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Benjamin Davidson

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Benjamin Davidson is the apprentice to Edward Merriman and a friend of Felicity Merriman.

Facts

Family

The Merrimans are not Ben's family; however, the way of apprenticing means they treat him as such.

Personality

Ben is initially introduced as a quiet and shy young man who keeps to himself; he sleeps in the loft above the stables. He is an apprentice to Father to learn how to run a store and has been there since before a month into the events of Meet Felicity. Felicity does not think much of him initially, as thanks to his presence she no longer is able to help at Merriman's Store and must go home and do things she finds boring such as sewing and cooking. He is originally from Yorktown and his family is back there. Ben is skinny and taller than Felicity. He is well versed in horses (he deduces that Penny is a thoroughbred looking at her) and as impatient as Felicity when he finds his cause to believe in—America's independence from England. As he gets to know Felicity and her family, he opens up and becomes a good friend to Felicity as she does to him. He is very headstrong and does not think his actions through many times, much like Felicity.

In the Books

Meet Felicity: An American Girl

Ben is first mentioned when Felicity asks if she can stay and help at Merriman's store. Father points out that she has forgotten that since Ben is there, she isn't needed. Felicity thinks that it's easy to forget Ben as he's quiet. When Mrs. Fitchett requests that Mr. Merriman have Marcus deliver oats to her house, he says that Ben can do this as he is heading that way in the afternoon to deliver a bit and harness to Jiggy Nye. This leads to the conversation that Felicity overhears about Penny.

Felicity catches Ben as he is on his way to Mrs. Fitchett's. He is confused and unsure of where to go, and Felicity offers to lead him to her place. He passively allows her. When Felicity complains about her skirts, Ben listens but does not respond until Felicity says that he is lucky to be a boy as he can do what ever he wants; at this, he responds that he can't as he is an apprentice. When Felicity says that he will be happier with friends in his new town, he passively agrees and hides behind the sack of oats again.

Meetfel 19

Ben and Felicity meet Penny.

Ben tells Felicity she can go home after he delivers the oats, but she stays with him. When they arrive at the tannery, he remarks on the smell. When Felicity hears the horse, she runs off and it is Ben who tells her to stay back. Jiggy yells for him to try and help get his new horse under control and when Ben is unable to and Jiggy spooks the horse, they are both dragged and forced to let go. When Jiggy asks what he's doing there, he says he's there to deliver the bit and harness. Jiggy demands it and Ben says he won't hand it over without the payment, as directed by Mr. Merriman. He quickly leaves when Jiggy tells him and Felicity to leave, and has to call Felicity to make her leave. He tells Felicity that Penny is a thoroughbred and discourages Felicity from trying to ride Penny, as the horse is too wild for anyone. He does agree with Felicity's name for Penny, and adds that the name is good because he feels the horse is independent. When they get home, he relates his information about the horse to Mr. Merriman and that Jiggy is unable to control the horse, as well as the alleged story of how he got the horse. His story surprises Felicity as she has never heard him speak so much and did not know that he knew as much as he did. Ben is seen again at suppertime after Felicity's second visit to Penny, and when he hears what happened he says that he's sure that Jiggy Nye will kill Penny. Felicty steals his breeches to go out and see Penny, and Ben is asked where they went by Mrs. Merriman when she can't find them in the mending basket. When Ben discovers Felicity with his
Meetfel 44

Ben catches Felicity with his breeches.

breeches, he demands to know what she is doing. Learning that she is sneaking out every morning to tame Penny, he is surprised at her actions and that she's been able to tame what appeared to be a vicious horse. He says that she can't keep doing this forever and that she sets her heart on things too much, but that she had better get Penny away as soon as she can. He allows her to keep the breeches as long as she needs them and swears to keep her secret. With this he opens up, whistling and even making jokes at supper. Mrs. Merriman agains asks Ben about the breeches and he says he has lent them to a friend and that the friend needs them more.

When Felicity rides up on Penny, Ben goes out to touch her and Felicity calms Penny enough to allow him to touch. He speaks up to say that Jiggy is starving and beating Penny. After Jiggy Nye takes Penny away and Felicity has cried, Felicity takes Ben his breeches and Ben offers to help buy Penny. He is sure that Jiggy Nye will turn her vicious again and kill her. He says that Penny should be free in the woods, and this convinces Felicity to go out once again and let her go. He does caution that Felicity would never see her again and that the penalty for horse theft is hanging; Felicity wordlessly takes his breeches and does so anyways. She then returns the breeches to him and informs him that Penny has been let free. He convinces Felicity that Penny will not think she's been abandoned and she knows Felicity loves her by giving her her independence. When Mrs. Merriman points out his breeches are returned and mended nicely, he says that he is willing to lend them again to his friend and shares a secret smile with Felicity.

Felicity Learns a Lesson: A School Story

When Mother announces that Felicity is to learn how to be a gentlewoman and how to serve tea, Ben does not like the idea. He then escorts Felicity to her lessons. This is when we first see Ben wanting to be a Patriot.

Felicity's Surprise: A Christmas Story

When Felicity receives the invitation to a dance lesson at the Governor's Palace, Ben thinks she shouldn't go as he dislikes Lord Dunmore and all Loyalists. But eventually, after watching Felicity run the household while her mother is ill, he puts aside his opinions and helps make Felicity's hopes and dreams come true.

Happy Birthday, Felicity!: A Springtime Story

Felicity Saves The Day: A Summer Story

Ben breaks his apprenticeship agreement with Mr. Merriman by running away to join the Patriot Army. When he injures his leg along the way to Yorktown, he hides in the woods near Felicity's grandfather's plantation. Ben leaves a note for Felicity in a bird bottle asking for her help. Felicity finds Ben hurt and gives him food, water and medicine for his leg.

Felicity sees that her father has put a reward for bringing Ben back in the paper. Felicity's father is coming to the plantation to look for Ben, so Felicity warns Ben to get on his way to Yorktown before her father arrives. Felicity helps Ben find the path and draws him a map. She also gives him some money to board the ferry.

Later, she overhears that bounty hunters are going to the ferry to look for Ben. She rides on Penny through the storm to where he is making his way along. Felicity convinces Ben to come back, even though he still wants to be a soldier. He rides Penny with Felicity back to King's Creek Plantation (Grandfather's plantation) and confronts Mr. Merriman.

Mr. Merriman tells Ben that his apprenticeship will last for three more years, but that Ben will turn eighteen within this time. They come to the agreement that Ben may leave when he turns eighteen, on the condition that he returns after the war to finish his apprenticeship to Mr. Merriman.

Changes for Felicity: A Winter Story

Peril at King's Creek

Ben appears only in chapter 8, telling the Merrimans that Edward Merriman couldn't come due to business. He meets Mr. Haskall and later tells Felicity that he saw him as a British soldier in the store before going back home. Later, Felicity writes a letter to Ben, confirming that Mr. Haskall is a loyalist, and asks him to convince her father to follow her plan, which he does.

Traitor in Williamsburg

Ben appears throughout the book, mostly appearing with his friend, Walter. Walter is the apprentice of the man who frames Mr. Merriman.Through Ben's persuading Walter allows him and Felicity into the safe of his Master's office, in which, they find the papers that prove Mr. Merriman's innocence.

Lady Margaret's Ghost

Ben rides Penny as a participant for the horse race during Publick Times. He is seen throughout the book.

In the Film

Ben's role does not change significantly in the film, however he breaks his apprentice agreement at 15 years old[1] in the film rather than 16 years old as it was in Felicity Saves the Day.

He is played by Kevin Zegers.

References

  1. Felicity: An American Girl Adventure:
    Martha Merriman: (reading the notice) "'Runaway apprentice: A lad named Benjamin Davidson. Medium build, brown hair, able-bodied, 15 years old.'"


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