January 1777; Chatham, NJ. After my interview with Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Scott of the New Jersey Militia, I had the opportunity to speak with his wife, Kate, who also appears in the novel A Nest of Hornets. Here are my questions and her responses:
Robert Krenzel: Mrs. Scott, please tell us a little about your background.
Kate Scott: Please, Dear, call me Kate. What should I say? I am from New York City. I was born there in 1753, as Katherine Vogels. I was quite happy there until my family moved to that little backwater in New Jersey called New Brunswick. I made the best of it, I suppose, but there was so little for an ambitious young girl to do! Fortunately we were not so far as to preclude occasional visits to New York for culture and shopping.
RK: You are not happy here in New Jersey?
KS: I am happiest where there is society and culture. Frankly, I would prefer London or Paris, but if we must be on this Continent, I would prefer New York; or perhaps Boston or Philadelphia. And while New Brunswick was bad, this place we are in now is just beastly! We might as well all be wearing animal skins and dancing around a fire.
RK: As you implied you currently reside in Chatham, but used to be in New Brunswick. As I understand it from your husband enemy troops are now quartered in your New Brunswick estate, and you all fled for your lives. Can you tell me more about that?
KS: Fortunes of war, I suppose. I would certainly not say I fled for my life, though. I think Daniel would have preferred to fight to the death in our front door; I don’t know how well it would have gone for me under those circumstances, so I persuaded him to remove us somewhere away from the fighting. In retrospect, perhaps I should have let him fight it out.
RK: Your husband indicated you have a happy marriage. You must feel very fortunate.
KS: [with raised eyebrows] Oh, of course. What lady would not consider herself blessed to be married to such a man?
RK: He is something of a hero, is he not?
KS: I suppose so. He is certainly committed to his cause.
RK: He has a reputation for ferocity; is there a hidden side of him at home that his troops would be surprised to see?
KS: [smiling enigmatically] At home he is like a puppy in my lap.
RK: How did you meet?
KS: My father arranged it. Daniel came from a well-to-do family with reasonable connections. It was a good match.
RK: You recently had a chance to meet a young Continental officer named Lieutenant Gideon Hawke, who is of interest to my readers. What can you tell us about him?
KS: He is such a delightful young man! He is very eager to please, which I like in men, and very handsome. He seems a bit naïve in social settings, but I have no doubt he is a fearsome on the battlefield as his reputation would suggest.
RK: Have you noted any tension between him and your husband?
KS: There is tension between everyone and my husband. I think dear Gideon is very idealistic. My husband is more pragmatic. I can see how that would lead to the occasional difference of opinion, don’t you?
RK: Quite; especially in a time like this when politics and war have torn families apart. Having been through so much, what words of wisdom would you offer to young ladies in these trying times?
KS: The same advice I offer all young ladies: “Marry a handsome man and you marry trouble.” Those are words to live by.
RK: Yes…well…I was referring to the war. Are you saying that in spite of the war everything revolves around marriage?
KS: What I am saying…and please don’t take me for a hopeless romantic…is that I am a practical woman. I would say that whom she marries is very important for determining how comfortable a young lady will be, and how many options she will have available, especially in times such as these.
RK: I see. The current war has been hard on New Jersey and its population; are you hopeful for the future?
KS: I am absolutely certain I will find a way to manage.
RK: What do you think it will take to heal the wounds left by this war?
KS: I suppose each person will have to find her own way. I will certainly find mine.
RK: Do you think America will win its independence?
KS: I have no idea. The war is not a particular concern of mine, aside from how it affects me directly. I can’t say I care one way or another about the cause.
RK: Kate, thank you very much for your time. This has been truly…informative.
KS: [Placing a hand on my arm] It has been delightful!
You can learn more about Kate Scott in Gideon Hawke #3, A Nest of Hornets!
A Nest of Hornets on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBI511Q/