes:

Just thought you might find this interesting. While going to the cemetary to visit my fathers grave I again noticed a big stone at the entrance to the cemetary. I mentioned to my mother if she could stop I would like read the what was written on the plaque on the stone. Imagine my surprise when it said it was where John Fremont was buried.
“Joseph Cartwright! Don’t you be so forward. Next time I’ll tell my father he needs to send someone along to stand guard over me.”

Joe was glad to hear there would be a next time. “Is that what you really want?”

Francine looked up into Joe’s face and felt a smile come to hers. My but he was handsome. “Joseph you’re terrible.”

“Am I?” But as he lowered his lips to hers he noticed she didn’t push him away.


Adam grinned as he father again looked off in the direction that his youngest brother and his young girl had gone off in. “Pa would you feel better if I go look for him?”

Ben would have loved to say yes but he knew it would be a big mistake. He knew to do so would get Joe’s hackles up when Adam found him and as much as Ben loved his eldest son he knew he could appear patronizing especially to his youngest brother. “No Adam I’m sure he’s fine.”

“You know pa he sure did bid a lot for that basket.”

Ben guessed Adam could also be patronizing to his father. “It was no more then you bid on your first.”


“That was different pa.”

“Oh, how?”

“She could cook.”

“Yes I’m sure it was her abilities in the kitchen you were interested in.”

“Pa I was thirteen. I didn’t know there were other abilities to be interested in.”

“Sure you didn’t.” This got Ben wondering. Adam had been thirteen and Joe was now fourteen. If Adam knew of such things at thirteen then just what did Joe know now. How he wished he had told Adam to go look for him.


Ben was glad to see someone was home. He only hoped it was all three of his sons because that would mean he could hope for a restful night and an early bedtime.

As Adam came down the stairs Ben looked up. “Adam where’s Joe?”

“I don’t know. I only got home a few minutes ago. Isn’t he with you?” Sometimes Adam hated that he was expected to know the location of his brothers at every minute.

“Now if he were with me would I be asking you where he is?”

Adam could hear the annoyance in his father’s voice and he knew would be best to curb his own. “Maybe he’s with Hoss.”

“And just where is Hoss?”

“I’m not sure. He said something about going fishing or hunting. I wasn’t really paying too much attention.”

“Why not?”

“I guess I think they are old enough to take care of themselves sometimes.”

“Really? Well it’s getting late.”

“Then they should be home soon.”

As they sat and waited for Hoss and Joe to come home Ben could feel the tension between he and Adam. He knew he couldn’t really blame Adam for it. Since the picnic over a week ago they hadn’t really had time to rest. Ben was about to try and talk it through with his son when they heard a horse riding up. Both Ben and Adam ran out in time to see Hoss heading into the barn and they followed him in hoping to see Joe already inside.

“Hoss where’s Joe?”

“Joe? Pa I ain’t seen Joe since last night. He was still sleeping when I left. You know how he loves to stay in bed late. Besides you said today we could do what we wanted.”

“I swear that boy…”

“From the sounds of things you could use my help.”

Adam turned to face the entrance to the stables wondering how anyone could have ridden up unheard, but that was only until he saw who was standing there. “Kit?”

“Yes Adam and it’s good to see you too. Now do you need my help in tracking someone down?”

“Yes we can Kit. Hoss you remember Mr. Carson don’t you?”

“Course I do pa, hello Mr. Carson.”

“Hello again Hoss.”

“Boy pa if he can’t track Joe down no one can.”

“So just where is it the boy left from?”

“He left from here sometime late morning or even possibly early afternoon.”

“Adam I’m sure Kit is tired. I’m sure we can find your brother between the three of us.”

“Please Ben I’ve never tracked down a teenage boy before. It might be fun.”

“To find this teenage boy Kit all you’ll have to do is find the teenage girls.”

“That holds true for most teenage boys Adam.”


Joe heard the horses riding up and he glanced at the clock. It wasn’t fair that they had all probably gone into town and been having fun while he’d spent most of the night sitting home and waiting for them.

“Pa! Where you’ve been?”

“Where have I BEEN? We’ve been tracking you all over the territory.”

Joe noticed there was an extra rider. “Hey Mr. Carson. Adam you didn’t tell me Mr. Carson was coming. I would a told Francine to stay and meet him.”

“Joe I didn’t know Kit was coming. I told you it was a girl.”

“Yeah Adam but pa knew that.”

“I did? Do you think I would have been riding around the territory looking for you if I had known?”

“Didn’t you get my note pa?”

“What note?”

“The one I wrote telling you I was going to ask Francine to come to supper and asking if you wouldn’t mind letting Hop Sing know. Well at least that explains why Hop Sing ran around in such a frenzy when I asked him why supper wasn’t ready for my guest.”

“Why don’t we all go inside and you can show me this note.” Ben knew that his son was not a liar but he had been known to stretch the truth at times.


Everyone took a seat and Joe went upstairs and came back down with a piece of paper. “Here it is pa just like I said.”

“Well he didn’t have time to write it just now did he.”

“What a ya mean by that Adam?”

“Joseph where was this?”

“In your room on your dresser.”

Ben took a deep breath and tried to control himself. “And when was I supposed to find it if I was already up, dressed and out of the house before you even awoke?”

“I guess I figured you see it when you washed up.”

“And what if I washed up in the kitchen or out by the pump and not in my room.”

“Guess I didn’t think of that.”

“Joseph next time leave word with Hop Sing or leave the note on the sideboard.”

“Alright pa, I’m sorry.” Joe knew that when his father called him Joseph it was best to keep things short.

“Don’t apologize to me apologize to Kit. It was he who tracked you all over creation.”

“Wow you were tracking me? Wait till I tell Francine and the guys that Kit Carson tracked me.”

“Don’t go bragging on it too much little brother, after all he did find you.”

“He did make it easy Adam with that split shoe his horse is wearing.”

“Joseph I told you to replace that shoe a week ago.”

“I will pa. Tomorrow I promise.”

“I take it that you have already eaten?”

“Yes pa I told you Hop Sing made supper for Francine and me.”

“Well then since you have eaten you may go to bed.”

“Aw come on pa. I want to sit and listen to Mr. Carson.”

“Pa let the kid stay. I mean he did leave you a note. It’s not his fault his common sense as to where the leave that note was lacking.”

“Thanks Adam…I think.”

“Tell me Kit why is it that the one who spoils him the most is the one who complains the most about him being spoiled.”

“I’ve found Ben that it usually is.”


“They sleeping pa?”

“Yes Adam. So Kit what brings you here?”

“Every now and then I get the urge to see old friends.”

“We’re glad because you always seem to show up when we need you.”

“I think you would have managed fine without me Adam.”

“Maybe but it was a lot more fun having you along. How long you plan on staying? I sure hope it’s longer then the times before.”

“Perhaps a week, maybe two.”


“Hey pa where’s Kit? I thought he might like to ride into town this afternoon.”

“He’s with Hoss Adam. Something about showing him how to track things.”

“Hoss sure has been spending a lot of time with him.”

“They have a lot in common. Beside he couldn’t have a better teacher could he.”

“No he couldn’t.”



Ben watched as him middle son ran in out of breath. Sometimes it was so easy to forget he was no longer a boy.

“Pa you shoulda seen it. Mr. Carson showed me how to track a hare to its hole.”

“Hoss hares don’t burrow like rabbits do.”

“I know that pa Mr. Carson told me.”

“Where is Kit?”

“He’s outside talking to Adam. I think he’s gonna be leaving soon.”

“Yes I believe you’re right. Now why don’t you go and get washed up for supper.”

“Sure thing pa.”

Ben again smiled as Hoss bounded up the stairs then turned as the door opened. “Adam where’s Kit?”

“He said he had to get going. Asked if I would pass along his goodbyes for him.”

“He certainly made these past two weeks enjoyable.”

“Yes and fun.”

“Something we weren’t having too much of before his arrival.”

“No it was all work with you pa and we’ll get back to it now.”

“Yes but it won’t feel quite as tedious.”


“No I guess not. Want to hear something. Kit said he’d finished writing up his autobiography and that if it ever gets published he’d send us a copy.”

“Well that’s one book I would certainly enjoy reading.”

“Me too pa.”

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Author: storm

1 thought on “Baptism by Fire (by Storm)

  1. Excellent story with characterizations of Adam, Ben, and Marie that help understand not only their behavior but their relationships too.

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