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Title: Joscelyn Cheshire - A Story of Revolutionary Days in the Carolinas
Author: Kennedy, Sara Beaumont
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Joscelyn Cheshire - A Story of Revolutionary Days in the Carolinas" ***

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 To my Husband


 CHAPTER                                          PAGE

      I. Cupid and Mars                             1
     II. The March of the Continentals             10
    III. Onward to Valley Forge                    20
     IV. The Company on the Veranda                25
      V. Winding the Skein                         35
     VI. The Fête at Philadelphia                  43
    VII. A Dare-devil Deed                         56
   VIII. A Maid's Dream and the Devil's Wooing     65
     IX. On Monmouth Plain                         73
      X. In Clinton's Tents                        81
     XI. From Camp to Prison                       93
    XII. A Message out of the North               104
   XIII. Dreams                                   120
    XIV. News of Love and War                     128
     XV. An Awakening and a Mutiny                141
    XVI. Into the Jaws of Death                   151
   XVII. Out of the Shadow and into the Sun       163
  XVIII. "Kiss me quick, and let me go"           181
    XIX. The Wearing of a Red Rose                192
     XX. Joscelyn's Peril                         204
    XXI. Trapped                                  217
   XXII. "Search my Lady's Wardrobe"              227
  XXIII. In Tarleton's Toils                      242
   XXIV. Thwarted                                 263
    XXV. Good-by, Sweetheart                      278
   XXVI. By the Beleaguered City                  293
  XXVII. Homecomings                              305
 XXVIII. An Unanswered Question                   320
   XXIX. The End of the Thread                    331


                                           FACING PAGE

 Frontispiece. "She swept him a courtesy
     full of open defiance and ridicule."

 "Thus they passed, with small parley, the
     picket-posts."                                48

 "Richard was dragged along with the British
     until their position was regained."           81

 "... The Prisoners lined up and answered
     to their names."                             149

 "For a long minute he stood there, trembling,
     horror-stricken."                            164

 "'My God, Joscelyn, you will not give me
     up like that!'"                              226

 "'I have seen no human being save our party
     of three.'"                                  262

 "'My Heart's prisoner for time and eternity.'"   331




     "Thy head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat."

He threw the door wide open and, with one foot advanced and his weight
on the other hip, stood at pose with uplifted arm and sword; as gallant
a figure as ever melted a maiden's heart or stormed a foeman's citadel.
There was great suggestion of power in the straight limbs, a marvellous
promise of strength in the upward sweep of the arm, which, for a moment,
held the inmates of the room in silence of admiration. Then an avalanche
of exclamations broke loose.

"Richard, Richard!"

"Master Clevering!"

"A health to the young Continental!"

"Oh, the new uniform, how bravely it doth become him!"

"The buff and blue forever!"

"What an air the coat gives him."

"And the breeches have never a wrinkle in them. I have ever said, my
son, that you were not over fair of feature, but that the Lord made it
up to you in the shape o' your legs." The last speaker was his mother,
who, passing behind him, ran her fingers caressingly along the seams of
his military outfit.

The young man lowered his sword and answered with a boyish laugh: "And
truly did the Lord owe me a debt in that He gave me not your beauty,

"He balanced His account," was the complacent answer, "for you are a fit
figure to please even a king."

"Nay, I care not to please the king--but the assembled queens!" He
doffed his hat, and bowed with courtly grace to the group of young women
in the centre of the room.

Full of laughter and chaffing they crowded about him--his sister Betty,
her friend Patience Ruffin, Mistress Dorothy Graham, who had come in to
learn a new knitting stitch of Betty, and pretty Janet Cameron, who had
followed Dorothy to hear the gossip which must necessarily flow freely
where so many women were assembled. Immediately they surrounded the
young soldier, and there was much laughter and talking as they relieved
him of his sword and gun.

"Only a private in the ranks, and yet here am I attended like a
commander-in-chief," he said, laughing. "Methinks no hero of olden
romance had ever such charming squirage. Are you going to give me your
gloves and fasten your colours on my helmet, that I may go forth to
battle as did the knights of yore?"

"Yes; kill me a Redcoat for this," and Janet tossed him her glove, while
Dorothy tied a strand of the bright wool from her knitting ball upon his
sleeve. "An you win not a battle for each of us, you are no knight of

But the fifth girl of the group, after one glance at him upon his
entrance, had turned abruptly to the window and stood gazing into the
street, tapping the air to "King George, Our Royal Ruler" upon the
panes. No part of her face was visible, but her attitude was spirited,
and the poise of her head bespoke defiance. Richard Clevering's eyes
travelled every few minutes to that straight, lithe figure, and anon he
called out banteringly:--

"Hey, you, there at the window, are King George and his army passing by
that you have no eyes for other folk?"

"I would that they were," was the short answer, and the fingers went on
with their strumming.

"Come, Joscelyn, leave off sulking and see how brave Richard's uniform
doth make him," said Betty, coaxingly, eager that her brother's unspoken
wish should be gratified.

"And truly doth he need somewhat to make him brave, seeing he is in arms
against his king," Joscelyn retorted, but turned not her head.

"In arms against the king? Aye, truly am I; and yours be not the only
Royalist back I shall see 'twixt this and the end of the campaign,
Mistress Joscelyn Cheshire."

"Then, forsooth, will they be in luck--not having you to look at."

But the others had caught his meaning, and her retort was half lost in
the shout of laughter that greeted him.

"Aye, I warrant me when the fighting comes you will see the backs of so
many Redcoats that you can e'en cut their pattern in the dark," declared

"Then will his head be twisted forever awry with looking so much over
his shoulder behind him."

"My Lady Royalist's ears are in the room though her eyes be elsewhere,"
laughed Janet.

"And neither is her tongue paralyzed. Turn about, Joscelyn, and let us
see you have also other power of motion."

"Not quite so much as some folk who turn like a weather-cock in every
gust of a partisan wind."

Thus the sparring went on until the visitors took their departure,
followed to the gate by Mistress Clevering and her daughter for that one
last word which women so love. Richard bowed them out and closed the
door upon their backs; then, marching straight to the window, he placed
himself by Joscelyn, who immediately turned her face in the opposite
direction. He spoke to her, but only a shrug of the shoulders answered

"You _shall_ look at me," he cried, with sudden determination; and,
seizing her by the shoulders, he twisted her about until she faced him;
but even then he did not accomplish his purpose, for she covered her
face with her hands, declaring vehemently she would rather see him in
his shroud than in the uniform of a traitor.

"Traitor, forsooth! You know not whereof you speak. In what button or
seam see you aught that is traitorous?" He dragged her hands from her
face, and held them in his strong grip; but still he was foiled, for her
eyes were tightly closed. "An you open not your eyes immediately, I will
kiss them soundly upon either lid."

Which threat had the desired effect, for instantly the lashes parted and
a pair of sea-blue eyes looked angrily into his.

"So--I have brought you to terms. Well, and what think you of my

"Methinks," and her voice was not pleasant to hear, "that 'tis most
fitting apparel for one who refuses allegiance to his king and--uses his
greater strength against a woman."

He flung her hands away with what, for him, was near to roughness. "By
the eternal stars, Joscelyn, your tongue has a double edge!"

"A woman has need of a sharp tongue since Providence gave her but
indifferent fists."

"In sooth, it is the truth with you," he cried, his good-humour restored
as he again caught one of her slender hands and held it up for
inspection. "Nature wasted not much material here; methinks it would
scarce fill a fly with apprehension."

But she wrung it out of his grasp, and, with an exclamation of
annoyance, turned once more to the window. His expression changed, and
he stood some moments regarding her in silence. At last he said:--

"Joscelyn, 'tis now more than two years since you came to live
neighbours with us, and for the last half of that time you and I have
done little else than quarrel. But on my part this disagreement has not
gone below the surface; rather has it been a covering for a tenderer
feeling. I have heard it said that a woman knows instinctively when a
man loves her. Have you spelled out my heart under this show of

She shrugged her shoulders mockingly. "I am but an indifferent speller,
Master Clevering."

"Right well do I know that, having seen some of your letters to Betty,"
he answered with ready acquiescence. Whereat she flashed upon him a
glance of indignant protest; but he went on calmly, as though he noted
not the look: "But you are a fair reader, and mayhap I used a wrong
term. Have you not read my heart all these months?"

"It is not given even unto the wise to read so absolute a blank."

It was his time to wince, but the minutes were flying, the women might
return from the gate at any moment, and this would be his last chance
for a quiet word with her. "Let us have done with this child's play,
Joscelyn. To-morrow I march with my company; 'twill be months, perhaps
years, before we meet again. I love you! Will you not give me some
gentle word, some sweet promise, to fill with hope the time that is to

"What manner of promise can you wish?" she asked, her back still toward

"A promise which shall mean our betrothal."

"Betrothal?--and we always quarrelling?"

"Quarrels cease where love doth rule," he answered softly.

"But I have no love for you."

"You might have if you would cease dwelling so much on the king's
affairs and think somewhat of me. I would give you love unqualified if
so you would but lean ever so little my way."

"And think you, Master Clevering, that I would turn traitor for your
love? Nay, sir; I am a loyal subject to King George, and can enter into
no compact with his enemies."

"Then will I be forced to conquer you along with the other adherents of
the tyrant, for have you I will," he cried impetuously. "An you yield
not to persuasion, you shall yield to force. From this day I hold you as
a part of the English enemy who needs must be subdued; and I do hereby
proclaim war against your prejudice for your heart."

"And I do accept the challenge, foreseeing your failure in both
causes." She swept him a courtesy full of open defiance and ridicule,
and again turned her back upon him as Betty entered the room.

But Master Clevering was neither dismayed nor discouraged by the turn
his wooing had taken. He had never thought to win her lightly, and his
combative disposition recognized in the prospect before him the elements
of a struggle, so that he was filled with the keen joy of a warrior at
the onset of the fray. The possibility of final defeat did not occur to

Bidding Betty an affectionate good-by, Joscelyn quitted the house,
declining his proffered escort, nor did he speak with her again for a
space of many hours; for when the company, bidden that night to a
farewell feast with him, assembled about the board, the chair set for
her was vacant. Betty and Janet glanced meaningly at each other, for
they had seen her at dusk in company with Eustace and Mary Singleton,
and the Singletons were among the most pronounced Tories in the county.
But at the other end of the table Richard only laughed as he thrust his
knife into the fowl before him and felt for the joint.

"Tell her, Aunt Cheshire, that our loss does not equal hers, since she
gets none of this bird, which is browned to the taste of Epicurus

His tone was careless, and in truth he was not surprised at her
defection, for he, too, had seen the Singletons at her gate; and later
on, as he stood at his own door, had seen her, through her lighted
parlour window opposite, take off, for the entertainment of her guests,
his own theatrical entrance in his uniform that afternoon. She was an
excellent mimic, and her sense of humour enabled her to give a ludicrous
side to the scene, which drew forth peals of laughter from her auditors.
The vanity, the swagger, the monumental pose, were so exactly reproduced
that Richard felt a quick tingle of irritation flush his veins. And that
picture was still in his mind as he sat at table among his guests.

It is questionable whether it would have been an added nettlement or a
relief had he known that she had been aware of his presence across the
way, seeing him distinctly against the hall light behind him, and that
the scene enacted was more for him than for her visitors.



     "Thou art gone from my gaze like a beautiful dream."

The Cheshires and Cleverings were not akin, although the young people
gave titles of kinship to the older folk. Mistress Cheshire had been
twice married, her first husband being brother to James Clevering. After
her second widowhood she had moved from New Berne to Hillsboro'-town, to
be near her brother-in-law, for neither she nor her last husband had any
nearer male relative this side of the sea. There had been no quarrel
with the Cleverings concerning her second marriage, so that she found in
Hillsboro' a ready welcome. The inland town promised more peace than the
bustling seaport whence she had moved. There news of king and colony
came in with every vessel that cast anchor at the wharves, and, as a
result, the community was in a constant state of ferment. All this was
very repugnant to Mistress Cheshire, who was a timid woman with no very
decided views upon public questions. Her one ruling desire was for
peace, no matter whence the source; she had lived quite happily under
the king's sceptre; but if Washington could establish a safe and quiet
government, she would have no quarrel either with him or fate.

But Joscelyn was different. Her father had been an ardent advocate of
kingly rule, and she had imbibed all of his enthusiasm for England and
English sovereignty. He had died just before the battle of Lexington set
the western continent athrob with a new national life. Consequently, the
removal from New Berne had been much against Joscelyn's inclination, for
she desired to be in the front and press of the excitement. But seeing
how her mother's heart was set on it, she finally withdrew her
opposition. Still she carried to her new home the bitter Toryism with
which her father had so deeply ingrained her nature. In another
atmosphere this feeling might have spent itself in idle fancies and vain
regrets; but in daily, almost hourly, contact with the Cleverings, whose
patriotism was ever at high tide, she was kept constantly on the
defensive, and in a spirit of resistance that knew no compromise. The
elder Cleverings and Betty looked upon her outbreaks good-humouredly,
treating them as the whims of a spoiled child. But not so Richard. His
whole soul was in the revolt of the colonies; every nerve in him was
attuned to war and strife, and he was vehemently intolerant of any
adverse opinion, so that between him and Joscelyn the subject came to be
as flint and steel. He did not scruple to tell her that she was foolish,
obstinate, logically blind, and that her opinions were not of the
smallest consequence; and yet the stanch loyalty with which she
defended her cause, and the ready defiance with which she met his every
attack won his admiration. Very speedily he separated her personality
from her views, and loved the one while he despised the other. Nothing
but fear of her ridicule had hitherto held him silent upon the subject
of his love.

While the merry-making went on at the Cleverings' that last night of his
stay at home, Joscelyn sat playing cards with the Singletons, whom she
persuaded to remain to tea, making her loneliness her plea.

"It passes my understanding," said Eustace, as he slowly shuffled the
cards, "how these insurgents can hope to win. Even their so-called
congress has had to move twice before the advance of his Majesty's
troops. A nation that has two seats of government in two years seems
rather shifty on its base."

"It must have been a brave sight to see General Howe march into
Philadelphia," said Joscelyn. "Methinks I can almost hear the drums beat
and see the flags flying in the wind. Would I had been there to cry
'long live the king' with the faithful of the land."

But Mary shuddered. "I am content to be no nearer than I am to the
battle scenes. The mustering of the Continental company to-day has
satisfied my eyes with martial shows."

"Call you that a martial show?" her brother laughed derisively. "Why,
that was but a shabby make-believe with only half of the men properly
uniformed and equipped. Martial show, indeed! Rather was it a gathering
of scarecrows. I prophesy that in six months the 'indomitable army of
the young Republic,' as the leaders style the undisciplined rabble that
follows them, will be again quietly ploughing their fields or looking
after other private affairs."

"And while you are prophesying you are playing your cards most
foolishly, and I am defeating you."

"True, you have me fairly with that ace. Let us try it again--'Deprissa
resurgit,' as the Continentals say on their worthless paper money."

"Joscelyn," said Mary suddenly, "did I tell you that Aunt Ann said in
her letter that Cousin Ellen wore a yellow silk to the ball given to
welcome General Howe to Philadelphia?"

"I do believe you left out that important item," laughed Joscelyn.

"Why, how came you to be so remiss, I pray you, sister? The flight of
congress from the Quaker city, and its seizure by his Majesty's troops,
are but insignificant matters compared to the fact that our cousin wore
yellow silk to the general's ball," teased her brother. Whereupon Mary
went pouting across the room and sat at the window, calling out to the
players at the table the names of those who went in and out of the house
of festivity opposite.

"Yonder are Mistress Strudwick and Doris Henderson--dear me! I wonder
what it feels like to be so stout as Mistress Strudwick? Billy Bryce and
his mother are just behind them. I see Janet and Betty through the
window. Betty has on that pink brocade with the white lace."

"Then I warrant some of those recruits will go to the war already
wounded, for in that gown Mistress Betty is sweet enough to break any
man's heart."

"Eustace, I do believe you are halfway in love with Betty."

"Why put it only halfway, my dear? The whole is ever better than a

"What think you, Joscelyn, is he in earnest? And how does Betty like

But Joscelyn laughingly quoted the biblical text about being "unevenly
yoked together with unbelievers," reminding Mary that Betty was a Whig,
and Eustace a Loyalist, and this was a bar that even Cupid must not pull
down. Whereupon Eustace laughed aloud; and Mary was satisfied.

Early the next morning Betty ran over to make her protest against
Joscelyn's absence of the night before. "Richard seemed not to care, but
mother and I were much chagrined that you did not come."

"I certainly meant no offence to you and Aunt Clevering," answered
Joscelyn, "but Richard and I have a way of forgetting our company
manners which is most unpleasant to spectators."

"Yes; mother read Richard a most proper lecture this morning about the
way he quarrels with you, and he is coming over later to make his peace;
he says he thinks that perhaps mother is right, and that he will feel
better to carry in his heart no grudge against any one when he goes into
battle. And you must be very kind to him, Joscelyn, for it is a great
concession on his part to apologize thus. Supposing if--if anything
happened to him, and you had sent him away in anger!"

Joscelyn drew the young girl to her. "So you have appointed yourself
keeper-in-chief of my conscience? Well, well; I will hold a most strict
watch over my tongue during the next few hours, so that it may give you
no offence. Still, I am not easily conscience-stricken, and neither, I
think, is Master Clevering."

"The Singletons passed the evening with you, did they not?" asked Betty,
who had glanced across at her friend's window the night before, and had
seen them playing cards together.

"Yes; and Eustace said some very pretty things about you and your pink
frock. What a pity you are of different political beliefs, for--Why,
Betty, what a beautiful colour has come into your cheeks."

"Stuff, Joscelyn! But--what said Master Singleton?" And when the speech
was repeated, the girl's sweet face was redder than ever.

For a few moments Joscelyn looked at her in consternation. Betty cared
for Eustace! It seemed the very acme of irony. Then tenderly she stroked
the brown hair, wondering silently at the game of cross-purposes love is
always playing. Uncle and Aunt Clevering, with their violent views,
would follow Betty to her grave rather than to her bridal with Eustace,
for, besides the party differences, the older folk of the two families
had long been separated by a bitter quarrel over a title-deed.
Joscelyn's own friendship for Mary and Eustace had been the cause of
some sharp words between her and her uncle; a thousand times more would
he resent Betty's defection. "But they shall not break her heart!" she
said to herself, with a sudden tightening of her arms about the clinging

An hour later Richard knocked at the door and was admitted by Mistress
Cheshire, for Joscelyn had gone to her own room at the sound of his step

"No, I will not come down. I have promised Betty not to quarrel with
him, and the only way to keep my word is not to see him," she said to
her mother over the banister. "Tell him I hope he will soon come back
whole of body, but as gloriously defeated as all rebels deserve to be."

In vain her mother urged, and in vain Richard called from the foot of
the stair; she neither answered nor appeared in sight.

"Tell her, Aunt Cheshire, that I never thought to find her hiding in her
covert; a soldier who believes in his cause hesitates not to meet his
adversary in open field; it is the doubtful in courage or confidence who
run to cover." And he went down the step with his head up angrily and
his sword clanging behind him.

In the upper hall Joscelyn held her hands tightly over her mouth to
force back the stinging retort. Then, with a derisive smile, she went
downstairs and sat in the hall window, in plain view of the street and
the house across the way.

That afternoon his company marched afield. The town was full of noise
and excitement, and the mingled sound of sobbing and of forced laughter,
as the line was formed in the market-place and moved with martial step
down the long, unpaved street, the rolling drums and clear-toned bugles
stirring the blood to a frenzy of enthusiasm. The sidewalks were lined
with spectators, the patriots shouting, the luke-warm looking on
silently. Every house along the route through the town was hung with
wind-swung wreaths of evergreen or streamers of the bonny buff and
blue--every one until they reached the Cheshire dwelling. There the
shutters were close drawn as though some grief brooded within, and upon
the outside of the closed door hung a picture of King George framed in
countless loops of scarlet ribbon that flamed out like a sun-blown poppy
by contrast with the soberer tints of the Continentals. Here was a
challenge that none might misunderstand. The sight was as the red rag in
the toreador's hand to the bull in the arena; and, like an infuriated
animal, the crowd surged and swayed and rent the air with an angry roar.
The marching line came suddenly to a full stop without a word of
command, and the roar was interspersed with hisses. Then there was a
rush forward, and twenty hands tore at the pictured face and flaunting
ribbons, and brought them out to be trampled under foot in the dust of
the road, while a voice cried out of the crowd:--

"Down with the Royalists! Fire!"

And there was a rattle and a flash of steel down the martial line as
muskets went to shoulders. But Richard Clevering, pale with fear, sprang
to the steps between the deadly muzzles and the door and lifted a hand
to either upright, while his voice rang like a trumpet down the line:--

"Stay! There are no men here. This is but a girl's mad prank. Men, men,
turn not your guns against two lonely women; save your weapons for
rightful game! Shoulder arms! Forward! March!"

There was a moment's hesitation, a muttering down the ranks; then the
guns were shouldered and the column fell once more into step with the
drums, while the crowd shouted its approval. But above the last echoes
of that shout a woman's jeering laugh rang out upon the air; and,
lifting eyes, the crowd beheld Joscelyn Cheshire, clad in a scarlet
satin bodice, lean out of her opened casement and knot a bunch of that
same bright-hued ribbon upon the shutter. With the throng in such
volcanic temper it was a perilous thing to do; and yet so insidious was
her daring, so great her beauty, that not so much as a stone was cast at
this new signal of loyalty, and not a voice was lifted in anger.

And this was the last vision that Richard had of her--the vivid, glowing
picture he carried in his heart through the long campaigns, whether it
was as he rushed through the smoke-swirls of battle or bivouacked under
the cold, white stars.



     "He is the freeman whom the truth makes free,
     And all are slaves besides."

The colony of North Carolina had long been ready for rebellion against
kingly authority. Governor Tryon had sown the seeds of discontent by his
unpopular measures, and the taxes levied upon the people that he might
build his "palace" at New Berne. This discontent had culminated in the
insurrection of the Regulators and the battle of Alamance, where was
made the first armed stand against England. But Tryon was victorious,
and the captured leaders of the insurrection were hanged on Regulators'
hill in Hillsboro'-town. But from that field of Alamance, the defeated
people carried to their homes the same persistent, haunting dream of
liberty which was to rise incarnate when the tocsin of the Revolution
blew through the land.

That tocsin waked many an echo among the hills that surrounded the town
upon the Eno. At the first call to arms, the older men had gone to the
field, some marching away to the north, others serving under the
partisan leaders throughout their own section. Now the younger
ones--those who had been but boys when the cannon at Lexington made the
pulse of the people first to quicken and throb--were going out to bear
their share in the fray.

For the past year the company of which Richard Clevering was a member
had done service in the militia at home, keeping the Tories in a
semblance of subjection, and now and then going to Sumter's aid when he
made one of those electrical sallies which were like lightning flashes
amid the general storm. In this hard school Richard had learned his
first lessons in soldiering; but graver and sterner military work was
now ahead, for the company was marching northward to aid in recruiting
Washington's regular army, reduced and discouraged by the terrible
winter at Valley Forge.

When they started, the willows that fringed the Eno, that fierce little
river that winds about Hillsboro', had already lost their winter
grayness, and, with the rising of the sap, had taken on that wonderful
golden brown which is the aureole of the coming springtime. The
bluebirds had not yet come back to the fence corners, but the earth was
soggy with the thaw, and from under the whirls of last year's dead
leaves, crocuses were holding up green signals to the sun. But as the
troop held their steady way to the north the spring signs disappeared,
and hoar frost and bleak winds told that winter's reign was not yet

It was a long tramp up through the Virginia woods and along the salt
marshes of the coast, and down and up the desolate streams hunting a
ford. But youth and enthusiasm lighten many a burden, and to Richard the
greatest hardship was lack of news from Joscelyn. The thought of her
tugged at his heart, and if his step ever lagged in the line, it was
because the memory of her face drew him back with that sickening sense
of longing that youth finds so hard to resist. At every chance he sent
her a missive.

"Not that she will care, but just to show her _I_ do," he said, trying
to convince himself there was no bitterness in the thought.

Peter Ruffin, marching beside him, often looked at the knit brows and
compressed lips and smiled, guessing something of the cause; he said to
himself that it was safer to leave a wife behind than a sweetheart,
since one was sure to find the wife waiting his return, while a
sweetheart might be gone with a fresher fancy. But little Billy Bryce,
who could never have kept up with the line had it not been for Richard's
aid now and then, could not fathom the meaning of that dark look in his
benefactor's face, and so was silent and sorry.

The March winds tore at them, and the storms pelted them as they tramped
the rugged roads or slept in their thin tents, and the bullets that they
had intended for the enemy, often went to provide game for their daily
sustenance. The Tories of the districts through which they passed
sometimes rallied to oppose them, so that they had to fight their way
through ambuscades, or, when the enemy greatly outnumbered them, slip
away under cover of night or by circuitous paths through the forest and

And so, at last, toward the end of March, they reached their goal--the
encampment at Valley Forge, and shuddered at the desolation they
witnessed. As the little band marched down the streets of the military
village, gaunt men who had survived the horrors of the winter came out
to meet them with huzzas, and the drums beat a long welcome. Their
coming was as a thrill that runs through a half-numb body, a sign of
revivification and awakened hope. But under it all was a sense of
unspeakable sadness that filled the hearts of the newcomers with a
strange wistfulness of pity and admiration.

The succeeding weeks were given up literally to camp work, to ceaseless
mustering and drilling under the vigilant eye of Baron Steuben, until
the newcomers lost the air of recruits and bore themselves with the
semblance of veterans.

"We had hoped to fight under Morgan," Richard wrote his mother, "but,
doubtless for excellent reasons, we are to be assigned to General
Wayne's command, which just now sorely needs strengthening. Save that
Morgan is from our part of the country, the change matters not to me,
since both men are fearless leaders. What I want is a fray, and with
either of these men I am like to get my fill."

Here there was a long blot on the page, as though the back of his quill
had been drawn along a line. In truth it had, for he had started to send
a message to Joscelyn, and then with a sudden accession of determination
had erased it, lest she come to think he had never anything in mind save
herself. But he fondled the letter as he folded it, knowing that her
fingers would doubtless hold each page and her eyes travel along each
line, for his mother would share her news of him with her neighbours
over the way.



     "Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
     Some banished lover or some captive maid."

For several weeks after the departure of the soldiers an expectant hush
settled over Hillsboro'-town--the reaction of the mustering and drilling
that had gone before. So few men were left in the town that Janet
Cameron one day dressed herself in the garb of a nun, and, with the
feigned humility of folded hands and downcast eyes, went calling upon
her companions "of the convent town." A ripple of merriment followed in
her wake, for she made a most quaint figure. But the Reverend Hugh
McAden, meeting her upon the corner, so reprimanded her for her levity
that she ran home in tears and hid her gray frock and hood in the
garret. Joscelyn sobered her own face and made the girl's peace with the
reverend gentleman with such explanations as at last seemed to him
reasonable. But Janet went on no more masquerading tours.

With both the work and the gayety of the town interrupted, there was
nothing of moment to engage attention but the news that came once in a
while from the camps and battle-fields. The interest in this was shared
by every one, so that all the tidings, whether by message or letter,
were looked upon as public property. News that came by word of mouth was
cried out from the church steps or the court-house door, for no good
citizen wished to keep his knowledge to himself. Thus it fell out when
it became known that a missive had come from Richard to Joscelyn, that a
score or more of women gathered about her door to learn the contents.
She came out to them upon the veranda, her saucy beauty enhanced by the
scarlet bodice, her eyes full of laughter.

"Read you Master Clevering's letter?--As you will, Mistress Strudwick;
you may perchance find more of interest in it than I," she answered with
that sweet courtesy she showed ever to her elders. And so having
enthroned Mistress Strudwick upon the wicker bench of the porch, while
the others disposed themselves upon the steps and the grass of the
terrace which sloped directly to the street, she unfolded her letter and
cleared her throat pompously as is the manner of public speakers.

"I pray you have patience with me, good ladies," she said, "if so I read
but slowly. Master Clevering ever had trouble with his spelling; and as
for the writing, 'tis as though a fly had half drowned itself in the
inkhorn and then crawled upon the page."

Then did she proceed to read them the letter from its greeting to its
close, pausing now and then to laboriously spell out a word. There were
accounts of the life at Valley Forge, of the drilling and the picket
duty and the ceaseless watching of the enemy. Then there was an exultant
description of the victory at far-off Stillwater, as it was given to him
by a fellow-soldier who had been a participant.

     "Said I not the Continentals would win? Would I had been there to
     see! Five times was one cannon captured and recaptured. How
     glorious the fighting was; and think of the surrender! Well, well,
     it consoles me somewhat to think of that coming last surrender of
     that archest of all the Royalists. I shall bear a part in that, for
     it is to me the capitulation will be made--"

"Why, dear me, is Master Clevering to be made commander-in-chief of the
American forces, that his Majesty's troops should yield arms to him?"
Joscelyn broke off to ask with assumed innocence. "I heard naught of his
rapid promotion."

"Come, come, Joscelyn, leave off sneering at Richard and read us the

She laughed as she turned the page.

     "Say to Mistress Strudwick that the fame of her gallant brother,
     Major William Shepperd, hath reached even this remote quarter, and
     his old friends glory in his prowess. Little Jimmy Nash has lost
     his wits and wants another pair--

("A pair of wits! What can that mean? Oh, I ask your pardon, Mistress
Nash; it is 'mits,' not 'wits.' Master Clevering hath so queer a

     "--and wants another pair; let his mother know, that she may knit
     them and send them by the first chance."

There were other messages and news items which the girl read, and then
came the signature.

"There follows here a postscript which perchance some of you may help me
to unravel," she added; and then, with the air of a town-crier
announcing his errand, she proceeded:--

     "To the girl of my heart say this, that I forget not I am fighting
     for her, and that I look upon every Redcoat my gun can bring down
     as one more obstacle removed from betwixt us. I think of her

She paused and puckered her brow in a perplexed frown. "Now who, I pray
you, is the girl of his heart? Cannot some of you help me to guess?"

"Methinks 'twould be an easy task for you," laughed Mistress Strudwick.

"_Me?_" repeated Joscelyn, still with that air of perplexed innocence.
"Nay, he was ever so full of jokes and quarrels that it never came to me
he had a heart."

"Mayhap it is Dorothy Graham he means," said a voice in the crowd.

"More like 'tis Patience Ruffin."

"Or little Janet Cameron--he set much store by her."

"Nay," said a teasing voice, "Janet is going to be a nun; such messages
to her would not be proper." Whereat there was a general laugh.

"Whoever she is, 'tis a pity she should miss her love message through
her lover's obscurity and our ignorance," said Joscelyn. "What think
you, Mistress Strudwick, were it not a good plan to post this page upon
the banister here that all who pass may read? In this wise we may find
the maid."

With a pin from her bodice, and using her high-heeled slipper--which she
drew off for the purpose--as a hammer, she tacked the paper to the
banister. But it had not fluttered twice in the wind ere Betty had
snatched it down.

"Shame on you, Joscelyn, for so exposing my brother's letter!"

"Oh, I meant not to anger you, Betty," returned the girl, sweetly, as
she took the letter again and thrust it into her bodice. "Since you like
not this plan, we will have the town-crier search out the mysterious
damsel and bring her here to read for herself. Let us see how the cry
would run: 'Wanted, wanted, the girl of Richard Clevering's heart to
read his greeting on Mistress Cheshire's porch!'"

She stooped to buckle her shoe, her foot on the round of Mistress
Strudwick's chair, and so they saw not the laughter in her eyes. She
knew well that Betty would not fail to write Richard of the scene, and
she already fancied his anger; she could have laughed aloud. "Methinks
I have paid you back a score, Master Impertinence," she said to herself,
and then fell to talking to Dorothy Graham until the company dispersed.
That night Betty, running in on a message from her mother, found
Joscelyn using the fragments of the ill-fated letter to curl the long
hair of Gyp, the house-dog, and she went home to add an indignant
postscript to the missive to her brother, over which she had spent the
afternoon. But even as she wrote she knew he would not heed her advice;
and sure enough, in course of time another letter came to the house on
the terrace:--

     "The girl of my heart is that teasing Tory, Joscelyn Cheshire, who
     conceals her tender nature under such show of scorning. One day her
     love shall strike its scarlet colours to the blue and buff of mine;
     and her lips, instead of mocking, will be given over to smiles and
     kisses, for which purpose nature made them so beautiful.

     "Post this on your veranda for the town to read, an you will,
     sweetheart. For my part, I care not if the whole world knows that I
     love you."

But Joscelyn did no such thing. Instead, she thrust the letter out of
sight, and refused to read it even to Betty, who had only half forgiven
her for her former offence against her brother.

As the days passed, however, Betty was full of concern for the
privations Richard endured, and out of sheer force of habit she carried
her plaint to Joscelyn.

"Richard drills six hours a day, rain or shine," she said, with an
expostulatory accent on the numeral.

"Dear me, is he that hard of learning? Methinks even _I_ could master
the art of shouldering a gun and turning out my toes in less time than
that. It seems not so difficult a matter."

"And even after all this," Betty went on, taking no heed of the other's
laugh, "he may not rest at night, but must needs do picket duty or go on
reconnoitring expeditions. And he hath not tasted meat in two weeks, not
since he hath been in camp."

"What a shame! A soldier such as Master Clevering should sit among the
fleshpots and sleep all night in a feather bed."

"I knew you would laugh," Betty said with sudden heat. "You treat
Richard as though he counted for naught; but the truth is, Joscelyn, you
are not half good enough for him."

And Betty flung out of the house with her chin in the air, while
Joscelyn kissed her hand to her with playful courtesy, but with a
genuine admiration for her spirit.

But she softened not her heart toward Richard. Because of his impatience
with her opinions, and the personal nature of their disputes and
oppositions, he had come to typify to her the very core and heart of
the insurrection. She knew this was foolish, that he was in truth
but an insignificant part of the general turmoil; and yet he was the
prominent figure that always came before her when the talk turned on the
Revolution, no matter in what company she was. His masterful ways of
wooing and cool assumption of her preference also grated harshly upon
her, and even in his absence her heart was often hot against him. She
listened indifferently to his mother's and Betty's praise of him.

Her position in the community was rather a peculiar one; for while many
of her companions disliked her tenets, they loved her for her merry ways
and grace of manner, and so they refused to listen to some of the more
rabid members who counselled ostracism. Her mother, too, was a strong
bond between her and the public; for when the patriotic women of the
town met together to sew and knit for the absent soldiers, Mistress
Cheshire often went with them, and no needle was swifter than hers. It
was her neighbours she was helping; the soldiers were a secondary
consideration. She was not going to quarrel with Ann Clevering and
Martha Strudwick because their husbands had fallen out with the king;
that was his Majesty's affair, not hers, and she did not believe in
meddling in other people's quarrels. But Joscelyn shut herself in her
room on these days and read her English history; or else, being deft
with her pencil, made numerous copies of the historical pictures of King
George and his ministers, which were pinned up on the railing of her
balcony as a new testimonial of her loyalty. But no sooner was her back
turned than some passer-by tore them away, sometimes leaving instead a
written threat of retaliation that made her mother's heart cold with a
nameless dread.

It was in the end of March, some six weeks after the departure of the
troops, that sad news came from the south. Where the Pedee widened
toward its mouth a blow had been struck for liberty, and Uncle Clevering
had fallen in a charge with Sumter.

There had been a body of Tories to disperse, a wagon-train to capture,
and despatches to intercept; and Sumter's troops, knowing this, rode all
the windy night through moonshine and shadow to surprise the enemy in
the daffodil dawn of that March morning. Swift, silent, resistless, like
spectres of the gray forest, they came upon the astonished Redcoats--and
kept their tryst with Victory! The prisoners, the wagon-train, the
despatches were theirs; but one of them had ridden to his rendezvous
with death. The elder Clevering's horse was led back through all the
long miles to Hillsboro' with the stirrups crossed over the saddle; and
Ann Clevering sat in her house, bereft. Each day Martha Strudwick and
other friends went to her with words of kindly commiseration; but it was
Mistress Cheshire who did most to comfort the afflicted widow, so that
these two were drawn yet closer together with that bond of sympathy that
comes of a mutual loss. And in Betty's or Mistress Clevering's presence
Joscelyn never again talked tauntingly of English prowess, since it was
an English bullet that had wrought such sorrow to her friends. But even
this death, shocking as it was to her, in no way shook her allegiance to
the cause she held to be right.



     "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

It was April, and the days came with a sheen of blue sky between rifts
of rain.

Quick steps sounded at the Cheshire door, and the brass knocker beat
like an anvil through the house, setting the maid's feet in a run to
answer it. Joscelyn came down from her room with wide eyes of curiosity
to find Eustace Singleton in the parlour, a great nosegay of roses in
his hand.

"From the knocking you kept up, I thought the whole Continental army
must be at my door! You have brought me the first roses of the year,"
she exclaimed; "how kind!" and she stretched out her hand for the

"No--they are not for you--not exactly," he stammered, holding them out
of her reach.

"Mother will appreciate them, and I shall enjoy them quite the same."

"No, she will not, for I had her not in mind when I plucked them."


"I was thinking of--of--'n faith, Joscelyn, I was thinking of Mistress
Betty Clevering."

"Of Betty Clevering! Red roses for Betty Clevering!"

"They are not all red. See this one; it is near as buff as her own party

The girl nodded, smiling at his eagerness. He walked the length of the
room, then stopped before her abruptly.

"Joscelyn, I leave for the front to-night."

"I did not know--"

"Yes; I have but waited orders from Lord Cornwallis. This morning a
messenger brought them, and I am to report at once. His lordship has
been most kind because of my father's friendship when they were boys,
and I am appointed aide upon his staff."

She held out her hand impulsively. "'Tis what we hoped for you."

"But," he went on hurriedly, "I cannot go without first speaking with
Mistress Betty. Methinks I cannot fight against her people without first
asking her pardon. Oh, of course, that sounds foolish; but will you help
me, Joscelyn? It would be useless for me to go to her house; the door
would be shut in my face."

"And you want me--"

"I want you to ask her here now, and then go away upstairs like the dear
girl you are, and give me a chance."

"Aunt Clevering would never forgive me."

"She need not know; think up some excuse for sending for Betty."

"And Betty herself might be angry."

"Not with you. She may turn me away. I have small hope, for she has
always been so shy, and public questions and private quarrels have kept
our families so far apart. You know how seldom we meet; but speak with
her I must, for who knows whether I shall ever come back? My departure
to-night must, of course, be in secret, for were my intentions known, I
should be apprehended and held, mayhap hanged for treason. This is my
one chance to see Betty; you are going to send for her, Joscelyn?"

She hesitated: she hated deception, and she loved her Aunt Clevering.
Then there came to her the memory of Betty's face when she had teased
her about Eustace, and her own resolution to be the girl's friend where
so much heartache and opposition awaited her. This was her opportunity;
if she refused it, she would be abetting the general harshness the girl
was likely to encounter. She left the room without a word, and presently
Eustace saw through the window her little maid dart across the street
and into the opposite gate.

"Thank you," he said jubilantly, taking her hand when she reëntered the

"Wait and see if she comes. She is here but seldom these days; partly
because she is still angry with me about Richard, and partly because of
the sorrow that came to her a month ago. She may not accept my

But even as she spoke, a clear voice cried in the hall: "Joscelyn,
Joscelyn, are you upstairs?"

"Nay, I am here," and she met the girl at the door and drew her into the

Eustace came forward smiling. "Now, Mistress Betty, I call this a lucky
chance to have dropped in here when you were coming to sit with
Joscelyn. Fortune does sometimes favour even so humble a subject as I.
Let me move this chair for you."

Betty's cheeks had reddened faintly, and she glanced quickly from him to
Joscelyn, but found in neither face any confirmation of a suspicion that
stirred in her mind. Joscelyn was turning over a great pile of coloured

"You promised to help me sort the colours for my new cross-stitch--you
have such a fine eye for contrasts. But since Eustace is here, methinks
we had best put it off; men are so impatient over such matters," she

"Nay, nay," he protested; "you slander me along with the rest of my
fellow-men. Mistress Betty here shall prove it, for I will hold those
tangled skeins for her, and she will find that I am patience itself."

"Very well, we will put you to the test. What think you, Betty, will
this green do for the flower stems?--You like that shade better?--Hold
out your hands, Eustace. Now, Betty, wind that while I find a blue for
the flowers."

Never was anything brought about more naturally and deftly. Almost
before she was aware, Betty found herself seated in front of Eustace,
who was making great show of resignation.

"How does a man sometimes fall from the high estate of his manhood and
dignity and become no better than a wooden frame whereon to hang a
length of yarn," he said, laughing; then coloured with pleasure as Betty
bent toward the table and put her face close to the roses lying there.

"Ah, how sweet! I have only a few buds, as yet. Master Singleton brought
them to you, Joscelyn?"

"On the contrary, he said expressly they were not for me. There is no
blue in this lot of wools, I must have left it upstairs. 'Tis a shame I
have to mount those steps again. I hope you will have that skein wound
by the time I find the blue one." At the door she paused and looked back
archly at Eustace; then, blowing a kiss to Betty's unconscious back, she
went away, shutting the door softly behind her.

"God bless you, Betty dear; I hope I am acting for your happiness," she
said to herself on the stairs.

Betty added to her soft ball in unruffled silence for a minute. Then,
glancing up, she met Eustace's gaze, and her hand faltered in its

"Do you know for whom I brought the roses?" he asked, bending toward

"Stay, Master Singleton, you are dropping the skein--and you promised to
be so patient."

"True, true; I have it all in a mess. Wind your ball up closer that we
may pass it through this loop."

And so they set themselves, with here a turn and there a backward twist,
to that old task of unravelling the snarled skein. Now and then their
fingers touched, and both hands trembled and both faces reddened;
Eustace's from the exquisite pleasure of the contact, for never before
had they been so alone, so near together, and out of pure joy he would
have prolonged the happiness. But the shadows were already lengthening
backward to the east, and with nightfall he must be away. And so when
Betty's little hand was again near to his he seized it in both of his.

"Betty--sweetheart--I love you!"

The thread was snapped apart, and the ball fell to the floor, but he
held her hands fast.

"Nay, you must listen to me, for this night I go away to bear my share
in the war, perchance to give my life for the cause I hold to be right.
But before I go I must tell you what is in my heart--tell you that I
love you as a man loves the woman to whom he gives his name, with whom
he leaves his honour. And not only must I tell you that, but I must hear
you say that, believing as I do, you do not blame me for going to the
war. You do not blame me, do you?"

Her hands lay still in his, but her head was bent so low he could not
see into her eyes.

"This war means everything to me, for the enemies of the king against
whom I shall have to fight are my neighbours and acquaintances, and,
worse still, the near and dear relatives of my love. Under such
circumstances you do not think I would fight save from principle?"


"And you do not condemn the step I am taking, even though it sets me
against your dear ones? I cannot see things as they do."

She lifted her head and looked at him squarely for a moment. "Every man
should follow the dictates of his conscience."

"I knew your heart would recognize the justice of my case. And when it
is all over, and I come back, you will not let this stand between
us--you will be my wife?"

But she drew her hand away, shaking her head with downcast eyes, and his
pleading was futile. "To promise you would be to go against my mother,
and it were undutiful in me to add to her present distress; now that my
father is dead and my brother gone to the war, my mother has only me to
comfort her."

"Then at least let me carry away the glad assurance that you care for
me; that will suffice, for, if you love me, you will wait for me."

"You--you will find me waiting," she whispered; and then her lips
trembled under the kiss that he put upon them.

But there was a sound at the door, a warning rattle of the knob, and out
of consideration for her he let her go.

"Aunt Clevering is calling you, Betty," Joscelyn said, but she did not
enter. "She'll be there directly, Aunt Clevering," she called from the
front door. And presently, when Betty passed her with Eustace's colours
flaming in her cheeks and his roses on her breast, she knew that Redcoat
and not Continental had won this battle in her parlour.

"She would not promise me," Eustace said, wringing her hand; "but I am
so happy, for there are some things that are better than a spoken



     "Drink to her that each loves best;
       And if you nurse a flame
     That's told but to her mutual breast,
       We will not ask her name."

The sixth day of May dawned clear at Valley Forge. In the crowded huts
and tents was an unusual stir, a brushing and repairing of ragged
uniforms, and a burnishing of bayonets and sword-hilts. Then the bugles
sounded their stirring call, and the morning sun looked down upon the
army drawn up in two lines upon the drill plateau. Richard, gazing down
the line in front of him, and knowing that the one in which he stood was
but its ragged prototype, felt his heart swell with admiration and a
sickening pity; for everywhere were the marks of privation and
starvation. Only the faces, transfigured by the radiance of a new hope,
told of the unconquered wills that lay dormant under the scars of

Thus they heard the news for which they had been mustered into
line--France had acknowledged the independence of the colonies, and
would send them substantial martial aid. Franklin had won, and the
_fleur-de-lys_ was to float beside the star-studded banner of the young
republic fighting for her life.

When the proclamation was read, a salute of thirteen guns boomed out,
each the symbolic voice of a State pledging allegiance to the new
alliance. Down the lines went the rattle of musketry, and there rolled
up a shout that filled the blue hollow of the sky with its hoarse echo.

"Long live the king of France!"

"Long live the new Republic!"


It was as if the prisoned joy of months had broken into song. Scars and
tatters and hunger, pains and aching wounds were forgotten, and only the
radiance of peace and freedom yet to come shone in the dazzled upturned

"Long live the lilies of France!"

When it was all done Richard sat down to write by the light of a pine
knot one of those letters that Joscelyn hated.

     "I am much grieved at the news of you in Betty's last letter. She
     says you daily draw upon yourself the disapproval of the townsfolk
     by your public rejoicing over news of any British success. This is
     not wise in you, for the people are in no temper to be mocked; and
     I feel my hands grow cold at the thought that some danger may come
     near you, and I too far away to stand between you and it! Go often
     to see my mother, both because she loves you and because the
     friendship of so good a patriot will be a safeguard in the
     community. Betty hath writ me so queer a page about trying to love
     my enemies, and her hope that I will look carefully at every man
     toward whom my gun is pointed so that I shoot not a neighbour, that
     I am at a loss to understand her meaning--unless, indeed, she hath
     been tainted by your Toryism. What think you hath come to the
     little minx?"

She would not answer the epistle, of course--she never did; but it was
such a relief to put his feelings into words. That she would be angry at
some of his words he knew, but it made him laugh to think of the
disdainful lips and flashing eyes.

He must have laughed aloud, for a man stretched upon the ground suddenly
asked him what the joke was.

"Oh, just a passing thought," Richard answered. "A man has to think
funny things to keep alive in this state of inactivity into which we are

"You would like a little excitement?"

"Indeed I should. 'Tis now six weeks since I came into camp, and only
that one secret trip with you down the river has broken the monotony of
drilling and mounting guard."

The man, a Virginian named Dunn, one of the most daring and capable
scouts of the army, smoked a moment in silence.

"How would you like to witness the festivities in honour of General Howe
before he leaves Philadelphia?"

Richard's eyes lit up. "Take me with you, Dunn!" he cried, with great

"H-u-s-h!" said Dunn. "Nothing is arranged yet; but there will be much
to learn of the enemy's intended movements, and when would there fall so
fine a chance as these days of festivity when wine and tongues will both
run free? If I can so fix it, you shall go with me; you suit me better
than Price, for you are quicker to catch a cue. You have got just one
fault for this kind of business--you are always so d--n sure of yourself
and your own powers; a little humility would improve you."

Richard laughed and wrung his hand. "You can knock me down for a
conceited coxcomb, only take me with you."

For a few days the French alliance was the all-absorbing theme of talk;
and La Fayette's laughing prophecy that France's recognition of a
republic would one day come home to her seemed, to these aroused sons of
Liberty, like an augury that the countries of the Old World would one
day follow in the paths their swords were blazing out--the paths that
lead over thrones and crowns to self-government. But Richard soon had
other things whereof to think. Dunn was planning his expedition into the
lines of the enemy; but two weeks went by before he came to Richard's
tent and beckoned him aside.

"To-night at eight, by the pine tree down the road. I have spoken to
your captain, so there will be no hubbub about your absence. Bring no
arms but your pistols."

Under the young May moon Richard kept his tryst with the veteran scout,
as eager as a lover to meet his mistress.

"Sit down," said Dunn. "I shall tell you my mission, for I do not work
by halves. Sometimes an assistant has to act on his own responsibility,
and he spoils sport if he does not know the plan. First, we are to find
out when the British are to move, what is their destination, and by what
road they will go. If an attack is to be made before-hand on our camp,
we must bring back the plans. If there is a chance for our men to strike
a blow, we must know it."

"And how are we to learn these things?"

"By keeping our ears and eyes open and our wits sharpened. It will
take cool heads and steady nerves. We are to gain entrance into the
city as ordinary labourers. In this bundle are the necessary clothes.
Circumstances must govern us after we are there. Now to get ready."

It took but a few minutes to transform the soldiers into workmen, so far
as dress makes a transformation. Leaving their uniforms in the hollow
of a tree, where Dunn's man was to search for them, they mounted their
horses and set off by an unused road toward the distant city. The direct
route would have given them about twenty miles of travel, but the
numerous diversions they were obliged to make added a fourth of that
distance to their journey, so there was a gray streak of dawn in the
sky ahead of them when they drew rein at a lonely cabin on the edge
of a wood, beyond which were the cleared fields of a farm that skirted
the city. On the door of this hut Dunn struck three sharp taps, then
one, then two. After the signal was repeated the door was cautiously
opened by a man within, who, upon being assured of the identity of the
newcomers, bade them enter; and Richard found himself in an humble room
whose rafters were hung with drying herbs that gave out a pungent odour.

In a few words Dunn explained to the man, whom he called George,
something of their purpose.

"Well, I was expecting you. My vegetable cart starts in two hours; one
of you can go with me, the other must straggle on behind, for two would
be more than is safe with one cart. My daily pass allows me an


When their horses had been hidden in an out-house, Richard and Dunn
threw themselves down and slept heavily until the carter aroused them.
The smell of breakfast, along with his eagerness for the coming
adventure, made Richard quick to answer the summons, and in a short time
the three were on their way. It had been arranged that Richard, who knew
nothing of the city, should go on with the carter, and that Dunn should
take his chances and follow. But in the public road, where other carts
were beginning to appear, they overtook a black-eyed lass carrying a
huge basket of eggs. It took but a few glances, flashed coquettishly
across the road, to bring Richard to her side. There were some gallant
speeches, a protest that ended in a pouting laugh, and then the two went
down the road like old friends, merry with the carelessness of youth,
she swinging her hands idly, he carrying her basket. Thus they passed,
with small parley, the picket posts, for the guards knew the girl who
came and went daily with her market wares.

Once they were in the city, Richard bade adieu to his companion, and,
after some little search, joined Dunn behind the market-house, the
latter having slipped in by an obscure alley. They soon knew from the
talk on the streets and the general air of bustle that the fête they had
come to witness was to begin on the water, so they repaired to the pier
above the city and waited for a chance to slip into the crowd. The
opportunity came through a boatman, who wanted two men to help row his
barge down to the appointed landing. They readily bargained to go, and
took their places in the boat, which was soon filled with a gay crowd of
ladies and their escorts, all in gala humour and attire. Richard,
sitting in front of Dunn, forgot all about his oar as he watched the
flutter of the brilliant throng, the glowing faces, the flashing smiles.
Never before had he seen so many magnificent costumes or such an array
of masculine and feminine beauty. But there was one face that seemed
strangely familiar--a face with dark eyes and tropical colouring of
olive and carmine. Where had he seen it? Nowhere, he felt sure, for a
girl like that was not to be forgotten. And yet his eyes went back to
her as to a friend. Who, then, was it she resembled? He was searching
his memory for a cue when suddenly something struck him sharply on the
arm, and Dunn said in a whisper:--

"Mind your oar and quit gaping that way; the whole company will be
noticing it directly, and coming over to examine you, and that'll be a
pretty kettle of fish!"

Richard picked up his oar quickly, ashamed of his defection; but for the
life of him he could not keep his eyes from the dark, vivacious face
across the boat, until her escort, a splendidly dressed officer of
Howe's staff, laughed and said to her:--

"I told you all hearts would be at your feet this day, and see, even the
boatman over there is worshipping from afar."

The half whisper reached Richard, and as the girl turned toward him
their eyes met. She laughed, and then threw up her head with a
disdainful toss, turning back to her companion. But the gesture had
cleared the doubt in Richard's mind. It was Mary Singleton over again,
and the vivid likeness was to her. This must be her Philadelphia cousin,
of whom he had often heard. She would know much of the plans of the
British, for her father was an intimate of Howe, and she herself said
to be betrothed to his chief of staff. This much Richard remembered
from Joscelyn's talk, and glad he was to recall the idle chatter
which at the time had bored him, since it kept him from more personal
conversation. It was of Joscelyn and himself that he had always wanted
to talk; but she had declared lightly that neither subject suited her,
for her own charms were too patent to need comment, and his were too few
to bear exposure, and had gone on to tell him of the Singletons, whom
she knew through Mary's letters. A plan that seemed like the gauzy web
of a fairy tale began to weave itself in Richard's mind as he bent to
his oar.

The river was full of boats of every description, from barges like the
one he was in, to giddy cockleshells that seemed a dare to Providence
as they careened and dipped and darted in and out among the larger
craft, like monster dragonflies rather than conveyances for human beings.
And each one, great and small, was packed from prow to stern with a
laughing, singing crowd in festal array. As the gay fleet approached
the appointed landing-place, it passed in line between two men-of-war
strung with flags and sun-kissed garlands; and then, amid the music of
hautboys, the braying of trumpets, and the booming of guns, the company
landed and proceeded to the grounds laid out for the tourney which was
to be the chief event of the day. It was a dazzling picture upon which
the afternoon sun looked down. In the centre stretched the tourney ring,
around which beautiful women, gorgeously gowned, sat on mimic thrones to
watch their gallants--tricked out like knights of old--contend for the
honours. The multi-hued throng of spectators filled out the picture
which had for its foreground the river with its decorated craft, and for
its background the deep green of the forest, with the city's clustered
roofs to one side. Thousands of flags and garlands and streamers of
ribbon tossed in the wind, while the music, like the invisible incense
of pleasure, drifted like the sunshine everywhere.

And the man for whom this was all planned sat on his daïs, the
embodiment of soldierly bearing, of courtesy and gratification; for this
splendid demonstration told unequivocally the appreciation in which the
army held him, notwithstanding the implied disapprobation of the home
government in so promptly accepting his resignation, tendered, no doubt,
in an hour of chagrin and hurt pride at the strictures passed upon him
at home.

As soon as the barge was tied to its pier, Richard and Dunn mingled with
the throng, bent on seeing the sport. Richard longed to become a part of
the merry-making, but knew he must be content to be a spectator. He
looked about carefully for the black-eyed girl, and finally located her
through a remark overheard in the crowd:--

"Mistress Singleton occupies the place of honour on the right of the
master of ceremonies."

And when he had pushed his way farther on, he saw her. So he had been
right; this was Ellen Singleton, the _fiancée_ of Grant, one of the most
accomplished officers under Howe. All the afternoon he lingered in her
vicinity, but unable to advance in any way the mad scheme he had in
mind. When darkness fell, the company repaired to the hall where the
tourney victor crowned his queen, and the dancers took their places to
spend the time until supper was announced. More than four hundred guests
sat down to that table, over which twelve hundred waxen candles shed
their radiance. As Richard leaned into one of the low windows, absorbed
in the scene, he noticed that Grant was whispering earnestly to his fair
companion, and that she looked serious, even alarmed. Before he had
finished wondering at the cause, some one touched him on the arm, and he
turned to find Dunn at his elbow.

"Hist!" said the latter; "something is afoot. Couriers have come, and
General Howe spoke with them apart in the anteroom, and you should have
seen his face light up as he listened. It is, of course, something about
our troops. I heard La Fayette's name, but can get no particulars. Grant
is leaving the table; keep him in sight if possible while I try the

Mistress Singleton also had risen, and was leaving the room on Grant's
arm. Quitting the window hastily, Richard was at the door when they came
out of the hall.

"I must speak with you," Grant said earnestly, in a low tone, to the
girl on his arm. The lawn was practically deserted, and the mimic
thrones erected for the tourney stood unoccupied in the blended light
of the moon and flambeaux. "The general's pavilion yonder is our best
place. There are some ladies and gentlemen on the far side, but at the
corner, there where the shadow falls, no one is sitting. Come."

He led her across the open space, and Richard saw them take their places
in the dim light, the girl's white dress marking the spot even from
where he stood. He followed slowly, not knowing what next to do, for he
was too new in the _rôle_ of scout to willingly play at eavesdropping,
so he stood irresolutely near the pavilion watching the quiet couple at
one side and the bevy of laughing revellers at the other. Evidently
Mistress Singleton was much agitated, for her hand rose in frequent
gesture, and her voice was a trifle shrill. Presently two young men from
the other party came down the pavilion steps, and one of them dropped
his long military cloak in the shadow at the end of the step, saying he
would find it again after the dance. Then they passed on. Behind them
two soldiers came at quickstep, and Richard heard these words:--

"Grant's division has the orders. Quick work of the whole crew of

In the light of the flambeaux at the banquet-hall door Richard saw Dunn,
and hastened to join him. Putting together what they had gathered, they
made out that La Fayette had left Valley Forge with a body of troops,
intending to do whatever mischief he might, but that his movement had
been discovered, and Howe was planning to capture his whole force, and
Grant was to be detailed for the work. But what his course would be,
when he would set out, and what force would be with him were things yet
to learn. However, these were the very things La Fayette would want to
know. Dunn was waiting for Howe to leave the banquet-hall, so Richard
went back to his vigil near the pavilion. As he approached, Grant was
coming down the steps.

"I shall not be gone twenty minutes. You are quite safe, for Mistress
Hamlin is just behind you, and I'll send one of the officers to sit with
you. Wait for me, for it may be our last meeting."

Evidently the girl consented, for she kept her place while he sprang
down the steps and strode toward the lighted hall.

The wild plan Richard had cherished all day was to speak with this girl
on equal terms. It might cost him his life, but a very dare-devil spirit
of adventure took possession of him. Now was the hour of which he had
dimly dreamed. He did not stop to think, but stooping into the shadow,
he snatched up the long cloak lying there and wrapped it about him,
turning up the collar jauntily. Then with his heart thumping against his
ribs, but with a smile on his face, he came to the side of the steps
nearest the girl and went boldly up into the pavilion.



     "Thou fool, to thrust thy head into a noose."

The girl was leaning back with her hand over her eyes, evidently in deep

"Ah, Captain," she said, as Richard paused, mistaking him for one of
Mistress Hamlin's party from across the pavilion, "you have come to bear
me company in Major Grant's absence?"

"With your permission," answered Richard, gallantly, "and if Providence
is kind to me, General Howe will find much to say to him."

"That is not likely, since the plans are all laid."

"Yes; they were not long in the forming," he ventured cautiously. "The
division marches to-night."

"So soon? I thought it was at ten in the morning?"

"No doubt, then, I was misinformed; I was not at the meeting with the
couriers. If Major Grant said ten in the morning, then it must be so,"
he hastily corrected himself; but he had learned one needed item.

"I hoped it had been hurried up that it might the sooner be over."

"This French marquis is inclined to give us trouble and himself airs."

"Indeed, yes; but General Howe will have his revenge when, after this
fight to-morrow, he sends the young upstart back to England in chains."

"That will he. It would be a glorious sight to see our gallant general
capture him with his own hands."

"Oh, Major Grant will attend to that," she replied loftily. "General
Howe will do his share when he receives the prisoners at Chestnut Hill."

So Chestnut Hill road was to be their route. Richard mentally recorded
it, while he said with incisive compliment, "Major Grant has the place
of honour."

The pleasure in her voice when she answered told that the arrow had hit
its mark. "Major Grant could have circumvented the rebels with half the
five thousand men assigned to him."

"He takes so many? 'Tis a large force for so skilful an officer, unless,
indeed, the enemy should be very strong."

"Oh, I think they reach not half that number."

With the hour of starting, the route and the force to be sent, Richard
now knew all he had hoped to learn. Grant might return any moment, so
that his peril was imminent; and yet the audacity of the adventure gave
it such spice that he lingered unwilling, as he was unable to frame an
excuse for withdrawing, filling in the pause with comments on the day's

"Your company does not go with the attacking party?" she said presently,
as though it were something they both knew positively.

"No," he replied, catching the cue, but wondering which company was
supposedly his, and for whom had she taken him.

"Major Grant told me you would go as the general's escort to receive and
guard the prisoners."

"That sounds very tame after his own share in the work. Major Grant was
surely born under a lucky star, to be so favoured as he is by Mars and
the little blind god of love." There was a tone in his voice that she
could not fail to understand, and she laughed coyly in answer. He ought
to go, he knew; but still he lingered, and presently, urged on by the
spirit of recklessness that possessed him, he said: "You have relatives
in the south, Mistress Singleton?"

"Yes. How did you happen to know?" She turned toward him so abruptly
that he was for a moment disconcerted.

"Why, it is not a government secret," he said, laughing.

"But you are not from the south; you are English. How should you know,
and why should you think of it just at this time?"

She had scarcely looked at him before, being too busy watching the door
of the banquet-hall for Grant's return; but she had now lifted her eyes
directly to his face. Discovery seemed imminent. Cursing himself
inwardly, he hastily put up his hand to smother a pretended cough,
thankful that the light was behind him. But her scrutiny continued.

"Captain Barry--" she said, with that in her voice that told him she was
not quite satisfied.

"At your service--would that I could say forever," he said, putting all
the tenderness possible in his voice, and clicking his heels in a low
salute. Was everything over with him? Fool that he was to have tempted
fate by such an allusion.

She pushed her chair back as though to rise, but at this moment there
was a stir about the lighted doorway across the sward, and Grant came
out. If he reached the pavilion before Richard found an excuse to retire
his neck would pay the forfeit of his daring. He was thinking hard and
fast. The girl sank back with a sigh of pleasure, her doubt of her
companion momentarily forgotten in the joy of her lover's return.

"Your superior officer," she laughed softly and proudly.

"Yes," he replied, with that audacity which, even in danger, could not
be quelled; "my superior in the ways of wooing as well as in the ways of
war, since against him I have no chance to win a smile from your lips.
You will have much to say to him in these last moments--and Mistress
Hamlin is going," he added with a quick throb of gratitude as the party
across the pavilion left their seats.

"You need not leave us," she said with half-hearted politeness; but
already Grant was at the foot of the steps, and, with an audacious kiss
upon the hand she held out to him, Richard turned, and, with a beating
heart but no seeming haste, fell into the rear of the company across the
pavilion, descending the steps so close behind them as to seem to an
onlooker to be a member of the party. Every moment was precious to him,
and yet he loitered along the lighted sward as if eternity were his. As
he reached the corner of the building he heard Grant call:--

"Barry, Barry!"

But he pretended not to hear, and sauntered on into the shadow. There
his pace quickened. No one stopped him, for his military cloak
completely disguised him, and presently he found himself near the
landing. In an empty boat-house he cast aside his borrowed garment, and
soon found Dunn near the barge at the appointed place of meeting. The
old scout listened to his adventure with amazement not unmixed with

"You confounded dare-devil, you might have spoiled the whole plan," he
cried; yet acknowledging inwardly that he knew no one else who would
have dared to thrust his neck so far into a noose. He himself had not
been idle, and piecing together their bits of information, they made
out that La Fayette had crossed the Schuylkill and taken a post of
observation on a range of knobs known as Barren Hill, and that Howe's
plan was to capture him as a brilliant close to a campaign that had
been so much criticised. It became therefore instantly necessary to
warn the marquis of the plot. The details Richard had gotten from the
unsuspecting girl gave them all they needed to round out their plan; the
one thing now was to escape and carry the information to La Fayette.
This Richard found more difficult than he had imagined from their easy
entrance; for they had no friendly carter and market-maid beside them,
and despite the festivity, the pickets were keeping strict watch at the
outposts. Finally, by creeping on their hands for half a mile behind a
hedge, they managed to evade detection; but the sun was already high
over the eastern horizon before they gained the banks of the Schuylkill.
Keeping close to the stream and avoiding the open road, they finally
came upon a row-boat hidden among the reeds in a cove. This, without
ceremony, they appropriated, and were soon making more rapid progress on
their journey. For a long while nothing but the oars was heard; then
suddenly Richard laughed aloud.

"Suppose that young gallant had come back for his cloak while I was
talking with the girl?"

"You'd have had to content yourself with the angels--or the
imps--hereafter," growled Dunn.

But Richard laughed again. "Well, I'm glad he stayed away, for 'tis
pleasanter entertaining beautiful girls. It will be great sport to say
in my home letters that I, a private in the Continental army, was one of
Mistress Singleton's attendants at General Howe's _fête_! Mary will get
it all from Joscelyn and write it back to the lady, and she will then
know who the supposed Barry was. Who is Barry, anyhow?"

"One of the finest of the young officers that wears the red--a soldier
and a lady-killer, so they tell me." Long afterward Richard recalled the

Presently Dunn, who had been looking intently ahead, said: "This is the
place; yonder are the two dead oaks by which I always locate Matson's
ford. We will tie up here and cut across country to the hills, trusting
to luck to find the way to La Fayette. Grant's guides, knowing their
road, give him the advantage, for I have never been sent to this part of
the country, so am ignorant of my bearings. It must be near to noon, and
the British column has long ago started."

"Will they guard this ford, do you think?"

"Hardly, for it is nearer to the English than to us. La Fayette will
retreat as he came, by the one higher up."

"Will he fight first?"

"He may be forced to; otherwise, no. It would be folly to deliberately
engage the superior force sent against him. If we only knew the direct

"If we only had some breakfast," sighed Richard.

They wanted to ask their way at the scattered cottages and of the men at
work in the fields, but they knew not friends from foes. Once they lay
for an hour under a plum thicket, not venturing to move, while two men,
who had met in the road, stopped their horses for a talk. The afternoon
was beginning to wane when they came to a secluded farmhouse where an
old woman gave them something to eat, and, thinking they were Tories,
warned them that a body of Americans was said to be camped three miles
to the southwest. They thanked her, but once out of her sight they
turned joyfully in the forbidden direction, and in less than an hour
were called to halt by two men with bayonets.

"Take us to your general, and take us quick," said Dunn.

La Fayette recognized Dunn, instantly, and received his news with much
emotion, for he had hoped to strike a telling blow on some of the
outposts, and maybe cut off a foraging party, whose members would be
valuable prisoners for exchange. Now there was nothing but to turn back.
But even as they were making ready for a retreat over the road by which
they had come, his scouts came flying through the lines with the news
that Grant was close upon them in the rear, having made a circuitous
march in order to get between them and their camp at Valley Forge. La
Fayette set his teeth as he said:--

"Then 'tis fight, though that means death to every brave man here."

But Dunn told of Matson's ford still unguarded, and the commander was
quick to seize the one chance left to save his men, and before midnight
the little band was safely over the river, with their faces toward
Valley Forge. There they were received with cheers by their comrades,
who, having heard some wild rumours brought by two countrymen from
beyond the Schuylkill, had feared the worst for them.

That night, long after Richard was sleeping the sleep of healthy but
exhausted youth, Dunn sat in the officers' quarters and told how, with
a military rain-coat over his workman's blouse, Richard Clevering had
played the gallant to the beauty of Philadelphia and the _fiancée_ of
Howe's chief of staff.



     "A pleasing land of drowsyhead it was:
     Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
     And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
     Forever flushing round a summer sky."

It was June-time in the beautiful hill country along the Eno. Down the
long road that sloped to the bridge from the west two horses took their
leisurely way, while their riders talked or were silent at will. Below
them, in the curve of the river, lay the town in a green summer dream;
the roadside was lined with nodding blossom heads, and the thickets were
a-rustle now and then with the subdued whir of wings, for the song
season of their feathered tenants was done, and sparrow and wren and
bluebird were busy with family cares.

"Joscelyn, you are not listening to a word I am saying," complained Mary
Singleton, petulantly, after repeating a question a second time and
getting no answer.

"I beg your pardon, Mary; I believe you are right."

"Of what were you thinking so intently?"

"I was not thinking. It is too delicious this afternoon to do anything,
even think. I am just resting my mind."

"Well, I find you very dull under such a process."

"'A friend should bear a friend's infirmity,'" quoted Joscelyn.

"Dulness is not an infirmity; it is a crime."

"Then methinks the world must be full of criminals."

"And those who are so intentionally and voluntarily should be punished
like other wrong-doers."

Joscelyn laughed. "Well, pass sentence upon me, most wise judge, if you
think I was not born that way and that the sin is intentional. Am I to
hang for it, or will you be merciful and make it a prison offence?"

"Oh, you'll get the hanging soon enough if you go on wearing that red
bodice and stringing pictures of King George on your balcony!"

"So mother says. And hanging is not a becoming way to die; one has no
opportunity to say that 'prunes, prisms, and preserves' sentence that
leaves the mouth in such a charming pucker. Well, since my lips are to
be awry, I trust they will give me time to put on my new silver-buckled
shoes. It would be a comfort to know that at least my feet looked their

"Joscelyn! You are perfectly horrid."

"You mean I would be without the 'prunes and prisms' expression."

Mary struck her horse and rode forward a few yards, but presently fell
back again beside her companion.

"What I asked you just now related to Eustace. Do you think--"

"I said I was not thinking."

"Well, begin at once. Is there any danger that Eustace will really try
to marry Betty Clevering?"

"Danger is a wrong word, Mary. If Eustace is ever so fortunate as to win
Betty, he should spend the rest of his life in thanksgiving. She is as
true as steel, and better tempered than either of us."

"I am not disparaging Betty, and I have often wished our parents were
not at outs, so that she and I might be better friends; we only meet at
your house or places of entertainment. But, Joscelyn, you know--you must
know what we all have hoped for you and Eustace."

Joscelyn turned her eyes fully and calmly upon her companion. "Yes, I
know. I should have been even duller than you pronounced me just now not
to see through your plan. Diplomacy is not your _forte_."

"You knew I--we all wanted you to marry--"

"Eustace? Yes; he and I have often laughed over it to each other. And
now that you have mentioned it, I want to tell you frankly that there is
not the faintest possibility of such a thing. As a friend Eustace is
charming; but as a husband--"

"Don't! Your mouth looks as if you had bitten a green persimmon."

"Well, I think with Eustace as a husband life would be all green
persimmons, without any prunes or prisms to break the monotony. It would
be quite as bad on him as on me; you would make us both utterly

"I cannot believe it. I know Eustace looks at Betty with the utmost
admiration, and manages often to meet her; but 'tis much the same way
with every pretty girl,--he must be saying sweet things to each of them.
But in his heart I feel sure he prefers you above all the rest, only
your indifference holds him aloof. Here is a letter I had this morning,
in which he devotes a whole page to happy imaginings about a soldier's
welcome home when the war shall be over. He grows really poetic about
shy eyes and the joy of holding a white hand in his. Whom can he mean
but you?"

"Betty has shy eyes, and Janet has the whitest hands I know anywhere. As
you said, Eustace has a roving fancy."

Mary sighed. "I intended to read the letter to you, but here we are at
the bridge, and we will now be meeting so many people."

"Give it to me; I will read it at home," Joscelyn said, stretching out
her hand with sudden interest. "It would be preposterous to waste all
that sentiment on a mere sister; it takes an outsider to appreciate
touches like that. Oh, it shall be read with all the accessories of a
grand passion--sighs, smiles, blushes, and suchlike incense." She
laughed as she tucked the letter into her belt, but she did not say who
the reader would be, and Mary took much comfort in the thought that she
would appropriate the sentimental parts to herself. Whose eyes were
softer than Joscelyn's, whose hands whiter or sweeter to hold?

And so, each thinking her own thoughts, they crossed the wooden bridge
that spanned the river, the horses' hoofs making a rhythmic clatter on
the boards. In the street beyond they came upon Mistress Strudwick
carrying an uncovered basket heaped high with hanks of yarn. The road
was a slight ascent, and the corpulent dame was puffing sorely.

"Why, Mistress Strudwick, you with such a load as that? What does this
mean?" cried Joscelyn.

"It means that that little darky of mine has run away again, and that
there'll be one less limb on my peach tree to-night when he comes back."

"Will you not take my horse and ride?"

"It's been thirty years since I was in a saddle, and I'm not honing to
wear a shroud."

Joscelyn leaned down, and catching the handle, lifted the basket to the
pommel of her saddle. "I will not see you make yourself ill in this way.
Were there no other servants to spare you this exertion? You are all out
of breath."

A curious light came into the old lady's eyes as she saw the girl
steady the basket in front of her; but she checked the words that had
sprung to her lips and trudged slowly along, the riders holding back
their horses to keep beside her.

"What have you two been plotting together this afternoon?" she asked,
looking from one to the other with the pleasure age often finds in
contemplating youth and beauty.

"Have we the appearance of dark conspirators?" laughed Joscelyn.

"Nay, you both look sweet and innocent enough; but somehow I'm always
giving that Bible verse a twist and reading it: 'Where two or three
Tories are gathered together, there is the devil in their midst.'"

"You should not twist your Scripture, Mistress Strudwick."

"Mayhap not, but sometimes it makes an uncommon good hit."

"Well, you were wrong to-day. Two Loyalists have been congregated
together; but Cupid, rather than the devil, has been our

"So! It was sweethearts you were discussing? Tell me now, was it your
match or Mary's you were arranging? There is nothing pleases me more
than a wedding."

"I thought you took no interest in matters concerning King George's

"King George has naught to do with the wooing of our maids; and love is
love, whether it be Redcoat or Continental," replied the old matchmaker.

Joscelyn laughed. "I verily believe you'd like to know the courtship of
Satan himself, provided he had one."

"Of course he had, my dear, and a most engaging lover he made, I'll be
bound, seeing he is so apt a beguiler in other things. Oh, yes,
everybody knows that Satan is a married man."

"Where got he his wife?"

The old lady threw up her hands with quizzical scouting: "'Tis not set
down in the books, but it would have been just like some soft-hearted
creature to creep after him when he was exiled from heaven. And she is
not the only woman who has followed a man to perdition, either,--more's
the pity!"

"You are seeing things awry to-day, Mistress Strudwick."

"Mayhap, mayhap," puffed the old lady. "I haven't much of a prophet's
eye, but I see things of to-day plain enough, and I know that you are a
pair of uncommon pretty girls, and are like to have many a beau on your
string; but when marrying time comes, take an old woman's advice and
choose a man who is hale and hearty, for as sure as you are born, love
flies out of the heart when indigestion enters the stomach."

"Truly, Mistress Strudwick, you are better than 'Poor Richard's
Almanac,'" laughed Joscelyn.

"Oh, my dear, I've seen it tried. Courtship is the finest thing in the
world, but after the wedding love is largely a question of good cooking;
and although you two are rank Tories, and so deserve any punishment the
fates might send you, still I'd be glad, because of your comely looks,
to see you escape your deserts. But here we are at my gate. I wonder
what the town will say, Joscelyn, when they hear that you, Tory that you
call yourself, brought a basket of wool for Continental socks from
Amanda Bryce's to my door."

The girl's face flamed with a sudden heat. Then she said with that
beautiful courtesy that older folks found so charming:--

"It was not for the Continentals, but for my good neighbour that I
brought the basket. I am not minded to see her kill herself in so bad a
cause; rather do I want her to live and repent of her mistakes, that she
herself may not be the first to solve that riddle of the devil's
wooing." And kissing their hands jauntily to the old woman, the two
girls rode away into the purple twilight.

"Bless her bonny face and quick tongue!" the old woman cried, waving her
hand after them.

That night Mary cried herself to sleep over her shattered hopes, and in
the privacy of a white-curtained room, Joscelyn read aloud the letter to
her whom Eustace had in mind when he thought of the welcome of shy eyes
and clinging white hands. And Betty fell asleep with the letter under
her cheek, and all the soft June night was filled with flitting cadences
and starry dreams.



     "Wut's words to them whose faith and truth
       On war's red techstone rang true metal;
     Who ventured life and love and youth
       For the great prize o' death in battle?"

And it was June-time, too, in the far-off New Jersey country across
which an army, glittering with scarlet and steel, took its way. Slowly
it moved; for with it went a wagon-train conveying many of the refugees
from the evacuated city of Philadelphia, people who could not crowd into
the transports that went by sea, but who feared to meet the incoming
Americans and so sought safety in New York. Children and delicately
reared women slept in army tents, or sat in their coaches all day,
listening to the crunching of the wheels in the sand and looking back
through the slowly increasing distance to the horizon, behind which lay
the deserted city where pleasure had held high carnival during the
months just passed. And with them they carried everything that could
be packed into coach or hidden in wagon; and though they went with the
semblance of victory and almost of pleasure-seekers, it was a sad
procession; for who could say when or upon what terms they might ever
see their old homes again? Often Clinton looked back impatiently at the
crawling train, for he had not liked to be so hampered, and yet had been
quite as unwilling to abandon these people to the vengeance they
imagined awaited them.

Almost before they had lost sight of the spires of the city, Arnold,
with braying bugles, marched his column down the echoing streets, and
set up the standard of the republic where late the British lion had
wooed the wind.

For nearly a week that long train crept on its way, held back by its own
cumbersome weight and the varying roughness of the route. And ever on
its flank hung the lean but resolute army of the Continentals, waiting
and longing for a chance to strike. All the suffering of Valley Forge
was to be avenged. Every wrong they had sustained was whispering at
their ears and tugging at their memories; every dead comrade seemed
calling out to them for retribution through the sunshine or the midnight
silence. And it should be theirs; the utmost atonement that arms,
nerved with patriotic and personal vengeance, could achieve should be
claimed--if only the hour would come. But still that long train moved
onward, and there came no word to fight.

Then, from out the blue sky-reaches of that June-time dawned Monmouth

"We are to fight at last!"

And every man in that thin, dishevelled line felt his heart throb with
the exultation of action long desired and long delayed. Every man but
one, and he the one on whom rested the responsibility of the attack.

"Anybody but Lee!" Dunn had said with a groan, when he heard who was to
lead the attacking column. And Richard, having gone with him to report
some scouting work to the council of officers, and recalling Lee's
fierce opposition to any plan for battle, groaned too.

"His envy of General Washington and his imprisonment among the British
have made him half Tory. He is the senior officer, it is true,--but if
he had only persisted in his first refusal to lead the division and left
it to La Fayette!"

But in Richard's thoughts there was no time for doubt when, in the
brilliant light of the next morning, he swept with his column over the
brow of the low hill and on down the narrow valley toward the scarlet
line that marked Clinton's post. It was his first real battle; for
compared with this the engagements under Sumter had been but skirmishes,
and the frenzy of the fight was upon him. "For home and Joscelyn!" had
been the war-cry he had set himself, thinking to carry into the hottest
of every fray the memory-presence of the girl whom he loved. But when
the test came she was forgotten, and only the menace ahead, the death he
was rushing to meet, was remembered. Every musket along that steadfast
scarlet line seemed levelled at him alone, and into his heart there
flashed a momentary wish to turn and seek shelter in flight from the
leaping fire of the deadly muzzles. But in the quick onset, the shouts,
the growl of the guns, and the challenging call of the bugles, this fear
was conquered; and in its place a wild, unreasoning delirium seized upon
him, and the one thought of which he was conscious was to kill, kill,

To those blue-clad men, burning with the memory of their sufferings
and their wrongs, it seemed as if nothing could stand before them; but
British regulars were trained to meet such an advance, and the red line
was as a wall of adamant. Between the attack and the repulse there
seemed to Richard scarcely breathing-time; for they were repulsed, and,
fighting still, were driven back through that narrow defile, expecting
every moment that Lee would send them succour so that they might again
take up the offensive. But instead of reënforcements, there came that
strange order to retreat. Retreat? Had there not been some mistake? The
officers looked at each other incredulously, suspiciously, half-inclined
to disobey; for the battle was hardly yet begun, and this first check
was not a rout. Then full of rage and doubt they repeated to their
subordinates the orders of the couriers, and the regiment fell back
sullenly, clashing against other regiments who had not struck a blow,
but to whom had also come that mysterious order to fall back. What was
the matter, what was this paralyzing hand that had been laid upon them!
No one could tell; but men retreated looking longingly over their
shoulders at the enemy. Confusion grew almost into panic as those still
further away saw the retiring columns pursued by the Redcoats, and knew
not the cause nor yet what dire disaster had befallen.

Then suddenly upon the field there came the Achilles of the cause, and
the rout was turned.

"The general--thank God!" the officers sobbed; and the men cheered as
those who are drowning cheer a saving sail.

Richard was too far off to hear the fierce protest and rebuke heaped
upon Lee, but in a few minutes an aide galloped up to his regiment and
cried out to Wayne:--

"General Washington says you and Ramsey are to hold the enemy in check
here upon this hillside until he can re-form the rear."

And the blue line swung about and steadied, and met the English face
to face; and Richard Clevering's battle-cry rang full and clear amid
the yells that well-nigh drowned the roar of the musketry. About that
sun-scorched knoll there fell the fiercest part of the fray. The palsy
of hesitation was gone, and desperation had made the men invincible.
Again and again that red wave from the open space before surged against
them, broke and recoiled and gathered and came again like some strong
billow of the ocean that rolls itself against a headland--fierce, blind,

Then came the climax of the splendid tragedy. Upon Wayne's right was a
Continental battery from which a great gun sent its deadly challenge to
the foe. Again and again its whirring missives tore great gaps in the
red ranks, until Clinton gave orders to silence it at any cost.

Careless of danger, unconscious of his impending doom, the gunner loaded
his piece anew, and lifted the rammer to send the charge home. Behind
him stood his wife, who had left the safety of the wagons to bring him
water from a wayside ravine, for the sky was like copper and the dust
blew in suffocating gusts. She saw what he did not, the shifting of the
enemy's gun in the plain below, the turning of its deadly muzzle full
upon the knoll where they stood. But there was no time for so much as a
warning cry; for instantly the flame leaped out, the ground shook with a
strong reverberation, and a groan went up from the Continentals as they
saw the dust fly from the knoll and their own brave gunner throw up his
arms, swing sidewise, and then fall dead. For one awful moment no one
moved; then two men from the line sprang forward to take his place, but
some one was before them--some one with the face of an avenging Nemesis.
There was the flutter of a skirt, a woman's long black hair streamed
backward on the wind, and Moll Pitcher stood in her husband's place
like an aroused lioness of the jungle. Fury gave her the strength of a
Boadicea, and the rammer, still warm from the dead man's grasp, went
home with a single thrust; the flame flashed over the pan, and with a
roar that shook the heavens, the big gun sent back into the red ranks
the death it had witnessed. When the smoke had lifted, the breathless
men saw the woman, one hand still upon the great black gun, stoop down
and kiss the dead husband she had avenged; and all down the Continental
line eyes were wet and throats were cracked and dry with cheering.

All the rest of that fateful day, with the eyes of her dead love
watching her staringly, Moll Pitcher held her place beside the gun,
solacing her breaking heart with its flash and roar, holding back her
woman's briny tears until the silent vigils of the night, when her
mission was accomplished.

And in the meantime, in the rear, the voice of a single man, with its
trumpet tones of inspiration, was bringing order out of chaos. Regiments
were re-formed, scattered companies gathered, batteries turned, and
defeat robbed of its surety. Men, who a moment before had been
panic-stricken with the confused marching and counter-marching of the
day, looked into the face of the commander and felt their hearts beat
with an answering calm. Confidence was restored, and the routed corps
were turned into attacking columns. And so when that red wave broke for
the last time against Wayne's and Ramsey's divisions on the hillside,
reënforcements were close at hand.

But they came too late for some of the brave men who had saved liberty
and honour that day, for the red wave, receding, took as its flotsam all
the men in buff and blue who, in their enthusiasm and temerity, had
advanced too far beyond the ranks.

And among these prisoners went he whose battle-cry had been, "For home
and Joscelyn!"




     "Give me liberty or give me death."
                         --PATRICK HENRY.

Hatless, furious, half-blind from dust and the trickling of the blood
from the wound in the head that had dazed and rendered him powerless
to escape back to his own ranks after meeting the enemy, Richard was
dragged along with the British until their position was regained, and
thence despatched to the rear, where the other prisoners were held under
guard. There he lay on the ground for an hour, listening and longing
feverishly for the sound of Washington's assaulting guns; but the
twilight deepened into starlit dusk, and no rescue came. Then finally he
knew by the preparations about him that no further attack was expected,
but that a retreat was intended. Clinton dared not await the return of
daylight and the fight it would bring; and so in the still hours of the
night, while the Continentals slept the sleep of utter exhaustion after
the marches and counter-marches and combats of that sultry day, he drew
his force away, leaving his dead unburied upon the field, and his sorely
wounded in the deserted camp. To the very last moment, Richard had
listened for an attack, hoping that Washington had waited to plan a
surprise; but over in the direction of the American camp all was silent.
During the last half of that awful night Richard marched with the squad
of prisoners along the road that led to the sea. The wound in his head,
although but slight, made him dizzy with its throbbing, and his heart
called out fiercely for freedom and Joscelyn. He had asked not to be put
into the wagon with the wounded, protesting he was more able to walk
than some others; but in reality he was meditating an escape, and knew
it would be more easily accomplished from the ranks than from a guarded
wagon. Eagerly he watched for a chance. The bonds that at first held the
prisoners together had been removed to expedite the retreat,--there was
no time that night to spare for any kind of lagging,--so that he was
free to go alone if the opportunity came. Always his gaze was ahead,
every shadow across the road held a possibility, every dark hollow was
entered with hope. But the guard, as though divining his intention,
closed in compactly at these points and made egress impossible; and so
he plodded on until, with the returning daylight, they found him reeling
like a drunken man with fatigue and loss of blood, and, putting him into
an ambulance, carried him on toward Sandy Hook. From utter weariness and
hopelessness he fell asleep in the jolting vehicle, and only waked at
the prod of a bayonet to find the sun well past the zenith.

"Get up with you and let somebody take your place while you foot it a
bit," a rough voice said; and Richard sprang from the vehicle and helped
little Billy Bryce, of his own town, into his place, exclaiming
vehemently against his own selfish slumbering.

"Nay, nay," said the lad, "I am not wounded, more's the shame to me for
being taken! Besides, I have had a long rest under the wagon here, for
we halted before noon. I begged the guard not to waken you, but I put
your rations aside. Here--you must be near to starvation."

Richard caught eagerly at the pork and ship biscuit which the lad held
out; it seemed ages since he had tasted food.

"And you'll be better with your head washed," the guard said, not
unkindly, pointing to a little stream that trickled by the roadside; and
Richard was quick to obey.

In a little while they were in motion again, this time more leisurely,
and once more thoughts of escape filled Richard with a restless energy.
The country was more broken here; to hide would be easier, and he waited
impatiently for the coming of the dark, determined at all hazards to
make the attempt--another sunset might put him behind prison bars. But
he was doomed to disappointment, for they were not to march all night,
but with the early stars pitched their tents upon a flat stretch of
country that opened to the east.

Worn out by the long marches and the cloying sand through which they had
toiled, the army soon slept profoundly. Tied together for greater
security, the prisoners lay like so many sardines in their tent, before
which trod a sentinel. At first there was much whispering among them as
to their probable fate, and not a few solemn farewells to home and dear
ones, with now and then a happy reminiscence such as often comes with
the acme of irony to doomed men. One recalled his courting days, another
the swimming pool under the willows; and yet another his baby's laugh.
And set lips relaxed into smiling until suddenly the memory stabbed with
a new pain.

"I shall never see my mother any more, for I know I shall die in that
dreadful prison; but you'll be good to me, won't you, Richard?" groaned
little Billy Bryce, who lay next to Richard with his right hand tied to
the latter's left.

And Richard comforted him as best he could, and by and by the lad slept
with the others.

"I hope they will always let me stay with you," had been his last sleepy
whisper. For among the bigger boys Richard had been his hero and
protector, and no service was ever too great for him to undertake for
his idol. And Richard had petted and yet imposed upon him in the way
peculiar to all boys of a larger growth, when a small one asks nothing
better than to obey. It was really to be with Richard as much as to
share in the war that he had stolen away from his mother and followed
the Hillsboro' men to the field.

At last the tent was quiet save for the deep breathing of the tired men,
but Richard could not close his eyes; he meant to get away. After the
watch was changed toward midnight was the time he had set as the most
favourable for his plan. All being then found secure, the new guard
would be over-sure--and he, like the rest, was worn out with the trials
of the past two days. Certainly that was the best time; a confident,
tired sentinel ought not to be hard to elude. And he lay still, softly
gnawing the rope that bound him to Billy. As he was at the end of the
line, his right arm was free, and so his fingers aided his teeth to pick
the threads apart. Thus an hour went by, and then the lad beside him

"What are you doing, Richard?" he whispered; then added quickly, as his
arm felt the loosened cord: "Why, you have bitten the rope in two. You
are going to escape? Take me with you, in mercy's name, Richard; do not
leave me to die in the prison yonder! Richard, let me go, too."

"H--sh!" whispered Richard, sternly, for the boy's excitement was like
to arouse the whole body of prisoners, perchance even alarm the guard
outside. "Be still, Billy! I cannot take you--two could never pass the
guard. I am sorry; I--I--wish you had not waked."

But the lad, whose arm was now free because of the final severance of
the cord, caught his hand as with a drowning grip: "You must take
me--you must!"

"I cannot."

"Oh, I will not go on to rot in that vile prison; I am so young, and my
mother has nobody but me! Don't you know how I have always loved you,
Richard? You never asked me to do anything that I was not ready to try
it. I'd never leave you here if I were going to freedom--never!"

To take him lessened his chances more than half, and Heaven knew how
slender they were already; but the struggle in Richard's mind lasted
only a moment. Then he leaned over the boy's body and began carefully
and quietly to untie the cord that bound him to the next sleeper,
stopping now and then when the man made any movement. The lad, guessing
his consent by his action, spoke no word, but lifted his head and kissed
him on the cheek; and Richard felt the tears that coursed down the
smooth face.

"You confounded young idiot!" he whispered, but his voice was very
tender, and presently, when the knot was loosed, he drew the lad close
to him and told his plan.

"God grant we may both of us get safely away; but if only one of us
succeeds, and that should be I, then will I carry your love to your

"And if I escape, I shall do the like for you."

"Ay, laddie, and more; for you shall say to Joscelyn Cheshire that even
behind prison bars I am her lover; and if death comes, her face, or the
blessed memory of it, will outshine those of the angels of Paradise."

"You love her so, then?"

"As a man loves sunshine and warmth and beauty and life."

"And she loves you?"

"No, lad, she loves me not."

And the boy left the silence that followed unbroken, knowing the other
wished it so.

A while later they heard the call of the watch farther down the beat,
and presently the sound of steps outside and the welcome "All's well!"
of the relieved sentry. Turning upon their backs with the ravelled ends
of the cords hidden close between them, they seemed asleep like their
comrades when the watchman cast the light of his lantern through the
flapping canvas door.

"Too d--n tired to give any trouble," the out-going sentinel said as he
glanced along the line. "You will have an easy time to-night." Then he
went away, and the two watchers in the tent waited for what seemed an
eternity. Finally Richard lifted the edge of the tent and looked out.
The sentinel leaned against a small tree in front of the tent, his gun
held slack in his fingers. He was very tired, even to drowsiness.

"Now," Richard whispered, and crawled stealthily from under the rear of
the tent, followed by Billy. Keeping in the shadow of the tents, they
moved on hands and knees across the ground toward a clump of bushes that
promised a hiding-place for reconnoitring. Only twenty yards the stretch
was, but to those two crawling figures it seemed a mile. Every weed that
swayed against its fellow had in it the sound of a rushing wind, and
every twig that broke under hands or knees seemed like the crack of a
rifle. To their overwrought senses each breath the other drew was as the
sough of a tempest, and they scarcely understood how the sentry could
not hear. So slowly they had to move that it took fully twenty minutes
to cover those few yards. Then, while Billy lay still in the shadow,
Richard raised himself stealthily and looked about. They could have
happened upon no worse place for their attempt. It was near the end of a
short beat up and down which two sentinels trod, passing each other near
this end, so that only a few moments intervened when one or the other
did not command the whole beat with his eye and gun. Behind and on
either side stretched the tents of the sleeping army, set thick with
picket posts and guards. On the other side of the narrow road was a rock
large enough to conceal a man, and beyond this was a field of high
grass, to gain which meant freedom. Not a detail of the starlit scene
escaped Richard. To go backward or to the right or left was to fall into
repeated dangers; this was the way since they were here. If only the
sentries passed each other in the middle of the beat, that there might
be more time when this crossing in front of them would be a little
longer unguarded!

He stood irresolute, trying to think accurately; but a noise behind left
him no time for further hesitation. Something was amiss yonder in the
rear,--perhaps their flight had been discovered. Billy, too, had heard,
and rising, stood close behind; softly he put out his hand and drew the
lad before him. One agile spring across the road, a moment's hiding in
the shadow of the rock yonder, then the tall grass and liberty; but
between the passing of the sentinels was time for only one man to cross
to safety--only one man could hide yonder behind that rock! The little
lad saw it, and his lips twitched.

"Good-by," he whispered, trying to move back.

But Richard held him fast. In his hands was not the semblance of a
tremor, but his face was ashen even in the dim light.

"Remember Joscelyn," he breathed, rather than spoke; then, as the guard
passed, he gave the lad a push. "Go."

With a stealthy, gliding step Billy was across the road and behind the
rock as Richard dropped to the ground and the guard turned round.
Evidently the man's trained ear had detected some sound, for he paused
and brought his gun to his shoulder. Richard's eyes were on the rock
over the road; if Billy moved now, they were both lost; but all was
still, and the guard once more took up his march. When he was gone a few
paces Richard saw a dark object crawl from the shadow of the rock, and a
moment later the tall grass shook as if a gentle zephyr had smitten it
in just one favoured spot; then all was silent and moveless save the
crickets and the night birds flapping past in the gloom.

Billy had left the way clear, and when the next sentinel should be at
the right place Richard meant to follow, and so he drew a deep breath
and waited. But fortune was against him, for before the man was quite
opposite to him another guard came out into the road from the camp
behind and accosted him. As they approached, Richard heard in part what
they said:--

"--couriers just arrived--enemy moving on the Brunswick road, supposed
intention to out-flank us. All outside pickets are being doubled to
prevent desertion, and I am sent to mount guard here at the end of your
beat. Two Hessians were caught in the act of deserting just now."

"I heard some kind of commotion."

"Yes; 'twill go pretty hard with them to-morrow. When we first took them
we thought they were a couple of those prisoners who were trying to
escape, and the air fairly smelt of the brimstone we were ready to give
them. The light came just in time to save them. Those Hessians are a
d--d set of hirelings."

He stooped to adjust his shoe-latchet, and when the regular guard passed
on to the end of his beat Richard dropped down quickly, but with an
inward groan, for with that man stationed there at the end of the track
escape was impossible. There had been but one chance, just one, and he
had given that away. He would not regret it, but--he should never see
Joscelyn again. It was all he could do to keep back the fierce cry that
gathered in his throat. For a long time he crouched there, hoping in the
face of despair; but the dawn was coming--if he was found thus, his
punishment would be made the greater. There was no use in courting
torture. And so, when a passing cloud obscured the stars, he crawled
back across the clearing, and crept at last under the edge of the tent.

"Here, Peter," he whispered in the ear of the next man, "Billy has
escaped. I failed; but 'tis no use to tempt the devil to double my
stripes. Wake up and tie this cord about my left arm that it may seem as
if he gnawed it himself until it was loose."

And in the morning the guard found him asleep with a bit of ravelled
rope about his arm. Search and inquiry failed to reveal anything of
Billy's escape or his whereabouts, and the incident, so far as the
prisoners were concerned, ended in the volley of oaths and threats
delivered to them second-hand by the guards from the officer of the
day. They were not pleasant words to hear; but Richard only drew a deep
breath, for he had feared Billy would linger waiting for him and so be



     "My day is closed! the gloom of night is come!
     A hopeless darkness settles o'er my fate."
                         --JOANNA BAILLIE.

Many times during the day's march did Richard turn his eyes wistfully
toward the blue hills to the south, and wonder beyond which of them
Billy was speeding to rejoin his command. The thought had in it such an
element of bitterness that finally he thrust it from him lest it wax
into selfish envy.

Finally they reached their goal, and the vast body of men and animals
halted beside the bay whose waters sparkled under the blue and gold
tones of the summer sky. In the offing lay the English fleet, which by
the happiest chance for Clinton had arrived inside the Hook in time to
convey his exhausted army to New York.

The quick, salt wind whipping Richard in the face, gave him a sense of
vigour and reserve strength, which was speedily nipped by a chilling
realization of his hopeless captivity. Mechanically he ate and drank
when the guard bade him; for the prison bars were now inevitable, and he
would lie rusting his heart and manhood out while the fight went by
outside. In an agony of despair he cursed the impetuous daring that had
led him so far in advance of his column as to deliver him into the hands
of the enemy. And he cursed both the moonlight that had flooded the road
the first night of their march, and the guard whose lynx eyes seemed
ever upon him; and finally he cursed himself more sorely than aught
else, because he had not followed Billy at all hazards and let a bullet
end the problem forever.

But life is sweet to youth, and hope finds ever a place in the heart
that is full of an unsatisfied love; and so by the time he had finished
his spare meal he was ready to look at the future with more calmness.
Outside in the free world Joscelyn would wait for him, and prison doors
must sometimes yawn. The soldier who brought him his supper stayed for a
few minutes to talk. He had a frank, friendly face that Richard liked.

"So we gave your sly general the slip after all, and held to our march
as we at first intended."

"Did Clinton originally and intentionally propose to make a night march
at almost double-quick over such roads as we have traversed? D--d queer
military tactics."

The fellow grinned. "Oh, a little change of programme mattered not, so
we lost not a single wagon of our train. See, they are yonder, as safe
as a ship in port."

"Mayhap; but you saved your skins whole by stealing away from Monmouth
like a thief in the night, and, leaving the foe you pretended to
despise, camped on the battle-ground."

"Oh, we begrudge not you fellows a camping ground--we are not that

"No; you wanted them, in fact, to have all the ground in the vicinity,
even if you had to be so unselfish as to march all night to leave it to

"Come, your tongue's too sharp," the fellow said irritably.

"Sharper than your general's wits, if he took that march out of anything
but necessity. He has saved his baggage train, but, mark you, he has
lost his cause. Our victory at Monmouth will hearten up the doubtful and
send them flocking to our camp."

The man laughed satirically at the word "victory," and then said:--

"Well, at all events, your part of the flocking is done for good. 'Tis
not likely you'll see the outside of a prison for more months than you
are years old--if by any chance your general hangs on that long, which
is not likely."

Richard shivered at mention of a prison, but shrugged his shoulders with
outward calm. "A man must bear the fortunes of war, if he be a true
soldier. Prison life is harder than fighting, but some must carry the
heavy end of the burden, and 'tis not for me to bemoan if it falls to
me. Know you in which of your pest holes we are like to be confined?"

The soldier looked into the clear, steady eyes for a moment before
replying: "You're a rum chap to take your medicine without a whine. I
like your sort, and I hope, when this cursed war is done, you'll be
found alive; but it isn't likely, for methinks you are to go to the old
Sugar House in New York. 'Tis as full as an ant-hill now, but they'll
shove the poor devils a bit closer together and squeeze you in. You'll
have plenty of time, but not much room, to meditate on your evil doings
against King George. Still, I hope you'll live through it."

He picked up the empty can out of which the prisoner had been drinking,
and moved on. Richard, who had been sitting upright during the
conversation, sank back upon the ground and pulled his cap over
his eyes. The old Sugar House! Too well he knew of the misery and
degradation in store for those who crossed its threshold. No escapes
were ever effected, and the hope of exchange, unless one were an
officer, was too slim to dwell upon; Washington's captures went for
higher game than privates and raw recruits. But two things could open
these relentless gates to him--death or the end of the struggle; and
the latter seemed far enough away.

And Joscelyn! would she care that he suffered and died by inches? Would
she think of him regretfully, tenderly, when all was done? It was hard
to love a girl of whose very sympathy one was not sure; and yet he knew
he had rather have her mockery than another woman's caresses.

For an hour he lay upon the ground, his heart convulsed with grief, but
his body so rigidly quiet that his companions thought he slept. They
could not tell that under his cap his eyes were staring wide, seeing,
not the cap above, but a girl's face framed in soft meshes of hair and
lit by eyes as gray-blue as the sea when the tides are quiescent and the
winds are fast asleep. By and by the intense heat of the evening set the
wound in his head to throbbing, and rousing up, he begged the corporal
of the guard for a little water and a bandage. The man--the same with
whom he had talked before--brought these to him after a little delay,
and found for him in his own kit a bit of healing salve, which his
English mother had given him at parting.

"She said 'twould cure bad blood, and methinks yours is bad enough to
put it to the test," he said, laughing, and yet with a certain rough

"Well, since it hath not killed you, methinks I am safe," Richard
laughed back gratefully, while one of his comrades dressed the wound,
which gave promise of speedy healing.

"What is your name?" he asked of the corporal.

"James Colborn, of the King's Artillery."

"Well, 'tis a pity you are in such bad employ, for you have an uncommon
good heart and a face that matches it. When General Washington hath
licked the boots off you fellows, come down south and pay me a visit. My
mother'll be so grateful for every kind word you have spoken to me, that
she'll feed you on good cookery until you are as fat as a Michaelmas

"I'll come," the other laughed, "but I'll wear my boots; it will be you
fellows who will go barefooted from a licking."

"Don't wager your birthright on that; you'd lose even the mess of

Under the relief the dressing of his wound afforded, Richard fell
asleep, and his dreams must have been comforting, for on his face was
a smile of happiness, and the words he murmured made the corporal of
the guard laugh to himself as he trod to and fro before the open tent.

"Have you a favourite dog named Joscelyn?" he asked teasingly, when he
roused Richard for supper.


"A horse, then?"

Richard looked at him questioningly, half-inclined to be angry.

"You have been talking in your sleep."

"Joscelyn is not a dog nor a horse; she is my sweetheart."

"Mine's named Margie."

There was a moment of silence during which the two young fellows felt
almost akin with friendly sympathy. They longed to shake hands and tell
each other their love tales.

"Margie's eyes are black," said Colborn softly.

"Joscelyn has sea-blue eyes."

"I like black ones better."

"I'd love Joscelyn's eyes, were they as vari-coloured as Joseph's coat."

"Well said." The speaker thrust his hand into his shirt and drew out a
metal case which contained a picture of a buxom English girl. "It took a
whole month's pay to have that made, but I wasn't coming to America
without bringing a likeness of her to look at. When I am promoted to a
captaincy I shall have it set in gold and brilliants. She is counting
the months until I go back to her," he continued with a burst of
confidence, while his honest face flamed with a boyish blush. "For every
week I am away, she drops a pebble into a china jar I gave her, that I
may count the kisses she shall owe me when we meet. Never you doubt but
I shall cheat in the count, though I have to carry back a pocketful of
American pebbles to help me out!" Then, by way of prelude to that coming
happiness, he kissed the picture with eager frankness before returning
it to the case, saying there were already twelve pebbles in the jar.

Many times during the few days when the army lay encamped upon the sandy
reaches of the Hook did Richard have occasion to be grateful to the
young corporal for little acts of kindness, and in return he told him
something of his own life, so that a curious friendship was formed
between the two; and when the embarkation finally came, Richard was
glad to find that the same guard and officers would have the prisoners
in charge until the dreaded doors of the jail should close upon them.

As they marched clankily down the streets of New York, he believed that
now he knew how condemned men felt as they approached the gallows, only
the gallows seemed better than those frowning walls yonder, at whose
narrow windows the miserable inmates stood in relays that each might
draw a few good breaths during the long and suffocating day. The old
Sugar House! He set his teeth hard when at last they stood before its
doors, and the first squad of prisoners passed out of sight within its
gloomy portals. He was telling the sunshine and the clouds good-by
before his turn to enter should come, when, to his surprise, the doors
swung to, and the squad in which he marched was wheeled down another
street. After a few minutes he caught Colborn's eye, and read therein
tidings of some new disaster. Whither were they carrying him and his
unfortunate companions! No faintest hint of their destination came to
him, until, the city being crossed, they halted again, this time beside
the water's edge, far to the east. As some delay was evident, the
corporal bade the prisoners sit down upon the shore; and while his men
formed in the rear to watch, he himself passed slowly up and down the
water's edge, stopping at last beside Richard, who sat at the end of
the line of captives as much to himself as possible, for his heart was
heavy with a new forboding.

"In ten minutes," said the corporal, speaking quickly and in an
undertone, "I shall have parted with you, perhaps forever. I know you
for a brave man and a generous one, and I am sorry for your fate. The
plan has been changed. The Sugar House would not hold all of you; so,
for lack of other accommodations, this squad of prisoners is ordered


"--to the prison-ships lying across the bay."

Richard staggered up. "The hells, the floating hells!"

"Yes, that is what they are sometimes called."

"My God!" For a moment the fortitude that had sustained him during the
last ten days gave way, and he sank down again, covering his face with
his hands in a dry-eyed anguish.

"I wish from my soul that I might have helped you, but this is all I can
do," the corporal said. "Pick them up as a gift from a brother in arms."
He surreptitiously dropped some coins upon the sand, and Richard, more
because of the friendliness of the gift than because he thought of their
value, ran his fingers through the sand and picked them up, shoving them
into a torn place in the lining of his boot.

"You have been good to me--" he began slowly, and with the look of a man
who is talking unconsciously; but with an impatient shrug the other had
moved away. When he had walked the length of the line and stood looking
over the water a minute, he came again to Richard's side, apparently
with no special object in view. His voice was very low as he said:--

"True soldiers respect each other, no matter what the colour of their
uniforms. I guessed--but I want to know for certain--did you let the
little lad escape the other night rather than go by yourself and leave

Richard nodded. Colborn took off his hat. Those who watched him from the
sand and from the picket line thought he but bared his head to the cool
sea breeze, but in truth it was to a brave man's self-sacrifice. A
Scripture verse was running in his head: "Greater love hath no man than
this, that he give his life for his friend." But he did not speak it,
for a boat grating on the sand behind made him turn.

"The ship's warden to receive you," he said, with a quick-drawn breath.
"God help you!" Then aloud: "Attention!"

The prisoners arose and lined up as the boat's crew came ashore. The
warden conferred a few minutes with the corporal, went over the list of
prisoners, counted them carefully, eying each one sternly as he did so;
then turned again to the corporal, who, after another short conference,
stepped out before the line of prisoners.

"Attention! My care of you ends here. The warden of the prison-ships
will henceforth have you in charge." At a signal his men fell back, and
the crew from the ship's long-boat took their places; the two officers
saluted, and the corporal stepped aside.

"Attention! Forward! March!" the warden shouted, pointing with his sword
to the boat; and the handful of dazed and miserable captives, like so
many automatons, caught step and sullenly moved to the water. As
Richard, who brought up the rear, passed Colborn, the latter

"Your Joscelyn shall know," and Richard's eyes spoke his thanks.

Then the boat drew away from shore, carrying its freight of helpless
despair to the plague-infected hulk rocking in the tide, the plaything
of the winds, the sport of every leaping wave that cast its crystal
fringes to the sun.



             "I love thee, and I feel
     That in the fountain of my heart a seal
     Is set, to keep its waters pure and bright
     For thee."

"It's all very well for our husbands and sons to be away fighting for
their country--I'd horsewhip one of mine who sneaked at home; but for
all that, this manless state of the town is a terrible test to the
tidiness and the tempers of the womenfolk," said Mistress Strudwick, as
she sat on her porch with some chosen cronies, and watched the young
girls of the town promenading in the aftermath of the July sunset with
never a cavalier among them. "Look at Lucinda Hardy, she's as cross as a
patch; and yonder is Janet Cameron, who has not curled her hair for a
week--just mops it up any way, since there are no men to see it."

"And there's 'Liza Jones without her stays," said Mistress Clevering.

"Yes, and looking for all the world like a comfortable pillow that has
just been shaken up; but if there was a man under threescore in seeing
distance, she'd be as trim as you please," replied Mistress Strudwick.
"Heigh-ho, what a slipshod world this would be if there were nobody but
women in it!"

"And what a topsy-turvy place 'twould be with only men. Nobody'd ever
know where anything was," said quiet Mistress Cheshire, with poignant
recollections of striving to keep up with the belongings of two
husbands. "Depend upon it, Martha Strudwick, the world would be a deal
worse off without women than without men, for men never can find

"I am quite of your mind, Mary. In sooth, I always had a sneaking notion
that Columbus brought his wife along when he came to discover America,
and that 'twas she who first saw the land," said Sally Ruffin.

"I don't seem to remember that there was a Mistress Columbus," said Ann
Clevering, biting off her thread with a snap.

"Well, goodness knows there had ought to have been, for Columbus had a
son," replied Martha Strudwick, greatly scandalized, although her own
knowledge in the matter was somewhat hazy.

"How 'pon earth did we ever get to talking such wise things as history?"
asked Mistress Cheshire, whose _forte_ was housewifely recipes.

"We were saying as how men never could find things."

"Oh, yes."

"Well," said Martha Strudwick, thoughtfully, "that depends on what kind
of things you mean. Now there's my husband--and he's a good man, good as
common--he can find a fish-hook in the dark if it's good biting season;
but he can't see the long-handled hoe in the broad daylight if it's
weeding time in the garden and the sun is hot. Finding things depends
more on a man's mind than his eyes."

"Then there's a heap of them who lose their minds mighty handy,"
retorted Ann Clevering.

Mistress Cheshire pushed back her chair: "I shall run home and caution
Dilsy about putting the bread to rise; she's that unseeing that I think
Providence must have first meant her to be a man." Which was as near a
joke as anything Mistress Cheshire ever said. As she trotted away the
others looked after her affectionately.

"Mary is such a mild-mannered woman," said Ann Clevering; "many's the
time I've heard her first husband--dead and gone these twenty-three
years--say it was an accident little short of a miracle how Providence
could make a woman with so little tongue."

"Joscelyn, with her goings-on, must be a dreadful trial to her," sighed
Amanda Bryce.

"And not only to her mother, but to the whole town," snapped another

"Hoity-toity!" bristled Mistress Strudwick, "what's the matter with
Joscelyn? She is the very life of the place, now that the men are gone.
If 'twere not for discussing her, and abusing her,"--with a withering
glance at the last speaker,--"we should go tongue-tied for lack of
somewhat to talk about. She's a tonic for us all, and without her we'd
be going to sleep."

"Sleep is a good thing," sniffed Amanda Bryce.

"Ay," retorted Mistress Strudwick, "when you are tucked in bed and the
lights are out, it is; but not when you are standing up flat-footed with
baking and brewing and weaving and such things to look after. Joscelyn's
all right, Tory though she be. Look at her now, with all those red roses
stuck around her belt; she's the finest sight on the street."

"Fine enough to look at, I'm not gainsaying you; what I object to is
hearing her when she talks about our war."

"Well, Amanda, if our swords were all as sharp as her tongue can be, the
war would soon be over."

"You always were partial to the lass, Martha."

"Ay, I often told Richard Clevering I'd be his rival were I a man, old
or young; and truly I believe Joscelyn would look with more favour upon
me of the two," laughed the corpulent dame, remembering the soft little
touches with which the girl sometimes tidied up her gray hair and unruly
neckerchief, and the caress upon her cheek that always closed the job.

"I wonder you can take up so for her, Martha, when all your menfolk are
in the Continental army, and she a rank Tory."

"Oh, I can forgive a woman her politics, because, like a man's
religion, it's apt to be picked up second-hand and liable to change at
any time."

"Don't you believe men have any true religion?"

"Well, ye-e-s; if the rain comes in season, and the crops are good, and
the cattle don't break into the corn, and their victuals are well
cooked, they are apt to be middling religious."

"Remember you have a husband of your own."

"Yes, praise God, I have, and a good man he is, too; but when the dam in
the levee breaks, or the cows get the hollow-horn, he's that rearing,
tearing put out that he couldn't say offhand whether preordination or
general salvation was the true doctrine; but the time never comes when
he's too mad or too worried to know he's a Whig, every hair of him. That
is what makes me say religion is a picked-up habit with men and politics
is their nature. With a woman it's the other way; so I laugh at
Joscelyn's politics, and kiss her bonny face and love her all the time."

"That is more than I can do. If it were not for her mother, I should
forbid my daughter to have aught to do with her," said Amanda Bryce,
sniffily, as Joscelyn passed the gate with Betty Clevering and Janet
Cameron, and called up a pleasant "good afternoon" to the elder women.

"Well, your girl and not Joscelyn would be the loser thereby," retorted
Martha Strudwick, regardless of the fact that she was in her own house;
and there would doubtless have been sharp words had not Mistress
Clevering interposed with some gentle remonstrance.

A little later the whole party of young people began to move toward the
tavern; for it was the day the post was due, if by good fortune it had
escaped the marauders and highwaymen who, in the assumed name of war,
infested the roads. Always there was a crowd about the tavern on
Thursday afternoons, in hopes that news of the fighting and of friends
would be forthcoming. This particular day they were not disappointed;
for the women on the porch, looking up the street, presently saw that
something unusual was to pay, and forgetful of bonnets or caps, they
hastened to learn what it was. The postbag, with its slender store, lay
neglected on the table, for the crowd had gathered eagerly about some
one on the steps, and exclamations and questions filled the air.

"What is it?" demanded Mistress Strudwick, breathless from her haste,
and the crowd divided and showed a lad, pale and worn, sitting on the

"Billy, my Billy!" shrieked Amanda Bryce, and passing the other women,
she caught him in her arms and hugged him frantically. For a few moments
no one spoke or interfered, but after the dame had kissed every square
inch of his face, and had felt his head, shoulders, and arms for
fractures, Martha Strudwick interposed.

"Come, Billy, tell us where you come from and what news you bring from
the front. Has there been a fight, boy?"

"Ay, and a victory for us."

"A victory? Hurrah! When? Where? Talk quick!" cried a dozen voices
shrill with their eagerness.

"At Monmouth town in Jersey. 'Twas there we overtook Clinton as he made
for New York."

"We have already had rumours of it. And you did fight him and put him to
rout? Who fell, and who was wounded? Can't you talk faster?"

"Truly we did fight when we got the chance, though Lee--the foul fiends
take him!--tried hard not to let us. It was the hottest day I ever felt.
The sand and dust--"

"Never mind about the sand and dust; tell us of the battle."

And so by piecemeal, with many a question and interruption, he told them
the story of that remarkable battle and his own capture.

"And who was taken with you?"

"Master Peter Ruffin, Amos Andrews, and Richard Clevering from our
company, and some threescore more whom I knew not."

But only a few heard the last clause of his sentence, for among the
women were relatives and friends of each of the men mentioned, and there
were sobs and moans for the fate of their loved ones. So great was the
abhorrence in which British prisons were held, that death seemed almost
preferable. Then presently Betty Clevering cried shrilly:--

"And if you were captured, how comes it you are here?"

"I escaped."

"And how many escaped with you?"

"None--none; not even Richard."

Mistress Ruffin took him sharply by the arm. "Do you mean to say that a
strip of a lad like you had sense enough to get away, and grown men were
held? That's a pretty tale!"

And then with stifled sobs he told of Richard's sacrifice and his own
getting away.

"For an hour I waited there in the grass, hoping for him to come; and
when I dared stay no longer I crept to the hillside and hid in a little
cave, from which I watched the army in the distance take up its march
next day. I started once to go back and die with Richard in prison,

"Talk not so, my son; 'twould have killed me and done Richard no good,"
cried his mother, caressing his curly head against her shoulder.
"Richard did not want you back--God bless him for a generous lad!"

"No," sobbed the lad, "he is so noble, so good; and I let him go back,
let him sacrifice himself for me, for had I but slept on he would have
gotten away."

All this while Mistress Clevering had not spoken; now she lifted her
head, and no mother of Sparta ever looked more proud or more resigned.

"Yes, you were right to come away; he gave you your freedom at the cost
of his own, and it would have grieved him had you returned and made the
sacrifice useless. 'Tis a beautiful thing to be the mother of a son like
that. I am content." And Martha Strudwick leaned over and kissed her

"And how fared it with you when the British had marched away?" asked his
mother of Billy.

"I reached the coast and followed it for two days, when I came to a
village whence a trading vessel was leaving to smuggle its cargo to the
south. The captain took me on, and after ten days I was put ashore near
New Berne town, from which place I have made my way home, travelling
with the post these two days."

"You have not then been back to the army?"

"No, but I shall start to-morrow, now that I have seen you, mother, and
when I have given Richard's messages to Mistress Clevering and--"

He stopped; but his glance had travelled to Joscelyn standing at the
edge of the crowd, and Janet Cameron laughed.

"What said my boy? Out with it!" cried Mistress Clevering, eagerly.

"He did send you his dear love, even as he was to bring mine to mother
had I been the one left behind. I would I could tell you how reverent
and tender his voice was when he spoke your name."

The Spartan in the woman broke down, and the mother prevailed. "My son,
my dear son, did God give you in answer to my prayers only to take you
away like this? What may he not be suffering at this very moment, and I
who have watched him from his cradle powerless to help him! Oh, but war
is a cruel thing! My son, my son!"

Betty and Mistress Cheshire led her away weeping, and for a few minutes,
silence held the women as they looked away to the north and thought of
the strife enacting, and the pain being endured there for liberty. And
besides those carried away into captivity, how many others--perhaps
their own nearest and dearest--had been left on the battle-field?

"See," cried Amanda Bryce, turning fiercely on Joscelyn, whose eyes,
full of a misty tenderness, were following Aunt Clevering down the
street--"see what you miserable Tories are doing to us, your neighbours!
Shame upon you, I say; shame upon you!"

"Ay, shame upon you!" cried several voices; and faces scowled and a few
fists were clenched. The girl cowered back, amazed, affrighted.

"Pull those red roses out of her belt; we want no Tory colours here!"
cried Amanda Bryce; and two or three hands reached toward the knot of
scarlet blossoms. But Joscelyn, her eyes beginning to kindle, stepped
back and raised her own hand warningly.

"Do not touch me! Yes, I am a Tory, as you are pleased to call us,
and I am not ashamed that the king's army hath been preserved from
destruction; but I am sorry, very sorry your friends and kindred are
to suffer--though perhaps some punishment is necessary to rebels."

Mistress Strudwick started to the girl's side, but little Billy Bryce
was before her.

"Who touches Joscelyn must first pass me!" he cried to the angry women.
"Mother, be silent! What share could a girl like this have in our
capture; and what matters a few men taken when the victory was ours?"

"Yes, praise God, we thrashed the miserable cowards of Redcoats as they

"A great thrashing 'twas, when they lost not a wagon of their train, and
took more prisoners than Washington," Joscelyn answered tartly.

A dozen voices answered her angrily, and she opened her lips to reply,
but Mistress Strudwick clapped her broad palm over the girl's mouth.

"Hold your saucy tongue, Joscelyn; and you girls, there, be silent this
minute. What, is the war to ruin the manners of our women that they can
descend so low as to brawl in the public streets? Shame upon you, every
one! What hath come of your senses that you thus demean yourselves and
belittle the raising your elders gave you?"

The reproof had the desired effect; for the girl stood silent and
abashed, and her angry assailants drew back. Taking advantage of the
lull, Mistress Strudwick seized Joscelyn by the arm and almost forcibly
drew her away.

"Begone to your home, and bide there till you learn some sense," she
cried sharply. "What's the use in butting your brains out against a
wall, when there's room enough to go around it? There is no fool like a
self-made fool! Go." But when the girl had gone a few steps she made her
return. "Promise me truly," she whispered, "that you'll go straight home
and stay until the fire you kindled here burns down a bit--promise you
will not stir from the house, or I shall not sleep to-night."

"I promise, dear Mistress Strudwick," Joscelyn said, kissing the big
hand that patted her cheek. "You heard me say I was sorry our townsfolk
were taken, and so I am."

"Yes, yes. Harkee, tell your mother I say to be sure and send Amanda
Bryce a loaf of hot bread for supper--Billy will be hungry with running
so far from Monmouth," she said, with a meaning wink. In truth, she
intended the hot bread as a peace-offering to Mistress Bryce, for it
was by such small acts of quiet diplomacy that she kept down the enmity
against the Cheshires, or rather against Joscelyn, since she it was who
aroused the resentment.

Slowly the girl went down the street thinking of the scene just passed.
Mistress Strudwick was right; it was a disgrace for women to brawl thus
upon the public thoroughfares; never again would she let her temper get
the better of her in this way--only they should not touch her. And
already half-forgetful of her resolution, she mounted her steps with
flashing eyes and flaming cheeks.

Presently lights began to glimmer through the dusk, and when the dark
really came every house in the town showed a candle in its window in
token of the advantage won at Monmouth, for since Washington held the
field they deemed him victorious. Even in those houses where grief had
entered, the light shone; for true patriotism is never selfish. Only the
Cheshire windows were dark, so that the house made a blot in the street.
Mistress Cheshire had gone to the Cleverings to condole with them over
Richard; but Joscelyn, because of her promise to Mistress Strudwick, had
bided at home, though she would much have loved to comfort Betty. From
porch to porch the women called to each other, and some of the girls
sang snatches of song here and there, like mocking-birds hid in the
shadows. But Joscelyn sat at her upper window, silent and musing,
thinking what a beautiful thing Richard Clevering had done to let the
little lad go free while he himself went back to captivity. Suddenly a
voice below her whispered:--

"Hist! Joscelyn, Joscelyn!"

She leaned over the window-sill. "Who is it?"

"It is I--Billy Bryce. I have only a minute, for mother must not know I
came, but I have a message for you."

"From whom comes it, Billy?"

"From Richard. Come quickly."

She ran lightly down to the veranda and leaned over the railing to the
boy in the shadow. He took her hands eagerly in his.

"He loves you, Joscelyn!"

She did not answer. He was too earnest for a jest, so she only pressed
his hand and waited.

"He is so noble, so generous, Joscelyn; even among us younger boys he
never did a mean thing, and there's not a man in the company who is not
his friend."

"Yes, I always knew Richard had a kind heart, and his letting you go in
his stead was unselfish--beautiful; and I honour him for it."

"And do you not love him for it also?" the lad begged wistfully. "Say
that you love him just a little."

"Nay, Billy; he is brave and kind, and he is my friend and Betty's
brother, therefore do I wish him naught but good fortune and happiness;
but, laddie, I do not love him."

"You are cruel--heartless!" he cried, flinging her hands away.
"Richard's little finger hath more feeling in it and is worth more than
your whole body."

"Your championship does you credit, Billy, and I shall not quarrel with
you for appraising my value so low. Mayhap Richard thinks differently."

"Ay, that he does--more's the pity!" Then taking her hands again, he
said vehemently: "An you come not to love him, I pray God to curse you
with an ugliness so great that no other man may ever kiss or love you!
For listen; as we lay in the dark that night waiting for the moment to
escape, this is what he said: 'If you get away and I do not, say to
Joscelyn Cheshire that even behind prison bars I am her lover; and that
if death comes, her face, or the blessed memory of it, will outshine
those of the angels of Paradise.' That was his message. I have faced
many dangers to bring it to you. Now that you have it, I shall go back
to my regiment, and if a ball finds me, well and good; Richard will know
somehow and somewhere that I did not fail him."

The girl dropped her head low in the starlight.

"Good-by, Billy; you have filled your mission bravely. Heaven keep you
safe and send you back once more to your mother and us."

He put up his hand and stroked her cheek softly.

"I do not wonder that he loves you, Joscelyn, you are so beautiful, and
you can be so sweet--so sweet," he exclaimed, and then ran away into the
dark, leaving her alone with the words of the love-message ringing in
her ears.

So still she stood that a big moth flying wearily by rested a moment on
her shoulder; across the way her mother was bidding Aunt Clevering good
night with admonitions to sleep well, and from down the street came the
voices of the singers chanting of victory and the home-coming of loved
ones. But above everything the girl on the dark balcony heard a deep,
strong voice saying, "Even behind prison bars I am her lover."

Prison bars!

And suddenly she threw up her arms in the flower-sweet dusk and
whispered vehemently:--

"Set him free, dear God! set him free!"



     "For thoughts, like waves that glide by night,
     Are stillest when they shine."
                         --OLD SONG.

"Rouse up, Richard! Rouse up, man! An you give way like this, you'll
soon be taking the ship-fever and dying. 'Tis no use to wilfully hasten
the end," said Peter Ruffin to the apathetic man beside him.

But Richard sat staring over the waters, saying only in a dogged way,
"'Tis no use to retard it."

"Ay, but it is; something may happen--Washington may drive Clinton from
New York--"

"He cannot, for he hath not the force."

"--Or we may escape."

Richard glanced around the deck where guards, armed to their teeth,
trod in ceaseless vigil, and then looked away to the shore, where a
few cabins marked the station of the shore patrol who took up the
watch where the ship guard left off, thus making assurance doubly

"With the sea and a double guard against us, the chance is not worth the

"A resolute man could swim ashore from here."

"Methinks he could most easily, especially with the tide in his favour;
but if he eludes the watch here, the patrol yonder will shoot him like a
rat when he crawls out of the water. No, Peter, I have gone over it all
in my mind, calculated the method of reaching the water, the length of
the swim, and the best place to land. I have even tried to get speech
with Dame Grant when she comes with her wares, to see if she could not
be bribed to aid me; but the warden never takes his eyes from her until
her sales are over and her boat ready to start. She has a solemnly sour
face, but mayhap a gold piece would soften her heart to mercy. It was
for this that I have hoarded Colborn's gold."

"I, too, thought of the bumboat woman, but gave up hope of aid from her,
seeing how she is watched. 'Twere as much as her life is worth to give
us the smallest assistance," answered Peter.

"Yes, we are cut off from every chance, condemned--doomed--and seeing
this, I have given up hope."

"I am some twenty years your senior, Richard, and I say to you that a
sane man never ceases to hope."

"Then mayhap I am insane--sometimes I think it may be so. Surely, it was
the arch-fiend himself who put it into the hearts of the English to turn
these disease-infected hulks into prisons; no mere mortal mind could
have in itself conceived such a thought. The fever or the vermin--which
were worse, 'twere hard to say. To rot here inch by inch, and the fight
going on outside! God, but 'tis hard!"

"Hist! the guard is looking at you suspiciously. 'Tis no use getting his
ill-will; let us talk of something else." And when the sentinel passed
slowly in front of them, the older man was talking of his boy who had
died in childhood, and the younger one had dropped his head again upon
his breast and sat in moody silence. Thus had life crept on for five
weeks, each day of which was a slow-paced agony, each night a long-drawn

Wallabout Bay, where the prison-ships were anchored, cut into the Long
Island shore on the north, and was protected from the storms that rocked
the outer deep. Most of the prisoners were seamen, but now and then a
squad of land captives, for lack of some other place in which to confine
them, were sent thither to starve and suffer and wait their turn to die.
The wound in Richard's head had healed, thanks to Colborn's salve; but
the confinement, together with the scant and rancid food and the foul
air in the ship's hold where the nights were passed, was slowly
undermining his strength of body and of will. Each morning the inhuman
order, "Rebels, turn out your dead!" which the guard called down through
the opened hatches, sent a shiver of horror to his very soul; and the
feeling was not lessened as he aided in selecting the poor fellows who
had died in the night, and saw them sewed into their blankets and rowed
away to shallow graves upon the shore. Two of the prisoners were made to
act as grave-diggers on these occasions, the guard going merely to

Twice in the past weeks Richard and Peter had gone in the funeral-boat,
and on each occasion thoughts of making a break for liberty had haunted
them. But the futility of such an attempt was made apparent by the
proximity of the shore patrol, within range of whose guns the graves
were dug. The nearest cover was a line of sand-dunes and stunted
brush-growth fifty yards up the level beach, before reaching which a man
could be pierced by twenty bullets. Regretfully and angrily the two men
noted this; and later on had it all doubly impressed upon them by the
shooting of a prisoner who, one day, when the grave was half-filled,
made the mad attempt to get away. Only one of the two impressed
grave-diggers came back in the boat that day, for the other was buried
where he fell; and the harshness of the ship-jailers increased toward
those who remained.

"Look," said Richard, shuddering, the second time he and Peter were
detailed to take a corpse to the sandy burying-ground; "already the
waves have opened some of the graves and left the poor fellows but the
scantest covering. Before long their bones will whiten to the sun."

"It is a sickening certainty! And all of this you and I might escape
if so we would but go back yonder to the warden and take the oath of
allegiance to the king, and change these tattered coats for gay uniforms
of scarlet," answered Peter.

"True; but like those who have gone before us, we will die in the ship
yonder and fester here in the sand first. Between death and English
slavery there is a quick choice, and we made it long ago. But promise
me, Peter, that if I die first you will ask to come as my sexton, and
dig me a grave deep enough to keep me from the sea for at least a little

"I will; and you will do a like thing for me. But as I told you the
other day, you will go before me, and soon at that, if so you keep up
this dreary moping."

But Richard could not bring himself to hope. The absolute helplessness
of their position, the powerlessness of action of any sort took from
him the ability to reason normally. Everything twisted itself backward
to the wretched and relentless present, turn where he would for
consolation. And so after the morning tasks of airing blankets and
scrubbing decks were performed, he sat all day looking sullenly out over
the water, studying the changing moods of the sea, watching the gulls as
they flapped past or went soaring upward with the glancing sunlight on
their wings. And all this while there was but one clear thought in his
mind--Joscelyn. Plainer than the faces about him he saw her features,
and above the ship noises and the restless wash of the waves, he heard
the sweet accents of her voice. Incessantly he brooded over each memory
of her, recalling the chestnut tints of her hair, the blue lights in her
eyes, and the rose hues of cheeks and lips. Her beauty had never before
appeared to him so great or so much to be desired as now.

"Even behind prison bars I am her lover;" often he said the words to
himself, wondering morbidly if Billy carried her the message, and what
she said in answer. He would never know, of course, for his career must
end yonder in the sand with his unfortunate fellows; but liberty itself
would not be sweeter than some token, it mattered not how small, of her
sorrow and her favour. How he longed for her, body and soul! Always
in fancy he kissed her good night, holding the sweet face between his
palms and watching to see the eyes droop under his ardent gaze, and the
delicate lips quiver with the passion of his caress. He told himself it
was only such fleeting fancies as these that kept him sane. For in these
moments she was tender and loving, and she was all his; and the unknown
husband--he who would one day claim her in reality when he himself, with
his idle dreams, should be dead and gone--he hated with a jealous rage
as vital as though the man stood before him in the flesh; and he looked
at his fingers with a dull sense of their strangling powers, and longed
to feel them tighten over a purpling throat. Peter talked of heaven, of
its rest and peace; but how could there be for him either joy or peace,
even in Paradise, while another man held Joscelyn in his arms? Often in
his cloying misery he tried to make out who this other lover would be;
but no one, not even Eustace Singleton, seemed to fill the place. Once,
and his heart had been hot with jealousy at the thought, he had imagined
that under hers and Eustace's frank friendship there lingered a warmer
feeling; but this fancy stood no test of observation, for in no
act of Joscelyn's was there a trace of that air, indescribable yet
unmistakable, that marks the beginnings of love; and of late months
Eustace had a way of looking at Betty that put strange fancies into
Richard's head. No, Joscelyn and Eustace were not lovers; it would be
some one else, some stranger who would claim all the sweetness of her
love. And at the thought the murderous fingers writhed upon each other,
and the sweat of agony was on his brow. Then his fancy would take
another turn. There was no other lover, there never would be any other;
by strength of his love she belonged to him here and would be his
through all eternity. In heaven there is no marrying nor giving in
marriage, so the Bible said; but surely God would be merciful to him,
knowing how he had missed his happiness here.

This was the dream-palace in which he dwelt, while he gazed vacantly
over the sunlit sea and waited to be sewed into his blanket and carried
across to the white sands by those who, in their turn, one after
another, should follow to the same end.

And then, one morning when August was well on the wane, something
happened that broke the spell of deadening despair that held him in its



     "Hidden perfumes and secret loves betray themselves."

"Joscelyn, from my upper window I have seen a rider turn into the next
street and make for the tavern. Perchance he brings news or letters.
Will you come with me and see?" It was Betty's voice under her window,
and Joscelyn put her head out a moment to say she would go; then ran
downstairs. And go she did in spite of her mother's vehement protest.

"'Tis scarce three weeks gone since you were reviled in the streets as a
Tory, and now you will go thrust yourself in place to receive the same
treatment again. 'Tis folly--ay, worse than folly!"

But Joscelyn scarcely heard, for in the street Betty was pulling her
along at such a pace.

"Methought you would be glad to get a letter from--well, from--It is
something over three weeks since you last heard from--" a shy little
laugh finished the sentence, and she gave Joscelyn an extra pull which
set them into a run.

"How glad somebody would be to see you in such haste to get a letter
written to me," panted Joscelyn, laughing.

"Whither away so fast?" cried Mistress Strudwick from her door; but they
did not stop to answer, only calling back merrily that a man, grown, yet
not old, nor crippled, nor blind, had ridden into the square, and they
were going to have a look at so wonderful a curiosity.

As they turned into the open space before the court-house, the town-bell
struck a few resonant notes, a signal from the decrepit old ringer that
there was news for somebody. In a few minutes the place was thronged
with eager wives and mothers and sweethearts crying out for tidings of
their loved ones. Did the man bring any? Yes, he was but now out of the
north; whither he went mattered not to them, a man's mission was his own
secret, but in his pouch were letters for towns along the route, and he
brought, besides, news of the dreadful massacre in Pennsylvania. And
when the few letters were distributed he stood upon the steps and told
the pitiful story of Wyoming Valley.

"The able-bodied men were away fighting with Washington; only the old
men and women and children remained. Upon this helpless band hundreds of
British and Indians, led by Butler, fell, driving them to the fort.
Thence the men, shaking with age, but not with fear, sallied to the
attack, were defeated and captured, and in sight of those within were
tortured with every fiendish device the savages could invent. Then the
fort surrendered, and in spite of Butler's efforts tomahawk and
scalping-knife did their deadly work among the helpless captives.
Outraged women, spitted upon rails, saw their tender babes brained
against rocks and trees. The yells of the captors were mingled with the
cries for mercy and the shrieks of the dying, and night was turned into
day by the light of burning villages. In all the beautiful valley not a
house was spared; and where had been prosperity is now but a desolate
wilderness strewn with graves and ruins."

When he finished, women were weeping upon each other's necks, thinking
of their own little ones and those other murdered babies. And fierce was
the denunciation of Butler for enlisting in his army savages whose
brutality could not be controlled. This was not war; it was
assassination, as cowardly as it was cruel.

So bitter was the feeling aroused, that for a while the fact that the
courier had brought some letters was quite overlooked, until Mistress
Nash and Janet Cameron came forward with epistles which contained
messages for many of those present. Then it was remembered that the
other two letters had both been for Joscelyn Cheshire, and immediately a
dozen voices demanded her. But she was already well down the street, her
arm linked in Betty Clevering's.

"Come away, Aunt Cheshire will be wretched about you," the latter had
whispered to her, remembering the scene in this very place a few weeks
before and dreading a repetition of it, and in her secret heart wishing
that at least one of the letters in Joscelyn's hand should not be read
aloud to the public, knowing well that in it was some love-message for
herself, for was not that why Eustace wrote so often to Joscelyn? And so
she dragged her companion back the way they had come; but as they walked
Joscelyn tore open the letter with the familiar seal, exclaiming

"Paper is not scarce with Eustace, since he sends me three whole sheets.
Let me see--Betty--Betty--Betty--just in a fleeting glance I see your
name some eight times. What a fondness he hath for writing the word!"

"Let me read with you, Joscelyn," cried Betty, her cheeks very bright;
and drawing close together the two girls held the sheet between them and
slackened their pace. But they were not left long to their privacy, for
by the time they reached the Cheshire door a dozen neighbours were upon

"So, so, Joscelyn, be not running away with your tidings. Tell us what
Clinton is doing in New York," exclaimed Mistress Strudwick, who had
come with the others to give the girl countenance, if so she should need

"Ay, do not be playing the selfish, but give us the news," cried several

"I am as ignorant as you of General Clinton's doings," the girl said,
smiling at the first speaker; "for, as far as I have got, the letter is
full of questions about somebody here at home."

"Yes, a spying letter for information, no doubt," sneered Amanda Bryce.
"The courier said they were both from some one in New York. Who writes
to you from Clinton's army?"

"Eustace Singleton, a handsome lad whom you know right well, Mistress

"He sends you two letters by the same hand? Faith! he is an ardent

"Nay, this other letter is in a strange writing. I know not yet who hath
sent it."

"Break the wafer and read it to us."

"I do not choose, Mistress Bryce, to give my letters to the public."

"Do not choose, because you do not dare."

"Do not dare?"

"Hush, Joscelyn, she does not mean what she says," put in Mistress

"Yes, I do mean it, Martha, every word of it. She dare not read it,
because it is a spying letter,--asking information, mayhap, which may
give us over to a massacre like to that of Wyoming: that's why she dare

A chorus of cries and hisses arose, but the girl on the step did not
quail. Her delicate lip curled with scorn. "'Tis false! You do all know
I would be incapable of such wickedness."

"Then read us the letter and prove it."

"I will not."

She thrust the letter into her bosom and faced them with flashing eyes,
the very picture of defiance. But a touch from Mistress Strudwick
quelled the storm within her. Turning swiftly, she put her arm around
the old woman's neck. "There, I am going to be good. I would not
distress you and mother again for the world. But you know I have the
right of it."

"Yes," echoed Janet Cameron, taking her place on the other side of
Joscelyn. "We all know that though you are a Tory, you are no traitor;
and I say, Out upon Mistress Bryce for hinting such a thing! I am a
Continental, and my father is in Charleston fighting for the cause, but
I would trust Joscelyn Cheshire to the end of the world!"

Out in the crowd the sentiment against the girl instantly changed, and
all but Amanda Bryce applauded Janet's words.

"Eustace Singleton writes her naught but love-letters--let her keep
them!" cried another girl. "Methinks I should not want the world to be
reading my sweetheart's letters and counting the kisses he sends me."

"No, nor those he gives you," said Martha Strudwick, with a merry wink,
and instantly there was a great laugh, for the girl had been caught
kissing her lover the winter day on which the troops had marched, for
which imprudence her mother had soundly boxed her ears.

"And now," cried Joscelyn, when the laugh had passed, "to prove that
there is no treason in this letter, I shall let Betty Clevering--as good
a Continental as the best of you--sit down yonder on the bench and read
every word of it before I myself have seen it. Here, Betty, be you the
judge whether what is herein writ is of treasonable import; and mind you
skip nothing, particularly the love passages." She laughingly pushed
Betty upon the bench, and leaving Eustace's letter in her hands, came
back to Janet's side.

"My letter was from my brother, Joscelyn; and he said he knew not where
Richard had been sent. He himself is in the old Sugar House in New York;
what he suffers he will not say, but we can guess, since so much has
been said of the place."

Joscelyn kissed the tearful face softly. "Perchance your imagination is
over-vivid. It grieves me to the quick that any of our townsfolk should

"It will be a great relief to his mother to know that Richard is not in
the Sugar House."

"Yes, there is only one worse prison in the country, and that is for the
captured seamen."

"Do not let us talk of its horrors."

So the conversation went on until Betty Clevering, her face like a
budding rose, came forward again.

"This letter," she said, holding up the missive, "is one of friendship
merely; in it I find absolutely nothing against our cause, save a curse
on the war that keeps the writer from--from her he loves."

"Dear me, to see her blush one would think it were Betty's love-letter,
not Joscelyn's."

"How shy she looks!"

"Betty, was it writ so tenderly that you, who are but an outsider, are
abashed to read it? Truly, I wish Master Singleton would give lessons in
love writing. My man talks so much of General Washington and his doings
that he quite forgets to put in the love passages."

"And 'tis for those that a woman reads her letters," said Mistress
Strudwick. "The 'I love yous' and 'dears' and 'kisses' scattered through
the pages mean more to her heart than the announcement of a victory. In
faith, old woman as I am, I always read the last sentence first, knowing
it will be the sweetest, if so the writer is in his senses."

"That is why I wanted so much to read Joscelyn's letter. I knew Eustace
would never plot against his own town any more than she would, but an
ardent love-letter makes good reading, no matter to whom it may be
writ," laughed Dorothy Graham, breaking a glowing rose from a nearby
bush, and holding it playfully against Betty's cheek, looking archly at
her companions as she tapped first one and then the other with her
finger, whereupon the laugh again arose, for some had long ago guessed
at Eustace's passion.

Meantime, Joscelyn, drawing somewhat apart, took the strange letter from
her dress and broke the wafer. The missive covered but one scant page,
but those who watched as she read saw her face grow pale and her lip

     MISTRESS JOSCELYN CHESHIRE, in Hillsboro'-town:

     Richard Clevering, with ten of his comrades, taken at Monmouth
     field, lies in one of the prison-ships in Wallabout Bay. If he is
     aught to you,--you know best whom _he_ loves,--bestir yourself for
     an exchange, for only that can save him from the sure death that
     lurks in those accursed hulks. I, one of the guard that carried him
     there, promised him that you should know, and at the risk of
     discovery and punishment I thus keep my promise. He is brave and
     generous. It were a pity to let him die.
                         JAMES COLBORN.

     NEW YORK, this tenth day of July, 1778.

Even in the far southern towns the infamy of those prison-ships had been
told, and with a sudden gesture of compassion the girl stretched her
arms toward the opposite house.

"Aunt Clevering, poor Aunt Clevering!" and thrusting the letter into
Mistress Strudwick's hands, she exclaimed: "Here read it--read it aloud,
then take it over yonder--I cannot." And gathering Betty close in her
arms she listened while the letter was read to the sorrowing women.

"Who are the others? Called he no names?"

"Oh, mayhap one is my son!"

"And another may be my husband!"

"Even the Sugar House had been easier than this! Mark you what we have
heard of the ferocity of the jailers, the foulness of the food, the
loathsomeness of the ships! They will die, our brave lads will all die

"Will die?--Nay, perchance they are already dead; 'tis a month since
this letter was writ, and two months since Monmouth fight."

And the letter went the rounds of the town, carrying sorrow everywhere
and a miserable dread and uncertainty into many homes, for all of the
men missing from Monmouth were not yet accounted for. Whose dear ones
were suffering with Richard, mine or thine, or our neighbour's?

All the afternoon, Joscelyn paced her floor, her brows knitted, her
fingers clenched. She knew best whom he loved? Yes, she knew. Every day
for the past year he had let her see his heart; even in their quarrels
over the war, he had not forgotten that he loved her. At first she had
taken it for a passing fancy, and had treated him with laughing
coquetry, fanning his love later on into the white flame of passion with
that groundless jealousy of Eustace. Then it was she realized what it
was with which she was playing.

And now he was lying in that loathsome ship, with the fever on one side
and the harsh keepers on the other. Did she care as he wanted her to
care? No, but her anger against him for his persistent assumption of her
acquiescence in his suit was all forgotten; she remembered only the
happy side of their friendship, and that he was Betty's brother. She
could not put aside the appeal in Colborn's letter, for it was an appeal
from Richard himself; and yet what could she, a mere girl without aid or
influence, do to set him free? That was why her hands were clenched and
she paced her floor with quick steps. Then at last she sat down, and
opening her portfolio she wrote for half an hour, covering sheet after
sheet. When they were done she gathered them up quickly and ran
downstairs and crossed the street to the opposite house. There all was
sadness and tears because of Colborn's news.

"Here, Betty," she said, placing the folded sheets upon the table;
"Eustace Singleton is on Lord Cornwallis's staff and must have influence
with him, and through him, with General Clinton. I have written Eustace
to use all effort and despatch in Richard's behalf, but you must add a
postscript to make the plea effective."

"And why, I pray you, should he heed a postscript from Betty?" asked her
mother, angrily, forgetful for a moment of her grief.

"Because," Joscelyn answered, facing her calmly, "he loves her, and the
few words she writes will outweigh all my pages."

"What! That Loyalist, the son of Joseph Singleton, our old enemy, in
love with my daughter? This is some mockery."

"It is the sober truth."

"I do not believe it; but if it be so, then will Richard and I have a
word to say in the matter. Betty, put down that quill; I will not have
you stoop to ask a favour of that family."

"Not even for Richard's life and freedom, Aunt Clevering?"

"I do not believe he has any influence. In love with my daughter--what

"Rather what good fortune, since it may save your son."

"Mother, it seems our one chance; bid me write." And Joscelyn joined in
the girl's plea.

The older woman's features worked spasmodically, but presently she
nodded slowly. "For Richard's sake, Joscelyn, yes; but mind you, Betty
will set him out in short order if ever he presumes to declare himself.
She knows her duty; no Singleton blood comes into my family."

She could not see Betty's face, for Joscelyn stood between them; but two
weeks later Eustace kissed the blots where the tears had fallen just
under her pleading little postscript:--

     "Because of all you said to me in Joscelyn's parlour, because of
     your red roses which I wore in the privacy of my room until they
     faded, I beseech you, save my brother!"

"But oh, Joscelyn, suppose he can do nothing?"

"Then, dear, we must carry our plea to Lord Cornwallis. My father and he
were friends in England; perhaps we may gain his ear through that
old-time acquaintance."

"And how will you reach Cornwallis?" Mistress Clevering asked

"If need be, Betty and I will seek him in General Clinton's camp."

Betty put her cheek close to the girl's. "Joscelyn, after all you are
not indifferent to Richard," she whispered, half wistfully, half

But Joscelyn's face was almost stern. "This letter from Colborn is in
truth a plea from Richard, since he must have bid the man write. Think
you I could let such a thing pass unanswered--and from your brother,

"God bless you, Joscelyn, though your heart is as hard as flint."



     "I can bear scorpion's stings, tread fields of fire,
     In frozen gulfs of cold eternal lie;
     Be tossed aloft through tracts of endless void--
     But cannot live in shame."
                         --JOANNA BAILLIE.

Besides the patrol and the ship's long-boat only one other ever tied up
to the prison-vessels, and that one belonged to Dame Grant, the bumboat
woman, who brought such small luxuries as the prisoners were able to
purchase. She herself seldom came on board, but sent up her tiny parcels
by two boys who made their deliveries under the eye of the warden. This
was the woman Richard had hoped to bribe to aid his escape, but with
whom he had never found the smallest opportunity to speak at close
range. She was corpulent and coarse of feature, and the boys who served
her often felt the weight of her big hand; but Richard had once thrown
her a jest over the rail, and she had laughed good-naturedly, showing
that she had a soft side to her rough exterior. In the lining of his
ragged boot were the few coins Colborn had given him, but not so much as
a letter had he been able to bribe her to take. Often he cursed the
watchfulness of the sentinel, longing to send at least some little
message to those who thought of him in far-off Hillsboro'-town.

The morning of his awakening from the despairing stupor in which nearly
two months had been passed, it so chanced that Dame Grant brought in her
boat a basket of pears. Very luscious they looked, for sun and dew had
kissed them lavishly; but only the guards could pay their price, so the
prisoners feasted with their eyes only. By and by, however, one of the
sentinels who had purchased some of the fruit went to attend to some
duty below, and left one of the pears on the rail of the deck. So
transparent was his action and so subtle the temptation, that it almost
seemed he had set a delicate trap for some unwary captive. If, indeed,
it was a trap, it caught its prey; for one of the prisoners, a poor old
man, starving, yet too ill to eat the mouldy biscuit and rancid meat
that was their daily portion, saw the tempting fruit and stole it,
hoping the owner would think it had rolled off into the water with the
rocking of the ship. But nothing escaped the argus-eyed watch; one of
the other sentinels saw him as he ravenously devoured it, and collaring
the trembling culprit carried him to the warden. He acknowledged the
theft, excusing himself on the plea of extreme hunger, and begged for
mercy. He might as well have asked for the sun, whose rays whitened the
deck and shimmered on the restless waves.

"I will make an example of him that we may have no more thieving on this
ship. Order the prisoners out that they may see," commanded the warden,
a big-thewed fellow with the face of a bulldog.

The culprit, whose age alone should have protected him, was stripped to
the waist and dragged to the middle of the deck, where he stood weak,
scarred, emaciated,--as pitiful an object as the sun ever shone upon. In
a wide circle about him were crowded the unwilling prisoners, their
faces scowling with a helpless rage; and behind these were posted the
guards with levelled guns. While the warden knotted his lash, Peter and
Richard, after a whispered consultation with those nearest to them,
stepped forward and touched their caps.

"If you please," said Peter, acting as spokesman, "we will all of us
give something toward the price of the fruit, if you will spare this

The warden wheeled suddenly upon them and struck out with his whip,
barely missing Peter's head. "Back with you, an you want not the lash
upon your own backs, hounds that you are! The first man of you who stirs
again shall have his share of this pastime." The ferocity of his look
and voice quelled any further attempt at conciliation, and the prisoners
turned their faces sullenly away.

"So it's delicacies your stomach craves, is it?" sneered the warden to
the trembling man before him. "Well, does that taste like pears--or
that--or that?" and the cruelly knotted lash swirled through the air,
and fell again and again upon the quivering flesh of the helpless
creature. The man staggered, screamed, reeled from place to place, and
finally fell. A harsh laugh answered his cries for mercy, and the lash
went on until the blood spurted from the livid welts upon his body,
while his groans were horrible to hear; and the prisoners groaned in
answer. But the warden's fury was aroused, and the blows fell until
insensibility mercifully came, and the man lay still in a pool of his
own blood.

"So shall it fare with every thief among you!" cried the warden,
throwing the whip down and facing around the scowling circle. But he saw
there no intimidation, but a wrath that needed but a touch to burst into
a storm, and he was quick to take the warning.

"Dismiss the prisoners below," he thundered to the guards, and went
swiftly to his own cabin.

As Richard watched the cruel scene, something had stirred and then
suddenly snapped within him; the inert, despairing stupor was gone, and
in its place was a wild desire for action. Every nerve within him
quivered with a savage impulse to give the brutal warden blow for
blow--nay, two for one; that was what he wanted to do. His fingers
closed in a fierce grip, and only Peter's firm hand held him in his

"The guards would riddle you with bullets before you could get to him,"
the latter whispered, under cover of that other terrible noise of the

"I have but once to die. Unhand me!"

"Yes, but death here would be wasted. Wait."

From that hour Richard was a changed man; the dulness of despondency was
gone, and in its place there had come a recklessness, a demon of
desperation, that nothing could still.

"I shall not stay quietly here to be flogged or to rot with the fever
and starvation," he said to Peter, and his jaw was hard and square. "I
shall get away or I shall die in the attempt."

Two days later the flogged man was sewed into his blanket and carried
away in the funeral-boat; and the malcontent of the prisoners broke out
in angry mutterings. Here Richard, who had been brooding over a plan of
escape, believed he saw his chance. By night his plan was laid; and when
the hatches were beaten down and they lay in serried rows in the
stinking hold, he went from man to man and told his scheme. It was to be
a mutiny, a direct revolt. At a given signal they were to rise in a
body, fall upon the guards, over-power them--kill them--and then pulling
up the anchor they were to run the ship to the open sea, beach her
somewhere on the Jersey coast if she gave signs of leaking, and take
their chance to hide along the shore until they could get away into the
interior. Richard was to head them, for in his voice and manner the men
recognized the spirit of a leader. He longed with something akin to
ferocity to strike the first blow at the warden.

"And besides," he said, "since I have proposed the plan it is but meet
that I should assume the first risk. If I fall, Peter will take my
place. Jack Bangs here has been on the sea all his life, and knows the
coast hereabouts as we know our farms at home. What say you to giving
him charge of the ship and letting him choose his own sailing crew?"

"Good; he is the man for the place."

"Very well," said Bangs; "but we cannot go down the Jersey coast, for we
would have to pass too many posts of the enemy, besides the guns in the
New York harbour. We must steer east through the sound, and if the ship
is beached, it must be on the Connecticut or Rhode Island coast."

"Very well; that is not so convenient, since it takes us far from our
army, but anywhere will be better than here."

They counted every risk: the difficulty of disarming the guards, the
proximity of the other two prison-ships, the interference of the shore
patrol in their swift-sailing boat, the disabled and sailless condition
of their own vessel; but nothing turned them from their purpose. Every
detail of the plot was arranged when toward morning the men lay down for
a little rest and sleep.

All the morning Richard scrubbed or cleaned as the guards bade, and then
sat on deck with his eyes alternately upon the sun and the ship.

But toward the middle of the afternoon Richard noticed signs of
dissatisfaction among a few of the men near the stern, where there was
an improvised back-gammon board. They were evidently angry about
something. A quarrel at this spot was a daily occurrence, and occasioned
no surprise among the sentinels; but Richard guessed that some other
cause was at the bottom of this, and gradually made his way to Peter's

"'Tis Henry Crane," Peter whispered, and his close-shut fists showed an
emotion his face concealed. "He is jealous that the ship was given to
Bangs rather than to him, and he and some of his fellows--his old
crew--are threatening mischief."

"Fool, to risk his neck and liberty for a damnable vanity!" Rising,
Richard crossed to the group of players, and sinking down upon the deck
gathered the dice into his hand as though to take part in the sport.

"I play to win; and the man who fouls my game--for any cause
whatsoever--has me to answer to," he said with stern emphasis, his
fearless eyes fixed steadily on Crane's face. The man flushed and began
to mumble an answer, but the guard, passing, said sharply:--

"Since you cannot play without a row, break up the game."

The players got up slowly. "You understand?" Richard said under his
breath, and Crane nodded surlily.

The afternoon wore on and all remained quiet. Crane had evidently
thought better of his foolish jealously. It was growing late, and there
was going to be a high wind, and that was well, for it would set the
tide yet stronger in its outward sweep, and their flight would be all
the swifter.

It lacked only a little while before the drum-tap. Richard got up and
stood with his face to the glowing west to take his last farewell of the
dream-girl with whom he kept his tryst each evening at this hour.

"Good-by, sweetheart," he said in his inner consciousness. "I love you.
On your dear eyes I kiss you--so--"

"Attention! First division carry down their bedding!"

He wheeled; for he was in that first division. A quick glance about the
deck showed everything quiet as usual. Crane and a few others stood at
the far end of the deck awaiting their order to go down with the rest of
the bedding. This would take only ten minutes, then the drum-tap for the
roll-call and--death or liberty.


Swiftly the first division seized their allotment of the bedding and
passed below. Knowing what was to follow, they did not lose a moment;
but, quick as they were, something happened up above. There was a sound
as of a struggle, a fierce cry, the report of a musket, all so close
together as to seem almost blended into one sound; and then the ship
writhed and quivered with the reverberation of the cannon on the upper
end of the deck. Richard sprang to the ladder, but thrust only his
head above deck when an order to halt, accompanied by a touch of steel
to his temple, brought him up with a pull. But a look showed him what
had happened. Crane and three others lay motionless upon the deck, and
the other two men who had stood with them were covered by the muskets of
the guards, while the warden leaned against the cannon ready to sweep
the deck with another shot should so much as a hand be lifted without
his orders. He was absolute master of the situation. A signal was run
up to the patrol boat, the two mutineers were bound and hurried away;
then the drum tapped for roll-call. But no one made any show of revolt.
With the guards aroused, the patrol alarmed, and that murderous cannon
ready to rake the deck, it had been the act of madmen to resist; so,
scowlingly and surlily the prisoners lined up and answered to their
names, and then marched below, their plans all gone wrong. Richard threw
himself down and sobbed like a child. The plot had failed through the
malice of one man. Crane, thinking everything was ready, and that the
men would all respond to the signal, gave it while Richard was below,
thinking thus to snatch the leadership and gain control of the whole
vessel. But the other men, watching only for Richard's signal, did not
comprehend or respond to this unexpected whistle, only the five who
stood immediately with Crane falling in with his plan. But even they
were not quick enough, for the sentinel upon whom they leaped had time
to cry out the alarm and discharge his gun, while the warden sprang to
the ever-ready cannon.

Although the prisoners felt the warden's anger in many petty ways, no
other arrests were made; for the two captives took their punishment
heroically and told no tales, and inquiry of course failed to elicit any
information from the rest of the prisoners.

"I cannot stay here--I will not!" Richard cried vehemently to Peter. "I
am going, and soon at that."

"What is it you propose to do?"

"I do not yet know, but I am going, or they shall kill me with a
rifle-ball instead of by slow starvation," he said doggedly.

Then one night a month later, as they lay gasping for air in the black
hold, he unfolded a plan that made Peter's heart sick with dread and



     "Let terror strike slaves mute;
     Much danger makes great hearts most resolute."

     "Death, when unmasked, shows us a friendly face."

"Rebels, turn out your dead!"

The inhuman call came down the opened hatches, and the prisoners, stupid
with the foul air they had breathed all night, prepared to obey. So many
times they had heard the cry that they had grown callous to its coarse

It was the end of September, and the delayed equinoctial storm would
soon ravage the coast. For a week the sea-faring folk had been expecting
it; and now at last the great gale or the forerunner of it was upon
them, for all night the waves had been rolling in from the outside with
the sound of thunder. The ship had pitched and tossed and strained at
its moorings, while the living freight in its hold prayed that it might
break away entirely. The hatches, when lifted, showed no blue sky, but
gray clouds and scurrying mist wreaths. The men, coming up out of the
hot and fetid air, shivered a little in the stiff breeze on the deck,
then opening their mouths, drank it in like wine. The faces of the
landsmen had an added ghastliness from seasickness, but they were all
bad enough to look upon,--seamen and soldiers alike. In squads of six
they took their breakfast, eating by sheer force of resolution what they
loathed, that the hunger pains might not gnaw so hard.

"How many dead this morning?" demanded the warden.

"Two,--Drake and Cowles," answered Jack Bangs.

"Nay, there are three, Master Warden," said Peter Ruffin, sadly; "I
found Richard Clevering lying stiff and stark beside me when I got up.
The bodies are there beside the capstan."

The three were stretched upon the deck; the corner of Richard's blanket,
as if by accident, fell over the upper part of his face, but the mouth
below was blue and drawn. With an exclamation of surprise and sorrow
Jack Bangs crossed the deck and, lifting the blanket for a moment,
looked at the face beneath. Then, reverently replacing it, he made the
sign of the cross above the body, and speaking a few low words to Peter,
went away. The warden, who had watched the scene satirically, gave each
corpse a shove with his foot, cursing the while.

"D--n 'em! had to die the worst day of the month, that the burial might
be the more troublesome!" He glanced at them again, gave each another
kick, and checked off their names in his book. "Here, fix these hounds
up, and cut your work short so they'll be in the ground before the storm

"If you please, may I go in the boat this morning? Clevering was from my
town, and I should like to pay him this last respect."


Peter knew better than to urge his plea, and so stepped quietly aside.
But the warden, noticing the slow motions of one of the men to whom he
had beckoned, shouted angrily, "Out of the way there, you infernal
snail, or I'll fix you so you'll go in the boat and stay!"

Peter sprang into the man's place. "I will be very quick," he said,
touching his cap; and without another word wrapped one of the bodies
quickly in its coarse covering and took a few stitches with the needle
his comrade held out. He was so deft, and the lightning was so vivid,
that the warden grunted and let him go on. Under other circumstances he
would have been put in irons for insubordination.

The stitches in Richard's blanket were few and slight, just enough to
hold it about the body.

"What was the matter with that fellow? I never heard him say he was
sick," said one of the sentinels, stopping to look on.

Peter's pulse stood still. "He has complained for some time of a pain
about the heart. All last night he tossed and rolled, and just before
the hatches were opened, he said to me that his time had come. He's
hardly cold yet," he added hastily, as the man bent as though to touch a
hand left exposed by a rent in the blanket.

"Well, he'll have time enough to get cold in the ground," the warden
said, coming up behind, and mistaking Peter's words for a plea for more
time before the burial.

"He was a sullen chap to whom I've been looking for trouble. I'll
warrant he gets not cold between this and the devil," the guard said,
giving the stiff body a parting kick.

The waves tossed furiously, but the long-boat was launched, and two of
the guard took their places in it, while the man who was to assist Peter
at the graves followed to receive the bodies; for the sentinels never
touched them, partly through fear of contagion, and partly out of
contempt. The first two were finally lowered, and then came the moment
Peter had dreaded; those other two had been stiff and stark enough, but
he wanted no prying eyes looking on when he lifted this one, and so
before he bent over to Richard, he glanced down the deck and raised his
hand, quite casually, it seemed, to his face. Instantly, as though he
had been on the watch for a signal, Jack Bangs started a funeral hymn,
loud and wailing.

"Stop that devilish howling!" roared the warden, wheeling around.

Quick as a flash Peter, signing to his assistant, lifted the prostrate
figure at his feet and swung it over the side. The ropes grated on the
rail, and when the warden looked again, it was all over. Peter slid
instantly down one of the ropes, and he and his fellow grave-digger
untied the cords from the body and rolled it over beside the other two
in the bottom of the boat, the guards having their hands full to keep
the little craft from swamping in the waves. Then they cast off and
pulled for the shore.

"What makes you look at that carrion so confoundedly straight and
scared," one of the soldiers asked Peter, sharply, noticing how often
his eyes went to the figure at his feet.

Peter cursed himself inwardly, but he had been so afraid that the
blanket would rise and fall with a strong man's involuntary breathing
that he had watched it in a sort of fascination. Now he looked away,
answering slowly:--

"I have known him since he was a baby; he used to play with my little
boy that died, and so I keep thinking of those days."

One of the men laughed scoutingly, but the other growled out, "Let the
fool have his fling, and give me a light, Carson; my pipe's gone out in
this cursed spray." And while their heads were close together, Peter
stretched his legs out over the body, that if so it lost for a moment
its rigidity, they might not see.

It seemed to him an hour before the shore was reached and the landing
effected; then he and his assistant carried the bodies high up on the
sand. Richard's went first.

"He is alive," Peter whispered, as they moved up the beach, "but if you
give the faintest hint of it here or on shipboard by word, act, or look,
I'll throttle you like a viper."

"You need not threaten--I'm no peacher; and besides, I liked the lad,
and wish him well; but his chance is slim, and if he is taken, they will
torture him like the incarnate fiends."

An officer from the patrol, strolling near the boat, called out:--

"How many to-day, Carson?"


"That is an unusual haul; you are thinning them out fast."

"Not half fast enough; looks as if the cursed dogs held on to life to
spite us."

"Well, 'tis said that Howe will bring back plenty of recruits from the
French fleet to fill your gaps."

"How is that? What is the news?"

But Peter was listening eagerly, hoping to catch some bit of outside
information. The officer pointed to him with elevated eyebrows, and the
guard drove him with imprecations to his task.

"Your shovel?--Well, there it is, you son of perdition! Go on, and mind
you be quick in hiding that carrion from the crows."

Beside the boat, with guns cocked and ready, the three men then
talked over the war tidings, while thirty yards up the beach the two
grave-diggers fell to their task. Rapidly the two first graves were made
and the occupants laid therein with only a muttered prayer from Peter;
and so were closed two human chapters in the varying story of life. The
wind shrieked in from the sea, edged with foam or stinging sand caught
up at the water's edge, and the heavens were like a vast slaty canopy
torn now and then by jagged lightning flashes. The scene was a fit
setting for the mournful work in hand. Once or twice while the two
laboured, one of the guards walked over to look at them, and then
wandered back to the boat and his companions.

Over the first two graves the sand was heaped high, forming, as far as
possible, a barrier for the third. Shallow that third grave was,--so
shallow that a man could scarce lie therein and be concealed; but so
it must be that the sand might not be too heavy on the body, and yet
seem to be piled up. Tenderly Peter lifted that last silent figure and
stretched it in the hollow made for it; then, while he still stooped,
he broke the frail stitches of the blanket, and snatching two pieces
of driftwood he put them crosswise over the head of the grave with their
ends on the edges. The hollow space below might contain enough air to
last a man a little while.

"Stay, here is piece of hollow cane in the sand," said the assistant,
"keep one end of it over your mouth, Richard; we will leave the other
just out of the sand; in this way you can breathe longer.--So."

"Quick, quick; the shovels! The guard is returning," cried Peter.

It seemed to them that their shovels crawled, and yet they worked like
mad. If the guard got there before they finished, all was lost. Spadeful
after spadeful,--was ever a man so hard to cover? Another step and the
sentinel would be upon them, and the blanket scarcely hidden, and those
tell-tale boards and the cane yet in sight. It was a fearful moment.
Peter's heart stood still, and his comrade's hands were like ice.

"What the devil are you so long about?"

But it was only the angry voice that reached them; a blinding lightning
flash ripped the heavens wide open, and the wind with a demoniacal
shriek rushed down the beach, throwing the sand in a swirling cloud
about the on-coming man, making him stagger with its force and snatching
away his hat and rain coat. Half blinded, he raced down the sloping
stretch to regain his garments which more than once eluded him. Then in
the lull he came back swearing furiously; and finding the men leaning on
their shovels, he stuck his bayonet into each of the three mounds. Into
the third it penetrated only a little way; but he did not notice, for
the wind was again gathering itself for a fresh burst of fury.

"Now then, get you to the boats!" he cried, standing behind them.

Peter paused a moment and crossed himself reverently, saying in a loud
voice, "Your bodies to the earth, your souls to God's care; and may you
pass to liberty in the folds of the in-rolling fog."

"Pass to hell and the devil! Get on, I say!" cried the guard, angrily,
as he struck Peter across the shoulders with his bayonet. And Peter,
having said his say, ran nimbly to the boat; and pushing it off, they
leaped in, and were soon toiling amid the breakers to reach the ship's

It seemed to Richard that long months passed while he lay motionless
under that weight of sand, breathing spasmodically through the bit of
reed. The drift-boards kept the pressure partially from his chest so
that he suffered very little. The guard's bayonet had grazed his leg
without piercing it, but the thirst in his throat was something
terrible. Peter's voice had penetrated through the boards and their thin
covering of sand, so that he knew the fog was following the wind from
the sea. It was for this he had hoped, and it was this Peter meant to
tell him in those last words. Dear old Peter; how he had tried to
dissuade him from this mad plan, and when that was impossible, how he
had risked his own safety to aid him. Richard felt the tears on his face
as he recalled his friend's unselfish offices. Several times during the
wait for a stormy day he had been on the point of giving up the whole
plan, lest it work a mischief for Peter; but the latter had said it
would mean only a day in irons for him, and that he was willing to risk
that much for his friend's liberty; it was for Richard himself that he
feared. But even death had a smiling face for Richard, compared to a
winter spent in the vile ship; and so the plan had gone on, and by
Peter's care he was lying here in his grave, accounted of the world as

By and by his limbs began to cramp and ache. Through strong will power
he had kept them rigid during those terrible moments of examination and
removal from the ship. He would not have dared assay the plan had he not
known how superficial, through repetition, had become the warden's
inspection of the corpses--just a few questions and that savage kick.
Each time there had been a death during the past fortnight, he had
studied the details of the preparation and burial, until he was
convinced that he could carry his scheme to a successful close if only
Peter was allowed to be one of his sextons.

As the minutes now passed, the ache in his limbs increased, for the
pressure of the sand was stopping the circulation. Then the dryness in
his throat grew and grew, until he could bear it no longer. Had he lain
there a year, or only a day? Slowly and cautiously he drew his hands up
to his breast, then higher, and finally placed the palms against the
board over his head. The first movement brought the sand in a shower
upon his shoulders; but after a while he worked it far enough back to
leave a crack between it and its fellow. This he could only feel, for
knowing the sand would strangle and blind him, he had not as yet taken
the blanket from his face, since moving it ever so little to receive the
reed into his mouth. Next, he slowly pushed the other board downward
until a rush of cold air told him he was once more in the world of
humanity, not forever sealed in the haunt of ghouls. Cautiously he
shoved the blanket from his face and looked up into the storm-hung
heavens. It was mid-afternoon, and he had thought it must be midnight.
Eagerly he drew in the air, cool and laden with moisture, and tried to
forget his aching limbs. He dared not stir yet lest the patrol should
see him. He must wait; and while he waited, how the moments lagged!

The wind had fallen, but the waves still thundered on the shore, and the
lightning now and then raced along the clouds. Afraid to raise his head,
he could only lie still and stare straight above him into the square of
mist and clouds. With a great throb of joy he watched the gloom deepen.
He had not heard the sunset gun from the station down the beach, but the
fog would befriend him; so when he could no longer bear the straitened
position, he lifted his head and shoulders and looked around. The fog
was everywhere; scarcely could he see the tumultuous waves that
shattered themselves along the sand. He need wait no longer, no one
could see him now; and painfully and carefully he finally drew his
stiff limbs from under the sand. To stand at full length was not to be
thought of, but he rolled over and rubbed and stretched himself until
the cramp was relieved. Then he set himself to fill in and round up his
vacated grave; for Peter's sake he must do this, that no suspicion might
be aroused when the funeral boat brought its next cargo ashore. Swiftly
he worked, using a piece of the drift-board for a shovel, and crawling
from head to foot to be sure that all was right. His heart was full of
gratitude when at last it was finished, and, with a sigh of relief, he
threw the board aside and stood up straight,--a free man.

But at this moment something came out of the fog from the shore side,
and as he steadied himself upon his feet, he found himself face to face
with a man.



     "O God, it is a fearful thing
     To see the human soul take wing
     In any shape, in any mood."

For one awful minute neither man moved; then the patrol, with the horror
in his face as of one who looks upon a thing of another world, gave a
hoarse scream which was swallowed up in the roar of the sea. Richard
did not know what an uncanny sight he made rising up from that grave
with his hair unkempt, his face like ashes, and a burial cloth still
bound about his jaws. He comprehended only that detection threatened,
and detection meant death. With one bound he cleared the grave between
them, and grappled with the guard. Under other circumstances he
would have been no match for the man, starved and weak as he was; but
desperation--that fierce, mad desire to live--gave him strength. It
was not so much he as that aroused demon within him that gave back the
patrol's blows, struck the gun from his hands, and finally gripped him
about the throat. Not a word was said, not a cry was uttered, as they
tossed and swayed backward and forward, to the right or left, sank on
one knee and rose again to stagger and struggle anew. If Richard could
keep that strangling hold, the fight was his, and with it the liberty
for which he longed; if the other man could break it, then life would
pay the forfeit. Doggedly he hung on, though his fingers strained and
his head reeled, while the other beat him about the body and shoulders
with blows that began to lose their force, for that iron grip upon his
windpipe was telling at last. Richard was literally choking the life
out of him. Backward he went--backward--until the muscles in his chest
swelled, and the joints of his back and shoulders cracked--still
backward, with everything dark before him. Then suddenly his knees
collapsed, and he went down to the sand in a shapeless huddle. But even
then Richard did not let go his hold; deeper, and yet deeper his fingers
sank into the flesh under them, until not a quiver was left in the
insensible limbs. Then finally he stood up and looked upon his work.

God! he had committed murder.


For a long minute he stood there, trembling, horror-stricken; then the
self within him cried out, and he roused up to thought and action. That
dead body would tell its own disastrous tale when the relief watch came;
should he bury it here in his own grave? Yes, that cheated sepulchre
should have its inmate; and he reached for the board. But no; there
would not be time; it would take hours to hide it, trembling and weak
as he was, something else must be done, something quick. Should he run
for the dunes and leave it where it lay? If found thus, search would be
made for the slayer; he would be setting the watch upon his own track.
He pressed his hands helplessly to his temples, staring meanwhile upon
the horror there at his feet. Then suddenly the explanation came: the
man's beat ended on a rock that dropped sharply into the water; he knew,
for he had noticed when he came ashore before with the funeral boat.
If he could throw the body down there, it would be thought the man had
walked off in the fog and gloom; no suspicion would be aroused, and he
would be free from pursuit.

Shivering at the contact, he seized the body and dragged it along over
the shells and pebbles. Once or twice he lost his bearings in the short
journey, but a rising wind blew out trailing lengths of fog before him
and, aided thus, in a little while he reached his goal. But he could not
see the body enter the water; it would be like a second murder, and so
with eyes close shut he pushed it off and groaned in his soul to hear
the splash that came from below.

"God bear witness that I did not want his blood upon my hands!"

Then he looked away to the dunes and took one step toward them. But the
gun--it lay yonder by the graves; he might as well have left the body
itself there. Hastily he returned, smoothed over the sand where the
struggle had fallen, and seizing the man's gun and hat, he sped again to
the rock, placing them near the ledge, that they might seem to have been
dropped there in an attempt at self-preservation. Then he was free to
go. Into the fog he plunged, making for where the sand-dunes rose; and
as he tottered down into the underbrush beyond, he heard the sunset gun
from the station boom out through the mist. He had lived a whole
lifetime in the last half hour.

It had been his plan to cross the island and seek some means of escaping
to the Jersey coast from the south-side villages, but the fog hid
everything, and he seemed walking in a circle. He was weak from
excitement and lack of food, and after stumbling blindly onward for a
while, he turned to the left and kept on a parallel with the coast, the
boom of the surf being his guide; but always he kept the sound far
enough away to avoid the sentinels from the patrol. The fog had turned
into a rain, cold and depressing, and so after walking an hour or two he
was willing to risk something of danger for food and rest. He had passed
several houses but had kept aloof through fear; now, however, he bent
his steps to a tiny light burning ahead.

It was a fisherman's cottage close to an inlet that jutted in from the
bay, and as good fortune would have it the old man, detained by the
storm, was just getting home. Even in the little harbour the swell was
unusually strong, and the man was having much difficulty in beaching his
boat, so that Richard's aid was most timely.

"Who are you, my friend?" the fisherman asked, when everything was snug
and taut.

"A traveller who has lost his way."

The old fellow squinted his eyes for a closer look. "A traveller? Well,
'tis enough; we never ask names, my old woman and I, for in such days as
these a man's name is ofttimes his most secret possession. We know not
the rights of this war, and so we take no sides, but pray that justice
may conquer. Now, how can I pay you for your help?"

"By giving me food and shelter."

"That will I, for without you I should have lost my whole day's take and
that had been a terrible mishap. Fry an extra fish, mother," he called
into the cottage.

"Ay, two of them, good mother. I pray you; for I am as a ravening wolf
seeking what I may devour," Richard said, putting his head in at the
door; and his voice was so bonny that the old woman filled the skillet
with a lavish hand. And in that firelit hut he ate the first palatable
meal he had had since Monmouth day. Then he set himself artfully to
persuade the fisherman to take him down the Sound in his boat.

"Nay, I never go now, the journey is too much for me; and besides I must
go to-morrow to the camp to sell my fish. But the soldiers go and come
between here and New York every day; if you will come with me to the
camp, I will get you company."

But Richard evaded the invitation. After a while the old woman said:
"There is Dame Grant who lives just over the inlet, she goes down the
Sound day after to-morrow to see her people,--she hath recently heard
that her niece hath a new baby (a fine girl weighing ten pounds in its
skin and to be named for the dame), mayhap you could find passage with

But again Richard shook his head, shuddering inwardly at the thought
that the old woman might recognize him and be tempted by the standing
reward for escaped prisoners to give him again into captivity. He would
find some other way, he said, and talked of the fishing in the Sound.
When the old man's pipe was smoked out they went to bed, and in spite of
that haunting scene beside the wind-swept graves, Richard slept
profoundly through the night hours. Waking before the old couple in the
gray morning, he crept down from the loft, and raking together the coals
upon the hearth, he breakfasted on the remains of last night's supper,
then stole out into the wet and sombre world.

How sweet it was to breathe the early air and feel the earth beneath his
feet, and have the weeds and underbrush rap him about the knees as he
pushed away to the interior! The fisherman's hut was a league behind him
when he saw the east redden with the rising sun, for the besom of the
storm had swept the heavens clear. What a wonderful light threaded the
woods and glorified the tree-tops, sparkling and changing with every
motion of the boughs! Often he had seen it among his native Carolina
hills, this opaline opening of the morn, but never before with such a
thrill of appreciation, such a rush of exquisite joy.

"Good morning, Joscelyn; I am a free man to-day." And he bowed as though
he had been in a ball-room, and picking a bit of blossom that nodded at
him, he stuck it jauntily in his ragged coat.

If it had not been for that dead face playing hide-and-seek always among
the bushes about him, he could have whistled as he walked. Now and then
he sighted houses and cultivated fields, but he kept to the woods; not
until he reached the sea on the other side of the island would he
venture to show his face at a door. There were wild grapes in the
thickets and sweet beach mass to eat; and a little past noon he found a
late melon in the weeds of a fence corner, and feasted like a lord.

But half a mile farther on, his pleasure was forgotten in a keen
excitement, for from a slight eminence, he saw the plain stretching to
the right and left white with the tents of soldiery; and not ten paces
from him a sentinel, with his back this way, sat on a fallen tree and
read a letter. A few more steps, and he would have been in the hornets'
nest,--a helpless captive. Instantly he dropped upon his knees, and
crawled into the brush as stealthily as a creature of the jungle. He had
evidently come too far west in his flight, for this was a part of
Clinton's army, quartered here within easy reach of New York. Far away
to either side the tents reached, dotting the whole expanse of country.
To turn either wing looked like an impossibility; it would take him days
to skirt those picket posts to the east; and on the west, he knew from
what the fisherman had said that they must reach even to the hamlet
whence the boats went daily to New York. To take that route meant a sure
and swift destruction, since he would be thrusting himself into the very
toils he longed to avoid. His one chance seemed to be a retreat the way
he came, and then to beat his way to the northeast along the coast of
the Sound, and get over to the Connecticut side on some fishing-boat. He
would be weeks--perhaps months--longer in reaching Washington or home,
but better that a thousand times than certain capture. He reasoned it
all out carefully, lying under the thicket, and then lingered a few
minutes to envy the unconscious sentinel his letter, for of course it
was from home. How long it had been since he had heard aught of his
loved ones--three weary months!

Downcast and disheartened, he returned along his own trail, and in the
early twilight heard the boom of the surf ahead of him. But he had
missed his way somewhat, and came out of the brush on the side of the
inlet across from the fisherman's hut. He found he would have to walk an
extra mile or two to get back to that shelter for the night. He sighed
and turned, but just at that moment there flashed upon his sight a light
from a window some fifty yards down the inlet, and on the same side with

Stay; this was Dame Grant's hut, and she went to-morrow to the Jersey
shore to visit her kin.

He did not go back around the head of the cove, but turned instead into
the field before this other hut, whose friendly light was winking at him
through the dusk. His resolution was taken, for good or ill.

Evidently the dame had company, for there was the sound of voices and
laughter on the water front of the little house; and Richard stood still
with a tingling sense of pleasure,--it had been so long since he had
heard people laugh joyously and heartily, that the sound came like the
echo of something loved but almost forgotten. Between a hayrick and the
fence he finally lay down to wait; and while he waited he slept, for
when he awoke the hut was silent, although the light still burned at the
window. The chill of autumn was in the air, and he shivered as he
crossed the enclosure and stood looking into the lighted room. It was a
pleasant scene: the two boys slept upon a wooden bench, but the dame sat
by the table, busy with a piece of bright-hued patchwork, and Richard
took heart of grace that she smiled as she sewed. From his ragged
boot-leg he had taken Colborn's gold piece, and now he used it to tap
lightly on the small, diamond-shaped pane. The dame looked up in
surprise to see a hatless man at her window; but he smiled cheerily and
beckoned, holding the gold piece against the glass that she might see
it. For a moment she looked at him frowningly, then the glitter of the
gold won her, and she got up and opened the door.

"What want you at this hour of the night at an honest woman's house?"

"I want an honest conversation with an honest woman, therefore came I to
your door, knowing where to find both. In all true faith and respect I
am here; so come, good mother, ask me in. Without your bidding I will
not enter, for I would not wilfully intrude upon the privacy of a lady."
He bowed low, clicking his heels as neatly as though he were her partner
in a minuet.

"Go along with your fine ways," she said, but she laughed.

"No ways can be too fine for a lady." And he took her hand and kissed it
with the air of a prince, clicking his heels again in that military

"You young impudence! leave go my hand--you'll find it heavy enough on
your ear presently. I'll warrant you have it in mind to fleece me out of
something, so say your say and be done with it," but there was no real
anger in her voice.

"Nay, I am no highwayman nor money beggar; for that which you do for me
I will pay you well," he answered, again holding up the gold piece. "But
would you not be more comfortable sitting?" He waved his hand toward the
chair she had quitted, and the fine courtesy of his tone again called
forth her laugh; but she took the hint and, turning, bade him enter.

"Well, where do we begin?" she said, when they were seated.

"My mother always begins by asking a stranger to have something to
eat--and you have bonny blue eyes like hers," he answered, with boyish
audacity, pushing back her loose sleeve and patting the fat arm.

"'Tis a good place to start," she answered, shoving him off; and would
have called the boys to serve him, but he held her back.

"I wish no one but you to hear what I have to say. You may trust me--I
swear it." So she opened the cupboard herself and brought out plenty of
cold food. Richard ate ravenously, praising everything (for in truth it
had a heavenly taste), and telling her how blue her eyes were, and how
pretty her patchwork--just like what his own mother used to make.

"A bit of a quilt for a bairn just born," she said, and smoothed it with
her great hands.

And Richard asked the child's name, and said it had a sweet sound, and
hoped it would have blue eyes with a twinkle in them like her own. And
while he ate and talked she watched him narrowly. He knew it, but he did
not care. Presently she said, as one asserting a fact:--

"You are from one of the prison-ships."

He nodded, smiling; and his frankness evidently pleased her, for she
nodded back. "That's right; no use to lie about it. I knew I had seen
your face somewhere. How did you get away?"

"That is the one thing I cannot tell you, good mother, for it would
implicate the man who helped me, and not even for your favour--though
God knows I want it bad enough--will I betray my friend."

"Right again; hold fast to the man who holds to you; I like to see folk

Then he told her how he wanted to go in her boat to the Jersey shore,
and how it was he happened to know her plans. But she shook her head;
the risk was too great.

"There will be no risk at all. You are so well known to the soldiers at
the different posts that you will never be questioned. It would be but
natural for you to take some one stronger than your boys to help you in
making so long a voyage. Find me but a coat and hat, and no one will
give me a thought, for I know how to hold my tongue when occasion

But still she refused. Her passport called but for three, and she was
not going to run her head into a noose for all his fine speeches and
petting ways--for he had squeezed her hand and patted her gray hair
while he talked.

He would not listen to her refusal; if she did not take him, he was
lost. And he got hold of her other hand, and in pathetic words described
to her the agony he had suffered on the vessel; and then he dropped his
head on the table and almost sobbed as he told her of Joscelyn and his
yearning to see her.

"Oho, a sweetheart, is it?" asked the old woman, with aroused interest.

"Yes, as bonny a girl as you ever set eyes upon. And think you,
good dame, of your own young days, of the time when the lads were
at your beck and call,--for I warrant me those blue eyes broke many
hearts,--would you not have been grateful if your lover had been in
peril and some one had saved him for you?"

The dame chuckled. "Ay, ay, I had my fling with the lads, I did."

"It goes without the saying. And there was one among them whom you
loved?" The brown face grew suddenly very tender as with the shadow of a
memory. "Then for the sake of him save Joscelyn's sweetheart for her."

But still she shook her head, and for a minute Richard was in despair.
Then he began all over again, adding the gold piece to his argument.
Thus for half an hour the plea went on, and just as he felt that he had
failed, she suddenly nodded her head decisively, that softened light
again shining in her face.

"One of the boys shall bide at home, and you may go in his stead, since
you are so set on it; but mind, you help with the boat, and I have the

"That and Joscelyn's love shall be yours, you dear, bonny dame!" he
cried rapturously, seizing her about the shoulders and kissing her
heartily on either red cheek.

"Get out! Of all the lads I ever saw, you have the freest manners."
But the shove she gave him had in it no roughness. He had set her to
thinking of her own youth and of a lad who had gone to sea one morning,
kissing his hand to her, but had never come home again, though she had
waited for him for many a day through shine of sun and wail of storm.
Through all her life a woman's first love is a touchstone to her
sympathy, an open sesame to her tenderness; neither as maid, nor yet as
wife, does she ever quite forget that first sweet spell upon her heart.
Dame Grant scarcely saw the man beside her, but for sake of that other
lad, whom nobody had been able to help far back in the years that were
dead, she would save this other girl's lover.

In an hour their preparations were made. From the loft of her hut the
dame brought down a leather jerkin and a battered hat, and after her
scissors had gone over Richard's head, he was metamorphosed so that
even she herself would scarcely have recognized him.

"You'd be a fine figure of a man if those wretches on the ship had not
starved the shape out of you."

"My mother always said that in the way of beauty Providence had done
more for my legs than for my face," Richard laughed.

"Well, the warden hath undone the job, for thy breeches hang like a
scarecrow's. Now up into the loft with you, and find some straw whereon
to sleep. 'Tis close upon midnight, and we start with the sun."

But Richard was too full of joy and excitement to sleep much, and so
when the dame and her boys came out the next morning, they found him
sitting beside the boat, pulling on his boots after a plunge into the
cold salt water. The feeling in his breast was indescribable when at
last, after many injunctions to the boy who was left, they drew out of
the cove into the open bay, in the pearl and purple morning, and he knew
his journey was begun.

They went somewhat out of their way that Dame Grant might leave some
parcels at the patrol station, their course taking them within a hundred
yards of the three prison-ships rocking in the bay. At first Richard
turned his eyes away with a sickening sense of pain and rage, then
looked eagerly to see if he might recognize Peter on the deck. Yes,
there he was, near the stern; Richard knew him from his height and from
the cap he wore, and he had to hold his teeth clenched to keep from
crying out to him. How dismal and condemned the three hulks looked,
despite the transfiguring touch of the morning! And over there on the
strand was his grave, the spot to which his mother's thoughts would make
many a sorrowful pilgrimage if so the news of his death should outrun
him to the Carolina hills.

At the station one of the guards remarked on the fact that the dame had
a new hand aboard.

"Yes; Henry's stomach's apt to go back on him in rough weather, and at
this season o' the year we are like to get into a blow any time, so I
left him and brought a stronger man. It turns my blood to see Henry
heaving and gagging when he ought to be shortening sail."

"Well, yon fellow hasn't much the look of a sailor," said the man, eying
Richard suspiciously as he was making awkward attempts to pull in a
flapping sail.

"Oh, he isn't showing off, but he suits me well enough," the dame
answered, with a warning side look at Richard, who instantly gave better
heed to his task. Nothing but her coolness saved him, for the guard's
word, coming so suddenly, had made him go very white.

Then a pæan of praise went singing itself through his heart, for the
parcels were delivered, and pushing off from shore the boat sailed out
of the bay and turned her nose to the west. Down the narrow waterway
between Long Island and the city of New York they sailed all the
morning, stopping here and there at signals from patrol stations to
show their passports. But at none of these places were they detained
very long, for Dame Grant had looked carefully to such matters, and so
noon found them in a wide bay to the south of the city. No misfortune
had befallen Richard, for he had kept a still tongue at every stopping
place. In the afternoon the breeze quickened, and they went racing away
before it toward the ever growing shore-line ahead, and in the gloaming
they landed at a little hamlet on the Jersey side of the bay.

High up on the beach the boat was pulled and tied to a stake, and then
while the boy was gaping about him, Richard went back to the boat side
and took the dame's big hand in his:--

"You have kept your contract, and the gold is yours; God bless you for a
good, true woman!" he said, leaving the coin in her palm.

But she thrust it back vigorously: "Nay, I will none of it; I but put it
in the bargain to test you. You have paid me twofold by your labour and
your good gratitude. Tell your Joscelyn that I send you to her as a
gift, and bid her use you well."

Nothing could prevail upon her to touch the coin, and so at last Richard
turned away.

"Hist!" she said, holding him a moment, "'tis said there is a
Continental force near Brunswick; keep to the southwest."

"Thank you, and God keep you!" And the gathering shadows swallowed him

At that very moment, on board the prison-ship _Good Hope_, Eustace
Singleton was listening to the story of his death from the obsequious
warden, and wondering how he was to write it to Betty.

And far away in Hillsboro' Joscelyn and Betty were going slowly home in
bitter disappointment, after seeing the post-rider distribute his few
letters, and finding there was nothing for them. How many and how long
had been the weeks since they wrote to Eustace; for then it was
summer-time, and now the red and ochre tints of the autumn flamed in the
woodlands. And still Betty cried, and still Joscelyn counselled



                     "And to his eye
     There was but one beloved face on earth,
     And that was shining on him."

It was a windy day in late November, one of those rare days when summer,
repenting of her desertion, steals softly back to comfort the earth with
a parting smile. Out in the brown fields the birds pruned their wings in
the sun and sang a few notes softly, as a singer who recalls fitfully
and doubtfully a long forgotten tune; the golden daisies by the door
still burnt like stars late fallen from the far firmament; a revivified
butterfly hovered languidly over the faded aster beds, and venturesome
wasps sallied from their castles under the eaves and buzzed droningly
against the window panes. It was a day of shifting shadows, of subtle
changes and soft surprises.

Joscelyn and Betty sat over their embroidery frames in the latter's
parlour, talking over the events of the past two months--the long wait
between their letter to Eustace and his sorrowful reply; the grief that
clouded the two houses for four days following, before they knew that
Richard had escaped and was not dead, and the intense relief and joy
his short message had brought them.

"It was like a hundred candles suddenly brought into a dark room," Betty
said, snipping off her thread. "But do you know, Joscelyn, that you
acted so queerly, scolding because you had cried so much, and cocking
your head before the mirror to count the wrinkles your grieving had
made,--though for the life of me I could never see one of them,--that I
half believed you were angry that Richard had not died in truth."

"You give me credit for much feeling, I am sure," quizzed Joscelyn. "But
in sooth, Betty, when a woman gets circles under her eyes, and crow's
feet at the corners of her mouth, and a dismal whine to her voice
through over-much sighing, she likes to know it has not been all in
vain. Wasted grief is like wasted sweets--useless."

"I would to heaven all grief were useless and in vain."

Joscelyn shook her head. "That would not do; for without grief there
would be no pity, and without pity there would be no love, and life
without love were not worth the living."

"Love? What do you know of love?" Betty asked, looking up quickly.

"You vain little minx! do you think Cupid wasted all his arrows on you
and Eustace?"

"N-o; but Joscelyn--"

"'But, Joscelyn,'" mimicked the other, still laughing; "from the doubt
in your voice one would think you were own daughter to that biblical
Thomas whose faith was so small. Trust me, Cupid has saved a shaft in
his quiver for me."

"You are such a queer girl, Joscelyn; one never knows how to take you.
You sorrowed for Richard so vehemently at first--do you--can you mean
that you care just a little for him?"

"My dear, I was much more in love with Richard dead than I am ever like
to be with Richard alive. You see, Death is not unlike charity: it
covers a multitude of faults."

"You heartless creature!"

And Betty got up and took her frame to another window. But she could
never stay angry long, partly because of her gentle disposition, and
partly because she knew that much of Joscelyn's seeming heartlessness
was in truth but mischievous banter; and so their heads were close
together again very soon, while their needles wrought silken poppies or
blue-eyed violets into the meshes of canvas on their frames.

And while they thus talked and sewed, a horseman came galloping down the
streets. A great commotion followed in his wake; for he rode with a free
rein and so rapidly withal that his horse's hoofs struck sparks from the
loose stones of the street. Straight to Mistress Clevering's door he
went, and springing down stayed not to knock or parley, but entering
without ceremony and meeting the astonished lady in the hall, hugged
her with a will.

"Why--it is--Richard--Richard!"

Her voice was half choked with giving back his kisses, but it reached
the two girls in the parlour who, startled at first into silence, threw
down their needles and rushed headlong into the hall, and, before they
realized it, were kissed by the newcomer in a rapturous greeting.

Joscelyn's cheek burnt scarlet under his lips, but so glad was she to
see him safe after all their anxiety that she submitted without protest.
In faith, it was over so quickly, there had been no time for resistance.
Devouring her with his eyes, he tried to retain her hand when the
greeting was over, but after a moment she slipped it, not unkindly, from
his grasp, and presently when he had told them briefly of his marvellous
escape, she ran over to give her mother the news and to see if there was
not a piece of his favourite cake in the cupboard. A warm tingle was in
her veins, and she put her hand up to the cheek he had kissed. How
pleasant it was to hear his voice in the house. If he would only leave
the war alone, and--and quit making love to her, she would be so fond of
him; they used to be excellent comrades before these two things came
between them.

Thinking thus, she put a napkin over the cake and turned to leave the
pantry; but Richard, under pretext of speaking to her mother, had
followed her, and now stood in the door barring her exit.

"Joscelyn, how good it is to see you again! Have you thought of me?"

"'Twould have been impossible not to think of you with nothing else
being talked of in the house these two months past."

"But have you missed me?"

"Why, we miss anything to which we have been accustomed."

"And you sorrowed for me?"

"Truly, Richard, I should be a most hard-hearted girl not to sorrow over
such suffering as has been yours."

"God bless you!" He was so full of joy over the meeting that he did not
notice the lack of love-warmth in her voice, but when he would have put
his arm about her, she pushed him off with quiet decision.

"Nay, Richard, do not begin that. You told your mother just now that you
had but three hours to stay with us; let us not waste a single moment of
the time in a useless love-making."

"But you kissed me for greeting."

"Nay, sir, 'twas you kissed me," she said, with a shimmer of laughter
over her face like sunlight upon dancing water.

"Listen, sweetheart," he said, coming very close to her, his head
swimming with the soft intoxication of her presence; "we may have but
these few minutes together, but I want you to know that it was the
thought of you that kept me alive in that vile prison and finally nerved
me to escape. But for you,--for the fierce longing to see you, to touch
you,--I should have stayed there and died like a rat."

"Eustace did all he could," she broke in, "but our letter was long in
reaching him, for General Clinton had sent him to help repel the attack
on Rhode Island, and he did not return to New York for more than a

"I know, and some day I shall thank him; but he could not have effected
my release or exchange, only bought a little favour from my hard
jailers, and I cared not for that kind of obligation from one of his
name. It was you--the memory of your dear face--that steeled my nerves
and broke my bonds. There is a species of numbing despair that comes
upon a man sometimes over which a great love alone can triumph."

She put her hand upon his arm, for there was a pathos in his voice that
touched her deeply; "Richard, I wish I loved you."

"And so you shall, and do," he cried; and instantly the tender spell
upon her was broken, for in his tone and manner was the old arrogance
and sureness that she so much resented. He felt the change, and said
pleadingly, "The fisherwoman who rescued me said at parting, 'Tell your
Joscelyn to use you well.' Are you so soon forgetting her injunction?"

"Nay; she was a good woman, and I shall pray for her."

"Love me instead--'twill be truer gratitude."

But his mother and Mistress Cheshire were in the hall, and so for answer
Joscelyn pushed him through the door; and he went out to the older
women, munching a bit of sweet cake like a boy.

By this time the neighbours were all collected about the door, eager to
hear of absent sons and husbands; and he went out to them and answered
questions, and took messages and told anew the story of his escape, but
with such omissions of names as to throw no suspicion on Dame Grant, if
so the story found its way back to the north.

"And in writing to Peter," he said to Patience and her mother, who were
grief stricken at his story, "say only that Dick Clevering told you
where he was; he will understand, and anything else might arouse the
warden's suspicions and bring punishment upon him."

He thought they would never have done with their inquiries and their
bemoanings, so short was his time and so eager was he for one more word
with Joscelyn. At last he said:--

"And now, my friends, I will carry as many letters as my pockets can
hold, but they must be writ in short shift, for in an hour I go on my
journey and shall not return this way when once I set my face

And so they went away,--some to prepare their missives, others out of
delicacy, feeling his own people must have him to themselves.

"Tell us all about your journey's purpose, Richard," said Betty.

"No, sister; a soldier's mission is not his property. Suffice it
for you to know that another man, Dunn by name, and I go through the
Carolinas, perhaps so far south as Savannah, on business for the
commander-in-chief. He cannot weaken his present force by detaching any
number of men to aid the southerners, but he wants to put them on their
guard against the force Clinton is sending by sea from New York; and
also to learn accurately the strength of the cause in these parts."

"And where is Master Dunn?"

"He stopped for a few hours over the Virginia line to see his wife, and
I rode the livelong night that I might have this glimpse of you.
Methinks I should almost have deserted to come back for a look at you
all, had I not persuaded Dunn to choose me on this expedition."

"And where are you to meet him?"

"At Charlotte, three days hence."

"When Eustace--when Master Singleton,"--Betty corrected herself, with a
vivid blush, "wrote, saying you were dead, mother and I were like to go
crazy with grief. He wrote it kindly, but for two days mother did not
leave her bed."

"And what did Joscelyn say?"

"Oh, Joscelyn cried till her eyes were all red and puffed, and reminded
us how you and she used to ride and read and walk together without even
so much as a sharp word until the war talk came on. She did much to
comfort mother."

"God bless her! But you were not long in suspense?"

"No; but mother had already prepared to have a service in your memory,
and Janet and Patience had practised the hymns."

"Well, there was at least a grave to sing over," laughed Richard; but
his mother was crying, even to think of those sad hours.

"How thin you are!" she said, feeling his arms tenderly.

"Well, mother, when a man has been in his grave, 'tis not to be expected
that he will look like one of the fatted kine. But I am plump as a rosy
Cupid compared with what I have been; and this reminds me that I am
hungry for some of your good cooking; do you and Betty get me up a bit
of dinner while I look to my horse."

But he knew his horse had been cared for, and instead of the stable, it
was Joscelyn's door he sought.

"I have but a little while left," he said; "come and sit with us, that I
may not lose sight of you for one of those blessed minutes. I am as a
thirsty man with the cup held ever out of his reach."

"I thought you would wish to talk with your mother and sister alone."

"There is nothing I tell them that I would not quite as willingly trust
to you; for though you are a Loyalist, yet you are loyal to your
friends," he said, smiling at his own pleasantry, and she laughed too.
Long afterward those words came back to him with a pang.

As they crossed the street Mistress Strudwick hailed them from the
sidewalk. "Hey, there, Richard! you are keeping bad company and will
fall under suspicion, consorting with that young Tory," she cried. "Are
your despatches in the pocket next to her?--if so, beware!"

"I have them in my heart, Mistress Strudwick."

"Then in faith are they already Joscelyn's," laughed the old lady,
teasingly pinching the girl's cheek as the two came up to her.

"Come, Mistress Strudwick, Richard wears not his heart on his sleeve."

"But he pins it instead upon yours--which is quite as public. Ah,
Richard, she is a sad dare-devil!" and she went on to tell him of some
of the scenes of the past months. He had feared for her from the first,
and in his mother's parlour he caught her arm almost fiercely:--

"Are you mad that you jeopardize yourself in this way?"

"Mistress Strudwick is over-alarmed; I can take care of myself," she
answered, a trifle hotly.

But he was not satisfied; one word brought on another, and they were
nearly quarrelling when Betty came to say his dinner was ready.

"Joscelyn," he whispered, with a sudden softening of manner as they went
down the hall, and he took her hand and laid in it a shining gold piece,
"this is all the gold I have in the world; it was to have paid the
price of my flight, but the fisherwoman would not have it. Keep it for
me till the war is done--I have a special purpose for it."

After dinner the neighbours came with their letters and farewells, and
he had no further talk alone with Joscelyn. She bade him a very gentle
good-by, however, and ran across to her own balcony opposite, while he
comforted his mother and Betty and said farewell to the assembled
friends. When he was mounted and had waved them a last adieu, he made
his horse curvet as though loath to start, and so brought up close to
the rail of the opposite balcony.

"Joscelyn, keep the gold piece safe and in some hallowed place, for when
the war is done it shall be made into our wedding ring--'tis for that I
saved it. Good-by, sweetheart."

And then he was gone as he had come, with a free rein and a ringing hoof
beat; and the crowd behind broke into small groups to discuss the news
he had brought, while the girl leaning on the veranda across the way,
turned a shining coin in her hand, looking at it pensively, with a
curious light in her eyes.



     "She gives thee a garland woven fair,
               Take care!
     It is a fool's-cap for thee to wear,
               Beware! Beware!
               Trust her not.
     She's fooling thee!"

The winter that followed was a quiet one in Hillsboro'. Joscelyn sewed
at the flaming poppies of her embroidery during the mornings, rode with
Betty or Mary Singleton over the commons in the afternoons when the snow
was not too deep, and in the evenings played cribbage with her mother or
sang to the sound of her spinet in the fire-lighted parlour. Now and
then news of the outside strife came over the mountains or out of the
far reaches to the north and east; but the red wave of war spent itself
before it reached the inland town. Washington was jealously watching the
British in New York, and in the south the fate of Charleston was rapidly
being sealed, while now and then a soldier, coming home on furlough or
sick leave, brought tidings of the partisan warfare, ceaselessly waged
through the Carolinas and Georgia by Sumter and Marion and other bold
leaders; but Hillsboro', upon the Eno, dozed through the long winter

"This war is worse than tiresome; it's perfectly hateful," Janet
Cameron said, twisting her yellow curls about her fingers and pouting
disconsolately; "it is making old maids of us whether the men wish it
or not. Here I am, eighteen this coming Whitsuntide, and not a genuine
suitor have I had."

"Fie, Janet! Where is Billy Bryce?" asked Joscelyn, in whose room the
two sat. "Billy has loved you from your pinafore days."

"That baby?" with a scornful accent.

"You did not use to think him such a baby."

"Perchance not; for he is a whole six months older than I, and that is a
mighty age!"

"What manner of lover do you want now?"

"Oh, a grown man--a big strong fellow with a will of his own, who never
asks for a kiss, but just takes it."

"You little minx! what know you of kissing menfolk?"

"Nothing--that is just it--"


"--for when Billy blushes like a peony, and politely and decorously begs
to kiss my cheek, I am in duty bound to look shocked, and blush back,
and say no; nothing else would satisfy my dignity, though I could pinch
him for it! That is why I call him a baby," stoutly maintained the girl,
her lips curling, and her voice full of mockery.

"He does not wish to forget his manners."

"To say always 'if you please' for tender favours is not the manners for
a lover."

"Since you are so wise, tell me what sort of manners a lover should

"Oh, you know without the telling! He ought to be headstrong and
masterful and a--a bold robber when it comes to claiming favours from
his lady; and full of mock repentance after the theft."

"Well, when Billy comes from the war, I shall give him a hint as to how
to mend his behaviour."

"An you did, I should hate you. Why, he does not even know how to write
to a girl. Here is a letter from him in which he sends his duty to his
mother--did you ever hear of such idiocy? A love-letter with a message
like that! A love letter should be private and confidential, filled full
of such sweetness that one pair of eyes alone should read it; and he
sends his duty to his mother, forsooth! Why, that prying old creature
would insist upon reading every line written here if I gave her the
message--and Heaven knows she might, and be none the wiser, for all of
sentiment there is in it is this last sentence, 'I would send you my
love, an I dared; but I would not for the world make you angry or hurt
your maidenly modesty.' Now that is a love-letter for you!"

"Well, it is not deliriously passionate," admitted Joscelyn.

"It is deliriously idiotic. I'd just have him understand that my modesty
is not quite so thin-skinned as he imagines."

Joscelyn fell back in her chair, shrieking with laughter, while the
yellow-headed tempest before the glass shook her curls, and emphasized
her words with a scouting gesture, "Why, Joscelyn, if I were that boy's
great-grandmother, he could not treat me with more deferential respect."

"I think it is beautiful in him."

"Beautiful! Well, I think it is _imbecile_! Hurt my maidenly modesty,
indeed!--one would think my modesty were a sore toe to be stubbed or
trod upon. Stop laughing, Joscelyn Cheshire; you are as stupid as
Billy." And when Joscelyn answered with another silvery peal, Janet, in
high indignation, flung out of the room and down the steps, her heels
clattering as she went; and the next morning her maid carried the
offending letter to Mistress Bryce with a sweetly worded note, saying
Billy had no doubt made a mistake in the address of his missive. And
Billy swore his first oath when he heard of it.

Nor was Janet the only one who came to confessional in Joscelyn's room.
It was there that Betty found the only outlet for her secret joy. In
spite of the war and its sad consequences, the year had been such a
happy one--the sweetest year she had ever known; for it had been full of
dreams and fancies, of thrills and hopes. Even the self-reproach, with
which she sometimes tormented herself because of her mother, had in it
a touch of sweetness since it was linked with her love. The whole world
was as a new place; the winter snows held an unthought of revelation of
beauty, and each flower that budded to the spring sunshine was a fresh
creation bearing on its petals an unspelled message of love. She would
not write to Eustace, for that would be undutiful to her mother; but
Joscelyn's letters were filled with tender messages for her, with now
and then a little wafered note that burnt her fingers with a delicious
sense of forbidden fruit, and which she read and re-read in the privacy
of her white-curtained room, trembling and flushing at the story they
told,--the future they painted.

But as the spring advanced, a shade of sadness crept over her happiness,
a film like the impalpable dust that gathers on a fine picture hanging
always in the light. Eustace had ceased to write. Two months had gone
by, and no word had come from him. A strange, new fear was tugging at
Betty's heart.

"Naught of evil has befallen him, or Mary would know; and you said they
had no tidings?" she asked wistfully one evening, as she leaned against
Joscelyn's window and watched the pale-petalled stars blossom through
the purple gloaming.

"I rode all the way to the Singletons' yesterday afternoon on purpose to
ask, and they know nothing."

"And his mother feels no uneasiness?"

"None. She says Lord Cornwallis would immediately inform her if he
should be killed."

Betty heaved a deep sigh; and then that latent fear came out, "I suppose
he finds the ladies of the city so beautiful and entertaining that he
has forgotten his--his friends here."

"S-o! that is what makes you so long of face these days? Well, I do not
believe a word of it. Eustace is no jilt. You will find that you at
least are remembered, and that his silence is from reasonable cause."

"His cousin, Ellen Singleton, is such a beautiful woman--you remember
Richard told us of her in his letter about the Philadelphia fête. Like
Mary, he said, only more lovely. They must of necessity be much
together, for she, too, is in New York."

"And betrothed to Major Grant, you jealous child."

"But that need really make no difference so far as Eustace's admiration
goes. Besides, there must be others as lovely."

"Of course; but you are pretty, too, when your face is not long and your
eyes red with weeping."

Betty went home comforted; and that night, when her mother made some
sharp remark about the Singleton household, she plucked up courage to
say it was scarcely fair to judge the whole family adversely because of
the father's shortcomings. And then, scared at her own temerity, she
ran away to her room, and cried out her trouble to that insensate and
inanimate confessor of wronged or sorrowing womanhood,--her pillow.

A week later, Joscelyn, coming from the Singletons', tied a red ribbon
on her shutter as a sign that she had news; and Betty, hastening over,
soon learned of Clinton's long and tempestuous voyage from New York to
Charleston, whither he went to subdue that city. Eustace had been badly
hurt in the storm that wrecked so many of the transports, and had been
laid up in the hospital at Tybee Bay for weeks, while Clinton went on to
Charleston to begin the siege.

So the British had come again to the south to teach the people of that
section their duty to their king, and the quiet that had reigned at
Hillsboro' was broken by the coming and going of recruiting parties, and
by the vacillating reports of victory or failure from the beleaguered

But it was not until August that the climax came. Then Gates, smarting
with the defeat at Camden, halted the remnant of his flying army,
scarcely a thousand strong, at the town on the Eno, to rest and sum up
the full measure of the disaster that had befallen him. During the short
time that he remained, the town was in a ferment. The way to the camp
was thronged with sympathizers; kitchen chimneys smoked with the extra
cooking, and in every house was a banquet of the best that could be had.
Only in the Cheshire house was there no preparation, nor yet upon the
door was there the blue and buff cockade that marked the others. There
were not lacking those who called official attention to this fact, and
so many comments and criticisms crept about among the soldiers that a
couple of young officers, bent on a frolic and thinking to teach this
wilful Joscelyn a needed lesson, stopped upon her porch and sent word
that they would speak with her. And presently she came down to them,
dressed fit to dance in a queen's minuet in silver brocade over a
scarlet petticoat, the round whiteness of her neck and arms shining
through foamy lace, a red rose in her powdered hair, and a black patch
near the corner of her mouth giving a saucy emphasis to her lips. As she
stepped out of the door, the young fellows who had been lounging on the
porch rail instantly sprang up and uncovered at the sight of so much
beauty and dignity. They had thought to find a country maid, mayhap a
woman past her youth; and instead, this glowing creature stood before

"What is your pleasure, gentlemen?" she asked; but the stiff courtesy of
her question was belied by the laugh in her eyes.

They exchanged uneasy glances, and one took a step toward the porch
exit; but the other, who was to be spokesman, summing up resolution,
stammered and answered:--

"We found no cockade of the nation's colours on your door, and did but
stop to ask the reason."

"Your general sent you?"

"No, no; we were but passing, and came of our own accord."

"Oh, a friendly visit, with no official significance? I pray you present
each other," and she courtesied at each name. "And now let us go into
the parlour and see what can be done for your entertainment."

And in the parlour she gave them the best chairs, and set herself with
much graciousness of manner to entertain them, plying them with delicate
compliments, singing her Tory ballads with such laughing abandon that in
the same spirit of fun they applauded her, thinking not a moment of the
songs, but of the singer. Later on she brewed them a cup of tea, telling
them it was a love potion to win a fair one's favour; and although they
began by protesting vehemently, yet they ended by drinking it, for she
first put her own lips to the cups, and then dared them with her eyes.
After that they would scarcely have hesitated at hemlock. At the end of
an hour she dismissed them, each with a red rose in his coat.

"The colour suits your handsome eyes," she said softly to one, with a
ravishing glance, as she fastened the flower in place. And to the other
she murmured, with downcast lids and a sweet similitude of faltering,
"This is for memory," as though for them both this hour was to be a
tryst for thought and tender recollection, and the rose its symbol.

Neither of them had the wish nor the will to tear the flower away; and
so with a certain crestfallen exhilaration they took their leave, riding
slowly down the street, swearing each other to silence. But the story
got the rounds within the hour, for Mistress Strudwick, seeing them
enter the house and fearing some danger or annoyance to Joscelyn, had
followed quickly, and sat in the next room with the door ajar during the
entire interview. And she was not slow in publishing it abroad, so that
the young officers were twitted unmercifully at mess and headquarters;
even General Gates, when told of it, forgot for a moment the humiliation
of his late defeat, and laughed long and loud. Under the banter one of
the men threw his rose away; but the other held stoutly to his, meeting
the raillery with the assertion that it was a lady's favour and not a
king's colour that he wore.

"It was not kindly of you to take such mean advantage of them, Joscelyn,
seeing how irresistible you can make yourself, but it was just the
cleverest thing you ever did," Janet cried, squeezing Joscelyn's waist.
"Mistress Strudwick has near had apoplexy with laughter, and even
Mistress Bryce--who hates you like a double dose of senna and was the
first to call attention to your undecorated door--could not keep a
straight face to hear how neatly you outwitted the young coxcombs. But
really, my dear, you deserve no great credit for it; for in that gown
you are fit to melt harder hearts than Providence gave our gallant
young soldiers."

"I do not flatter myself their hearts were touched; it was only their
vanity that melted like wax in the flame of my flattery."

"Well, they deserved what they got,--trying to teach you behaviour,

The next day the army, refreshed and rested, took up its line of march,
passing directly in front of the Cheshire homestead. On the veranda, in
her brocade and brilliant petticoat and framed by the riotous rose vine,
Joscelyn sat and made pretence to be very busy with her flax wheel; but
from under her drooping lids she saw the whole procession.

Beside his company rode a young lieutenant, his eager gaze ahead of him
until he reached the undecorated house; then his hat came off, and
lifting his lapel on which hung a faded red rose, he cried up to the
girl in the balcony:--

"This is for memory!"

And Joscelyn laughed and fluttered her white handkerchief with what
might or might not be the suggestion of a kiss. And he, forgetful of
military decorum, turned in his saddle and kept his gaze upon her until
the troop passed beyond the corner.

"Do you know, Joscelyn," cried Janet, rushing up the steps, her eyes
shining and her yellow curls flying in the wind, "that was Lieutenant
Wyley from Halifax--and he is brother to Frederick--and Frederick
danced with no one but me last night (you don't know what you missed in
not going to the cotillion!)--and he has been at my house the livelong

"S-o! You have then a new beau to your string?"

"Oh, yes! and he is strong and masterful, and talks love beautifully,
and he does not say 'by your leave' like Billy, but is just what a lover
should be."

"Janet, Janet!" cried Joscelyn, reprovingly; but the laughing girl
tossed her yellow curls coquettishly, the exhilaration of a new conquest
upon her; then suddenly hid her face on Joscelyn's shoulder:--

"Joscelyn, dearest, did you ever feel a lover's lips against your cheek
for just one little moment?"

And Joscelyn went suddenly as red as she, remembering that November day
when Richard came home.



     "First time he kissed me, he but only kissed
     The fingers of this hand wherewith I write;
     And, ever since, it grew more clean and white,
     Slow to world greetings, quick with its 'O list!'
     When the angels speak."
                         --MRS. BROWNING.

Thus the months had come and gone, and come again, until three years had
passed since Richard's company marched away that winter day to join
their comrades at Valley Forge. Three years of warfare, and victory yet
faltered to remain with either standard, but wavered like a fickle woman
from side to side. And Joscelyn held to her allegiance, wearing her
scarlet bodice in open rejoicing at news of an English victory, and
decking herself in sombre mourning when tidings of the American triumph
at King's Mountain thrilled the country with an awakened hope. And in
these habiliments she walked the streets, or sat upon her balcony, that
none might be in doubt as to her feelings.

"Joscelyn Cheshire be as good as a war barometer," said Mistress
Strudwick; "one has but to look at her to know whether to rejoice or to

Vainly her mother argued with the girl, showing the danger she ran of
drawing upon them both the enmity of the community.

"We are but two lone women, and what could we do against a mob? You go
too far in this matter, my daughter. An you alter not your behaviour, we
shall be driven from the town, or else have our house burned over our
heads. Only yesterday Sally Ruffin was telling your Aunt Clevering of
some threats she had heard concerning you."

But Joscelyn shrugged her shoulders. "They will not harm you, mother;
you are too much of their party creed. And as for me, I fear them
not; they will do naught more serious than to tear down my royal
picture-gallery from the porch, and break a few more window-panes."

And truly martial events were crowding so fast upon each other that the
community had no time to resent the caprices of a girl. All interest was
now centred in the south. Greene had superseded Gates; Cowpens had been
fought and Tarleton sent in rout to Cornwallis, who started in hot haste
to chastise the victors and recover his captured troopers. But Morgan
threw his battalion over the Catawba; Greene took entire command, and
then begun that marvellous retreat, every step of which was as an
American victory. The pursuit was close behind. The whole country held
its breath at the spectacle of two great armies vying against each other
on almost parallel roads for the far-off fords of the Dan. Twenty-five,
even thirty miles a day they tramped it over roads deep in mire that
held them back as with a fiendish purpose. It was a spectacle to stir
one's blood, no matter on which side the sympathies,--this Titanic
struggle, this heroic race. The rear-guard of the pursued, and the van
of the pursuer, often bivouacked in sight of each other's watch-fires.
Petty strife was at an end; the great principles of war alone held sway,
and it were hard to say in which camp there was more of resolute

The flooding rains detained Cornwallis at the Catawba, and yet again at
the Yadkin, giving the Americans somewhat of advantage, so that Joscelyn
Cheshire said in her mocking way, that the "weather was supplying the
deficiencies of nature and making a great general out of Nathaniel

"Rather is God aiding a righteous cause," Aunt Clevering retorted.

Hillsboro' was in a fever of excitement during those days, knowing that
somewhere beyond the mountains that skirted her on the west, these
armies, like mighty leviathans, were writhing on their courses. The town
lay almost in the path of both, and each day was full of rumours and
contradictions. The country people, both Whigs and Tories, crowded in
to learn more speedily the news. The streets were thronged each day
with anxious men and women, asking each other questions and exchanging
surmises. And every day Joscelyn rode her horse from the bridge that
spanned the Eno on the western edge of the town to the clump of boulders
called the "Hen and Chickens," which cropped out of a common that lay
high to the eastward. And always she wore in her hat, with jaunty grace,
a cockade of scarlet ribbon; and Tories bowed low as she passed, and
Whigs scowled and shrugged their shoulders, marvelling at her daring.

But at last the news came that the race was done; Greene had crossed
the Dan to the safety of Virginia, and a union with the reënforcements
hastily spared him from the northern division, and Cornwallis was
baffled. Disappointed, he turned southward once more, and one February
day the vanguard rode haughtily into Hillsboro', and ere night the
sloping commons, flanking the town to the east and northeast, were
white with a tent city swarming with the soldiers of the king.

In the general excitement Betty ran across the street and, twisting
Joscelyn's apron-string the while, asked, "Do you think Eus--that is,
that you will have any friends on Cornwallis's staff?"

"I am quite sure you will have one," answered Joscelyn, with a laughing
accent on the second pronoun. "Mary is already in the parlour wanting me
to go with her and hunt him; what message shall I carry that my welcome
may be sure?"

"Oh, none!" hastily answered Betty. Then added, with a shy laugh, "Of
course I shall have to see him and thank him for his efforts in
Richard's behalf."

"Methinks you will have to go through that disagreeable ordeal. When I
see him I shall casually mention that I have asked you to be here at
five this afternoon."

But Eustace did not wait so long to hear Betty's thanks. He laid no
stress on his services save as a pretext to see her, and when his duties
at headquarters were over he boldly presented himself at Mistress
Clevering's door; and Betty, blushing and palpitating, came down to meet
him; and seeing her thus, his heart surrendered itself anew. But her
mother, following close in her wake, gave him no chance to say the
things he longed.

"We deeply appreciate your efforts for my son, Master Singleton," she
said, sitting stiffly on the extreme edge of her chair, as if ready to
rise on the instant.

"I have called this morning, madam, not to receive your thanks, for I do
not deserve them; but to say how sorry I was not to do more for him and
for you, and also to express my sincere regrets over his death."

"Your regrets are misplaced; my son still lives."

He stood up, amazed; and the lady also rose as though to bid him adieu.
"Still alive? You astound me, madam; I saw his death record."

"He escaped instead of dying."

"It sounds like a miracle; but I am glad of it." He turned to Betty, but
her mother had not resumed her seat, and so he, too, stood in an
awkward hesitation. But the girl put out her hands with an impulsive
gesture, and he gathered them both close in his.

"It was good of you--so good to go to that horrible ship!"

"I would have gone to the ends of the world to serve you. Your simplest
wish would be my law, and I would count myself well paid with a smile or
one gentle word." He had forgotten her mother standing there like a
sphinx; and Betty's face went suddenly pale, and then as suddenly
reddened and dimpled, for he bent down and kissed each of her hands

"Master Singleton!" The harsh tones recalled him to himself. He turned
to the older woman. "My daughter joins with me in expressing our
gratitude. Since your time must be short, we will no longer detain you."

Of course he went, and Betty fled to Joscelyn for comfort, for her
mother had said sternly:--

"We have done our duty, let the matter end here; and let me say
furthermore, that to be grateful one need not blush and dimple while an
arch-enemy of the country kisses one's hand."

And Betty had almost choked with confusion, and while crossing the
street had looked at her hands with a sense of tenderness that was new.

"Oh, Joscelyn, I am so miserable and yet so happy!" And Joscelyn told
her all the sweet things Eustace had said about her at the camp, and
sent her home as red and tremulous as a rose in the sun.

There was joy among the Loyalists over the coming of the Redcoats, and
consternation among those whose relatives were with Greene. Cornwallis
established his headquarters at the inn on King Street, using the
one-roomed building opposite as his office. Here he set up the royal
standard, and issued a proclamation to the Tories of the vicinity to
come to his aid. He looked for a general up-rising in his favour, but he
looked in vain. The country folk rode into town to learn the latest
news, or brought their wives and daughters to the commander's levees;
but most of them rode home again, unconvinced of the permanency of his
lordship's dominion.

Joscelyn watched them wrathfully as they took their departures, and
strove by the courtesy of her own manner to atone for their lack of
loyalty. Her house became at once the social rendezvous of the
newcomers, and few hours of the day went by without a summons upon her
knocker. Often she was in the cavalcade that drew rein before the
general's office after a ride of inspection through the camp; for with
the army were several Loyalist ladies who had fled from their homes to
their husbands when Greene began his retreat, and with the Tory women of
the neighbourhood they made a goodly company. Mistress Clevering was
filled with rage when, from behind her closed shutters, she saw the
scarlet-coated officers alight at Joscelyn's door. Mary Singleton was
somewhat chary of her favours, fearing the public resentment when the
British should have withdrawn. But Joscelyn took heed of no such
consideration, and was withal so charming and so cordial that Lord
Cornwallis, recalling his friendship for her father, unbent from his
customary reserve, and exhibited in her parlour a courtesy of bearing
which was of a piece with the humanity he showed upon his campaigns.
Among the younger officers the "Royalist Rose," as they styled her,
became a favourite ere the second sun went down upon their coming; so
there was ever an escort waiting at her door when the staff rode forth
to the outlying camp.

And oftener than any one else this escort was Captain Barry, of the
second legion. It was he who stood at the door of the general's
headquarters when, on that first day, Mary and Joscelyn arrived to make
inquiry for Eustace, and snatching off his hat he came out to receive
them, for they made a very charming picture as they advanced modestly
toward the entrance, piloted by an orderly. The first smile from
Joscelyn's blue eyes did the whole thing for him. He surrendered at
once, without one effort at self-defence; and when he and Eustace
reached her veranda, having escorted the girls home, there was not so
much as one poor little pennant left fluttering over the ramparts of his
heart. From that hour his comrades, when he was wanted, knew in whose
parlour to seek him, and he never failed to let Joscelyn know when there
was a pleasure ride or a tour of inspection planned for the day.

It was for an excursion of this sort that Joscelyn dressed herself with
exceeding care one afternoon and, with an officer at either bridle-rein,
went out to see the army parade for the commander's inspection. The
conversation as they paced along was all of the movements of a suspected
spy from Greene's host beyond the Dan.

"We cannot locate the fellow; but certain it is, the doings of our army
are reported accurately to the insurrectionists. Yesterday a letter was
discovered in a hollow stump on the mountain side, left there, of
course, by preconcerted arrangement to be called for. The stump is being
secretly watched, but as yet no results have been obtained. This is all
well known and talked about, Mistress Joscelyn, and you, being one of
us--" Barry's smile said the rest.

"Is it a townsman who has written these reports, think you?" asked the
girl, going over in her mind the people who might be implicated, with a
quick inward throb for some of her friends.

"I judge not, for there are references to the writer's journey back from
the Dan. Evidently it is a follower of Greene who knows this country
well. He is exceedingly artful, but his capture is necessarily certain,
with all the precautions we have taken."

"And what would be his fate, if caught?"

"A spy is shot--or mayhap his lordship will hang him on the hill yonder,
where they tell me Governor Tryon swung up the traitorous Regulators in
years gone by. 'Twould be but another chapter in the red history of this
your Tyburn Hill."

The young soldier laughed at his own allusion, but Joscelyn shuddered;
for the first time she seemed to fully realize the grim actualities of
war. Her companions chatted on gayly, and finally she forced herself to
join in the conversation; but somehow they could not get away from the
subject of those surreptitious reports and their author.

The wide upland common had been turned into a parade ground, and was
full of soldiers marching and counter-marching. The general and his
staff were already afield and saluted the newcomers as they passed on to
the "Hen and Chickens," about which a party of spectators, chiefly
ladies, were already congregated. Here the officers left Joscelyn with
some friends, and rode away to their different commands. It was some
time before the parade began, and in the interim there was much laughing
and talking around the rough boulders. And here again Joscelyn heard of
the wary scout.

"Who are those men there to the left?" she asked, by way of changing the
conversation, and pointed to five or six men in citizen's dress who
were grouped apart by themselves. Some were mounted; some on foot.

"Oh, those are the Tory recruits who came in this morning. They have not
yet been assigned to their respective commands, and so are viewing the
scene merely as spectators; to-morrow they will be put in the ranks. The
tall one on the right was with Pyle when Lee surprised and routed him. I
understand he says information of Pyle's movements was sent to Lee by
some one within the town here--probably a Continental spy."

There was more to tell; but the parade was beginning and the
conversation ended, much to Joscelyn's relief. It somehow unstrung her
nerves to think of another hanging up on Regulators' Hill. From her
saddle she watched the scarlet companies advance, wheel, pass directly
in front of the general's staff, and finally take position in the long
line which was thus formed across the field. It was a stirring sight,
and her fingers relaxed their hold on the rein as she leaned forward to
watch every movement. Suddenly a band stationed near the group struck up
a lively air. The unexpected blare of the trumpets startled Joscelyn's
horse; an upward toss of his head shook the rein from her inert hand,
and then with the panic of fear upon him he wheeled about and dashed off
at a mad pace. The women in the group behind screamed; for the rein was
swinging about the animal's feet, and the girl in the saddle was
utterly at his mercy. From the first plunge Joscelyn realized the peril
of her position; for a few seconds she clung terror stricken to the horn
of her saddle; then she shook her foot free from the stirrup and eased
her knee from the pommel, for an awful memory had come to her. A hundred
yards ahead, directly in the path of the frantic horse, was a deep
ditch, ragged with rocks; there the race must end in death to the
horse--and mayhap to the rider. Her one chance was to leap from the
saddle. It took but a second for this to flash through her mind; but
even as she turned slightly in her saddle, a voice rang out sternly
above the braying horns and the thundering hoof beats:--

"Do not jump, on your life!"

Her fingers closed over the saddle horn in spasmodic obedience; and then
she saw that the horse was running directly toward the group of men in
civilian dress on the little knoll, and that one of them had sprung
forward and waited with uplifted arm the coming of the runaway. Even
through her terror there came a dim realization of the death he was
courting; but in another instant the collision came. The man was knocked
aside by the flying horse, but his hand had caught the rein, and half
dragged, half running, he kept his place at the animal's head. Then his
other hand, fumbling uncertainly, found the bit, and he was master of
the brute. Almost upon the brink of the yawning ditch the horse ceased
its plunges and stood still, quivering through its whole body. The other
men who had followed now crowded about with exclamations and inquiries.

"Will you dismount?" asked her rescuer.

And then as she stretched out her shaking hands for his assistance, she
saw his face for the first time. He was deathly pale, and his hat, which
some one had picked up, was drawn low over his brow; but the voice and
the eyes were Richard Clevering's. She would have spoken his name but
for a quick glance of warning from under his hat brim. Then a new sense
of terror swept over her; for, by some swift and subtle instinct, it
came to her that Richard was the hunted spy of whom she had that day
heard so much.



     "You trust a woman who puts forth
     Her blossoms thick as summer's?"
                         --MRS. BROWNING.

Not a word was spoken as he lifted her to the ground, and when they
turned to walk back to her companions, it was the tall Loyalist who led
her horse. She listened as in a daze to the talk going on around her,
answering briefly the questions of the solicitous group. But the
presence behind her was the one she felt, and yet she dared not look
backward until they were close upon the company at the boulders; then,
lest she seem ungrateful, and also with a definite purpose to warn him,
she turned to speak to him. He was not among those who followed in the
rear. She breathed more freely, scarcely able to restrain a cry of
relief, for surely he had escaped; and presently she said to the tall

"Methinks I thanked not your companion sufficiently for the service he
did me. Will you bear him a message of gratitude?"

"I will speak with him as soon as the parade is over."

It was best to end the matter thus, than to see him again face to face;
for she felt she dared not trust her shaken nerves in another interview,
lest the warning she wished to convey turn into a betrayal. He must have
realized his danger, and gone at once.

Her escape was the subject of much rejoicing; even Lord Cornwallis, to
whom an account of the accident was carried, sent his aide with
congratulations, and Barry came back at a lope, looking like a ghost
with anxiety. She heard not a half of what was said, her mind was in
such a tumult of perplexity as to her rightful course and of anxiety for
her Clevering friends. Naturally her companions attributed her silence
and abstraction to her recent fright, and gave no thought to it. She was
infinitely relieved when the parade was over, and they were once more on
the homeward road. Her horse had recovered from his panic, and was
moving along quietly.

"If he had to run away, why could he not have given me the chance to
save you?" Barry said, with much chagrin, longing to show his devotion
and gain some hold upon her thoughts.

"Perhaps he knew that with you at hand he would have no chance," she
answered with a forced smile, dragging her mind from the dread that
haunted it.

It was mid-winter; the remnants of a snowstorm still bleached in the
sheltered places among the fields, and whiter yet on the sloping sides
of the mountains behind which the sun had just set, leaving them framed
and fringed with yellow fire. The river at their base was hidden in its
banks and could only be guessed at; but the nestling town had caught a
reflection of radiance from the sunset banners flying above it, and
stood out like some sculptured bas-relief against the downward-dropping
hills. Like the fine colours in an opal, the lights came and went,
brightened and faded. Joscelyn's pulse had begun to beat normally under
the spell of the ethereal beauty of the scene, when suddenly far up the
mountain road her keen eyes descried a moving figure. The trees were
nude of foliage, and the snow lying along the winding road was as a
reflector to show up the dark moving object, which for a moment was seen
and then lost to sight behind a clump of cedars. Was it a cow, or a man
on horseback? A strange curiosity took hold of the girl; she thought she
alone saw it, and all sorts of speculations were in her mind when her
reverie was rudely broken by the officer on her right.

"Linsey," he said in a whisper which Joscelyn's straining ears caught,
at the same time lifting his finger toward the mountain; "Linsey, an I
mistake not, yonder goes our spy; gallop at once to Colonel Tarleton,
and bid him warn his scouts."

The aide touched his cap and was gone ere Joscelyn's startled breath
came back.

"Why, you are again all of a tremble," Barry said, leaning over to
touch her hand, a world of anxiety in his eyes.

"I--I suppose it was the sound of that other horse's hoofs," she said,
angry with herself for her weakness. "You see I am not a soldier and
used, like you, to face death every day."

"Thank Heaven you are not," he answered, holding one rein of her bridle
with the joy of a strong man protecting beautiful womanhood. And thus
near to her he whispered many tender things in her ear,--his tense,
young voice vibrant with the awakened passion of his heart; and the
girl's pulses stirred with a strange, sweet quiver.

So it was they rode home. There in her own room she went over this whole
dread matter, with a womanish longing in her heart to talk to some
one,--to ask advice; but her mother was too timid, and a glance at Aunt
Clevering's dark house decided her that it would be cruel to arouse
anxiety there. Then Barry's manly face and frank eyes came before her,
and in a sudden fit of foolish hysteria, she put her face in her hands
and cried. If she could only go to Barry! But that would have one of two
effects,--it would either put him on Richard's trail, or else make him
false to his cause by winning him to shield the fugitive. She could not
risk either alternative. And what was true of Barry applied with equal
force to Eustace. She would not, if she could, tempt him, through his
love for Betty, to do anything that would dishonour him among his
fellows. And besides, he would not be here to-night with the company
she had invited, for he had said he was going with the relief guard to
one of the outposts. No, there was no one to counsel her; she must think
and act for herself. At first two torturing questions tore her judgment
in twain. The Spartans gave up their nearest and dearest for the cause
of their country, and should she withhold the identity of this man who
had no claim of blood upon her, and who carried perhaps to the king's
enemies information that would defeat the cause? Should she say, "I know
him"; or should she keep her peace and let him go his way? Then she
realized that her knowledge was too meagre to be of any benefit; his
name was all she could surrender, and that were nothing to his pursuers,
who knew more than she of his work and movements. And besides, there
were Betty and Aunt Clevering and Richard himself. No, she could not
play the part of the Spartan; she wanted to be of use to her cause, but
she was keeping back no treasonable knowledge. And with this comforting
assurance, she put the matter aside and dressed herself for the evening,
lacing the brocade over the brilliant petticoat with a smile to think
what Barry would say. Not for a moment did she believe Richard would be
caught; he had the start, and he knew the country much better than his
pursuers, and would outstrip them in the race.

It was a brilliant company that assembled in her drawing-room that
night,--handsome women and splendid officers, and even Cornwallis
himself,--all come to enjoy her hospitality and to inquire concerning
her accident of the afternoon.

"Asked you the name of this brave fellow who saved you?" inquired the
commander-in-chief, with a smile. "Methinks he should be promoted for so
signal a service to his Majesty's loyal subject."

"Nay, your lordship, I asked it not," Joscelyn answered steadily.

"'Twas the fright made her seem so ungrateful," put in her mother.

"And small wonder, Mistress Cheshire, for she was in dire straits. But
'tis of no consequence; the name can be easily ascertained, and I shall
myself make the inquiries. Half my staff are mad with jealousy at his
good fortune, and methinks I myself envy him a bit the sweet thanks he
will receive. Now if Mistress Joscelyn's nerves be not too much shaken,
we will have some music."

So the spinet was opened; and the merriment began and went on far into
the night, while the Cleverings over the way fretted behind their closed
doors in bitter resentment of Joscelyn's conduct.

"Why, she is actually playing at cards!" cried Betty, who was secretly
on the lookout, for the opposite shutters had not been closed nor the
curtains drawn, so the inmates of the lighted room were in plain view.
"Lord Cornwallis is her partner, but that Captain Barry sits beside her
and whispers behind her cards. Mary Singleton is at the other table, but
I do not see--" her voice trailed off into silence, for she never
mentioned Eustace's name to her mother.

Meanwhile Joscelyn was all unconscious and unmindful of this
surveillance and, recovering from her fright, her spirits rose
hourly until she had quite regained her accustomed manner. It was not
until something after ten o'clock that an interruption befell their
pleasure-taking. Then suddenly there came the sound of galloping hoofs
down the stony street; many voices shouted and responded, a pistol shot
rang out, and from somewhere under the darkness a guttural drum growled
out its warning. Every man in the room was on his feet in an instant,
and hands snatched for hats and weapons.

"It is a night surprise!" cried a dozen voices; but even at that moment
the door was thrown open, and an orderly, bowing low, cried out to the
general that the noise was being made by his own men, who had turned
a spy back from the mountains, and chased him into the town where he
was as a rat in a trap, and must immediately be taken. Every heart in
the room ceased its mad beating with relief at this news--every heart
but one. Joscelyn could feel hers pounding against her ribs, and
involuntarily she moved to the window and looked at the dark house
opposite, shuddering as she thought of the grief so soon to enter there.

In ten minutes the hue and cry had swept down the street, and only faint
echoes came back upon the wind. The whole town was astir, and Joscelyn's
guests lingered a few minutes on the veranda, questioning those who came
and went.

"Yes, he went straight down this street, riding like one possessed,"
said one man to Barry.

"He has quit his horse, and the guard have captured it," cried out a
messenger a moment later.

"Ah, well; then will they soon have the man too, even though they search
every house, barn, and hen-coop in the town; Colonel Tarleton does
nothing by halves," laughed his lordship. "Come, Mistress Cheshire, let
us back to our game; ere we end it, the fellow will be in the toils."

They went slowly back into the house, Joscelyn striving to steady her
nerves by long, deep breaths; but as they drew their chairs again about
the tables, there came from the story above a crash as of breaking
chinaware. Everybody looked up expectant, and Mistress Cheshire rose.

"I will go," cried Joscelyn, glad to escape, and pushing her mother
gently back into her chair. "'Tis no doubt that troublesome cat again;
he broke one of my flower jars last week." She tripped upstairs, calling
back to his lordship to deal and have the hands ready for she would be
absent only a moment.

In the upper hall all was silence and semi-darkness. She went first to
her own room, pausing just long enough to press her hands hard upon her
temples before passing from it to her mother's, calling the cat the
while very softly. A fire of logs burned in her mother's fireplace,
so that she wondered at the cold breath of air that smote her as she
entered; then she started,--a back window was open and the pot of plants
which had stood upon the ledge lay shattered on the floor. A swift
annoyance flashed upon her at the maid's neglect, so that she went
forward and closed the sash with a spirited promptness. Picking up a bit
of the broken shard, and facing about from the window in search of the
cat, she suddenly became aware of a man's figure in the shadowy corner
opposite. Instinctively she opened her mouth for a nervous cry, but with
an imperative gesture for silence, he stepped forward, and even in the
dim light she knew it was Richard Clevering. The scream died upon her
lips, and for a moment the objects in the room spun before her.

"You--_you_?" and even in whispering her voice was strained and shaken.

"Yes; it was this or death--they had run me to the wall."

"But the house is full of British soldiers--Lord Cornwallis and his
whole staff--"

"So much the better; the place will be above suspicion."

"Mistress Joscelyn, Mistress Joscelyn!" cried a dozen voices from below,
while chairs were being pushed about, and some one struck a few notes
on the spinet.

"And I myself, sir, am a true Loyalist and cannot harbour--"

There was a footstep on the stair. "Mistress Joscelyn, we be coming up
to help you catch the cat!" cried Barry's voice.

Richard sprang toward her, "My God, Joscelyn! you will not give me up
like that?"

But the steps were halfway up the stair, and she was already turning the
knob of the door, her face like marble in the leaping firelight.




     "Sweetheart? not she whose voice was music-sweet,
        Whose face loaned language to melodious prayer;
     Sweetheart I called her.--When did she repeat
        Sweet to one hope or heart to one despair?"

To the man crouching behind the door which Joscelyn had left open, the
minute it took her to traverse the hall and gain the head of the stairs
at the far end, seemed a lifetime. Even in his dire peril the thought of
a bygone day came back to him--"loyal, though a Loyalist," he had said
of her, and had believed it. What a sweetheart to have coddled in one's
thoughts and dreamed of, waking and sleeping,--this girl who would in
cold blood hand him over to death because of a fancied duty! Escape by
the way he came was impossible; he could only wait here and sell his
life at the highest price. Ay, there should be left in this room a
memory that would exile her from it forever; the blood that had beat for
her and which she had betrayed, should redden her floor and stain the
dainty things she loved.

His sword had been thrown away when he quitted his horse, since it
cumbered his flight; but his pistols and dirk were still upon him, and
he made ready for their use. Then through the crevice of the hinge, he
beheld Joscelyn as she faced about in the brighter light at the head of
the stairs, and the weapon well-nigh slipped from his hand as he saw her
hold up the bit of shard she still carried, and say, with a smile, to
those below:--

"'Tis not worth while your coming. What need to waste time on the
senseless offender when the offence is beyond repair? My very last
flowering almond is a hopeless wreck, and I had nursed it with such
care!" She ended with a sigh and a pretty pout, and went slowly down the
stair out of Richard's sight; but the voices from below reached him
distinctly, so that he heard the officers' condolences and her laughing
replies. Great drops of perspiration broke out upon his brow as the
joyous truth dawned fully upon him.

She did not intend to betray his presence in the house to the
scarlet-coated bloodhounds who would tear him limb from limb!

How could he ever have mistrusted her, this one woman whom he had loved
with the passion of youth and of manhood? He sank to a sitting posture
upon the floor, propping himself against the wall, for he was
desperately weary with the long, hard chase, and this relief was as the
opening of Paradise before his aching eyes. His limbs relaxed; but his
ears were strained to catch every sound that came up the stairway. The
game of cards had been renewed, and the merriment was at its height,
when twenty minutes later there was again a commotion in the street and
a loud summons at the door.

"May it please your lordship," said Tarleton's voice, "the fellow hath
give us the slip and is in hiding with some of his sympathizers. We wish
a permit to search the houses in this neighbourhood, for hereabouts he
must be, since he was seen last at yonder corner."

There arose a perfect Babel of voices, out of which Richard could make
nothing clearly; but he knew the permit was given, for in a few minutes
Tarleton opened the street-door, and ordered his men to begin the search
at the house on the lower corner, and proceed thence up the street,
missing no dwelling. Every other street and alley in the town had been
sentinelled, so he assured Cornwallis.

The soldiers at the door dispersed, and a breathless silence filled the
house. Richard dared not move lest his stiff joints pop, or his boots
creak and betray him. He knew flight was impossible; for there was a
stamping of horses in the rear court, proving that the house was
surrounded. It were wiser to wait and face the fate that came to him,
than go out to meet it on the way.

The minutes that followed seemed interminable. He felt that his doom was
sealed, and then there came upon him an overmastering desire to hear
Joscelyn's voice once more. Why did she not come to him on some feigned
pretext or other? Surely she must know how he suffered! Death were not
so hard to meet, if he could but first hold her in his arms and hear her
say some tender word.

Then the noise in the street grew louder, and he knew that the search
was drawing near. His nerves were strained to tautness, when presently
he heard the party stop in the street below, and a voice downstairs
cried out gayly:--

"They be going to call upon your kinsfolk, the Cleverings, Mistress
Joscelyn. Let us out to the balcony and see the fun."

In the confusion of scraping chairs and opening doors, Richard got to
his feet. The cold and weariness in his limbs were forgotten in anxiety
for his mother. A-tiptoe he crossed the room in the shadow of the
furniture and gained Joscelyn's front window,--that window out of which
he had seen her lean in her scarlet bodice the day he marched away so
long ago. It was an easy thing to hide himself in the folds of the heavy
curtains which had been drawn for the night; and thus concealed, to
watch, through a crescent slit in the blind, the scene below, for the
veranda was open with no roof to intervene.

It was full moon, and the figures in the street, twenty men-at-arms,
were plainly visible. Three of these passed silently to the rear of his
mother's house, while the others drew up in line before the door. Then
the leader smote the panels until they rang like a drum. Twice was the
summons repeated ere a voice from an upper window demanded what might
be the matter.

"Matter enough that I knock," replied the man, so insolently that
Richard's blood took fire, for every word could be distinctly heard from
his coign of vantage.

"Nay, we be but two lone women in this house, and we open not but to the
proper authorities."

"Well, and we be the authorities," answered the man less rudely, for
there was that in Mistress Clevering's voice that brought him to his
senses. "We have here an order from the commander-in-chief to search
this house for a rebel spy. Open the door and read the writ for

The window above was closed, and presently the click of the lock was
heard, and then the door opened partially and Mistress Clevering, candle
in hand, stood before them. Betty cowered behind like a frightened

"No one is here save my daughter and myself; to search the house were
wasted time." And in her heart, Joscelyn thanked Heaven she could speak
thus truly; but the soldier said brusquely:--

"We have judged the matter differently; lead the way, and see to it that
you open every door. We will put up with no deception."

As they passed into the house, Joscelyn's voice from over the way cried
out shrilly, "Neglect not to search the closet by the attic chimney;
'tis just of a size to hold a man, and perchance contains him whom you

Mistress Clevering turned angrily toward the door as though she would
answer, but the soldiers urged her on, and so it was Betty who called

"That is neighbourly! Tell all you know about your best friends,
Mistress Ingrate; we have naught to fear."

At this Joscelyn laughed loudly, but to Richard the laugh was more
hysterical than mirthful, like one under a great nervous strain. He felt
his hands involuntarily groping for his pistols, as the opposite light
flashed from window to window and he knew his mother was being ordered
about by those insolent Redcoats. The candle lingered longest in the
attic; but at last it descended, and soon the disappointed soldiers
stood in the street empty handed. Tarleton was furious and swore a great
oath, but the soldiers protested they had overlooked no nook or corner
where a man might conceal himself.

"'Tis a bootless errand, sir; unless, indeed, the man be in this house,"
said Tarleton, riding up to Joscelyn's door. "What say you, shall we
search here also?"

Upstairs Richard's heart stood still, while down below Joscelyn's head
swam. Then her laugh rippled out mockingly.

"Truly, your lordship, that is a reflection upon you and those of your
gallant officers who have done me the honour to spend the evening under
my roof! I pray you, gentlemen all, turn your pockets wrong side out
that Colonel Tarleton may be sure you have not hidden his spy."

"I jest not, mistress," answered Tarleton, who owed her a grudge in that
she had manifested much personal dislike to himself. "What says your

Cornwallis started to reply, and then hesitated; whereupon Joscelyn
broke in haughtily:--

"An your lordship doubts my loyalty, pray let the search proceed--the
doors are open."

"Ay, search; and fail not to look in my Lady Ingrate's wardrobe; 'tis
just of a size to hold a man," came with a scornful laugh from over the
way; for Betty was still at her door, and the street was not so wide but
that the opposite voices reached her clearly.

"Of course," said Joscelyn, with the same haughty dignity; "search the
wardrobe by all means; here are the keys." She threw the bunch at
Tarleton's feet, calling to her mother to do the same, and then walked
into the hall, her head up and her eyes aglow. Richard could not see
her, and so ground his teeth in an impotent rage that she would thus
tamely yield him up. But the next moment he guessed her purpose,
realizing this was her surest way to avert suspicion, and he blessed her
under his breath. If they found him, they should never know that she had
for a moment connived at his concealment.

Tarleton stooped to pick up the keys, but Cornwallis interposed.

"Nay, sir; to search this house would be an affront to so loyal a
subject as Mistress Joscelyn. Besides, the idea that the miscreant is
hiding here is preposterous. He must have seen us through the windows,
and to enter would have been to rush into the lion's jaws. Spies as a
rule are wise men; not the fools of an army. Search the stable if you
will, leave a guard in the alley; but enter not the house. And now,
Mistress Cheshire, I see the ladies are going; we will also withdraw
after returning thanks to you and your daughter for your charming

Richard clutched at the window-frame to steady himself as he realized
the present peril had passed. What a glorious girl Joscelyn was, for all
her Toryism and scoffing!

Joscelyn stood at the door, courtesying to her departing guests,--the
picture of dainty, decorous hospitality. As Tarleton lifted his hat
sullenly, she looked him straight in the eyes, and said graciously:--

"I will leave this door unbolted, that your sentry may come in and warm
himself by the fire in the rear room as the night grows chilly."

To doubt her after that were impossible; and he excused his former
brusqueness by saying a soldier's duty was oftentimes most displeasing
to himself. She accepted the apology with a smile, and stood in the door
until they all, even Barry, who was always tardy over his leave-taking,
had gotten to horse; and then with a final good night, she shut them
out. She did not stop in the hall, but went straight on to the stair,
saying to her mother as she ran up:--

"Will you see to the lights down here, mother? I will go up and look
after your fire."

This was a reversal of the usual order of things, but her mother was too
used to her caprices to take any notice. In the room above, Richard had
already replenished the fire, and was waiting for her on the rug with
eager, outstretched arms.

"Joscelyn!" he cried; but she silenced him with a gesture.

"Quick--off with your boots--mother must not know; there will be further
inquiry to-morrow, and for very anxiety she could not keep the secret.
Now, come." In the hall she leaned over the banister to ask her mother
to leave something on the table for the sentry to eat; and when the old
lady was gone back to the pantry, Joscelyn unlocked the door of the
shed-like attic at the rear of the hall, and giving Richard the lighted
candle she held, she pushed him in. "There are plenty of blankets on the
shelves at the far end--make your bed on a pile of carpet that is behind
the cedar chest."

"But, Joscelyn--"

"H-u-s-h, not so loud. As you know, the attic has no windows, so your
candle cannot be seen outside. There is mother--I will come back if I

She was gone, and he knew that she had locked the door from without.
Along with his sense of relief came an exquisite joy that he was her
prisoner, that it was she who must minister to him,--she to whom he owed
his life. It was some minutes before he remembered her injunction and
set to work to make himself comfortable. He left the candle on the floor
beside his boots and, wrapping himself in the blankets, found a cosey
resting-place behind the big cedar chest. What thoughts and visions
crowded his mind as he lay there under the spider-hung rafters that
dropped almost to his head! Five days before he had quitted his
command--impelled by a thirsty desire to see Joscelyn's face--to
undertake the dangerous mission of his chief, and ascertain Cornwallis's
actual strength. Unable to learn anything definite by hearsay, and
catching idle rumours of Joscelyn's popularity among the English
officers, the daring design had come to him to play the part of a
Loyalist seeking enlistment in the British army, trusting to what little
disguise he could add to his own altered looks to shield him. Following
out this plan, and gaining at the parade all the knowledge necessary, he
had stolen from the field, and would have effected his escape had he but
taken the longer bridle-path around the mountain, rather than the
shorter one directly over it. Joscelyn's accident had delayed him
somewhat, and trusting to his citizen's dress, and the preoccupation of
the whole force at the parade, he had thought to be beyond sight or
pursuit ere the review was over. That his reckoning failed, has been
already shown. Tarleton's henchmen, set on by Linsey, had headed him off
and driven him back into the town. Passed through the peril, and strong
man that he was, he yet shuddered as he thought how near to death he had
been when he leaped from his horse at the corner yonder, and with a
fierce cut sent the animal as a decoy down the dark adjacent street,
while he plunged into the shadowy alley. At Mistress Cheshire's rear
gate he had recognized his bearings, and entering without hesitation, he
had crossed the yard, and by means of a grape-trellis climbed to the
roof of the rear porch. To open the window was not difficult, but in
entering he had upset that flower jar and betrayed his presence. He had
heard the talk and laughter as he climbed up, and guessed who Joscelyn's
guests were; but he trusted to her mother to hide him. How infinitely
sweeter it was to know that, instead, it was her own hand that had saved

For nearly an hour he lay thus, stretched at full length upon the
restful pallet. Then, all at once, although he was conscious of no
sound, he felt that she had come. Rising hastily, he met her as she
slipped through the half-opened door. She shaded her eyes for a moment
to concentrate the light, the candle was so dim; then crossing over to
the chest, she placed on it a platter of food and a pitcher of milk.

"You must be half famished;" and although but a whisper, her voice was
studiously polite. "I have brought you ample supply; for it may be late
ere you get your breakfast in the morning, seeing I have to smuggle it
to you."

Never had he seen her so beautiful. The shining brocade set off every
curve of her figure; under the lace of her bodice her bosom rose and
fell with suppressed excitement, and her eyes were full of the starry
lights he knew so well. And yet there was something about her that held
in check the fire that leaped through his pulses. For the first time as
he gazed thus upon her, he realized fully the menace he had brought upon

"Joscelyn, I should never have come here."

"It was, as you said, your only chance."

"I should not have taken that chance; rather I should have died beside
my horse before bringing this danger to you."

"Hush! they will not harm me." Her head went up with a little triumphant
fling as she said this; for she was thinking of Barry, and how, if
detection came, he would surely save her.

"You do not know the penalty one pays for harbouring a spy; I will go
this very night and free you from this menace."

"No, no," was the hasty answer. "We should both be undone--Tarleton's
men will watch the house all night. To-morrow night perchance, or the
night after; but not to-night. You are safe here for the present, for
his lordship's orders will be obeyed."

He came close to her, so close that he saw the pallor of her face, and
the perfume of her dress rose with a sweet intoxication to his nostrils.
"Joscelyn, is it for love of me that you have done this thing?"


"For what, then?"

"For sake of our old comradeship and for Betty. Besides, you saved my
life this afternoon--a return of favours leaves no burden of obligation
on either of us."

"Nay; you risk more for me than I did for you."

She shrugged her shoulders. "The accounts balance." Then glancing about
solicitously, she added, "I would I could make you more comfortable, but
our first care must be to avert suspicion. Good night."

She was moving to the door, but he caught her wrists just below the
hanging lace of her sleeve; and holding her thus, he told her in a few
graphic sentences all his thoughts as he had rested under the rafters
behind the chest--the reason and the history of his scouting venture,
the mental trysts he had held with her so often. All the intensity of
his strong nature went into that appeal; it seemed as if a heart of ice
must have melted in it; and for a moment her head did droop and her
hands tremble, then she shrugged her gleaming shoulders again, saying:--

"It had certainly been more soldier-like to have come for love of your
cause, rather than for sake of a girl's eyes."

"For sake of both did I come."

"A spy--"

But she got no further; something in her tone stung him to the quick.
"You need not speak so disparagingly. A spy's work may not be pleasant,
but it is absolutely necessary. Without the information he sends his
general, false steps might be taken and hundreds of lives needlessly
sacrificed. A spy has a humane as well as a dangerous mission."

"'Tis well you think so highly of your calling. Good night again."

"Joscelyn, do not leave me thus; this day we have each looked into the
eyes of death--let us at least part as friends."

She turned back, her face dimpling with a smile that was like a gleam of
sunshine, "Good night, Richard, and a safe awakening."

Then she was gone; and he threw himself down to sleep the sleep of utter

Joscelyn sat on the rug before her almost burned-out fire, trying to
disengage the attic key from the big bunch her mother habitually wore at
her belt, and thinking rapidly of the events of the day. She knew that
the end had not been reached, but she was determined to brave it out;
there was nothing else to do,--there had been nothing else from the
first. And she must stand alone. Fresh inquiry would be instituted
to-morrow, and her mother's veracity could not stand the strain to which
it might be put if she knew all. Neither could the secret be shared
with Aunt Clevering, for her mother-heart might betray its anxiety, and
so would another family be involved. She must bear the burden herself;
must evade, pretend, even _lie_, if need be, to keep the knowledge from
any one else. The man had fled to her for sanctuary; which were worse,
she asked herself bitterly, to soil her lips with an untruth, or her
hands with a betrayal, a breach of trust and of hospitality? From Betty
and Aunt Clevering she could expect no mercy of neglect, because of that
hasty speech about the attic closet. It had been made thoughtlessly, to
establish her own footing more securely by a great show of loyalty; but
would, she knew, act as a two-edged sword, cutting away part of her
safety. To-morrow she would not dare leave the house all day lest
something terrible transpire in her absence; she must feign some pretext
for staying indoors--perchance a headache from the effects of her

And then having planned her course fully and carefully, woman-like she
began to cry tempestuously at the position in which she found herself;
blaming with equally unreasoning impatience the band, Richard, and her
horse for her predicament. If she were only a Whig, doing this thing for
her country, or else if she were but in love with Richard, how
beautiful, how romantic, it would all be! But--but--

And even after she was in bed, she went on sobbing softly to herself.



     "The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
     For that were stupid and irrational;
     But he whose noble soul its fear subdues,
     And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from."
                         --JOANNA BAILLIE.

After a troubled sleep that brought little rest, Joscelyn opened her
eyes on what she supposed would be a day of danger,--certainly a day of
small deceptions. But in one way fortune favoured her; the morning was
cold and raw, with now and then a flurry of snow, so she would have no
occasion to leave the house, and need worry over no excuse for biding at
home. But the early hours were full of quavers and starts; the least
quick noise sent her blood racing through its channels. Her first real
fright came when the guard in the back yard discovered bits of fresh mud
upon the trellis of the porch.

"'Tis nothing," she said, with a touch of asperity when he showed it to
her; "the maid threw a broken flower pot from the upper window, and this
earth was no doubt spilled out as it fell--there are the remnants of the
jar by the fence."

The guard bowed and withdrew; but there was a supercilious smile on his
face, which filled her with nervous apprehension. In a hasty resentment
that the man perhaps guessed at her duplicity, she could have struck

And yet a second time was she thrown into consternation, when her mother
discovered the loss of the attic key from her bunch.

"Oh, it is not lost! I broke the string yesterday night, and doubtless I
missed this one when I strung them up again. It is in my room this
minute, I dare swear. Is there aught you need in the attic now?"

"Nay, I but feared the key was lost."

"Well, let me first finish this round of knitting and I will hunt it.
Mother," she went on, after a pause, during which she picked up her
stitches industriously, "had you not better go over and make my peace
with Aunt Clevering? She was most angry with me last night."

"And good cause she had, Joscelyn; methinks I never heard any one make
so rude a speech. What put you to it?"

"In faith, mother, I cannot tell. It was cruel and unwarranted, and you
may tell her I say so, and that I am bitterly sorry. Make any excuse you
please, only make it at once, for you know Aunt Clevering's displeasure
grows like a mushroom when left to itself."

She had small hope that her aunt would be appeased, but she wanted her
mother out of the way that she might carry her prisoner something to
eat. It was close upon one o'clock, and not a morsel had she been able
to give him. She drew the bolt of the front door after her mother, who
was nothing loath to go upon this peace errand; and hurrying to the
dining room, made hasty preparation to relieve Richard's needs. She was
not used to doing things upon the sly, and her heart was in hot
rebellion that she must stoop to such a thing among her own servants.
There were hard lines of determination about her mouth, but the hands
that sliced the meat and buttered the bread shook a little. Even when on
the stair, she turned back, startled by a sound in the hall; but it was
only the cat romping with her little ones, and so once more she went on.
Softly she unlocked the attic door, and stepped in. The room was in
partial twilight, having no window, but she saw Richard coming to meet

"No May-day sunshine was ever half so welcome," he whispered, taking her
hand in both of his. "Tell me how matters have gone this morning. I have
fretted myself into a fever lest I bring some annoyance upon you. And
now you must promise me that if discovery comes, you will forswear all
knowledge of my being here. I shall claim that the key was in the lock,
and after I was inside, some one came and closed the door. Thus will you
be free from blame."

"And think you any one will believe so flimsy a story? Nay, the only
safety for either of us lies in your not being discovered. I understand
that Tarleton is furious over his failure, and has already ordered a
new search. I rely upon my own loyalty, and upon his lordship's order
for our exemption. But if the worst comes, we must be prepared."

"I am." He touched his pistols and drew himself up until his magnificent
figure was at perfect pose. "I shall die, Joscelyn, but like a soldier;
not on the gallows."

She shuddered, and her eyes lost their coldness; the woman in her was
touched by his cool courage in face of such a danger.

"Yes," she said, with a hesitating gentleness, "but I pray it come not
to that. By being prepared I meant we must leave no tell-tale traces
here such as these,"--she pointed to the platter and pitcher. "I shall
take these away; your dinner I have brought in this bit of paper--leave
no crumbs when you have finished. This jug contains water and this
bottle wine; stand them in that corner with those empty bottles, and
they will attract no attention."

"It shall be done, Joscelyn."

"Watch under the door; if there is an order given to search the house, I
will try and warn you by a note."

"Joscelyn, desperate as I was, I should have sought some other shelter,
had I not thought your loyalty would put your house beyond the shadow of
suspicion. Will you not say you forgive me before you go? We may never
meet again."

"There is nothing to forgive; you but put it in my power to requite an
obligation," she said very gently.

"That is scarce a pardon. I would have you speak as though the
forgiveness came from your heart, rather than from your head. Between us
there can be no question of a debt; my love makes me your bondservant,
and as such my service is yours rightfully."

"Your name is not known," she broke in hastily, "but I understand it is
suspected that my rescuer of yesterday is the escaped spy."

"That accounts for Tarleton's doubt of you. Joscelyn, I will not stay
here a moment longer and expose you thus. My mother's house has already
been searched--"

"And will be again ere nightfall. What you propose is folly,--worse than
folly; it is death to you and betrayal to me. There are double guards
everywhere, for Colonel Tarleton is as much policeman as soldier. You
could not leave this house and cross the street alive!"

"Then what must I do?"

"Why, in sooth, since you cannot go, you must remain." There was just a
touch in her voice and smile which made him think of their early days of
quarrel and make-up. It was such an intoxicating change from her manner
of a moment ago that he lost his head and caught her for a moment in his
strong arms. But she broke away, and gathering up the pitcher and
platter prepared to go.

"There is just one thing," she said hesitatingly, "your despatches--?"
He tapped his forehead. Again she paused irresolutely, the colour coming
and going in her delicate cheeks. "I am saving you, not your despatches;
do you understand?"

"You do not mean--?"

"Yes, I mean that Greene must learn nothing from you if you escape."

But his hand was over her mouth before she could go on. "You cannot make
a request so unworthy of you and of me! Think you for one instant that I
would buy my safety with the information that may save my comrades? No,
no, Joscelyn dear; you did not ask such a thing of me, for you would not
dishonour me, although you say you do not love me. I make no such
bargain with you; either I carry my despatches to my general, or I walk
out of your house this minute, and let the first ball that can hit me
put an end to my life."

His hand was on the door, but she dragged him back; her face like ashes.
"No, no, Richard; I will not ask it--indeed, I will not!"

Silently he kissed the hand upon his sleeve, and as they stood thus
looking into each other's eyes, there came a sharp rapping at the door
below. She went deathly pale for a moment, then waving him back, she
stepped out into the hallway.

"It is only mother," she said, after listening a moment; "she has been
over to Aunt Clevering's to make my peace for last night's rudeness.
What I said was in desperation; I know not what evil genius put me to

He took her hand reverently for a moment. "'Twas no evil genius, but a
brave spirit of self-sacrifice."

She locked the door, and went down the stair singing. At the foot she
called out, "Coming, mother!" and ran to hide the dishes she carried,
then back to the door and undid it, still singing her merry ditty.

"Why should you bolt the door, my daughter, seeing I was to be gone only
a few minutes?"

"I was upstairs straightening things a bit, and the town is so full of
confusion that I felt a trifle nervous."

"But here was the sentinel to protect you."

"Oh, I quite forgot him!" she smiled with deprecating politeness at the
sentinel, who had paused at the steps and was watching her with an ugly
frown upon his sullen face. He touched his hat with a shrug, and moved
on upon his beat.

But a new terror came to the girl; evidently the man suspected her, and
of course his suspicion would be carried to Tarleton. Why had she
lingered upstairs talking with Richard? Everything she did worked the
wrong way. Would the day never end? She strove to make amends for her
false step by singing Tory songs as she went about the house, and by
sending the guard a dainty luncheon. It was perhaps an hour before she
remembered to ask her mother the result of her interview with Aunt

"Oh, but I had a sad scene of it! Joscelyn, your tongue will be the ruin
of us; I know it, I know it! Neighbour after neighbour has taken offence
at your outspoken Toryism; and now Ann Clevering, dear to me as a
sister, says she hopes you will never darken her door again. And if you
go not, why, neither can I; and so I am cut off from my best friend by
your unneighbourly caprice! And think what we have been to each other!"
Here sobs choked the unhappy woman's utterance, and she could only turn
her eyes reproachfully upon her daughter.

Joscelyn was deeply moved, as she always was, to wound her mother; but
she put the best face possible on it in order to cheer the disconsolate
old lady.

"There, mother dear, 'tis not worth crying over. Not go to see Aunt
Clevering because I cannot go? Why, that is nonsense. Of course you will
go, and she will come here just the same. I will keep out of her way
until she forgives me--for she will forgive me, never you fear. I am not
surprised at her anger, but it will all come out right in the end; so
don't cry, little mother, you break my heart with your tears."

But in her heart was serious question whether she would ever again be
received upon friendly footing in the house over the way, which had been
to her as a second home. She would never tell that she had made that
speech to turn inquiry from her own house, where Richard was hiding; and
she now doubted much if he would escape to tell the story himself. She
sang no more that afternoon, but sat silently over her knitting. The
weather did not tend to mend her spirits; for the drizzle of the morning
had turned into a steady downpour, and the wind moaned about the gables
and up the throat of the wide chimney like a lost spirit hopelessly
seeking its reincarnation. Her mother was still brooding over the break
with the Cleverings, and now and then lifting her kerchief to her face
in a gesture that was a reproach to Joscelyn, who strove not to see it;
and yet she watched for it persistently out of the tail of her eye. She
grew more miserable each moment; and so hailed with delight the entrance
of Barry and a fellow-officer, who had come to bask in the warmth of her

"Your visit is a charity, gentlemen," she said gayly, as she gave them
chairs; "this weather serves one's spirits and one's ruffles alike, in
that it leaves them both limp and frowsy."

"Your mother seems more out of sorts than you."

"Yes; mother is doing penance for my sin of last night, Captain Barry."

"Your sin? Why, methinks you never committed anything more heinous than
a misdemeanour. Come, make me your confessor, and I promise you complete
and immediate absolution."

"'Tis not your absolution, but Mistress Clevering's that I need; she has
excommunicated me for telling of the attic closet," she spoke with an
air of mock penitence that set her visitors off in a roar.

But Mistress Cheshire stopped them with a fresh burst of tears, "'Tis no
matter for jesting with me, sirs. I am a subject of King George and wish
him well, but he cannot take the place of Ann Clevering in my heart!"

"True, true," said Joscelyn, still with her air of pretence, only now it
was playful; "she loves her king, but, you see, she lives not neighbours
with him; and so, forsooth, she cannot compare her loaves with his on a
baking day, nor ask the loan of his pie pans, nor offer her mixing bowl
in return. Ah, gentlemen, there is a homely charm in proximity of which
the poets wot not!"

And so the talk ran on for a few minutes, and the visitors agreed they
had never found Mistress Joscelyn so charming or so witty. Then they
fell to talking of the military news, of Tarleton's determination to
ferret out the hidden spy, and of the burning of the Reverend Hugh
McAden's library by that division of the army stationed at Red House, a
few miles distant. To all of the first she listened with an outward show
of indifference, but with an inward quaking. The other news interested
her less; but for obvious reasons was also less embarrassing.

"I pray you, Captain Barry, why should the soldiers burn the reverend
gentleman's library? 'Twas innocent enough, and he himself has been dead
this twelvemonth."

"Well, they found from his books he was a Presbyterian; and being that,
he must perforce be also a rebel."

"And they consigned his books to the same fate they believed him to be
enjoying--the fire? Pray you, sir, were the flames _blue_? Being the
very essence of Presbyterianism, they should have been blue, you know."

"Capital! I shall tell his lordship of your excellent joke."

She hated herself for her little pleasantry, for she had sincerely
admired the minister, whom she had known since childhood; but she must
keep up a show of gayety, that these young men might carry a good report
of her to headquarters.

With the growing cloudiness the day was visibly shortened. Joscelyn,
glancing now and then at the window, watched the going of the light with
secret satisfaction. Already the opposite houses were becoming
indistinct, and as the shadows grew apace, just in proportion did her
spirits rise; the danger was drifting away, and the man upstairs now had
a chance for life. But just as she was congratulating herself that the
ordeal was past, there came a trampling of hoofs at the door; and
Tarleton's voice, giving some order, made her realize that the crisis
had perchance but just now come. For one awful moment the power of
motion forsook her; then with a masterly effort at calmness, she

"Mother, entertain the gentlemen while I see why Samuel does not bring
the lights."

She managed to walk with becoming leisure to the parlour door; but once
outside she almost flew up the stairs. Down on her knees before the fire
in her room, she wrote rapidly upon a scrap of paper:--

     "Be ready. Tarleton has come. They shall search _my room first_;
     that must be your refuge. When I open the attic door, stand thou
     close behind it; I will direct attention to the chest and shelves
     at the far end--then, if any, is your chance."

She rose to her feet; the hall below was full of manly voices, above
which her mother called, "Joscelyn, Joscelyn, come at once, here are
more visitors."

"Yes, mother." Then with a crash she dropped the key basket, which she
had snatched up, just in front of the attic door, and while gathering up
the spilled keys with one hand, she slipped the note under the door with
the other, and instantly felt it grasped and drawn away to the other
side. She knew Richard could read it by means of his tinder-box. Then
flinging the keys into the basket, she ran downstairs. As she entered
the parlour, and saw before the hearth the short, square figure of
Tarleton, the tremor passed out of her limbs. All day she had been
starting and quaking; now in the presence of the real danger, she
was calm and collected. She greeted the colonel with a fair show of
hospitality, and fell immediately to talking of those ill-fated volumes
of McAden. It was anything to gain time that the last lingering daylight
might go. Tarleton let her run on for a few minutes, even let Barry
repeat her poor little joke about the blue flames; then he cleared his
throat and began:--

"Mistress Joscelyn, it behooves--"

But she interrupted him. "Why, dear me, did not mother give you a cup of
tea? You must have one at once to kill that cold in your throat. What a
terrible ride you must have had to-day in this storm. A soldier's life
is indeed a hard one, and nobly does he win the fame which illumines his
name! Two lumps, or three? Ah, you have a sweet tooth."

But she could not stave him off after he had drained his cup. She wanted
to tell him how they came by the tea since the tax had stopped its sale,
but he cut her short.

"Another time, Mistress Joscelyn, I shall be glad to listen to your
story, which is no doubt an interesting one. But just now I have graver
matters to discuss with you."

"Grave matters with me?" she repeated, with feigned surprise and a
ripple of laughter that was like the tinkle of a silver bell. "That is
an unusual kind of discussion for a soldier to hold with a woman. Are
you going to ask my advice about your morning coffee or your next
campaign? But I pray you, sir, proceed; I am all attention."

There was not a glimmer of daylight through the unshuttered window-sash.
She felt the sinews in her hands and arms grow like iron, and her pulses
beat with the perfection of rhythm. So does a great crisis sometimes
steady a woman's nerves.

The short colonel rocked himself from toe to heel a moment as he looked
at her half in unbelief, half in admiration of her coolness. Truly she
was superb. Then he said:--

"The spy of yesterday has not been taken."

"So these gentlemen were telling me," smiling over at Barry.

"But it is most important to the safety of our command and the good of
our cause that he be found--dead or alive."

She merely nodded, never taking her steady gaze from his face.

"That he could have gotten out of the town is impossible. My men ran him
in from the west side, over the bridge of the Eno. The sentinels were at
their posts upon the north, east, and south sides of the village; he
could not have passed them without detection."

Again he paused; and finding that something was expected of her she
said, in a most matter-of-fact way, "I see."

"Then the only conclusion to come to is, that he is still in the town.
Well, now, every house in this vicinity, where he was last seen, has
been thoroughly searched save yours. I have talked with Lord

She stood up suddenly, with a dignity of movement that well-nigh
disconcerted him. "I pray you, Colonel Tarleton, cut your explanation

"Then in short, madam, I have here an order from his lordship to examine
your house and premises."

She stretched out her hand for the paper silently, imperiously.

Barry had risen and come to her side.

"You will see," Tarleton made haste to add, "that your own loyalty is
not impugned. The paper states explicitly that it is not believed you
have any knowledge of the man's whereabouts; but it is thought possible
he may have concealed himself secretly in your house. I have spoken to
his lordship, and--"

"It were unnecessary to say so--I know full well, without the telling,
who has so poisoned his lordship's mind against me. Every man, woman,
and child in this community knows that I have never wavered in my
allegiance to the king. I have been a target for Whig criticism, almost
of persecution, because of that allegiance--and this is my reward!" she
struck the paper sharply with her other hand. "Well, sir, I recognize
the source!" she turned her eyes scornfully upon the man on the rug.

Tarleton ground his teeth, but his private orders were to use the lady
with all gentleness, and he knew how to obey--under provocation. He
began some sullen disclaimer, but she broke in imperiously:--

"Enough, sir; such paltry excuses weary me. Let us to business."

"You interpose no objection?"

"None, sir. In this house the mandates of his majesty's representatives
are obeyed. Let me see; is it your wish to begin upstairs? Very well.
Perhaps these gentlemen will be kind enough to watch the stair; the
flight below the landing comes down just at this door."

"May I not come with you?" pleaded Barry, who was loath to have her out
of his sight with the brusque colonel, lest some rude word be spoken to
her,--a discourtesy he would have been hot to revenge even upon his
superior officer.

Tarleton nodded assent, but Joscelyn laughingly interposed, "Nay, good
captain, your boots show the effects of the weather; it would grieve my
mother's housewifely heart to know they were leaving their impress upon
her carpets. Wait here and guard the stair--are we three not enough to
capture one?" She pointed as she spoke from herself and Tarleton to his
orderly who had been standing at attention just inside the door. "I take
it, Colonel Tarleton, that we shall be sufficient?" He bowed; and
thrusting her knitting into her pocket, she moved out of the room,
followed by the officer and his orderly. "Mother, look you to the
comfort of these other guests; I shall return presently."

There was a threat in Barry's eyes as they met Tarleton's in a fleeting
glance; but he merely saluted in silence as that officer passed out. One
day Tarleton should pay for this needless offence to a girl so
unprotected and so beautiful. It was most evident from her bearing to
see that she had nothing to fear from an investigation. Yes, one day he
should pay for it.

In the hall Joscelyn stopped to pick up the key-basket and the one
candle in its tall brass candlestick. Thus did she leave the lower hall
unlighted save from the open parlour door, for she wanted no radiance
thrown upward to the story above. She talked unceasingly as they mounted
the steps, raising her voice presumably to over-top the noise of the
heavy boots, but really as a warning to the man hiding above. Not for a
moment did she allow herself to consider the probably fatal outcome of
this search. She needed every faculty of mind and body to meet the
moments as they came. In the narrow upper entry she paused and lifted
her candle; a few chairs, a spinning-wheel, and a table formed its only
furniture. A cat could scarcely have hidden there.

"Proceed, I pray you," said Tarleton, after one glance around.

Three doors opened on this passage; the nearest of these, which was the
one toward the front, she threw open. The white bed, the frilled
curtains, the dainty toilet articles upon the dresser, were heralds
enough to proclaim the occupant. Even Tarleton hesitated.

"To search here were useless."

"Nay, sir; I insist that you carry out your instructions."

She placed the candle on the table and waited haughtily while the
inspection was made, nodding toward the wardrobe, "Open the doors and
see if Betty Clevering knew whereof she spoke."

"There is no one here," said Tarleton, following her instructions, his
big hand looking awkward enough among the pretty feminine garments. She
picked up the light and opened the connecting door to her mother's room.
Tarleton went with her first, however, nodding to the orderly to return
by way of the passage, that none might creep by that means from the

"An excellent precaution; I had not thought of it," said Joscelyn,
detecting the unspoken order.

There was a bright fire on her mother's hearth, and she stood as though
warming herself while the two men made their investigation. Her manner
was so perfectly frank and unconcerned that Tarleton began to curse
himself for a fool. At headquarters the other officers had opposed his
plan, laughing at the evidence his guards had gathered--a little mud on
a trellis in rainy weather, a locked door when a woman was left alone in
her house in such troublous times! Truly, the short colonel was
over-credulous to attach any significance to such trifles. Only by the
most masterly persuasion had he wrung that order from Cornwallis. He did
not relish the laugh he knew his failure would provoke, so he lingered
somewhat in this room, examining the closet, and making the orderly
climb up and look to see that no one was hidden on top of the tall
tester. Finally, he announced himself satisfied.

Joscelyn's hands were like ice as she took up the light and led the way
into the hall, and there stopped in front of the attic door.

"This is the only other apartment on this floor. It is the attic over
the pantry and kitchen, and extends to the right the length of this hall
and of mother's room, which you have just quitted. There is no other
entrance but this door in the corner, as you will see."

"Take the light, orderly," said Tarleton, as she turned over the keys in
the basket. This was not what she wanted, but she yielded it without a

The key turned easily, and opening the door she stepped in, still
keeping her hand upon the knob, which action brought her within a foot
and a half of the wall behind. Still holding the door and facing about
she pointed down the long, narrow apartment.

"Will you make yourselves at home, gentlemen?"

Tarleton's spirits rose; the shadows and heaped-up odds and ends in the
far side of the room seemed a covert for noble game. There was no
furniture at this end against which the door opened, only bags of seed
and dried peppers and herbs hanging along the wall in rear of the
girlish figure. His quick glance took this in; then motioning his
orderly to follow, he went down the length of the apartment, the light
glinting on the pistols in each man's hand. On the shelves were
carefully folded piles of bedclothes, and behind the chest a smooth roll
of carpet powdered with dust. The hair trunks and the broken bureau gave
up no guest, nor did the deep shelves reveal anything suspicious.

All this while a hand had been plucking at Joscelyn's skirt, but
Tarleton had kept his side face to her so that any action was
impossible. Now, however, he called sharply to his aide to place the
candle on the floor and help him search the big chest, remarking in a
low tone that "Caskets like that sometimes held living jewels."

Joscelyn laughed. "Then will it be in the shape of mice, of which
capture I wish you joy. A rat hunt is noble sport for one of his
Majesty's gallant officers!"

As she intended it should, this speech but spurred Tarleton on to
greater exertions. They would soon be coming back to the door, and she
dared not risk the closing of it with what she knew was behind. But
there was not much time left for action; for, obeying orders, the aide
placed the candle on the floor, and opening the lid of the chest began
overhauling the contents; his chief's back was also toward the door.
Now, if at all, was the moment for action. Joscelyn's hand had been on
the yarn ball in her pocket; quick as a flash it was out and the thread
snapped apart. The floor slanted straight from her to the candle. With a
deft cast she sent the noiseless ball down the room; it struck the
narrow-bottomed candlestick, which careened and rocked over--and the
next moment the room was in total darkness.

A cry broke from her and Tarleton simultaneously; his was an oath upon
the orderly, hers a nervous relaxation of the strain that had been upon

"Colonel Tarleton, come quickly and guard the door whilst I find another
light!" she cried, suppressing the dry sob in her throat; for in the
momentary darkness she had felt a warm body crush past her on its way to
the hall.

But at that instant the orderly found his tinder-box.




     "They laugh who win."

As the candle kindled under the orderly's hand Tarleton, who had sprung
toward the door, found himself within a foot of Joscelyn, whom the light
revealed standing in the open doorway with a hand lifted to either

"You find me guarding the postern, colonel," she said, smiling, although
her very knees were shaking under her with nervous trepidation.

"How came the light to go out?" he demanded angrily.

"Surely, that is a matter for you to explain. I was far from it at this
end of the room," she answered coldly. Then presently added, "Perchance
'twas struck by some of the things you threw out of the chest; or did
the orderly jar the plank on which it sat? You see the floor is quite a
loose one. No fourth person could have put it out without my perceiving
him, _and I swear to you I have seen no human being save our party of
three_ since coming up the stair."

This was the truth; for she had not once glanced behind the door, and
she spoke the words slowly, looking the while straight into Tarleton's
eyes. He turned his searching gaze from her, but evidently he was not
satisfied, for as she moved from the door he snatched the light, and
stepping beyond her, and so on up the hall, looked into both of the
rooms he had recently examined. As he paused at her door with the candle
lifted above his head, the scene swam before Joscelyn's eyes. If he
entered, there would be discovery--murder. It seemed an interminable
minute that he stood thus; then the blood came again to her heart with a
rush, for he turned back from the threshold, and, calling for another
light to leave in the hall, he went again to finish his examination of
the attic. Not a box was left unemptied, not a barrel or chest or shelf
that was not searched as for some tiny object that might secrete itself
in a crack. Joscelyn, leaning against the open door, watched the process
in silence save for occasional mocking suggestions or biting comments,
to most of which he gave no heed. A lurking suspicion of her, added to
his fear of ridicule at headquarters, made him doubly cautious, so that
he never turned his back upon her for an instant, and now and then he
paused and looked at her keenly and curiously; but she only gave him a
satirical laugh for his pains. But the search could not go on forever,
and at last he had to announce that he had finished. Joscelyn longed to
leave the door open, that Richard might creep back; but they had found
it locked, and so, fearful of arousing suspicion, she made no objection
when Tarleton, having looked behind the door, locked it and handed her
the key. On every step of the stair her spirits rose, so that her cheeks
were brilliant and her eyes shining, when at the bottom Barry met them,
and relieving her of her basket and candle, placed them on the table.
There was no need to ask the result of the search; Tarleton's face was a
proclamation of defeat. After a few pleasantries with Barry as to how he
had guarded the steps, and how many ghostly spies he had seen gliding up
or down, Joscelyn opened the dining room door, saying, with a return to
her stately courtesy:--

"And now, Colonel Tarleton, we will finish our task, an it please you.
His lordship will be consumed with impatience for your return."

Sullenly Tarleton followed her lead; he intercepted the glance she shot
at Barry, and felt himself a butt for her ridicule, and his temper was
not improved thereby. The ransacked pantries and closets gave up nothing
that was alive except a mouse, at whose wild antics, Joscelyn and Barry
laughed like a couple of children, their mouths full of cake which the
girl had cut from the loaf on the shelf. It was such a relief to laugh,
to do anything to ease the tense strain upon her nerves and composure.
It was raining without, and she sat with Barry by the dining room fire,
while Tarleton and the orderly investigated the cellar and the
outbuildings. Those few moments alone with her finished the subjugation
of the young man's heart. He knew that for him there could be no
happiness in the future unless she shared it with him; and he was
telling her so in hesitating whispers--for his very earnestness had made
him shy and awkward--when the return of the searching party put an end
to the interview.

Joscelyn stood upon the veranda as Tarleton mounted for the ride, and
cried out with her tantalizing mockery:--

"Commend me to his lordship, and say that you came upon a fool's errand,
and carry back but the fruit of such a quest."

She would have said more, but her mother plucked her by the sleeve with
frightened command; and so with an enchanting change of manner she
turned to Captain Barry, who had lingered on the step, and begged that
he would ere long give them again the pleasure of his company. Her words
were meant more as a rebuff to Tarleton by contrast with the sharp
things she had said to him; but the younger officer construed them into
an acknowledged preference for himself, and his quick pulses throbbed
with a foretaste of that sweetest victory a man can win--the capture
of a beloved woman's heart. As he rode away with his companion, he knew
not if it still rained or was clear; the mud of the streets might have
been drifts of bright-hued blossoms for all the notice he gave it; even
his resentment against Tarleton was forgotten in this sweet dream of
love which, amid the shadows of war, had suddenly opened before him
as a flower unfolds its petals to the dawn. At supper with his
fellow-officers, he heard none of the jests upon Tarleton's failure of
the evening, so busy was he recalling every word and look of the girl
who in one short week had made the world as a new creation for him. The
time for his wooing would be short, and the morrow was too remote for
his impatient heart; and so ere another hour went by he was again
knocking at her door. Much to his chagrin, he found other guests before
him, for hardly had he quitted the house ere Mary Singleton arrived and
announced that she meant to tarry all night.

"Eustace and some of his friends are coming later; so, my dear, you must
let me run upstairs at once and change this damp gown for something more
comfortable and becoming. When you see who is with Eustace, you will
understand why I want to look so charming. My maid has my bag in the
kitchen. Come."

Another menace! Would she never be free from discovery, Joscelyn
wondered. And taking her friend by the shoulders, she pushed her
playfully into the parlour.

"'Tis easy enough to guess who is coming, by the happiness in your eyes.
But there, go make your duty to mother while I have a fire kindled in my
room; then shall you make yourself as beautiful as a dream ere it runs
to a nightmare."

Upstairs she raced, stopping in the hall only long enough to unlock the
attic door. In her room was a slight noise; and she was about to call
Richard softly, when by the fireplace she perceived the maid blowing the
coals into a blaze.

"That will do, Peggy. Go down at once and get a pair of your dry shoes
for Mistress Singleton's maid, that she may shortly be ready to help her
mistress dress."

Peggy obeyed; and then Joscelyn heard her name called, and saw the
curtains of the bed-tester shaken as by some one standing behind them,
and Richard's head and shoulders came to view. Answering the look in his
eloquent eyes, she put out her hand with a quick impulse to meet his;
but at that moment the door was flung open, and Mary rushed in.

"They have come already, and 'tis as much as my chances with Edward
Moore are worth to have him see me in this garb; so I fled for my life,"
she cried, laughing and panting together.

Joscelyn dared not look toward the bed curtain; surely, the fates had
combined against her! She stood quite still and let Mary run on with her
confidences concerning young Moore, salving her conscience with the
thought that a second listener could not matter when a human life was at
stake. But when Mary, too intent upon the mirror to look at the bed,
shook down her hair and began deliberately to unfasten her bodice,
Joscelyn grew desperate. She could not permit this.

"Wait until--until the fire burns, Mary," she cried, that she might
gain a few minutes to think. But Mary only laughed and went on
unhooking, raving about blue eyes and a tall figure; to all of which
Joscelyn agreed, striving to fasten the hooks again until Mary pushed
her off in a small pet. Then, with a last frantic effort, she upset,
with a palpably awkward movement of her elbow, a pitcher that stood on
the dresser; and as the deluge of water came down she cried to Mary to
go at once to her mother's room, where was a better fire, and she would
follow with her things. It was a most open bit of acting, without a
shadow of plot or diplomacy; but Mary was too intent upon her love
affair to notice, and so went obediently into the next room, talking
still of Edward Moore. As Joscelyn gathered up some ribbons and lace
from the bed, she whispered as though to the curtained post:--

"The attic door is open--there is no one in the hall."

Then did the post seem suddenly alive, for a hand caught hers, and a
voice full of love and gratitude said in her ear:--

"God bless you! Good-by."

Ten minutes later, trying the attic door, she found it locked from
within; and, leaving Mary in the hands of the maid, she went down the
stair with a light heart, for the day's trials were over at last, and
she might cease to wrack her brain for expedients and deceptions. Other
guests had followed Barry, and the house was soon full of echoing
laughter and snatches of song, with the low hum of conversation, like
the ripple of a brook, running ceaselessly underneath the lighter

As soon as Joscelyn laid eyes on Eustace she knew something was amiss,
and he was not long in letting her know what it was, upbraiding her
bitterly for her cruel speech of last night.

"You were not content that those rude men were searching her house, but
must add to her humiliation. What demon of cruelty possessed you?"

"It was the meanest thing I ever did," she said, with something like a
sob; "and, Eustace, if you can only get Betty to forgive me, there is
nothing I will not do for you."

"Small chance I have to win forgiveness for you or favour for myself,"
he answered gloomily. "I wish I had been here last night; she should
have known she had at least one friend, though I lost my commission by
it. Only once have I seen her, and then but for ten minutes, with her
mother freezing the life out of us with her cold stare."

"If I arrange a meeting between this and your departure, will you spare
a few moments from your wooing to plead for me?"

"Yes; but can you do it?"

"Slip away up to mother's room and write her a note; I will see that she
gets it this night," and, mollified, he went.

Upstairs in the attic, shivering under the blankets behind the big
chest, Richard hearkened to the subdued echoes of gayety from below and
went over thoughtfully the events of the day. All the morning and
afternoon he had felt the nets closing about him, and when he read
Joscelyn's hasty warning he knew that death stood at his elbow. Not that
hope died, but what could hope do in such straights? He made ready as
she bade him, folding the blankets and straightening the carpet, putting
his boots into a barrel under a lot of old shoes and odds and scraps.
Then with his ear to the door, he had waited for what seemed a dragging
age. Always his care was for Joscelyn. Even when, during the search, the
door was opened, and he stood crushed against the wall with his would-be
captors and murderers not six feet away, the uppermost thought in his
mind was for her, anxiety for her safety, admiration for her magnificent
courage. Slipping out of the room in that momentary darkness, he had
felt like a traitor deserting the thing on earth dearest to him, and had
cursed the fate that sent him away. But the supreme moment came when,
crouching by her bed, he saw through the tester curtain the British
officer pause in the door with his lifted light. One step out into the
room, and the flimsy curtain could not have hidden the figure of the man
behind it. On that one more step hung life or death. Breathless, Richard
waited, his unsheathed dirk in his hand. He knew this man,--hated as no
other Englishman was hated through the length and breadth of the
land,--standing thus unconscious of any danger, was utterly within his
power. One strong upward blow where the heart was left uncovered by the
lifted arm, and the cause of American liberty would lose one of its
deadliest enemies. But the guards below, the soldiers swarming in the
street--and Joscelyn! At thought of her the murderous instinct in his
soul was quelled, and without so much as a relaxed muscle, he saw
Tarleton turn from the room. Then he had hidden himself more carefully
and waited for her coming. Mistaking for her the maid who came to light
the fire, he was near to self-betrayal; and he could not remember how he
had gotten out of sight when later on Mary burst into the room; but
lying now at full length under the sloping rafters, he smiled at the
measures Joscelyn had used to dispose of her, recognizing that subtle
loyalty which would, in dire straits, give up a friend's love secret to
another, but would not without an effort sacrifice that friend's

Brave girl, what a spirit and resolution were hers! And yet he had seen
her cry over a dead wren and flinch from the sight of his hunting-gun.
And how many trials and perils he had drawn upon her by his presence,
although if taken he had resolved to live only long enough to proclaim
her blameless. Well, when the revel down below should be over, he would
steal away, for he would be a source of danger to her no more. And,
besides, Greene needed his information. He must face his fate and take
what chances he might; that was a scout's fate and duty; and so he
planned his course. By and by he left his couch and stood at the door to
try and separate Joscelyn's voice from the medley of sounds that made
their way up to him; the least scrap of a sentence would be as balm to
his aching heart. But he listened long in vain; all was a confused
babble; then suddenly a voice called her, and she answered clearly that
she was sitting on the stair with Captain Barry. And somebody said, "Of
course." And then there was a general laugh that somehow set Richard's
blood in a strange tingle of pain.

So she was sitting there just below him, within sight if he but dared to
crack the door. And such a longing came upon him that he did turn the
key and made a little opening, and saw the back of her head and her
scarlet bodice as she bent down to some one sitting below her. A keen
jealousy smote him; who was her companion, was he handsome or homely? Of
course he was making love to her; no one could look that close into her
eyes and not love her. And she,--was she smiling with the sweet shyness
he loved but wanted no other man to see? It was only by a supreme effort
of will that he dragged himself away and fastened the door again. Would
they never go, those idle gossiping people with their thoughts absorbed
by pleasure and merriment--never go and let her come to him for just one
minute of divine joy? How he hated them all for staying; and above all,
how he hated that man on the stairs whispering his heart into her ear.

Presently there came the clatter of dishes, and then he remembered he
had had no supper and it must be close upon midnight. With the coming of
the dark the wind had risen and the garret was bitterly cold; but busy
with plans for his escape and with thoughts of her, he scarcely noticed
how stiff and numb his limbs were.

An hour later there were calls of "good-by," and the sound of opening
and closing doors below, mingled with shrill feminine voices calling for
wraps, and out in the street the stamping of horses. Then silence
reigned, and he knew the guests had departed. Presently there was a slow
tread upon the stairs, and Mistress Cheshire called back some directions
to those below. Then a lighter, quicker step followed, and Mary
Singleton went singing to Joscelyn's room. Fifteen, perhaps twenty
minutes of intense silence went by, and then a slender thread of light
shone under the door; and so faint as to be almost inaudible, a tap fell
on the panel. Quickly as possible he drew the bolt and opened the door,
but only just in time to see Joscelyn enter her own room and close the
door. On a table, in reach of his hand, stood a shaded candle and beside
it was his supper. It was for this she had called him; but hungry as he
was, he forgot it in his bitter disappointment that he was not to speak
to her. Time pressed, however, and soon he was back in the attic,
devouring the food she had left. Particularly grateful to him was the
mug of steaming hot tea.

"Tax or no tax, it cheers me up, temptress that you are, sweet
Joscelyn. Perchance a Continental toast may override the Royalist
poison lurking in it, and so I pledge Nathaniel Greene and his trusted
scout--particularly the scout." He laughed softly as he drained the cup.

Physically he was strengthened and warmed for the flight before him, but
his heart was heavy with disappointment and dread. Once he abandoned the
idea of attempting to escape; the house had been searched and the guard
removed, therefore he was safer here than anywhere else, and he must see
her before he went. But more unselfish council prevailed; it was not his
safety only that must be considered. The knowledge he had gained would
be of inestimable value to Greene; the going of the guard left the way
open to him, and it was duty, not personal inclination, that must
dictate his course.

He waited until the tall clock below chimed one, and then made ready for
his departure. He had resolved not to tell Joscelyn of his plans even if
he might have spoken with her, for he wanted her sleep troubled by no
anxiety for him; but the yearning of his heart found expression in the
farewell he left upon the senseless panels of her door. Then, boots in
hand, he crept downstairs and into the dining room. Here the rear door
fastened with a latch, the string of which was drawn inside at night.
Softly he stepped out, closing it behind him, and stood a moment pushing
the string back through its hole, that those behind might be safe; then,
hugging the fence, he crept to the gate and was soon in the alley
outside. The darkness, the soft mud, and the howling wind were all in
his favour. He knew his way even in the gloom, and so, making now and
then a detour to avoid a public street or a possible sentry post, he
came at last to the outskirts of the town, keeping always in the
direction opposite the British camp. The bridge he knew must be well
guarded, and so must the road over the mountains; hence he kept directly
across the fields to where the river bends under the cliff called
"Lovers' Leap." Ahead of him, behind a clump of bushes, burned a low
fire, and he crept up on hands and knees to hear what the two men
sitting there were saying. One of them was surlily poking the fire:--

"If we break camp to-morrow, how the devil can we march over such soggy

"The Guildford road is not so bad," was the answer; and although Richard
waited a long time, he heard nothing else. And so like a ghost he crept
into the drifting rain and soon gained the river, repeating to himself
that last sentence which might be the keynote to the British movements.

His knowledge of the country folk stood him in good stead, for soon he
was untying a canoe from a gum tree not far from a lonely cabin. Often,
when a boy, he had gone with the owner fishing in this boat, tying it up
to the tree roots when the day's sport was done. The river was turbulent
from the recent downpour, and in the darkness he went further
down-stream than he intended; but at last he drew into a cove of weeds
and reeds, and leaving the boat there he plunged into the forest beyond.
But he was not lost, and ere the dawn came he had found a friend, and
well mounted he pressed on to carry the news he had gathered to the
American camp; and as he rode, he thought always and with a gnawing
bitterness of the view he had had of Joscelyn's head as she bent down to
catch the love words of that invisible suitor.



     "Yet all my life seems going out
     As slow I turn my face about
     To go alone another way, to be alone
         Till life's last day,
     Unless thy smile can light the way!"

In the early morning, before the family were astir, Joscelyn dressed
herself hurriedly and went to the attic door. It was ajar. With a quick
premonition of evil, she entered and whispered Richard's name. No answer
came; no one was there. Then the truth flashed upon her--he had gone,
risking everything rather than further expose her to discovery and its
dire results. How chivalric, and yet how insane! Of course he would be
captured, or else he would perish with cold and hunger this bitter
winter weather. She looked about carefully; not a scrap of a note had he
left to say good-by. She had not dared to wait to speak with him last
night, lest Mary discover them; but now she reproached herself, feeling
that she might have prevented this mad mistake. She had meant to come
back after all was quiet, but Mary talked so long that for very shame
she had not dared to do so, dreading his man's judgment of a visit at
such an hour.

She was now in a nervous tremor, and feared to have the maids come in,
lest they announce that the spy had been taken; and when they came but
said naught of it, she began to look for news from outsiders. Several
times during the morning meal she glanced across to Aunt Clevering's
house with such a tempestuous pity for the old lady's coming sorrow that
her eyes shone with tears; and her mother, seeing them, thought that
it was sorrow for the estrangement she had wrought between the two
families, and resolved to tell Ann Clevering about it.

"Come, Joscelyn," said Mary, looking up from her plate, "an you eat no
breakfast and keep your mouth pulled down at the corners like that,
we'll be thinking Captain Barry left unsaid the things he should have
said last night."

"I know not what you think he should have said--but he was very
charming," the girl said, rousing herself.

"Particularly when you two sat on the stair and whispered so long."

"The time seemed long to you because just at that time Edward Moore was
talking with Pattie Newsom."

"Well," answered Mary, tossing her head, "it was quite as long to him,
for he said it seemed years while he was from me."

"Poor Pattie!"

But all the time she jested her heart was full; and she kept her eyes on
the opposite house or watched those who passed in the street to guess,
if possible, if they carried news to the commander's quarters. The rain
had passed in the night, but toward dawn the wind had crystallized it
into sleet, so that in the sun the ice-dight world sparkled like a jewel
catching the light upon its many facets and kindling each with a
different flame; everywhere was a brilliant silvery glisten with gleams
of amethyst and agate, ochre and opal like momentary meteors in the
marvellous dazzle. What a day to be hunted across country like a wild
animal by human bloodhounds! What a day to die by a bullet, or, worse
still, on yonder historic hill as the Regulators died!

The hours wore on, and still no tidings came. Joscelyn went restlessly
from room to room, unable to fix her attention upon anything. It was
close upon ten o'clock when the thud of hoofs resounded outside, and a
minute after Barry entered the room. Evidently the news he brought was
of a gloomy character, for his face was clouded.

"The spy--they have caught him!" Joscelyn cried, leaning heavily on her

"The spy? What do you mean--what is the matter that you are so pale?"
The solicitude in his voice was not unmixed with a curious surprise.
Then when she hesitated over her answer, he said; coming quite close to
her, "Why are you so interested in this spy?"

Then in a moment she was herself again. "They say it was he who saved
my life on the commons; should I be true to my womanhood if I dismissed
him from my thoughts? I tell you frankly I wish him well."

She returned his gaze quietly, and he took her hand with a deference
that was an apology. "And I, too, wish him well for that service, no
matter what he may have carried to his general to our undoing--for he
has not been taken. I am a soldier and a servant of the king, but in my
heart of hearts your safety is more than the safety of Lord Cornwallis's
whole command."

His reward was a dazzling smile and an invitation to sit with her upon
the sofa, which action brought him within a foot of her. He longed to
lessen even that distance, but comforted himself with the thought that
his hand might creep to hers at the first softening of her manner.

"What made you think I brought news of the spy?"

"You were so grave I thought naught but an execution could be in

"It is indeed a kind of execution, for this is to be my good-by," he
said sadly. "We march in two hours; already camp is broken, and
preparations are being made."

"And this decision was reached--?"

"Late last night at a council of officers. This spy has carried away
information about our position that Greene could use to our defeat;
that, with other reasons, brought about the decision. I did not sleep
one moment for thinking of leaving you."

"And the search for the spy is given over?"


She could not repress a sigh of relief, but he did not so interpret it.
Mary had withdrawn to the window, and her mother had left the room; they
two might as well have been alone.

"My God, how I shall miss you!" cried the young fellow at last,
desperately. "You see I never loved a woman before, and so I know not
how to bear this parting."

"You are a soldier," she said gently. "A soldier endures any pain

"Yes, but no sword thrust ever hurt like this. You are glad you have met

"Very glad."

"And you will miss me and think of me sometimes?"

"Many times."

"And when the war is over, I may come back and--and claim your love?"

He had taken her hand, and she could not at once draw it away, for a
strange hesitation was upon her. "I cannot promise," she said at last.
"Ten days ago I did not know you."

"Yes, but ten hours taught my heart its lesson for life, and war makes
quick wooing."

She slowly but firmly drew her hand away. "I cannot promise; but I love
no one else."

"Then I will wait and hope."

A few minutes later a bugle sent its shrill call down the wind. He
sprang up and hastily shook hands with Mary and Mistress Cheshire, who
had just returned to the room; but, answering his pleading glance,
Joscelyn followed him into the hall that the others might not witness
the emotion of his parting with herself.

"Try to love me," he said, and was gone; and watching him as he passed
out of sight, she felt that her hands were wet with the boyish tears
that had fallen on them as he carried them to his lips in a fervid
farewell. And suddenly she asked herself what happier fate awaited her
than to accept this love poured out so prodigally at her feet. The
question brought serious thoughts, so Mary found her but dull company
until other visitors arrived to say also their farewells. One of these
brought a note from Lord Cornwallis. Would she not come and witness
their departure?

"Mother," she said, coming downstairs in her habit, "I shall not be at
home this afternoon; call Betty over to sort her wools out of my
knitting-bag; she will find it on the spinet. And while she works over
it, go you once more to Aunt Clevering's, if you please, and intercede
for me; Betty will not mind being left."

Thus did she plan to leave the way open to Eustace for a hasty farewell
to his sweetheart.

A little past noon the drums rolled out their hoarse commands, and the
British army was on the move. An unrestrained excitement ran riot in
the town. There were blaring bugles and flaunting flags, and everywhere
glimmers of red as the corps passed onward. At the head of the British
columns rode Lord Cornwallis, and at his bridle-rein went Mistress
Joscelyn, the picture of good humour and coquetry, with a scarlet
cockade in her hat, and an officer's sash tied jauntily across her
breast from shoulder to waist. The rich colour of the silk brought out
by contrast the sea-blue lights in her eyes and the glossy gleams of her
hair. Men forgot the martial pageant to look at her; and when at the
home pier of the river bridge the staff paused, the salutes from the
passing soldiers were as much for her as for the general beside her.
There the parting came, the officers falling in at the rear of the
troops when the last company had passed over. As Eustace passed
Joscelyn, he lifted the lapel of his coat, on which was a purple
aster,--the like of which grew nowhere save in Betty's dormer
window,--and said with a happy smile:--

"Your plan worked well, sweet Joscelyn. Ten minutes of heaven compensate
a man for hours of purgatory. May the fates be as kind to your own

But it was Barry who lingered behind the others for one last look and
word, and then went clattering over the bridge, and left the girl to
return to the town with the few Tory women who had dared to share her
ride. They had been bold enough at the start, with all the king's army
at their backs, but to go back unprotected by martial power was quite
another thing; anti-Toryism would now hold sway, and they knew what that
meant; so at the entrance of the town the others turned aside to find
their homes, which fortunately were near at hand. But Joscelyn lived at
the far end of the town, and must needs pass the whole length of King
Street ere she gained her door.

The street, which for the past week had been almost deserted by the
patriotic townspeople, now swarmed with eager men and women; but
Joscelyn's thoughts were too full of Richard's escape and Barry's wooing
for her to note the angry glances directed toward her. It was not until
she was passing the wooden building that had served Cornwallis as
headquarters for his staff, that she became aware of the hostility she
was exciting. Then a voice called out to her to take off that hated
insignia she wore; and ere she realized what was happening, four or five
boys had surrounded her horse and were snatching at the sash ends that
dangled from her waist. Her anger flamed up to a white heat at this
insult, and she laid about her with her riding-whip until they let her
be. A volley of light missiles followed her as she went on her way, her
horse curbed to a walk because she was too proud to seem to fly. The
same pride kept her from dodging the paper balls and bits of soft mud
that rained around her, and now and then struck her skirts and
shoulders. Thus, looking neither to the right nor the left, she went
slowly onward until a little urchin, springing to the middle of the road
in front of her, shouted insolently:--

"Out upon you for a Tory jade!"

His companions screamed their encouragement, thinking to see her
discomforted; but leaning out of her saddle she said, with that smile
that had played havoc with so many older hearts:--

"Thank you, Jamie, for calling me such a beautiful name. Were the
examples I helped you to work last week quite right? You must come again
when you get in trouble over them, that I may save you from another

The boy, remembering her timely aid, drew back abashed, dropping the mud
he had been wadding together in his grimy hand; and taking advantage of
the momentary cessation of hostilities, Joscelyn waved them a laughing
salute and cantered away to her own door. But in the privacy of her room
she broke down and sobbed out the excitement and suspense of the past
two days. The courage which had defied and cheated Tarleton and put the
riotous urchins to shame melted away in that burst of tears, and a
woman-like longing for protection and safety surged through her. If she
might only go away, or if there were but some one to stand between her
and this weary persecution!

The first object upon which her eyes rested as she lifted her head when
the weeping was past, was that ill-fated scarf with which Barry had
decorated her that morning at headquarters. What a world of meaning
there was in it! Perhaps nothing could so have drawn her heart to the
absent officer as this silent messenger of his love. She folded it away
carefully, lingering a moment ere she shut it from sight to recall those
last words he had whispered in her ear ere he followed his comrades over
the river. All the rest of the day they echoed in her thoughts, calming
her by their earnest tenderness.

"Betty came for her wools?" she asked her mother at bedtime.

"Yes. And I forgot to tell you that after I had gone from the house
Eustace Singleton came to say good-by to you. When I returned from
Ann's, I found him in the parlour, where his presence must greatly have
annoyed Betty, for she was red and flustered. I am sure I was sorry, but
I was in no way to blame for her disturbance." And then tearfully she
went on to tell how her mission with Aunt Clevering had again failed.

The change that came upon Hillsboro' with the going of the British was
as swift as it was pronounced. Where before had been sullen repression
among the people, all was now animation and exuberance of spirits; the
Tories were intimidated, and the place bristled with patriotic
evidences. It was as though a slide had been slipped in a stereopticon,
and a new picture projected upon the canvas. All the talk now ran on
Greene, who had moved down from the Dan and lay upon the heights of
Troublesome Creek, only thirteen miles from where Cornwallis had pitched
his own camp. For nearly two weeks the entire country watched with
panting interest these two generals play their advance-guards and
reconnoitring parties against each other as though they were so many
ivory figures upon a chessboard. Then came the meeting at Guildford
Court-house, the fame of which blew through the land like a sirocco's

"Lord Cornwallis has won the game at Guildford," cried Joscelyn.

"Ay, won it so hard and fast that he has had to run away to hold the
stakes," retorted Mistress Strudwick, equally rejoiced over the British
retreat to Wilmington.

     "Had the militia but done their share, we should have finished
     Cornwallis for good," Richard wrote to Joscelyn after the battle.
     "But praise be to Heaven, Banastre Tarleton is among the wounded. I
     do hope and believe it was my bullet that hit him, for I singled
     him out for my aim, remembering his bearing to you and my mother
     last month. If so I hear that his wound proves fatal, I shall wear
     no mourning."

And, truth to say, Joscelyn herself sorrowed never a bit over the short
colonel's discomfiture. Later on came another letter:--

     "We are on the march to the south to aid Marion, Sumter, and
     Pickens to snatch South Carolina and Georgia from the foe. We know
     of the terrible doings of Arnold in Virginia, and General La
     Fayette has been sent to check him, but much I doubt his success.
     Ye gods! what a soldier we lost when Arnold went over to the enemy
     in that traitorous way. He was the one man in our army who was
     Tarleton's match in a raid. If the Marquis catches him, however, I
     should like to be at the reckoning. A traitor with the fire of
     genius in his veins! At Guildford I looked at his old command, and
     said to myself that the day had gone differently had Arnold led
     them. Men followed him like sheep to victory or to death. Think you
     what a demon it takes to harrow one's country, to fight against
     one's own people!"

As the weeks passed and the spring advanced, Joscelyn's position in the
community grew more irksome, for Tory supremacy was at an end and the
patriotic spirit was dominant. "Only the rudeness of some excited boys,"
the older folk had said of the incident of her homeward ride the day the
British withdrew; but it was rather the true index of the public temper
against her, and not a day went by but she was made to feel it keenly.
Never was an occasion to annoy her neglected, until between her and her
neighbours was a bloodless but harassing feud that destroyed utterly the
old harmony and good will. She felt the change bitterly; every neglect
or retort rankled in her thoughts until it became as a fester corrupting
her happiness. But she kept a brave face to the world, and sang her Tory
ballads on the veranda in the soft spring twilights, or as she worked
through the sunny hours in the side yard where no flowers but those that
blossomed red were permitted to blow. And Mistress Strudwick said to her
cronies, with genuine admiration, that twenty Guildfords could not break
the spirit of a girl like that.

But necessarily the thing that hurt Joscelyn most was Aunt Clevering's
treatment. Not content to be a spectator, she often took the initiative
in the persecution the girl was made to suffer, ignoring her in public
or noticing her only to taunt her with some uncivil word or look. A few
sentences from Joscelyn might have swept away the barriers and restored
the old friendship, but she would not buy her pardon thus. She possibly
might not be believed without the proof of Richard's letter, that first
short, fervid missive he had sent her on the eve of the great battle;
and that she could not show, not even to his own mother, such a heroine
did it make of her, such an ardent, grateful lover of him. Then, too, if
this quarrel with Aunt Clevering should be healed, people would ask
questions, and when the truth should be known she would be in no better
plight--a Tory maid risking everything, even life itself, to hide a
Continental spy! Neither friends nor foes would understand; her motives
would be misinterpreted, her loyalty questioned; and so her last estate
would be no better than her first. Thus did she hold her peace and hide
her tears under cover of darkness, the while by day she sang her daring
little ditties among the growing things of her garden.

Having been the arch-Royalist of the town, it was but natural that
public resentment should be most pronounced against her. The Singletons
and Moores were less outspoken, and so drew upon themselves less of
contumely. Her caustic speeches, on the contrary, were not forgotten,
until Mistress Strudwick threatened half tearfully, half playfully to
clip her tongue with her sharp scissors. But the chief thing that kept
alive the animosity against her were the letters that came to her now
and then from Cornwallis's camp. She did not deny their reception, but
steadily refused to divulge their contents; and as it was believed that
in one way or another she contrived to answer them, the idea got abroad
that she was in the employ of the British general to keep him posted as
to the state of things in Hillsboro'-town. Nothing else could so have
set the people against her as this supposed espionage, and all through
the advancing summer she felt the weight of their displeasure. Mistress
Bryce openly denounced her, boys shouted disrespectful things under her
window at night, and the shopkeepers so neglected or refused her orders
that, had it not been for Mistress Strudwick, she and her mother would
have suffered; but that good friend stood stanchly by her. So loud were
the outcries against her when she rode abroad that out of deference to
her mother's wishes, and also to save herself from needless
mortification, she never had the saddle put upon her horse.

And yet innocent enough were those letters that caused so much of
trouble, filled as they were, not with army news, but with a man's
tender love throes,--the vehement pleadings of a heart swayed by its
first grand passion.



     "Peace; come away; the song of woe
        Is after all an earthy song:
        Peace; come away; we do him wrong
     To sing so wildly: let us go."

The summer seemed interminable, lit all along though it was with the
glimmer of lilies and iridescent gleams of parti-coloured roses. It was
the season of the year which Joscelyn loved best; but now the ceaseless
sunshine, the mosaic marvels of the turf, the kaleidoscopic changes of
earth and sky wearied her, so that she longed for the coming of autumn.
It came at last, unfurling its red and yellow banners in the woodlands,
and setting its russet seal upon the meadows. And with it came the news
of the siege of Yorktown; and the town of Hillsboro' waked to new
enthusiasm and thrilled or shuddered at every alternating rumour.

And in each of those far-away armies on the York was a man who watched
the sun go westward every eve, and sent a silent message to a girl with
dark hair and sea-blue eyes who pruned her roses in a new garden of the
Hesperides beside the Eno. Unknown to each other, their thoughts had
yet a common Mecca. But fate was not content that they should stand
thus forever apart.

In Yorktown, Cornwallis had thought to be safe either to escape to
Clinton or be rescued by that general's fleet sailing down the Atlantic
from New York. But instead to the east, in Lynn Haven Bay, De Grasse's
ships held the passes to the sea; while on the land side--one wing on
York and one on Wormley creek--in two great crescents stretched the
lines of the allied armies, with Warwick creek running darkly between.
Over the tents that gleamed in the autumn sunshine there flew, side by
side, the stars and stripes of the Republic and the _fleur-de-lys_ of
France. And there were sallies and repulses, and daily encroachments and
skirmishes between the allies without and the British within.

It so happened one day that Richard's company was detailed to guard the
ditchers who were making a new trench, and throwing up a fresh line of
breastworks that would enable them to draw yet nearer to the red-coated
pickets. Already these latter had been forced--by the horns of that ever
encroaching crescent--to withdraw twice, and now a third retreat seemed
imminent. But not without a struggle would they yield their posts; and
so presently, on that mellow autumn day, a flash of scarlet came in the
sun as an assaulting column swept out toward the projected line where
the shovels were at work; and the Continental guard, after discharging
their guns with signal success, waited with fixed bayonets to receive
the advancing column. It was a fierce contest fought almost hand to
hand; then the Redcoats began to fall back, and with a quick rush the
Continentals turned their retreat to a rout.

Returning from that fierce charge with the flush of the fight upon him,
Richard came upon a man lying prone upon his face in the stubble--the
gallant English captain who had led the sally. He had seen him as he
fell far in advance of his column. There the retreat had left him inside
the new lines of the Continentals, and finding him still alive, Richard
turned him over softly so as not to start his wound afresh; and as he
did so he caught one word from the pale lips:--


The name unlocked the floodgates of the young Continental's sympathies.

"Dunn," he said to the man in front of him, "give me a hand, that I may
get this poor fellow to my tent."

"The surgeon will find him here directly and have him moved to the field

"He could not stand so long a trip; see how near he is already gone with
this bullet hole in his side. Come, I have a fancy not to see him die
here in the wet grass."

So Dunn lent his aid, and the wounded man was put down in Richard's
tent, murmuring again that talismanic name.

"He may possibly live till morning," the surgeon said, when at last he
came from attending to his own men, "but he cannot be moved. I will try
and send some one to look after him."

Richard touched his cap, "If you please, I am off duty to-night; I will
willingly nurse him, if so you give me directions."

And the man was left in his care; and during the slow hours, word by
word and sentence by sentence, he patched together the fevered ramblings
of his patient, until he knew that the Joscelyn of his own hopes and
fears and dreams was identical with the girl of this other man's

With the knowledge something seemed to catch at his throat, to tighten
about his heart; and he went out and stood awhile at the tent door,
gazing up into the clear heavens whose steadfast stars were shining also
on the distant Carolina hills, watching a window behind which a girl lay
sleeping--dreaming perhaps of the man yonder on the pallet. Had he lost
her through this other one? Was his life to miss its one strong purpose,
in missing her?

By and by, when he was calmer, he came again to the pallet where the
dying man lay, and picked up the sword which, along with his own, was
propped against the canvas wall of the tent. It was of beautiful
workmanship with a crest on the jewelled scabbard, and below a graven
name which, by the light of the tallow dip, Richard at last spelled


He stood thinking for a moment. Why, this then was the man for whom
Ellen Singleton had mistaken him that night he played the squire to her
in a borrowed military cloak at the fête in Philadelphia. What strange
fate had brought them thus together? "The finest officer who wears the
red, and a lady-killer," Dunn had said. And that tightness gathered
again at Richard's heart, for where else had he heard of the man?

Stay, was not Barry the name--Yes, it was the very name he had heard
coupled with Joscelyn's that night while he lay hiding in the freezing
attic. "She is sitting on the stair with Captain Barry." The very tones
of the speaker came back to him, bringing again that thirsty desire to
open the door and look for her which he had not been able to resist,
though life itself might pay the forfeit.

He went back to the pallet, and bent down that he might see the face of
his patient. So this was the man who had won her away from the rest of
her company, the man to whom she had bent down so low that from the rear
only the dark crown of her hair could be seen as she sat on her
steps--this was the man to whose love tale she had listened smilingly,
while he himself was a prisoner hiding for his very life. A lady-killer,
Dunn had said; and well he could believe it from the traces of manly
beauty still lingering in the suffering face. A fierce jealousy tore at
his heart. Evidently, from his ramblings, Joscelyn had listened to this
other's wooing, and had written him letters, while she mocked him and
sent him never so much as one little line in answer to all the pages he
wrote her. He had always known that other men would love her,--it could
not be otherwise with her sweetness and her beauty,--but always in his
thoughts she had kept herself for him. Had it been a false hope; had she
loved this brave Briton who called upon her with such pathos of
tenderness? If so, then was his own dream-castle in ruins.

By and by, just before the end, there came a lucid hour. The wounded man
turned his eyes questioningly upon his nurse.

"I found you after the fight, so far in our lines that your own men had
missed you in their retreat, and the surgeon left you in my care,"
Richard said gently.

"To die? Yes, I see it in your eyes."

"You fell at the head of your men, as a soldier wishes death to find

The other smiled faintly, "My mother will perchance be a little
comforted by that. You will write her?"

"Yes--And Joscelyn?"

"Joscelyn?--how do you happen--?"

"You talked of her in your delirium. She lives in the Carolina hill
country. I, too, know her and--love her."

And then each told something of his story to the other; and they clasped
hands as brave men can when enmity and prejudice and jealousy are
swallowed up in the wide sympathy that lurks forever in the precincts of
the Great Shadow.

"And when the war is over, and I tell her again of my love," said
Richard, with that impulsive generosity that was ever one of his
characteristics, "I will tell her also of yours--and mayhap she will
choose rather to cherish your memory than to give herself to me."

And Barry turned his face to the wall and died, whispering his love for
her to the last. It was a strange scene, this midnight confessional
between two men who, all unknown to each other, had striven for the same
heart-goal--who in life would have been bitter and unrelenting rivals,
but who met and parted amid the shadows of death as friends and
brothers. Richard wrote it all to Joscelyn, eloquently, passionately;
portraying faithfully every emotion of the dying man.

     "He loved you, Joscelyn, even as I do; only not so much, for
     methinks no man could do that. But he was brave and manly, and to
     have won his heart is proof of your sweetness and worth. He told me
     many things of that fearful night when I lay up in your garret, and
     downstairs you held your guests from all suspicion by your tact and
     courage. He hated Tarleton for his distrust of you, and I let him
     go to the far Shore in ignorance of how you saved me, fearing that
     he would not understand, and that his last moments would be
     imbittered by a useless jealousy.

     "Did you love him? Am I breaking your heart with this news, my
     best beloved? If so, remember, I beseech you, how my own would
     break to know it."

And Joscelyn read the letter by the fading sunset, and then sat with wet
eyes through the star-haunted gloaming, thinking of the young life that
had gone out in the red trail of war. She missed him as it did not seem
possible she could have missed any one who had been so short a while in
her consciousness.

And sitting thus alone with her sorrow, she felt a hand on hers and an
arm slip around her neck.

"Joscelyn, I could not stay away any longer," whispered Betty's voice in
the dark. "I had both of your notes; I know you are sorry, and I miss
you so much!"

"Dear Betty, dear Betty, how glad I am you are come! I cannot tell you
how lonely and wretched my life is, and now my--my true friend is gone!"
and with her head on the girl's bosom, she gave way to a nervous

"Did you love him?" Betty asked, when at last she understood.

"I--I do not know; but I have so few friends, and he loved me and
trusted me, and I shall miss him."

"Did you wish to marry him?"

"I cannot say. Sometimes when I have been very lonely, and you all
turned from me, I have thought I did. To marry him and go away to a new
place and new friends seemed best. He was strong and brave, but he was
gentle and considerate, and he never hectored me--a girl likes not to
be hectored and quarrelled with in her courting."

"No," answered Betty, sadly, understanding she had Richard in mind.
Often, with a woman's instinct, she had pleaded with her brother to
humour Joscelyn more in her way of looking at things; but he had chosen
to attempt to set her right, or, at least, right as he saw it.

"I must be going; mother is at Mistress Strudwick's and will be angry if
she knows I came here," Betty said at last, rising with a sigh. But
Joscelyn held her back with both hands.

"Not yet, Betty, not yet; we can see her far down the street by the
lights from the windows. Stay a little longer; it is such a comfort to
have you."

"I wish I could come without this deception."

"I, too, with all my heart."

"You had a letter to-day; was it from Master Singleton?"

"No; it was this sad one from Richard, by the same messenger that
brought yours. The last letter I had from Eustace was the one I sent you
some two weeks ago. Since he was then on the eve of going to New York to
carry letters to General Clinton, it is not likely he is among those in
the beleaguered city of Yorktown."

"I have been so glad to think this," Betty answered, sighing. "Do you
know, Joscelyn, I saw him in the parlour yonder for a few minutes the
day the British marched?"

"Yes; I told mother to have you here, and then I sent him back from

Betty kissed her gratefully. "I might have guessed it. It was such a
happy ten minutes! But, Joscelyn, mother never mentions his name except
to remind me that his father and mine were bitter enemies."

"Wait until Richard comes home; he doubtless will look at matters
differently; and as he says, so will your mother do."

"Not unless you plead for me; and even that may not now avail, for he
may share mother's anger against you."

"Richard will not be angry with me when he returns," Joscelyn answered
confidently; and Betty kissed her softly.

"Oh, Joscelyn, if it could only have been Richard instead of Captain
Barry to win even this much of your heart! But there, I must be going;
some one is coming down the street."

"You will come again sometime?"

"Yes, for I have wanted you so much."

"And I you."

They held each other close for a moment, and then Betty ran across the
street and dodged into the shadow of her own door. Her visit helped
Joscelyn immeasurably, in that it gave her a sense of sympathy. But she
could not shake off the depression of Richard's news; it was a
culmination of the long strain upon her nervous system. In the
succeeding days she had fits of silent brooding which sometimes, in the
sombre twilights, ended in tears. For the first time since the news of
Lexington, her neighbours found her grave and preoccupied. The fearless
badinage with which she had met every attack upon her partisan creed was
suddenly stayed, as though she heard not their thrusts and innuendoes.
And Mistress Strudwick watched her with a vague uneasiness, longing to
see the old, quick passion flame up now and then.

But this frame of mind was rudely broken by the thrilling news of the
fall of Yorktown. She had expected it for days, but the reality roused
all of her former spirit, and put her once more upon the defensive.

"Lord Cornwallis has surrendered?" she said calmly to Amanda Bryce and
the two gossips, who had run in to tell her the news and to gloat over
her discomfiture. "'Tis most courteous of you to bring me the
information so swiftly; you are quite out of breath with your race. I
shall immediately write my sincere condolences to his lordship that
wrong has triumphed over right. Will you not have a cup of tea with me,
ladies?--there is no longer any tax. No? Then I have the honour to wish
you a very good morning. Pray come again when you have further tidings."

She set the door open for them with the air of a sovereign condescending
to her subjects; and they went away humiliated and furious.

"From the airs she gives herself, one would think Joscelyn Cheshire had
royal blood in her veins," they said angrily. But when Mistress
Strudwick heard of the scene, she laughed long and heartily.

"They deserved it, the carping crones! Would I had been there to see
them routed. Thank Heaven her spirit has come back; how I love her for
it, unreconstructed Tory as she is!"

Never again was Joscelyn to deck herself in her scarlet bodice in honour
of an English victory; never again to tease her neighbours with her
taunting Tory ballads. The war was over; she had lost her cause; and
with her life all out of attune with her surroundings she must face the
inevitable. Seeing the relief in her mother's face, she could not be
sorry that peace had come, though the terms were bitter; and so even in
her loss was there something of compensation.



     "The bugles sound the swift recall;
     Cling, clang! backward all!
         Home, and good night!"
                         --E. C. STEDMAN.

The war was over; the drums lay unbeaten, the snarling trumpets sang
their songs no more upon the level plains or sloping sides of far blue
hills; liberty had triumphed, and the scarlet insignia of kingly rule
had gone from the land forever. But peace did not bring the desired
order of things. The unstable government of an untrained congress could
not control the spirit of maraud and chaos that had so long dominated
certain classes of people. Eight years of warfare had left its scar on
the whole country, but particularly in those portions where the fighting
had fallen. The sanguine among the triumphant contestants had looked for
an immediate rehabilitation of affairs, thinking that the taps of war
would be the reveille of commerce and order and prosperity. But as yet
Americans were better soldiers than statesmen. They had to learn to
govern themselves, learn to wield the mighty power they had won; and at
first knowledge was slow in coming. Private wrongs were remembered,
individual grievances were recalled. The spirit that refrained from
shouting over a fallen foe at Yorktown manifested itself at home in many
petty ways against the defeated Tories, so that among these latter was a
feeling of unprotected helplessness that made them sullen and restive.

"Joscelyn," Mary Singleton said, coming in one day when the winter was
at its fiercest, "father says he is going to Canada to stay until things
get settled. We cannot stir from our gate without receiving some
rudeness, and our property is threatened with confiscation, piece by
piece, on the ground that we used it to aid the king's cause. Will you
come with us? We would love to have you."

"No, for my mother would not think of such a thing; and where she is,
there will I stay."

"Well, you had no man in the war; but against us the enmity is strong,
because Eustace actually bore arms in the king's service."

"Will Eustace go with you?"

"No; he writes that as soon as he gets his discharge, he means to return
here and accept whatever fate comes to him."

"I am glad. That is the right way to take his defeat. Your father is old
and worn with annoyance, but Eustace is young enough to meet the
struggle and win his way. Trust me; all will be well with him in the
end," and Joscelyn's eyes were on Betty's window over the way.

"Edward Moore joins us in New York," Mary said, with a blush.

"And I shall not be there to play the part of bridesmaid! Well, I shall
content myself with putting a handful of rice and an old shoe into your

After the Singletons were gone, Joscelyn was very lonely, for the only
house at which a welcome always met her was Mistress Strudwick's.

"You may say what you please, Amanda Bryce, but that girl comes here
when she likes, and stays as long as she pleases; and if there is
anybody I'm gladder to see, I do not know who it is," said the stanch
old lady.

Soundly she lectured Joscelyn at times, but the fault-finding always
began and ended with a caress, so there was no sting in it. Here the
girl sometimes met Betty; and the older woman, seeing the desire of
their hearts shining in their faces, encouraged them to be friends.
Here, too, Janet Cameron often came, and after the visit walked home
openly with her arm in Joscelyn's, making merry little mouths at
Mistress Bryce as they passed her door. These visits and walks were
Joscelyn's chief pleasure, and she stood sorely in need of recreation,
for of late she was thinner and more irritable than her mother had ever
seen her.

"You need a course of bitters," Mistress Strudwick said, opening her
medicine-box one day.

"I have been taking such a course for eight years."

"Yes, Amanda Bryce's tongue drips not with honey! But I shall talk with
your mother, and between us we will take you in hand and get the edge
off your nerves." So Joscelyn dutifully yielded herself to her two
physicians, who took much delight in the teas and tonics they brewed for

During all these autumn and winter weeks, Richard Clevering had lain in
the field hospital at Yorktown, racked with pain and fever from the
wound he got when--singing a song of the Carolina hills--his regiment
stormed that gun-girt bastion on the British left, and the colonies were

Things would have gone better with him had he been content to lie still
and let the bones knit; but he could not stay away from that last scene
of the surrender, which made all the privations of the past worth while.
To miss that was to miss the joy of life, the glory of the fight, the
crown of the conqueror; and so he had pretended to be much stronger than
he was, and had gone to stand in his place when the British, with silent
drums and cased banners, marched from their surrendered fortifications,
and stacked arms between the martial lines of French and Continentals.
The sight compensated him for the pain the exertion entailed, so that he
never complained when, afterwards, the surgeon shook his head gravely
over the fever that flushed his veins. He had had his heart's desire; he
would bear its results.

But in the early part of January, seeing a tedious recovery still ahead
of him, and the hospital facilities being so limited, he asked to be
sent home to be cared for by his own people. There would be no more
fighting, and his stay was an unnecessary burden upon the army
officials, whose hands were full trying to keep down the spirit of
insurrection that was fermenting the camp over the delay in the
soldiers' pay. To relieve the strain upon the moneyless army coffers,
many of the men who had been invalided were allowed to return to their
homes. Thus it was, that Joscelyn, unconscious of the extent of the hurt
that had come to him--for he had written no particulars home--and also
of his dismissal, answered a knock at her door one bleak January day,
and gave a great cry at sight of the weary man leaning against the
veranda railing, with an empty sleeve pinned helplessly to the bandaged
arm beneath.

"Richard Clevering!"

"Ay, Richard come back with a crushed arm, but a sound heart to claim
you, unworthy though he now knows himself to be of such a prize,
Joscelyn, Cornwallis has struck his martial colours, will you surrender
to me for love's dear sake?"

He had come into the hall and closed the swaying door against the wind,
while she retreated backward until she stood close to the wall, her
hands behind her.

"I owe you life and all the gratitude that means, but it is out of my
love for you, which has grown with every hour of my absence, that I ask
this--will you come to me, Joscelyn?"

She did not speak, but slowly she shook her head, her eyes meeting his
with a curious compassion. For one long minute he looked at her,
searchingly, yearningly; then his outstretched arm fell to his side.

"Then is the war not over for me," he said sadly.

He went with her into the sitting-room, and, with the luxurious
hearth-glow brightening his face and taking that deathly pallor out of
it, the while her magnetic presence kindled a tempestuous fire in his
veins, he told her the story of that final surrender and of his hurt,
softening the former narrative as best he might, remembering how she had
wished it otherwise. Then with a half-whimsical, half-pathetic touch
upon his bandaged arm, he said:--

"The surgeon said that with time and care this would heal, but the
accident has left me but one hand wherewith to begin that other campaign
which means so much to me,--for if I win you not, I might as well have
perished at the hands of the Redcoats."

As she listened, while the afternoon wore away, she was conscious of
some change in him. Not that his tone showed less of resolution to
achieve his purpose; it was rather an absence of the over-weening
self-confidence which had so offended her in the past. Five years of
warfare and baffled wooing had taught him something of self-distrust,
something of humility which became him well. The empty sleeve and the
emaciated, listless figure touched her with a quick pity, in such
violent contrast were they to his former robust activity and superb
proportions, so that she sighed and turned her face aside.

And he, on his part, was studying her, finding again, with a thrill of
joy, the same saucy curves about her lips, the same glinting blue lights
in her eyes that had held his heart captive in the past; and noting,
too, the touch of womanly dignity which had in some wise supplanted the
impetuosity of the old days. The girl of eighteen had become a woman of
twenty-three since that day she had laughed down upon the Continentals
marching away to Valley Forge. But there was not an attraction lost;
rather was every charm ripened and perfected by the hallowing touches of
growth and development. If he had loved her in the past, a thousand
times more did he love her now in her splendid womanhood. Had she cared
for Barry? Always the question was a stab; and with it now there came
the first quick doubt of the final healing of his arm. Could she ever
love him if he should be maimed like this forever?

Looking up suddenly, she found his eyes upon her face in such a wistful
gaze that she flushed involuntarily, and a painful silence fell between
them. Intuitively she felt that this was not the same Richard who had
gone away, this earnest, tender man with not a trace of arrogance in his
manner. Had he always been like this, they need not have quarrelled. She
had been willing to overlook much had he only left her a right to her
own opinions, and treated the views her father had taught her with

"Do you know," she said, breaking the pause with a little nervous laugh,
"that if you are to preserve the good will of your neighbours, you must
stay away from me?"

"Then do I this minute forswear their friendship, for to stay from you
would be to remain outside of Paradise. Only tell me one thing,--you did
not hate me for the news I wrote you of Barry?"

"Nay, it was the one of your letters I felt drawn to answer."

He took her unresisting hand and kissed it softly. "If you loved him, I
would I had died in his place."

And then again that silence fell between them, while at his heart was
biting that most helpless of all jealousy--the jealousy of the dead.
Against a living rival one may contend with hope; but when that on which
the heart is set has come to be but a memory, incapable of blunder or
cruelty, the contest becomes useless, or pitifully unequal. Yearningly
Richard's eyes studied the face before him, and yet he would not ask her
the question that burned in his heart. Some day she would tell him the
truth of her own accord; until then he must wait and suffer.

His return, she foresaw, was to be to her at once a relief and an
embarrassment, for she would not consent to his making public her share
in his escape of the winter, lest it look like a plea on her part for a
cessation of hostilities.

"I have held my own against them all these years; I will not ask for any
terms, now that the end has come, and my side has gone down in defeat,"
she said.

"But, Joscelyn, think how they would adore you for such a service to
their country! My information was most useful to General Greene."

"I did it not for sake of their country."

"Well, then, for sake of their countryman. They love me, if you do not."
He leaned toward her laughing, yet pleading; and she noted how honest
and pleasant were his eyes. But she held to her point against all of his
arguments; and so he was feign to yield except in regard to his mother;
there he was firm.

"I never dreamed but that she knew, for the quick movements of the last
campaign left no time for letters to reach me from home. Had I not
thought you would tell her as soon as the British were well out of town,
I should have asked a furlough, and come home to set you right. To think
what you have suffered for saving my poor life!"

And so it was that half an hour later Mistress Clevering came hastily
in without the ceremony of knocking, and taking Joscelyn in her
arms,--to Mistress Cheshire's amazement,--said many grateful and
affectionate things.

"When I think of what you have done for us, I am bowed down with
humiliation for the cruelty with which I have requited you. Oh, my dear,
my dear! had you only told me and your mother at the time, things would
have been very different."

"Yes," answered the girl, demurely, "so different that Master
Clevering's life would have paid the penalty of his daring. Nay, it was
a game at which only one could play with safety. You could have done
naught but share my anxiety, and that were no help."

"And to think how I have scolded and blamed you for the quarrel between
me and Ann," said her mother, tearfully; but Joscelyn's tender answer
comforted her.

"And here comes Betty to make her peace with you, too," Aunt Clevering
said, as the breathless girl entered.

"Oh, Betty and I have been friends these many weeks, as dear Mistress
Strudwick can testify," Joscelyn said, putting her arm affectionately
around Betty, who with a grateful cry had sprung to her side. And from
the doorway, Richard thought he had never seen a more beautiful picture.

Thus was the breach that had yawned between the two families healed; and
the sorest ache in Joscelyn's heart was cured as she witnessed the
happiness of her mother who, with a firmness scarcely to be expected,
had given up her old friend and held stanchly to her daughter, although
she held that daughter to blame. It was touching to see her childish
delight in the renewal of the old relations. A dozen times a day she was
in and out of the two houses, for Richard's wound afforded her many
pretexts for kindly ministrations. He never left his bed except to lie
on the sofa by the window, for his strength seemed suddenly to have
failed him after the sustained effort he had made to reach home. Often
he wished Joscelyn would come in her mother's stead; but for her own
reasons the girl kept her distance, so that sometimes he did not see her
for days together. And every day that she stayed away the jealous pain
bit deeper into his heart.

But one day she came of her own accord. There had been a knock and the
sound of a man's voice at the door, followed by the maid making some
excuse for Mistress Clevering; and presently, when all had grown silent,
Betty came through the sitting-room with a face so white that Richard
called out from where he lay to know what was the matter. But she did
not stop to answer, and so he waited in a troubled doubt while the clock
ticked off a slow twenty minutes. Then the door opened, and Joscelyn
came straight up to his couch, a strange light of pleading in her eyes.

"Richard," she said, and his face brightened, for she had taken to
calling him Master Clevering with a formality he hated. "Richard, if a
man be true and honest and loves a woman, should he not have the chance
to tell her so and win her?"

"Most assuredly."

"And old feuds and differences of a former generation, with which he had
nothing to do, should have no weight to hold him back?"

"Why--what mean you?"

"This; that even as you love me," and a brilliant colour dyed her cheeks
at mention of it, "so does Eustace Singleton love Betty."

"I had half guessed as much--and I am sorry."

"And Betty loves him. Nay, lie still and look not so angrily at me.
There is no one to blame; a woman's heart, like a man's, asks no
permission in the giving of itself."

"But Betty knew--"

"Yes, she knew all the opposition in store for her, and she made her own
fight; but love takes no dictation."

"Right well do I know that."

"Then you have no room for a quarrel with her; rather should your
sympathy be on her side. All her happiness is set on Eustace; he is her
true lover, has been for years,--and I have resolved so to aid her, that
you and Aunt Clevering shall not break her heart by a cruel and useless
separation." She stepped back and threw up her head; just so had she
looked a year ago, when she bade defiance to the short colonel while he
himself crouched in her shadowy garret. For a moment they gazed at each
other steadily, then she was again beside him, her eyes luminous with a
gentle entreaty:--

"Richard, if--if I loved you with all my soul, would you let my mother's
dislike, if she did dislike you, stand between us?"

"My God, no!"

"Eustace is a man like you--and Betty loves him like that."

He saw the drift of her meaning but he did not answer, and thus for
another minute they looked into each other's eyes unwaveringly; then his
gaze fell, and with a sudden delicious softening of manner, she stooped
and took his hand.

"Richard, Eustace is yonder in my parlour,--come back like a brave man
to begin life all over, and suffer anything to be near Betty. He has
been denied entrance at your door. Bid me bring him here to you. If
not--then will I take Betty to him, even though I should thus lose yours
and Aunt Clevering's friendship forever."

"You make hard terms."

"I am dealing with a hard man."

"Think you so, sweetheart? Methought I had ever been gentle to you.
Betty's happiness is very dear to me--" he broke off, sighing. She still
held his hand, or rather he held hers, for his was the stronger grasp.
Suddenly, with that same enchanting gentleness, she bent close to him,
and laid her cheek against his tingling fingers:--

"Thank you, Richard, for yielding; I knew when once you understood, you
could not be so cruel as to refuse. I will bring Eustace at once."

"But, Joscelyn, I did not say--"

"Oh, but you looked your consent--and I never saw your eyes so
beautiful, such a tender gray." He flushed with pleasure, still,
however, protesting; but she was already at the door, whence she looked
back at him with a roguish smile, "I shall give you half an hour to make
Aunt Clevering see things as we do. At the end of that time I will be
here with Eustace; and if you wish to go on being friends with me, be
sure to have on your very best manners and--and that beautiful light in
your eyes."

She kept her word; no one ever knew what passed between Richard and his
mother, but an hour later Mistress Clevering, stiff of lip, but
courteous of manner, bade Betty take Master Singleton from Richard's
room to the parlour, and find him some refreshment. And when Betty had
obeyed, Joscelyn softly closed the door behind them, shutting them into
a rose-hued world of their own, where it were sacrilege for another to
intrude. Upstairs she heard Richard calling her entreatingly, but
remembering by what means her victory over his prejudice had been won,
she pretended not to hear, but ran swiftly into the street, and reached
Mistress Strudwick's door with such a glowing face that that lady

"Hoity-toity, child! still letting your cheeks play the Royalist,
although the war is done? Your sweetheart should see you now. In sooth,
I think Amanda Bryce would even agree that you are pretty. Come here and
tell an old woman what all these blushes mean."

And Joscelyn's fibbing tongue said it was only the race she had run in
the wind from her door.



     "As o'er the grass, beneath the larches there
     We gayly stepped, the high noon overhead,
     Then Love was born--was born so strong and fair."
                         --GIPSY SONG.

Although Joscelyn continued to hold herself aloof from Richard, yet she
was conscious of his protecting influence in other ways besides the
healing of that family quarrel that had been such a burden to her and to
them all. Most of the women of her set continued to cut her outright, or
to treat her with the scantest courtesy; but there were no more threats
concerning her; the boys who had hooted under her window left off their
insolent ways, and the merchants and tradespeople no longer gave her
indifferent service. And in all this she recognized Richard's work, for
he had openly espoused her cause, and had let it be known that those who
offended or ill-used her should later on be answerable to him. From the
day of his coming, she felt herself shadowed by an unobtrusive but
persistent watchfulness that plucked many a thorn from her path; and
after the stormy months that had passed, she could not but be grateful
for the calm. Invalid though he was, she intuitively felt his to be the
stronger will, and made no fight against what he did in her behalf. The
protection for which she had longed had come to her, and she was glad to
feel his strength between her and her persecutors. Never in any boastful
way did he remind her of the defeat of her cause; and tacitly she
acknowledged his generosity. The very perils they had shared drew them
together with that subtle bond of sympathy a mutual interest creates;
and so seldom was there a return to their former sparring that Mistress
Strudwick protested she knew not which had the better manners.

"I declare, my dear," she said, pinching Joscelyn's cheek, "you are so
beautifully behaved of late that I begin to find you a bit tiresome.
Methinks I must stir up Amanda Bryce to pay you a visit and talk over
the war, or else we'll all be stagnating for lack of excitement."

"Well, after these eight years of fermentation, stagnation is just now
the special estate to which I aspire."

"So? Well, Richard here prefers the estate of matrimony. Is it not true,
my lad?" And from the sofa Richard's eyes said yes; whereupon the old
lady went on, nodding her head with mock solemnity, "And since one of
you wants stagnation and one wants matrimony, I am not so sure but that
you are of the same mind, for some folk find these things of a piece.
And so, miss, you may have come around to Richard's way of thinking
after all."

And seeing Joscelyn stiffen, Richard was sorry that the conversation had
taken such a personal turn; for the two had come in to pay him a visit.
That was one thing that troubled him--she never came by herself; always
it was her mother or Betty or Janet Cameron she brought with her as
though she feared to trust herself alone with him, wishing, perchance,
to hear no more of his love-making. And even with these others she came
so seldom. He could not go to her, for the hard rough journey home had
racked his arm and set the fever to throbbing again in his blood, and he
must remain quiet, or dire consequences were threatened.

But one February night, when she had stayed away several days, and
the longing in his breast grew unbearable, he sent for her. The wind
without howled like some hungry creature seeking its prey, and the
white-fingered spirit of the snowstorm tapped weirdly at his window. But
he gave it no heed; storm or shine, he must see her this night of all
others; and so a word of entreaty was sent across the street. She came
at once, a brilliant apparition in a scarlet shawl over which the snow
lay powdered in shining crystals; on her lips and in her eyes the smile
of which he had dreamed in the copper and crimson sunsets on the
prison-ship. He gathered her cold hands into his feverish ones.

"You knew I must see you this night?"

"Yes; I felt you would send for me, for I knew we were thinking of the
same things."

"A year ago to-night you and I stood in jeopardy of our lives."

She nodded; all day she had been living over those fearful hours of
which this day was the anniversary.

"Yes, a year ago to-night Tarleton held us in his toils."

"We have never talked of that dreadful time; now I want you to tell me
everything you can recall of it. Sit down."

As she obeyed, the wide shawl fell away and left in sight the silver
brocade of her gown, and her shoulders rising white and beautiful from
the lace of the low bodice. He started, and raised himself upon his
elbow. Was he dreaming? No; the powder and the rose were in her hair,
the saucy patch at the corner of her mouth. She had not forgotten; just
so had she looked when she faced Tarleton, and risked her womanhood for
his own safety. He could not speak, but his eyes did full homage to her

"I knew you would send for me, so I was ready," she said, and smiled
again. So it was for him she had robed herself thus!--there was a thrill
of ecstasy in his veins. And then when he still did not speak, for sheer
joy of looking at her, she began to talk of that terrible day; and both
of them lived over in a quick rush of memory all its hopes and fears,
its uncertainties and dangers. Her fingers were icy cold, and the very
tremors that had then possessed her, crept again through her veins as
she went from scene to scene, and he learned for the first time all of
her deceptions and trials. So absorbed was she that she did not even
know he had taken her hands in his, until she felt the hot pressure at
the end of her narrative. Then when there seemed nothing left to tell,
and he still looked at her in a silence more eloquent than words, she
grew restless and rose to go; but he caught her skirt.

"Not yet, not yet! Betty is happy with her lover in the parlour, and
mother is somewhere down there acting propriety or else fast asleep. For
this one evening, at least, you shall belong to me."

And then when those hot, trembling fingers had drawn her again to her
seat, he went on:--

"There is one question I have wanted to ask you all these months--" And
then, for very fear of her answer, he hesitated and substituted another.
"Why did you not come back to me that last night? You knew I was waiting
for you, longing for you with every heart-throb."

"It was so late."

"Late? What mattered an hour on the dial when I wanted you so much?"

And she flushed and hesitated, remembering she had not gone back at that
unseemingly hour lest he should misunderstand her; men were so cold in
their judgments. Looking at him now she was ashamed of that doubt of

"Was it in truth the lateness of the hour, or--or because of what Barry
said to you on the stair? I opened the attic door and saw you, and I
knew he was talking of his love. My God, how I envied him! Was it for
that you stayed away from me?"

She turned her head aside with a gesture that hurt him like a
knife-thrust. Then the question that had burnt in his thoughts, and
filled his heart with cankering jealousy all these weeks, came out:--

"Joscelyn, did you love him? Tell me the truth in mercy."

Slowly her eyes came back to him, soft and blue, and kindled with a
flame he had never seen before. He rose on his elbow to meet the answer,
eager yet fearful; but before she could speak, Betty opened the door.

"Eustace and I are coming to sit with you awhile, Richard, for you two
must be better acquainted," she said to him; and with the blindness that
is a part of love, neither she nor Eustace saw that their coming was
unwelcome. Before they left, Joscelyn had slipped away, carrying his
question and its answer in her heart. But before she went to bed, she
opened the box where she kept her treasures, and kneeling in front of
her fire, laid upon the glowing embers the scarlet sash of an officer in
the king's service.

"I have no right to keep you any longer," she whispered, as the silk
cracked and crinkled, and passed away in a smoke-fringed flame; "no
right, for now I know, I know!"

The quiet of the town was now frequently broken; for as February drew to
a close, some of the soldiers began to straggle home, some on furlough,
some on dismissal. Billy Bryce, hungry for the toothsome things in his
mother's pantry and impatient for a sight of the yellow curls that
sunned themselves on Janet's head, came first. But ten minutes spent in
that young woman's company so dampened his spirits, that for days his
mother's utmost efforts in culinary arts failed to tempt him. Janet knew
the very hour of his arrival, and she also knew that it was two hours
before he came to seek her. She could not know that his stay with his
mother had been as unwilling as it was dutiful; so to complicate matters
a little more she had gone out to pay some calls that might have waited
a month. But he found her at last on Joscelyn's porch, her hands in her
muff, her curls bobbing from under her hood to the fur-trimmed tippet
below, where the winter sunshine seemed to gather itself into a focus.
He waved to her from halfway down the square, but she only squinted up
her eyes as in a vain effort at recognition.

"Well, I declare," she exclaimed patronizingly, as he sprang eagerly up
the steps, "if it isn't Mistress Bryce's little Billy! Why, Billy,
child, you must have grown quite an inch since you went away. How is
your dear mother to-day?"

Her tone and manner were indescribably superior, as though she were
talking to a child of six, so that the amazed and abashed boy, instead
of hugging her in his long arms as he wanted to, took the tips of the
little fingers she put out to him, and stammeringly and solicitously
asked if she had been quite well since he saw her last. She said it was
a long time to remember, but she would do the best she could, and
immediately began to count off on her fingers the number of headaches
and toothaches she had had in the past two years; until Joscelyn, sorry
for the boy's unprovoked misery, stopped her abruptly, and finally sent
Billy across the street to pour out his disappointment to Richard.

"Janet, you little barbarian, you have no heart!"

"Oh, yes I have," replied that imperturbable young woman; "I have a
great big heart for a grown man, but you see I do not particularly care
for children who are still dangling at their mother's apron string."

Even a lecture from Richard, to whom she was much attached, did her no
good; for all the while he was speaking she sat studying the effect of
her high-heeled shoe on Betty's blue footstool, and answered his
peroration about Billy's broken heart with the utterly irrelevant
assertion that Frederick Wyley said she had the prettiest foot in the
colonies. Did Richard agree with him? So Billy's cause was not advanced
any, and Richard began to advise him to think no more of this
yellow-haired tormentor.

"I declare, Billy Bryce looks like a child with perpetual cramps,"
Mistress Strudwick exclaimed to Joscelyn one day, when the lad passed
the window where the two sat; and then she glanced down the room to her

"But it is a course of sweets, not bitters, that he needs," laughed
Joscelyn. "It's his heart and not his stomach that ails Billy."

"Half the lovesickness in the world is nothing but dyspepsia; mighty few
cases of disappointed affection outlast a torpid liver."

"I never heard you make such an unsentimental remark."

"You never heard me tell such a truth. Bone-set and senna is the thing
for Billy, and I'll see that he gets a bottle; if it does not cure his
disappointment, it will at least kill off that particular brand of long
face he is wearing. No wonder Janet turns up her nose at him."

"Yes, I begin to think she is permanently at outs with him."

Then other soldiers began to arrive. Thomas Nash got sick-leave from
Washington's staff; and from the south came Master Strudwick, more
anxious for a sight of home and wife than for the gold which the
dissatisfied army was awaiting; and out of the north came Peter Ruffin,
a weird wraith of his former self, to tell anew the horrible story of
the prison-ships. The other Hillsboro' man, who had been with him had
succumbed to the plague, and gone to swell the number of those at whose
shallow graves the hungry sea was forever calling.

"And Dame Grant?" asked Richard, when Peter came to see him.

"She, too, fell a victim to the disease of the hulks, and sorely did we
miss her. I knew you had escaped in safety, because one day she came to
the ship wearing a new woollen hood, and when we twitted her about it
over the rail, asking her if it was a lover's gift, she said that Dick
Clevering's sweetheart had sent it to her out of gratitude from the

"I helped to knit it," Betty cried, while Joscelyn's eyes were not
lifted from the floor. In the semi-twilight of the room, Richard reached
out and touched her hand gently.

"It was like your generous heart."

"But I made it out of the reddest wool I could find, with never a touch
of blue or buff," she answered, laughing; but Richard was content.

Nor did these home-coming men bring the only tidings from the outside
world. Now and then letters came that set the tongues to wagging; now
with news of Washington's refusal of a crown, now with a description of
Mary Singleton's marriage to Edward Moore. Janet refused persistently to
show her letters which came in the Halifax post, but one day Richard had
one from Colborn that made him laugh with delight:--

     "The miniature is set in a narrow gold frame, without jewels; for
     although I won my promotion, it was only a lieutenancy. However, I
     am content. It was at Guilford Court-house, in your own Carolina
     country, the day Tarleton was wounded. Soon I am going home, with
     my pockets full of American pebbles, to claim the original, and
     bring her back here to this great country to enjoy the freedom I am
     glad you won."

And when Joscelyn went home, after hearing the letter read, she again
opened her box of treasures and took from it a shining gold piece, and
looked at it with a startled sweetness in her eyes.




     "Does not all the blood within me
     Leap to meet thee, leap to meet thee,
     As the spring to meet the sunshine!"

After a few weeks Richard was able to leave his couch and move about a
little, still hampered, however, by splints and bandages; for in his
fevered tossings he had hurt his arm anew, and the setting had to be
gone over again. The doctor's face was very grave as he warned him
against another accident.

One afternoon, being lonely and having no better way to pass the time,
he went with Betty to her sewing society. There he protested he wished
to make himself useful, and was quite willing to snip threads and tie
knots. But his offer was received with scoffs, and instead he was
forthwith enthroned in the best chair, served with coffee by one girl,
and with cake by another, and petted and praised like a prince.

"And now," said Janet Cameron, taking the stool at his feet and
preparing to look very busy, "while we sew, you shall tell us a story of
your camp life,--something that will make our blood curdle and tingle
like it used to do when the war messengers rode into town, and we knew
not what tidings they brought."

"Yes, tell us a story, Master Clevering," they all cried, and settled
themselves to listen.

"Let it be about a real hero, Richard; and make him as tall as Goliath
and as strong as Samson. We'll credit anything you say," laughed Janet,
biting off a length of thread.

"And if you wish to keep Janet's attention to the end, give him jet
black hair and call him Frederick," cried Dorothy Graham. Whereat there
was a general laugh, and for which personality the speaker got a prick
from Janet's needle.

"One need not draw on his imagination for heroes in these stirring
times, Janet. The land is full of them," Richard answered, catching one
of her shining curls and twisting it about his finger, "though of course
jet black hair and the name of Frederick is a combination to inspire any

And then he told them of Monmouth day,--of its exultant beginning, its
strange changes and chances, its palsying despair, its victory snatched
from defeat. And while the story was nearing its climax and the needles
were idlest, who should pass along the opposite sidewalk but Mistress
Joscelyn Cheshire, her skirts held daintily out of the slush and snow,
while a riotous March wind set her throat ribbons in a flutter, and
kissed her cheeks to a glow a lover might have envied. A more charming
vision it was hard to conjure up, and the story-teller's narrative
faltered, and his words trailed off into silence as he gazed. But
immediately the slumbering ill-will of the sempsters began to show
itself in sundry nods and head tossings.

"There goes the Tory beauty," said one sneering voice, "parading herself
before us out of very defiance, no doubt."

"She has been but to old Polly Little's to carry her some soup," Betty
said hotly.

"And there was no other afternoon for her to go, and no other path to
take but the one by this door where we might see her! You and Richard
are foolish to be always defending her; she showed you small gratitude
last winter, telling the secrets of your house."

"Yes; and we know she sent and received spying letters about us to the
British commander. I never speak to her, Tory ingrate that she is!"

And then while Betty fell to crying and Janet scolded back, declaring
Joscelyn was better than all of them, the criticisms grew so harsh, and
so incisive were the shrugs and lifted brows, that Richard forgot his
wound, forgot the pledge of secrecy upon him, forgot everything but his
anger, and rising up, cried out:--

"Listen; I will tell you another story, not of a hero, but of a heroine,
a slip of a girl whose courage equalled anything I ever saw upon the
bloodiest battle-field, in whose presence the bravest of the brave must
uncover in reverence."

And then he told them the whole story of his hiding and escape while
Cornwallis held the town the winter gone. Told it forcibly, graphically
as he knew how, putting Joscelyn in such a heroic light that her
maligners held down their heads in shame and confusion, feeling
themselves to be all unworthy in comparison; and Dorothy was crying upon
her sewing, and Janet's arm was about his neck in an unconscious,
breathless gratitude for Joscelyn.

And those letters which had excited their wrath?--there was nothing of
treason or espionage in them; they were but love notes from a British
officer whose chivalric homage had been an honour to any woman. He knew,
for he had put her answers into the breastpocket of the young officer
the day they buried him from the battle-field on the banks of the river
that flows forever to the sea.

So he finished; and thus did Joscelyn stand before them at last in her
true colours.

Then with the heat of his anger still upon him, and not waiting for
Betty, Richard got his hat and quitted the house. After that scene, the
air of the room stifled him. He could not be sorry for what he had done,
but he must go straight to Joscelyn and tell her himself, and make what
peace with her he might. He could better afford to bear her anger than
to hear her maligned by those who would be utterly incapable of her
courage or her sacrifice. He had always known he must tell his story if
he heard her slandered.

He was very weak from his long stay indoors, and the excitement of the
scene through which he had just passed had left his brain dizzy, so that
he was all unfit to take the homeward journey alone. He did not notice
the ice on the crossing until suddenly he felt himself slipping--faster,
faster. He made one frantic effort to regain his balance, missed his
footing, and came down with a crash and a groan upon the jagged
cobblestones. He heard a woman's voice scream out in terror, saw
Joscelyn kneel beside him, and then he fainted.

It destroyed his last chance,--that terrible fall,--the doctors said;
for the arm had again been fractured and lacerated beyond cure, and to
lose it was the one hope of life; and even that hope was but a slender
one. When Joscelyn heard this, she stayed all the afternoon in her room,
holding the gold piece very hard and tight and weeping bitterly.

But the operation was successful; and for long days the patient lay
quiet, getting back his hold on the world. His recovery was slower even
than had been expected, but it was sure, and that was enough for
thankfulness. His mother was telling him this one gusty April twilight,
when Joscelyn came into the room on one of her rare visits. The door was
open, so they had not known she was there; and stopping to remove her
wrap, for the day was cool and showery, she heard the end of their talk.

"Fretting is wrong, Richard. You should be thankful for so sure a

"Perchance I should; but what avails health when a man may not have that
which is dearer than the strength of giants?"

"And what may that be, my son?"

"Joscelyn. I love her--love her beyond all words, all thoughts; and now
I shall never possess her."

"I had long ago guessed your love for her," his mother said slowly; then
added, after a pause, "but I see not why you should not possess her; you
have a true heart, a goodly property, and a shapely figure which this
accident will scarcely mar; a man like that has but to ask--"

"Nay, that is just it; a man maimed like me has no right to hamper a
woman's life--to ask her love. She is grateful for the protection I have
brought her, but she has no thought for me beside. I lie here and watch
that clock every hour of every day, longing to see her come, hoping for
some sign of awakened love, but there is none. That she comes so seldom
is evidence that she means me to understand this. I shall never dare ask
her again to marry me, but I shall love her always--always."

There was an infinite pathos in the last words that silenced his mother,
and drew something like a sob from the girl in the shadow of the
curtained door. How generous he was; how brave and true he had always
been! Never once, even in their days of quarrel and make-up, had she
known him lacking in courage and generosity. What would her life be now
without him, for had he not made all the crooked ways straight before
her; had he not given her back the love and esteem of her neighbours,
her old place in the community? Was it not to him she owed all this, and
her mother's happiness besides? Gratitude, did he say? Surely that was
not all there was in her heart, for gratitude did not make a girl shy
and sensitive and dreamy. It was not gratitude that had made her weep so
passionately over his suffering and his loss, and kiss a senseless coin
in the dark of her chamber. From that hour she had worn it in a silken
bag about her neck; she drew it out now and held it in her trembling

Presently Mistress Clevering rose and quitted the room by another door,
unwilling that Richard should see her emotion. Joscelyn hesitated upon
the threshold, held back by a palpitant timidity, until across the
firelit silence there came her name in a sigh that was half a sob:--


Then with a sudden resolve she came out of the shadow into the dim light
of the room, and kneeling by his couch, drew his one arm over her
shoulder and laid her head on his breast.

"I am here--Richard."

"You? Dear love, dear love, what does this mean?"

"Can you not guess?" she whispered, slipping the gold piece into his
hand, her own tremulous with emotion.

"I dare not."

"What was the gold piece to be?" Her voice was scarcely more than a
thread of sound.

"Our wedding ring--at least, I hoped so once."

She pressed his fingers together over it, her face still hidden on his
breast. "Give it back to me sometime--in that shape."

"You mean you will marry me? Speak quick, beloved!"

"I mean that--that the war is over, and I surrender myself--your
prisoner, an you will take me."

"My heart's prisoner for time and eternity; thank God!"

A burned-out log snapped and fell to either side of the andirons,
sending a shower of golden sparks up the wide chimney. She raised her
head and looked at him, and by the fleeting gleam of the fire he found
at last the love-light for which he had so long waited shining in the
depths of her sea-blue eyes.


Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors; otherwise,
every effort has been made to remain true to the author's words and

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