like giant sentinels jealously guarding the narrow
portal, appeared, whence he saw them, like a
magnificent framework to a beautiful picture. An
April shower had just passed over, and the mist
was rolling away like the soft folds of a cur
tain from the village of Newburgh, which looked
like the abode of all " country contentments," as
the setting sun shone cheerily on its gentle slopes
and white houses, contrasting it with the stern fea
tures of the mountains. Far in the distance, the
Catskills, belted by clouds, appeared as if their
blue heads were suspended in the atmosphere and
mingling with the sky, from which an eye famil
iar with their beautiful outline could alone distin
guish them. But the foreground of his picture
was most interesting to Eliot; and as his eye
again fell on the little glen sleeping in the sil
very arms of the rills between which it lies
" can this place," he thought, " so steeped in na
ture s loveliness, so enshrined in her temple, be
the abode of treachery ! It has been of heart-
lessness, coquetry, duplicity ah, there is no power
in nature, in the outward world, to convert the
THE LINWOODS. 155
bad blessings it has ; blessings manifold, for the
The spirit of man, alone in nature s solitudes, is
an instrument which she manages at will; and Eliot,
in his deepening seriousness and anxiet}^ felt him
self answering to her changing aspect. The young
foliage of the well-wooded little knoll that rises
over the glen had looked fresh and feathery, and
as bright as an infant awaking to happy conscious
ness ; but as the sun withdrew its beams, it ap
peared as dreary as if it had parted from a smiling
friend. And when the last gleams of day had
stolen up the side of the Crow s Nest, shot over the
summit of Break-neck, flushed the clouds and dis
appeared, and the wavy lines and natural terraces
beyond Cold Spring, and the mass of rocks and
pines of Constitution Island, were wrapped in sad-
coloured uniform, Eliot shrunk from the influence
of the general desolateness, and became impatient
of his voluntary watch.
One after another the kindly-beaming home
lights shot forth from hill and valley, and Eliot s
eye catching that which flashed from Mr. Ruth-
veri s window, he determined on a reconnoitre ; and
passing in front of the house he saw Washington
and his host seated at a table, served with wine
and nuts, but none of those tropical luxuries
that had been manifestly brought to the glen
by the stranger-guests from the sloop-of-war.
Eliot s heart gladdened at seeing the friends en-
156 THE LINWOODS.
joying one of those smooth and delicious passages
that sometimes vary the ruggedest path of life.
That expression of repelling and immoveable grav
ity, that look of tension (with him the bow was al
ways strained) that characterized Washington s
face, had vanished like a cloud ; and it now se
renely reflected the social affections (bright and
gentle spirits !) that, for the time, mastered his per
plexing cares. He was retracing the period of his
boyhood ; a period, however cloudy in its passage,
always bright when surveyed over the shoulder,
He recalled his first field-sports, in which Ruthven
had been his companion and teacher ; and they
laughingly reviewed many an accident by flood
and field. " No wonder," thought Eliot, as in pas
sing he glanced at Ruthven s honest, jocund face ;
" no wonder Washington would not distrust him !"
Eliot returned to his post. The stars had come
out, and looked down coldly and dimly through a
hazy atmosphere. The night was becoming ob
scure. A mist was rising ; and shortly after a
heavy fog covered the surface of the river. Eliot
wondered that Kisel had not made his appearance ;
for, desultory as the fellow was, he was as true to
his master as the magnet to the pole. Darkness
is a wonderful magnifier of apprehended danger ;
and, as it deepened, Eliot felt as if enemies were
approaching from every quarter. Listening in
tently, he heard a distant sound of oars. He was
all ear. " Thank Heaven !" he exclaimed, " it is
THE LINWOODS. 157
Kisel a single pair of oars, and his plashy irregu-
la r din ! " In a few moments he was discernible ;
and n ,aring the shore, he jumped upon the rock
where Eliot stood, crying out exultingly, " I ve
dodged em, hey !"
" Softly, Kisel ; who have you dodged ?"
" Them red birds in their borrowed feathers
Cheat me ? No. Can t I tell them that chops,
and reaps, and mows, and thrashes, from them thai
only handles a sword or a gun, let em put on what
ev yday clothes they will ?"
" Tell me, Kisel, plainly and quickly, what you
A command from Eliot, uttered in a tone of even
slight displeasure, had a marvellous effect in steady
ing Kisel s wits ; and he answered with tolerable
clearness and precision : " I was cutting cross lots
before sunset with a mess of trout, long as my
arm shiners ! when I stumbled on a bunch of
fellows squatted mong high bushes. They held
me by the leg, and said they d come down with
provisions for Square Ruthven s folks ; and they
had not got a pass, and so must wait for nightfall ;
and they d have me stay and guide em across, for
they knew they might ground at low water if they
did not get the right track. I mistrusted em. I
knew by their tongues they came from below ; and
so I cried, and told em I should get a whipping
if I didn t get home afore sundown ; and one of
em held a pistol to my head, loaded, primed, and
158 THE LINWOODS.
cocked, and told me he d shoot my brains out if
I didn t do as he bid me. Lo d o massy ! says I,
1 don t shoot twon t do any good, for I hant got no
brains, hey ! "
" Never mind what you said or they said ; what
did you do ?"
" I didn t do nothing. They held me fast till
night ; and then they pushed their boat out of a
kind o hiding-place, and come alongside mine,
and put me into it, and told me to pilot em. You
know that sandy strip a bit off t other shore ? I
knew my boat would swim over it like a cob, and
I guessed they d swamp, and they did ; diddle me
if they didn t !"
" Are they there now ?"
" There ! not if they ve the wit of sucking tur
keys. The river there is not deep enough to drown
a dead dog, and they might jump in and pull the
A slight westerly breeze was now rising,
which lifted and wafted the fog so that half the
width of the river was suddenly unveiled, and
Eliot descried a boat making towards the glen.
"By Heaven! there they are!" he exclaimed;
"follow me, Kisel;" and without entering the
house, he ran to the stable close by. Fortunately,
often having had occasion, during his visits at the
glen, to bestow his own horse, he was familiar
with the "whereabouts;" and in one instant Gen
eral Washington s charger was bridled and at the
THE LINWOODS. 159
door, held by Kisel ; while Eliot rushed into the
house, and in ten words communicated the danger
and the means of escape. General Washington
said not a word till, as he sprang on the horse,
Ruthven, on whose astounded mind the truth
dawned, exclaimed, " I am innocent." He replied,
" I believe you."
Washington immediately galloped up the steep
imbowered road to the Point. Eliot hesitated for
a moment, doubting whether to attempt a retreat
or remain where he was, when Mr. Ruthven
grasped his arm, exclaiming, " Stay, for God s
sake, Mr. Lee ; stay, and witness to my innocence."
The imploring agony with which he spoke would
have persuaded a more inflexible person than Eliot
Lee. In truth, there was little use in attempting
to fly, for the footsteps of the party were already
heard approaching the house. They entered, five
armed men, and were laying their hands on Eliot,
when Mr. Ruthven s frantic gestures, and his
shouts of " He s safe he s safe he s escaped
ye !" revealed to them the truth ; and they per
ceived what in their impetuosity they had over
looked, that they held an unknown young man in
their grasp instead of the priceless Washington !
Deep were the oaths they swore as they dispersed
to search the premises, all excepting one young
man, whose arm Mr. Ruthven had grasped, and to
whom he said, " Harry, you ve ruined me you ve
made me a traitor in the eyes of Washington the
160 THE UNWOODS.
basest traitor ! He said, God bless him ! that he
believed me innocent ; but he will not when he
reflects that it was I who invited him who pressed
him to come here this evening the conspiracy
seems evident undeniable ! Oh, Harry, Harry,
you and your mad sister have ruined me !"
The young man seemed deeply affected by his
father s emotion. He attempted to justify himself
on the plea that he dared not set his filial feeling
against the importance of ending the war by a sin
gle stroke ; but this plea neither convinced nor
consoled his father. Young Ruthven s associates
soon returned, having abandoned their search, and
announced the necessity of their immediate return
to the boat. " You must go with us, sir," said
Ruthven to his father ; " for, blameless as you are,
you will be treated by the rebels as guilty of
" By Heaven, Harry, I ll not go. I had rather
die a thousand deaths on the gallows, if I must
I ll not budge a foot."
" He must go there is no alternative you
must aid me," said young Ruthven to his compan
ions. They advanced to seize his father. " Off
off !" he cried, struggling against them. " I ll not
go a living man."
Eiiot interposed ; and addressing himself to
young Ruthven, said, " Believe me, sir, you are
mistaking your duty. Your father s good name
must be dearer to you than his life : and his good
name is blasted for ever if in these circum
stances he leaves here. But his life is in no danger
none whatever he is in the hands of his friend,
and that friend the most generous, as well as just, of
all human beings. You misunderstand the temper of
General Washington, if you think he would be
lieve your father guilty of the vilest treachery with
out damning proof." Young Ruthven was more
than half convinced by Eliot, and his companions
had by this time become impatient of delay. Their
spirit had gone with the hope that inspired their
enterprise, and they were now only anxious to
secure a retreat to their vessel. They had some
little debate among themselves whether they should
make Eliot prisoner ; but, on young Ruthven s
suggestion that Lieutenant Lee s testimony might
be important to his father, they consented to leave
him one of them expressing in a whisper the
prevailing sentiment, " We should feel sheepish
enough to gain but a paltry knight when we ex
pected a checkmate by our move."
In a few moments more they were off ; but not
till young Ruthven had vainly tried to get a kind
parting word from his father. " No, Harry," he
said, " I ll not forgive you I can t ; you ve put
my honour in jeopardy no, never ;" and as his
son turned sorrowfully away, he addjed, " Never,
Hal, till this cursed war is at an end."
Early next morning Eliot Lee requested an
audience of Washington, and was immediately
162 THE LINWOODS.
admitted, and most cordially received. "Thank
God, my dear young friend," he said, " you are
safe, and here. I sent repeatedly to your lodgings
last night, and hearing nothing, I have been ex
ceedingly anxious. Satisfy me on one point, and
then tell me what happened after my forced re
treat. I trust in Heaven this affair is not bruited."
Eliot assured him he had not spoken of it to a
human being not even to Linwood ; and that he
had enjoined strict secrecy on Kisel, on whose
obedience he could rely.
" Thank you thank you, Mr. Lee," said Wash
ington, with a warmth startling from him, " I should
have expected this from you the generous devo
tion of youth, and the coolness and prudence of
ripe age a rare union."
Such words from him who never flattered and
rarely praised, might well, as they did, make the
blood gush from the heart to the cheeks. " I am
most grateful for this approbation, sir," said Eliot.
" Grateful ! Would to Heaven I had some re
turn to make for the immense favour you have done
me, beside words ; but the importance of keeping
the affair secret precludes all other return. I think
it will not transpire from the enemy, they are
not like to publish a baffled enterprise. I am
most particularly pleased that you went alone to
the glen. In this instance I almost agree with
Cardinal de Retz, who says, he held men in
greater esteem for what they forbore to do than
THE LINWOODS. 163
for what they did. I now see where I erred
yesterday. It did not occur to me that there could
be a plot without my friend being accessory to it.
I did not err in trusting him. This war has cost
me dear; but, thank Heaven, it has not shaken,
but for.tified, my confidence in human virtue !"
Washington then proceeded to inquire into the oc
currences at the glen after he left there, and ended
with giving Eliot a note to deliver to Mr. Ruthven,
which proved a healing balm to the good man s
Our revolutionary contest, by placing men in
new relations, often exhibited in new force and
beauty the ties that bind together the human family.
Sometimes, it is true, they were lightly snapped
asunder, but oftener they manifested an all-resist
ing force, and a union that, as in some chymical
combinations, no test could dissolve.
164 THE LINWOODS.
" Our will we can command. The effects of our actions we
cannot foresee." MONTAIGNE.
Herbert Linwood to his Sister.
"DEAREST BELLE, I write under the inspiration
of the agreeable consciousness that my letter may
pass under the sublime eye of your commander-in-
chief, or be scanned and sifted by his underlings.
I wish to Heaven that, without endangering your
bright orbs, I could infuse some retributive virtue
into my ink to strike them blind. But the deuse
take them. I defy their oversight. I am not dis
creet enough to be trusted with military or politi
cal secrets, and therefore, like Hotspur s Kate, I
can betray none. As to my own private affairs,
though I do not flatter myself I have attained a
moral eminence which I may challenge the world
to survey, yet I ll expose nothing to you, dear Belle,
whose opinion I care more for than that of king,
lords, and commons, which the whole world may
not know without your loving brother being dis
honoured thereby : so, on in my usual streak o
lightning style, with facts and feelings.
THE LINWOODS. 165
" You have before this seen the official account
of our successful attack on Stony Point, and have
doubtless been favoured with the additional light
of Rivington s comments, your veritable editor.
These thralls of party editors ! The light they emit
is like that of conjurers, intended to produce false
" Do not imagine I am going to send you a regular
report of the battle. With all due deference to
your superior mental faculties, my dear, you are
but a woman, and these concernments of vile
guns must for ever remain mysteries to you. But,
Belle, I ll give you the romance of the affair thy
" My friend Eliot Lee has a vein of quixotism,
that reminds me of the inflammable gas I have seen
issuing from a cool healthy spring. Doctor Kissam,
you know, used to say every man had his insanity.
Eliot s appears in his affection for a half-witted
follower, one Kisel ; the oddest fellow in this world.
His life is a series of consecutive accidents, of good
and bad luck.
" On the 10th he had been out on the other side
of the river, vagrantizing in his usual fashion, and
returning late to his little boat, and, as we suspect,
having fallen asleep, he drifted ashore at Stony
Point. There he came upon the fort, and a string
of trout (which he is seldom without) serving him
as a passport, he was admitted within the walls.
His simplicity, unique and inimitable, shielded him
166 THE LIN WOODS.
from suspicion, and a certain inspiration whick
seems always to come direct from Heaven at the
moment of his necessity, saved him from betraying
the fact that he belonged to our army, and he was
suffered to depart in peace. The observations he
made (he is often acute) were of course communica
ted to his master, and by him made available to our
enterprise. Eliot and myself were among the vol
unteers. He, profiting by Kisel s hints, guided us
safely through some sloughs of despond. With
all his skill, we had a killing scramble over path
less mountains, and through treacherous swamps,
under a burning sun, the mercury ranging some
where between one and two hundred, so that my
sal volatile blood seemed to have exhaled in vapour,
and my poor body to be a burning coal, whose next
state would be ashes.
" Our General Wayne (you will understand his
temper from his nom de guerre, mad Anthony )
had ordered us to advance with unloaded muskets
and fixed bayonets. He was above all things
anxious to avoid an accidental discharge, which
might alarm the garrison. At eight in the evening
we were within a mile and a half of the fort, and
there the detachment halted ; while Wayne, with
Eliot and some other officers, went to reconnoitre.
They had approached within gunshot of the works,
when poor Kisel, who away from Eliot is like an
unweaned child, and who had been all day wander
ing in search of him, suddenly emerged from the
THE LINWOODS. 167
wood, and in a paroxysm of joy discharged his
musket. Wayne sprang forward, and would have
transfixed him with his bayonet, had not Eliot
thrown himself before Kisel, and turned aside
Wayne s arm : some angry words followed, but it
ended in the general leaving Kisel to be managed
by Eliot s discretion. The general s displeasure,
however, against Eliot, did not subside at once.
" When the moment for attack came, I felt my
self shivering, not with fear, no, * franchemenf (as
our old teacher Dubois used to say on the few
occasions when he meant to tell the truth },franche-
mentj not with fear, but with the recollection of my
father s last words to me. The uncertain chances
of a fierce contest were before me, and my father s
curse rung in my ears like the voices that turn
ed the poor wretches in the Arabian tale into
stone. Once in the fight, it was forgotten ; all men
are bulldogs then, and think of nothing past or to
" They opened a tremendous fire upon us ; it was
the dead of night, Belle, and rather a solemn time,
I assure you. Our commander was wounded by
a musket ball : he fell, and instantly rising on one
knee, he cried, Forward, my brave boys, for
ward. The gallant shout gave us a new impulse ;
and we rushed forward, while Eliot Lee, with that
singular blending of cool courage and generosity
which marks him, paused and assisted the general s
aid in bearing him on, in compliance with the wish
168 THE LINWOODS.
he had expressed (believing himself mortally
wounded), that he might die in the fort. Thank
God, he survived ; and being as magnanimous as he
is brave, he reported to the commander-in-chief
Eliot s gallantry and good conduct throughout the
whole affair, and particularly dwelt on the aid he
had given him, after having received from him in
jurious epithets. In consequence of all this, Eliot
is advanced to the rank of captain. Luck is a
lord, Belle ; I would fain have distinguished myself,
but I merely, like the rest, performed my part
honourably, for which I received the thanks of
General Washington, and got my name blazoned
in the report to Congress.
" I hear that Helen Ruthven is dashing away in
New-York, not, as I expected, after her romantic
departure hence, as the honourable Mrs. O .
Well ! all kind vestals guard her ! Heaven knows
she needs their vigilance. Rumour says, too, that
you are shortly to vow allegiance to my royalist
friend. God bless you ! my dear sister. If it
were true (alas ! nothing is more false) that matches
are made in Heaven, I know who would be your
liege-lord. Another match there was, that in my
boyhood my boyhood ! my youth, my maturity,
I believed Heaven had surely made. It is a musty
proverb, that. Farewell, Belle ; kiss my dear moth
er for me, and tell her I would not have her, like
the old Scotch woman, pray for our side, right or
wrong, but let her pray for the right side, arid then
THE LINWOODS. 169
her poor son will be sure to prosper. Oh, would
that I could, without violating my duty to my coun
try, throw myself at my father s feet. His loyalty
is not truer to King George, than mine to him.
" Dearest Belle, may Heaven reunite us all.
" Yours, H. LINWOOD.
" P. S. Kind love, don t forge it, to Rose."
A day or two after Herbert s letter was despatch
ed, Eliot received a summons from Washington ;
and on his appearing before him, the general said,
" I have important business to be transacted in
New- York, Captain Lee. I have despatches to
transmit to Sir Henry Clinton. My agent must be
intrusted with discretionary powers. An expe
dition to New-York, even with the protection of a
flag of truce, is hazardous. The intervening coun
try is infested with outlaws, who respect no civil
ized usages. My emissary must be both intrepid
and prudent. I have therefore selected you. Will
you accept the mission ?"
" Most gratefully, sir but "
" But what ? if you have scruples, name them."
" None in the world, sir ; on my own account I
should be most happy, but I should be still happier
if the office might be assigned to Linwood. It
would afford him the opportunity he pines for, of
seeing his family."
" That is a reason, if there were no other, why
Captain Linwood should not go. Some embar-
VOL.I. H 15
170 THE LINWOODS.
rassment might arise. Your friend has not the
coolness essential in exigencies."
Eliot well knew that Washington was not a man
with whom to bandy arguments, and he at once
declared himself ready to discharge, to the best of
his ability, whatever duty should be imposed on
him ; and it was settled that he should depart as
soon as his instructions could be made out.
Eliot soon after met Linwood, and communica
ted his intended expedition. "You are always
under a lucky star," said Linwood ; " I would have
given all I am worth for this appointment."
" And you certainly should have it if it were
mine to bestow."
" I do not doubt it, not in the least ; but is it not
hard ? Eliot, I am such a light-hearted wretch, for
the most part, that you really have no conception
how miserable my father s displeasure makes me.
I don t understand how it is. The laws of Heaven
are harmonious, and certainly my conscience acquits
me, yet I suffer most cruelly for my breach of filial
obedience. If I could but see my father, eye to
ye, I am sure I could persuade him to recall that
surse, that rings in my ears even now like a death-
knell. Oh, one half hour in New- York would be
my salvation ! The sight of Belle and my mother
would be heaven to me ! Don t laugh at me, Eliot,"
he continued, wiping his eyes, " I am a calf when
I think of them all."
" Laugh at you, Linwood ! I could cry with
THE LINWOODS. 171
joy if I could give my place to you ; as it is, I must
hasten my preparations. I have obtained leave to
take Kisel with me."
" Kisel ! heaven forefend, Eliot. Do you know
what ridicule such a valet-de-place as Kisel will
call down on your head from those lordly British
" Yes, I have thought of that, and it would be
sheer affectation to pretend to be indifferent to it ;
but I can bear it. Providence has cast Kisel upon
my protection, and if I leave him he will be sure
to run his witless head into some scrape that will
give me ten times more trouble than his attend
" Well, as you please ; you gentle people are
always wilful." After a few moments thoughtful
silence, he added, " How long before you start,
" The general said it might be two hours before
my instructions and passports were made out."
" It will be dark then, and," added Linwood,
after a keen survey of the heavens, " I think, very
" Like enough ; but that is not so very agreeable
a prospect as one would infer from the tone of your
" Pardon me, my dear fellow ; it was New-York
I was thinking of, and not any inconvenience you
might encounter from the obscurity of the night
Your passports are not made out T*
172 THE LINWOODS.
" Not yet."
" Do me a favour, then let Kisel ride my gray.
I cannot endure the thought of the harlequin
spectacle you ll furnish forth, riding down the
Broadway with your squire mounted on Beauty ;
besides, the animal is not equal to the expedition.
" Thank you, Linwood. I accept your kindness
as freely as you offer it. You have relieved me