Peer Review by Cosmogyral (United States)

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Across the world

By: Cailyn Ladanyi


(American colonies, 1620)
“Christopher!” I ran after the young boy, tripping over my skirt as he giggled. He scrambled under the table, unable to stop laughing. I however, was not. If the Masters came back, they would not appreciate the new footprints on the floor or the boys leaving tutoring early.
    Still, I couldn’t help but smile. Just because I had acted like a grown up at age seven doesn’t mean he should either. I grabbed his dirt-covered feet and pulled him up, him screaming the whole way. I pulled him and held him up in my arms like a baby, while he screamed with laughter and kicked his feet. Still, I held on. I’m pretty strong for a seventeen-year old. I tried to carry him over to his twin brother, Ralph, but he twisted out of my arms and crawled underneath the table again, spreading more footprints across the floor. I ran across the room to pick up Christopher again when a voice made me stop cold.
    “Christina.”
    I spun on my heel and folded my hands with my head down, my spine straight like I’ve been taught. “Yes sir.” I snuck a glance underneath my eyelashes and saw him looking at the footsteps. “It won’t happen again sir.” I bit my lip, wanting to curse out loud. Do not speak unless spoken to.
    He gestured to the floor. “And why aren’t they doing schoolwork?” 
    I was silent. I waited too long. I felt the slap before it even hit my face. I didn’t move, except to look back at the ground. Even the boys were silent.
    “Find their tutor, tell him if I catch them one more time out of school early he’ll be let off. And clean the floors.” 
    Maybe if they didn’t tutor for hours everyday they wouldn’t sneak away I thought. “Oui Monsieur” I said instead. Again, I wanted to kick myself. It’s such a pathetic habit, speaking French when I’m nervous. Thankfully the Master was already walking away.
    The boys jumped off the counter before I had to tell them to. They feared their dad almost as much as I did. Their back curly hair bounced as they ran to their rooms, where the tutor was packing up. 
    “Excuse me Monsieur.” I said with a small curtsy. He was very tall, very young for a tutor, with spectacles and much nicer clothes than I’d ever wear. “The Master has instructed the boys to return to tutoring.” 
    He signed and shot me a dazzling smile. If I was any other girl, I would have melted. However, I still had many chores to do, and the stinging on my cheek was an all too familiar reminder of who I am. 
    I am an indentured servant to Master Blakwell of five years, with three more left. I will serve for three extra years because of a deal made years ago. A deal I was not even present at. When I am free of my servitude, it won’t matter. I will probably ask to be hired as a servant, and I will stay here for many more years until I can afford my own small house with a small farm. Even if the tutor boy did want to marry me, he would not. He would not gain anything from the marriage, and few marry simply for love. Still, I thought as I gave him a small smile back, looking does not hurt. 
    I didn’t want to give him the information. But I was given an order. The boys ran into the schoolroom and I touched his arm before he could follow. It was a risky move, but he simply turned towards me with a surprised, yet pleasant look on his face. “Monsieur, I regret bringing this news, but the Master has instructed me to tell you that if the boys are found out of tutoring early again you will be let go.” I didn’t know what to expect, but in his true fashion, he gave me a quick wink and said “Well I will just have to stuff their heads more. It would bring me great sorrow to be unable to see you, my lady.” and kissed my hand.
    My face brightened, my ears reddened. I have never been called “lady” by anyone other than my Father, and he never called me “lady” after we had moved to Britain with my mother. I smiled sadly. Seven years have gone by since then. It felt like another lifetime.
    “Did I offend you?” He looked so concerned, his speech perfect. Against my better judgement, I lifted my eyes to meet his. I did not see my family’s betrayal, my indenture, or my doomed future in his eyes. I only saw him.
    “Not at all, Monsieur.” I smiled, and he closed his eyes.
    “ ‘Monsieur.’ I love the way French flows, especially out of your lips Mademoiselle.”
    I giggled. He had butchered his French, and he had only spoken two words. “It seems the tutor needs a tutor in French. I shall have to teach you.”
    He held out his hand. “Edward.”
    I held out mine. “My name is Christina.”
    He kissed my hand once again. “Christina.”
    Sometimes it didn’t hurt to be English.


Message to Readers

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Peer Review

A playful beginning is always nice, maybe being more attentive to detail(highlighted).


Where is she from? Side thought of her background will be prominent in the reader's mind. We know she's an indentured servant, and the master of the home knew her parents. But what about her upbringing? Did she grown in the streets? Were her neighbors always sickly? Did she ever have chicken pox?


What do you see when you write this? What is your tone? Does Christina have a headache?


You're doing great.


Reviewer Comments

Any sentences i highlighted and rewrote, they're merely suggestions, this review is just constructive criticism.