My next stop after leaving the Elliot farm was the army camp on this side of the river. My horse and I entered the camp at a trot. I found Lieutenant Macabee talking to a few other soldiers. After dismounting, I greeted him.
"Lieutenant, it is good to see you."
"And you, Mr. Hanway."
"Do you have any letters for me to deliver?" I asked, hoping that I would have a reason to return to the nearby towns. Then, I would have an excuse to visit the Elliot farm again.
"Yes," he replied, but his expression told me that I wouldn't like it. "We have an urgent letter to be sent to a Mrs. Elliot."
"What's the news?" I asked, fearing the worse.
"All of her family are alive, but one of the Elliots have grown ill and will need to return home soon."
I sighed heavily. The news wasn't as bad as it could be, of course. I had heard that someone in the Elliot family was sick, but the news being official means the illness may be serious.
I accepted the letter. I turned to head toward my horse, and Macabee stopped me, grabbing my shoulder.
"When was the last time you ate, Jon?" he asked. I was taken aback by the familiar way he addressed me. He had never called me by my first name before. After the initial shock, there was a warm feeling.
"It has been several hours, sir."
"The letter can wait an hour. Go get yourself something to eat. I would hate for you to slump over on the long journey."
I complied, heading toward the food tent. After I got some biscuits and meaty gravy, my horse and I galloped off for the Elliot farm.