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Title: Children's book of patriotic stories: The spirit of '76
Author: Asa Don Dickinson, - To be updated
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 "Children's book of patriotic stories: The spirit of '76" ***


  _In the Same Series_




  [Illustration: THE SPIRIT OF ’76]


  _The Spirit of ’76_





  _Copyright, 1917, by_

  _All rights reserved, including that of
  translation into foreign languages,
  including the Scandinavian_


The Publishers desire to acknowledge the kindness of G. P. Putnam’s
Sons, the Houghton Mifflin Company, Harper & Brothers, the Perry Mason
Company, the Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, Little, Brown & Company,
George W. Jacobs & Company, Silver, Burdett & Company, and others,
who have granted permission to reproduce herein selections from works
bearing their copyright.


Here is a book of Patriotic Stories for children, to stand beside the
similar collections of Christmas Stories and Thanksgiving Stories,
which have already been welcomed by many parents, librarians, and
teachers. Those seeking material appropriate to Washington’s Birthday
and the Fourth of July will find here a goodly store, ready to their
hands. The brief descriptive note at the head of each story will help
the reader to choose one well suited to his audience. And the Table of
Contents, as in the previous collections, indicates which tales will
best please older, and which younger children.

The Editors hope that a book of stirring tales like these--not history,
but stories such as children love, that yet ring true in spirit--will
serve to help, though ever so little, the Cause of Liberty and will aid
in keeping aglow in the hearts of our young people the ardent spark
which inspired our forefathers--the Spirit of ’76.

  _Napoleon was great, I know,
    And Julius Cæsar, and all the rest,
  But they didn’t belong to us, and so
    I like George Washington the best._



(_Note._--The stories marked with a star (*) will be most enjoyed by
younger children; those marked with a dagger(†) are better suited to
older children.)


  Jabez Rockwell’s Powder-horn. _By Ralph D. Paine_                    3

  The Little Lord of the Manor. _By Elbridge S. Brooks_               19

  †Old Esther Dudley. _By Nathaniel Hawthorne_                        40

  *Betty’s Ride. _By Henry S. Canby_                                  55

  The First Blow for American Liberty. _By Emma W. Demeritt_          64

  †The Battle of Bunker’s Hill. _By Washington Irving_                79

  *Her Punishment. _By Elizabeth Gibson_                              91

  Famous Words at Great Moments                                       95

  *The Little Fifer. _By Helen M. Winslow_                           102

  †Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys. _By Washington Irving_   111

  The Capture of the Hennepin Gun. _By Margaret Emma Ditto_          117

  Paul Revere’s Ride. _By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow_                132

  *Tony’s Birthday and George Washington’s. _By Agnes Repplier_      138

  A Venture in 1777. _By S. Weir Mitchell_                           145

  A Tempest in a Big Tea-pot. _By Samuel Adams Drake_                189

  †How the Warning Was Given. _By Mabel Nelson Thurston_             192

  †Susan Tongs. _By Ethel Parton_                                    206

  *The Little Minute-man. _By H. G. Paine_                           217

  *General Gage and the Boston Boys. _By Samuel Adams Drake_         225

  †Washington and the Spy. _By James Fenimore Cooper_                227

  *Three Washington Anecdotes. _Adapted from M. L. Weems_            236

  “When George the Third Was King.” _By Elbridge S. Brooks_          241

  *Their Flag Day. _By Herbert O. McCrillis_                         256

  A True Story of the Revolution. _By Everett T. Tomlinson_          260

  †Polly Callendar: Tory. _By Margaret Fenderson_                    270

  Neil Davidson in Disguise. _By Mary Tracy Earle_                   279

  †John Paul Jones. _By Rupert S. Holland_                           295





A story of the “Powder-horn rebellion” at Valley Forge, and of how
gallant young Jabez Rockwell rallied a retreating regiment at the
battle of Monmouth.

“Pooh, you are not tall enough to carry a musket. Go with the drums,
and tootle on that fife you blew at the Battle of Saratoga. Away with
you, little Jabez, crying for a powder-horn, when grown men like me
have not a pouch amongst them for a single charge of powder!”

A tall, gaunt Vermonter, whose uniform was a woolen bedcover draped to
his knees, laughed loudly from the doorway of his log hut as he flung
these taunts at the stripling soldier.

A little way down the snowy street of these rude cabins a group of
ragged comrades was crowding at the heels of a man who hugged a leather
apron to his chest with both arms. Jabez Rockwell was in hot haste to
join the chase; nevertheless he halted to cry back at his critic:

“It’s a lie! I put my fife in my pocket at Saratoga, and I fought with
a musket as long and ugly as yourself. And a redcoat shot me through
the arm. If the camp butcher has powder-horns to give away, I deserve
one more than those raw militia recruits, so wait until you are a
veteran of the Connecticut line before you laugh at us old soldiers.”

The youngster stooped to tighten the clumsy wrappings of rags which
served him for shoes, and hurried on after the little shouting mob
which had followed the butcher down to the steep hillside of Valley
Forge, where he stood at bay with his back to the cliff.

“There are thirty of you desperate villains,” puffed the fat fugitive,
“and I have only ten horns, which have been saved from the choicest of
all the cattle I’ve killed these two months gone. I would I had my maul
and skinning-knife here to defend myself. Take me to headquarters, if
there is no other way to end this riot. I want no pay for the horns.
They are my gift to the troops, but, Heaven help me! who is to decide
how to divide them amongst so many!”

“Stand him on his bald head, and loose the horns from the apron. As
they fall, he who finds keeps!” roared one of the boisterous party.

“Toss them all in the air and let us fight for them,” was another

The hapless butcher glared round him with growing dismay. At this rate
half the American army would soon be clamoring round him, drawn by the
chance to add to their poor equipment.

By this time Jabez Rockwell had wriggled under the arms of the shouting
soldiers, twisting like an uncommonly active eel, until he was close to
the red-faced butcher. With ready wit the youngster piped up a plan for
breaking the deadlock:

“There are thirty of us, you say, that put you to rout, Master Ritter.
Let us divide the ten horns by lot. Then you can return to your
cow-pens with a whole skin and a clear conscience.”

“There is more sense in that little carcass of yours than in all those
big, hulking troopers that could spit you on a bayonet like a sparrow!”
rumbled Master Ritter. “How shall the lots be drawn?”

“Away with your lottery!” cried a burly rifleman, whose long
hunting-shirt whipped in the bitter wind. “The road up the valley is
well beaten down. The old forge is half a mile away. Do you mark a
line, old beef-killing Jack, and we will run for our lives. The first
ten to touch the stone wall of the smithy will take the ten prizes.”

Some yelled approval, others fiercely opposed, and the wrangling was
louder than before. Master Ritter, who had plucked up heart, began to
steal warily from the hillside, hoping to escape in the confusion.
A dozen hands clutched his collar and leather apron, and jerked him
headlong back into the argument.

Young Jabez scrambled to the top of the nearest boulder, and ruffled
with importance like a turkey-cock as he waved his arms to command

“The guard will be turned out and we shall end this fray by cooling
our heels in the prison huts on the hill,” he declaimed. “If we run
a foot-race, who is to say which of us first reaches the forge?
Again--and I say I never served with such thick-witted troops, when I
fought under General Arnold at Saratoga--those with shoes to their feet
have the advantage over those that are bound up in bits of cloth and
clumsy patches of hide. Draw lots, I say, before the picket is down
upon us!”

The good-natured crowd cheered the boy orator, and hauled him from his
perch with such hearty thumps that he feared they would break him in

Suddenly the noise was hushed as if the wranglers had been stricken
dumb. Fur-capped heads turned to face down the winding valley, and
without need of an order the company spread itself along the roadside
in a rude, uneven line. Every man stood at attention, his head up, his
shoulders thrown back, hands at his sides. Thus they stood while they
watched a little group of horsemen trot toward them.

In front rode a commanding figure in buff and blue. The tall, lithe
frame sat the saddle with the graceful ease of the hard-riding Virginia
fox-hunter. The stern, smooth-shaven face, reddened and roughened by
exposure to all weathers, lighted with an amiable curiosity at sight
of this motley and expectant party, the central figure of which was the
butcher, Master Ritter, who had dropped to his knees as if praying for
his life.

General Washington turned to a sprightly looking, red-haired youth who
rode at his side, as if calling his attention to this singular tableau.
The Marquis de Lafayette shrugged his shoulders after the French
manner, and said, laughingly:

“It ees vat you t’ink? Vill they make ready to kill ’im? Vat they do?”

Just behind them pounded General Mühlenberg, the clergyman who had
doffed his gown for the uniform of a brigadier, stalwart, swarthy,
laughter in his piercing eyes as he commented:

“To the rescue! The victim is a worthy member of my old Pennsylvania
flock. This doth savor of a soldier’s court-martial for honest Jacob

The cavalcade halted, and the soldiers saluted, tongue-tied and
embarrassed, scuffling, and prodding one another’s ribs in an attempt
to urge a spokesman forward, while General Washington gazed down at
them as if demanding an explanation.

The butcher was about to make a stammering attempt when the string of
his apron parted, and the ten cow-horns were scattered in the snow. He
dived in pursuit of them, and his speech was never made.

Because Jabez Rockwell was too light and slender to make much
resistance, he was first to be pushed into the foreground, and found
himself nearest the commander-in-chief. He made the best of a bad
matter, and his frank young face flushed hotly as he doffed his
battered cap and bowed low.

“May it please the general, we were in a good-natured dispute touching
the matter of those ten cow-horns which the butcher brought amongst us
to his peril. There are more muskets than pouches in our street, and we
are debating a fair way to divide them. It is--it is exceedingly bold,
sir, but dare we ask you to suggest a way out of the trouble which
preys sorely on the butcher’s mind and body?”

A fleeting frown troubled the noble face of the chief, and his mouth
twitched, not with anger but in pain, for the incident brought home
to him anew that his soldiers, these brave, cheerful, half-clothed,
freezing followers, were without even the simplest tools of warfare.

The cloud cleared and he smiled, such a proud, affectionate smile as
a father shows to sons of his who have deemed no sacrifice too great
for duty’s sake. His eyes softened as he looked down at the straight
stripling at his bridle-rein, and replied:

“You have asked my advice as a third party, and it is meet that I share
in the distribution. Follow me to the nearest hut.”

His officers wheeled and rode after him, while the bewildered soldiers
trailed behind, two and two, down the narrow road, greatly wondering
whether reward or punishment was to be their lot.

As for Jabez Rockwell, he strode proudly in the van as guide to the
log cabin, and felt his heart flutter as he jumped to the head of the
charger, while the general dismounted with the agility of a boy.

Turning to the soldiers, who hung abashed in the road, Washington

“Come in, as many of you as can find room!”

The company filled the hut, and made room for those behind by climbing
into the tiers of bunks filled with boughs to soften the rough-hewn

In one corner a wood-fire smoldered in a rough stone fireplace, whose
smoke made even the general cough and sneeze. He stood behind a bench
of barked logs, and took from his pocket a folded document. Then he
picked up from the hearth a bit of charcoal, and announced:

“I will write down a number between fifteen hundred and two thousand,
and the ten that guess nearest this number shall be declared the
winners of the ten horns.”

He carefully tore the document into strips, and then into small
squares, which were passed among the delighted audience. There was a
busy whispering and scratching of heads. Over in one corner, jammed
against the wall until he gasped for breath, Jabez Rockwell said to

“I must guess shrewdly. Methinks he will choose a number halfway
between fifteen hundred and two thousand. I will write down seventeen
hundred and fifty. But, stay! Seventeen seventy-six may come first into
his mind, the glorious year when the independence of the colonies was
declared. But he will surely take it that we, too, are thinking of that
number, wherefore I will pass it by.”

As if reading his thoughts, a comrade curled up in a bunk at Rockwell’s
elbow muttered:

“Seventeen seventy-six, I haven’t a doubt of it!”

Alas for the cunning surmise of Jabez, the chief did write down
Independence year, “1776,” and when this verdict was read aloud, the
boy felt deep disappointment. This was turned to joy, however, when
his guess of “1750” was found to be among the ten nearest the fateful
choice, and one of the powder-horns fell to him.

The soldiers pressed back to make way for General Washington as he went
out of the hut, stooping low that his head might escape the roof-beams.
Before the party mounted, the boyish Lafayette swung his hat round his
head and shouted:

“A huzza for ze wise general!”

The soldiers cheered lustily, and General Mühlenberg followed with:

“Now a cheer for the Declaration of Independence and for the soldier
who wrote down ‘Seventeen seventy-six.’”

General Washington bowed in his saddle, and the shouting followed his
clattering train up the valley on his daily tour of inspection. He left
behind him a new-fledged hero in the person of Jabez Rockwell whose
bold tactics had won him a powder-horn and given his comrades the
rarest hour of the dreary winter at Valley Forge.

In his leisure time he scraped and polished the horn, fitted it with
a wooden stopper and cord, and with greatest care and labor scratched
upon its gleaming surface these words:

  _Jabez Rockwell, Ridgeway, Conn.--His Horn.
        Made in Camp at Valley Forge_

Thin and pale, but with unbroken spirit, this sixteen-year-old veteran
drilled and marched and braved picket duty in zero weather, often
without a scrap of meat to brace his ration for a week on end; but
he survived with no worse damage than sundry frostbites. In early
spring he was assigned to duty as a sentinel of the company which
guarded the path that led up the hill to the headquarters of the
commander-in-chief. Here he learned much to make the condition of his
comrades seem more hopeless and forlorn than ever.

Hard-riding scouting parties came into camp with reports of forays as
far as the suburbs of Philadelphia, twenty miles away. Spies disguised
as farmers returned with stories of visits into the heart of the
capital city held by the enemy. This gossip and information, which
the young sentinel picked up bit by bit, he pieced together to make a
picture of an invincible, veteran British army, waiting to fall upon
the huddled mob of “rebels” at Valley Forge, and sweep them away like
chaff. He heard it over and over again, that the Hessians, with their
tall and gleaming brass hats and fierce moustaches, “were dreadful to
look upon,” that the British Grenadiers, who tramped the Philadelphia
streets in legions, “were like moving ranks of stone wall.”

Then Jabez would look out across the valley, and perhaps see an
American regiment at drill, without uniforms, ranks half-filled,
looking like an array of scarecrows. His heart would sink, despite
his memories of Saratoga; and in such dark hours he could not believe
it possible even for General Washington to win a battle in the coming
summer campaign.

It was on a bright day of June that Capt. Allan McLane, the leader of
scouts, galloped past the huts of the sentinels, and shouted as he rode:

“The British have marched out of Philadelphia! I have just cut my way
through their skirmishers over in New Jersey!”

A little later orderlies were buzzing out of the old stone house at
headquarters like bees from a hive, with orders for the troops to be
ready to march. As Jabez Rockwell hurried to rejoin his regiment, men
were shouting the glad news along the green valley, with songs and
cheers and laughter. They fell in as a fighting army, and left behind
them the tragic story of their winter at Valley Forge, as the trailing
columns swept beyond the Schuylkill into the wide and smiling farm
lands of Pennsylvania.

Summer heat now blistered the dusty faces that had been for so long
blue and pinched with hunger and cold. A week of glad marching and
full rations carried Washington’s awakened army into New Jersey, by
which time the troops knew their chief was leading them to block the
British retreat from Philadelphia.

Jabez Rockwell, marching with the Connecticut Brigade, had forgotten
his fears of the brass-capped Hessians and the stone-wall Grenadiers.
One night they camped near Monmouth village, and scouts brought in the
tidings that the British were within sight. In the long summer twilight
Jabez climbed a little knoll hard by, and caught a glimpse of the white
tents of the Queen’s Rangers, hardly beyond musketshot. Before daybreak
a rattle of firing woke him and he scrambled out, to find that the
pickets were already exchanging shots.

He picked up his old musket, and chewing a hunk of dry bread for
breakfast, joined his company drawn up in a pasture. Knapsacks were
piled near Freehold Meeting-house, and the troops marched ahead, not
knowing where they were sent.

Across the wooded fields Jabez saw the lines of red splotches which
gleamed in the early sunlight and he knew these were British troops.
The rattling musket-fire became a grinding roar, and the deeper note
of artillery boomed into the tumult. A battle had begun, yet the
Connecticut Brigade was stewing in the heat hour after hour, impatient,
troubled, wondering why they had no part to play. As the forenoon
dragged along the men became sullen and weary.

When at last an order came it was not to advance, but to retreat.
Falling back, they found themselves near their camping-place. Valley
Forge had not quenched the faith of Jabez Rockwell in General
Washington’s power to conquer any odds, but now he felt such dismay as
brought hot tears to his eyes. On both sides of his regiment American
troops were streaming to the rear, their columns broken and straggling.
It seemed as if the whole army was fleeing from the veterans of Clinton
and Cornwallis.

Jabez flung himself into a cornfield, and hid his face in his arms.
Round him his comrades were muttering their anger and despair. He
fumbled for his canteen, and his fingers closed round his powder-horn.
“General Washington did not give you to me to run away with,” he
whispered; and then his parched lips moved in a little prayer:

“Dear Lord, help us to beat the British this day, and give me a chance
to empty my powder-horn before night. Thou hast been with General
Washington and me ever since last year. Please don’t desert us now.”

Nor was he surprised when, as if in direct answer to his petition,
he rose to see the chief riding through the troop lines, but such a
chief as he had never before known. The kindly face was aflame with
anger, and streaked with dust and sweat. The powerful horse he rode was
lathered, and its heaving flanks were scarred from hard-driven spurs.

As the commander passed the regiment, his staff in a whirlwind at his
heels, Jabez heard him shout in a great voice vibrant with rage and

“I cannot believe the army is retreating. I ordered a general advance.
Who dared to give such an order! Advance those lines----”

“It was General Lee’s order to retreat,” Jabez heard an officer stammer
in reply.

Washington vanished in a moment, with a storm of cheers in his wake.
Jabez was content to wait for orders now. He believed the Battle of
Monmouth as good as won.

His recollection of the next few hours was jumbled and hazy. He knew
that the regiment went forward, and then the white smoke of musket-fire
closed down before him. Now and then the summer breeze made rifts in
this stifling cloud, and he saw it streaked with spouting fire. He
aimed his old musket at that other foggy line beyond the rail fence,
whose top was lined with men in coats of red and green and black.

Suddenly his officers began running to and fro, and a shout ran down
the thin line:

“Stand steady, Connecticut! Save your fire! Aim low! Here comes a

A tidal wave of red and brass broke through the gaps in the rail fence,
and the sunlight rippled along a wavering line of British bayonets.
They crept nearer, nearer, until Jabez could see the grim ferocity, the
bared teeth, the staring eyes of the dreaded Grenadiers.

At the command to fire he pulled trigger, and the kick of his musket
made him grunt with pain. Pulling the stopper from his powder-horn with
his teeth, Jabez poured in a charge, and was ramming the bullet home
when he felt his right leg double under him and burn as if red-hot iron
had seared it.

Then the charging tide of Grenadiers swept over him. He felt their
hobnailed heels bite into his back; then his head felt queer, and he
closed his eyes. When he found himself trying to rise, he saw, as
through a mist, his regiment falling back, driven from their ground
by the first shock of the charge. He groaned in agony of spirit. What
would General Washington say?

Jabez was now behind the headlong British column, which heeded him
not. He was in a little part of the field cleared of fighting, for the
moment, except for the wounded, who dotted the trampled grass. The
smoke had drifted away, for the swaying lines in front of him were
locked in the frightful embrace of cold steel.

The boy staggered to his feet, with his musket as a crutch, and his
wound was forgotten. He was given strength to his need by the spirit of
a great purpose.

Alone he stood and reeled, while he beckoned, passionately,
imploringly, his arm outstretched toward his broken regiment. The
lull in the firing made a moment of strange quiet, broken only by
groans, and the hard, gasping curses of men locked in the death-grip.
Therefore, the shrill young voice carried far, as he shouted:

“Come back, Connecticut! I’m waiting for you!”

His captain heard the boy, and waved his sword with hoarse cries to his
men. They caught sight of the lonely little figure in the background,
and his cry went to their hearts, and a great wave of rage and shame
swept the line like a prairie fire. Like a landslide the men of
Connecticut swept forward to recapture the ground they had yielded.
Back fell the British before a countercharge they could not withstand,
back beyond the rail fence. Nor was there refuge even there, for,
shattered and spent, they were smashed to fragments in a flank attack
driven home in the nick of time by the American reserves.

From a low hill to the right of this action General Washington had
paused to view the charge just when his line gave way. He sent an
officer in hot haste for reserves, and waited for them where he was.

Thus it happened that his eye swept the littered field from which Jabez
Rockwell rose, as one from the dead, to rally his comrades, alone,
undaunted, pathetic beyond words. A little later two privates were
carrying to the rear the wounded lad, who had been picked up alive and
conscious. They halted to salute their commander-in-chief, and laid
their burden down as the general drew rein and said:

“Take this man to my quarters, and see to it that he has every possible
attention. I saw him save a regiment and retake a position.”

The limp figure on the litter of boughs raised itself on an elbow, and
said very feebly:

“I didn’t want to see that powder-horn disgraced, sir.”

With a smile of recognition General Washington responded:

“The powder-horn? I remember. _You_ are the lad who led the powder-horn
rebellion at Valley Forge. And I wrote down ‘Seventeen seventy-six.’
You have used it well, my boy. I will not forget.”

When Jabez Rockwell was able to rejoin his company, he scratched upon
the powder-horn this addition to the legend he had carved at Valley

  _First used at Monmouth, June 28, 1778._

A hundred years later the grandson of Jabez Rockwell hung the
powder-horn in the old stone house at Valley Forge which had been
General Washington’s headquarters. And if you should chance to see it
there you will find that the young soldier added one more line to the
rough inscription:

  _Last used at Yorktown, 1781._



  A picture of Evacuation Day in New York, in 1783, when the British
  troops hauled down their flag and sailed away from free America.
  A little lost lord, his distracted Tory grandfather, and some
  kind-hearted American children are the principal characters. And we
  are told how little Mistress Dolly Duane “won the distinguished honor
  of being kissed by both Commanders-in-Chief on the same eventful day.”

It was the 25th of November, 1783--a brilliant day, clear, crisp, and
invigorating, with just enough of frosty air to flush the eager cheeks
and nip the inquisitive noses of every boy and girl in the excited
crowd that filled the Bowery lane from Harlem to the barriers, and
pressed fast upon the heels of General Knox’s advance detachment of
Continental troops marching to the position assigned them, near the
“tea-water pump.” In the Duane mansion a fire was blazing brightly and
Mistress Dolly’s pet cat was purring comfortably in the cheerful light.
But Mistress Dolly herself cared just now for neither cat nor comfort.
She, too, was on the highway watching for the exciting events that were
to make this Evacuation Day in New York one of the most memorable
occasions in the history of the chief American city.

At some points the crowd was especially pushing and persistent, and
Mistress Dolly Duane was decidedly uncomfortable. For little Dolly
detested crowds, as, in fact, she detested everything that interfered
with the comfort of a certain dainty little maiden of thirteen. And
she was just on the point of expressing to her cousin, young Edward
Livingston, her regret that they had not stayed to witness the
procession from the tumbledown gateway of the Duane country-house, near
the King’s Bridge road, when, out from the crowd, came the sound of a
child’s voice, shrill and complaining.

“Keep off, you big, bad man!” it said; “keep off and let me pass! How
dare you crowd me so, you wicked rebels?”

“Rebels, hey?” a harsh and mocking voice exclaimed. “Rebels! Heard ye
that, mates? Well crowed, my little cockerel. Let’s have a look at
you,” and a burly arm rudely parted the pushing crowd and dragged out
of the press a slight, dark-haired little fellow of seven or eight,
clad in velvet and ruffles.

“Put me down! Put me down, I say!” screamed the boy, his small face
flushed with passion. “Put me down, I tell you, or I’ll bid Angevine
horsewhip you!”

“Hark to the little Tory,” growled his captor. “A rare young bird, now,
isn’t he? Horsewhip _us_, d’ye say--us, free American citizens? And who
may you be, my little beggar?”

“I am no beggar, you bad man,” cried the child angrily. “I am the
little lord of the manor.”

“Lord of the manor! Ho, ho, ho!” laughed the big fellow. “Give us
grace, your worship,” he said, with mock humility. “Lord of the manor!
Look at him, mates,” and he held the struggling little lad toward
the laughing crowd. “Why, there are no lords nor manors now in free
America, my bantam.”

“But I am, I tell you!” protested the boy. “That’s what my grandfather
calls me--oh, where is he? Take me to him, please: he calls me the
little lord of the manor.”

“Who’s your grandfather?” demanded the man.

“Who? Why, don’t you know?” the “little lord” asked incredulously.
“Everybody knows my grandfather, I thought. He is Colonel Phillipse,
Baron of Phillipsbourg, and lord of the manor; and he’ll kill you if
you hurt me,” he added defiantly.

“Phillipse, the king of Yonckers! Phillipse, the fat old Tory of West
Chester! A prize, a prize, mates!” shouted the bully. “What say you?
Shall we hold this young bantling hostage for the tainted Tory, his
grandfather, and when once we get the old fellow serve him as we did
the refugee at Wall-kill t’ other day?”

“What did you do?” the crowd asked.

“Faith, we tarred and feathered him well, put a hog-yoke on his neck
and a cow-bell, too, and then rode him on a rail till he cheered for
the Congress.”

“Treat my grandfather like that--my good grandfather? You shall not!
you dare not!” cried the small Phillipse, with a flood of angry tears,
as he struggled and fought in his captor’s clutch.

Dolly Duane’s kindly heart was filled with pity at the rough usage of
the “little lord.”

“Oh, sir,” she said, as she pushed through the crowd and laid her hand
on the big bully’s arm, “let the child go. ’Tis unmannerly to treat him
as you do, and you’re very, very cruel.”

The fellow turned roughly around and looked down into Dolly’s disturbed
and protesting face.

“What, another of ’em?” he said surlily. “Why, the place is full of
little Tories.”

“No, no; no Tory I!” said indignant Dolly. “My father is Mr. Duane, and
he is no Tory.”

“Mr. Duane, of the Congress?” “Give up the lad to the maid.” “Why harm
the child?” came mingled voices from the crowd.

“What care I for Duane!” said the bully contemptuously. “One man’s as
good as another now in free America--isn’t he? Bah! you’re all cowards;
but I know when I’ve got a good thing. You don’t bag a Phillipse every
day, I’ll warrant you.”

“No; but we bag other game once in a while,” said Dolly’s cousin, young
Edward Livingston, pushing his way to her side. “We bag turncoats, and
thieves, and murthering runagates sometimes, even in ‘free America’;
and we know what to do with them when we do bag them. Friends,” he
cried, turning to the crowd, “do you know this fellow? He’s a greater
prize than the little Phillipse. ’Tis Big Jake of the Saw-mill--a
‘skinner’ one day and a ‘cow-boy’ next, as it suits his fancy and as
it brings him booty. I know him, and so does the water-guard. I am
Livingston, of Clermont Manor. Let down the lad, man, or we’ll turn you
over to the town-major. He’d like rarely to have a chance at you.”

The crowd uttered a cry of rage as it closed excitedly around the burly
member of the lawless gang that had preyed upon the defenceless people
of the lower Hudson during the years of war and raid. The bully paled
at the sound, and loosed his hold upon the little Phillipse. Without
waiting to see the issue, young Livingston dragged the “little lord”
from the throng, while his companion, Master Clinton, hurried Dolly
along, and they were soon free from the crowd that was dealing roughly
enough with Big Jake of the Saw-mill.

“Now, Dolly, let us go back to the farm before we get into further
trouble,” said Cousin Ned, a pleasant young fellow of eighteen, who
looked upon himself as the lawful protector of “the children.”

“But what shall we do with our little lord of the manor, Cousin Ned?”
asked Dolly.

“The safest plan is to take him with us,” he replied.

“Oh, no, sir; no,” pleaded the little boy. “We sail to-day with Sir
Guy Carleton, and what will grandfather do without me?” And then he
told them how, early that morning, he had slipped away from Angevine,
Colonel Phillipse’s body-servant, passed through the barriers and
strolled up the Bowery lane to see the “rebel soldiers”; how he had
lost his way in the crowd, and was in sore distress and danger until
Dolly interfered; and how he thanked them “over and over again” for
protecting him. But “Oh, please, I must go back to my grandfather,” he

Little Mistress Dolly had a mind of her own, and she warmly championed
the cause of the “lost little lord,” as she called him.

“Cousin Ned,” she said, “of course he must go to his grandfather, and
of course we must take him. Think how I should feel if they tried to
keep me from my father!” and Dolly’s sympathetic eyes filled at the
dreadful thought.

“But how can we take him?” asked Cousin Ned. “How can we get past the

A hundred years ago New York City proper extended northward only as
far as the present post-office, and during the Revolution a line of
earthworks was thrown across the island at that point to defend it
against assault from the north. The British sentinels at these barriers
were not to give up their posts to the Americans until one o’clock on
this eventful Evacuation Day, and Cousin Ned, therefore, could not well
see how they could pass the sentries.

But young Master Clinton, a bright, curly-haired boy of thirteen, said
confidently: “Oh, that’s easily done.” And then, with a knowledge of
the highways and byways which many rambles through the dear old town
had given him, he unfolded his plan. “See here,” he said; “we’ll turn
down the Monument lane, just below us, cut across through General
Mortier’s woods to Mr. Nicholas Bayard’s, and so on to the Ranelagh
Gardens. From there we can easily get over to the Broad Way and the
Murray Street barrier before General Knox gets to the Fresh Water,
where he has been ordered to halt until one o’clock. When the guard at
the barrier knows that we have the little Baron of Phillipsbourg with
us, and has handled the two York sixpences you will give him, of course
he’ll let us pass. So, don’t you see, we can fix this little boy all
right, and, better yet, can see King George’s men go out and our troops
come in, and make just a splendid day of it.”

Dolly, fully alive to these glorious possibilities, clapped her hands

“What a brain the boy has!” said young Livingston. “Keep on, my son,”
he said patronizingly, “and you’ll make a great man yet.”

“So I mean to be,” said De Witt Clinton cheerily, and then, heading the
little group, he followed out the route he had proposed. Ere long the
barriers were safely passed, Cousin Ned was two York sixpences out of
pocket, and the young people stood within the British lines.

“And now, where may we find your grandfather, little one?” Cousin Ned
inquired, as they halted on the Broad Way beneath one of the tall
poplars that lined that old-time street.

The little Phillipse could not well reply. The noise and confusion
that filled the city had well-nigh turned his head. For what with the
departing English troops, the disconsolate loyalist refugees hurrying
for transportation to distant English ports, and the zealous citizens
who were making great preparations to welcome the incoming soldiers
of the Congress, the streets of the little city were full of bustle
and excitement. The boy said his grandfather might be at the fort; he
might be at the King’s Arms Tavern, near Stone Street; he might be--he
_would_ be--hunting for him.

So Master Clinton suggested: “Let’s go down to Mr. Day’s tavern here in
Murray Street. He knows me, and, if he can, will find Colonel Phillipse
for us.” Down into Murray Street therefore they turned, and, near the
road to Greenwich, saw the tavern--a long, low-roofed house, gable end
to the street--around which an excited crowd surged and shouted.

“Why, look there,” Master Clinton cried; “look there; and the king’s
men not yet gone!” and, following the direction of his finger, they
saw with surprise the stars and stripes, the flag of the new republic,
floating from the pole before the tavern.

“Huzza!” they shouted with the rest, but the “little lord” said,
somewhat contemptuously, “Why, ’tis the rebel flag--or so my
grandfather calls it.”

“Rebel no longer, little one,” said Cousin Ned, “as even your good
grandfather must now admit. But surely,” he added anxiously, “Mr. Day
will get himself in trouble by raising his flag before our troops come

An angry shout now rose from the throng around the flag-staff, and as
the fringe of small boys scattered and ran in haste, young Livingston
caught one of them by the arm. “What’s the trouble, lad?” he asked.

“Let go!” said the boy, struggling to free himself. “You’d better
scatter, too, or Cunningham will catch you. He’s ordered down Day’s
flag and says he’ll clear the crowd.”

They all knew who Cunningham was--the cruel and vindictive British
provost-marshal; the starver of American prisoners and the terror of
American children. “Come away, quick,” said Cousin Ned. But though they
drew off at first, curiosity was too strong, and they were soon in the
crowd again.

Cunningham, the marshal, stood at the foot of the flag-pole. “Come,
you rebel cur,” he said to Mr. Day. “I give you two minutes to haul
down that rag--two minutes, d’ye hear, or into the Provost you go. Your
beggarly troops are not in possession here yet, and I’ll have no such
striped rag as that flying in the faces of His Majesty’s forces!”

“There it is, and there it shall stay,” said Day, quietly but firmly.

Cunningham turned to his guard.

“Arrest that man,” he ordered. “And as for this thing here, I’ll haul
it down myself,” and seizing the halyards, he began to lower the flag.
The crowd broke out into fierce murmurs, uncertain what to do. But in
the midst of the tumult the door of the tavern flew open, and forth
sallied Mrs. Day, “fair, fat, and forty,” armed with her trusty broom.

“Hands off that flag, you villain, and drop my husband!” she cried,
and before the astonished Cunningham could realize the situation, the
broom came down thwack! thwack! upon his powdered wig. Old men still
lived, not thirty years ago, who were boys in that excited crowd, and
remembered how the powder flew from the stiff white wig and how, amidst
jeers and laughter, the defeated provost-marshal withdrew from the
unequal contest, and fled before the resistless sweep of Mrs. Day’s
all-conquering broom. And the flag did not come down.

From the vantage-ground of a projecting “stoop” our young friends had
indulged in irreverent laughter, and the marshal’s quick ears caught
the sound.

Fuming with rage and seeking some one to vent his anger on, he rushed
up the “stoop” and bade his guard drag down the culprits.

“What pestilent young rebels have we here?” he growled. “Who are you?”
He started as they gave their names. “Livingston? Clinton? Duane?” he
repeated. “Well, well--a rare lot this of the rebel brood! And who is
yon young bantling in velvet and ruffles?”

“You must not stop us, sir,” said the boy, facing the angry marshal.
“I am the little lord of the manor, and my grandfather is Colonel
Phillipse. Sir Guy Carleton is waiting for me.”

“Well, well,” exclaimed the surprised marshal; “here’s a fine to-do!
A Phillipse in this rebel lot! What does it mean? Have ye kidnapped
the lad? Here may be some treachery. Bring them along!” and with as
much importance as if he had captured a whole corps of Washington’s
dragoons, instead of a few harmless children, the young prisoners were
hurried off, followed by an indignant crowd. Dolly was considerably
frightened, and dark visions of the stocks, the whipping-post, and the
ducking-stool by the Collect pond rose before her eyes. But Cousin Ned
whispered: “Don’t be afraid, Dolly--’twill all be right”; and Master
Clinton even sought to argue with the marshal.

“There are no rebels now, sir,” he said, “since your king has given up
the fight. You yourselves are rebels, rather, if you restrain us of our
freedom. I know your king’s proclamation word for word. It says: ‘We do
hereby strictly charge and command all our officers, both at sea and
land, and all other our subjects whatsoever, to forbear all acts of
hostility, either by sea or land, against the United States of America,
their vassals or subjects, under the penalty of incurring our highest
displeasure.’ Wherefore, Sir,” concluded this wise young pleader, “if
you keep us in unlawful custody, you do brave your king’s displeasure.”

“You impudent young rebel----” began Cunningham; but the “little lord”
interrupted him with: “You shall not take us to jail, sir, I will tell
my grandfather, and he will make Sir Guy punish you.” And upon this the
provost-marshal, whose wrath had somewhat cooled, began to fear that he
might, perhaps, have exceeded his authority, and ere long, with a sour
look and a surly word, he set the young people free.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sir Guy Carleton, K. C. B., commander-in-chief of all His Majesty’s
forces in the colonies, stood at the foot of the flag-staff on the
northern bastion of Fort George. Before him filed the departing troops
of his king, evacuating the pleasant little city they had occupied
for more than seven years. “There might be seen,” says one of the
old records, “the Hessian, with his towering, brass-fronted cap,
moustache colored with the same blacking which colored his shoes, his
hair plastered with tallow and flour, and reaching in whip-form to
his waist. His uniform was a blue coat, yellow vest and breeches, and
black gaiters. The Highlander, with his low checked bonnet, his tartan
or plaid, short red coat, his kilt above his knees, and they exposed,
his hose short and parti-colored. There were also the grenadiers
of Anspach, with towering yellow caps; the gaudy Waldeckers, with
their cocked hats edged with yellow scallops; the German yägers, and
the various corps of English in glittering and gallant pomp.” The
white-capped waves of the beautiful bay sparkled in the sunlight,
while the whale-boats, barges, gigs, and launches sped over the water,
bearing troops and refugees to the transports, or to the temporary
camp on Staten Island. The last act of the evacuation was almost
completed. But Sir Guy Carleton looked troubled. His eye wandered from
the departing troops at Whitehall slip to the gate at Bowling Green,
and then across the parade to the Governor’s gardens and the town

“Well, sir, what word from Colonel Phillipse?” he inquired, as an aide
hurried to his side.

“He bids you go without him, General,” the aide reported. “The boy is
not yet found, but the Colonel says he will risk seizure rather than
leave the lad behind.”

“It cannot well be helped,” said the British commander. “I will myself
dispatch a line to General Washington, requesting due courtesy and safe
conduct for Colonel Phillipse and his missing heir. But see--whom have
we here?” he asked, as across the parade came a rumbling coach, while
behind it a covered cariole came tearing through the gateway. Ere the
bastion on which the General stood was reached the cariole drew up with
sudden stop. Angevine, the black body-servant, sprang to the horses’
heads, and a very large man hatless, though richly dressed, descended
hastily and flung open the door of the coach just as Mistress Dolly was
preparing to descend, and as he helped her out he caught in his ample
arms the little fellow who followed close at her heels.

“Good; the lost is found!” exclaimed Sir Guy, who had been an
interested spectator of the pantomime.

“All is well, General,” Colonel Phillipse cried joyfully, as the
commander came down from the bastion and welcomed the new-comers. “My
little lord of the manor is found; and, faith, his loss troubled me
more than all the attainder and forfeiture the rebel Congress can crowd
upon me.”

“But how got he here?” Sir Guy asked.

“This fair little lady is both his rescuer and protector,” replied the

“And who may you be, little mistress?” asked the commander-in-chief.

Dolly made a neat little curtsy, for those were the days of good
manners, and she was a proper little damsel. “I am Dolly Duane, your
Excellency,” she said, “daughter of Mr. James Duane of the Congress.”

“Duane!” exclaimed the Colonel; “Well, well, little one, I did not
think a Phillipse would ever acknowledge himself debtor to a Duane,
but now do I gladly do it. Bear my compliments to your father,
sweet Mistress Dolly, and tell him that his old enemy, Phillipse,
of Phillipsbourg, will never forget the kindly aid of his gentle
little daughter, who has this day restored a lost lad to a sorrowing
grandfather. And let me thus show my gratitude for your love and
service,” and the very large man, stooping in all courtesy before the
little girl, laid his hand in blessing on her head, and kissed her fair
young face.

“A rare little maiden, truly,” said gallant Sir Guy: “and though I
have small cause to favor so hot an enemy of the king as is Mr. James
Duane, I admire his dutiful little daughter; and thus would I, too,
render her love and service,” and the gleaming scarlet and gold-laced
arms of the courtly old commander encircled fair Mistress Dolly, and
a hearty kiss fell upon her blushing cheeks. But she was equal to the
occasion. Raising herself on tiptoe, she dropped a dainty kiss upon the
General’s smiling face, and said, “Let this, sir, be America’s good-bye
kiss to your Excellency.”

“A right royal salute,” said Sir Guy. “Mr. De Lancy, bid the
band-master give us the farewell march,” and to the strains of
appropriate music the commander-in-chief and his staff passed down to
the boats and the little lord of Phillipse Manor waved Mistress Dolly a
last farewell.

Then the Red Cross of St. George, England’s royal flag, came
fluttering down from its high staff on the north bastion, and the
last of the rear-guard wheeled toward the slip. But Cunningham, the
provost-marshal, still angered by the thought of his discomfiture
at Day’s tavern, declared roundly that no rebel flag should go up
that staff in sight of King George’s men. “Come lively now, you
blue jackets,” he shouted, turning to some of the sailors from the
fleet. “Unreeve the halyards, quick; slush down the pole; knock off
the stepping-cleats! Then let them run their rag up if they can.”
His orders were quickly obeyed. The halyards were speedily cut, the
stepping-cleats knocked from the staff, and the tall pole covered
with grease, so that none might climb it. And with this final act
of unsoldierly discourtesy, the memory of which has lived through a
hundred busy years, the provost-marshal left the now liberated city.

Even Sir Guy’s gallant kiss could not rid Dolly of her fear of
Cunningham’s frown; but as she scampered off she heard his final order,
and, hot with indignation, told the news to Cousin Ned and Master
Clinton, who were in waiting for her on the Bowling Green. The younger
lad was for stirring up the people to instant action, but just then
they heard the roll of drums, and, standing near the ruins of King
George’s statue, watched the advance-guard of the Continental troops as
they filed in to take possession of the fort. Beneath the high gateway
and straight toward the north bastion marched the detachment--a troop
of horse, a regiment of infantry, and a company of artillery. The
batteries, the parapets, and the ramparts were thronged with cheering
people, and Colonel Jackson, halting before the flag-staff, ordered up
the stars and stripes.

“The halyards are cut, Colonel,” reported the color-sergeant; “the
cleats are gone, and the pole is slushed.”

“A mean trick, indeed,” exclaimed the indignant Colonel. “Hallo there,
lads, will you be outwitted by such a scurvy trick! Look where they
wait in their boats to give us the laugh. Will you let tainted Tories
and buttermilk Whigs thus shame us? A gold jacobus to him who will
climb the staff and reeve the halyards for the stars and stripes.”

Dolly’s quick ear caught the ringing words. “Oh, Cousin Ned,” she
cried, “I saw Jacky Van Arsdale on the Bowling Green. Don’t you
remember how he climbed the greased pole at Clermont, in the May
merrying?” and with that she sped across the parade and through the
gateway, returning soon with a stout sailor-boy of fifteen. “Now tell
the Colonel you’ll try it, Jacky.”

“Go it, Jack!” shouted Cousin Ned. “I’ll make the gold jacobus two if
you but reeve the halyards.”

“I want no money for the job, Master Livingston,” said the sailor-lad.
“I’ll do it if I can for Mistress Dolly’s sake.”

Jack was an expert climber, but if any of my boy readers think it
a simple thing to “shin up” a greased pole, just let them try it
once--and fail.

Jack Van Arsdale tried it manfully once, twice, thrice, and each time
came slipping down covered with slush and shame. And all the watchers
in the boats off-shore joined in a chorus of laughs and jeers. Jack
shook his fist at them angrily. “I’ll fix ’em yet,” he said. “If ye’ll
but saw me up some cleats, and give me hammer and nails, I’ll run that
flag to the top in spite of all the Tories from ’Sopus to Sandy Hook!”

Ready hands and willing feet came to the assistance of the plucky
lad. Some ran swiftly to Mr. Goelet’s, “the iron-monger’s” in Hanover
Square, and brought quickly back “a hand-saw, hatchet, hammer, gimlets,
and nails”; others drew a long board to the bastion, and while one
sawed the board into lengths, another split the strips into cleats,
others bored the nail-holes, and soon young Jack had material enough.

Then, tying the halyards around his waist, and filling his jacket
pockets with cleats and nails, he worked his way up the flag-pole,
nailing and climbing as he went. And now he reaches the top, now the
halyards are reeved, and as the beautiful flag goes fluttering up the
staff a mighty cheer is heard, and a round of thirteen guns salutes the
stars and stripes and the brave sailor-boy who did the gallant deed!

From the city streets came the roll and rumble of distant drums, and
Dolly and her two companions, following the excited crowd, hastened
across Hanover Square, and from an excellent outlook in the Fly Market
watched the whole grand procession as it wound down Queen (now Pearl)
Street, making its triumphal entry into the welcoming city. First came
a corps of dragoons, then followed the advance-guard of light infantry
and a corps of artillery, then more light infantry, a battalion of
Massachusetts troops, and the rear-guard. As the veterans, with their
soiled and faded uniforms, filed past, Dolly could not help contrasting
them with the brilliant appearance of the British troops she had seen
in the fort. “Their clothes _do_ look worn and rusty,” she said. “But
then,” she added, with beaming eyes, “they are _our_ soldiers, and that
is everything.”

And now she hears “a great hozaing all down the Fly,” as one record
queerly puts it, and as the shouts increase, she sees a throng of
horsemen, where, escorted by Captain Delavan’s “West Chester Light
Horse,” ride the heroes of that happy hour, General George Washington
and Governor George Clinton. Dolly added her clear little treble to
the loud huzzas as the famous commander-in-chief rode down the echoing
street. Behind their excellencies came other officials, dignitaries,
army officers, and files of citizens, on horseback and afoot, many of
the latter returning to dismantled and ruined homes after nearly eight
years of exile.

But Dolly did not wait to see the whole procession. She had spied her
father in the line of mounted citizens and flying across Queen Street,
and around by Golden Hill (near Maiden Lane), where the first blood of
the Revolution was spilled, she hurried down the Broad Way, so as to
reach Mr. Cape’s tavern before their excellencies arrived.

Soon she was in her father’s arms relating her adventures, and as she
received his chidings for mingling in such “unseemly crowds,” and his
praise for her championship and protection of the little Phillipse,
a kindly hand was laid upon her fair young head, and a voice whose
tones she could never forget said: “So may our children be angels of
peace, Mr. Duane. Few have suffered more, or deserved better from their
country, sir, than you; but the possession of so rare a little daughter
is a fairer recompense than aught your country can bestow. Heaven has
given me no children, sir; but had I thus been blessed, I could have
wished for no gentler or truer-hearted little daughter than this maid
of yours.” And with the stately courtesy that marked the time, General
Washington bent down and kissed little Dolly as she sat on her father’s
knee. Touched by his kindly words, Dolly forgot all her awe of the
great man. Flinging two winsome arms about his neck, she kissed him in
return, and said softly: “If Mr. Duane were not my father, sir, I would
rather it should be you than any one else.”

In all her after-life, though she retained pleasant memories of Sir
Guy Carleton, and thought him a grand and gallant gentleman, Dolly
Duane held still more firmly to her reverence and affection for General
Washington, whom she described as “looking more grand and noble than
any human being she had ever seen.”

Next to General Washington, I think she held the fireworks that were
set off in the Bowling Green in honor of the Peace to have been the
grandest thing she had ever seen. The rockets, and the wheels, and the
tourbillions, and the batteries, and the stars were all so wonderful to
her, that General Knox said Dolly’s “ohs” and “ahs” were “as good as a
play”; and staid Master Clinton and jolly Cousin Ned threatened to send
to the Ferry stairs for an anchor to hold her down. Both these young
gentlemen grew to be famous Americans in after years, and witnessed
many anniversaries of this glorious Evacuation Day. But they never
enjoyed any of them quite as much as they did the exciting original,
nor could they ever forget, amidst all the throng of memories, how
sweet Mistress Dolly Duane championed and protected the lost “little
lord of the manor,” and won the distinguished honor of being kissed by
both the commanders-in-chief on the same eventful day.



  The Province House in Boston was the home of the Royal Governors of
  Massachusetts. This is the story of how the stately, spectre-haunted
  old Housekeeper, even after the departure of the last Royal Governor
  and the triumph of the Colonies, remained “faithful unto death” to
  her Sovereign Lord King George.

The hour had come--the hour of defeat and humiliation--when Sir William
Howe was to pass over the threshold of the Province House, and embark,
with no such triumphal ceremonies as he once promised himself, on board
the British fleet. He bade his servants and military attendants go
before him, and lingered a moment in the loneliness of the mansion,
to quell the fierce emotions that struggled in his bosom as with a
death-throb. Preferable, then, would he have deemed his fate had a
warrior’s death left him a claim to the narrow territory of a grave
within the soil which the king had given him to defend. With an ominous
perception that, as his departing footsteps echoed adown the staircase,
the sway of Britain was passing forever from New England, he smote his
clinched hand on his brow, and cursed the destiny that had flung the
shame of a dismembered empire upon him.

“Would to God,” cried he, hardly repressing his tears of rage, “that
the rebels were even now at the doorstep! A bloodstain upon the floor
should then bear testimony that the last British ruler was faithful to
his trust.”

The tremulous voice of a woman replied to his exclamation.

“Heaven’s cause and the King’s are one,” it said. “Go forth, Sir
William Howe, and trust in Heaven to bring back a royal governor in

Subduing at once the passion to which he had yielded only in the faith
that it was unwitnessed, Sir William Howe became conscious that an aged
woman, leaning on a gold-headed staff, was standing betwixt him and the
door. It was old Esther Dudley, who had dwelt almost immemorial years
in this mansion, until her presence seemed as inseparable from it as
the recollections of its history. She was the daughter of an ancient
and once eminent family, which had fallen into poverty and decay, and
left its last descendant no resource save the bounty of the king, nor
any shelter except within the walls of the Province House. An office
in the household, with merely nominal duties, had been assigned to her
as a pretext for the payment of a small pension, the greater part of
which she expended in adorning herself with an antique magnificence of
attire. The claims of Esther Dudley’s gentle blood were acknowledged
by all the successive governors; and they treated her with the
punctilious courtesy which it was her foible to demand, not always
with success, from a neglectful world. The only actual share which
she assumed in the business of the mansion was to glide through its
passages and public chambers, late at night, to see that the servants
had dropped no fire from their flaring torches, nor left embers
crackling and blazing on the hearths. Perhaps it was this invariable
custom of walking her rounds in the hush of midnight that caused the
superstition of the times to invest the old woman with attributes
of awe and mystery; fabling that she had entered the portal of the
Province House, none knew whence, in the train of the first royal
governor, and that it was her fate to dwell there till the last should
have departed. But Sir William Howe, if he ever heard this legend, had
forgotten it.

“Mistress Dudley, why are you loitering here?” asked he, with some
severity of tone. “It is my pleasure to be the last in this mansion of
the king.”

“Not so, if it please your Excellency,” answered the time-stricken
woman. “This roof has sheltered me long. I will not pass from it until
they bear me to the tomb of my forefathers. What other shelter is there
for old Esther Dudley save the Province House or the grave?”

“Now Heaven forgive me!” said Sir William Howe to himself. “I was
about to leave this wretched old creature to starve or beg. Take this,
good Mistress Dudley,” he added, putting a purse into her hands.
“King George’s head on these golden guineas is sterling yet, and will
continue so, I warrant you, even should the rebels crown John Hancock
their king. That purse will buy a better shelter than the Province
House can now afford.”

“While the burden of life remains upon me, I will have no other shelter
than this roof,” persisted Esther Dudley, striking her staff upon the
floor with a gesture that expressed immovable resolve. “And when your
Excellency returns in triumph, I will totter into the porch to welcome

“My poor old friend!” answered the British General; and all his manly
and martial pride could no longer restrain a gush of bitter tears.
“This is an evil hour for you and me. The province which the king
intrusted to my charge is lost. I go hence in misfortune--perchance
in disgrace--to return no more. And you, whose present being is
incorporated with the past--who have seen governor after governor, in
stately pageantry, ascend these steps--whose whole life has been an
observance of majestic ceremonies, and a worship of the king--how will
you endure the change? Come with us! Bid farewell to a land that has
shaken off its allegiance, and live still under a royal government, at

“Never, never!” said the pertinacious old dame. “Here will I abide;
and King George shall still have one true subject in his disloyal

“Beshrew the old fool!” muttered Sir William Howe, growing impatient
of her obstinacy, and ashamed of the emotion into which he had been
betrayed. “She is the very moral of old-fashioned prejudice, and could
exist nowhere but in this musty edifice. Well, then, Mistress Dudley,
since you will needs tarry, I give the Province House in charge to
you. Take this key, and keep it safe until myself, or some other royal
governor, shall demand it of you.”

Smiling bitterly at himself and her, he took the heavy key of the
Province House, and, delivering it into the old lady’s hands, drew his
cloak around him for departure. As the General glanced back at Esther
Dudley’s antique figure, he deemed her well fitted for such a charge,
as being so perfect a representative of the decayed past--of an age
gone by, with its manners, opinions, faith, and feelings all fallen
into oblivion or scorn--of what had once been a reality, but was now
merely a vision of faded magnificence. Then Sir William Howe strode
forth, smiting his clenched hands together in the fierce anguish of
his spirit; and old Esther Dudley was left to keep watch in the lonely
Province House, dwelling there with memory; and if Hope ever seemed to
flit around her, still it was Memory in disguise.

The total change of affairs that ensued on the departure of the British
troops did not drive the venerable lady from her stronghold. There was
not, for many years afterward, a governor of Massachusetts; and the
magistrates, who had charge of such matters, saw no objection to Esther
Dudley’s residence in the Province House, especially as they must
otherwise have paid a hireling for taking care of the premises, which
with her was a labor of love. And so they left her, the undisturbed
mistress of the old historic edifice. Many and strange were the fables
which the gossips whispered about her, in all the chimney-corners of
the town. Among the time-worn articles of furniture that had been left
in the mansion there was a tall, antique mirror, which was well worthy
of a tale by itself, and perhaps may hereafter be the theme of one.
The gold of its heavily wrought frame was tarnished, and its surface
so blurred that the old woman’s figure, whenever she paused before
it, looked indistinct and ghostlike. But it was the general belief
that Esther could cause the governors of the overthrown dynasty, with
the beautiful ladies who had once adorned their festivals, the Indian
chiefs who had come up to the Province House to hold council or swear
allegiance, the grim, provincial warriors, the severe clergymen--in
short, all the pageantry of gone days--all the figures that ever
swept across the broad plate of glass in former times--she could
cause the whole to reappear, and people the inner world of the mirror
with shadows of old life. Such legends as these, together with the
singularity of her isolated existence, her age, and the infirmity
that each added winter flung upon her, made Mistress Dudley the
object both of fear and pity; and it was partly the result of either
sentiment that, amid all the angry license of the times, neither wrong
nor insult ever fell upon her unprotected head. Indeed, there was so
much haughtiness in her demeanor toward intruders, among whom she
reckoned all persons acting under the new authorities, that it was
really an affair of no small nerve to look her in the face. And to do
the people justice, stern republicans as they had now become, they
were well content that the old gentlewoman, in her hoop petticoat and
faded embroidery, should still haunt the palace of ruined pride and
overthrown power, the symbol of a departed system, embodying a history
in her person. So Esther Dudley dwelt, year after year, in the Province
House, still reverencing all that others had flung aside, still
faithful to her king, who, so long as the venerable dame yet held her
post, might be said to retain one true subject in New England, and one
spot of the empire that had been wrested from him.

And did she dwell there in utter loneliness? Rumor said, not so.
Whenever her chill and withered heart desired warmth, she was wont to
summon a black slave of Governor Shirley’s from the blurred mirror, and
send him in search of guests who had long ago been familiar in those
deserted chambers. Forth went the sable messenger, with the starlight
or the moonshine gleaming through him, and did his errand in the
burial-ground, knocking at the iron doors of tombs, or upon the marble
slabs that covered them, and whispering to those within, “My mistress,
old Esther Dudley, bids you to the Province House at midnight.” And
punctually as the clock of the Old South told twelve came the shadows
of the Olivers, the Hutchinsons, the Dudleys, all the grandees of a
bygone generation, gliding beneath the portal into the well-known
mansion, where Esther mingled with them as if she likewise were a
shade. Without vouching for the truth of such traditions, it is certain
that Mistress Dudley sometimes assembled a few of the stanch though
crestfallen old Tories who had lingered in the rebel town during those
days of wrath and tribulation. Out of a cobwebbed bottle, containing
liquor that a royal governor might have smacked his lips over, they
quaffed healths to the king, and babbled treason to the Republic,
feeling as if the protecting shadow of the throne were still flung
around them. But, draining the last drops of their liquor, they stole
timorously homeward, and answered not again if the rude mob reviled
them in the street.

Yet Esther Dudley’s most frequent and favored guests were the children
of the town. Toward them she was never stern. A kindly and loving
nature, hindered elsewhere from its free course by a thousand rocky
prejudices, lavished itself upon these little ones. By bribes of
gingerbread of her own making, stamped with a royal crown, she tempted
their sunny sportiveness beneath the gloomy portal of the Province
House, and would often beguile them to spend a whole play-day there,
sitting in a circle round the verge of her hoop petticoat, greedily
attentive to her stories of a dead world. And when these little boys
and girls stole forth again from the dark, mysterious mansion, they
went bewildered, full of old feelings that graver people had long ago
forgotten, rubbing their eyes at the world around them as if they had
gone astray into ancient times, and become children of the past. At
home, when their parents asked where they had loitered such a weary
while, and with whom they had been at play, the children would talk
of all the departed worthies of the province, as far back as Governor
Belcher, and the haughty dame of Sir William Phipps. It would seem as
though they had been sitting on the knees of these famous personages,
whom the grave had hidden for half a century, and had toyed with the
embroidery of their rich waistcoats, or roguishly pulled the long
curls of their flowing wigs. “But Governor Belcher has been dead this
many a year,” would the mother say to her little boy. “And did you
really see him at the Province House?” “Oh, yes, dear mother! Yes!”
the half-dreaming child would answer. “But when old Esther had done
speaking about him he faded away out of his chair.” Thus, without
affrighting her little guests, she led them by the hand into the
chambers of her own desolate heart, and made childhood’s fancy discern
the ghosts that haunted there.

Living so continually in her own circle of ideas, and never regulating
her mind by a proper reference to present things, Esther Dudley
appears to have grown partially crazed. It was found that she had no
right sense of the progress and true state of the Revolutionary War,
but held a constant faith that the armies of Britain were victorious
on every field, and destined to be ultimately triumphant. Whenever the
town rejoiced for a battle won by Washington, or Gates, or Morgan, or
Greene, the news, in passing through the door of the Province House, as
through the ivory gate of dreams, became metamorphosed into a strange
tale of the prowess of Howe, Clinton, or Cornwallis. Sooner or later,
it was her invincible belief, the colonies would be prostrate at the
footstool of the king. Sometimes she seemed to take for granted that
such was already the case. On one occasion she startled the townspeople
by a brilliant illumination of the Province House, with candles at
every pane of glass, and a transparency of the king’s initials and a
crown of light in the great balcony window. The figure of the aged
woman, in the most gorgeous of her mildewed velvets and brocades, was
seen passing from casement to casement, until she paused before the
balcony, and flourished a huge key above her head. Her wrinkled visage
actually gleamed with triumph, as if the soul within her were a festal

“What means this blaze of light? What does old Esther’s joy portend?”
whispered a spectator. “It is frightful to see her gliding about the
chambers, and rejoicing there without a soul to bear her company.”

“It is as if she were making merry in a tomb,” said another.

“Pshaw! It is no such mystery,” observed an old man, after some brief
exercise of memory. “Mistress Dudley is keeping jubilee for the King
of England’s birthday.” Then the people laughed aloud, and would
have thrown mud against the blazing transparency of the king’s crown
and initials, only that they pitied the poor old dame, who was so
dismally triumphant amid the wreck and ruin of the system to which she

Oftentimes it was her custom to climb the weary staircase that wound
upward to the cupola, and thence strain her dimmed eyesight seaward
and countryward, watching for a British fleet, or for the march of
a grand procession, with the king’s banner floating over it. The
passengers in the street below would discern her anxious visage, and
send up a shout, “When the golden Indian on the Province House shall
shoot his arrow, and when the cock on the Old South spire shall crow,
then look for a royal governor again!”--for this had grown a byword
through the town. And at last, after long, long years, old Esther
Dudley knew, or perchance she only dreamed, that a royal governor was
on the eve of returning to the Province House, to receive the heavy
key which Sir William Howe had committed to her charge. Now it was the
fact that intelligence bearing some faint analogy to Esther’s version
of it was current among the townspeople. She set the mansion in the
best order that her means allowed, and, arraying herself in silks and
tarnished gold, stood long before the blurred mirror to admire her own
magnificence. As she gazed, the gray and withered lady moved her ashen
lips, murmuring half aloud, talking to shapes that she saw within the
mirror, to shadows of her own fantasies, to the household friends of
memory, and bidding them rejoice with her, and come forth to meet the
governor. And, while absorbed in this communion, Mistress Dudley heard
the tramp of many footsteps in the street, and, looking out at the
window, beheld what she construed as the royal governor’s arrival.

“O happy day! O blessed, blessed hour!” she exclaimed. “Let me but bid
him welcome within the portal, and my task in the Province House, and
on earth, is done!”

Then with tottering feet, which age and tremulous joy caused to tread
amiss, she hurried down the grand staircase, her silks sweeping and
rustling as she went, so that the sound was as if a train of spectral
courtiers were thronging from the dim mirror. And Esther Dudley fancied
that, as soon as the wide door should be flung open, all the pomp and
splendor of bygone times would pace majestically into the Province
House, and the gilded tapestry of the past would be brightened by the
sunshine of the present. She turned the key, withdrew it from the
lock, unclosed the door, and stepped across the threshold. Advancing
up the courtyard appeared a person of most dignified mien, with
tokens, as Esther interpreted them, of gentle blood, high rank, and
long-accustomed authority, even in his walk and every gesture. He was
richly dressed, but wore a gouty shoe, which, however, did not lessen
the stateliness of his gait. Around and behind him were people in
plain civic dresses, and two or three war-worn veterans, evidently
officers of rank, arrayed in a uniform of blue and buff. But Esther
Dudley, firm in the belief that had fastened its roots about her heart,
beheld only the principal personage, and never doubted that this was
the long-looked-for governor, to whom she was to surrender up her
charge. As he approached, she involuntarily sank down on her knees, and
tremblingly held forth the heavy key.

“Receive my trust! take it quickly!” cried she; “for methinks Death is
striving to snatch away my triumph. But he comes too late. Thank Heaven
for this blessed hour! God save King George!”

“That, madam, is a strange prayer to be offered up at such a moment,”
replied the unknown guest of the Province House, and, courteously
removing his hat, he offered his arm to raise the aged woman. “Yet, in
reverence for your gray hairs and long-kept faith, Heaven forbid that
any here should say you nay. Over the realms which still acknowledge
his sceptre, God save King George!”

Esther Dudley started to her feet, and, hastily clutching back the
key, gazed with fearful earnestness at the stranger; and dimly and
doubtfully, as if suddenly awakened from a dream, her bewildered eyes
half recognized his face. Years ago she had known him among the gentry
of the province. But the ban of the king had fallen upon him! How,
then, came the doomed victim here? Proscribed, excluded from mercy, the
monarch’s most dreaded and hated foe, this New England merchant had
stood triumphantly against a kingdom’s strength; and his foot now trod
upon humbled royalty as he ascended the steps of the Province House,
the people’s chosen governor of Massachusetts.

“Wretch, wretch that I am!” muttered the old woman, with such a
heart-broken expression that the tears gushed from the stranger’s eyes.
“Have I bidden a traitor welcome? Come, Death! come quickly!”

“Alas, venerable lady!” said Governor Hancock, lending her his support
with all the reverence that a courtier would have shown to a queen.
“Your life has been prolonged until the world has changed around
you. You have treasured up all that time has rendered worthless--the
principles, feelings, manners, modes of being and acting, which another
generation has flung aside--and you are a symbol of the past. And I,
and these around me--we represent a new race of men--living no longer
in the past, scarcely in the present--but projecting our lives forward
into the future. Ceasing to model ourselves on ancestral superstitions,
it is our faith and principle to press onward, onward! Yet,” continued
he, turning to his attendants, “let us reverence, for the last time,
the stately and gorgeous prejudices of the tottering Past!”

While the republican governor spoke he had continued to support the
helpless form of Esther Dudley; her weight grew heavier against his
arm; but at last, with a sudden effort to free herself, the ancient
woman sank down beside one of the pillars of the portal. The key of the
Province House fell from her grasp, and clanked against the stone.

“I have been faithful unto death,” murmured she. “God save the king!”

“She hath done her office!” said Hancock solemnly. “We will follow her
reverently to the tomb of her ancestors; and then, my fellow-citizens,
onward, onward! We are no longer children of the Past!”



  The story of a brave little Quaker girl’s perilous ride. How she
  saved the lives of many hard-pressed patriots, and won praise from
  the lips of General Washington, himself.

The sun was just rising and showering his first rays on the gambrel
roof and solid stone walls of a house surrounded by a magnificent grove
of walnuts, and overlooking one of the beautiful valleys so common
in southeastern Pennsylvania. Close by the house, and shaded by the
same great trees, stood a low building of the most severe type, whose
time-stained bricks and timbers green with moss told its age without
the aid of the half-obliterated inscription over the door, which read,
“Built A. D. 1720.” One familiar with the country would have pronounced
it without hesitation a Quaker meeting-house, dating back almost to the
time of William Penn.

When Ezra Dale had become the leader of the little band of Quakers
which gathered here every First Day, he had built the house under the
walnut trees, and had taken his wife Ann and his little daughter Betty
to live there. That was in 1770, seven years earlier, and before war
had wrought sorrow and desolation throughout the country.

The sun rose higher, and just as his beams touched the broad stone step
in front of the house, the door opened, and Ann Dale, a sweet-faced
woman in the plain Quaker garb, came out, followed by Betty, a little
blue-eyed Quakeress of twelve years, with a gleam of spirit in her face
which ill became her plain dress.

“Betty,” said her mother, as they walked out toward the great horse
block by the roadside, “thee must keep house to-day. Friend Robert
has just sent thy father word that the redcoats have not crossed the
Brandywine since Third Day last, and thy father and I will ride to
Chester to-day, that there may be other than corn-cakes and bacon for
the friends who come to us after monthly meeting. Mind thee keeps near
the house and finishes thy sampler.”

“Yes, mother,” said Betty; “but will thee not come home early? I shall
miss thee sadly.”

Just then Ezra appeared, wearing his collarless Quaker coat, and
leading a horse saddled with a great pillion, into which Ann
laboriously climbed after her husband, and with a final warning and
“farewell” to Betty, clasped him tightly around the waist lest she
should be jolted off as they jogged down the rough and winding lane
into the broad Chester highway.

Friend Ann had many reasons for fearing to leave Betty alone for a
whole day, and she looked back anxiously at her waving “farewell” with
her little bonnet.

It was a troublous time.

The Revolution was at its height, and the British, who had a short time
before disembarked their army near Elkton, Maryland, were now encamped
near White Clay Creek, while Washington occupied the country bordering
on the Brandywine. His force, however, was small compared to the extent
of the country to be guarded, and bands of the British sometimes
crossed the Brandywine and foraged in the fertile counties of Delaware
and Chester. As Betty’s father, although a Quaker and a non-combatant,
was known to be a patriot, he had to suffer the fortunes of war with
his neighbors.

Thus it was with many forebodings that Betty’s mother watched the
slight figure under the spreading branches of a great chestnut, which
seemed to rustle its innumerable leaves as if to promise protection to
the little maid. However, the sun shone brightly, the swallows chirped
as they circled overhead, and nothing seemed farther off than battle
and bloodshed.

Betty skipped merrily into the house, and snatching up some broken
corn-cake left from the morning meal, ran lightly out to the paddock
where Daisy was kept, her own horse, which she had helped to raise from
a colt.

“Come thee here, Daisy,” she said, as she seated herself on the top
rail of the mossy snake fence. “Come thee here, and thee shall have
some of thy mistress’s corn-cake. Ah! I thought thee would like it. Now
go and eat all thee can of this good grass, for if the wicked redcoats
come again, thee will not have another chance, I can tell thee.”

Daisy whinnied and trotted off, while Betty, feeding the few chickens
(sadly reduced in numbers by numerous raids), returned to the house,
and getting her sampler, sat down under a walnut tree to sew on the
stint which her mother had given her.

All was quiet save the chattering of the squirrels overhead and the
drowsy hum of the bees, when from around the curve in the road she
heard a shot; then another nearer, and then a voice shouting commands,
and the thud of hoof-beats farther down the valley. She jumped up with
a startled cry: “The redcoats! The redcoats! Oh, what shall I do!”

Just then the foremost of a scattered band of soldiers, their
buff and blue uniforms and ill-assorted arms showing them to be
Americans, appeared in full flight around the curve in the road, and
springing over the fence, dashed across the pasture straight for the
meeting-house. Through the broad gateway they poured, and forcing open
the door of the meeting-house, rushed within and began to barricade the

Their leader paused while his men passed in, and seeing Betty, came
quickly toward her.

“What do you here, child?” he said hurriedly. “Go quickly, before the
British reach us, and tell your father, that, Quaker or no Quaker,
he shall ride to Washington, on the Brandywine, and tell him that we,
but one hundred men, are besieged by three hundred British cavalry in
Chichester meeting-house, with but little powder left. Tell him to make
all haste to us.”

Turning, he hastened into the meeting-house, now converted into a fort,
and as the doors closed behind him Betty saw a black muzzle protruding
from every window.

With trembling fingers the little maid picked up her sampler, and as
the thud of horses’ hoofs grew louder and louder, she ran fearfully
into the house, locked and bolted the massive door, and then flying up
the broad stairs, she seated herself in a little window overlooking the
meeting-house yard. She had gone into the house none too soon. Up the
road, with their red coats gleaming and their harness jangling, was
sweeping a detachment of British cavalry, never stopping until they
reached the meeting-house--and then it was too late.

A sheet of flame shot out from the wall before them, and half a dozen
troopers fell lifeless to the ground, and half a dozen riderless horses
galloped wildly down the road. The leader shouted a sharp command, and
the whole troop retreated in confusion.

Betty drew back shuddering, and when she brought herself to look again
the troopers had dismounted, had surrounded the meeting-house, and were
pouring volley after volley at its doors and windows. Then for the
first time Betty thought of the officer’s message, and remembered that
the safety of the Americans depended upon her alone, for her father was
away, no neighbor within reach, and without powder she knew they could
not resist long.

Could she save them? All her stern Quaker blood rose at the thought,
and stealing softly to the paddock behind the barn, she saddled Daisy
and led her through the bars into the wood road, which opened into the
highway just around the bend. Could she but pass the pickets without
discovery there would be little danger of pursuit; then there would be
only the long ride of eight miles ahead of her.

Just before the narrow wood road joined the broader highway Betty
mounted Daisy by means of a convenient stump, and starting off at a
gallop, had just turned the corner when a voice shouted “Halt” and a
shot whistled past her head. Betty screamed with terror, and bending
over, brought down her riding whip with all her strength upon Daisy,
then, turning for a moment, saw three troopers hurriedly mounting.

Her heart sank within her, but, beginning to feel the excitement of the
chase, she leaned over and patting Daisy on the neck, encouraged her to
do her best. Onward they sped. Betty, her curly hair streaming in the
wind, the color now mounting to, now retreating from, her cheeks, led
by five hundred yards.

But Daisy had not been used for weeks, and already felt the unusual
strain. Now they thundered over Naaman’s Creek, now over Concord, with
the nearest pursuer only four hundred yards behind; and now they raced
beside the clear waters of Beaver Brook, and as Betty dashed through
its shallow ford, the thud of horses’ hoofs seemed just over her

Betty, at first sure of success, now knew that unless in some way she
could throw her pursuers off her track she was surely lost. Just then
she saw ahead of her a fork in the road, the lower branch leading to
the Brandywine, the upper to the Birmingham Meeting-house. Could she
but get the troopers on the upper road while she took the lower, she
would be safe; and, as if in answer to her wish, there flashed across
her mind the remembrance of the old cross-road which, long disused, and
with its entrance hidden by drooping boughs, led from a point in the
upper road just out of sight of the fork down across the lower, and
through the valley of the Brandywine. Could she gain this road unseen
she still might reach Washington.

Urging Daisy forward, she broke just in time through the dense growth
which hid the entrance, and sat trembling, hidden behind a dense growth
of tangled vines, while she heard the troopers thunder by. Then, riding
through the rustling woods, she came at last into the open, and saw
spread out beneath her the beautiful valley of the Brandywine dotted
with the white tents of the Continental army.

Starting off at a gallop, she dashed around a bend in the road into the
midst of a group of officers riding slowly up from the valley.

“Stop, little maiden, before you run us down,” said one, who seemed to
be in command. “Where are you going in such hot haste?”

“Oh, sir,” said Betty, reining in Daisy, “can thee tell me where I can
find General Washington?”

“Yes, little Quakeress,” said the officer, who had first spoken to her,
“I am he. What do you wish?”

Betty, too exhausted to be surprised, poured forth her story in a few
broken sentences, and (hearing as if in a dream the hasty commands for
the rescue of the soldiers in Chichester Meeting-house) fell forward in
her saddle, and, for the first time in her life, fainted, worn out by
her noble ride.

A few days later, when recovering from the shock of her long and
eventful ride, Betty, waking from a deep sleep, found her mother
kneeling beside her little bed, while her father talked with General
Washington himself beside the fireplace; and it was the proudest and
happiest moment of her life when Washington, coming forward and taking
her by the hand, said, “You are the bravest little maid in America, and
an honor to your country.”

Still the peaceful meeting-house and the gambrel-roofed home stand
unchanged, save that their time-beaten timbers and crumbling bricks
have taken on a more sombre tinge, and under the broad walnut tree
another little Betty sits and sews.

If you ask it, she will take down the great key from its nail, and
swinging back the new doors of the meeting-house, will show you
the old worm-eaten ones inside, which, pierced through and through
with bullet-holes, once served as a rampart against the enemy.
And she will tell you, in the quaint Friends’ language, how her
great-great-grandmother carried, more than a hundred years ago, the
news of the danger of her countrymen to Washington, on the Brandywine,
and at the risk of her own life, saved theirs.




  Two little New Hampshire boys play a part in the patriots’ capture
  of a quantity of King George’s powder, and this very same powder was
  afterward used to fight the redcoats at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Tony sat on a bench in the corner of the great stone fireplace watching
the big logs as they sang and crackled and the flames leaped upward
filling the room with a cheerful glow. Now and then he turned his head
and glanced at a tall woman who was bustling about, getting supper

“Aunt Mercy?”

No answer.

“Aunt Mercy,” he said, a little louder.

But his aunt did not reply. She probably did not hear the boy so
occupied was she with her thoughts. Her usually pleasant face wore an
anxious look and several times Tony fancied from the movements of her
lips that she was speaking to herself.

“Oh, dear!” he thought. “I wonder what it is that has made Aunt Mercy
so sober for the last day or two! She doesn’t answer me when I speak.
She hardly notices Larry and me, and it’s just the same with Uncle
Eben. They whisper together, and some of the neighbors have been here,
and they have all been shut up in a room together, and they all look
so solemn! I only hope that dreadful war isn’t going to come that they
talk about.”

“Tony,” said his aunt, as she took two shining pewter platters from the
dresser and placed them on the table, “have you or Larry come across my
spectacles anywhere?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Well, perhaps I left them at meeting last Sunday. Never mind. I want
you to go up garret and bring me that big bunch of herbs hanging by the
east window.”

Tony glanced toward the kitchen window and was relieved to find it
was still quite light. He was always shy of the old, open garret even
in the daytime. He never liked to play there as well as his brother
Larry and the other boys. The long rows of cloaks and coats and gowns
swinging from their pegs in the dimly lighted space under the rafters
had a look that made him feel as if they might spring out at him as he

And there were certain other things there which helped to increase
Tony’s dread of the garret. There were an old chest in the corner
containing the uniform of Tony’s great uncle who had served as captain
in the early French and Indian wars, and a rusty sword and tomahawk
hanging from a nail in the huge beam overhead. The sword had two or
three suggestive notches in the long blade, and on the wooden handle of
the tomahawk which had once belonged to a ferocious Indian chief were
several suspicious-looking brown stains. Larry liked to handle these
relics, but the mere sight of them always sent shivers creeping down
Tony’s back.

“Make haste, Tony, and bring the herbs before it grows any darker,”
continued his aunt. “I never like to go up garret with a light; it’s
dangerous business. I am worried and nervous, and I want a bowl of hot
herb tea.”

Tony stopped, his thumb on the latch. “What is it that worries you so?”
he asked in his sweet, sympathetic voice.

“A thousand things, child, you wouldn’t understand if I told you--the
dread of what’s coming--the loss of property and friends--life itself
perhaps. But we’ll hope for the best. The king may yet repent and try
to do what is right by us. But we don’t know--we don’t know.”

It was the December of 1774, five months before Lexington, the first
battle of the American Revolution. Throughout the colonies there was
a growing feeling of uneasiness and indignation. The colonists were
too much attached to the mother country to wish for war. Morning and
night they prayed that God would show them some peaceful way out of
the trouble. But the king had taken away so many of their rights and
laid taxes so heavy and unjust upon them that it began to look as if
the only thing to do was to fight him. The people of New Hampshire,
where Larry and Tony lived, were especially excited and alarmed, for
they were so near Boston that they sympathized heartily with that
much-wronged city which seemed to have been singled out as a mark for
special spite.

Tony passed through the cold hall and upstairs, and opening the garret
door stumbled hastily to the top step. As he reached the landing his
heart gave a sudden thump. He fancied he heard a noise. He stood
listening, but there was not a sound. “I guess it was the branches
of the big elm scraping against the roof,” he thought. Mustering his
courage he darted by the row of clothes and was just reaching up for
the herbs when a figure suddenly stepped from behind the chimney.

“Oh!” gasped the frightened boy, stumbling back over the big chest and
bumping his head with a clatter against the dreaded sword and tomahawk.
Larry’s arm raised him to his feet and Larry’s bright face bent over

“Why, Tony! how little it takes to scare you! I was up here and heard
some one coming and thought it one of the men and that I’d have some
fun with him. See!” and Larry took down the rusty tomahawk and gave a
whoop that made the rafters ring, and flourished the old relic in a
way that caused Tony’s curly hair to stand on end. “This isn’t such a
terrible thing, after all--it can’t hurt you.”

He got the herbs for his young brother and as he did so, happened to
look out of the window. “Whew!” he whistled softly, “there are two men
going into the meeting-house. And how queerly they act, looking all
around as if they were afraid some one would see them.”

“Oh, Larry! can’t you run up and see if Aunt Mercy’s spectacles are in
the pew? She thinks she left them there last Sunday.”

“All right! you take the herbs downstairs and I will.”

On his return to the kitchen Tony found that his aunt had left the
room, and he sat down in the chimney corner to wait for supper. In
a few moments the door opened, and Larry stood before him, his eyes
flashing, his cheeks flushed.

“Did you get the spectacles, Larry?”

“Spectacles! I haven’t even thought of them. Listen, Tony! I have
a secret--a _great_ secret. After I left you I hurried up to the
meeting-house and as I stepped inside the entry I thought I heard a
queer noise, as if some one were digging. So I opened the door softly
and peeped in--and there--_as sure as you are alive, I saw two men
digging a great, deep hole under the pulpit_. They were talking so low
I couldn’t hear more than half they said. But I made out that uncle and
Captain Sullivan and some others are going to meet there to-night and
go off in boats on some wonderful expedition. And, Tony, I am going
to find out what it is. We’ll go to our room as usual after supper,
but instead of going to bed, we’ll creep downstairs and go up to the
meeting-house and hide inside, and wait there.”

“But will it be right to listen, Larry?” asked Tony gravely. “You know
Aunt Mercy says ‘Eavesdroppers hear no good of themselves.’”

“But this isn’t eavesdropping, Tony. Listening is a mean trick. But
this is different. Uncle is going into danger of some sort and I
_ought_ to learn what it is. I can’t believe _that_ is wrong.”

Tony finally consented, thinking he would rather watch with Larry in
the church than stay in his room at home alone in the dark.

When Aunt Mercy returned, she filled the big iron pot with water, hung
it on the crane and swung it over the blazing logs. “We are going to
have pudding and milk for supper,” she said, “and we won’t wait for
your uncle; he’s away, and may not be back until late into the night.”

At these words Larry glanced significantly at Tony and gave a wise
little nod.

       *       *       *       *       *

With the going down of the sun the cold rapidly increased. The night
was clear and frosty. In front of the little wooden meeting-house on
Durham Hill stood the two brothers shivering with cold and excitement.
“Whew!” exclaimed Larry, pulling his cap down over his ears, “it’s a
sharp night, Tony. Come farther this way; the meeting-house will keep
off the wind.”

“Shall we have to wait long, Larry?” asked Tony.

Larry glanced at the moon just rising above the treetops. “I think it’s
past the time now. Oh, I wonder what it is they are going to do.”

“P’raps they are going to cross the ocean and take the king prisoner. I
don’t think he treats us very well nowadays,” said Tony plaintively.

Larry laughed. “I guess they won’t go quite as far as that. Oh, Tony!
if I were a man, they would take me. It’s so provoking to be only a
boy. I’m just big enough to want to be of some use, but not old enough
to be trusted.” He drew Tony back in the shelter of the church and
waited with his eyes fixed on the flowing Piscataqua which swept around
the base of the hill on which they stood, and at the next turn widened
into the broad expanse known as “The Great Bay.”

It was upon the banks of this river that some of the bloodiest scenes
of the early Indian wars had been enacted. Again and again had its
shores resounded with warwhoops as the red men under cover of night
rowed their canoes up to the infant settlements of New Hampshire and
spared neither man, woman, nor child in the slaughter which followed.
Across the river, in full view of the meeting-house, was a log fort
known as the “Old Block House” which had served on many occasions as
a refuge for the early settlers and enabled them to keep their savage
foes at bay.

“It’s cold--and--lonesome out here,” said Tony with a shiver, glancing
involuntarily at the “Block House.”

“You don’t mean to say you’re afraid of the Block House, Tony! Why, you
are always glad of a chance to play there, afternoons.”

“Yes--but that was in the daytime. Out here in the dark I don’t like to
think of the people who have been killed there.”

“Tony! If we come to blows with England you won’t make a very good
soldier. Now I’d like no better fun than to be in the Block House with
a lot of screeching Indians outside. But we mustn’t talk so loud--and
remember--if we hear the least noise we are to scamper into the
meeting-house and hide.”

The moon climbed higher and higher in the heavens, and soon there came
to the ears of the watchers by the church the plash of oars. Larry bent
forward, and his keen eyes detected a small black speck on the surface
of the river. At the same time the sound of rapid footsteps was heard,
and the two boys hastily entered the church and stumbling through the
dark entry felt their way along the aisle and crouched down in one of
the pews.

Meantime, a man closely wrapped in a military cloak had taken their
place in front of the church and stood looking out on the water. He,
too, saw the dark object. Raising his fingers to his lips he gave a
shrill whistle, which was promptly answered from the river, and in a
short time eleven men, armed with muskets, came creeping stealthily up
the hill, single file.

“We are late, Captain Sullivan,” called out a gay voice, “but His
Majesty has several devoted subjects hereabouts, and we did not dare
venture within range of their prying eyes until after dark.”

“Peace, Scammel, or that merry voice of yours will be starting some
of these same good folks from their firesides,” returned Sullivan.
“My trusty men!” there was a triumphant ring in his voice as he
greeted them each by name--“Captain Winborn Adams, Eleazer Bennett,
Ebenezer Thompson, John Demeritt, Alpheus Chesley, Jonathan Chesley,
John Spenser, Micah Davis, Isaac Small, Benjamin Small, Alexander
Scammel--thank God! not one of you is missing. And now, is everything
ready yonder?” He pointed to the church.

“See for yourself, Captain,” answered one of the men; and opening the
door he paused to light a lantern which stood in the little entry.
The eleven men followed him, their heavy boots clattering on the bare
floor--down the aisle, to the pulpit. Here he stopped, and held the
lantern high above his head. By the dim light they saw the deep pit,
the loosened boards, and the pile of earth standing ready for filling
in again.

“’Tis well planned,” said the Captain, nodding approvingly. “It is the
last place the British will think of searching for their lost powder.
When Paul Revere came riding in hot haste into Portsmouth town last
night, bearing despatches from the Massachusetts Committee of Safety
saying the king had ordered the seizure of all the powder and arms
in the provinces, and that two of Gage’s regiments were on their way
to garrison Portsmouth and Fort William and Mary here in Piscataqua
harbor, I made up my mind that what was done must be done quickly. For
if England forces us to fight--and it looks that way now--’twere well
to have something to fight with.”

“In good sooth, Captain Sullivan,” returned Scammel, “we should have to
fight with the butt-end of our muskets, for powder and bullets are as
scarce as roses at Christmas.”

Sullivan continued: “I made up my mind that if I could get a few
trusty men to join me I would make a dash for the fort on my own
responsibility, for the possession of that powder means _everything_
to us. But I do not want one of you to stir a foot unless you have
counted the cost. This is a deliberate assault on a royal fortress, and
it exposes every one of us to the penalty for high treason. If any man
shrinks, let him turn back now before it is too late.”

“We have counted the cost,” answered John Demeritt, “and we are ready.”

“Follow me, then,” cried Sullivan, “and may God speed the right!”

At that instant Tony, who was doubled up under the seat like a
jackknife, had a cramp in his leg, and in trying to move his foot hit a
wooden stool--and over it went with a loud crash, causing the utmost
confusion. The men began searching the church while Larry’s uncle
rushed around shouting savagely: “A spy! A spy! Seize him! Take him,
dead or alive!”

“It’s only us--Larry and me,” piped Tony, frightened almost out of his
wits by his uncle’s fury. “We wanted to find out what was going on. And
won’t you please take Larry with you? He is so brave and wants to fight
so much.”

“Go home, boys, and to bed, both of you!” ordered Larry’s uncle. “I’ll
settle with you for this to-morrow. Do not look so disturbed, Captain
Sullivan--I’ll answer for their secrecy.”

“Oh, uncle! Oh, Captain Sullivan!” begged Larry in an eager, excited
tone, “do let me go. I know I can help in some way. I want to be of
some use, and I’m not afraid any more than you are.”

Sullivan was touched by the boy’s earnestness. “We cannot take you,
my boy. It would not be prudent--but you can help if you really wish
it--there _is_ a way.” He turned and whispered with some of the men.
“We may need a pair of oxen to cart the powder. We ought not to bury it
all in one place.”

“If the lad will have the oxen and some straw ready for us in yonder
barn, I’ll cart the powder wherever you say,” said John Demeritt. “I’ll
bury it in my own cellar if you can think of no better place.”

Sullivan noted the disappointment in Larry’s answer. “We are trusting
much to you, my boy,” he said gravely; “and remember, Larry, if you
want to be a soldier you must first learn to _obey_. Now go take your
little brother home, and then have the team ready for us by the time
yonder bright star reaches that line of woods by the Block House.”

When the boys left, the men quickened their pace almost to a run
in order to keep up with the Captain as he strode down-hill to the

“Gondola” was the name given by the colonists to the broad,
flat-bottomed scows used on the Piscataqua in the transportation of
stone and other heavy material.

The members of the little party quietly took the places assigned them,
and the scow swung off into the middle of the river and moved slowly
down-stream. The only sounds to be heard were the moaning of the wind
through the bare forests and the measured dip of oars. The trip was
made for the most part in silence, the men bending eagerly over the
oars too much engrossed with their thoughts to indulge in idle chat. As
the scow approached Portsmouth and the lights of the town glimmered in
the distance, Sullivan ordered the men to row slowly.

“If discovered now,” said he, “all is lost.”

In a few moments they rounded a little headland and found awaiting them
in the cove beyond two gondolas and a small boat containing in all some
eighteen men. These were under the leadership of Captain Pickering.

“Let us be off!” exclaimed Sullivan impatiently. “We must cross
Portsmouth harbor before the moon shows her face again.”

They pulled out into the middle of the stream in the momentary
darkness, and by the time the clouds had drifted away from the moon the
little fleet was within a rod of the island on which stood Fort William
and Mary. All was dark and still within, and the only sound outside
was the wash of the waves on the narrow beach. After a whispered
consultation the men disembarked at a signal from Sullivan. Wading
through the icy water they arranged themselves in line at the rear of
the fort, while Pickering with three others crept cautiously in the
shadow of the wall and disappeared behind one of the bastions. In a
moment more a sentinel’s challenge rang out sharp and clear: “Who goes
there? Stand, and give the countersign!”

Pickering seized the soldier’s gun and grasped him by the throat. “Not
a word more or you are a dead man,” he whispered.

The men then made their way to the commandant’s room. He looked up as
Sullivan and Pickering entered, but his smile of recognition changed to
a blank stare as the former said with much agitation: “Captain Cochran,
you are our prisoner. Your little garrison has surrendered. You had
better follow its example!”

Cochran glanced at the resolute faces of his captors, then tendered his
sword. He was left in charge of two of the men while the rest of the
party proceeded to break open the magazine. In the course of an hour
and a half the powder was safe in the gondolas and the little band
left the fort and began the hard task of rowing up-stream. Absolute
silence was maintained, and when they finally landed at the foot of
meeting-house hill and found Larry with the oxen awaiting them, they
took off their heavy, nailed shoes lest a spark from them should set
fire to the powder.

By dawn Larry was back in his room telling the wonderful story to Tony.
One half of the king’s powder was buried deep beneath the pulpit of the
meeting-house, and John Demeritt, with the other half snugly hidden
under a load of straw, was on the road to Madbury driving along his
oxen as unconcernedly as if nothing had happened.

The next day Governor Wentworth issued a proclamation, declaring all
those who took part in the capture of Fort William and Mary guilty of
high treason. Four months later the news from Lexington and Concord
spread from the White Hills of New Hampshire to the pine forests of the
Carolinas arousing the people to a renewed determination to defend with
their lives--their rights and liberties.

Major Sullivan, accompanied by his faithful little band, started at
once for the scene of action. Indeed the New Hampshire troops were
among the earliest at the front, for Bancroft tells us “the ferries on
the Merrimack were crowded with the men of New Hampshire,” and that
“they finally paraded on Cambridge Common having _run_ rather than
walked the entire distance.”

Captain John Demeritt, after reserving a portion of the powder for the
use of his own company, brought out the remainder from his cellar and
once more concealing it beneath a load of straw carted it with his ox
team all the way to the headquarters of the American Army at Cambridge.
He arrived in time to have it sent out to the troops at Bunker
Hill, and a local historian tells us that it was stated on the best
authority, that had not the powder arrived at so opportune a moment the
fate of the day would have been far different. It was with this powder
that the New Hampshire troops with two regiments from Connecticut
guarded the flank at Bunker Hill, twice driving back the British. And
it was with the same powder that they held the enemy at bay until
Prescott’s little band had left the redoubt and then they retreated in
good order through a galling fire.



  “Don’t fire till you see the whites of their eyes” were the orders of
  “Old Put” to the Yankee farmers who first taught the enemy that they
  could and would stand and fight British regulars.

The sound of drum and trumpet, the clatter of hoofs, the rattling of
gun-carriages, and all the other military din and bustle in the streets
of Boston, soon apprised the Americans on their rudely fortified
height of an impending attack. They were ill-fitted to withstand
it, being jaded by the night’s labor and want of sleep; hungry and
thirsty, having brought but scanty supplies, and oppressed by the
heat of the weather. Prescott sent repeated messages to General Ward,
asking reinforcements and provisions. Putnam seconded the request in
person, urging the exigencies of the case. Ward hesitated. He feared
to weaken his main body at Cambridge, as his military stores were
deposited there, and it might have to sustain the principal attack. At
length, having taken advice of the council of safety, he issued orders
for Colonels Stark and Read, then at Medford, to march to the relief
of Prescott with their New Hampshire regiments. The orders reached
Medford about eleven o’clock. Ammunition was distributed in all haste;
two flints, a gill of powder, and fifteen balls to each man. The balls
had to be suited to the different calibres of the guns; the powder to
be carried in powder-horns, or loose in the pocket, for there were
no cartridges prepared. It was the rude turn-out of yeoman soldiery
destitute of regular accoutrements.

In the meanwhile, the Americans on Breed’s Hill were sustaining the
fire from the ships, and from the battery on Copp’s Hill, which opened
upon them about ten o’clock. They returned an occasional shot from one
corner of the redoubt, without much harm to the enemy, and continued
strengthening their position until about eleven o’clock, when they
ceased to work, piled their intrenching tools in the rear, and looked
out anxiously and impatiently for the anticipated reinforcements and

About this time General Putnam, who had been to headquarters, arrived
at the redoubt on horseback. Some words passed between him and Prescott
with regard to the intrenching tools, which have been variously
reported. The most probable version is, that he urged to have them
taken from their present place, where they might fall into the hands of
the enemy, and carried to Bunker’s Hill, to be employed in throwing up
a redoubt, which was part of the original plan, and which would be very
important should the troops be obliged to retreat from Breed’s Hill.
To this Prescott demurred that those employed to convey them, and
who were already jaded with toil, might not return to his redoubt. A
large part of the tools were ultimately carried to Bunker’s Hill, and a
breastwork commenced by order of General Putnam. The importance of such
a work was afterward made apparent.

About noon the Americans descried twenty-eight barges crossing from
Boston in parallel lines. They contained a large detachment of
grenadiers, rangers, and light infantry, admirably equipped, and
commanded by Major-general Howe. They made a splendid and formidable
appearance with their scarlet uniforms, and the sun flashing upon
muskets and bayonets, and brass fieldpieces. A heavy fire from the
ships and batteries covered their advance, but no attempt was made to
oppose them, and they landed about one o’clock at Moulton’s Point, a
little to the north of Breed’s Hill.

Here General Howe made a pause. On reconnoitering the works from
this point, the Americans appeared to be much more strongly posted
than he had imagined. He descried troops also hastening to their
assistance. These were the New Hampshire troops, led on by Stark.
Howe immediately sent over to General Gage for more forces, and a
supply of cannon-balls; those brought by him being found, through
some egregious oversight, too large for the ordnance. While awaiting
their arrival, refreshments were served out to the troops, with “grog”
by the bucketful; and tantalizing it was, to the hungry and thirsty
provincials, to look down from their ramparts of earth, and see their
invaders seated in groups upon the grass eating and drinking, and
preparing themselves by a hearty meal for the coming encounter. Their
only consolation was to take advantage of the delay, while the enemy
were carousing, to strengthen their position. The breastwork on the
left of the redoubt extended to what was called the Slough, but beyond
this, the ridge of the hill, and the slope toward Mystic River, were
undefended, leaving a pass by which the enemy might turn the left flank
of the position and seize upon Bunker’s Hill. Putnam ordered his chosen
officer, Captain Knowlton, to cover this pass with the Connecticut
troops under his command. A novel kind of rampart, savoring of rural
device, was suggested by the rustic general. About six hundred feet in
the rear of the redoubt, and about one hundred feet to the left of the
breastwork, was a post-and-rail fence, set in a low footwall of stone,
and extending down to Mystic River. The posts and rails of another
fence were hastily pulled up and set a few feet in behind this, and the
intermediate space was filled up with new-mown hay from the adjacent
meadows. This double fence, it will be found, proved an important
protection to the redoubt, although there still remained an unprotected
interval of about seven hundred feet.

While Knowlton and his men were putting up this fence, Putnam proceeded
with other of his troops to throw up the work on Bunker’s Hill,
despatching his son, Captain Putnam, on horseback, to hurry up the
remainder of his men from Cambridge. By this time his compeer in French
and Indian warfare, the veteran Stark, made his appearance with the
New Hampshire troops, five hundred strong. He had grown cool and wary
with age, and his march from Medford, a distance of five or six miles,
had been in character. He led his men at a moderate pace, to bring
them into action fresh and vigorous. In crossing the Neck, which was
enfiladed by the enemy’s ships and batteries, Captain Dearborn, who was
by his side, suggested a quick step. The veteran shook his head: “One
fresh man in action is worth ten tired ones,” replied he, and marched
steadily on.

Putnam detained some of Stark’s men to aid in throwing up the work on
Bunker’s Hill, and directed him to reinforce Knowlton with the rest.
Stark made a short speech to his men, now that they were likely to have
warm work. He then pushed on, and did good service that day at the
rustic bulwark.

About two o’clock Warren arrived on the heights, ready to engage in
their perilous defence, although he had opposed the scheme of their
occupation. He had recently been elected a major-general, but had not
received his commission; like Pomeroy, he came to serve in the ranks
with a musket on his shoulder. Putnam offered him the command at the
fence; he declined it, and merely asked where he could be of most
service as a volunteer. Putnam pointed to the redoubt, observing that
there he would be under cover. “Don’t think I seek a place of safety,”
replied Warren quickly; “where will the attack be the hottest?” Putnam
still pointed to the redoubt. “That is the enemy’s object; if that can
be maintained, the day is ours.”

Warren was cheered by the troops as he entered the redoubt. Colonel
Prescott tendered him the command. He again declined. “I have come to
serve only as a volunteer, and shall be happy to learn from a soldier
of your experience.” Such were the noble spirits assembled on these
perilous heights.

The British now prepared for a general assault. An easy victory was
anticipated; the main thought was, how to make it most effectual.
The left wing, commanded by General Pigot, was to mount the hill and
force the redoubt; while General Howe, with the right wing, was to
push on between the fort and Mystic River, turn the left flank of the
Americans, and cut off their retreat.

General Pigot, accordingly, advanced up the hill under cover of a fire
from fieldpieces and howitzers planted on a small height near the
landing-place on Moulton’s Point. His troops commenced a discharge of
musketry while yet at a long distance from the redoubts. The Americans
within the works, obedient to strict command, retained their fire
until the enemy were within thirty or forty paces, when they opened
upon them with a tremendous volley. Being all marksmen, accustomed to
take deliberate aim, the slaughter was immense, and especially fatal
to officers. The assailants fell back in some confusion; but rallied
on by their officers, advanced within pistol shot. Another volley,
more effective than the first, made them again recoil. To add to their
confusion, they were galled by a flanking fire from the handful of
provincials posted in Charlestown. Shocked at the carnage, and seeing
the confusion of his troops, General Pigot was urged to give the word
for a retreat.

In the meantime, General Howe, with the right wing, advanced along
Mystic River toward the fence where Stark, Read, and Knowlton were
stationed, thinking to carry this slight breastwork with ease, and so
get in the rear of the fortress. His artillery proved of little avail,
being stopped by a swampy piece of ground, while his columns suffered
from two or three fieldpieces with which Putnam had fortified the
fence. Howe’s men kept up a fire of musketry as they advanced; but,
not taking aim, their shots passed over the heads of the Americans.
The latter had received the same orders with those in the redoubt,
not to fire until the enemy should be within thirty paces. Some few
transgressed the command. Putnam rode up and swore he would cut down
the next man that fired contrary to orders. When the British arrived
within the stated distance a sheeted fire opened upon them from rifles,
muskets, and fowling-pieces, all leveled with deadly aim. The carnage,
as in the other instance, was horrible. The British were thrown into
confusion and fell back; some even retreated to the boats.

There was a general pause on the part of the British. The American
officers availed themselves of it to prepare for another attack, which
must soon be made. Prescott mingled among his men in the redoubt,
who were all in high spirits at the severe check they had given “the
regulars.” He praised them for their steadfastness in maintaining their
post, and their good conduct in reserving their fire until the word of
command, and exhorted them to do the same in the next attack.

Putnam rode about Bunker’s Hill and its skirts, to rally and bring
on reinforcements which had been checked or scattered in crossing
Charlestown Neck by the raking fire from the ships and batteries.
Before many could be brought to the scene of action the British had
commenced their second attack. They again ascended the hill to storm
the redoubt; their advance was covered as before by discharges of
artillery. Charlestown, which had annoyed them on their first attack
by a flanking fire, was in flames, by shells thrown from Copp’s Hill,
and by marines from the ships. Being built of wood, the place was soon
wrapped in a general conflagration. The thunder of artillery from
batteries and ships; the bursting of bomb-shells; the sharp discharges
of musketry; the shouts and yells of the combatants; the crash of
burning buildings, and the dense volumes of smoke, which obscured
the summer sun, all formed a tremendous spectacle. “Sure I am,” said
Burgoyne in one of his letters--“Sure I am nothing ever has or ever
can be more dreadfully terrible than what was to be seen or heard at
this time. The most incessant discharge of guns that ever was heard by
mortal ears.”

The American troops, although unused to war, stood undismayed amidst a
scene where it was bursting upon them with all its horrors. Reserving
their fire, as before, until the enemy was close at hand, they again
poured forth repeated volleys with the fatal aim of sharpshooters.
The British stood the first shock, and continued to advance; but the
incessant stream of fire staggered them. Their officers remonstrated,
threatened, and even attempted to goad them on with their swords, but
the havoc was too deadly; whole ranks were mowed down; many of the
officers were either slain or wounded, and among them several of the
staff of General Howe. The troops again gave way and retreated down the

All this passed under the eye of thousands of spectators of both sexes
and all ages, watching from afar every turn of a battle in which the
lives of those most dear to them were at hazard. The British soldiery
in Boston gazed with astonishment and almost incredulity at the
resolute and protracted stand of raw militia whom they had been taught
to despise, and at the havoc made among their own veteran troops.
Every convoy of wounded brought over to the town increased their
consternation; and General Clinton, who had watched the action from
Copp’s Hill, embarking in a boat, hurried over as a volunteer, taking
with him reinforcements.

A third attack was now determined on, though some of Howe’s officers
remonstrated, declaring it would be downright butchery. A different
plan was adopted. Instead of advancing in front of the redoubt, it was
to be taken in flank on the left, where the open space between the
breastwork and the fortified fence presented a weak point. It having
been accidentally discovered that the ammunition of the Americans was
nearly expended, preparations were made to carry the works at the point
of the bayonet; and the soldiery threw off their knapsacks, and some
even their coats, to be more light for action.

General Howe, with the main body, now made a feint of attacking the
fortified fence; but, while a part of his force was thus engaged, the
rest brought some of the fieldpieces to enfilade the breastwork on the
left of the redoubt. A raking fire soon drove the Americans out of this
exposed place into the enclosure. Much damage, too, was done in the
latter by balls which entered the sally-port.

The troops were now led on to assail the works; those who flinched
were, as before, goaded on by the swords of the officers. The Americans
again reserved their fire until their assailants were close at hand,
and then made a murderous volley, by which several officers were laid
low, and General Howe himself was wounded in the foot. The British
soldiery this time likewise reserved their fire and rushed on with
fixed bayonet. Clinton and Pigot had reached the southern and eastern
sides of the redoubt, and it was now assailed on three sides at once.
Prescott ordered those who had no bayonets to retire to the back part
of the redoubt and fire on the enemy as they showed themselves above
the parapet. The first who mounted exclaimed in triumph, “The day is
ours!” He was instantly shot down, and so were several others who
mounted at the same time. The Americans, however, had fired their last
round, their ammunition was exhausted; and now succeeded a desperate
and deadly struggle, hand to hand, with bayonets, stones, and the
stocks of their muskets. At length, as the British continued to pour
in, Prescott gave the order to retreat. His men had to cut their way
through two divisions of the enemy who were getting in rear of the
redoubt, and they received a destructive volley from those who had
formed on the captured works. By that volley fell the patriot Warren,
who had distinguished himself throughout the action. He was among the
last to leave the redoubt, and had scarce done so when he was shot
through the head with a musket-ball, and fell dead on the spot.

While the Americans were thus slowly dislodged from the redoubt, Stark,
Read, and Knowlton maintained their ground at the fortified fence;
which, indeed, had been nobly defended throughout the action. Pomeroy
distinguished himself here by his sharp-shooting until his musket was
shattered by a ball. The resistance at this hastily constructed work
was kept up after the troops in the redoubt had given way, and until
Colonel Prescott had left the hill; thus defeating General Howe’s
design of cutting off the retreat of the main body, which would have
produced a scene of direful confusion and slaughter. Having effected
their purpose, the brave associates at the fence abandoned their weak
outpost, retiring slowly, and disputing the ground inch by inch, with a
regularity remarkable in troops many of whom had never before been in

The main retreat was across Bunker’s Hill, where Putnam had endeavored
to throw up a breastwork. The veteran, sword in hand, rode to the rear
of the retreating troops, regardless of the balls whistling about him.
His only thought was to rally them at the unfinished works. “Halt! make
a stand here!” cried he, “we can check them yet. In God’s name form and
give them one shot more.”

Pomeroy, wielding his shattered musket as a truncheon, seconded him in
his efforts to stay the torrent. It was impossible, however, to bring
the troops to a stand. They continued on down the hill to the Neck,
and across it to Cambridge, exposed to a raking fire from the ships
and batteries, and only protected by a single piece of ordnance. The
British were too exhausted to pursue them; they contented themselves
with taking possession of Bunker’s Hill, were reinforced from Boston,
and threw up additional works during the night.



  How a certain little girl prepared for General Washington the “best
  breakfast he had had in a month.”

Long, long ago, when my mother was a little girl, there lived in her
neighborhood an old lady whom all the children called “Aunt Prissy.”

She was a quaint, funny little old lady, with her bobbing white curls,
and always wore a small black lace cap, a black silk gown, a soft white
kerchief, and fringed silk apron.

The children loved to pay a visit to Aunt Prissy. After they were all
carefully seated, each child with a small seed-cake, the eager little
faces would turn toward her, and one of the children would say, “Now,
Aunt Prissy, we won’t drop crumbs on the floor, and we are sitting up
straight, and we haven’t got our knees crossed, so won’t you please
tell us about the time you saw General Washington with your own eyes?”

Aunt Prissy would count the stitches in her knitting, look up over her
“specs,” and begin, “Well, well, children, it does seem to me you ought
to know _that_ story by heart. But never mind; I s’pose you know which
you like best.

“Now let me see. It must have been in ’81, and I was nine years old,
that our folks went to Salisbury to see General Washington.

“I had been in disgrace for a whole day, and for punishment it was
decided that I must stay at home.

“My poor little heart almost broke, and I cried and made myself
altogether disagreeable while the great lunch-baskets were being
strapped behind the carriage, the huge bunches of roses to hurl at
the general wrapped in wet cotton, and the family bundled into the

“After they had gone I wandered disconsolately about house and garden.
As I was swinging on the gate and wondering what I would do next, I
heard a great clatter of horses’ feet up the road, and in a few minutes
a party of men in uniform came in sight. I had seen enough soldiers to
know that these were Continental officers, so I was not frightened, but
waited until they came up.

“A tall man on a white horse, with a cocked hat and plain uniform, rode
forward, and with the kindest smile in the world, asked, ‘My little
girl, can you give us a cup of coffee?’

“Now I was very proud of being able to make coffee and batter-cakes, so
I said I would try. The gentlemen rode into the yard, their servants
came forward to take the horses, and I showed the party into the
house. Mammy Dilsie had gone to the quarters on an errand, so I had
things my own way.

“A fire was blazing in the huge kitchen fireplace. We didn’t have
cooking-stoves in those days, but did our baking in great round iron
ovens, with lids to heap coals on, and our boiling in pots swung
over the coals on cranes. I raked out a nice bed of coals, filled
the big coffee-pot, and soon had it simmering, then put the pan for
the batter-cakes on to heat, made them up, had them nicely browned
in a trice, set out a cold ham, and then invited the gentlemen in to

“They came, laughing and talking, said the coffee was the best they
had ever tasted, the cakes delicious. I poured the coffee, and the
gentlemen laughed and joked me, and one of them asked how I happened to
be at home all alone.

“My eyes filled with tears and I could hardly speak, but managed
to tell him that everybody had gone to Salisbury to see General
Washington; and that I wanted to see him worst of all because in the
picture of him in my red book one of his eyes was blue and the other
brown, and I wanted to see if it was really true. The officers all
laughed at this, but the leader raised his hand, and they did not say

“‘But why did you not go, little maid?’ he asked.

“Then I hung my head, but at last blurted out, ‘Because I tried to bury
John’s ten little biddies in the sand.’

“The men roared again at this; but the tall one said, ‘Did you not
know that it was very wrong to hurt the little chicks?’

“I began to cry then, but the kind officer took me on his knee and
kissed me.

“‘And now, my little maid,’ he said, ‘you may tell your mother that you
did see General Washington and gave him the best breakfast he has had
in a month. And you see, his eyes are neither brown nor blue, but gray.’

“And I looked into his kind face and saw that the red book was not even
half right. Then Mammy Dilsie came in and courtesied to the floor when
I told her who it was.

“The gentlemen patted me on the head, General Washington kissed me
again, and they rode away.”



Ten years and more before the Declaration of Independence there was
great excitement in the Colonies over the new Stamp Act. Patrick Henry,
a young member of the General Assembly of Virginia, had the temerity to
offer a resolution which declared that in the General Assembly lay the
sole right and power to lay taxes upon the Colony. An excited debate
followed this resolution, in the course of which Patrick Henry arose
and addressed the assembly. His speech closed with the words which have
made him famous: _Cæsar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell,
and George the Third_--The hall rang with cries of _Treason! Treason!_
The patriot orator paused for an impressive moment, and then continued
calmly;--_may profit by their example. If this be treason make the most
of it!_

(His resolution was carried.)

A decade passed before the actual outbreak of the War in New England
inspired Patrick Henry to the oration which concluded thus: _It is
in vain, Sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry peace,
peace--but there is no peace. The war has actually begun! The next
gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of
resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we
here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is
life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of
chains or slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course
others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!_


Very early on the morning of April 19, 1775, Paul Revere, by his famous
ride, had warned the men of Lexington of the coming of the redcoats.
About half-past four the patriots’ drum beat to arms and the minute-men
came hurrying from all directions, to receive the instructions of their
stalwart Captain, John Parker. His orders were: _Stand your ground,
don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it
begin here._ Then came Major Pitcairn’s insolent order, _Disperse,
ye rebels, disperse!_ Actually, the first trigger was pulled by a
hot-headed young American. His gun, however, failed to go off. A
British soldier then discharged his piece--and the War began.


Dr. Joseph Warren, who was slain at Bunker Hill, when urged by Elbridge
Gerry not to go into the fight, replied quietly, and we know sincerely:
_Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori_ (To die for one’s country is
both agreeable and fitting). He had that very day been appointed a
Major-General by Congress, but had not yet received his Commission.
When he presented himself before Colonel Prescott, the latter naturally
tendered him the command. But Warren replied with the modesty which so
often characterizes the bravest of men, _I come as a volunteer with my
musket to serve under you_.

When the British General Gage heard of Warren’s death he is said to
have remarked, _It is well; that one man was equal to five hundred
ordinary soldiers_. It was probably General Israel Putnam--“Old
Put”--commanding at the rail fence at Bunker Hill, who gave the famous
order, _Don’t fire until you can see the whites of their eyes_. This
was because the patriots’ powder was so pitifully short. Colonel
Prescott’s injunction was, _Don’t waste a grain; make every shot tell_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Washington was journeying to New England to take command of the army
when the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought. On hearing of it he inquired
anxiously, _Did they stand the fire of the regulars?_ _That they did_,
was the response, and _held their own fire in reserve until the enemy
was within eight rods_. _Then_, said Washington, _the liberties of the
country are safe_.

The Bunker Hill Monument, it will be remembered, inspired one of Daniel
Webster’s greatest orations. This is its peroration: _When honored and
decrepit age shall lean against the base of this monument, and troops
of vigorous youths shall be gathered around it, and when the one shall
speak to the other of its objects, the purposes of its construction,
and the great and glorious events with which it was connected--then
shall come from every youthful breast the ejaculation--Thank God!--I
also--am an American!_


After Washington’s retreat, following the battle of Long Island, he was
most anxious to discover the intentions of the British in New York.
Nathan Hale, a young Captain from Connecticut--he had formerly been a
schoolmaster--volunteered to try and secure this information. He was
detected, arrested, and summarily condemned by the British, however,
and as he stood under the fatal noose awaiting the ignominious death of
a spy, the brutal British officer, Cunningham, who was in charge of the
execution shouted at him, _Give us your dying speech, you young rebel._
And Hale replied in a calm, clear voice, _I only regret that I have but
one life to lose for my country_.


Young people sometimes forget that the patriots’ cause had many friends
among the wiser statesmen of England. William Pitt was brave enough to
say: _We are told that the Americans are obstinate, that they are in
almost open rebellion against us. I rejoice that America has resisted.
I rejoice that they are not so dead to all feelings of liberty as to be
willing to submit like slaves!_


The winter at Valley Forge was a time of bitter discouragement for
Washington and his cause. Tradition has preserved a touching picture of
the great man in his lonely hour of trial.

A Quaker farmer, Isaac Potts, one day returned home joyful and
confident in the ultimate success of the Americans: _George Washington
will succeed! George Washington will succeed!_ he told his wife. _What
makes thee think so, Isaac?_ was her reply. _I have heard him pray,
Hannah, alone out in the woods to-day. The Generals horse was tied
to a sapling in a thicket. He himself was on his knees, praying most
fervently. The Lord will surely hear his prayer. He will, Hannah; thee
may rest assured, he will._

       *       *       *       *       *

Washington’s soldiers were often exasperated by the pettiness and
tedious delays of Congress. On one occasion a group of them proposed
to improve matters by making their leader King. His downright reply to
the man who finally summoned sufficient courage to broach the matter
to him is too little known: _I am at a loss to conceive what part of
my conduct could have given encouragement to an address which seems to
me big with the greatest mischief that can befall any country.... Let
me conjure you, if you have any regard for your country, concern for
yourself or posterity, or respect for me, to banish these thoughts from
your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself or any one else, a
sentiment of the like nature!_


When Ethan Allen, the Green Mountain Boy, broke into Fort Ticonderoga
at the head of a handful of followers and demanded its surrender, its
bewildered and still sleepy Commandant began to stutter out a very
natural inquiry as to the authority in whose name Allen acted. History
has recorded Allen’s grandiloquent reply: _In the name of the Great
Jehovah and the Continental Congress!_ (But certain old Vermonters will
have it that his actual words were, _Here, come out of that, you old
rascal and give us the fort, quick, or we’ll smoke you out like rats!_)


Mad Anthony Wayne was wounded in the head by a musket-ball during
his famous assault on Stony Point. He fell to the ground with blood
streaming over his face, and for a moment supposed himself to be
mortally wounded. His order to his aids was eminently characteristic,
_Carry me into the fort and let me die at the head of the column_.


It was before the Battle of Bennington, fought and won in defiance of
the orders of the too cautious Congress, that bold John Stark uttered
his famous invocation to his men: _There they are, boys_, he shouted,
waving his sword toward the enemy; _we’ll get ’em, or to-night Molly
Stark’ll be a widow_.


A pitiful story is told of the death in London, twenty years after the
War, of Benedict Arnold, the traitor. His last request was for the old
epaulettes and sword-knot given him by Washington. _Let me die_, said
he, _in the old American uniform, in which I fought my battles. God
forgive me for ever having put on any other!_


It is well to remember, in these days, that George Washington was in
reality an Englishman who fought a German king whom chance had seated
on the throne of England. And it is well to recall also that George the
Third, though obstinate and wrong-headed enough, gave in at last with
a better grace than might have been expected. To John Adams, our first
minister to England, he said: _Sir, I will be very free with you. I was
the last to consent to the separation, but the separation having been
made ... I have always said and I say now, that I would be the first to
meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power._



  John Holden was lost. His mother’s faith that God would take care of
  her boy was rewarded, however, when it was discovered that John with
  his little fife was helping to drill the soldiers in Washington’s

More than a hundred years ago there lived, in the town of Shirley,
Mass., a bright, well-grown lad named John Holden. His father was a
farmer, and the little fellow trudged about the farm, clad in home-spun
and home-made clothing, feeding calves, driving cows, and doing
whatever his hands found to do “with all his might.”

One Saturday night John was early at the gate waiting for his father’s
homecoming; for Saturday was the day when John Holden went to the
village, and returned laden with packages and news from Boston--which
to them was the centre of the world. A present was an unheard-of thing
in little John’s life. What was his surprise, then, as his father rode
up to the gate, to see him hand out a long black case, saying:

“Here, my boy, see what I’ve brought you for a birthday present.”

And imagine his greater astonishment, on opening the case, to see a
beautiful fife of dark wood with silver trimmings!

The boy could hardly believe his own eyes; and as he was passionately
fond of music he lost no time in beginning to learn the use of his
newly acquired instrument. He carried the fife with him everywhere and
practised on it in every spare moment, and before many months he was
able to greatly astonish the villagers and won many a compliment by his
skillful playing.

Just before the Revolutionary War the whole country, as every boy and
girl ought to know, was in a state of ferment and dread. War seemed
inevitable, and the oppressive rule of the English was the theme of
conversation everywhere.

Little John heard much of it, and longed to be a man that he might join
the “rebellious colonists.” And one day he received a compliment which
set him thinking of matters in a way the older members of his family
never mistrusted.

A visitor from Boston was at the farmhouse, and the talk, as usual,
ran on the prospect of war in the colonies. During a pause in the
conversation, Mr. Holden asked John to play something on the fife. When
he had played a stirring march or two, the stranger exclaimed, “Upon my
word! But the boy has the soul of music in him! He will be ready for
the British bulls and lions when it is necessary.”

John sat quite still for some time. But before he went to bed he went
to his father and said, “Father, if the British do come, shall I go to
war with my fife?”

“To be sure,” answered his father laughingly. “They could not get along
without you.”

Long after his father had forgotten this incident, John Holden took his
dog Zip, and his darling fife, and went to a favorite hill on the place
to practise. At night the dog came back alone and going straight up to
the boy’s chamber began to moan and cry, and would not leave John’s bed.

The family were greatly alarmed, and instantly divined that something
had happened to John.

Soon the whole town was in commotion; for the news that John Holden was
lost flew like wildfire. Bands of men were organized and went searching
the woods in every direction.

Indians had been traveling through the town recently. Had they carried
off the boy or had they stolen the valuable fife and thrown the boy
into the river? The woods were hunted through and through; the river
was dragged; notices of the lost boy were sent in every direction; but
weeks lengthened into months and no clew was obtained that threw the
faintest glimmer of light on the strange disappearance.

Everybody believed him to be dead, or with the cruel Indians. Everybody
but one. The boy’s mother never lost faith in his being safe somewhere.

“My boy is in God’s hands,” she would say. “In his good time John will
come home.”

And nothing could move her from this belief while two anxious years
slipped by.

In the meantime war had broken out, and Shirley had sent her full quota
of men to fight for the country’s independence. It was through one
of these that a rumor reached Mr. Holden that a boy of twelve was in
General Washington’s army as fifer.

Jonas Holden was impressed with the certainty that the boy in
Washington’s army and his lost son were the same. He went home and
told his wife the story, and she was certain of it. Accordingly Mr.
Holden started for New York, where General Washington and his army were
then stationed. There were no railroads or telegraphs then, remember;
nothing but horses and stagecoaches. Mr. Holden chose the former, and
the best he could do, by traveling on horseback, was to reach General
Washington’s headquarters in seven days.

When he finally drew rein at the outposts of the Continental Army, he
made known his desire to see General Knox, who was with Washington at
that time.

General Knox received the Massachusetts farmer with a cordiality that
put him at his ease in a moment; and Mr. Holden found no difficulty in
stating his errand.

“There is your boy, sir!” exclaimed the interested General, pointing
to a young fellow in a soldier’s suit, gay with brass buttons, who
was playing on a fife. “He is drilling some raw recruits. That boy is
Captain-general of us all, sir. I have never known him to whimper or
say ‘I can’t,’ although he is the youngest of us.”

The fifer was sent for in the Colonel’s name. As he drew near, and
lifting his cap, asked, “Did you send for me, sir?” his eye fell on his
father sitting in a corner of the tent.

In a moment the boy was in his father’s arms and sobbing like a baby.
The father’s tears were mingled with the long-lost son’s and the
redoubtable General was obliged to resort to his handkerchief as he
withdrew, leaving father and son alone, with the remark:

“I will see our Commander-in-chief.”

“When did you come?” said John, when he could speak. “And how did you
find me?”

“Old Captain brought me,” was the reply, “and he can take us both home.”

“And how is mother?” pursued the boy. “Oh! I have been so sorry for
dear mother. I tell you, father, not a night have I camped down to
sleep but I have thought of mother; and every time I thought of her the
tears came. I thought perhaps she might die and I should never see her

“Your mother is well,” was the father’s answer. “And she has never
for one moment lost faith in your being well and happy, and finally
restored to us.”

“Yes, I shall return, father,” said John. “But I want this war ended

After the boy had inquired for all the family, he said:

“But why didn’t you bring Zip along, too?”

“Poor Zip!” was the reply. “He mourned himself to death before you had
been gone a week. He never touched another mouthful of food, and would
only lie on your bed and moan.”

General Knox soon returned with orders from the Commander-in-chief to
conduct Mr. Holden and John to his headquarters--a summons that must be
obeyed at once.

General Washington received Mr. Holden very kindly and said smilingly:

“I hear a story that sounds like a romance in the midst of war. Tell
me, my little fifer, how you came to leave your parents without their
knowledge, and to join my army at such a tender age?”

John was somewhat abashed by this direct question from so dignified and
august a personage; but the General added kindly:

“You have the name of being one of my bravest boys. Tell me how it
happened. You never ran away, did you?”

“No, sir, never,” answered John with spirit. “I was playing with my
dog Zip, on Sorrel Hill, when a big wagon, full of men, came along.
They stopped when they saw me, and one of them called out, ‘Halloo, my
little fifer! We are looking for you. Jump in.’ I asked them if the
British bulls and lions were here, and they said ‘Yes, hurry up!’ I
jumped in, sir, and that was the way it happened.”

Mr. Holden then remembered, for the first time, what he had said long
ago, when John asked him if he would be needed when the British bulls
and lions appeared.

John’s story was met by a burst of laughter quite unusual with
Washington. Then patting the boy’s rosy cheeks, the General said,
“After this you must give us some music, my lad.”

And John, quite elated, rendered a stirring march.

“I don’t see how we can part with this brave boy of yours,” said
General Washington to Mr. Holden when the boy had finished playing;
“but parents have the first claim.”

John was just then ordered to go and dismiss the men he had been
drilling, and he departed with a martial salute to his superiors, and
“I will be back in five minutes,” to his father.

Mr. Holden, left alone, told the story of the mother’s deep faith, and
added, “John seems to be in his element here.”

Then General Washington told the gratified parent an incident, showing
the spirit of the lad.

“When I, with a number of my suite, approached the vicinity of Monmouth
Court House,” said he, “I was met by a little musician, who archly
cried out, ‘They are all coming this way, your Honor!’”

“‘Who are coming this way?’” said I.

“‘Why, our boys, your Honor! Our boys! and the British are right after

“‘Impossible!’ I cried; but spurring my horse, I found the boy’s words
only too true.”

“He is a good boy,” added General Knox, “and invaluable in training raw
recruits. If they are homesick he talks kindly with them and cheers
them wonderfully with his ardent patriotism.”

The boy just then returned and General Knox added, “Well, what did your
men say when you told them you were going home?”

John blushed and answered, “I could not tell them that, your Honor.
Father, let me stay another year. Then I shall be thirteen and able to
help you more on the farm. You know mother is well, and the war will
soon be over.”

What father in Revolutionary times could resist such an appeal?

Washington smiled, and Mr. Holden consented. And after a kind farewell
from the Father of his Country, and a loving one from the young fifer,
Jonas Holden rode away, saying to himself:

“My boy could not hold a more honored position. I leave him safe in the
hands of General Washington--and of God.”

When, after seven more days of horseback riding, Jonas Golden arrived
at his own door in Shirley, he was met by his maiden sister with the

“Disappointed again! So it wasn’t our John at all? I tell you, you’ll
never see that boy again.”

But Mr. Holden held out his hand to the boy’s mother.

“My dear,” he said, “John is the happiest boy in the Continental Army.”

It took a long time to tell the story of the journey; of his reception
at Washington’s headquarters; of his finding the boy; of his growth,
improvement, and popularity; of his close adherence to the principles
of right and truth which they had taught him; and of the great
Commander’s praise of their son. But at last the father said:

“Have I done right in leaving him there?”

“Just right,” said the mother.

       *       *       *       *       *

John Holden returned to his parents when the war was over and lived to
a good old age. And his name may be seen, for the searching, even now,
on the books at Washington, as a pensioner of 1776.



  The story of the capture of Fort Ticonderoga by the Robin Hood of the
  New Hampshire Grants.

As affairs were now drawing to a crisis, and war was considered
inevitable, some bold spirits in Connecticut conceived a project for
the outset. This was the surprisal of the old forts of Ticonderoga and
Crown Point, already famous in the French war. Their situation on Lake
Champlain gave them the command of the main route to Canada; so that
the possession of them would be all-important in case of hostilities.
They were feebly garrisoned and negligently guarded, and abundantly
furnished with, artillery and military stores so much needed by the
patriot army.

This scheme was set on foot in the purlieus, as it were, of the
provincial Legislature of Connecticut, then in session. It was not
openly sanctioned by that body, but secretly favored, and money lent
from the treasury to those engaged in it. A committee was appointed,
also, to accompany them to the frontier, aid them in raising troops,
and exercise over them a degree of superintendence and control.

Sixteen men were thus enlisted in Connecticut, a greater number in
Massachusetts, but the greatest accession of force was from what
was called the “New Hampshire Grants.” This was a region having the
Connecticut River on one side and Lake Champlain and the Hudson River
on the other--being, in fact, the country forming the present State
of Vermont. It had long been a disputed territory claimed by New York
and New Hampshire. George II had decided in favor of New York; but
the Governor of New Hampshire had made grants of between one and two
hundred townships in it, whence it had acquired the name of the New
Hampshire Grants. The settlers on those grants resisted the attempts
of New York to eject them, and formed themselves into an association
called “The Green Mountain Boys.” Resolute, strong-handed fellows
they were, with Ethan Allen at their head, a native of Connecticut,
but brought up among the Green Mountains. He and his lieutenants,
Seth Warner and Remember Baker, were outlawed by the Legislature of
New York, and rewards offered for their apprehension. They and their
associates armed themselves, set New York at defiance, and swore they
would be the death of any one who should attempt their arrest.

Thus Ethan Allen was becoming a kind of Robin Hood among the mountains,
when the present crisis changed the relative position of things as
if by magic. Boundary feuds were forgotten amid the great questions
of colonial rights. Ethan Allen at once stepped forward, a patriot,
and volunteered with his Green Mountain Boys to serve in the popular
cause. He was well fitted for the enterprise in question, by his
experience as a frontier champion, his robustness of mind and body, and
his fearless spirit. He had a kind of rough eloquence, also, that was
very effective with his followers. “His style,” says one, who knew him
personally, “was a singular compound of local barbarisms, Scriptural
phrases, and oriental wildness; and though unclassic, and sometimes
ungrammatical, was highly animated and forcible.” Washington, in one
of his letters, says there was “an original something in him which
commanded admiration.”

Thus reinforced, the party, now two hundred and seventy strong, pushed
forward to Castleton, a place within a few miles of the head of Lake
Champlain. Here a council of war was held on the 2d of May. Ethan
Allen was placed at the head of the expedition, with James Easton and
Seth Warner as second and third in command. Detachments were sent
off to Skenesborough (now Whitehall), and another place on the lake,
with orders to seize all the boats they could find and bring them to
Shoreham, opposite Ticonderoga, whither Allen prepared to proceed with
the main body.

At this juncture another adventurous spirit arrived at Castleton. This
was Benedict Arnold, since so sadly renowned. He, too, had conceived
the project of surprising Ticonderoga and Crown Point; or, perhaps, had
caught the idea from its first agitators in Connecticut--in the militia
of which province he held a captain’s commission. He had proposed the
scheme to the Massachusetts committee of safety. It had met their
approbation. They had given him a colonel’s commission, authorized him
to raise a force in western Massachusetts not exceeding four hundred
men, and furnished him with money and means. Arnold had enlisted but a
few officers and men when he heard of the expedition from Connecticut
being on the march. He instantly hurried on with one attendant to
overtake it, leaving his few recruits to follow as best they could; in
this way he reached Castleton just after the council of war.

Producing the colonel’s commission received from the Massachusetts
committee of safety, he now aspired to the supreme command. His claims
were disregarded by the Green Mountain Boys; they would follow no
leader but Ethan Allen. As they formed the majority of the party,
Arnold was fain to acquiesce, and serve as a volunteer, with the rank,
but not the command, of colonel.

The party arrived at Shoreham, opposite Ticonderoga, on the night of
the 9th of May. The detachment sent in quest of boats had failed to
arrive. There were a few boats at hand, with which the transportation
was commenced. It was slow work; the night wore away; day was about to
break, and but eighty-three men, with Allen and Arnold, had crossed.
Should they wait for the residue, day would dawn, the garrison wake,
and their enterprise might fail. Allen drew up his men, addressed
them in his own emphatic style, and announced his intention to make a
dash at the fort without waiting for more force. “It is a desperate
attempt,” said he, “and I ask no man to go against his will. I will
take the lead, and be the first to advance. You that are willing to
follow, poise your firelocks.” Not a firelock but was poised.

They mounted the hill briskly but in silence, guided by a boy from the
neighborhood. The day dawned as Allen arrived at a sally-port. A sentry
pulled trigger on him, but his piece missed fire. He retreated through
a covered way. Allen and his men followed. Another sentry thrust at
Easton with his bayonet, but was struck down by Allen and begged for
quarter. It was granted on condition of his leading the way instantly
to the quarters of the commandant, Captain Delaplace, who was yet in
bed. Being arrived there, Allen thundered at the door, and demanded
a surrender of the fort. By this time his followers had formed into
two lines on the parade-ground, and given three hearty cheers. The
commandant appeared at his door half dressed, “the frightened face
of his pretty wife peering over his shoulder.” He gazed at Allen in
bewildered astonishment. “By whose authority do you act?” exclaimed
he. “In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress,”
replied Allen, with a flourish of his sword, and an oath which we do
not care to subjoin.

There was no disputing the point. The garrison, like the commander, had
been startled from sleep, and made prisoners as they rushed forth in
their confusion. A surrender accordingly took place.



  The Fourth of July pranks of a young Ethan Allen and his
  friends--descendants of the Green Mountain Boys of Revolutionary days.

On the evening of the third of July, somewhat more than fifty years
ago, a number of boys were gathered in secret council at a deserted
house on Otter Creek. The boys had come one by one in the gathering
gloom of the early darkness, creeping along from bush to copse or
hugging the shady side of the stone fences. They had come silently--no
lilt of merry whistle or song, no wanton hoot or random stone-fling,
had betrayed their presence on the road.

“There are nine of us already,” whispered a tall boy of fifteen as
he shoved aside the hingeless door and peered out. “That is Seneca
Goodyear coming across the meadow. He is strong if he does limp. Come
in, Senk, and shut the door quick, hang your coat over the crack,
and I’ll stand against the lower part. Now, Martin, let out your
lantern--just a narrow slit of light and throw it on the floor--not in
our faces. Go on, Ethan, and tell them about it.”

A heavy-shouldered boy with Saxon hair and eyes straightened himself
up from the cobwebby wall against which he had been leaning and settled
himself stolidly on his feet. This boy’s name was Ethan Allen and he
was a descendant of the Revolutionary hero of the same name.

“There isn’t much to tell,” he began. “The Ogden County boys have
stolen our cannon--old ‘Ticonderoga’ that belongs to Hennepin County,
that we have fired off every Fourth of July, or our folks have, ever
since there was a Fourth of July. It has been stolen and carried across
the county line, and in less than four hours they will be banging it
in our faces from the top of Horncliffe. And we’ve got to get that gun
between this and midnight.”

“How are we going to do it?” asked Seneca Goodyear.

“That is what we have got to find out,” said Ethan.

“Why don’t the men do something about it?” asked a conservative boy.
“I should think it ought to be settled by law; the gun was given to
the county by Eth’s grandfather, and it is county property the same as
everything else on the court-house grounds.”

“Yes, it is county property,” said Seneca Goodyear. “And that is where
the point lies. I’ve heard father talk about it. It is some kind of
claim they set up on account of the new boundary line that has sliced
off miles and miles of our county, and now they have got the ground
they want everything that ever stood on the ground--their proportion of
county property they call it, and they have begun by helping themselves
to that gun. But there’s no right in their claim.”

“Of course there’s not!” said one indignantly.

“Ogden County is the meanest lot that live on top of the State of
Vermont anyway!” said another.

“Well, the Ogden boys were smart enough to steal that gun,” said Ethan
Allen, “and if Hennepin boys are any smarter we’d better show our stuff
by getting it away from them.”

“I don’t take it to be any question of smartness,” answered the
conservative boy. “It is quite as smart to keep out of a hornet’s nest
as it is to get into it, and then fight out stung half to death. The
question is, what are our chances for doing it? I’m not going on a
fool’s errand. To begin with, who took the gun? Where did they take it
to? Where is it now? And how do you know anything about it, anyway?”

“We have got all that straight enough, and here is the boy that will
speak for himself. Come up here, Eph,” said Allen.

Thus conjured, a boy arose from a dark corner and with a quick cat-like
motion came to the front. He looked to be an artless little fellow
of ten years, with his quiet eyes and his limp white locks hanging
about his small face. But in truth he was fourteen years old, and the
discipline of his life had made him shrewd and courageous. He showed
very thin and imp-like as the ray of the lantern fell upon him. It
seemed as if that sliver of light would go through him like a bayonet
and come out on the other side.

There was a murmur of voices. “Oh, him!”

“Eph Stearns--much he knows about it.”

“Dodge down, you little white top, nobody wants to hear you!”

But burly Ethan Allen shouldered up to the little fellow. “Go ahead,
Eph,” he said, “tell it to ’em just as you told it to me. Don’t be

“I wa’n’t scared last night, and I ain’t likely to be now,” said Eph
with a grin up at Ethan’s broad face.

“That’s so. Shake hands. After all there is nothing little about you,
Eph--except yourself.”

The little fellow looked bigger after this grip of good fellowship and
he piped up and began his story.

“I was out last night,” he said. “It was near midnight I reckon. Most
all the lights was out in the village and everything was quiet. I was
out--out looking for something----”

“He was out looking for his drunken old father,” whispered one of the
boys, nudging his neighbor. “That’s Eph’s regular beat nights. He is
afraid the old man will get run over, or get sunstruck by moonlight.”

“Hush up, you,” said the boy addressed. “Eph isn’t to blame.”

“I had been down by the cross-roads,” Eph went on. “You know where that

“I think it’s likely we do--there is where General Stark buried a
traitor and staked him down with a crowbar,” said one.

“For some time I didn’t hear anything,” Eph went on. “Then I heard
something coming along slow and still on the old turnpike. It didn’t
seem like a wagon at first, nothing about it rattled and squeaked
natural-like for a wagon. There must have been lots of axle grease onto
them wheels and that harness was oiled up and strapped up, I tell you,
and if them horses had a had smart-weed drafts onto their hoofs they
couldn’t have set ’em down more soft and quiet-like. When I saw that
it was a wagon and that there wa’n’t no signs of a driver to it--for
whatever was driving of it was flat on the bottom--then it came over me
that they was a-bringing home somebody dead in that wagon----”

“And the Remains was driving itself home, quiet and respectable-like,
and conducting its own funeral--that’s accommodating now--I like that,
go on,” interrupted Martin.

“Of course,” Eph admitted, looking a little “sheepish.” “Of course
there wa’n’t no sense in that--not by daylight. But that’s what I
thought of then, and I was hot and cold all to onct, I tell you, and
I streaked after that wagon, for I meant to get home to mother ahead
of it. I got up to the court house and lay down flat in that clump of
pines by the horse block, ’cause all the roads branch off from there
and I could see which way it went next. There wa’n’t no moon last
night, and precious few stars.

“On come the wagon, slow and steady--just as if a chunk of the dark
had got loose from the rest of the dark and was moving on by itself.
It come close to the horse block and I could see it wa’n’t going down
any of the roads. Then I heard a clattering sound, and I knew they were
going over the round stones of the gutter, and the off horse struck
out a spark with his hoof. When I saw ’em a-following me up so close I
thought certain it was me they was after. But I had a good place for
dodging--out by the meeting-house sheds, or down the court-house steps
into the cellar, or round the wood pile--good places all of them, and
I thought I would chance it. But there wa’n’t no call for dodging. The
wagon just rolled quietly on a few steps and then stood stockstill and
six black shadows rose up one by one and got out on to the ground, and
when I saw that, why I could have squealed right out a-laughing.

“I meant to see what they were after, so I dragged myself along like
a worm in the shadow of that bad-smelling green stuff that edges the
driveway, and I found out they were boys from over the line and they
had come for our gun. Phil Basset was bossing around--same as he
tried to when he came to the academy before Ethan settled him. He was
wheezing away like the croup, talking in big whispers full of wind,
telling everybody else to keep still, and where to put the crowbars
and how to lift all together when he give the word, one, two, three!
But just as he got to ‘three,’ there was a pin pointing toward the
calf of his leg, and I braced myself against that pin and it naturally
sent me off down the knoll, quiet-like and out of the way, and it left
him hollering and kicking. Then everybody dropped flat till they see
whether any one in the village heard the noise. When they went to work
again Phil said he’d been taken with cramp and couldn’t lift. But they
got the gun onto the wagon and started for home. Phil drove ’cause his
leg was lame and they was his father’s horses. The other five boys had
gone on ahead.

“Well, when I saw that gun moving off, and I thought how that was ours
for sure, and we’d got it from the English and how we’d got ourselves
from the English--Fourth of July and all, so that they couldn’t
ever boss us again, and so that everybody was his own boss in this
country--why something rose up in my throat and choked me. Then I
thought about Eth, ’cause he’d had charge of the gun, and he’d been
awful good and let me help clean her up, and how we’d dug the rust
out of her and greased her and polished her, and he’d showed me the
powder and things for to-morrow and said I might touch her off the
first bang--then I nearly busted, only I saw that it wasn’t any time
for busting. I just got myself together pretty quick and jumped for the
tailboard of that wagon. I hung on--I thought I’d stick to that gun,
and if I died a sticking there, well then I’d die.

“The boys had told Phil to take the new road to Tadman’s Ferry, ’cause
the hills were so steep on the old one, and the fellows were to go
cross-lots and meet him on the other side, and then they were going to
set the gun up as high as they could get it on Horncliffe. But Phil
said he reckoned he knew what the horses could haul, and as soon as he
was left to himself he struck off onto the old road. He was up high
on the seat and I’d crawled in and was laying on the bottom, flatter
than flat--froze on to the gun. We buzzed along lively at first. The
down-hills were rather shaky work you guess, but the up-hills were
worse, and they kept getting more so till we got to that awful steep
pitch near the top of Smith’s hill. You know where that is?”

“Oh, yes,” said Martin. “There is where you have to lean backward to
keep from bumping your forehead when you go up. I suppose you rose to
the occasion, Eph--it must have stood you and the gun right up on end.”

“I got out,” Eph went on, “for the horses stood stockstill and couldn’t
go an inch farther and then the wagon began to slip back, and Phil put
stones back of the wheels. Then he went at his horses again, whipping
and coaxing them. But it was no use. The road is slaty along there and
the horses had no grip for their feet. He had to give it up at last and
he left everything standing and went for the boys to get them to boost.
As soon as I knew I was alone I hid the crowbars in a hollow tree, and
I cut the traces and let the horses loose, and I took the linchpin out
of one of the wheels--it wasn’t in very tight, and I took the ramrod
of the gun, and I wrapped them traces around it and I dropped ’em into
the brook at the foot of the hill. Then I put for home, and I waked up
Ethan Allen and went to bed myself.”

“I reckon you were in bed all the time, and saw all this with your eyes
shut in the dark,” said a derisive voice.

“Sure you didn’t dream it, Eph?” asked Seneca kindly.

“It is a good yarn, anyway,” said Martin who had a taste for fancy
sketches. “And it hangs together as well as most. I believe it is as
true as any of us could make up unless we had facts or some little
conveniences of that kind to go upon.”

The little boy straightened up and leveled a look of indignant protest
at the scoffers. Then, turning to Ethan Allen, he said, “You go on--you
know about the rest of it.”

“No chaffing about this not being true,” said Ethan, “we haven’t the
time for it. Eph wakened me up at two o’clock this morning with a
handful of gravel on my window, and I was over at Smith’s hill before
daylight, and I found the crowbars rammed up a hollow tree just as he
told me, and the gun is there by the roadside, tipped over in a kind
of gully, and there is some gravel on top of it, and a pile of dry
brushwood, so that any one driving along the road would not notice it,
and I fished the ramrod and old Basset’s traces out of the brook. I
reckon the Ogden boys are coming over for the gun to-night, and we want
to get in ahead of them. I can go, for one. Who else?”

“Me, too,” piped in little Eph.

“Oh, of course,” said Ethan.

“Me, three--that makes six,” said Martin.

“I will go,” said Seneca Goodyear in his slow, heavy way, “and I reckon
that father will let me have a team--our horses won’t have to work

“Will your father make you tell what you are going to do with it?”
asked the conservative boy.

“Well, no--not if I had rather not,” said Seneca. “He’ll trust me--and
that is the tightest tether I want to be fastened with. Sometimes
I wish he didn’t. I wouldn’t like to get home minus the traces and
linchpin and crowbars as Phil Basset did.”

“Well, if Seneca goes, that takes me,” said Mark Hemingway, the tall
doorkeeper. “My folks said I might stay all night with Seneca and I
shall stick like a tick.”

“I’ll go, and I, and I,” chorused the rest--conservative boy and all.

Then Seneca Goodyear moved that Ethan Allan be captain of the
expedition. This was carried by acclaim.

“All right,” said Ethan in terse acceptance of the appointment. “Now
we’ve got to be quicker than lightning and darker than thunder. We
don’t want the Ogden boys to get there ahead of us, and have to fight
them. No more we don’t want our folks stopping us nor helping us out
as if we were babies. We want the glory of this ourselves. Quick and
quiet is the word. All scatter and get ready and we’ll meet at the
cross-roads and start when the town clock strikes nine.”

The company at the cross-roads organized as follows:

Ethan Allen, captain.

Eph Stearns, with the court-house mule, mounted scout.

Martin Fox, with a dark lantern, spy and light skirmisher.

Mark Hemingway, with an old triggerless flintlock of 1812, high private.

The rank and file consisted of two boys with pistols and no cartridges,
and three boys with doughnuts and sweet apples, while the conservative
boy with a pocket-compass, a lead pencil, some string, and a chunk
of shoemaker’s wax, put in a bid as topographer, correspondent, and
surgeon. But Seneca Goodyear, with his stout team and wagon, well
equipped with ropes, crowbars, skids, and other lifting apparatus, was
the mainstay of the expedition.

Little Eph Stearns was, for the nonce, a glorified being. Hitherto the
heroisms of his life had been of the obscure and pathetic kind. Angels
had inspired them, and a cloud of witnesses beheld them, but here the
chance had come for a heroism brilliant and jubilant. Ethan Allen told
him to go ahead and the big boys would see him do it. No wonder that
he wrought marvels. Besides lassoing the mule, he had got a bag of
shavings larger than himself, and a stout clothes line; the last two
were for some secret service of his own suggestion, though approved
by the captain. But the mule seemed to be a purely ornamental feature
of the occasion. He had been half-shoved, half-carried to the place of
rendezvous; here he seemed unwilling to go any farther. He was hitched
ignominiously to the tailboard of the wagon, and being pulled in front,
and poked in the rear by his doughty rider who walked behind for this
purpose, he moved off in spite of himself.

Away into the darkness of that quiet summer night the expedition passed
on. The sleepy lights twinkled in the distant farmhouses, the dewy
winds came over the meadows and grain fields, and the stars looked
down from their solemn depths. The boys were rather quiet, for boys.
The secrecy of the affair, the chances for a fight which might prove
dangerous, the honorable and important character of the undertaking
all conspired to give a sombre coloring to the occasion. These were
veritable Green Mountain Boys, too, with the legends of heroic ancestry
all aglow in their young hearts and the strength of their own hills in
their sturdy purpose.

After a half-hour’s ride the boys reached the place and found
everything all quiet. The gun was in bad shape, dislodged from the
carriage and pitched into the gully. Nobody knew how to go at it and
the darkness of the night added confusion to the situation. Now the
Secret Service blazoned itself splendidly forth. Eph emptied his
shavings on the ground in two piles, one or each side of the gun; upon
these he heaped the brushwood and in less than two minutes he had two
grand bonfires for the boys to work by. Then the little scout, with
mule and clothes line, disappeared over the brow of the hill. A few
rods below this point of vantage he stretched the clothes line across
the road; it was about a foot from the ground and fastened on either
side to the trunk of a tree. He then reported to his chief and received
reinforcements: one boy and munitions of war--an empty bag, in which he
gathered stones.

Meanwhile at the gun the skids had been well adjusted by the firelight,
and the lifting went sturdily on. Upon the height of the hill Eph
awaited the onslaught of the enemy. The deploying force made a brave
line of battle: Eph on the right flank with a pile of stones, his aide
on the left, and the mule in the centre. They had not long to wait.
A heavy team was heard laboring up. Moving shadows soon were seen in
advance of it.

“Now don’t waste your stones,” Eph orders his command. “Don’t fire
one of them till you see them Ogdens keel over the rope and hear them
holler. Then pelt away like Jehu, and whoop like an Indian, and they’ll
think it’s the regular army.”

The enemy came on _en masse_, they tripped over the rope so beautifully
that Eph Stearns, boy and man, has laughed at the thought of it ever
since, they fell kicking and struggling and tangled up as to legs
and arms. Rattle and whiz came the stones in showers upon them, and,
to crown all, the mule cavorted right down into the thickest of the
scrimmage as if he had been Job’s war-horse smelling the battle afar.

It was full ten minutes before the Ogden boys got themselves together
again, and during that ten minutes the last long pull and strong pull
had been given to the cannon and the iron giant was rolling comfortably
homeward in Seneca’s wagon.

Then the boys hot, exultant, shouting, made a wild break for the enemy
as they came pelting over the brow of the hill.

“Sneaks!” calls one, with a stone.

“Thieves!” yells another.

“At ’em--fight ’em!” shouts another, brandishing a big stick.

“Let’s lay ’em out! thrash ’em!”

“Hold on! Halt!” cries Captain Ethan with the voice of a trumpet and he
springs to the front of his little troop and faces them, his arms aloft
with a kind of impassioned dominance of voice and mien that hustles
back the pell-mell advance.

“Halt! Form in line!” he calls, and the wild crowd sway into a kind of
half-circle about their captain.

“Three cheers for Hennepin County and the Gun!” orders the captain.

Shout, shout, shout. Oh, how they shouted! That wild hurrah rifted the
clouds and shook the mountains. Then as the echoes died away, in the
sharp interval of silence that followed, Captain Ethan faced around to
the enemy:

“Now, gentlemen, what will you have?”

“Three cheers for Ogden County!” returned the leader.

“Ogden County--without the Gun, amen!” piped up Eph like a fife.

But the three cheers were lustily given. The old Vermont hills echoed
and re-echoed again, and a vast deal of spleen spent itself in those
six cheers.

“Now, all hands!” commanded Captain Ethan Allen in ringing tones. “Now,
both sides and everybody, give three cheers for the Green Mountain Boys
and the Fourth of July!”

Again, and doubly loud, roared out the great shouts. Again the
mountains heard and the echoes reverberated around the sky. The stars
listened, in their far heights, and knew that America was a stronger
nation for the throb of patriotic feeling that pulsed through those hot
young hearts and voiced itself in those fine huzzas.



  Every American boy and girl ought to know by heart the story of how
  Paul Revere on his famous ride called the minute-men to arms on the
  eve of the Battle of Lexington.

  Listen, my children, and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
  On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
  Who remembers that famous day and year.

  He said to his friend, “If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
  Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church tower as a signal light--
  One if by land, and two if by sea;
  And I on the opposite shore will be
  Ready to ride and spread the alarm
  Through every Middlesex village and farm,
  For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

  Then he said, “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
  Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
  Just as the moon rose over the bay,
  Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
  The _Somerset_, British man-of-war;
  A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
  Across the moon like a prison bar,
  And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
  By its own reflection in the tide.

  Meanwhile his friend, through alley and street,
    Wanders and watches with eager ears,
    Till in the silence around him he hears
      The muster of men at the barrack door,
  The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
    And the measured tread of the grenadiers
      Marching down to their boats on the shore.

  Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
    By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
    To the belfry chamber overhead,
  And startled the pigeons from their perch
  On the sombre rafters, that round him made
  Masses and moving shapes of shade--
    By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
    To the highest window in the wall,
  Where he paused to listen and look down
  A moment on the roofs of the town,
    And the moonlight flowing over all.

  Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
    In their night encampment on the hill,
    Wrapped in silence so deep and still
  That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
    The watchful night-wind, as it went
    Creeping along from tent to tent,
  And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
  A moment only he feels the spell
  Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
  Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
    For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
  On a shadowy something far away,
  Where the river widens to meet the bay--
  A line of black that bends and floats
  On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

  Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
  Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
    On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
  Now he patted his horse’s side,
    Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
  Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
  And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
  But mostly he watched with eager search
  The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
  As it rose above the graves on the hill,
  Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
  And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
  A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
    He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
  But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
    A second lamp in the belfry burns!

    A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
  A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
  And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
    Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet:
  That was all! And yet through the gloom and the light
  The fate of a nation was riding that night;
  And the spark struck out by that steed in his flight
    Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

  He has left the village and mounted the steep,
  And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
    Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
  And under the alders that skirt its edge,
  Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
    Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

  It was twelve by the village clock
    When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
  He heard the crowing of the cock,
    And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
    And felt the damp of the river fog
  That rises after the sun goes down.
  It was one by the village clock
    When he galloped into Lexington.
  He saw the gilded weathercock
    Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
  And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
  Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
    As if they already stood aghast
    At the bloody work they would look upon.

  It was two by the village clock
    When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
  He heard the bleating of the flock,
  And the twitter of birds among the trees,
  And felt the breath of the morning breeze
    Blowing over the meadows brown.
  And one was safe and asleep in his bed
    Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
  Who that day would be lying dead,
    Pierced by a British musket-ball.

  You know the rest. In the books you have read
  How the British Regulars fired and fled--
  How the farmers gave them ball for ball
  From behind each fence and farm-yard wall,
  Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
  Then crossing the fields to emerge again
  Under the trees at the turn of the road,
  And only pausing to fire and load.

  So through the night rode Paul Revere;
  And so through the night went his cry of alarm
    To every Middlesex village and farm--
  A cry of defiance and not of fear,
  A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
  And a word that shall echo forevermore!
  For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
  Through all our history, to the last,
  In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
  The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.



  Washington’s Birthday--boys skating--and how one timid little boy
  called after the Father of his Country lived up to his illustrious

It was the great misfortune of Tony Butler’s life to have been born on
the twenty-second of February.

There was no comfort in reflecting that there were doubtless plenty of
other boys in the country who labored under the same disadvantage. The
other boys might perhaps be better fitted for the honor, but for poor
Tony the distinction was a crushing one.

In the first place, he had an older brother, and that older brother’s
name was George. Now it is generally conceded that one of a name is
enough for any family; but when Tony was born on the twenty-second of
February, how was poor Mrs. Butler to act?

Not to have called him after the Father of his Country would have been,
in that good woman’s opinion, a positive slight to the illustrious
dead. As long as her boy was fortunate enough to have the same
birthday as our great President, it became her plain duty to give him
one other point of resemblance, and then trust to time to complete the

It was a pity that they had a George already, but that difficulty could
be done away with by calling her second son Washington. Washington
Butler sounded well, and seemed all that was desirable; only there was
just a little too much of it for every-day use. Sometimes the boy was
called Washie, and sometimes Wash, and sometimes Wah, and sometimes
Tony, until, as he grew older, and able to talk, he evinced a decided
preference for the last title, and would answer to no other.

But although this lessened his troubles it by no means ended them; for
when a child has so many nicknames to choose from, everybody is apt to
select a different one; and to confess the truth, he was not at all the
right sort of a boy to be called George Washington.

There was nothing of the soldier, nothing of the patriot, nothing at
all remarkable, about poor Tony in any way. He was a shy, homely little
boy, who would have passed well enough as plain Sam, which, being
his father’s name, would also have been his had it not been for his
unfortunate birthday. But as George Washington, even his doting mother
was forced to realize he was not a complete success.

The first day he went to school the master sonorously read out his name
as Antony Butler, whereat his brother giggled, and Tony, blushing fiery
red, stammered out that he was not an Antony at all.

“Not Antony?” said the teacher, in natural surprise. “Why, then, are
you called Tony?”

“Because my name is George Washington, and we had a George already,”
was the embarrassed answer.

After this the boys with one accord dubbed him Washing Tony, as if he
were a Chinese laundryman, and Washing Tony he continued to be called.

Under these circumstances, perhaps he was excusable in wishing he had
been born on some less illustrious day, and when the Twenty-second came
duly around it required all the delights of a new pair of skates and a
fur cap to reconcile him entirely to his fate.

It being a general holiday, all the boys proposed spending it on the
ice, and Tony could skate a great deal better than he could write or
cipher; although even here he was never what boys consider brave, and
what their parents are apt to more accurately define as foolhardy.

The truth is, there was not in the child a spice of that boyish daring
which seems so attractive in its possessor, and which is in reality so
wanton and useless.

Tony never wanted to climb high trees, or jump from steep places, or
pat a restive horse, or throw an apple at a cross old farmer. All these
things, which were dear to the hearts of his companions, were totally
unattractive to him. He could never be dared to any deed that had a
touch of danger in it, and the contrast between his prudent conduct
and his illustrious title was, in the eyes of all the other boys, the
crowning absurdity of the case.

On this particular birthday the weather, though clear, was mild for
the season, and some apprehension had been felt as to the complete
soundness of the ice. A careful investigation, however, showed it to be
all firm and solid except in one corner, where the lake was deepest,
and where the ice, though unbroken, looked thin and semi-transparent,
with the restless water underneath. Around this uncertain quarter
a line was drawn, and soon some thirty or forty boys were skimming
rapidly over the frozen surface.

Fred Hazlit and Eddy Barrows were the champion skaters of the district,
and their evolutions were regarded with wonder and delight by a host of
smaller boys, who vainly tried to rival their achievements.

Not so Tony. Although perfectly at home on the ice, he seemed to have
no more desire to excel here than elsewhere, but skated gravely up and
down, enjoying himself in his sober fashion, his cap drawn over his
eyes, his little red hands thrust in his overcoat pockets.

George, who did not think this at all amusing, was off with the older
boys, trying to write his name on the ice, and going over and over it
with a patient persistency that, practised at school, would have made
him the first writer in his class.

Gradually the forbidden ground began to be encroached on, some of the
older boys skimming lightly over it, and finding it quite hard enough
to bear their weight. Soon the line was obliterated by a dozen pairs
of skates, and the children, never heeding it, spread themselves over
every inch of ice on the lake.

All but Tony. With characteristic prudence he had marked the dangerous
corner well, and never once ventured upon it. As he stopped to tighten
his skates, four of the younger boys, hand in hand, came bearing down
upon him.

“Catch hold,” shouted Willie Marston, “and we’ll make a line. Hurrah!
Here goes!” and Tony with the rest shot across the smooth sheet of ice
until they came to the inclosed quarter. The others were keeping right
on, but Tony stopped short.

“It is not safe,” he said, “and I am not going on it.”

“Nonsense!” cried Dick Treves. “What a coward you are, Tony! We have
been over it a dozen times already this morning, and it is just as safe
as the rest.”

“Of course it is,” said Willie. “Come ahead.”

But Tony did not go ahead. Neither did he discuss the matter, for
argument of any kind was not at all in his way. He merely stopped and
let go of Willie’s hand. “It isn’t safe,” he persisted. “You can do as
you like, but I am not going on it.”

“Well, stay there,” said Ned Marston, giving him a little shove--“stay
where you are, General Washington, and cross the Delaware on dry land
if you can.”

“Three cheers for General Washington!” shouted Dick derisively. “Hurrah
for the bravest of the brave!” and then the three boys skated on,
leaving Tony standing there upon the ice.

His face flushed crimson with shame, but he never stirred. He hated to
be laughed at and called a coward, but he was afraid to venture, and no
amount of ridicule could urge him on.

Slowly he turned to go when at that instant an ominous sound struck his
ear. The treacherous ice was cracking in all directions, a dozen jagged
seams spreading like magic over the smooth surface. There was a sharp
snap, a cry of terror, a splash, and three boys, white with fright,
started back from the yawning hole barely in time to save themselves
from falling.

In the excitement and fear of that moment no one of them thought of
his companion; but Tony, who stood beside, had seen poor Willie’s
despairing blue eyes fixed on him with a mute appeal for help as he
staggered and fell into the dark water.

Somehow all his habitual caution, which was so falsely termed
cowardice, had disappeared; he never even thought of being afraid, with
that pitiful glance still before his eyes, but, urged on by some great
impulse, cleared the space between them in an instant, and plunged down
after his drowning friend.

Another minute and both boys re-appeared, Willie clutching fiercely at
his preserver, and Tony holding him off as well as he could with one
arm while he struck out bravely with the other.

It was but the work of a moment before help reached them, but that
moment had saved poor Willie’s life, and changed forever the opinions
of the school.

They had learned what true courage was. Tony Butler might be timid and
insignificant, but he had proved himself beyond a doubt worthy of his
illustrious name, and a fit hero for the Twenty-second.



  A good, long boy’s story of how three Philadelphia lads spent an
  exciting Christmas at Valley Forge, after performing a service of
  great value to the patriots’ cause.


This is a story of a boy and two other boys.

Tom Markham was fifteen and over, and was careful when asked his age to
say he was in his sixteenth year. His brothers were two years younger.
When Harry was asked how old he was he said he was as old as Bill, and
when any one inquired his age of Bill he replied that he was as old as
Harry. This was because being twins they got somehow mixed up when they
were born, and no one knew which was ten minutes the older.

Between themselves the twins considered the matter of precedence based
on age as important, and now and then endeavored to adjust matters by
wager of battle. It was settled at last by the elder brother, Tom, who
decided that they should be elder year about. Thus, in 1777 Bill was
the older, and was sadly regarding the lapse into youth which was
about to come in 1778, when Harry would be in turn the senior.

While Tom, who was to be sixteen in February, looked older, his
brothers appeared younger than their years, and were two saucy,
clever, reckless lads. A look of child-like innocence was part of the
protective capital the twins invested in mischief. They fought one
another, made common cause against the world, and had, as concerned
Tom, a certain amount of respect founded on physical conditions. At the
close of this year 1777, Sir William Howe held the city of Penn with
some eighteen thousand men. Twenty miles away George Washington waited
in his lines at Valley Forge with three or four thousand half-starved

Between the two armies Nature had established a nearly neutral ground,
for on it lay the deepest snow the land had known for many a year. It
was both foe and friend to the Continental soldiers, whom starvation
and cold were daily tempting to desertion, and among whom disease in
many forms was busily recruiting for the army of the dead.

The well-fed British regulars in and near the city found in the snow
an obstacle which forbade Sir William Howe to move, discouraged
enterprise, and gave excuses for inertness, since no general at that
time ventured to think of a winter campaign, until in ’78 the Virginia
general read his enemy a novel lesson in the art of war.

The land between the city of Philadelphia and Valley Forge on both
sides of the Schuylkill was in ’77 a fertile country of large farms to
which narrow wood roads led from the main highways. On to this region
of winter, scouting or foraging parties of both armies ventured at
times, and from it in good weather the farmers, despite the efforts
of our scant cavalry, took supplies to the snow-beleaguered city, and
sometimes, if Tories, information of value.

In the best houses of the city there were quartered, to the disgust of
the Whig dames, a great number of British officers. They were to be fed
without charge and were unpleasant or not personally disagreeable, as
chanced to be the case.

Mrs. Markham’s ample house on Third Street, near Spruce, had its share
of boarders thus comfortably billeted, to the satisfaction of her Tory
neighbors who were not thus burdened or who gladly entertained officers
of distinction.

The owner of the house, Colonel Markham, of the Continental line, lay a
prisoner in New York, when on Christmas Eve, in this year of 1777, Mrs.
Markham and three unwelcome guests sat down to supper.

Tom, the elder son, stood at the window watching the big white
snowflakes flitting across the black squares of the night-darkened

“Come, my son,” said Mrs. Markham, and he took the vacant seat, his
mind on the joys to which the weather was contributing in the way of
coasting, skating, and snowball wars.

This terrible winter was one thing to Sir William Howe, another to
George Washington, and a quite delightful other to Tom Markham. “I
suppose, Tom,” said the mother, as he took his seat, “this sort of
Christmas weather is much to your liking.”

“Why, any fellow would like it, mother.”

“There is everything in the point of view,” she returned, smiling. “I
have no recollection of a winter like this.”

In truth, the weather was keeping Christmas with a bountiful gift of
fresh snow to the earth which was already heavily burdened.

Within the house a cheerful wood-fire blazed on the hearth. Two
branched silver candelabra lighted the table, and the furniture,
portraits, and round mirrors all told of ease and luxury.

“I have to thank you for the turkey, Captain Verney,” said Mrs.
Markham. “My supplies are running low and soon you will be no better
fed than the Continentals.”

“Rebels, madam,” said Colonel Grimstone, a rough, red-faced soldier,
who had risen from the ranks. “I think we shall have to be fed and well
fed, too. I have asked five officers to dine here next week, on New
Year’s Day.”

Tom looked straight at the fat Colonel and wished he were himself a man.

“By that time,” said Mrs. Markham, laughing, “you will have little
besides pork and potatoes; Heaven knows what else.”

“Oh, you will find us enough. All you rebel ladies tell the same story.
A bit tough, this mutton.”

For the first time she broke into angry reply. “Then, sir, it is like
your manners--hard to digest.”

What with care and anxiety, she had come to the place where open wrath
is the only escape from the shame of tears.

To her surprise the Colonel made no rejoinder. The younger officer at
his side caught his eye as he was about to make some insolent reply.

Captain, the Honorable John Verney, to be some day in the peerage if
spared by war, was a person whom the Colonel did not care to offend,
and who, as Mrs. Markham spoke, said, “You had better get another
billet, Grimstone. No doubt André would exchange with you.”

The Colonel growled but held his tongue, knowing very well that few
officers were as well cared for as Mrs. Markham’s guests.

Verney, a gentleman of the best, smiled at her and nodded reassuringly.
He meant, as often before, to set her at ease as to her difficulty in
suiting the Colonel.

The third guest, a Hessian officer, Count Von Einstein, annoyed by the
Colonel’s rudeness, turned the talk aside as he said, in fair English:
“The letter you gave me for your husband in New York I was able to
forward but I had first to go through the form of reading it: I think I
did say so; else it could not have gone.”

“Of course,” returned Mrs. Markham, coloring. “Is there any chance of
exchange of prisoners?”

“I fear not,” said Verney, “unless the Continentals should capture the
Count or Colonel Grimstone.”

“There isn’t much chance of that, mother,” whispered Tom. “They like
town too well.”

“Hush!” she said, but smiled at him affectionately. Amid the stress
of war, the talk at table, and his mother’s anxiety, the lad had
become thoughtful beyond his years. “What a terrible night!” said Mrs.
Markham, as the wind roared around the house and the casements rattled.
Her mind was on the camp at Valley Forge, whence came, from the Quaker
farmers, now and then, tales of starvation, misery, and desertion very
encouraging to Sir William Howe, who felt that there was small need to
assist the weather in fighting his battles.

Some such thought was in the mind of the Colonel, for he remarked, “The
rebels must be enjoying it.”

“There are two sides to that question,” replied Verney.

“How two, sir?” asked Grimstone.

“Oh, we cannot move,” said the Count. “Not even the great Frederick
ever made a campaign in winter.”

“Who wants to move? I do not,” growled the Colonel.

“I would try it, if I were Sir William.”

“And how?” asked the Colonel.

“Well, this way,” said Verney.

He rose, and taking a sheet of paper from a desk near by sat down again
and rapidly drew the course of the river Schuylkill. “This way. March
five thousand men up each side of the river, cross on the ice from this
side, and attack on both sides at once.”

The Count looked up. “That is just what Major Montresor is urging Sir
William to do, and at once. He hesitates----”

“But the snow,” said the Colonel.

“He won’t try it,” returned Verney.

“No, thank Heaven,” said the Colonel, and the sketch was crumpled up
and cast aside to fall on the floor under the table.

Supper was over, the table cleared, and the men sat talking together.
At this time broke in the twins, beating off the snow and pounding with
their cold feet on the floor.

“I have a sword,” and “I have a drum,” cried the twins.

“Goodness, you little rebels! I shall run,” laughed Verney.

“And I,” cried the Count.

“You are late, boys,” said Mrs. Markham.

“Aunt Mary kept us.”

“Did you put away the lantern?”

“No, mother,” said Bill.

“Why not? I told you to be careful of it. What mischief have you
been up to? I shall be easier when the holidays are over and the
schoolmaster is busy with his ferrule.”

The twins looked at each other and were silent.

“Come,” said Verney, “out with it, boys.”

“You’re the oldest, Harry,” said Bill.

“Out with it, Gemini,” said Verney.

Harry was silent, and it was Bill who replied.

“Well, Sambo--that’s Aunt Mary’s man, sir--he wouldn’t let us carry the

Verney, the sympathetic lover of all their mischief, asked, “What then,

“We kicked his shins and he dropped the lantern and it went out, and a
soldier came along and he said we had no lantern and he must take Sambo
to the Guardhouse.”

Verney, much amused, said: “You young rebels are always in mischief.
The orders of Mr. Galloway are that every one after dark must carry a

“Well, we wanted to carry it.”

“What did Sambo say?”

“He ran away when the soldier said he had no light. Then we ran, too,
like everything.”

“And was that all?” The twins hesitated. “Oh, don’t be afraid,” cried
Verney. “What next?”

“We hurrahed for Washington and snowballed him.”

“What, Washington?”

“No, sir, the soldier; and he ran after us and we ran down Willings
Alley and got over the wall and then over our own wall, and that
soldier-man he is asking questions of Mr. Willing’s cook.”

Tom grinned approval, the Count looked serious, and Verney laughed
while the Colonel said, “I have a mind to spank both of you.”

Mrs. Markham turned on him. “I can attend to those ceremonies myself,
sir”--a fact of which the twins were well aware.

The Colonel made no reply, but Verney said: “In the interest of
patriotism, madam, you cannot possibly court-martial them.”

“And it is Christmas Eve, mother,” said Tom.

“Well, it is largely your fault, Mr. Verney. You spoil them too much.”

“I shall reform, madam. We shall reform, Gemini.”

“To bed with you, lads,” she said.

“Couldn’t we sit up a little?” said Verney.

“Please, madam,” urged the Count.

“Then half an hour. Come to the fire. Lie down on the rug, boys. Why,
your hands are half frozen.” The Count and Verney drew to the hearth
and the Colonel sat at the table. He was quite outside of the group
around the fire.

“You have been so good,” said Verney, “that I shall have some little
presents for you to-morrow.” The twins wished to hear of them. “No,”
he said, “you must wait.” But in the morning he and the Colonel had to
go out to inspect the works Major Montresor had thrown up at Chestnut
Hill. They would use their own horses and Mrs. Markham’s sleigh, and
would their mother let the boys go?

“They are so good,” said Verney.

“Oh, do, mother!” cried the twins.

The Colonel at the table growled that children were in the way,
nuisances; but Verney took his assent for granted, and somewhat
reluctantly the mother yielded, her friend Verney promising to take
care of them.

Tom liked very well this chance to see the soldiers, but showed the
growing boy’s usual appearance of being unenthusiastic. Moreover, he
hated the Colonel as much as he liked Verney.

Assured of the frolic, the twins frankly opened the question of
Christmas presents with their friendly German guest, Mrs. Markham
protesting in vain.

The Count laughed. “_Guter himmel_, children. I have no presents. Ask
the Colonel; he might dream you each a pony.” The Colonel by this time
was sound asleep.

“It’s no use,” said Harry.

“Not even if he was awake,” said Bill. “If you haven’t got any
presents, tell us a story.”

This he had done many times, liking the lads. Now at this Christmas
season he was thinking of his distant home and his wife and children,
away in the Fatherland.

“Come, come, Count,” said Verney; “I like stories.”

The Count sat still, reflecting.

“He’s getting ready,” said Harry.

“It will be a Christmas story, boys.”

“By all means,” said Verney, seeing as he spoke the old Devonshire
hall--his home, the holly and the mistletoe, and hearing the merriment
that seemed to sail to him on fairy ships over three thousand miles of
sea. They would drink his health this night.

He was recalled to a sense of his alien surroundings as the Count said:
“This is a story, boys, my father used to tell when I was a little
fellow, but it was never told except on Christmas Eve when we sat in
the great hall of my own home.”

“What made you come away to fight us?” This was Bill’s contribution.
Harry punched him to emphasize his wish that there should be no

Mrs. Markham did not, as usual, reprove the twin whose ingenious
capacity to unite impertinence and curiosity was in great need of
check. She merely looked up at the Hessian gentleman, who gravely made
reply to Bill: “I am a soldier and go where I am ordered, even though
it take me to death.”

The twins discussed this later, but Tom was old enough to note the
suddenly serious look of the officer as Mrs. Markham, who knew his
history, said: “Be quiet, boys. I want to hear the story, even if you
do not.”

“But we do,” cried the twins.

“When I tell this story I think of the great hall of the castle, with
no light but what the big logs gave, and how it flashed red on the
armor and on the lances and swords on the walls.”

“Why must there be no lights?” asked Harry.

“Because we think in Hesse that at midnight when the blessed day is
just born the Christ comes to the door and blesses the home. As He is
the light of the world there must be no other light but the fire for
warmth, like the comforting of His love for all, all of us. But now I
must not be interrupted.”

“If Bill does it again,” said the other twin, “I will----”

“Just you try,” returned Bill.

“I shall thrash you both,” said Tom.

“You can’t!”

On this the mother said they should all three go to bed if they spoke
a word in the next half-hour. Upon this there was silence and only the
occasional interchange of such warlike signals as are well known to

The Count went on, the three lads now eagerly attentive, while Verney
sat by giving at need a faint whistle to check or lower the fine
snoring of the Colonel.

“Once upon a time in old days there was a King, and the time it was
once upon was Christmas Eve. Then, as was the custom, Rathumus, the
maker of stories for the King, came to him and said, ‘Come with me that
under the stars I tell you the Christmas tale.’ The King went with him
into the garden.

“‘This,’ said the teller of tales, ‘O King, is the night of all nights
that brings to men wise counsel for their own birthdays, when kings who
are merciful set free many who are in prison for debt.’

“‘But now in this kingdom on the birthday of the Christ, the King of
Kings, a hundred couriers sit on their horses at the gate waiting for a
message of pardon and release to all who are in prisons for wrong-doing
or for having displeased my lord the King. This is the law of the land.
But if the King in his wrath has one he will not set free, then none
are released, and the couriers ride sad to the homes of those who bide
in sorrow.’

“On this the maker of stories went away and the King stayed alone in
the garden. It was very quiet and the stars watched him to see what
would come, for now it was near to midnight, and over all the land
many who knew of the custom stood at their doors longing to see the
white-robed couriers arrive with news of pardon on that Christmas Day.

“Now there is always for every man some woman of whom he is afraid,
and so it was with the King. It was not the Queen, because she was
dead, but it was the King’s daughter, who wanted to marry a brave young
Prince, and was angry because the King saw no way to prevent it except
to keep him shut up in a high tower.

“The stars all felt sorry when the King cried out, ‘Never will I let
him out--never!’

“Then a little wind sobbed through the trees and was still and the
roses in the shadows prayed and the nightingales ceased to sing. There
was a great quietness.

“The King sat down on a seat and was angry with the custom and with
himself, and shut his eyes and thought, for now he must decide. If he
would not set free the Prince there would be no Christmas prayers for
him in all the wide land. But no, he would not free the Prince.

“Of a sudden he heard a voice say softly: ‘If, O King, you move you
will surely die. Listen!’ Then he looked and saw in the darkness a dim
figure with great white wings and was afraid, and as he listened he
heard: ‘O King, around the throne of God a million courier angels are
waiting in prayer. And at the noon of night the Christ will speak, and
they will fly to set loose from chains of sin those who have this year
offended a greater King than you. Hark, the clock strikes! They are
on their way to open for you and many the prison doors of cruelty and

“Of a sudden the angel was gone and the nightingales sang again, while
the King went to the gate and cried to the couriers, ‘Go, with my

“Then in the palace the Princess said to her ladies: ‘Quick, take off
my swan wings and never tell what I have done, or none of you shall
ever be married.’

“Very soon came the King, and said, ‘I have seen an angel!’

“And so the Prince was set free and married that clever Princess and
was ever after good and happy.”

       *       *       *       *       *

“What a pretty tale!” said Mrs. Markham; “and now to bed, to bed, boys.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Tom.

Bill was silent.

“Then it wasn’t a real angel,” said Harry.

“Yes, it was,” laughed Verney. “It was a woman.”

On this Harry, who had the gift of imagination, got up and kissed his
mother, who, comprehending him, smiled.

Just as they were going noisily to bed a servant came in and said
an orderly was without. He gave a paper to Verney, who awakened the
Colonel and gave him a letter.

The Colonel rubbed his eyes and looked at it. “I hoped they had
forgotten. Here are our orders to inspect the lines to-morrow on Mount
Airy and Chestnut Hill.”

“And here,” said Verney, “is Montresor’s map of the forts in and about
the city. He promised me to send it as a guide to the outlying works.”
The twins having gone, Tom lingered, unnoticed.

“Let me see that map,” said the Colonel. They spread it on the table
and began to consider it.

“May I look?” asked Tom, as usual curious.

“Certainly,” said Verney. “I will explain it to you. See, here are
bastions and these dots the cannon. Here is the _tête du pont_, a work
to defend the upper ferry.”

“It is rather droll to me,” said Count Einstein. “Eighteen thousand men
ought to be bastions enough.”

“Not for Sir William,” laughed Verney.

“It is Montresor’s own copy,” said Grimstone. “It is signed.”

“I should be pretty careful of it,” said the Count, a brave and
well-trained soldier.

This readiness to explain the plans to Mrs. Markham and her interested
boy seemed to him unwise. More than once full knowledge of contemplated
army movements had in some mysterious way reached the snowbound enemy.

Mrs. Markham stood by looking over Tom’s shoulder, and presently said,
“It is quite incomprehensible to me. Do you understand it, Tom?”

“I think so. See, mother, in one place he marks a weak point.”

“Have you, Mr. Verney, any such plans of the lines at Valley Forge?”
she asked gaily.

“You had better inquire of Major Montresor,” said the Count, not
fancying the too-free talk.

“To exchange plans would simplify matters,” said Mrs. Markham, from
whom it is to be feared the twins inherited their capacity for mischief.

The Count, much the ablest of the three officers, looked up at her of
a sudden grave. Tom, always on easy terms with Verney, went on eagerly
asking intelligent questions.

“It is time, my son, you went to bed,” said the mother. “If George
Washington, Count, could make no more of that tangle of lines than I,
you might safely make him a Christmas gift of it.”

“Let him come and get it,” laughed Verney.

“They are pretty poor with their Continental rag money,” growled
Grimstone, “but I suppose that map would easily fetch----”

“Fetch!” broke in the Count, still less relishing the talk. “It
wouldn’t fetch five shillings.” There was an unusually sharp note in
his voice. “Roll it up, Verney.”

He was the senior officer present, and Verney, at once recognizing the
implied rebuke as something like an order, took the hint, saying, as he
rolled the map, “I wanted to ask you if you thought----”

The Count put a hand on his shoulder with the slight pressure which
gave force to his words as he said: “We will talk of it, sir, another
time. Permit me to say that if I were you I should be careful of that
map.” This was in an aside to Verney as the boy left them.

Among them they had set the adventurous mind of a fearless young rebel
to thinking in a fashion of which they little dreamed.

“I shall be careful, sir,” and then with his gay manner and the
self-confidence of youth, he added: “What with the Gemini and Tom
and the Colonel, it ought to be safe enough. What time should we go
to-morrow, Colonel?”

“Nine will be early enough.”

“Will you lend me your sable coat?” asked Verney of the Count.

“With pleasure.”

“I like best my sealskin,” said Grimstone. “It is not so heavy. Do you
really mean to take the boys?”

“Of course I do. We want Tom to hold the horses while we tramp about,
and the Gemini must have the frolic. I promised.”

Tom listened, well pleased. He paused on his way to bed, and while the
officers were studying Major Montresor’s elaborate map, he pocketed the
rough sketch of attack Verney had crumpled up and cast under the table.

The boy was by this time more than merely curious. Being intelligent
and thoughtful, all this war talk interested him, and now for two years
his father’s letters while in service and the constant discussion
he heard had rendered familiar the movements of the two armies and
the changing fortunes of the war. The great value of the map of Sir
William’s chief engineer had been made plain to him, and his mother’s
gay suggestion that it would be a nice Christmas gift to Washington
set the lad to planning all manner of wild schemes as he lay abed. He
finally gave it up in despair. How could a boy manage to steal a map
from a man like Verney and then get to Valley Forge? It was no use to
bother about it, and he went to sleep.


The boys were up early, overjoyed to see a brilliant, sunshiny day.
Mrs. Markham provided an ample luncheon, and with Verney and the
Colonel in front of the sleigh, and the twins and Tom well muffled up
on the back seat, the party sped away, the snow creaking under the
runners. The twins talked, laughed, and sang, while Tom sat still,

They paused again and again in Germantown and beyond it to inspect
positions or to talk to officers. At Chestnut Hill they drove down the
westward slope and finally came upon the farther picket line below the
hill. Verney, an engineer officer, thought a field work was needed at
this point. Accordingly, the two officers got out, leaving their fur
overcoats in the sleigh, as the air was now warmer and they had to
tramp some distance through the heavy drifts of snow.

The Colonel put Montresor’s map in the pocket of his fur coat, which he
folded and laid in the sleigh. Verney also left the Count’s rich sable
at the feet of the twins.

“We shall be gone half an hour, boys,” said Verney. “Had we not better
call a corporal from the fire yonder to stand by the horses?”

“Lord, man,” said Grimstone, “they would stand till night. They are
dead tired. Won’t you want the map?”

“No,” said Verney; “I know it by heart.”

About a hundred yards distant was a great campfire and just ahead of
them an outlying picket of two soldiers, one on each side above the
road. Tom sat on the front seat, the reins in his hand. Of a sudden a
mad idea came into his mind.

The map was in the sleigh. The two officers were far away, tramping
through the drifts. Before him lay the lonely highway. He would take
the map to Washington. He forgot the peril of the mad venture now
tempting him, or gave it but a boy’s passing thought. His summers had
been spent at a farm near White Marsh. He knew the country well. The
temptation was too much for him.

A man would have realized the difficulties and the danger for the
smaller boys. He did not. A boy’s mind is more simple. The risks for
himself were merely additional temptations.

He stood up, the reins in his hand, and gazed anxiously after the
retreating forms of the two officers. Then he turned to his brothers.

“Get over in front, Bill; quick, and don’t make a noise.”

There was mischief in the air as Bill at once knew. He climbed over the
seat and waited.

“Hold fast, Harry,” said Tom. “These horses are going to run away.”

“Oh, let me out,” cried Harry.

“No, hold on, and keep quiet.”

“What fun!” cried Bill. “We are to have a ride all to ourselves.”

“Do you whack the horses, Bill. They’ll go. Wait a moment.” He gave one
last look around him and ahead.

Beyond the picket the road ran straight for a mile. He had his moment
of final hesitation, but it was soon over. No one was in sight near
by, and his eyes roamed over the trackless vacancy of snow-clad spaces
into which the highway disappeared.

“Are you ready, Bill?” he said, handing him the whip.

“All right,” said Bill, seeing desirable mischief ahead and enjoying
the prospect.

Harry was less eager, but, ashamed to confess his fears, said bravely,
“Well, Tom, hurry up.”

“Now,” said Tom, “do you, Bill, hit the horses with the whip, not too
hard. They’ll go.”

They did go, for Bill, enchanted, had to be stopped. In an instant they
were off and away at a mad gallop over a much-used road.

“By George!” roared the Colonel. “The horses have run away!”

The soldiers shouted, the picket ran down to the road, too late, and
furious at this unwonted treatment the horses ran. A mile or more went
by before the heavy snowdrifts of a less-used road lessened their
speed. On a hillcrest Tom stood up and looked back.

“Guess we are safe, boys,” he said. “It’s good there were no horses

As the sleigh moved more slowly at a trot, Bill said, “It was a
first-class runaway!” and Harry, reassured, asked if it wasn’t time for

Tom said no, and kept his eye on the road, which by one o’clock became
hard for the horses, as the drifts were heavier.

At last he pulled up for luncheon and to rest the team. As the twins
were now pretty cold Tom got out the fur coats.

“There are only two,” said Harry.

“Oh, I’ll fix that,” said Tom. And this was his way: he threw the heavy
sable coat over the boys’ shoulders, and while Harry put his right hand
into the right sleeve Bill put his left hand into the left sleeve. When
Tom had them buttoned up, the two red faces being close together in the
middle, he called them a double-headed bear and roared with laughter as
he himself put on the Colonel’s coat.

“Won’t he say things!” said Bill, and they went on, but now only at a
walk. Harry did not like it, but, ashamed to confess his fears, kept

They met no one. The distant farms were hidden by the snow-laden
forests. The drifts became heavier. Now they were off the road and now
on. There were no marks of recent travel. It was Christmas; the farmers
at home. Both the twins had become silent, Tom more and more anxious
as he missed his well-known landmarks. At last a dead tree on the road
let him know that he was about six miles from the Forge. The horses had
come quite nine miles or more through tiring drifts. Now and then their
feet balled and Tom had to get down and beat out the packed snow.

Finally the horses could do no more than walk. It was well on to four
o’clock, but at this he could only guess. He began to be troubled about
the twins and a little to regret having made his venture. If they came
to a stop with no house in sight, what could he do? To walk to the
camp would be even for him hard and for the twins impossible. Again
he stopped the horses for a rest, a formidable drift lying ahead and
filling the road.

By this time Bill had lost much of the joy of mischievous adventure.
He began to think it was time for them to return home, and Harry had
asked over and over how soon they would go back. Tom at length ceased
to answer him as it drew toward evening.

There was a new sharpness in the air, a warning to Tom of what night
would bring. He stood upon the seat and searched the white-clad land
for a house or the wood opening which might lead to one. He saw no sign
of habitation to which he could go in person for help. And how could he
leave his brothers? Even to turn homeward in the narrow road among the
drifts would have been, as he saw, quite out of the question. What else
was there but to go on?

Even at this worst minute of his daring adventure the boy could have
cried at the thought of failure. He felt the map and Verney’s sketch
under his waistcoat, thought of his father, a prisoner, and then
cheering up the twins, used the whip on the weary horses, who plunged
into the great mound of snow.

A trace snapped, the sleigh turned over on its side, the horses kicked,
broke loose, and fled away down the road and were soon lost to view.

Tom got on his feet and looked for the twins. For a moment they were
out of sight. Then the huge drift began to shake and their four legs
were seen kicking above the snow, whence Tom pulled out the two-headed
bear. Bill laughed. Tom did not. Harry looked his alarm.

All three working hard were able to right the sleigh after beating away
a part of the drift. After that they climbed in and ate what was left
of the food, but were not quite so merry as before, while Tom, made
savage by failure, would neither eat nor talk.

At last he stood up on the seat.

“Shut up, Gemini,” he said, “I hear something. Now,” he said, turning,
“mind you, if these I hear are British we were run away with. Hush!” He
heard in the sharp, frosty air the clink of sabres and soon the thud of
horses’ hoofs in the snow.


A moment after the runaway boys had heard the sound of horses in the
snow, a dozen troopers of the Continental army were around them and a
young officer rode up, while Harry whimpered and said, “Now we’ll be

“Great George!” cried the officer, “but here’s a queer capture. Who the
deuce are you?”

“I am Tom Markham, sir. My father is Colonel Markham, and these are my

When Allan McLane saw the two-headed bear he rocked with laughter as he
sat in his saddle.

“And how did you get here?”

“We ran away with the horses of Colonel Grimstone and Captain Verney,
and, sir, this was why we ran away.” As he spoke he pulled out
Montresor’s map and the sketch.

McLane opened the paper. “By George, it’s Montresor’s own map. How did
you get it?”

“They left it in the sleigh while they went to look at something this
side of Chestnut Hill. Is it any use, sir?” added Tom anxiously.

“Any use, man! If General Washington doesn’t make you a Colonel for
this there is no use in man or boy trying to serve an ungrateful

Then the twins, feeling neglected, said, “We helped, too.”

“I licked the horses,” cried Bill

“Aren’t you cold, boys?”

“Yes, sir, but we never told Tom.”

“By George, but you are a plucky lad. Take this two-headed animal,
Sergeant. Mount one of them, coat and all, in front of you, and be
quick, or we shall have them frozen.”

“The other may have my coat,” said Tom.

“Good,” said the Captain. “You shall wear my own cloak, my lad.”

Seeing Harry’s look of fright and the ready tears, he said: “It’s all
right, youngsters. Don’t you be afraid. We are all your friends and I
know your father well.”

Turning to Tom, he said: “This way, my lad. Now, then, give him a knee,
Sergeant; so, a foot in my stirrup and up you go behind me. Now, then,
right about by twos, march.”

He went off at a sharp trot with Tom’s arms around his waist.

“Hold on to the belt,” he said.

“May I some day have a boy like you! I enlist you in my troop. You are
one of Allan McLane’s rangers. Hold hard. The road is better. I am
going to gallop.”

If ever there was a proud boy it was Tom Markham, for who did not know
Allan McLane, the terror of outlying pickets, the hero of a dozen
gallant adventures?

“How are you, Gemini?” cried Tom, looking back.

“Oh, we’re fine!” roared Bill, his teeth chattering with cold.

At the river they were stopped a minute. McLane gave the password,
“Washington,” and at dusk they tramped over the bridge and were at once
among General Varney’s brigades.

Bill had ceased to ask questions. Harry, again uneasy at the sight of
soldiers, wept unseen, and even Tom felt a certain awe at thus facing
the unknown. He was more at ease as he saw hundreds of ill-clad men
making merry in a wild snowball fight, shouting and laughing.

They rode in the gloom through dimly seen rows of log huts, and at one
of them McLane dismounted.

“Take your men in,” he said to a lieutenant. “Report at headquarters
and say I shall be there in an hour.” He lifted the twins from their
perches and bade the three enter his hut. “This is my home, boys. Come

It was a tiny log cabin with a stone-built chimney and a big fire;
wood alone was to be had--in plenty. The twins felt better after he
gave them in turn a teaspoonful or two of whiskey in water, laughed at
their wry faces as they drank, set Harry on his knee, patted him on the
back, and bade them make free of his stale biscuit and the potatoes he
roasted in the hot ashes.

The twins, as they got warm in this pleasant company, talked of their
adventures. Tom sat in silence.

“What’s the matter?” asked McLane, getting only “Yes” and “no” to his

“I am thinking, sir, of my mother. Oh, but she will be troubled. I
never thought of that when----”

“Be easy, my lad. To-morrow I am going into the city. I shall see her.
When you can get back, I do not know, but you will see the camp and the
troops and get your share of a trooper’s fare. When you are warm I want
you to come with me, Tom.”

“Yes, sir. I am ready now.”

With a word to the twins he followed the Captain through the darkness.

The men were huddled around campfires and were cooking their scanty
rations of pork and potatoes. Presently McLane paused at the door of a
small stone house, the only one in the lines. A sentry walked to and
fro before it.

McLane went in and said to an officer: “Mr. Tilghman, ask the General
to see me. It is important.”

In a few minutes the officer returned. “This way,” he said.

Tom saw seated before the fire a large man in buff-and-blue uniform. He
rose, saying, “What news have you, Captain?”

“This lad, sir, brought from the town at some peril this map and
sketch. It seems to be some one’s notion of an attack.”

The tall officer put the sketch aside, but as he considered the map he
said, looking up: “This is Major Montresor’s own map and is invaluable.
What is your name, my boy?”

“I’m a son of Colonel Markham, sir.”

“A most gallant officer. And how, my lad, did you happen to get this

Tom was a little disturbed by this authoritative gentleman. Being a
boy, he had, of course, been left standing, while McLane and the tall
man were seated. He understood that he must stand until requested to
sit, but it did add a little to a certain embarrassment, rare for Tom.

“Tell your story, Tom,” said McLane.

“Well, sir, the horses ran away, and the map was in the sleigh.” Tom
stopped. Action, not speech, was his gift, then and later.

“It is not very clear, but the lad is tired.”

“Yes, sir,” said Tom, without the least boy desire to describe what was
a bold and dangerous adventure.

“Never mind your story now. Captain McLane will tell me later. You are
a brave lad, and if God had given me one like you I should have been

Tom felt somehow that he was well rewarded.

“But,” added the tall man, setting kind, blue eyes on the lad, “this
will make a great stir, and you will, I fear, suffer for it when you
reach home.”

“Yes, sir,” said Tom. “And the twins?”

“Twins? What’s this, McLane?”

“There were three in the business,” said the Captain.

“Indeed. I wish there were as much spirit in the army.”

“After all, sir,” said McLane, “what can they do to a mere boy whose
horses ran away?”

“But how are they to get to the city?”

“I will see to that, sir, and let Mrs. Markham know.”

“Yes, yes, quite right. Now I must be excused.” He rose and shook hands
with Tom, and bowed to the officer.

“Come, Tom,” said McLane.

Tom made his best bow and they went out into the cold December night.
Then Tom asked: “Who was that general?”

“Good gracious, my boy, I thought you knew. That was General
Washington. He might have thanked you more. But that’s his way.”

“I think he said enough, sir.”

McLane looked at the young face, now elate and smiling and then quiet
in thought.

The Lieutenant was waiting in the hut when Tom and the Captain returned.

McLane said: “I shall be away for a day or more. Their mother must hear
news of these lads. I leave them in your care, Lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir.”

The Captain said good-bye and was gone for two days.

Meanwhile the story was told by the troopers and soon repeated at the
campfires, where the men amused themselves mightily with the twins and
their narratives.

Tom held his tongue, and wandering saw the earthworks, and the ragged
soldiers making shoes out of old blankets and plaited straw, or cooking
frozen potatoes and decayed pickled herring, and growling over their

He saw the army wagons come in with wood, the worn-out traces replaced
by grapevines. He saw men on guard relieved every hour for fear of
frozen feet, which were shoeless, and more than once a sentry standing
on his hat for relief, with feet double wrapped in bits of blanket. He
ate of horse beef at their fires or rode proudly at the head of McLane
troops down the hill and into the lines of General Greene’s brigades.

The twins, too, kept him busy. They climbed with him the slope of Mount
Misery and saw the bridge over the Schuylkill, and on the posts which
supported it burned in the names of favorite generals--Washington,
Putnam, Greene, and Lafayette. Once Harry, in delicious fear, was
allowed to touch off the evening gun.

At dusk on December twenty-eighth the lads found McLane again in his

“Hurrah, boys,” he cried, “I have a bag of flour, four sausages, and an
aged hen. Let’s make slapjacks. After we have fed I have a story.”

They had been better fed than their soldier hosts, for, if it was not
much at a time, there was something to be had at every hut or campfire,
and by this accumulation of forage they kept themselves fairly
supplied. But sausage and slapjacks and fried chicken! The boys had
their fill for the first time since they left home. Then they lay on
the floor before the fire. The twins looked expectant.

“You promised us a story,” said Bill, “when you came back.”

“I shall be as good as my word.”

“I don’t want it to begin with ‘Once on a time,’” said Harry, now quite
at home. “They always begin that way. The Count told us a story on
Christmas Eve about an angel and it turned out that it wasn’t a real
one after all.”

“That was terrible,” said the Captain. “My story is true. Now and then
I go into Philadelphia to see the troops and where they are.”

“But isn’t that dangerous?” asked Tom, who knew well what was the fate
of a spy.

“Well, rather. I should be hanged if I were caught, but you see they
don’t catch me. Two days ago I rode with a trooper to a deserted barn,
and there I put on a Quaker bonnet, and old woman’s clothes and shoes
and horn spectacles and with a crutch and a basket of eggs I got of
a farmer, I walked down Lancaster Pike and hobbled over the floating

“Any one with provisions can get in and have a pass to get out and I
have been in town several times and am pretty well known as Mrs. Price.
I sold my eggs, some of them to Sir William Howe’s cook. Then I went to
your house.”

“Oh, and you saw mother?” cried Harry.

“Shut up,” said Bill; “I want to hear.”

“When I came to your house, I went to the back gate and was let in by a
black cook----”

“That’s Nancy,” said Bill.

“I said I had eggs for sale. Then she took me to the hall and I sat
down. There I saw that red-nosed Colonel come in. I was knitting a
stocking and was pretty busy, with my spectacles on. Your mother asked
the price of my eggs and where I lived. When the Colonel heard I lived
near Valley Forge and had had a lift on a farmer’s cart to get to town,
he asked about the troops here. I told him some fine yarns, and with
this he went away. I should like to catch him and swap him off for your

“Did you see Captain Verney?” asked Tom.

“Yes. I am a bit afraid of him. When he came through the hall I had to
turn my back because my garter was coming down.

“Your mother and I bargained for my eggs and at last the maid took
them. Then I whispered, ‘Could I see thee alone?’ She said ‘Yes’ and
took me into the parlor.

“I said: ‘Mrs. Markham, thou hast no need to be troubled. The boys are
safe at Valley Forge. The horses ran away.’

“When I said this she cried, and just sat down and said: ‘I have been
so distressed, but--I knew--Tom--was to be trusted.’”

“Oh!” exclaimed Tom, “did my mother say that?”

“Yes, she said that. I think the less you fellows say at home of the
runaway the better for you and your friend, Captain Verney. You see,
the lost map will make a heap of trouble for him--and for you, too, if
you are not careful.

“Then your mother began to ask questions, but I said I was in a hurry,
and that on New Year’s Eve she must get a pass for a chaise and man to
meet you on the west side of the middle ferry about nine at night. I
said, too, ‘Thy boys may have difficulty about a map. Best to see them
alone before Brimstone can question them. It was very foolish for them
to run away with that map.’

“When I spoke of the map she laughed and said: ‘Was that why the horses
ran away? Oh, Tom, Tom!’

“Then I said: ‘They can’t do anything to your boys.’

“‘No, but Mr. Verney and the Colonel were much blamed and are very
cross. However, that night I can see the boys alone. The officers--I
mean the Colonel and Captain Verney--are to take supper with Mr. Penn
at his house over the river.’

“I asked if it was the place in the woods above the Schuylkill, the
place he calls The Solitude. I wanted to be sure. Your mother said:
‘Yes. It is there, I believe.’ It set me to thinking.

“Of a sudden she turned on me and said: ‘You are no Quaker.’

“I laughed and said: ‘No, madam, I am Captain Allan McLane, at your

“This did scare her for the risk I ran, but I said there was none. She
sent you her love. That’s all my story. We found the horses, Tom. I
shall take one and my Lieutenant the other.”

“I don’t like that,” said Tom.

“Spoils of war, sir; and now get to bed.”

“And the fur coats?” asked Tom, anxiously honest.

“We shall return the Count’s. I shall keep the Colonel’s. Now to bed,

“Thank you, sir,” said Tom.

“That was a fine story,” said Bill. “I like real true stories.”

“And it ends just right,” said Harry.

“Oh, that is not the end,” laughed McLane.

Then the boys were curious and questioned their friend, but he would
tell them no more.

“To bed,” he cried, and rolled them up in blankets on the cabin floor.


The days went by, and on the afternoon of December thirtieth the boys
rode out of camp, the twins well wrapped up in front of troopers and
Tom mounted on a troop-horse. The day was pleasant and warm for the
season, and McLane pushed on at speed down the west side of the river.

It was a long and hard ride and the twins were tired when, nine miles
from the city, at a friendly farmer’s, pickets were put out and they
spent the night and were well fed.

They stayed all of that day at the farm, and at seven on New Year’s
Eve the Sergeant went back to camp, leaving but six men. Presently, to
Tom’s amazement, McLane came out of the barn with his Lieutenant, both
dressed as British officers and the men as King’s soldiers. Then they
mounted as before and rode slowly toward town. Tom, very curious, asked
questions. McLane laughed: “Only a little fancy ball, Tom, and don’t
talk. I want to think. Later I hope to send you a dispatch.” Tom was
puzzled, but rode on in silence.

About nine at night they were just outside of the English pickets, not
far from the Schuylkill. Here they rode into a wood and dismounted.
Then McLane on foot led the boys down the Lancaster Road.

“Yonder,” he said, “is a guard. As it is very dark you may get by
unseen. If not, you must say you are boys from town and have lost your
way. Not a word of me. Be careful. At the middle ferry bridge you will
find a chaise and your man-servant. Now be silent and careful and
good-bye, Colonel Markham.”

Full of the boy delight in an adventure so real, Tom went on in the
darkness with the twins. He saw against the sky a guard on a little
hillock above the road. A thicket of briers lined the wayside.

Tom halted and whispered: “We have got to creep, Gemini, and play
bears. No noise, and go slow.”

With this the three went down on their hands and knees in the snow,
and, Tom leading, crept by the sentry on the bank, who was stamping and
beating his breast to keep warm.

“Now,” said Tom, “for a run to get warmed up”; and, unseen, they ran
through the darkness on the well-trodden snow of the mid-pike.

They soon found the chaise and their servant. He had a pass so that
they easily went by the guard and after a short drive were at home and
in their mother’s arms.

When the boys left him, McLane, a little anxious, looked after them for
a time and returned to his men. They tied their horses in the wood
and, leaving a man to care for them, one by one crawled through the
thin line of pickets, who were much occupied in keeping themselves warm.

It was very dark, and again the snow was falling and a fierce wind
blowing. At last the men came together at a low whistle from McLane.

They were now close to the house where, in the wood above the
Schuylkill, Mr. Penn was pleased to entertain his friends. It was a
quaint little house and still stands to-day in the Zoological Gardens.
There is a small entrance hall, a winding stair, and on the left a
descent to a long underground passage ending in two large, cool-storage
rooms. One large chamber on the first floor looks eastward over the

McLane knew it all well. It was now long after nine and very dark. The
partisan officer was safe between the pickets he had passed and those
along the west shore far below the house.

Leaving his men near the door he went around the house. Then,
approaching a window, he cautiously looked into the room. A dozen
candles were on the table, and many more in sconces on the wall.

At the table sat Mr. Galloway, the British superintendent of police, a
staunch Tory, Mr. Penn, Colonel Grimstone, and Captain Verney. There
were several empty chairs. Supper was over. There were empty bottles on
the table and a big bowl of punch.

The Colonel had removed his stiff regulation stock. Galloway had
unbuttoned his embroidered waistcoat. Verney was looking at his watch.

“A nice party,” said McLane. “Will it incline to be hospitable?”

Then he returned to the front.

The Lieutenant said: “Their horses are in the stable, the grooms asleep
beside a fireplace.”

A man was put at each window, two left at the door, and, it being
now near to ten, McLane quietly entered the hall, and then, with his
Lieutenant, appeared in the supper-room. Mr. Penn arose.

“Good-evening, sir,” said McLane. “Lieutenant Hand and I have had a
long ride, and seeing your lights took the liberty----”

“Oh, most welcome--as are all gentleman of His Majesty’s service. Sit
down, sir. Colonel Grimstone, you may know these officers.”

“Never saw them in all my life,” said the Colonel gruffly.

Captain Verney rose and bowed.

“I beg pardon,” he said, “I did not catch your name.”

“Captain Head, at your service.”

“That’s queer,” said Grimstone; “Head and Hand.”

“Sit down,” said the host. “Oh, by George, the servants have gone
and--Verney, you are the youngest and you know the way, would you fetch
some wine for us from the cellar?”

McLane said a word to his Lieutenant, who rose, apologizing. “I want
to see to the horses. Be back in a moment.”

In the hall he saw Verney take a lantern and go down to the cellar. The
Lieutenant waited a moment, shot bolt and lock behind the Captain, and,
returning, sat down by Galloway.

“Pray throw off your cloaks, gentlemen,” said Penn. “Will you drink,
Captain Head?”

McLane cast his cloak back from his left shoulder and set a hand on his

“I never drink while on duty, Mr. Penn. You must hold me excused.”

“As you please, sir,” answered Penn.

“What’s your regiment?” inquired Grimstone in a thick voice.

“McLane’s Horse! And if a man moves there will be two dead.” For a
pistol was at the forehead of both the Colonel and Galloway.

They were startled, but had wit enough to understand a very unpleasant

“Don’t do that!” cried Grimstone. Galloway sat as still and as pale as
a statue.

“I am sorry, Mr. Penn, to disturb you,” said McLane; “but as I have
neither eaten of your salt nor drunk at your board, you will pardon me.
Neither do I want you or Mr. Galloway,” he continued, “if you will say,
on your honor, that you will not leave this room nor give the alarm for
half an hour.”

Penn said: “Needs must. You know the proverb, Captain McLane.”

Galloway said: “Oh, I swear.”

“Kindly put your watch on the table, Mr. Penn. Ten, I see. Captain
Verney is locked in the cellar. My regards to him. Come, Colonel, and
on the honor of a gentleman if you speak or resist I shall kill you.
Good-night, Mr. Penn.”

The Colonel rose with his captor and went out.

“Sergeant, put this gentleman between two men and call in the rest. If
he ventures to give the alarm shoot him.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good Heavens!” said Penn to Galloway. “A nice ending for a supper.
That fellow missed Sir William Howe by only ten minutes.”

“Hark! What was that?” said Galloway. Distant shots rang sharp through
the cold night air.

“They have had trouble with the pickets.”

“Hope they caught them,” said Galloway.

Penn returned: “He is one of the kind that catches and is never
caught.” Then, as the noise of a great thumping and pounding fell on
his ears, he added: “Just listen to Verney!” And he fell back in his
chair, convulsed with laughter. “No, don’t move, Galloway. It wants
fourteen minutes of the half-hour. Sir William was in luck.”

A little later the amazed and disgusted Verney heard the story. “He
did not want me, I suppose.” He knew later that, because of being a
gentleman and courteously kind to Tom’s mother, McLane was pleased to
forget him.

The Colonel failed to appear at home that night. Verney was late in
returning, and only at breakfast did Mrs. Markham and the boys, to
their relief, and greatly to Tom’s delight, learn of the capture of
their unmannerly guest.

Then the Captain, still a little cross, turned on Tom.

“Now, sir,” he asked, “did you run away with the sleigh or the sleigh
with you?”

The Count, much amused, listened.

Tom was cornered. Very red in the face, he replied: “The horses ran
away with both, sir.”

“I may assure Sir William that the horses ran away?”

Tom felt that he was well within the boundary of truth as he said,
“Yes. They ran like everything. We upset, and Captain McLane found us
and took us to Valley Forge.”

“And what, sir, became of the map we left in the sleigh?”

Tom wriggled.

“I want an answer.”

“General Washington has it.”

“Did you give it to him?”

“No, sir. Captain McLane gave it to him.”

“I think,” remarked the Count, “that you had better stop here.”

That was also Tom’s opinion.

“The map was in the coat-pocket, I remember.”

“Yes, sir. I was to tell Count Einstein, with Captain McLane’s
compliments, that his coat is at Farmer Nixon’s, near the Cross Keys
Tavern. He said you could easily get it.”

The Count expressed his pleasure, and Verney asked no further questions.

A few days later, just before supper, Tom burst into the room with the
twins after him.

“He’s got a letter!” cried Bill.

“He won’t let us see it!” cried Harry.

They fell on Tom and rolled in wild laughter on the floor.

“This is too much,” said Mrs. Markham.

Verney rose, and with two or three mild kicks separated the fighting,
laughing tangle of legs and arms.

Then he caught the elder boy by the collar and said: “Stand up on your
hind legs, Tom, and tell me what this row is about.”

“He’s got a letter,” said Bill, “a Quaker man, a farmer, left it; and
he won’t let us see it till mother reads it.”

“Where is it?” said Verney.

“Here, sir. You’re choking me. You may read it. There’s a message for

Captain Verney looked at the address and read, laughing, “This with

“With your permission, madam,” he said; then he read aloud:

“Valley Forge, January 7, 1778.

“To Colonel Thomas Markham, Jr., late of Captain Allan McLane’s
Company, Continental Line----”

“That’s me!” said Tom.

“Indeed!” He turned to the contents.

  DEAR COLONEL: I beg to report that after leaving you on the road with
  Gemini I had the pleasure of Capturing Colonel Gravestone, now here
  on parole and a low diet. He says his name is Grimstone, but what can
  be grimmer than Gravestone, and grim he is and grave. We shall swap
  him off for Colonel Markham.

  My compliments to Captain the Honorable John Verney. Having been a
  kind and courteous guest I forgot him. It was against the rules of
  the service, but I trust, sir, you will not have me court-martialed.
  The map found in the coat proves useful. My thanks to Major Montresor.

  Remember me to your mother.

  I have the honor to be your very obedient humble servant and

                                                           ALLAN McLANE.

  Postscript--I promised you an ending to my story, and here it is.

“Well, of all the impertinent things!” cried Verney; “but, my dear
Count, I should like to see ‘Gravestone’ among these gentlemen, and, on
my word, I should like to meet this brave and merry officer.”

The Colonel spent two months and more on parole at Valley Forge. He
lost four stone and became meek.

In the spring he was exchanged for a better man, Colonel Markham, but
no amount of food, as he swore, ever enabled him to make up for the
scant fare he had had in the camp of the Continentals.

The twins and Tom lived to enjoy many Christmas Days, but none like
that they spent with the army at Valley Forge in the hard winter of



  About the Boston Tea-party and the Indians who brewed the tea.

Chance has led us to the spot on which the house of Governor Winthrop
stands. But by the side of it, in a crowded neighborhood, is a brick
church with a fine and lofty steeple pricking the frosty air of a
December afternoon. There is a dense crowd of men, with a sprinkling of
women, arguing and gesticulating about the door, but the interior is so
choked up with people that we can scarcely elbow our way in. The men’s
faces, we notice, are flushed and excited, and here is an angry buzz
of half-suppressed voices. Evidently something out of the common has
brought these people here. What can it be?

Ah! they are all talking about tea.

“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” one says,
very significantly, to his neighbor.

“Aye, and they can send us tea but can’t make us drink,” responds his

“Let them take it back to England, then, and peddle it out there,”
ejaculates a third. “We will not have it forced down our throats,” he

“What sort of a drink would tea and salt water make?” suggests a man
who is evidently losing patience; for it has grown dark, and the lamps
shed a dim light throughout the unquiet crowd.

“Good for John Rowe!” shout the bystanders approvingly, and as his
words pass from mouth to mouth, the people laugh and clap.

Presently a man of middle age speaks. At his first words every voice
is hushed. Every eye is turned upon him. In a grave and steady voice
he tells the people that their purpose to send the tea-ships home to
England, with their cargoes untouched, has been thwarted by Governor
Hutchinson, who refuses to give the vessels the pass, without which
they cannot sail. “And now,” concludes this same grave and earnest
voice, to which all eagerly listen, “_this meeting_ can do nothing more
to save the country.”

There is a moment’s silence--a moment of keen disappointment, an
ominous silence.

Then some one in the gallery cries out, in a ringing voice, “Boston
Harbor a tea-pot to-night! Hurrah for Griffin’s Wharf!”

Instantly, before the people are aware what is intended, an Indian
war-whoop pierces the air; and, starting at the signal, no one seems
to know whence or how, half a hundred men, having their faces smeared
with soot, and disguised as Indian warriors, brandishing hatchets and
shouting as they run, pour through Milk Street, followed by the crowd,
turn down to Griffin’s Wharf, where the tea-ships lie, clamber on
board, take off the hatches in a hurry, and while some pass up the
chests from the hold others smash and pitch them overboard. Crash go
the hatchets, splash goes the tea. Splash! splash! Every one works for
dear life, earnest and determined.

Never were ships more quickly unloaded. The frightened captains and
crews were told to go below and stay there if they would not be harmed.
They obeyed. No one but the fishes drank that tea.

After finishing their work the lads who had been making a tea-pot of
Boston Harbor marched gaily back to town to the music of a fife. While
on their way they passed by the residence of Mad Montagu, the British
admiral who commanded all the fleet of war-ships then lying at anchor
within gunshot of the town. The admiral threw up his window, thrust out
his head, and halloed:

“Well, boys, you have had a fine, pleasant evening for your Indian
caper, haven’t you? But mind, you’ve got to pay the fiddler yet!”

“Oh, never mind, Squire!” shouted Pitts, the leader. “Just come out
here, if you please, and we’ll settle the bill in two minutes.”

The admiral shut his window in a hurry, and the tea-party, with a laugh
for the admiral, marched on. He was fond of a fight, but thought it
best to decline this invitation.



  In this story an old-fashioned “courting-stick” in the hands of a
  quick-witted girl is the means of saving patriot lives and ammunition.

The time was the year of Lexington and Concord, and the place, a little
village not many miles away. Already men’s faces were stern and women’s
eyes dim with sorrow; only the little children played on and knew no

Dolly Pearson scorned the name of child, yet the thought of war brought
to her only a sense of exhilaration. She had no father or brother to
lose; but neither had Elizabeth who had not smiled these three months.
Why? John Thurlow had said no word of enlisting. A shame it was,
too--thought Dolly--and he a strong man with naught to bind him!

“Betty,” said Dolly, who was helping her sister to tidy the best room,
“why does not John enlist? There, ’tis said now--I just had to! I’ve
been waiting and waiting because I feared to hurt you by the question!”

Elizabeth turned her quiet face to the saucy one, and smiled a little
sadly down at the girl. “John will go soon,” she said. “He is but
tarrying till the time be ripe.”

“Well, right glad am I to know it!” cried Dolly. “I always liked
John Thurlow, but had he been a coward----” She stopped, amazed at
Elizabeth’s look.

“Never name coward and John Thurlow in the same breath again!” she
said, vehemently, with wrathful face.

Dolly ran over to her sister repentantly. “Betty, I meant nothing. I
could not understand his tarrying, that was all. It is because he is
going that you have looked so sober lately.”

“Yes,” said Elizabeth, burying her face in her blue apron. Dolly
stared. She never cried herself, and never had she seen her sister cry,
save when their father died. Something of the solemn feeling she had
then had now silenced her, and she stood smoothing Elizabeth’s hand
until the girl looked up.

“There, Dolly, get to work,” she said, “and be glad you are not old
enough to understand.”

Dolly went pouting to her work--at fourteen she didn’t like being
thought young! Presently something diverted her thoughts. It was a
hollow rod, eight feet long and an inch in diameter, with a queer
mouth and ear-piece at each end--an old-time courting-stick that had
belonged to her grandmother. Dolly held it across to Elizabeth, her
face dimpling with mischief.

“Try it, Betty!” she pleaded. “I want to see if it sounds as well as

Elizabeth held it to her ear, while Dolly’s saucy lips touched the
other end. “Betty,” she whispered, “are you not glad that you and John
don’t have to use this stick?” Elizabeth dropped it impatiently.

“You heard,” Dolly said innocently. “That was what I desired to know.
But you might have said something to me!”

When Elizabeth’s color came and went, as now, there was no girl
like her in the village. Indeed, at all times she was prettiest,
thought loyal Dolly, studying her next day, as they all walked to
meeting--Elizabeth in a sprigged muslin and a bonnet with rose-colored
ribbons. How beautiful she looked as she went to the singers’ seats!
John Thurlow sat there, too.

By turning a little in the pew, Dolly could see the singers’ seats, and
half the congregation as well. So of course she saw Eunice Winter come
in, and with her a strange young man, who soon perceived the pretty
face under the rose-colored ribbons, and glanced at it frequently.

Sometimes Dolly changed her position and studied the queer old pulpit,
with its winding stairs and the roofing overhead. There was a loft in
the roof, and squirrels and birds came in there. Suddenly Dolly gave a
start, and a look of delight shone in her eyes. After that she heard
not even the Parson’s “Finally,” and only came to herself when the
people rose to depart. Then she pulled her sister’s dress.

“Betty, do hasten!” she pleaded. “I have something to tell you.”

Elizabeth glanced down at the excited face.

“What is it, Dolly?” she asked, anxiety sharpening her quiet voice.

“Come,” urged Dolly, “away from the others! I _must_ tell you!”

Elizabeth followed her sister to a corner of the meeting-house yard,
where they were alone.

“What is it, Dolly?” Betty asked again, shaken out of her usual calm.

Dolly leaned forward. “Tell John Thurlow I know where his muskets are,”
she said, “and if they be not careful, others will know it, too!”

Elizabeth caught the girl’s hand tightly.

“How knew you that, Dolly?” she asked, a great fear choking her. Dolly
could be trusted, but many Royalists in the neighborhood were seeking
just this knowledge!

“Oh,” said Dolly, delighted at the importance of her discovery, “I saw
something gleaming through a crack in the roofing. I thought at first
’twas the sunlight, but presently I noted some dust in the pew. I put
my hand down and picked some up and tasted it, and although I be ‘so
young,’ I know powder. Why didn’t you tell me? I’d have died sooner
than betray it!” Her eyes were flashing through tears.

“I know it, little sister,” said Elizabeth. “I would trust you as soon
as myself. But do you not see it would be foolish to take more than
were necessary into the secret?”

“Ye-es,” admitted Dolly reluctantly, and then with the old mischievous
smile, she added: “Betty, was it necessary for you to know it?”

“You have a sadly undisciplined tongue, Dolly,” said Betty, coloring.

“But you do not fear to trust me,” said Dolly as they walked slowly
back across the yard. Then the undisciplined tongue reasserted itself.

“Did you note the fine gallant Eunice Winter had to-day?” she asked.

“I saw there was a stranger.”

“He scarce took his eyes from a bonnet with rose-colored ribbons. And
he is much finer-seeming than John Thurlow, Betty!”

“Now, Dolly, you’re going too far,” said Elizabeth sternly. “What would
mother say? It is downright wicked to have such thoughts in the house
of God.”

“Don’t get cross,” pleaded Dolly coaxingly. “I paid heed to the parson,
and I can tell you the text. And for the other matter, time will show
if I be wrong,” and with a saucy nod she broke away and joined her

Time did show. Whatever might be the fault of Mistress Dolly’s tongue,
her eyes were seldom mistaken. Before a week was over the strange
gentleman had met Elizabeth and he soon fell into the habit of calling
almost daily. His name was Henry Robbins, and he was Eunice Winter’s
cousin, visiting there for a month, he said.

All Dolly’s admiration for him vanished on the day she suspected he was
a Royalist. He had never avowed it, but the girl detected a look in his
eyes when she spoke of Lexington that brought her to her feet in great

“I believe you’re a Royalist!” she exclaimed, with flashing eyes. “If
not, why are you tarrying here when the need is so sore? I think a man
who tarries unconcerned is a coward!”

“Dolly!” remonstrated Elizabeth.

“I do,” answered Dolly angrily. “And I hate cowards! You can excuse me
if you will, Betty, but I would say it all over again to the king’s
face!” and she ran out of the room.

The young man looked a little disturbed.

“I pray you overlook the child’s quick tongue,” Elizabeth said. “She is
an eager little rebel, and loses control of herself.”

“Oh, I am not troubled by a child’s idle talk,” he said. “I admire her
spirit. Yet I feel I scarce deserve the lash of her words.”

“I judge no man who follows his conscience. God will direct the right,”
said Elizabeth gently.

With that he had to be content. Yet as he walked down the road he
switched impatiently at the daisies beside it, and felt ill-satisfied
with the part he was playing. To live among these people solely to
discover their preparations for war revolted him, and he did so only at
the positive order of his general.

But as days went on, he began to despair. No slightest clue could he
get of the whereabouts of the stores he knew were being collected. Then
one day, as he was about to return to Boston, a scrap of paper was
slipped into his hand by a boy, who immediately scampered away. Captain
Robbins was standing with a group of men at the tavern waiting for the
mail-coach, and he carelessly untwisted and read the note:

  Search the loft of the meeting-house. A servant of his majesty.

A quick glow came into the young man’s face. John Thurlow was standing
near and looked at him a little curiously. “Good news, judging from
your face,” said John.

“Aye, the best,” the Royalist said slowly. And never did John Thurlow
forget the curious tone and look of the Tory.

It was no difficult matter to examine the loft, which was found
nearly full of arms and powder. But Robbins did not choose to seize
the munitions; he hoped to convict Thurlow, at least, if none of the
others. He set spies on the church, meaning to capture any of the
king’s enemies who might attempt to take away arms.

Then another note came to him:

  On Monday next there will be a midnight meeting in the loft. It might
  interest the captain to attend.

It was Saturday afternoon then. One of the Royalists happened to be
passing the house; the captain called him, and the two young men swung
into step down the road to the meeting-house. Dolly Pearson stood
watching the two as they walked quickly away; then some suspicion came
to her from their gestures. She tried to dismiss it as foolish, but
tried in vain.

Suddenly she started off on a run across the fields. When she reached
the meeting-house her breath was coming in heavy gasps. The building
was open for one of its rare sweepings, but no one was in sight just
then. The girl ran in and up the winding stairs and crouched down
behind the pulpit, and lay there listening and trying to still the
noisy beating of her heart.

It seemed ages that she crouched there; perhaps she had been
mistaken--they might not have been coming here--then she started at the
sound of voices. She dared not peer out. She held herself rigid and
listened--listened for the life of John Thurlow whom Elizabeth loved.

“Forty muskets and seven kegs of powder,” said one voice.

“Aye, and Thurlow and his recruits to take all on Monday night?”

“Hist!” said the captain, looking round uneasily. “Walls have ears.
Monday at midnight you will have a strong band ready. We will surround
the meeting-house, and then----”

“Down with the rebels! And the pay, captain?”

“Trust His Majesty for that. You can have my own share, too. Success is
enough for me.”

“That and a fair field to Betty Pearson’s favor,” laughed the other.
“You are not the only one that would like to see John Thurlow out of
the way!”

“Then shall I earn their gratitude,” answered Robbins.

Dolly was trembling, and it did not seem as if she could control
herself much longer; but soon they went away. Then she had to rest long
in one of the pews to quiet her nerves.

“What ails you, Dolly?” her mother exclaimed, when she saw her. “You
look too ill to stand! You ought to go straight to bed while I brew
some herbs for you.”

“Oh, mother, I can’t go to bed,” said Dolly. “I must see John!”

“Would I were John!” said a mocking voice.

Dolly’s heart sank within her. She had not noticed the captain as she
entered. With an effort she summoned one of her saucy smiles.

“Good-even, Mr. Robbins--this is an unexpected pleasure! You have not
been here for so long--why, not since yesterday!”

“Come and entertain me, since I please you so much,” laughed the

“No,” said Dolly, “it would not be proper to show it. I prefer to talk
to Betty.”

“And I prefer you should talk to me,” said the captain, and there was
a note in his voice that startled Dolly. She imagined that she was
suspected. The color had come back to her face now, and her eyes were
blazing. Somehow--how, she had not the least idea--she must warn John
to-night. To-morrow would be too late, for the captain was on his guard.

She leaned back in a corner of the big settle, with a saucy laugh
answered his teasing, and gradually regained control of herself. Yet
all her will could not keep the color from flying to her face when she
heard John’s step. She bent down and played with the kitten at her feet.

“Miss Dolly was desiring your presence, Mr. Thurlow,” said the captain.

“Oh,” said Dolly carelessly, “never mind, John. That was an hour ago.”

Thurlow smiled good-humoredly at her, knowing her to be whimsical. She
sat wondering how she could get the message to him. Write it? Even
could she do so unobserved she would have no opportunity to give it to
him; of that she was certain. Equally sure was she that she would not
be allowed to leave the room alone.

Suddenly a thought came to her and filled her with glee. “Oh, Mr.
Robbins!” she cried. “Have you ever seen our courting-stick?”

“Courting-stick? What might that be?”

“I’ll show you,” she answered, starting up. “’Tis in the best room.”

“Nay, let me get it for you,” he said, rising.

“How can you, if you know it not when you see it?” she retorted. “But
you may come, too.” She felt a wicked delight in hearing the captain’s
muttered exclamations as he followed her into the dim best room,
stumbling over table and chairs on the way.

“Did you hurt yourself, Mr. Robbins?” she exclaimed, in a tone of
commiseration. “Trouble yourself no more; I have the rod. Here, John,”
she added, when they had returned, “take the other end while I show Mr.
Robbins how our grandfathers courted.”

John took the rod and Dolly put her lips to her own end. “John,” she
whispered, “betray no surprise for your life! Mr. Robbins knows about
the meeting-house loft, and is to lead a band of men to take you Monday
night. Pretend you cannot hear this well.”

John looked up in apparent perplexity. “The old rod is out of use,” he
said. “Speak louder, Dolly.”

The captain, with a suspicious look, pressed nearer.

“John,” she called, “are you sorry courting-sticks are out of fashion?”

“A chilly custom, truly,” said the captain. “Don’t you think, Miss
Dolly, it was rather hard on the happy pair?”

“Why, no,” said Dolly. “Take the other end, Mr. Robbins, and see the
convenience of it.”

The captain took John’s place, but he could not catch the faint whisper.

“I could not hear the words,” he said.

“Oh, I’ll try again,” said Dolly obligingly.

This time the captain turned away with an amused laugh. “Cool heart
that could carry on love-making at such a length,” he said. “It is a
rare curiosity, though. Shall I carry it back, Miss Dolly?”

“It needs not to be put away now,” Elizabeth said, and Dolly had to
give up the pleasure of making the captain stumble again in the dark.

As the clock struck nine John rose, and the captain with him. Dolly
laughed as away through the darkness strode the two men whose fortunes
had changed strangely since they trod the same road a couple of hours

Three hours later a strange party in the meeting-house silently lowered
the powder casks and muskets and carried them to carts outside. When
morning broke the munitions were stored again five miles away. The men
were in their usual places when the Sabbath service began.

John gave one quick look at Dolly, and she was satisfied. He did not
go near her after the service, but one and another of the men came and
spoke to her. They said no word of why they spoke, but she knew, and
her heart swelled with pride as she counted the bravest of the place
among the number. They were true patriots, then! She never would doubt
them again, never!

The next night Captain Robbins met his men near the church. Nothing was
stirring. The captain began to look black.

One of the men entered through a window and flung the door open. They
strode into the empty room. The noise of their footsteps seemed to
echo and re-echo. All was solemnity of silence. In spite of themselves,
they were awed by the time and the place.

“At least,” said Captain Robbins hoarsely, “we will take the stores.”
He climbed eagerly to the loft ahead of the others. “Your light,
Wilson,” he called.

The man handed it up and Robbins held it high above his head. A few
startled swallows whirred around him and a mouse ran out of some straw
on the floor. But that was all.

There were two visitors at the Pearsons’ the next day. One was the
captain who called to say farewell. His holiday was up, he said, and
he must go back to Boston. Dolly watched him as he rode away. Once he
turned and waved to her. “Good-bye, my little enemy,” he called.

The next one was John Thurlow. He caught Dolly’s hands in his strong
grip and looked down at her so that she colored and tried to get away.

“Why, Dolly!” said Elizabeth, in surprise.

“Has she not told you?” asked John. “She is the bravest little maid I
ever saw. I know not, even now, how much her quick wit has saved.”

“No,” said Dolly, looking up, her mischief as usual conquering her
confusion. “I am naught but a little rebel firebrand--Mr. Robbins said
so. And Mr. Robbins knows everything except the use of courting-sticks!”

She broke away and ran quickly down the lane. The air was full of soft
summer noises, and the leaves and blossoms were stirring and flashing
and playing in the sunlight, and the day was golden--golden! She drew a
long breath of content. She was so happy to be alive and to have helped
a little.

“For I always shall be a rebel as long as I live,” she declared.



  The author says of Susan that she “was a sociable soul, if
  occasionally a bit difficult”--and we welcome her to our gathering of
  patriotic heroes and heroines.

The lower half-door of the Thurrell house side porch was closed because
Susan Tong’s ball of yarn, which was always slipping from her vast and
rotund knees, had a way of hopping down the steps if the door were left
open. Because the garden-path sloped, the ball, if once started, would
roll far beyond even the longest reach of the odd implement with twin
handles at one end, flat nippers at the other, and a middle length of
extensible iron latticework, which had earned Susan, properly the Widow
Thurrell, the name by which she was commonly known. But the upper half
of the broad, green-painted door was set wide to the streaming sunshine
of a mild October afternoon of 1776.

Just within the door showed the chintz back, gay with red-patterned
palm-leaves, of the huge armchair in which sat Susan Tongs herself, her
smooth bands of red hair just showing beneath her cap, her small, light
eyes lifted from her work to the golden autumnal landscape, her triple
chin descending upon a snowy amplitude of kerchief, and a pair of long
steel needles clicking in her two fat hands.

Susan possessed two distinctions: she was the fattest person in
the village, and she was the only fat person in it who had not an
easy-going disposition. Too unwieldy for many years past to move about
upon her little feet and weak ankles without the assistance of her
crutch-handled staff, her utmost exertion was to cross the road to the
meeting-house on Sundays; week-days she spent in her chair, directing
the household tasks of her pretty niece, Tamsine, who did not have a
very easy life of it.

Susan Thurrell, everybody said, had been notably brisk and light of
foot in her youth, and the burden of flesh which had come upon her in
later life was particularly unwelcome, and far from being accompanied
by a corresponding increase in mental grace. She was certainly very

Just what her weight was no one knew; her own guess was “nigh about two
hundred and fifty,” but there were many who vowed it was three hundred
if it was a pound.

A mottled hen which had somehow got into the garden patch caught
Susan’s eye, and a shadow of anger overcast her wide face. The creature
was clucking its way, followed by a lone chicken, directly toward her
favorite bed of sweet herbs. She shouted a husky “Shoo,” but without
effect; then she caught up her “lazy man’s tongs,” which lay near.

Quickly compressing the handles, she shot the tip out to its farthest
extent and picked up with it a crust of bread fallen from the
dinner-table and overlooked, for Tamsey, the orderly caretaker, had
been called away in haste that day to a sick neighbor. This crust she
flung at the invader. The hen squawked and ran, but presently returned
to peck cheerfully at the missile.

Still wheezing from the exertion of a rapid movement, Susan uttered a
grunt of disgust, and with lazy-tongs still in hand glanced about for
something else to throw. As she turned to look behind her chair she
saw, at the far end of the room, leaning against the mantelpiece to
which he seemed to cling for support, a young man, scarcely more than a
boy, very pale and breathing heavily, and with a queerly mingled look
of courage and terror in his eyes.

“Othniel Purdie!” she cried. “What are you doing in my kitchen?”

He only panted, and she stared at him in amazement fast deepening to

“Why ain’t you with General Washington?” she demanded. “What are you
back here in Norley for? Folks said you’d run away to join the army.
Don’t you know there’s a British camp at the other end of the town, and
British officers quartered at Parson Hackett’s and Marchant Cole’s?
What are you here for?--and looking scared as a hunted rabbit! I never
liked you, and I won’t have you hanging around my niece, Tamsey; but I
do hope to Providence you’ve not deserted. I couldn’t bear to think
any Norley boy would do that. Speak up, can’t you? What are you here

“I haven’t deserted,” the young fellow managed to say, “and I know well
enough the place is full of redcoats. They want me, and I’m afraid
they’ll get me, and it’s all up if they do.”

“Want you? What for?” She looked at him again, and between her heavy
cheeks and the overhanging roll of her eyebrows a gleam of fiery
intelligence came into her two little gray-blue eyes, small and hard
and wise, like an elephant’s.

“Where’s your uniform? What are you holding to the front of your shirt
for? Have you papers there? Despatches? Are you trying to steal through
the lines? That’s the same as spying, isn’t it? Good mercy, you’ll be
hanged; of course you will!”

He had not needed to answer any of her quick questions in words; she
took the answer from his eyes without waiting, and scolded on: “And I
suppose you stopped here for a sight of Tamsey, but she’s away and you
won’t see her, and glad I am of that. The zanies boys are! You’d better
slip away quick and hide till dark; there’s a place in the shed loft
where nobody----”

He interrupted her. “I can’t get there. I can’t go any farther. I’ve
sprained my ankle and I fainted twice getting here the back way from
Royd’s wood-lot, where I dodged them and they lost me. But they haven’t
given it up, and I heard them say they’d search every house in the
village. But this was the only place I could get away to, and so I
came. I can’t go any farther; I’ll faint again if I try. I thought
maybe Tamsey’d hide me. I know you don’t like me, Mrs. Thurrell, but I
thought you’d let her, when it was life and death--and there are the

“Give them to me,” said Susan.

“Here--I know you’ll take good care of them, at any rate, and you’ll
send them on by a safe hand if I’m taken, won’t you, Mrs. Thurrell?”

“Mmm!” grunted Susan. “Twist them up and toss them in the woodbox there
with the kindlings--it’s in plain sight and won’t be thought of. Now
we’ve got to hurry--hurry--hurry, if we’re going to save that neck of
yours; and, land, what a poor pair we are for hurrying!”

Laughing fiercely, and gripping the arms of her seat, Susan had risen
painfully as she talked, and now, supporting herself on her staff,
stood up and shoved the great chair a little to one side. A trap-door
showed in the floor where it had stood, and she explained quickly that
the kitchen had been a later addition to the house; that the main
cellar did not extend beneath it, but that there was below a small,
square pit for storage, large enough to conceal a man at need.

Then, crying to Othniel to catch, she tossed him her crutch-stick, and
leaning heavily upon it, he crossed the room to her side. Directing him
to lean on the chair, she resumed her staff, and, reversing it, hooked
open the trap-door with the crutch end, and signed to him to descend.

He hesitated. “They’ll find it,” he said; “it’s in plain sight as soon
as your chair is moved. If I must be caught, I’d rather be caught above
ground than hauled out of a hole, like a woodchuck.”

“You go down,” said Susan grimly, “I’m going to put that chair back and
sit in it; and move it they don’t neither, not if they’re the whole
British army!”

He lowered himself to the edge and slipped down, wincing and biting his
lips as he curled up in the little square space, adjusting his injured
ankle in his hand. For a moment his clear eyes looked up to Susan’s
with gratitude and appeal; then the lid closed. He heard shoving and
shuffling and the settling of a heavy weight in place overhead, and
after that the swift and steady click of knitting-needles.

A young English officer, accompanied by a sergeant and four soldiers,
coming briskly up the garden-path not ten minutes later, found Susan
Tongs knitting as usual, just within her doorway. She scarcely glanced
up while the officer, a youngster hardly older than Othniel, briefly
stated his errand and demanded admittance; but when he had concluded,
she shot him an indignant look.

“Search my house!” she cried. “Do you suppose I want your soldiers’
dirty fingers poking in my linen-chest and overhauling my gowns and
petticoats, all to find a good-for-nothing lad that’s been forbid
the place this two years? Ask any of the neighbors what were the
last words I had with Othniel Purdie, and whether he’s likely to be
hiding here or not--ask ’em! I don’t believe you even think he’s
here. I believe it’s an excuse to steal my property and drink my
cider. How should he be here? Last folks heard, he was off to General
Washington--God bless him----”

“What! What!” cried the young officer, lifting his eyebrows and
laughing. Susan set her teeth and clicked her needles hard. “We hear
there’s a pretty niece of yours, who’s not so hard on the young man,”
he went on; “and since you’re so frankly a rebel yourself, Mrs. Tongs,
you’ll admit it’s not a bad guess that she may have coaxed you into
protecting even a lover you don’t like, when he’s doing spy’s work for
your admired General Washington. I shall certainly search the house.”

“My name is Mrs. Thurrell, young man; it’s only old friends and
neighbors who may call me ‘Susan Tongs,’” answered Susan dryly. “And
no coaxing of my silly niece, Tamsey--not if she coaxed from now till
judgment--should drive me to harboring any lad against my will. I do as
I please in my own house. But she’s a soft thing, and young, and it’s
possible she might have slyed him in by the back way, if he’s really in
town and hiding; you see I sit here all day, and could little tell what
went on in the rest of the house.

“The notion of Othniel Purdie stowed away in secret in cupboard or
closet of mine pleases me no more than it does you,” she scolded
on; “so on second thoughts you may search and welcome, provided only
you look well after your men and see there’s no mauling of my quilts
and calicoes--manners, sir, manners! Would you shove by a woman, hat
cocked, on her own threshold, when she has bidden you to come in?
Keep back, or come properly!” for the young lieutenant, impatient of
further talk, had started to push past Susan, whose great chair and
person almost blocked the way, and had made a sign to a soldier as if
commanding him to assist in removing the obstacle.

But before the soldier could mount the steps, and quick as the
officer’s hand touched her chair, Susan had snatched up her
lazy-tongs--there was a snap, a glint of shining dark metal, and the
nippers clicked together within an inch of his ear. He uttered a
dismayed oath and leaped backward down the low steps, where he would
have fallen had not the grinning soldier caught him in his arms.

Recovering himself, he cried, furiously, “Put down that pistol!”

Susan smiled a grandmotherly smile and gently shook her head.

The soldier’s grin broadened. “’Twa’n’t a pistol, sir,” he explained
respectfully. “I don’t know what it was; but ’twa’n’t a pistol.”

“Let me pass!” said the officer, reassured but mortified, and springing
again up the steps. “Move aside and let me pass, woman!”

“Woman, and an old woman,” answered Susan serenely, “and surely you may
pass, for I told you so. But a woman of my weight moves slowly, and it
behooves a young gentleman to show patience. I will be treated civilly
under my own roof; and I won’t budge an inch for a swaggering boy with
his hat on--there!” she continued, as he thrust roughly by, squeezed
nearly flat between the armchair and the door-jamb, “there’s for your

This time her aim was better, and the tongs snicked sharply together
with the tip of his queue between them, with the result that, as he
pushed on and Susan held fast, his head was sharply jerked, and his
gilt-laced hat fell off at her feet. With a leisurely closing of the
nippers, Susan picked it up and put it on the table.

“You can have it again when you go,” she said soothingly, as if
speaking to a fretful child. “And will you ask your man there to go
round to the other door? As you have just found, young sir, this door’s
scarcely wide enough for two, when I am one of them, and he is stouter
than you.”

For a moment, red and angry, the young fellow glared upon her fiercely;
but she met his look with one so steady, placid, and grandmotherly, yet
with a glimmer of humor in it, too, that his wrath suddenly vanished
in a burst of boyish laughter. He signed to the soldier to go round to
the back door, as the others had already done, and held out his hand
for Susan’s lazy-tongs, which he played with curiously, snapping and
nipping with them at the air, while he directed the elaborate search
of the lower rooms. Then they all went upstairs together, and heavy
feet were heard clumping through the bedrooms for a long time. At last
the stairs creaked, and they descended.

“Did your soldiers handle my linen?” asked Susan eagerly, with a face
of deep, housewifely anxiety. “I suppose they have tumbled the whole
chestful out in a heap.”

“No, indeed--we’ve scarcely shaken out the lavender,” the lieutenant
answered, smiling pleasantly; adding, with a glance of mock terror at
the tongs, “May I have my hat?”

“Let your sergeant go to the pantry first, if you please. I can’t wait
on you myself, but there are doughnuts and a jug of sweet cider on the
shelf, at your service,” she replied hospitably, and as it was the last
house of the village, and they had no further searching to do, they
accepted the modest treat gratefully, and the four soldiers gathered,
munching and sipping, around the kitchen fire in most friendly fashion.

No shadow of suspicion remained, but the mischievous young commander
lifted his mug, and saying, “This is for the pull you gave my hair,
Mrs. Thurrell, and no punishment at that if you were a properly loyal
subject,” he drank to the king’s health.

“Pour out a mug for me, too, sergeant,” demanded Susan, with sparkling
eyes; but as the man tipped the pitcher to obey, his officer stopped

“No, no!” he cried, laughing and waving it aside. “She will drink to
General Washington!”

“Yes, that she would, young sir!” said Susan Tongs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Next day, with his precious despatches rescued from the woodbox and
his ankle much better, Othniel escaped in a patriotic neighbor’s load
of hay. After the war ended he married Tamsey, with no opposition from
Susan, whose temper softened with time, and who, ever after having
saved him, lavished upon him an affection as great as her former

Indeed, it was a joke in the household--for they shared one home--that
Aunt Susan was never cross now unless Tamsey forgot to give her husband
his favorite kind of cake for supper, or left a rent in his coat
unmended longer then five minutes after he took it off! Then there was
a tempest. But Tamsey was so fond both of Othniel and Susan Tongs that
she could let it rage about her quite untroubled, duteously veiling her
amusement, and listening with an air of meek respect until it spent
itself, and peace returned.



  We have all heard of the “minute-men,” but do you know about the
  little boy who played minute-man inside of a big grandfather’s clock,
  while the redcoats were waiting to capture his father?

All during the winter Brinton had been saying what he would do if the
redcoats came, and grieving because his age, which was eight, prevented
him from going with his father to fight under General Washington.

Every night, when his mother tucked him in his bed and kissed him
good-night, he told her not to be afraid, that he had promised his
father to protect her, and he proposed to do it.

His plan of action, in event of the sudden appearance of the enemy,
varied somewhat from day to day, but in general outline it consisted
of a bold show of force at the front gate and a flank attack by
Towser, the dog. Should these tactics fail to discourage the British,
he intended to retire behind a stone fort he had built on the lawn,
between the two tall elms, and to fire stones at the invaders until
they fell back in confusion, while his mother would look on and
encourage him from the front porch.

When the redcoats unexpectedly appeared in the distance, one afternoon
in May, what Brinton really did was to run helter-skelter down the
road, up the broad path to the house, through the front hall into the
library, close the door, and then peep out of the window to watch them
go by.

When he first caught sight of the soldiers Brinton was sure that there
was at least a regiment of them, but when they were opposite the front
gate all that he could see were a corporal and three privates. Instead
of keeping on their way, however, they turned up the path toward the
house, and then it seemed to Brinton that they were the most gigantic
human beings that he had ever seen.

His mother was away for the day, and had taken Towser with her. This,
together with the fact that the enemy were now between him and his
fort, entirely spoiled Brinton’s plan of campaign, and he decided to
seek at once some more secluded spot, and there to devise something
to meet the changed conditions. But when he started to run out of the
room, he found that in his hurry he had left the front door open, so
that any one in the hall would be in plain sight of the soldiers, who
were now very near.

Unfortunately there was no other door by which Brinton could leave the
room. What was worse, there was no closet in which he could hide. The
soldiers were now so close at hand that he could hear their voices, and
a glance through the window showed him that two of them were going
around to the back of the house, as if to cut off any possible escape
in that direction.

And his mother would not be back until six o’clock. Instinctively his
eyes sought the face of the tall time-piece in the corner. It was just
three; and he could hear the soldiers’ steps on the front porch!

The clock!

Surely there was room within its generous case for a very small boy. In
less time than it takes to write it Brinton was inside, and had turned
the button with which the door was fastened. As he pressed himself
close against the door, so that there should be room for the pendulum
to swing behind him, he heard the corporal enter the room. He knew it
must be the corporal, because he ordered the other man to go upstairs
and look around there, while he searched the room on the other side of
the hall.

Brinton could hear the footsteps of the men as they walked about the
house, and their voices as they talked to each other. Then all was
quiet for a long while. He was just on the point of peeping out when
all four men entered the room.

“Well,” said a voice that he recognized as the corporal’s, “it is plain
there is no one at ’ome. Me own himpression is that the bird’s flown.
’E’s probably started back for camp, and the wife and the kid with
’im. I don’t believe in payink no hattention to w’at them Tories says,
nohow, goink back on their own neighbors--and kin, too, like as not.
It’s just to curry favor with the hofficers, it’s me own hopinion. ’Ow
did ’e know the Major was comink ’ome to-day, anyhow?”

Nobody answered him. Perhaps he didn’t expect any one to.

The Major! Brinton’s own father! He was coming home! This, then, was
the surprise that his mother had said she would bring him when she
went off with Towser in the morning to go to Colonel Shepard’s. And
now those redcoats were going to sit there and wait until he came, and
then--Brinton did not know what would happen, whether he would be shot
on the spot, or merely put in prison for the rest of his life.

Oh, if he could only get out and run to meet his father and warn him!
But the men seemed to give no signs of leaving the room.

“Perhaps he hasn’t come at all yet,” suggested one of the privates.

“Perhaps ’e hasn’t,” answered the voice of the corporal; “but w’y,
then, wouldn’t his folks be ’ere a-waitink for ’im? ’Owever, I’ll give
’im hevery chance. It’s now five-and-twenty minutes after three. I’ll
give ’im huntil six, but if ’e doesn’t turn hup by then, we’ll start
away for the shore without ’im.”

“Six o’clock!” thought the boy in the clock. The very time his mother
had told him she was going to be home again “with something very nice
for him.” And now she and his brave papa would walk right into the
arms of these dreadful English soldiers, and he could not stop them!


What a noise! It startled Brinton so much that he nearly knocked the
clock over; and then he realized that it was only the clock striking
half-past three.

Half-past three! He had been in there only half an hour, and already
he was so tired he could hardly stand up. How could he ever endure it
until four, until half-past four, five, six?

“If only something, some accident even, will happen to detain papa and
mamma!” he thought. But how much more likely, it occurred to him, that
his father, having but a short leave of absence, would hasten, and
arrive before six.

“Tick-tock,” went the clock.

“How slow, how very slow!” thought Brinton, and he wished there were
only some way of hurrying up the time, so that the soldiers would go

Still the soldiers stayed in the room, all but one, who had gone into
the kitchen to watch from there.

“Tick-tock,” went the clock, and “whang--whang--whang--whang!” Only
four o’clock. Brinton began to fear that he could not hold out much

“Tick-tock,” went the clock. Each swing of the pendulum marked one
second, Brinton’s mother had told him. If he could only make it swing
quicker, so that the seconds would fly a little faster!

“Why not try to?” Brinton was on the point of breaking down. He was
desperate. He felt that he must do something. He took hold of the
pendulum and gave it a little push. It yielded readily to his pressure.
None of the soldiers seemed to notice it. He gave it another push. The
result was the same. Brinton began to pick up courage, and he pushed
the pendulum to and fro, to and fro, to and fro.

He tried to keep it swinging at a perfectly even rate, and apparently
he succeeded. At any rate, the soldiers appeared to notice nothing
different. Yet Brinton was sure that he was causing the old clock
to tick off its seconds at a considerably livelier gait than usual.
Half-past four came almost before he knew it, but by five o’clock
Brinton began to realize that he was very, very tired. He had been
standing two hours already in that cramped, dark, close case, and he
had pushed the pendulum first with one hand and then with the other
in that narrow space until both felt sore and lame. Yet now that he
had once begun, he did not dare leave off, and still it did not seem
possible that he could keep it up.

The soldiers had kept very quiet for a long time. Brinton thought that
two of them must be napping.

At five o’clock the soldier who was awake aroused the corporal and the
other private, whom the corporal sent to relieve the man on guard in
the kitchen.

“I must ’ave slept mighty sound,” remarked the corporal. “I’d never
believe I’d been asleep an hour, if I didn’t see it hon the clock.”

“No soigns av any wan yit,” reported the man who had been in the
kitchen, whom Brinton judged to be an Irishman. “Be’s ye going to wait
till six?”

“Yes,” answered the corporal. “But no longer.”

Then they began talking about the British fleet that was cruising in
Long Island Sound, and about the ship on which they were temporarily
quartered until they could join the main body of the army, and how
a neighbor of Brinton’s father’s and mother’s had been down at the
store when a ship’s boat had put in for water, and how he had told the
officer in charge that Major Hall, Brinton’s father, was expected home
for a few hours that day, and what a fine opportunity it would be to
make an important capture.

The clock struck half-past five.

“H’m!” grunted the corporal. “It doesn’t seem that late; but, you know,
you can’t tell anythink about anythink in this blarsted country.”

Brinton now began to be very much afraid that his father would come
before the soldiers left. He wanted to move the pendulum faster and
faster, but after what the corporal had said he did not dare to. Then,
when the men lapsed into silence, it suddenly came over Brinton how
dreadfully weary he was, how all his bones ached, and how much, how
very much, he wanted to cry. But he felt that his father’s only chance
of safety lay in his keeping the pendulum swinging to and fro, to and

At last, however, came the welcome sound of the corporal’s voice
bidding the men get ready to start.


“Fall in!” ordered the corporal. “Forward, march!”

As the sound of their footsteps died away, Brinton, all of a tremble,
opened the door of the clock and stumbled out. He knelt at the window
and watched the retreating forms of the redcoats. As they disappeared
down the road he heard a noise behind him, and jumped up with a start.

There stood his father!

The next instant Brinton was sobbing in his arms.

Brinton’s mother came into the room. “Dear me!” she said; “what ever
can be the matter with the clock? It’s half an hour fast.”



  A very short story, showing a British general’s admiration for
  American boys who were not afraid to stand up for their rights.

Perhaps you have heard that even in these old times the Boston boys
were in the habit of coasting on the Common. They would build hills
of snow and slide swiftly down to the Frog Pond. Well, the English
soldiers had their camps on the Common, and from mere love of mischief
would, when the boys had gone to school, destroy their coasting-ground.
Incensed at having their sport thus meanly prevented, a delegation of
boys went to General Gage about it. When shown into his presence he
asked, with surprise, why so many children had come to see him.

“We come, sir,” said the young spokesman, with a flushed face, “to ask
a redress of our grievances.”

“What!” said the general, “have your fathers been teaching you
rebellion, and sent you here to utter it?”

“Nobody sent us, sir,” replied the brave little fellow. “We have never
injured or insulted your soldiers, but they have trodden down our
snow-hills, and broken the ice on our skating-ground. We complained,
and they called us young rebels, and told us to help ourselves if we
could. Yesterday our works were destroyed for the third time, and now,”
said the lad, with flashing eyes, “we will bear it no longer.”

General Gage looked at the boys with undisguised admiration. Then,
turning to an officer who stood near, he exclaimed:

“Good heavens, the very children draw in a love of liberty with the air
they breathe.” To the lads he then said:

“You may go, my brave boys; and be assured that if any of my troops
hereafter molest you, they shall be severely punished.”



  In this Revolutionary story of Cooper’s, the Spy was one of
  Washington’s most faithful helpers. The following pages tell of their
  last meeting, shortly before the close of the war.

The commencement of the year was passed, on the part of the Americans,
in making great preparations, in conjunction with their allies, to
bring the war to a close. In the south, Greene and Rawdon made a bloody
campaign that was highly honorable to the troops of the latter, but
which, by terminating entirely to the advantage of the former, proved
him to be the better general of the two.

New York was the point that was threatened by the allied armies; and
Washington, by exciting a constant apprehension for the safety of that
city, prevented such reënforcements from being sent to Cornwallis as
would have enabled him to improve his success.

At length, as autumn approached, every indication was given that the
final moment had arrived.

The French forces drew near to the royal lines, passing through
the Neutral Ground, and threatened an attack in the direction of
Kingsbridge, while large bodies of Americans were acting in concert.
By hovering around the British posts, and drawing nigh in the Jerseys,
they seemed to threaten the royal forces from that quarter also.
The preparations partook of the nature of both a siege and a storm.
But Sir Henry Clinton, in the possession of intercepted letters
from Washington, rested securely within his lines, and cautiously
disregarded the solicitations of Cornwallis for succor.

It was at the close of a stormy day in the month of September that a
large assemblage of officers was collected near the door of a building
that was situated in the heart of the American troops, who held the
Jerseys. The age, the dress, and the dignity of deportment of most
of these warriors indicated them to be of high rank; but to one in
particular was paid a deference and obedience that announced him to be
of the highest. His dress was plain, but it bore the usual military
distinctions of command. He was mounted on a noble animal, of a deep
bay, and a group of young men, in gayer attire, evidently awaited his
pleasure, and did his bidding. Many a hat was lifted as its owner
addressed this officer; and when he spoke, a profound attention,
exceeding the respect of mere professional etiquette, was exhibited
on every countenance. At length the General raised his own hat, and
bowed gravely to all around him. The salute was returned, and the party
dispersed, leaving the officer without a single attendant, except his
body-servants and one aide-de-camp. Dismounting, he stepped back a few
paces, and for a moment viewed the condition of his horse with the eye
of one who well understood the animal, and then, casting a brief but
expressive glance at his aide, he retired into the building, followed
by that gentleman.

On entering an apartment that was apparently fitted for his reception,
he took a seat, and continued for a long time in a thoughtful attitude,
like one in the habit of communing much with himself. During this
silence the aide-de-camp stood in expectation of his orders. At length
the General raised his eyes, and spoke in those low, placid tones that
seemed natural to him:

“Has the man whom I wished to see arrived, sir?”

“He waits the pleasure of your Excellency.”

“I will receive him here, and alone, if you please.”

The aide bowed and withdrew. In a few minutes the door again opened,
and a figure, gliding into the apartment, stood modestly at a distance
from the General, without speaking. His entrance was unheard by
the officer, who sat gazing at the fire, still absorbed in his own
meditations. Several minutes passed, when he spoke to himself in an

“To-morrow we must raise the curtain, and expose our plans. May heaven
prosper them!”

A slight movement made by the stranger caught his ear, and he turned
his head, and saw that he was not alone. He pointed silently to the
fire, toward which the figure advanced, although the multitude of his
garments, which seemed more calculated for disguise than comfort,
rendered its warmth unnecessary. A second mild and courteous gesture
motioned to a vacant chair, but the stranger refused it with a modest
acknowledgment. Another pause followed, and continued for some time.
At length the officer arose, and opening a desk that was laid upon the
table near which he sat, took from it a small but apparently heavy bag.

“Harvey Birch,” he said, turning to the stranger, “the time has arrived
when our connection must cease; henceforth and forever we must be

The peddler dropped the folds of the greatcoat that concealed his
features, and gazed for a moment earnestly at the face of the speaker;
then dropping his head upon his bosom, he said meekly:

“If it be your Excellency’s pleasure.”

“It is necessary. Since I have filled the station which I now hold, it
has become my duty to know many men, who, like yourself, have been my
instruments in procuring intelligence. You have I trusted more than
all; I early saw in you a regard to truth and principle, that, I am
pleased to say, has never deceived me--you alone know my secret agents
in the city, and on your fidelity depend, not only their fortunes, but
their lives.”

He paused, as if to reflect, in order that full justice might be done
to the peddler, and then continued:

“I believe you are one of the very few that I have employed who have
acted faithfully to our cause; and, while you have passed as a spy of
the enemy, have never given intelligence that you were not permitted
to divulge. To me and to me only of all the world, you seem to have
acted with a strong attachment to the liberties of America.”

During this address Harvey gradually raised his head from his bosom,
until it reached the highest point of elevation; a faint tinge gathered
in his cheeks, and, as the officer concluded, it was diffused over
his whole countenance in a deep glow, while he stood proudly swelling
with his emotions, but with eyes that modestly sought the feet of the

“It is now my duty to pay you for these services; hitherto you have
postponed receiving your reward, and the debt has become a heavy one--I
wish not to undervalue your dangers: here are a hundred doubloons;
you will remember the poverty of our country, and attribute to it the
smallness of your pay.”

The peddler raised his eyes to the countenance of the speaker, but, as
the other held forth the money, he moved back, as if refusing the bag.

“It is not much for your services and risks, I acknowledge,” continued
the General, “but it is all that I have to offer; at the end of the
campaign it may be in my power to increase it.”

“Does your Excellency think that I have exposed my life, and blasted my
character, for money?”

“If not for money, what then?”

“What has brought your Excellency into the field? For what do you daily
and hourly expose your precious life to battle and the halter? What
is there about me to mourn, when such men as you risk their all for
our country? No, no, no, not a dollar of your gold will I touch; poor
America has need of it all!”

The bag dropped from the hand of the officer, and fell at the feet
of the peddler, where it lay neglected during the remainder of the
interview. The officer looked steadily at the face of his companion,
and continued:

“There are many motives which might govern me that to you are unknown.
Our situations are different; I am known as the leader of armies--but
you must descend into the grave with the reputation of a foe to your
native land. Remember that the veil which conceals your true character
cannot be raised in years--perhaps never.”

Birch again lowered his face, but there was no yielding of the soul in
the movement.

“You will soon be old; the prime of your days is already past; what
have you to subsist on?”

“These!” said the peddler, stretching forth his hands that were already
embrowned with toil.

“But those may fail you; take enough to secure a support to your age.
Remember your risks and cares. I have told you that the characters of
men who are much esteemed in life depend on your secrecy; what pledge
can I give them of your fidelity?”

“Tell them,” said Birch, advancing, and unconsciously resting one foot
on the bag, “tell them that I would not take the gold!”

The composed features of the officer relaxed into a smile of
benevolence, and he grasped the hand of the peddler firmly.

“Now, indeed, I know you; and although the same reasons which have
hitherto compelled me to expose your valuable life will still exist,
and prevent my openly asserting your character, in private I can always
be your friend; fail not to apply to me when in want or suffering, and
so long as God giveth to me, so long will I freely share with a man
who feels so nobly and acts so well. If sickness or want should ever
assail you, and peace once more smile upon our efforts, seek the gate
of him whom you have so often met as Harper, and he will not blush to
acknowledge you in his true character.”

“It is little that I need in this life,” said Harvey; “so long as God
gives me health and honest industry, I can never want in this country;
but to know that your Excellency is my friend is a blessing that I
prize more than all the gold of England’s treasury.”

The officer stood for a few moments in the attitude of intense thought.
He then drew to him the desk, and wrote a few lines on a piece of
paper, and gave it to the peddler.

“That Providence destines this country to some great and glorious fate
I must believe, while I witness the patriotism that pervades the bosoms
of her lowest citizens,” he said. “It must be dreadful to a mind like
yours to descend into the grave, branded as a foe to liberty; but
you already know the lives that would be sacrificed, should your real
character be revealed. It is impossible to do you justice now, but I
fearlessly intrust you with this certificate, should we never meet
again, it may be serviceable to your children.”

“Children!” exclaimed the peddler; “can I give to a family the infamy
of my name!”

The officer gazed with pain at the strong emotion he exhibited and he
made a slight movement toward the gold; but it was arrested by the
expression of his companion’s face. Harvey saw the intention, and shook
his head, as he continued more mildly:

“It is, indeed, a treasure that your Excellency gives me; it is safe,
too. There are men living who could say that my life was nothing to
me, compared to your secrets. The paper that I told you was lost I
swallowed when taken last by the Virginians. It was the only time I
ever deceived your Excellency, and it shall be the last; yes, this is,
indeed, a treasure to me; perhaps,” he continued, with a melancholy
smile, “it may be known after my death who was my friend; but if it
should not, there are none to grieve for me.”

“Remember,” said the officer, with strong emotion, “that in me you will
always have a secret friend; but openly I cannot know you.”

“I know it, I know it,” said Birch; “I knew it when I took the service.
’Tis probably the last time I shall ever see your Excellency. May God
pour down His choicest blessings on your head!” He paused, and moved
toward the door. The officer followed him with eyes that expressed
deep interest. Once more the peddler turned, and seemed to gaze on
the placid but commanding features of the General with regret and
reverence, and then, bowing low, he withdrew.

The armies of America and France were led by their illustrious
commander against the enemy under Cornwallis, and terminated a campaign
in triumph that had commenced in difficulties. Great Britain soon after
became disgusted with the war; and the independence of the States was


Adapted from M. L. WEEMS

  The original story of little George Washington and his hatchet,
  together with two other doubtful anecdotes not so well known.

On a fine morning in the fall of 1737 Mr. Washington, taking little
George by the hand, went to walk with him in the orchard, promising
to show him a fine sight. On arriving at the orchard, a fine sight
indeed was presented. The whole earth, as far as could be seen, was
strewed with fruit, and yet the trees were bending under the weight of
apples which hung in clusters like grapes, and vainly strove to hide
their blushing cheeks behind the green leaves. “Now, George,” said
his father, “look here, my son! Don’t you remember when a good cousin
of yours brought you that fine large apple last spring, how hardly I
could prevail on you to divide with your brothers and sisters; though
I promised you that if you would but do it God Almighty would give you
plenty of apples this fall?”

Poor George could not say a word, but hanging down his head, looked
quite confused, while with his little naked toes he scratched in the
soft ground. “Now look up, my son,” continued his father, “look up,
George, and see there how richly the blessed God has made good my
promise to you. Wherever you turn your eyes you see the trees loaded
with fine fruit, many of them indeed breaking down; while the ground
is covered with mellow apples, more than you could eat, my son, in all
your lifetime.”

George looked in silence on the wide wilderness of fruit. He marked
the busy humming bees, and heard the gay notes of birds; then, lifting
his eyes filled with shining moisture, to his father, he softly said,
“Well, Pa, only forgive me this time, and see if I ever be so stingy
any more.”

       *       *       *       *       *

When George was about six years old he was made the wealthy master
of a _hatchet_, of which, like most little boys, he was immoderately
fond; and was constantly going about chopping everything that came in
his way. One day, in the garden, where he often amused himself hacking
his mother’s pea-sticks, he unluckily tried the edge of his hatchet
on the body of a beautiful young English cherry tree, which he barked
so terribly that I don’t believe the tree ever got the better of it.
The next morning, the old gentleman, finding out what had befallen his
tree, which, by the by, was a great favorite, came into the house;
and with much warmth asked for the mischievous author, declaring
at the same time that he would not have taken five guineas for his
tree. Nobody could tell him anything about it. Presently George and
his hatchet made their appearance. “George,” said his father, “do
you know who killed that beautiful little cherry tree yonder in the
garden?” This was a tough question, and George staggered under it for
a moment; but quickly recovered himself, and looking at his father,
with the sweet face of youth brightened with the inexpressible charm of
all-conquering truth, he bravely cried out, “I can’t tell a lie, Pa,
you know I can’t tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet.”

“Run to my arms, you dearest boy,” cried his father; “such an act in my
son is worth more than a thousand trees, though blossomed with silver,
and their fruits of purest gold.”

       *       *       *       *       *

To startle George into a lively sense of his Maker, his father fell
upon the following very curious but impressive expedient:

One day he went into the garden and prepared a little bed of finely
pulverized earth, on which he wrote George’s name at full, in large
letters, then strewing in plenty of cabbage seed, he covered them up,
and smoothed all over nicely with the roller. This bed he purposely
prepared close alongside a gooseberry walk, which happening at this
time to be well hung with ripe fruit, he knew would be honored with
George’s visits pretty regularly every day. Not many mornings had
passed away before in came George, with eyes wild rolling and his
little cheeks ready to burst with great news.

“Oh, Pa! come here, come here!”

“What’s the matter, my son? What’s the matter?”

“Oh, come here, I tell you, Pa: come here, and I’ll show you such a
sight as you never saw in all your lifetime!”

The old gentleman, suspecting what George would be at, gave him his
hand, which he seized with great eagerness, and tugging him along
through the garden, led him point blank to the bed whereon was
inscribed, in large letters, and in all the freshness of newly sprung
plants, the full name of


“There, Pa!” said George, quite in an ecstasy of astonishment, “did you
ever see such a sight in all your lifetime?”

“Why, it seems like a curious affair, sure enough, George!”

“But, Pa, who did make it there? Who did make it there?”

“It grew there by chance, I suppose, my son.”

“By chance, Pa! Oh, no! no! It never did grow there by chance, Pa.
Indeed that it never did!”

“Why not, my son?”

“Why, Pa, did you ever see anybody’s name in a plant bed before?”

“Well, but George, such a thing might happen, though you never saw it

“Yes, Pa; but I did never see the little plants grow up so as to make
one single letter of my name before. Now, how could they grow up so
as to make _all_ the letters of my name, and then standing one after
another, to spell _my_ name so exactly, and all so neat and even,
too, at top and bottom! Oh, Pa, you must not say chance did all this.
Indeed, _somebody_ did it; and I dare say now, Pa, _you_ did it just to
scare me, because I am your little boy.”

His father smiled, and said, “Well, George, you have guessed right. I
indeed did it; but not to scare you, my son, but to teach you a great
thing which I wish you to understand. I want, my son, to introduce you
to your true Father.”

“Aye! I know well enough whom you mean, Pa. You mean God Almighty,
don’t you?”

“Yes, my son, I mean Him indeed. He is your true Father, George, and
as my son could not believe that chance had made and put together so
exactly the letters of his name (though only sixteen) then how can he
believe that chance could have made and put together all those millions
and millions of things that are now so exactly fitted to his good.”



  How a Philadelphia boy watched the Declaration of Independence in the
  making and celebrated the first Fourth of July on the Eighth.

Philadelphia in July! Not even the most loyal boy or girl of that good
old Quaker town but must admit that Philadelphia in July _is_ a hot

“Warm and sunshiny,” were the words that Mr. John Nixon, in his daily
journal for the year 1776, placed against the early days of July, but I
am inclined to think that young Joe Nixon was nearer the fact when he
called it “broiling hot.”

Very possibly, however, this slight exaggeration on the part of young
Joe was due to the fact that he was very busy and therefore very warm.
Not that he had anything of especial importance to do. Not always those
who are busiest have the most to do; but you see there was a great deal
to hear and see in Philadelphia town in the early days of July in the
year 1776 and young Joe Nixon, like a true American boy, felt it his
duty to be on hand when anything of importance was on foot.

And so he was continually on the go between his uncle’s big house on
the Water Street, the room of the Committee of Inspection on Second
Street, the parade-ground of the “Quaker Blues” on the city common, and
the big brick State House on Chestnut Street.

For young Joe Nixon was a privileged character and duly felt his
importance. His uncle, Mr. John Nixon, was a member of the Committee
of Safety, and better still, young Joe was a particular favorite of
Mr. David Rittenhouse who “had charge of the public clock in the State
House Square.” This put him on good terms with a still more influential
acquaintance--the doorkeeper of the Continental Congress, then in daily
session in the Assembly chamber of the State House.

Young Joe was a quick-witted lad and like all the rest of the race
of boys dearly loved to watch and listen even though he could not
always understand. Seated by the side of his friend the doorkeeper, he
found it very interesting and sometimes highly exciting to follow the
proceedings of the bewigged and earnest gentlemen who were talking,
discussing, and sometimes getting quite angry with one another on the
floor of the Congress. Joe only knew in a general sort of way what all
this talk and discussion meant. But one thing he was certain of, as
were all the boys and girls in the colonies--and that was that there
was a “jolly row” on hand between the colonies and the King. He knew,
too, that, away off toward Boston-town there had been two or three
fights with the King’s soldiers, in which the troops of the colonies
by no means had the worst of it. And he knew, most of all, that it was
mightily hard just now for a boy to get hold of anything new or nice
to eat or to wear or to play with and that, somehow, this was all the
fault of King George the Third, and that the colonies did not propose
to stand this sort of thing any longer.

So he had made the most of his acquaintance with the doorkeeper of the
Congress and had witnessed most of the important events that had taken
place during that lovely Philadelphia June.

He had looked with all the awe of a small boy of twelve upon the fifty
or more gentlemen--the delegates to the Congress--who, representing the
thirteen colonies, were ranged in a half-circle on either side of Mr.
Hancock, the President. But I think he admired, even more, the “elegant
standard, suspended in the Congress Room,” over the door of entrance at
which he sat with his friend the doorkeeper, and which was “a yellow
flag with a lively representation of a rattlesnake in the middle in the
attitude of going to strike, and these words underneath: ‘Don’t tread
on me!’”

He had been in the Congress Room so often that he knew most of the
delegates by sight and name: that gentleman in the big chair behind
the heavy mahogany table and the great silver inkstand--the gentleman
with the scarlet coat and the black velvet breeches--was Mr. John
Hancock, the President of the Congress--“Rosy John,” the Tory boys
called him, much to young Joe’s ireful indignation; that gentleman
in the long-waisted white cloth coat, scarlet vest and breeches, and
white silk hose, was Mr. Jefferson of Virginia; that gentleman in
the long buff coat and embroidered silk vest was, as of course every
Philadelphia boy knew, the great Doctor Franklin; and there, too, were
Mr. Adams and Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, Mr. Sherman of Connecticut,
Mr. Clinton of New York, Mr. Stockton of New Jersey, Mr. Carroll of
Maryland, Mr. Lee of Virginia, Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, and
many others whose faces and whose voices had now grown familiar. Even
his boyish mind, thoughtless of the present and careless of the future
though it was, had felt the excitement of the moment when on Friday,
June 7th, Mr. Richard Henry Lee of the Virginia colony had risen in his
place and, “amidst breathless silence,” had read to the Congress this
notable resolution:

“_Resolved_, that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be,
free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance
to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them
and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Then Mr. John Adams of Massachusetts seconded the resolution, Mr.
Thomson, the secretary, made the official entry in the Journal, the
Congress, with but few words, postponed its consideration until the
next day, and young Joe Nixon adjourned with the delegates, like them,
half-dazed and half-jubilant.

So, through the long June days, the Congress argued and debated and
hesitated while young Joe Nixon--a true type of the restless Young
America that is ever in a hurry for action and results--watched and
wished and wondered, not thinking of what might be in the future save
that King George was to be thrown overboard and the colonies were to
set up for a Nation.

At last, on June 28th, a committee, consisting of Mr. Jefferson of
Virginia, Mr. Adams of Massachusetts, Doctor Franklin of Pennsylvania,
Mr. Sherman of Connecticut, and Mr. Livingston of New York, presented
to the Congress a long paper which young Joe understood was called a
Declaration of Independence. And although he thought it was splendid
and full of the most mightily strong blows against King George, much to
the lad’s disgust the Congress did not seem to go into ecstasies over
it, but hummed and hawed and deliberated until July 2d, when Mr. Lee’s
original resolution was put to vote, carried by the voice of every
colony except New York, and the United Colonies were declared to be
Free and Independent States.

Young Joe Nixon, had he dared, would have tossed his little
three-cornered hat in the air with a loud hurrah, but the gentlemen of
the Congress he thought seemed strangely quiet about it all. He did not
see what their wiser heads comprehended, that the vote of the Congress
on that second of July meant years of struggle against a mighty
power--sorrow and privation and, perhaps, after all, only defeat and,
to the leaders, the disgraceful death of traitors. He saw only the
glowing colors of victory and excitement as young folks are apt to, and
as it is right they should.

And yet that very night, as the Congress adjourned, portly Mr.
John Adams, with whom the lad was quite a favorite, noticed the
ill-concealed exultation of the boy and laying a hand upon his head
said to him: “A great day this, my young friend; a great day, is it

“Oh, yes, sir,” replied young Joe with energy, “I’m so glad it passed,

“And so am I, my lad,” said Mr. Adams, with almost equal enthusiasm;
“you are a bright and seemly little lad and will not soon forget this
day, I’ll be bound. So mark my words, my lad. The second of July,
1776, will be the most memorable day in all the history of America.
It will be celebrated ere you grow to manhood, and by succeeding
generations, as the great anniversary festival, commemorated as the day
of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty, from one
end of the continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore.”

“Yes, sir,” said Joe most respectfully. He did not comprehend all the
meaning of Mr. Adams’s solemn words, but he was quite as confident as
was that gentleman that it was a day the anniversaries of which would
mean in future plenty of fun and jubilee.

Good Mother Nixon could get but little work from her Joe on the
following morning. And though, in her peaceful Quaker way, she bade
him beware of too much glorying in all the strife and warfare that
seemed afoot, I rather suspect that even her placid face flushed
with quiet enthusiasm as she besought her boy to remember that right
was always right, and that it was nobler and manlier to boldly face
whatever might betide than to be as were some men in their Quaker town
who, so she said, “loved too much their money and their ease, and did
but make conscience a convenience, instead of being sincerely and
religiously scrupulous of bearing arms.” All of which meant that there
were some craven folk in that day of manly protest against tyranny
who, to save themselves from annoyance, pretended to be Quakers and
“non-combatants,” when they were only skulking cowards. And all such
every honest Quaker utterly detested.

But young Joe Nixon, too full of the excitement of the moment, paid
but little regard to his good mother’s words, inasmuch as they did not
apply to his case; and, hot and panting, fearful lest he should miss
something new, dashed up to the State House and slipped in beside his
friend the doorkeeper.

The Congress was already in session. Mr. Jefferson’s paper called the
“Declaration respecting Independence” had been again taken up for
consideration, and was being soberly debated, paragraph by paragraph.

Frequent repetitions had made Joe familiar with some of the phrases
in this remarkable paper. Even his young heart beat high as he heard
some of those ringing sentences--about all men being created equal
and being “endowed with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and
the pursuit of happiness”; how that “whenever any form of government
becomes destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to
alter or abolish it”; that “the history of the present King of Great
Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations,” that “a
prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define
a tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”; that “we must,
therefore, hold the British people, as we hold the rest of mankind,
enemies in war, in peace friends”; that “we, the representatives of the
United States of America in general Congress assembled, appealing to
the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do,
in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies,
solemnly publish and declare that these united colonies are and of
right ought to be free and independent States”; and, lastly, that “for
the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection
of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our
fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

Joe, as I have said, had felt his young heart glow and his young
pulse beat under the enthusiasm of these ringing declarations and all
this debating and questioning appeared to him as fearfully slow and
faint-hearted; he wondered why, since the Congress had already passed
Mr. Lee’s resolution of Independence, they should so hesitate over Mr.
Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence; and, quite frequently, he felt
compelled to dash out into the hot and sunny street and work off his
impatience in a wild and purposeless “go-as-you-please” around what was
called “Mr. Rittenhouse’s Observatory” in the centre of the square.

The day dragged on and so did the debate. Even Mr. Jefferson lost
patience and, confessing that he was “writhing under” all this talk,
needed all of Doctor Franklin’s philosophy and example to calm him down
again. So it is not to be wondered at that, late in the afternoon,
Joe Nixon, enthusiastic young patriot though he was, grew wearied
with the talk and the delay and determined to go home. But just as
he was leaving the building there dashed into the State House yard
a big chestnut horse covered with foam and dust. Its rider, a fine,
well-built man in dust-stained travelling cloak, sprang from the saddle
and, dropping the bridle-rein into Joe’s ready hand with a quick,
“Here, my lad, take my nag to the City Tavern stables, will you?”
hurried without further words into the Congress room.

Joe’s impatience changed to burning curiosity again and, transferring
his panting charge to another ready lad for attention, he, too, hurried
into the hall and asked his friend the doorkeeper who this newcomer
might be.

“Why, lad, ’tis Mr. Cæsar Rodney, don’t you know,” replied the
doorkeeper. “The delegate from the Counties upon Delaware whom they
sent for by special post only yesterday, since his colony is divided in
action and his vote is needful to carry the Declaration through.”

“And did he ride from home to-day?” inquired Joe.

“Surely, boy,” said the doorkeeper, “clean from the County of Kent,
eighty miles away. ’Twas a gallant day’s ride and a fair day’s work,
for by it is independence won.”

It was even as he said. Rodney’s glorious ride secured the vote of
Delaware for the Declaration and late that very night of Wednesday, the
third of July, by a majority vote of the States--as the colonies now
called themselves--the immortal paper that we know as the Declaration
of Independence passed the Congress.

But before it was handed to the secretary to be engrossed, or copied so
that it might be signed by all the delegates, Mr. Hancock, as president
of the Congress, affixed to it his bold signature that we all now know
so well. And young Joe Nixon had, actually, to stuff his hat into his
mouth to stifle the hurrah that did so want to burst out when Mr.
Hancock, rising from his seat, said in his most decided tones:

“There! John Bull can read my name without spectacles. Now let him
double the price on my head, for _this_ is my defiance.”

Then the Congress adjourned and young Joe went home, completely tired
out with the day’s anxiety and excitement. And though on that notable
night of the third of July a nation had been born, Philadelphia lay
quietly asleep knowing little or nothing of the great happening.

Next day--the first Fourth of July ever specially known to
Americans--Joe was about the only privileged character who, slipping
into the secret session heard, from his seat by the side of his
friend the doorkeeper, the order given by Mr. Hancock as president of
the Congress that “copies of the Declaration be sent to the several
assemblies, conventions, and committees or Councils of Safety, and to
the several commanding officers of the Continental troops; that it be
proclaimed in each of the United States and at the head of the army.”

This was all that was done on the Fourth of July, 1776, as young Joe
Nixon could testify. But the printed copies of the Declaration prepared
for transmission to the several States and to the army and signed by
Mr. Hancock, the president of the Congress, and by Mr. Thomson, the
secretary, all bore the heading: “In Congress, July 4, 1776,” and thus
that date has come down to us as the one to be especially remembered.

That very night Joe heard, at his uncle’s big house on the Water
Street, that the Committee of Safety in Philadelphia--of which, as I
have said, Mr. John Nixon was a member--had ordered that “the Sheriff
of Philadelphia read or cause to be read and proclaimed at the State
House, in the city of Philadelphia, on Monday the 8th day of July
instant, at 12 o’clock at noon of this same day, the Declaration of the
Representatives of the United States of America, and that he cause
all his officers and the constables of the said city to attend to the
reading thereof.”

Here was a new treat in store for young Joe; and when he learned that
the Worshipful Sheriff had designated his uncle, Mr. John Nixon, as
the reader, Joe knew that this meant a front seat for him and was
appropriately jubilant.

The day came. Monday, the eighth of July, 1776. “A warm and sunshiny
morning” again reads the truthful journal, and twelve o’clock, noon,
must have been hot indeed. But not all the heat of a Philadelphia July
could wither the ardor of such patriots as young Joe Nixon. He was
therefore a very “live” portion of the procession which, forming at
the hall of the Committee of Inspection in Second Street, joined the
Committee of Safety at their lodge, and, to the stirring sounds of fife
and drum, marched into the State House square. Out from the rear door
of the State House came the Congress and other dignitaries and then,
standing upon the balcony of Mr. Rittenhouse’s astronomical observatory
just south of the State House, Mr. John Nixon in a voice both loud and
clear read to the assembled throng the paper which declared the United
States of America “Free and Independent.”

The reader concluded with the glorious words: “We mutually pledge to
each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” and, as his
voice ceased, the listening throng, so the record says, “broke out
into cheers and repeated huzzas.” Then the Royal arms were torn down
from above the seats of the King’s Judges in the State House, and Joe,
like a wild young Indian, danced frantically around the bonfire which
destroyed these “insignia of Royalty.”

Again, at five o’clock, the Declaration was read to the troops then
present in the town, and the evening was given up to bonfires and
fireworks which you may be certain young Joe enjoyed to his full

And peal upon peal, sounding above all the shouts and the hurrahing,
rang out loud and clear, at both the noon reading and the night’s
celebration, the joyous clang of the big bell of the State House
telling the glad tidings of freedom, as well befitted a bell on whose
brazen rim men had read for twenty-four years the almost prophetic

“_Proclaim liberty through all the land to all the inhabitants

To his dying day Joe Nixon never forgot the glory and exultation of
that jubilant first Independence Day--the eighth of July, 1776.

One other notable scene also lived long in his memory--a day and a date
new to many of us who have always supposed that the Declaration of
Independence was passed, signed, and proclaimed on the Fourth of July.
It was the morning of Tuesday, the second of August, that same historic
summer of 1776. From his customary seat by the doorkeeper Joe saw Mr.
Thomson, the secretary of the Congress, lay upon the president’s
table a great sheet of parchment. And on this sheet carefully and
beautifully copied was the Declaration of Independence. Then, one by
one, beginning with Mr. Hancock the president, the delegates to the
Congress signed the great paper and by that act sent their names down
to posterity--famous and honored forever.

Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration not all affixed their
names to the document on that notable second of August. Absentees and
new-comers added their names as they joined the Congress, and not until
the fourth day of November, 1776, was the last signature affixed.

Names and dates go for but little when a great deed is done. The
deed itself is of more importance than either names or dates. But
to us of this second century of the Republic there is both interest
and pleasure in re-telling the story of liberty and following out by
dates, altogether new to most of us, the real progress of the historic
document that made us a nation.

Instead of one “Fourth of July,” you see, we have really four--The
Second of July, upon which Mr. Lee’s Resolution of Independence was
passed by the Congress; the Third of July, upon which the Declaration
itself was passed; the Fourth of July which witnessed the order for
its proclamation, and the Second of August upon which it was actually
signed by the members of the Congress.

The original document to which these names were signed still exists,
grown worn and yellow with age; the Liberty Bell that rang out the
joyous news of freedom on the sunny noon and the starlit night of the
eventful eighth of July is now cracked and voiceless; the signers
themselves are now only names and memories; but their work lives in
the power and glory of the great nation which they founded, and every
true American girl and boy honors the memory and applauds the courage
of those devoted men. And upon each recurring Fourth of July every girl
and boy in the land is as joyous and jubilant a young patriot as was
even young Joe Nixon when, with bonfire and rude, old-time fireworks,
with hurrah and shout and song he celebrated, in the days when George
the Third was king, the first Fourth of July on the Eighth.



  A grandfather tells a group of patriotic little Americans how _his_
  grandfather was a redcoat at Lexington.

Toot! Toot! Rub-a-dub-dub! came from down the street, and it made
Grandpa Sturdy, who sat dozing in the sun, start up suddenly and look
to see what gallant soldiers were coming.

First came Captain Tommy Rankin, acting as drum-major, with his
sister’s muff worn for a fur hat, and an umbrella for a baton.
Behind him came a troop of children wearing all sorts of military
decorations--helmets, epaulets, and paper caps. One boy carried a large
flag, and one of the girls was singing through a comb.

Grandpa rose and went out to the gate as they came near. Then, just
as they came close, he took off his hat and gave them a military
salute--for grandpa was a soldier once--and held up his hand for them
to stop just a moment.

“Company, halt!” commanded Tommy, in a loud tone. “Parade, rest!
Salute! Attention!” And they obeyed.

“What company is this?” said grandpa smilingly.

“We are the minute-men, grandpa,” said Tommy. “We are going out to
Concord to keep Flag Day. Our teacher was going to have a celebration
to-day, but she is sick, so we have made a procession, and are going to
march by her house to show her how we can remember the flag.”

“That’s right,” said grandpa, saluting the flag. “I can do that if my
grandfather was what we call a redcoat.”

“Your grandfather a redcoat?” cried all the boys in a breath. “Did he
ever tell you anything about it?”

“Oh, yes, he told us about going to America to fight the rebels, and
what a lot of British soldiers there were in Boston, who all laughed at
the idea of the plain country farmers and workmen being able to fight
the king’s own fine troops; and granddad thought so with all the rest,
he said. Well, they found out that day that the rebels could fight,
after all. Let me see, what day was that, boys?”

“April 19, 1775,” said Tommy, echoed by the others.

“Yes, yes. You have got that learned, haven’t you? Grandfather said
that all through that long, hard march from Concord back to Boston they
were fighting. They were ashamed to be beaten by those they had made
fun of.

“Every stone wall, every large rock or tree seemed to have an American
behind it. He said it was wonderful how those farmers could shoot.
Dozens of the Englishmen fell and died there in the road. Granddad
told us how they struggled on, tired, wounded, thirsty, and almost
ready to give up. Finally most of them got back to Charlestown, and
were safe. But all day long, and most of the night before, they had had
to march.

“And they didn’t do what they went out for, either, for the Americans
had carried off the guns and powder they went to destroy. The night
before they marched out gaily enough, expecting to have no trouble, and
only a trip into the country in the fine spring air.

“But the trip became a terrible battle, and began a great war. And ever
since America and England have been two separate nations.

“Grandfather went back to England very soon, and as he couldn’t march
and fight any more, he got a pension from the king and stayed in
England all his life.

“He liked America, and always said that now there was peace, and the
new country promised so much, he would like to go there to live; but he
never did. My father brought us over, though, when I was sixteen. So I
am an American, if my grandfather was one of the redcoats who fought at
Lexington in America.”

“I’d rather have a grandfather that was a minute-man,” said one of the

“Perhaps the great-grandfathers of some of you fought the redcoats,”
said Grandpa Sturdy. “But I am not ashamed to tell you that my
grandfather wore one of the king’s red-and-white uniforms and carried
a British gun. The soldiers were doing their duty bravely enough. It
was the king and the men with him who were to blame for the battle.
Well, boys, march on again, march along. Stand up for your flag. It is
my flag, too, and I love it. Always be ready to be minute-men for the

“Attention, company! Carry arms! Forward, march!” shouted the captain.

Away went the procession to the teacher’s house, their flags waving
gaily and the flowers they were carrying nodding their heads, while
Grandpa Sturdy settled back in his easy chair.



  A boy’s story by a boy’s author, telling of a thrilling escape from
  “Tarleton’s men.”

“Father’s escaped! Moses has just brought me word,” said John Russell,
as he ran to the steps of the broad veranda. His mother quickly rose
from her chair and looked down at the eager boy on the steps below her.
Her slight figure was trembling, and a bright red spot had appeared on
each cheek.

“Are you sure, John?” she asked, in a low tone.

“Yes, sure! It seems that the British escort had gone but halfway to
Charleston when a band of five Whigs met them. They had a bit of an
argument, and the upshot of it was that father made off. Strange about
these Whigs happening to meet them, wasn’t it?”

John, unable to restrain his feelings longer, threw his hat high in the
air, and rushing up the steps, seized his “little mother” in his arms
and began to dance with her about the porch.

“What’s that you say? Your father’s escaped?”

John quickly released his mother and turned to face the gruff-voiced
Captain Heald of the British service, who had just come out of the open
door. The boy’s manner instantly changed, although he could not conceal
his exultation as he replied: “Yes, sir; he’s escaped! He had no fancy
to spend any more time in the ‘provost’ at Charleston. It isn’t a fit
place for vermin, to say nothing of human beings.”

“I ought to have hanged him, and you, too!” replied the captain. “It’s
the only way to deal with such rebels!”

“Hanging, sir,” said John, “seems the thing your party do best; unless
you have a still stronger fancy for quartering yourselves on your

“Fine parole you’ve kept!” sneered the captain. “I’ll warrant, if the
truth were known, you yourself had a share in this escape of your

“I’m under no parole not to help my father to freedom,” said John.

The captain looked at him angrily a moment, and then, without making
any further reply, turned and went down the steps and across the lawn
to join some of the soldiers who were quartered on the plantation.

“I beg you to be careful, John,” said his mother anxiously, when they
were alone again. “You know that man can do whatever he pleases here.”

“No,” replied John, “he cannot frighten me with his bluster and his red

“But you must not provoke him. Tarleton has given him full command in
this district, and he has already committed outrages that no British
regular officer would venture on.”

In fact, the war in that region was largely a conflict of partisans
native to the soil, and Tory Americans often committed against Whig
Americans high-handed acts from which officers accustomed to the
procedure of military law would have shrunk.

“Very well,” said John, laughing to reassure his mother. “He hasn’t any
great cause for liking me, that’s a fact. I’ve let the pigs out of the
pens and scared away the chickens, and told the negroes where to hide
some of the stuff in the barns. But this last work is the worst--this
sending word, as I did, by Moses to Dick Eddy to look out for father
when he passed. Heald will never forgive me for that. I’m not afraid,
though,” he added, as he left his mother and followed the captain
across the lawn.

Even in his excitement the beautiful summer day had an influence to
soothe him. All about him lay the fertile lands of Ridgefield, his
father’s plantation, one of the most beautiful in all the South. Behind
him was the great house in which he had been born, flanked by the
quarters of the negroes and the spacious barns. Off on the left was a
grove, and below the hill was the slow stream. John would have felt the
sweet influences of the hour more but for the presence of thirty men in
scarlet, who now were the virtual masters of the place.

Only a week earlier Captain Heald had somehow gained information that
Major Russell and his son had left Sumter’s army for a brief visit
home, so the Tory band had at once swooped down and captured both. John
had been left on parole, and his father had escaped; but Ridgefield was
now occupied by “Tarleton’s men,” and all its beauty for John was gone.

He stopped and watched the guards doing “sentry go” in the road and out
by the grove beyond the house, and the longer he watched them the more
helpless and angry he felt. “Great liberty this!” he muttered. “Shut up
here like a pig in a pen! Not that there are many pigs left here now,”
he added, smiling grimly. “Oh, well, I hope father’ll do something, now
that he’s got away.”

“John,” said his mother, when he returned to the house, “Captain Heald
is going to leave.”

“Good for Captain Heald! When is he going?”

“To-night. Lieutenant Mott is to be left in charge here.”

“He’s not as bad as the other. Where’s the captain going?”

“I think over to Fort Granby.”

“Humph! Probably to set some one on father’s tracks. He’ll never get
him, though. Hello! Here comes the captain now, and he’s all dressed to

A colored man soon brought the captain’s horse, and as the officer
swung himself lightly into the saddle, John, taking off his hat and
bowing low, called out: “Good-bye, captain! We’ll speed the parting
guest, although we can’t welcome the coming!”

Captain Heald made no reply, but turned on John a threatening look, at
which the boy laughed.

That day went by and on the following morning John was wandering about
the place, idly watching the soldiers, longing to be with his father,
and wishing he had not given his parole to stay on the plantation. A
black servant came to him and said that his mother wished to speak
with him at the house. He went, and found his mother at the door. An
expression of agony was on her face.

“What is it mother?” he asked.

“Go up to your room, John, and I’ll tell you.”

The boy ran swiftly up the stairs, and held the door of his room open
for his mother to enter. She closed and locked the door behind her,
and then, handing him a letter, said: “I found this in the dining-room
after Lieutenant Mott left the breakfast-table.”

John took the letter from his mother’s hand and read:

                                            Fort Granby, August 6, 1780.

  LIEUTENANT MOTT. Upon receipt of this, you will at once take and
  hang that young rebel, John Russell. He has violated his parole
  and is entitled neither to a further hearing nor a trial. Hang him
  before sunset to-night. I shall expect to receive word by to-morrow

John’s face turned deadly pale, then red with anger. “I have not broken
my parole!” he cried. “I never gave a promise that I would not help
father to escape. This is murder, and----”

“I think Lieutenant Mott dropped that letter in the dining-room
intentionally,” broke in his mother. “He’s not as bad as Captain Heald.
He won’t carry out the order.”

With a great effort John controlled his voice. “We’ll see, mother. If
it is really an order, I suppose he’ll have to carry it out--unless I

“He might let you escape.”

“No, little mother. But don’t give up. I’ll find a way out.”

He kissed his mother, unlocked the door and walked slowly down the
stairs and out upon the veranda. Lieutenant Mott was coming up the
steps, and as he met John he gave him a keen glance of sympathy. But
that was all. Not a word or sign to show that he would not carry out
his order.

_Hanged!_ The very crickets seemed to be chirping it. Over and over the
word kept repeating itself in John’s mind as he walked slowly on over
the lawn. He saw that now he was no longer bound by his parole. His
word of honor had held him, but the order to hang him released him from
the bond. He would escape if he could, but wherever he went red-coated
soldiers were lounging lazily about, and up and down the road marched
the sentries with their muskets over their shoulders.

If it were only night! In the darkness he might escape, but it was not
yet noon. The very words of the letter came back to him. “Hang him
before sunset to-night!”

And this was to be the end of it all! To be hanged! It was too
horrible to think of. Every avenue of escape was blocked, and in sheer
desperation he returned to the house and made his way noiselessly up
the stairs to his room. His mother was not there, and relieved by the
thought that she was not present to look upon him in his weakness,
he bolted the door and seated himself by the table on which stood a
miniature of her. He looked at it, and dropping his head upon his arms
on the table before him, he sobbed in an agony of despair.

He was roused by the sound of the dinner-bell. He must go down and
somehow conceal his feelings. He bathed his face and, somewhat relieved
by his tears, arose to join the family in the room below.

Only his sisters were there when he entered, and he knew at once by the
expression upon their faces that his mother had not shown the letter
to them. He choked down a few mouthfuls of food, but he could not eat.
Excusing himself from the table on the plea that he wished to find his
mother, he ran swiftly up to her room and rapped upon the door.

He had to repeat his summons before it was opened, and then it was only
far enough to enable his mother to see who the visitor was. Then she
drew him inside, and quickly closed and bolted the door again.

John almost broke down when he looked at her, so woful and desperate
was her expression. He must cheer her with some hope, and his own
courage revived at the cheerful tone which he assumed:

“Little mother, none of the Russells were ever hanged, and I shall not
be the first.”

“What will you do, my son?” Her voice sounded as if it were far away,
and John looked up quickly as he replied: “I shall make a break for it,
if I must. I’d rather be shot in trying to get away than be hanged.”

“You are my own brave laddie,” said his mother, rising. “Do your best,
John; but if you have to----”

“I know, I know,” he murmured, as for one moment he returned her
frantic embrace; and then, not daring to look back, he left the room.

After crossing the lawn he seated himself beneath a spreading tree
to collect his thoughts and survey the place. Everything was as it
had been. The guards were marching up and down in the road; the idle
soldiers were lounging about the tents; the locusts were calling in the
trees, and peace apparently was over all.

“I’ll have to try it. They may come for me any time now,” he thought,
suddenly rising and starting toward the guard in the upper road. He
could feel that his mother was watching him, but he dared not look
toward her windows. The testing time had come and now it was to be a
struggle for life.

He walked leisurely up the road, although his heart was beating
furiously. He would try not to attract attention, and it was no unusual
thing for him to join the men on guard. They all knew he was on parole,
and besides, there were the guns if he should try to get away.

“It’s hot to-day, Tom,” he said, as he approached.

“You’d think it was if you had to carry a gun up and down this dusty

“I’d be glad to relieve you, Tom. You rest a bit, while I take your

“That’s kind of you,” laughed the guard, “but I fear it won’t do, sir,”
and he passed on, while John seated himself to await his return.

He glanced at the soldiers in the tents near by. How easily they could
reach him, and only one word would bring them all after him! But he
must take his chances. There was no other way, and when the guard
turned his back again he would try it.

Just then a little, lean, half-starved pig came out of the woods and
stood for a moment stupidly staring at the boy before him. “Poor
fellow!” thought John. “You’re in the same box with me. Tarleton’s men
will treat us alike.”

He looked up and saw the returning guard. The pig saw him, too, and
as if inspired by a sudden fear, he gave a startled grunt and darted
swiftly up the road.

“Here, sir, help me catch the pig!” shouted the guard, starting swiftly
in pursuit of the runaway. “He’s the last on the place.”

John needed no second invitation, and in a moment he and the guard were
following the pig, which was running as if he knew his life was in
danger. The soldiers rushed from their tents, and stood laughing and
cheering the pursuers. To them it was a comedy to see the sentry and
the prisoner striving to catch one poor, little half-starved pig; but
to John the pursuit had all the elements of a tragedy. Life or death
lay in the outcome for him.

He flung aside his hat and coat, and put forth all his strength.
Dripping with perspiration, streaked with dust, almost breathless he
sped on and on. Once he came close upon the frightened pig, but he took
good care to fall upon him in such a manner that the little “porker”
only emitted a terrified squeal and redoubled his speed.

“Hold! hold!” shouted the guard, who was behind now. “Let him go. We
can’t catch him!”

John glanced quickly back, and saw that he was out of the range of the
soldiers’ muskets. His speed increased as he realized that the supreme
moment had come at last. Only the gun of the guard was to be feared now.

“Halt!” shouted the guard again. “Stop, or I shoot!”

John only drew his head down between his shoulders. His heart almost
ceased to beat. The report of the gun rang out, and he almost fell to
the ground as he heard the bullet whistle over his head.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few days afterward, when he was with his father in Sumter’s army near
Camden, just before the terrible battle, and for the second time had
been relating the story of his escape, he added, “That little porker
did a double duty. He saved his bacon, and he saved mine, too.”



  The tale of a Tory maid, a Patriot youth, and a kettle of scarlet dye.

In 1774-5, previous to the outbreak of the Revolution, the Callendars
were Royalists, and General Gage’s young British officers, one of whom
was related to the Callendars, frequently rode out from Boston to call
at the hospitable country-house. It was Polly Callendar whom they went
to see; her beauty and vivacious wit were the theme of many toasts.
And up to the evening of this story Polly was as disdainful of the
“minute-men” as was her mother.

At about noon of that day Madam Callendar was summoned to the bedside
of Elizabeth Ballard, a kinswoman living near Natick. She had left her
brick oven full of the week’s baking, and had set a large brass kettle,
filled with redwood dye, on the crane in the great fireplace. Madam
Callendar’s parting directions to Polly had been not only to watch the
oven, but to stir the boiling redwood.

Numerous skeins and hanks of woolen yarn, spun during the previous
winter, were immersed in it, and the last warning from Polly’s mother
was: “Redwood must never be hurried, Polly. Stir often, lass. Press
the hanks down hard with your clothes-stick, and then drop in a little
of this powdered alum to set the scarlet.”

So through the long, foggy afternoon it was Polly Callendar’s homely
task to watch the oven and tend the “scarlet kettle.” But with evening
came an unexpected diversion. A knock was heard at the outer door; and
when old Rastus, the negro servant, had opened it, a tall young man,
in provincial garb, inquired how far it was to Boston and what was the
road. Learning that the distance was still considerable, he entreated
hospitality, saying that having ridden since dawn, he was both tired
and wet. Polly at first demurred, but in the end, moved by his plight
and persuaded somewhat by his respectful manners and handsome face, she
sent Rastus to stable the horse.

She spread a plentiful supper before the wayfarer; and then, because
his appearance pleased her, she brewed for him some of her mother’s
cherished tea, and poured it into one of the delicate china teacups
that had come from England.

But the young man ate in silence, notwithstanding these attentions.
Truth to say, he was ill at ease. He was on his way to join the
minute-men, and he was bringing with him a hundred pounds that had been
contributed by the “patriot committee” of his native town. He feared
that in some way the redcoats had been given a hint of his mission.
Mounted men had stared hard at him that day, and he had thought it
wise to avoid a troop patrolling the roads. And now, despite the
quality of his supper, he paused to listen anxiously whenever horses’
hoofs or voices were heard without. Polly, noticing his uneasiness and
marking his blue colonial home-spun, drew her own inferences.

Of a sudden the young man took note of the kettle and its scarlet

“That is a bright dye which you have there, mistress,” he remarked.
“Are you fond of so high a color?”

“In good truth, sir, and why not?” replied Polly. “Have you fault to
find with it?”

“I would be but a churl, an I did,” answered the guest gallantly,
“since it is scarcely more pink than the cheeks of my fair hostess.

“The redcoats must feel flattered at your preference,” he added.

“And is it not the hue that all loyal subjects should prefer?” queried
Polly demurely.

“Nay, but I will not gainsay you, mistress,” replied the young man.
“And yet,” he added, “it is a color soon to fade under our American

“But not from the hearts of the king’s loyal subjects,” retorted
Polly. “This is no rebel household, sir. My kinsmen, who were here but
yesterday, wear the scarlet and are the king’s loyal servants.” And
saying this she observed her guest closely and saw that he winced.

“Beyond doubt he is one of the patriots,” she thought. “But such a
handsome youth! Moreover, he is most courteous, and his voice and ways
are more gentle and respectful than those of Cousin Charles.”

As for the stranger, his heart sank afresh. “I will pay for my supper
and get on,” he thought. “I shall be safer abroad in the darkness than
here.” And he rose to take leave as gently as he might, but at that
moment the tramp of horses was again heard; and this time they did not
pass, but pulled up before the house door.

“My kinsmen, it is very like,” said Polly, smiling. “They wear sharp
swords, sir.” Then, as she noted the hunted look which the young man
cast about the room, her light and taunting manner changed. “Is it that
you would not like to meet them, sir?” she asked, in a low tone.

As she spoke there came an imperative rap at the outer door, and a cry
of “Open in the king’s name!”

“For heaven’s sake, mistress, show me some way out,” cried the
stranger. “It is less that I fear their swords, but I am on a mission
of importance.”

“Open, madam! Open, Polly! It is I, your Cousin Charles; and they say
there is a rascally rebel here!” cried the voice outside. “But we have
the house surrounded.”

Polly had turned toward a rear door, but hearing these last words,
darted to the centre of the room again. For an instant she was at
a loss. Then her eyes fell on the door of her mother’s storeroom,
a closet beside the large chimney, which it was Madam Callendar’s
practice always to keep locked; but in the haste of departing that day
she had forgotten to take the key.

“Here, sir,” Polly whispered. “Quick, be quick!” and she unlocked the
door, half pushed the man within and hastily turning the key again, put
it in her pocket.

“Open! Open!” cried the voices outside. “Open in the king’s name!” and
the raps were repeated.

“Coming, good sirs, coming,” cried Polly. Then her eye fell on the
young patriot’s greatcoat lying across the back of a chair. If seen,
that would betray all. She snatched it up and plunged it into the great
kettle of scarlet dye. Then throwing the door open and courtesying
low, as was the custom of those days, she cried: “Good-evening, Cousin
Charles. Welcome, good gentlemen. My mother has gone to Natick for the
day. Ne’theless you are right welcome.”

“Ay!” grumbled the young officer. “After my knuckles are skinned with
knocking. But prithee, Polly, have you seen naught of this insolent

“Indeed, Cousin Charles, this is but a sorry jest!” exclaimed Polly
Callendar. “Since when has my family been aught but loyal to the king?”

“True,” assented the Briton. “Yet the rascal may be lurking about.”

“Enter, then, and see for yourselves,” cried Polly. “My mother would
earnestly desire you to purge her house of rebels!”

They came noisily in--while the young patriot’s heart beat fast--they
peered into nooks and corners, and presently ascended to the attic.

“Do not forget the cellar!” cried Polly gaily, opening the door and
handing her cousin a lighted candle. “Perchance the knave is hiding in
some bin or box.”

The quest there proved as fruitless as in the chambers; but on emerging
one of the party noted the closed door by the chimney and tried it.
“Why locked?” he exclaimed. “The key, fair mistress.”

“For that you will do well to ask my mother,” replied Polly carelessly.
“The closet is my mother’s keeping-room; and it is ever her custom to
carry the key in her pocket.”

“True,” remarked her cousin, who knew the ways of the household. “The
rogue will hardly have got into madam’s keeping-room. Doubtless he has
slipped away.”

“If ever he were here,” flashed back Polly. “But beyond doubt, good
cousin and gentlemen, you must be hungry after your hard ride. Will you
not partake of our cheer?”

Nothing loath, the young redcoats gathered about the supper-table,
where for an hour or more Polly maintained the reputation of the house
for loyalty and good entertainment. In truth, the soldiers were slow
to depart, and would hardly have gone by nine o’clock had not Polly
adroitly reminded her kinsmen that the “Knave” they were pursuing would
surely get clear away. Thereupon they took leave and rode off with
much laughter.

But fearful lest they might return, Polly waited long listening, and
not until old Rastus had come in to bar the outer door for the night
and close the shutters would she release her prisoner.

“Come forth, sir,” she at last commanded, with assumed austerity. “What
have we here? A rebel, I fear me, from all I am told.”

“But one profoundly grateful to his preserver,” replied the young man;
and to old Rastus’s great astonishment he took Mistress Polly’s hand
and gallantly kissed the tips of her fingers, albeit they were tinged
with scarlet from her dye.

“Methinks, sir, it but ill becomes me to accept such thanks from one
who confesses his disloyalty to King George,” Polly replied, still with
seeming severity, “and whose name I do not even know. But since you are
here, prithee take seat before the fire. For of necessity, sir, I have
made a good Royalist of you, so far as your greatcoat covers you. See!”
And with the clothes-stick she lifted the coat out of the kettle. “Not
Cousin Charles’s own is a brighter scarlet!”

The stranger burst into a hearty laugh.

“Good faith, I had not thought to wear a scarlet coat!” he exclaimed.

“Yet, sir, it may stand you in good stead as you ride into Boston
to-morrow,” replied Polly. “It was of that I thought as I dipped it.
And now let us powder a little alum in the mortar to set the hue. I
would not have thy loyalty wash out, sir, in the first shower that
falls on you.”

As a consequence, one young patriot found himself powdering alum to dye
his own coat scarlet. And midnight came and passed as he and Polly sat
in front of the great brass kettle, and old Rastus nodded in the corner.

Beyond doubt they became better acquainted in this time; and Polly
certainly learned the stranger’s name, for as the tall old clock in the
corner struck one, she said, “It is now time to wring thy coat, John

When wrung, it had still to be dried; and Polly put it for an hour into
the warm brick oven.

Somewhat puckered from the dye, the garment still required pressing
out; and to heat a sad-iron and accomplish this occupied yet another
hour. The old clock struck three.

“Truly, John Fenderson, making a king’s man of thee has been a long
task!” exclaimed Polly, as at last she held up the scarlet coat for
inspection. “Don it, sir! I would even desire to mark the effect.”
And what John Fenderson would not have done at the king’s command
he appears now to have done without hesitation at Polly Callendar’s
request. For between these two young people the grievous differences of
Tory and Patriot had already been dispelled--in the dyeing of a coat
before a fireplace.

“Good luck, John Fenderson, in thy brave coat,” said Polly at four
o’clock, as the young man took leave, after she had given him
breakfast. “May the color hold,” she added. “But if it fades----”

“I shall come back to you,” said John.

“Ah, but it will grieve me when I hear that thou art to be hanged for a
rebel!” cried Polly from the door.

“Nay, Mistress Polly, I should have but to send for thee to teach me
how to dye!” replied John Fenderson.

So he rode away, and had cause to be thankful for the disguise the coat
offered him; for while riding through Newton a little before noon, he
was hailed by three redcoats, two of whom raised their muskets; but the
third held them back, saying, “Nay, by his coat he must be one of our

There is much reason to believe that Mistress Polly’s loyalty to King
George was ever afterward open to question. At any rate, the records of
John Fenderson’s native town show that he married in 1779, and that the
bride’s name was Polly Callendar.



  A boy in General Greene’s army sets out to capture a famous Tory
  marauder and finds him to be his own brother. What does he do?

In the early days of March, 1781, Neil Davidson was thirteen years
old and had been five months in the patriot army. He had taken part
in several skirmishes and had lived in camps where food was scarce
and clothing scarcer, where a blanket for four men was a prize, and
companies were sometimes obliged to stay away from review because their
uniform had been worn through to that of mother nature. He had shared
the hard marches by which Greene and Morgan kept the prisoners taken
at Cowpens from recapture by Cornwallis, and during which Greene had
reported that the naked feet of his men marked their way with blood.

It was a strange experience for a boy, and Neil had become such a queer
combination of outspoken child and shrewd veteran as can be matched
in these days only by the gamins who fight their battles in the city
streets. Without losing his boyishness he had acquired a military
swagger which he knew enough to suppress when there was any advantage
to be gained by acting like a child, and underneath swagger and
boyishness there burned the revengeful, deep-seated hatred of Tories
which marked all but a few of the patriots of those days. In Neil
it was an unchildlike passion, giving him strength on long marches,
putting a keen barb to his wit, making him trusted in the army beyond
his years.

Before the real beginning of the Revolution his father had been hanged
by the Tory government for taking part in a popular outbreak, and his
mother had been crazed by grief. From the shadow of such an early
childhood Neil had emerged almost a man in purpose at thirteen and very
fierce at heart.

Yet, in spite of a bronzed face, he was still exceedingly coltish
and immature in appearance, with round, wide-open blue eyes, a shock
of long, sunburned hair, and legs that also were long and sunburned,
having seldom been covered by a substantial, untorn garment. There was
a great amount of speed available in the bare legs, and under the shock
of hair there was plenty of boyish logic and common sense.

Altogether, he was handy to have about, and he was sent on so many
errands from officer to officer that he was known around all the
cheerless campfires in Greene’s army. Even the general kept him in
mind, and at times permitted him to undertake important missions. He
had carried more than one of the appeals for reënforcements which
Greene kept sending to the governors of North and South Carolina and
Virginia, and to the military leaders of the three states. His way had
lain through a country swarming with enemies, and he had come safely
through encounters in which a man’s errand would have been investigated.

One night, during the anxious two weeks before the Battle of Guilford
Court House, Greene sent for him again. The army was moving stealthily
along muddy roads through the dusk of starlight, for the general
thought his force still too weak to risk an engagement and evaded
Cornwallis by shifting his camp every twenty-four hours, in the dark.
The footsore men plodded forward silently. Loss of sleep was wearing
them out. Greene himself had hardly slept for a week, and physical
exhaustion united with his judgment in declaring that the strain could
not last much longer. If sufficient reënforcements did not arrive
soon, he would have to fight without them, and disaster would result.
He sighed and settled himself wearily in the saddle. For a moment his
overburdening anxiety slipped from him, and he dozed as he rode. Then
he straightened himself with a start. A small lanky figure had bobbed
up beside his horse out of the obscurity of the night, and he caught
the motion of a salute.

“Ah, Neil,” he said, “I sent for you to see if you are ready to
undertake another dangerous errand. I fear my last message to Colonel
William Campbell has been intercepted. I want some one to go out, try
to meet him, and hurry him forward. If he has not heard of our recent
movements, he may be marching toward the Dan River.”

He hesitated a moment, as if he had more to say, but Neil did not wait
for it. “I’m your man, sir!” he declared.

The general smiled at the boy’s confidence. “That was my impression,
too,” he admitted. “Yet there is one strong argument against your
going. Gillespie, one of the scouts, has just come in. He’s been
hanging around Tarleton’s Legion and he’s heard you spoken of. It seems
that the enemy took notice of you in the affair at the mill the other
day, and that rascal who has your name, Davidson, the bushwhacker, is
with the Legion, and he swears to capture you; so if any of Tarleton’s
men come across a boy of your size and description, he will have hard
work to get away from them.”

“But even if they are on the lookout for a boy, they’re just as much
on the lookout for every grown man in your army,” Neil urged. “Anybody
that the Tories get hold of will have to give a good account of

“So I reasoned,” the general said, “and at the same time I am unwilling
to have you undertake this without some safeguard. You are about the
height of an ordinary young woman, and when we reach Mrs. Bynum’s
plantation, where we shall make our next camp, I shall have her furnish
you with clothing and a side-saddle, and you will go disguised as a
girl. That is all for the present. Report to me at the Bynum house as
soon as you reach the plantation, and keep this to yourself in the

Neil saluted and dropped back. As soon as he was at a safe distance he
gave a long whistle of surprise. Then he began to laugh. The dismay
with which he first thought of concealing his military identity in
petticoats gave way to excitement. He began softly to hum the air and
words of a rude ballad which celebrated the victory of King’s Mountain,
five months before, and was passing from mouth to mouth through the
patriot army.

“Stop that singing!” a gruff voice said in his ear. “Are you signalling
to Cornwallis?”

In the darkness it was impossible to see if the speaker were officer or
man from the ranks. Neil took the risk and answered like an equal: “Who
are you that are giving me orders? I left General Greene ahead there,
and just now I’m taking orders direct from him.”

“Oh!” the voice returned ironically, but without apparent offense,
“then I reckon you’re the great Neil Davidson. I’m merely Joe
Gillespie, scout.”

“I have heard of you,” Neil said good-naturedly. “The general was
speaking of you just now.”

“Do you know who was speaking of you lately?” Gillespie asked. He took
the boy by the arm and walked along with him through the dark. “That
namesake of yours, Sandy Davidson. He’s taken a notion to capture you,
and you want to be as wary as you know how. He’s the worst of the Tory
bushwhackers, and the most daredevil. If he’s decided to capture you
because your name’s the same as his, he’s likely to walk right into
Greene’s camp and do it. It’s nothing to him that there’s a reward out
for his life.”

“I reckon he’ll not find it as easy to catch me as he thinks,” Neil
said. A tremor of fierceness came into his voice. He threw back his
shoulders, and his companion could feel his arm grow tense. “But if
I live long enough I’ll capture him and see him hanged. He has my
brother’s name.”

“The name is common.”

“It shan’t be common among Tories!” the boy declared. “They killed my
brother. They shan’t have his name.”

“How did they kill him?” Gillespie’s voice was stirred. It was an old
story, the loss of life on either side in the bitter Civil War that
tore the Carolinas, but it was a story that never found dull ears.

“I don’t know,” Neil said. “I was a very little boy and the Indians had
carried me off. When I was exchanged and brought home my mother told me
that the Tories had killed Sandy. She didn’t say how--she never would
tell me how. She’d had so much trouble that she was--well, queer, and
she never would tell anything very much. I was so scared and lonesome
that I ran away to the Indians, and stayed with them again a long time.
Mother was just the same when I came back. She didn’t need me and I
couldn’t do anything for her, and that’s why I followed the army to
fight the Tories in Sandy’s place. And I don’t intend to let any Tory
live with his name.”

Gillespie had been seasoned in border warfare, yet he felt
uncomfortable at hearing a mere child use the fierce language of the
war. “Pshaw, now,” he said, “it’s an ugly business to plan to kill men
one at a time! When a whole army gets up before you and you shoot at
it, that’s a different matter. And you want to be careful; besides,
he’s a good deal more likely to get hold of you and do what he pleases
with you than you are with him.”

“I’ll be careful,” Neil agreed--“careful to capture him.”

There were so many things to occupy the general’s attention that it
was nearly daybreak before the messenger was despatched; but at last,
with his length and thinness encased in linsey-woolsey petticoats and a
sunbonnet on his head, the boy rode off through the cold morning chill.

Before Neil started the sunbonnet had been ripped open, and Greene had
slipped a letter to Colonel Campbell in between the lining and one of
the slats which stiffened its brim. Neil was as conscious of the letter
as he was of the rattling of the bonnet round his ears and of the
imprisoned feeling which it gave him to wear it. The general had told
him to treat the bonnet carelessly if he fell into trouble; to swing
it by the strings as a girl might, and to swing it into a fire if
possible; but for the first hour Neil was in no trouble except from the
bonnet and the petticoats and the necessity of sitting sidewise on his

He was riding through woodland; day began to sift slowly down among
the dark tree-trunks. The branches above him grew astir with wakening
birds; the cold air was sweet from unseen jasmine flowers.

The world seemed so quiet, and there was such a sense of peace abroad,
that Neil did one of the few imprudent things of his service. His
side-saddle continually troubled him; he felt insecurely perched on it,
and his back was twisted in an unfamiliar way. If he rode astride for
a while, during this secure, peaceful time, he reasoned that the rest
of the journey would be easier for him when in full daylight he was
obliged to play the girl decorously and be constantly on his guard.

One leg swung over. He pressed his knees into the horse’s sides, and
gave a suppressed whoop of joy. The horse sped forward, and just for
practice, he jerked off his sunbonnet and swung it round and round his
head by the strings; the blood danced in him; he leaned forward and
gave a hissing chirrup to the horse; his petticoats flapped in the
wind, and the trees fled hastily to the rear. Now was his chance for
making time. To feel himself firmly and naturally seated on the horse
was glorious. He swung the bonnet round his head again. One of the
strings slipped from his hand and the other tore from the bonnet. The
bonnet flew to the roadside, and before Neil could check his horse it
was rods behind.

As he rode back for it, a man stepped out of the woods and picked it
from the bush where it had lodged. At sight of him Neil flung his stray
leg back where it belonged, and blushed to a depth of embarrassment
which would have done credit to any girl.

“If you please, sir,” he said, “I just lost that bonnet.”

The stranger held the bonnet behind him and laughed. He was a tall,
broad-shouldered fellow with a face which made Neil sure that he was a
man to be reckoned with. The features were large, yet mobile, and his
pale, greenish eyes had a spark of mischief in them which looked as if
it might turn to fire. Neil felt sorely perturbed, and he had no need
to play a part in order to show timidity. Sandy Davidson came back
into his mind; but if this were Sandy, there would be small chance to
capture him in such a meeting, and the most Neil could hope was to get

Whoever the stranger might be, his first object was to tease. “What’ll
you give me for it, Miss Tomboy?” he asked.

“I--I don’t have anything to give you,” Neil stammered.

“Then you’ll not get it,” the other said, slipping the bonnet inside
his blouse. “You don’t really want it you know. Anybody can see from
your brown face that you’re not used to wearing a bonnet.”

“But I do want it!” Neil declared. He was wild with anxiety and had no
idea what to do. If the man had not slipped it into his tunic, he might
have ridden closer, snatched it, and galloped off.

The man stood laughing at him. “I’ll swap it for a kiss,” he offered.

Neil drew back. “No, you’ll not!” he cried angrily. His indignation was
for himself rather than for the girl he pretended to be. As far as he
could remember, neither his mother nor the Indians nor the soldiers had
ever offered him a bargain of this kind. He had never been kissed since
his babyhood. His face set, his blue eyes turned fierce, and he lifted
the switch which he used as a riding whip.

The stranger fell back a pace and stared with a look which was first
startled and then keen. “You’re not a girl; you’re Neil Davidson!” he
said abruptly.

Neil’s hand dropped. He stared back at the stranger. Something far away
and dimly remembered, something which had made the boy tremble from
the first, was in the man’s features. There was no question now. This
was Sandy Davidson, and he had not only borrowed a name from Neil’s
brother, he had borrowed a face.

As they stood bewildered a faint sound reached them. Although distant,
there was no mistaking the murmurous trample of many feet.

The man took Neil’s horse by the bridle. “You don’t deny that you’re
Neil Davidson, and you’re my prisoner,” he said. “That’s Tarleton’s
Legion. I was waiting here till it came by.”

“Why do you think I’m Neil Davidson?”

“Can’t you guess?” For the first time the man’s voice had a troubled
sound. “It was when you got so mad. Your eyes blazed just as _hers_
always did, and then all at once I could see your baby face--changed a
lot, but looking right out at me. You always looked like mother.”

Neil’s hand closed on the horn of the side-saddle. The name “Sandy
Davidson” had not prepared him; the resemblance had seemed only an
added insult.

“You needn’t be afraid,” the other said, noticing how pale he had grown
under his tan. “Since I heard of you in Greene’s army I’ve vowed I’d
catch you, and now I have. Our family has done enough against the king.
But I’ll see that nobody hurts you.”

Neil straightened himself with a jerk. His timidity was gone and his
bewilderment was yielding to an understanding of what his mother had
meant when she said that the Tories had killed Sandy. “And since I’ve
heard of a Tory with my brother’s name, I’ve vowed to capture _him_!”
he cried. “I’ve vowed that no Tory named Sandy Davidson should live,
for mother said they’d killed you.”

The other gave an impatient laugh. “Why don’t you capture me, then?” he
asked. “Here I am. I told mother I was on the king’s side, and she said
I was dead to her. She was growing crazy and driving me crazy begging
me to revenge father’s death, when father was a rebel and deserved
what he got. She drove me out of the house when I said I was a king’s
man.” He shrugged his shoulders as if to put an end to accounting
for himself. “Of course you’ve got messages on you, or you’d not be
disguised. Hand them over and it will save you trouble. I’m your very
affectionate brother, though you would like to collect that reward
for me, but I can tell you Tarleton’s a very affectionate brother to

The sunbonnet with the letter in it was still in the front of Sandy’s
hunting-shirt. “You can search me,” Neil said. “You’ll find no letters.”

“Then what were you sent for?”

“To practise riding on a side-saddle. You noticed that I don’t take
very kindly to sitting this way.”

“You’re pretty cool for a prisoner,” Sandy said approvingly. “I’ll
search you fast enough, but I reckon we’ll be as good friends as when
you wore dresses all the time.”

“Don’t think it!” Neil cried out. “Don’t think I’ll ever----” He
checked himself, remembering that he was absolutely powerless in
the hands of a man whose name stood for that all was unmerciful. If
there was any kindly feeling left in such a man, Neil would need it.
The trample of feet grew louder, and the brothers waited in silence,
half-concealed by the clump of bushes on which the bonnet had caught.

Neil was busy with the possibilities of getting away. He looked at his
brother critically, trying to judge what might be expected of him. Hard
living, hard fighting, and cruelty had left strangely slight marks upon
Sandy. His face was almost noble, suggesting possibilities which he was
fast outliving.

The boy’s head began to whirl with remembrance of the days when he had
toddled at Sandy’s heels; the two had shunned the house where their
mother’s half-crazed talk of revenge left them no peace; they had
stayed in the fields together; sometimes the big boy had teased the
little one, but sometimes he had snatched Neil up and tossed and played
with him, making him blissfully certain that they were of one age and
stature--rough, loving mates.

Neil’s only bright memories of home were of Sandy. It was because they
were so bright that he had hated the Tory Sandy so much more than any
other Tory; and yet this man, this bushwhacker and marauder, had spoken
of the old days.

Once Neil leaned forward to ask him if he recalled some trifling
circumstance which stood out with special plainness in his own
recollection, but he could not form the words. Relive the past with a
Tory? He shook his head savagely and looked in the direction of the
approaching troops.

The soldiers were coming into view round a curve in the road--not
Tarleton’s Legion, but a body of plainly dressed militia such as might
be found in either army, such as might have reinforced Tarleton. For
the space of a breath Sandy and Neil watched them. Then an officer
galloped forward. The brightening daylight struck across his red hair
and large, high-boned face. It was Col. William Campbell leading his
riflemen to Greene.

Before Sandy could stir Neil caught him by the arm. In their partial
shelter they had not yet been seen. “If you run, I’ll call out your
name and you’ll be a dead man!” he whispered. “That’s Campbell’s
regiment, and you’re my prisoner! Give me back that bonnet. There’s a
message in it to Colonel Campbell from General Greene!” His words grew
swifter with triumph. “Oh, you laughed when I said I’d vowed to capture
you. You were sure it was Tarleton’s regiment----”

Sandy nodded. For once a surprise had dazed him and he stood quiescent,
realizing that if Neil gave the alarm those grim-faced men would scour
the woods and hunt him down. “Oh, I’m caught!” he acknowledged grimly.
“You’ll have the pleasure of seeing me shot or hanged.”

“I said I’d capture you,” Neil repeated. “I said no Tory should
live----” Something unexpected choked his words. The vision of deaths
he had seen in the army passed before him, and then of two boys romping
together in a field. It was only an instant, but the love and the hate
of his life struggled together. He began to tremble.

“The bonnet!” he begged. “If I have the bonnet I can hold their

“You mean you’ll help me off?” Sandy’s voice broke huskily. “Little
Neil--I’ll remember this, I’ll----” But there was no time for words.
He pulled the bonnet from his tunic, turned and walked coolly into the
woods, just as the soldiers caught sight of Neil’s higher figure on the

Neil rode to meet the regiment, holding his bonnet in his hands. He
forgot his disguise and saluted like a soldier.

“Colonel Campbell, I’m not a girl. I’m Neil Davidson, and I’ve brought
you a message from General Greene,” he said. “It’s sewed inside the

But the colonel had caught a motion between the trees. “Who’s that
moving off there?” he asked sharply.

“A man I was talking to,” Neil said. “I was riding fast and my bonnet
flew off. A stranger stepped out of the woods and picked it up for me.
He thought I was a girl, of course, and teased me at first. He wanted
me to kiss him before he’d give it back. I was nearly wild on account
of the message. Then we heard you coming. He stopped teasing and waited
with me until I told him you were my friends.”

“Humph! It’s pretty evident we weren’t his friends; but I reckon he’s
not worth following!” the colonel commented. He tore open the bonnet,
found the message in it, and troubled himself no more about the man in
the woods.

“Ah, Neil, you brought them in!” the general said, when Neil reported
to him. As it chanced, the regiment would have arrived just as safely
without the message, yet he let his grave, tired eyes rest approvingly
on the boy.

Neil had on his own tattered clothes again. His head was as shaggy
and bare as usual, and his brown legs nearly as bare, but there was
something unfamiliar in his face. “Yes, sir,” he answered impetuously.
“I brought them in, but I let the worst Tory in the country go free.”

Greene smiled half-incredulously. “Why was that?” he asked.

Neil was silent a moment, and the general saw tears rising in the blue
eyes that he had supposed were always shrewd or fierce.

“He was my brother!” Neil broke out at last, and because his heart was
so full that he had to tell some one, he told the big, considerate
general the whole story. “And you may do what you please with me,
general,” he ended. “I had to let him go free.”

The general took the boy’s small, shaking hand. “I don’t think you let
him go _free_, exactly, Neil,” he said. “That minute of mercy will make
him more or less your captive all his life.”



  A little Scottish lad dreamed of a great sea fight--of a flag with
  red and white stripes, and white stars on a blue field. This story
  tells how his dream came true.

The summer afternoon was fair, and the waves that rolled upon the north
shore of Solway Firth in the western Lowlands of Scotland were calm and
even. But the tide was coming in, and inch by inch was covering the
causeway that led from shore to a high rock some hundred yards away.
The rock was bare of vegetation, and sheer on the landward side, but on
the face toward the sea, were rough jutting points that would give a
climber certain footholds, and near the top smooth ledges.

On one or two of these ledges sea-gulls had built their nests, tucked
in under projecting points where they would be sheltered from wind and
rain. Now the gulls would sweep in from sea, curving in great circles
until they reached their homes, and then would sit on the ledge calling
to their mates across the water. Except for the cries of the gulls,
however, the rock was very quiet. The lazy, regular beat of the waves
about its base was very soothing. On the longest ledge, below the
sea-gulls’ nests, lay a boy about twelve years old, sound asleep, his
face turned toward the ocean.

Either the gulls’ cries or the sun, now slanting in the west, disturbed
him. He did not open his eyes, but he clenched his fists, and muttered
incoherently. Presently with a start he awoke. He rubbed his eyes, and
then sat up. “What a queer dream!” he said aloud.

The ledge where he sat was not a very safe place. There was scarcely
room for him to move, and directly below him was the sea. But this boy
was quite as much at home on high rocks or in the water as he was on
land, and he was very fond of looking out for distant sailing-vessels
and wondering where they might be bound.

He glanced along the north shore to the little fishing hamlet of
Arbigland where he lived. He saw that the tide had come in rapidly
while he slept, and that the path to the shore was now covered. He
stood up and stretched his bare arms, brown with sunburn, high over
his head. Then he started to climb down from the ledge by the jutting
points of rock.

He was as sure-footed as any mountaineer. His clothes were old, so
neither rock nor sea could do them much harm; his feet were bare. He
was short but very broad, and his muscles were strong and supple. When
he came to the foot of the rock he stood a moment, hunting for the
deepest pool at its base, then, loosing his hold, he dove into the

In a few seconds he was up again, floating on his back; and a little
later he struck out, swimming hand over hand, toward a sandy beach to
the south.

A young man, wearing the uniform of a lieutenant in the British navy,
stood on the beach, watching the boy swim. When the latter had landed
and shaken the water from him much as a dog would, the man approached
him. “Where on earth did you come from, John Paul?” he asked with a
laugh. “The first thing I knew I saw you swimming in from sea.”

“I was out on the rock asleep,” said the boy. “The tide came up and cut
me off. And oh, Lieutenant Pearson, I had the strangest dream! I dreamt
I was in the middle of a great sea fight. I was captain of a ship, and
her yard-arms were on fire, and we were pouring broadsides into the
enemy, afraid any minute that we’d sink. How we did fight that ship.”

The young officer’s eyes glowed. “And I hope you may some day, John!”
he exclaimed.

“But the strangest part was that our ship didn’t fly the English flag,”
said the boy. “At the masthead was a flag I’d never seen, red and white
with a blue field filled with stars in the corner. What country’s flag
is that?”

Pearson thought for a moment. “There’s no such flag,” he said finally.
“I know them all, and there’s none like that. The rest of your dream
may come true, but not that about the flag. Come, let’s be walking
back to Arbigland.”

Although John Paul’s father came of peaceful farmer and fisher folk
who lived about Solway Firth, his mother had been a “Highland lassie,”
descended from one of the fighting clans in the Grampian Hills. The
boy had much of the Highlander’s love of wild adventure, and found it
hard to live the simple life of the fishing village. The sea appealed
to him, and he much preferred it to the small Scotch parish school. His
family were poor, and as soon as he was able he was set to steering
fishing yawls and hauling lines. At twelve he was as sturdy and capable
as most boys at twenty.

Many men in Arbigland had heard John Paul beg his father to let him
cross the Solway to the port of Whitehaven and ship on some vessel
bound for America, where his older brother William had found a new
home. But his father saw no opening for his younger son in such a life.
All the way back to town that afternoon the boy told Lieutenant Pearson
of his great desire, and the young officer said he would try to help

The boy’s chance, however, came in another way. A few days later
it chanced that Mr. James Younger, a big ship-owner, was on the
landing-place of Arbigland when some of the villagers caught sight of a
small fishing yawl beating up against a stiff northeast squall, trying
to gain the shelter of the little tidal creek that formed the harbor of
the town.

Mr. Younger looked long at the boat and then shook his head. “I don’t
think she’ll do it,” he said dubiously.

Yet the boat came on, and he could soon see that the only crew were a
man and a boy. The boy was steering, handling the sheets and giving
orders, while the man simply sat on the gunwale to trim the boat.

“Who’s the boy?” asked the ship-owner.

“John Paul,” said a bystander. “That’s his father there.”

Mr. Younger looked at the man pointed out, who was standing near,
and who did not seem to be in the least alarmed. “Are you the lad’s
father?” he asked.

The man looked up and nodded. “Yes, that’s my boy John conning the
boat,” said he. “He’ll fetch her in. This isn’t much of a squall for

The father spoke with truth. The boy handled his small craft with
such skill that he soon had her alongside the wharf. As soon as John
Paul had landed Mr. Younger stepped up to the father and asked to be
introduced to the son. Then the ship-owner told him how much he had
admired his seamanship, and asked if he would care to sail as master’s
apprentice in a new vessel he owned, which was fitting out for a voyage
to Virginia and the West Indies. The boy’s eyes danced with delight; he
begged his father to let him go, and finally Mr. Paul consented. The
twelve-year-old boy had won his wish to go to sea.

A few days later the brig _Friendship_ sailed from Whitehaven,
with small John Paul on board, and after a slow voyage which lasted
thirty-two days dropped anchor in the Rappahannock River of Virginia.

The life of a colonial trader was very pleasant in 1760. The
sailing-vessels usually made a triangular voyage, taking some six
months to go from England to the colonies, then to the West Indies, and
so east again. About three of the six months were spent at the small
settlements on shore, discharging goods from England, taking on board
cotton and tobacco, and bartering with the merchants.

The Virginians who lived on their great plantations with many servants
were the most hospitable people in the world, always eager to entertain
a stranger, and the English sailors were given the freedom of the
shore. The _Friendship_ anchored a short distance down the river from
where John Paul’s older brother lived, and the boy immediately went to
see him and stayed as his guest for some time.

This brother William had been adopted by a wealthy planter named Jones,
and the latter was delighted with the young John Paul, and tried to get
him to leave the sailor’s life and settle on the Rappahannock. But much
as John liked the easy life of the plantation, the fine riding horses,
the wide fields and splendid rivers, the call of the sea was dearer to
him, and when the _Friendship_ dropped down the Rappahannock bound for
Tobago and the Barbadoes he was on board of her.

Those were adventurous days for sailors and merchants. Money was to be
made in many ways, and consciences were not overcareful as to the ways.
The prosperous traders of Virginia did not mind taking an interest in
some ocean rover bound on pirates’ business, or in the more lawful
slave-trade with the west coast of Africa. For a time, however, young
John Paul sailed for Mr. Younger, and was finally paid by being given a
one-sixth interest in a ship called _King George’s Packet_.

The boy was now first mate, and trade with England being dull, he
and the captain decided to try the slave-trade. They made prosperous
voyages between Jamaica and the coast of Guinea, helping to found the
fortunes of some of the best-known families of America by importing

After a year, however, John Paul tired of the business, and sold his
share of the ship to the captain for about one thousand guineas. He was
not yet twenty-one, but his seafaring life had already made him fairly
well-to-do. He planned to go home and see his family in Scotland, and
took passage in the brig _John o’ Gaunt_.

Life on shipboard was full of perils then, and very soon after the
brig had cleared the Windward Islands the terrible scourge of yellow
fever was found to be on the vessel. Within a few days the captain, the
mate, and all of the crew but five had died of the disease. John Paul
was fully exposed to it, but he and the five men escaped it. He was
the only one of those left who knew anything about navigation, so he
took command, and after a stormy passage, with a crew much too small
to handle the brig, he managed to bring her safely to Whitehaven with
all her cargo. He handled her as skilfully as he had the small yawl in
Solway Firth.

The owners of the _John o’ Gaunt_ were delighted and gave John Paul and
his five sailors the ten per cent. share of the cargo which the salvage
laws entitled them to. In addition they offered him the command of a
splendid full-rigged new merchantman which was to sail between England
and America, and a tenth share of all profits. It was a very fine offer
to a man who had barely come of age, but the youth had shown that he
had few equals as a mariner.

Good fortune shone upon him. He had no sooner sailed up the
Rappahannock again and landed at the plantation where his brother
lived than he learned that the rich old Virginian, William Jones, had
recently died and in his will had named him as one of his heirs. He
had always cherished a fancy for the sturdy, black-haired boy who had
made him that visit. The will provided that John Paul should add the
planter’s name to his own. The young captain did not object to this,
and so henceforth he was known as John Paul Jones.

Scores of stories are told of the young captain’s adventures. He loved
danger, and it was his nature to enjoy a fight with men or with the
elements. On a voyage to Jamaica he met with serious trouble. Fever
again reduced the crew to six men, and Jones was the only officer able
to be on deck. A huge negro named Maxwell tried to start a mutiny and
capture the ship for his own uses. He rushed at Jones, and the latter
had to seize a belaying-pin and hit him over the head. The man fell,
badly hurt, and soon after reaching Jamaica died.

Jones gave himself up to the authorities and was tried for murder
on the high seas. He said to the court: “I had two brace of loaded
pistols in my belt, and could easily have shot him. I struck with a
belaying-pin in preference, because I hoped that I might subdue him
without killing him.” He was acquitted, and soon after offered command
of a new ship built to trade with India.

The charm of life in Virginia appealed more and more strongly to the
sailor. He liked the new country, the society of the young cities along
the Atlantic Coast, and he spent less time on the high seas and more
time fishing and hunting on his own land and in Chesapeake Bay. He
might have settled quietly into such prosperous retirement had not the
minute-men of Concord startled the new world into stirring action.

John Paul Jones loved America and he loved ships. Consequently he was
one of the very first to offer his services in building a new navy.
Congress was glad to have him; he was known as a man of the greatest
courage and of supreme nautical skill.

On September 23, 1779, Paul Jones, on board the American ship _Bon
Homme Richard_, met the British frigate _Serapis_ off the English
coast. A battle of giants followed, for both ships were manned by brave
crews and commanded by extraordinarily skilful officers. The short,
black-haired, agile American commander saw his ship catch fire, stood
on his quarter-deck while the blazing spars, sails, and rigging fell
about him, while his men were mowed down by the terrific broadsides of
the _Serapis_, and calmly directed the fire of shot at the enemy.

Terribly as the _Bon Homme Richard_ suffered, the _Serapis_ was in
still worse plight. Two thirds of her men were killed or wounded when
Paul Jones gave the signal to board her. The Americans swarmed over the
enemy’s bulwarks, and, armed with pistol and cutlass, cleared the deck.

The captain of the _Serapis_ fought his ship to the last, but when he
saw the Americans sweeping everything before them and already heading
for the quarter-deck, he himself seized the ensign halyards and struck
his flag. Both ships were in flames, and the smoke was so thick that
it was some minutes before the men realized his surrender. There was
little to choose between the two vessels; each was a floating mass of

A little later the English captain went on board the _Bon Homme
Richard_ and tendered his sword to the young American. The latter
looked hard at the English officer. “Captain Pearson?” he asked
questioningly. The other bowed.

“Ah, I thought so. I am John Paul Jones, once small John Paul of
Arbigland in the Firth. Do you remember me?”

Pearson looked at the smoke-grimed face, the keen black eyes, the fine
figure. “I shouldn’t have known you. Yes, I remember now.”

Paul Jones took the sword that was held out to him, and asked one of
his midshipmen to escort the British captain to his cabin. He could not
help smiling as a curious recollection came to him. He looked up at the
masthead above him. There floated a flag bearing thirteen red and white
stripes and a blue corner filled with stars. It was the very flag of
his dream as a boy.

Thus it was that the sturdy Scotch boy, full of the daring spirit of
his Highland ancestors, became the great sea-fighter of a new country,
and ultimately wrote his name in history as the Father of the American





[A] From the _Youth’s Companion_, November 1, 1906.

[B] From “Chivalric Days,” copyright, 1886, G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

[C] Reprinted from “Twice Told Tales,” by permission of the Houghton
Mifflin Company.

[D] From _Harper’s Round Table_, June 25, 1895.

[E] From WIDE AWAKE, July, 1886.

[F] From the “Life of George Washington.”

[G] From the _Youth’s Companion_, February 21, 1907.

[H] From _Wide Awake_, July, 1890.

[I] From the “Life of George Washington.”

[J] From _Wide Awake_, July, 1886.

[K] Reprinted by permission of the Houghton, Mifflin Company.

[L] From _Harper’s Young People_. February 21, 1882.

[M] Copyright by George W. Jacobs & Co.

[N] From “Around the Hub,” copyright, 1881, by Samuel Adams Drake.
Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown & Company.

[O] From the _Youth’s Companion_, March 23, 1899.

[P] From the _Youth’s Companion_, April 20, 1899.

[Q] From _Harper’s Round Table_, July 9, 1895.

[R] From “Around the Hub,” copyright, 1881, by Samuel Adams Drake.
Reprinted by permission of Little, Brown & Company.

[S] From “The Spy.”

[T] From _Wide Awake_, July, 1886.

[U] From the _Youth’s Companion_, June 11, 1908.

[V] From “Stories of the War for Independence.”

[W] From the _Youth’s Companion_, September 6, 1900.

[X] From the _Youth’s Companion_, November 22, 1900.

[Y] From “Historic Boyhoods,” copyright, 1900, by George W. Jacobs &


  Italicized text is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

  Archaic or variant spelling has been retained.

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