right hand, whiter than the lace which drooped over
it, was pressed against his heart, evidently as the
result of his last conscious movement. Seymour
bent down and lifted it up gently; there was some-
thing beneath it inside his waistcoat. The young
sailor reverently inserted his hand and drew it forth.
It was a plain gold locket. Touching the spring, it
opened, and there were pictured the faces of the
two women Talbot had loved, — on the one side the
mother, stately, proud, handsome, resolute, the image
of the man himself; on the other, the brown eyes
and the fair hair and the red lips of beautiful Kath-
arine Wilton. There was a letter too in the pocket.
The bayonet thrust which had reached his heart had
gone through it, and it, and the locket also, was
•tained with blood. The letter was addressed to
THE BRITISH PLAY "TAPS"
Seymour; wondering, he broke the seal and read it
It was a brief note, written in camp the night of the
inarch. It would seem that Talbot had a presenti-
ment that he might die in the coming conflict; in-
deed the letter plainly showed that he meant to seek
death, to court it in the field. His mother was to be
told that he had done his duty, and had not failed
in sustaining the traditions of his honorable house ;
and the honest soldierly little note ended with these
As for you ^ my dear Seymour^ would that fate had
been kinder to you I Were Katharine alive, I would
crave your permission to say these words to her : ' /
love yoUf Kate^ — Pve always loved you — but the
better man has won you,* My best love to the old
mother. WotCt you take it to her t Andgood-by, and
God bless you! Hilary Talbot.
The brilliance went out of the sunshine, the bright-
ness faded out of the morning, and Seymour stood
there with the tears running down his cheeks, — not
ashamed to weep for his friend. And yet the man
was with Kate, he thought, and happy, — he could
almost envy him his quiet sleep. The course of his
thoughts was rudely broken by the approach of a
party of horsemen, who rode up to where he stood.
Their leader, a bold handsome young man, of dis*
tinguished appearance, in the brilliant dress of a
British general officer, reined in his steed close by
him, and addressed him.
" How now, sir I Weeping? Tears do not become
a soldier I"
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
**Ah, sir," said Seymour, saluting, and pointing
down to Talbot's body at the same time, " not even
when one mourns the death of a friend? "
•* Your friend, sir? " replied the general officer,
courteously, uncovering and looking down at the
bodies with interest; his practised eye immediately
taking in the details of the little conflict.
" He did not go to his death alone," he said mean-
ingly. " ' Fore Gad, sir, here has been a pretty fight !
Your name and rank, sir? "
" Lieutenant John Seymour, of the American Con-
tinental navy, volunteer aid on his excellency Gen-
eral Washington's staff."
" And what do you here? Are you a prisoner? "
" No, sir, I came with Major Lewis to visit General
Mercer, and to look for my friend, under cover of a
flag of truce."
" Ha ! How is General Mercer? "
"Frightfully wounded; he cannot live very long
" He was a gallant fellow, so I am told, sir, and
fought the father of his majesty in the '45."
** Yes," said Seymour, simply; "this is where he
The general looked curiously about him.
" And who was your dead friend? " he continued.
" Captain Hilary Talbot, of Virginia, of General
."What! Not Talbot of Fairview Hall on the
Potomac?" said one of the officers.
" The same, sir."
"Gad, my lord, Madam Talbot's a red-hot Tory!
She swears by the king. I Ve been entertained at the
THE BRITISH PLAY "TAPS"
house, — not when the young man was there, but
while he was away, — and a fine place it is. Well,
here *s a house divided truly ! "
" Is it indeed so, Mr. Seymour? "
The young man nodded affirmatively.
"What were you proposing to do with the body?'*
" Bury it near here, sir, in the cemetery on the hill
by the college. We have no means of transporting
" Well, you shall do so, and we will bury him like a
soldier. I remember the family now, in England,
very well. Don't they call them the Loyal Talbots?
Yes, I thought so. He was a rebel, and so far false
to his creed, but a gentleman nevertheless, and a
brave one too. Look at the fight he made here,
gentlemen! Damme, he shall have an escort of
the king's own troops, and Lord Cornwallis himself
and his staff for his chief mourners ! eh, Erskine?"
said the gallant earl, turning to the officer who rode
" How will that suit you, Mr. Seymour? You can
tell that to his poor old mother too, when you see
her once again. Some of you bring up a company
of troops and get a gun carriage, — there 's an aban-
doned one of Mawhood's over there, — and we '11 take
him up properly. Have you a horse, sir? Ah, that's
well, and bring a Prayer Book if you can find one, —
I doubt if there be any in my staff. I presume the
man was a Churchman, and he shall have prayers too.
We have no coffin for him, either; but stay — here 's
my own cloak, a proper shroud for a soldier, surely
that will do nicely ; and now let us go on, gentlemen."
In a short time the martial cortege reached the little
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
Presbyterian cemetery. The young man wrapped in
the general's cloak was soon laid away in the shallow
grave, which had hastily been made ready for him.
Seymour, attended by the two other American offi-
cers, Armstrong and Lewis, after cutting off a lock of
Talbot's dark hair for his mother, read the burial ser-
vice out of the young soldier's own little Prayer Book,
which he had found in the pocket of his coat; as the
earth was put upon him, Cornwallis and his officers
stood about reverently uncovered, while the sailor read
with faltering lips the old familiar words, which for
twenty centuries have whispered of comfort to the
heart-broken children of men, and illumined the dark
future by an eternal hope — nay, rather, fixed assur-
ance — of life everlasting.
There was one tender-hearted woman there too, one
of the sweet-faced daughters of the kindly Quaker,
Miss Clark. She had taken time to twine a hasty
wreath from the fragrant ever-verdant pine; when
the little mound of earth was finished, softly she laid
it down, breathing a prayer for the mother in far-off
Virginia as she did so.
Then they all drew back while the well-trained
soldiers fired the last three volleys, and the drum-
mers beat the last call. 'T was the same simple end-
ing which closes the career of all soldiers, of whatever
degree, when they come to occupy those narrow quar-
ters, where earthly considerations of rank and station
" Sir, I beg to thank you for this distinguished
courtesy," said Seymour, with deep feeling, extend-
ing his hand to the knightly Briton.
"Do not mention it, sir, I beg of you," replied
THE BRITISH PLAY " TAPS''
Cornwallis, shaking his hand warmly. '' You will do
the same for one of us, I am sure, should occasion
ever demand a like service at your hands. I will see
that your other men and officers are properly buried.
Do you return now? "
" Immediately, my lord."
"Pray present my compliments to Mr. — nay.
General — Washington," said the generous com-
mander, "and congratulate him upon his brilliant
campaign. Ay, and tell him we look forward eagerly
to trying conclusions with him again. Good-by, sir.
Come, gentlemen," he cried, raising his hat gracefully
as he mounted his horse and rode away, followed by
The Last of thi Talbot s
IT wa» with a sinking heart that Seymour rode up
the hill toward Fairview Hall a few days later.
There had been a light fall of snow during the pre-
ceding nighty and the brilliant sun of the early morn-
ing had not yet gained sufficient strength to melt it
away. There was a softening touch therefore about
the familiar scene, and Seymour, who had never
viewed it in the glory of its summer, thought he had
never known it to look so beautiful. Heartily greeted
as he passed on by the various servants of the family,
with whom he was a great favorite, he finally drew
rein and dismounted before the great flight of steps
which led up to the terrace upon which the house
stood. His arrival had not been unnoticed, and
Madam Talbot was standing in the doorway to greet
him. He noticed that she looked paler and thinner
and older, but she held herself as erect and carried
herself as proudly as she had always done. Grief
and disappointment and broken hope might change
and destroy the natural tissues and fibres of her being,
but they could not alter her iron will. Tossing the
bridle to one of the attendant servants, Seymour, hat
in hand, walked slowly up the steps and across the
grass plat, and stepped upon the porch. She watched
THE LAST OF THE TALBOTS
him in silence, with a frightful sinking of the heart;
the gravity of his demeanor and the pallor of his face,
in which she seemed to detect a shade of pity which
her pride resented, apprised her that whatever news
he had brought would be ill for her to hear, but her
rigid face and composed manner gave no indication
of the deadly conflict within. Seymour bowed low
to her, and she returned his salute with a sweeping
courtesy, old-fashioned and graceful.
** Lieutenant Seymour is very welcome to Fairview
Hall, though I trust it be not the compelling neces-
sity of a wound which makes him seek our hospitality
again," she said, faintly smiling.
" Oh, madam," said Seymour, softly, yet in utter
desperation as to how to begin, " unfortunately it is
not to be cured of wounds, but to inflict them that
this time I am come. I — I am sorry — that I have
to tell you that — I — " he continued with great
" You are a bearer of ill tidings, I perceive," she
continued gravely. " Speak your message, sir. What-
ever it may be, I trust the God I serve to give me
strength to bear it. Is it — is it — Hilary?" she
went on, with just a suggestion of a break in her even,
carefully modulated tones.
" Yes, dear madam. He — he — "
" Stop ! I had almost forgotten my duty. Tell
me first of the armies of my king. The king first of
all with our house, you know."
Poor Seymour! he must overwhelm her with bad
news in every field of her affection. For a moment he
almost wished the results had been the other way.
The perspiration stood out upon his forehead in spite
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
of the coldness, and he felt he would rather charge a
battery than face this terrible old woman who put the
armies of a king — and such a king too — before the
fate of her only son I And yet he knew that what he
had to tell her would break down even her iron will,
and reaching the mother's heart beating warm within
her in spite of her assumed coldness and self-repres-
sion, would probably give her a death-blow. He felt
literally like a murderer before her, but he had to
answer. Talbot's own letter, General Washington's
command, and the promptings of his own affection
had made him an actor in this pathetic drama.
He had no choice but to proceed. The truth must
be told. Nerving himself to the inevitable, he re-
plied to her question, —
" The armies of the king have been defeated and
forced to retire. General Washington has outma-
noeuvred and outfought them ; they are now shut up in
New York again. The Jerseys are free, and we have
taken upward of two thousand prisoners, and many
are killed and wounded among them, — on both sides,
in truth,'* he added.
" The worst news first," she replied. " One knows
not why these things are so, . It seems the God of
Justice slumbers when subjects rebel against their
ri:jhtful kings ! But I have faith, sir. The right will
win in the end — must win."
" So be it," he said, accepting the implied chal-
lenge, but adding nothing further. He would wait to
be questioned now, and this strange woman should
have the story in the way that pleased her best. As
for her she could not trust herself to speak. Never
before had her trembling body, her beating heart
THE LAST OF THE TALBOTS .
escaped from the domination of her resolute will
Never before had her mobile lips refused to formu-
late the commands of her active brain. She fought
her battle out in silence, and finally turned toward
him once more.
" There was something else you said, I think. My
— my son?" Her voice sank to a whisper; in spite
of herself one hand went to her heart. Ah, mother,
mother, this was indeed thy king ! "Is — is he
wounded ? — My God, sir ! Not dead ? "
His open hand which he had extended to her held
two little objects. What were they? The bright sun-
light was reflected from one of them,* the locket she
had given him. There was a dark discoloration on one
side of it which she had never seen before. The other
was his Prayer Book. O God — prayer ! Was
there then a God, that such things could happen?
Where was He that day? She had given that book
to him when he was yet a child. " Dead," — she
whispered, — "dead," shrinking back and staring at
" Would God I had died in his place, dear madam ! "
he said with infinite pity.
" How — how was it ? " she went on, dry-eyed, in
agony, moistening her cracking lips.
" Fighting like a hero over the body of General
Mercer at Princeton. His men retreated and left
them — "
" The rebel cowards," she interrupted.
" Nay, not cowards, but perhaps less brave than he.
The British charged with their bayonets ; our men had
not that weapon, they fell back."
" Were you there, sir? "
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
" Surely not ! Should I be here now if I had been
there then, madam ? " he replied proudly.
" True, true ! you at least are a gentleman. For-
give the question."
" General Mercer and some of his officers sprang
at the line. I had it from his own lips. Some one
cut the general down ; Hilary interposed, and enabled
him to rise to his feet ; they were attacked, fought
bravely until — until — they died."
Stricken to the death at least, but determined to
die as the rest had died, fighting, she drew herself
up resolutely, and lifted her hand to that pitiless
heaven above her. " So — be — it — unto — all —
the — enemies — " When had he heard her say that
before, he wondered in horror. She stopped, her
face went whiter before him, the light went out of it.
" Oh, my son, my son — O God, my son, my son —
Oh, give him back, my son — my son ! " She reeled
and fell against him, moaning and beating the air
with her little feeble hands. The break had come
at last ; she was no longer a Talbot, but a woman.
With infinite pity and infinite care he half led, half
carried her into the house, and then, after being
bidden not to summon assistance, he sank down on
his knees by her side, where she lay on the sofa in
the parlor, crushed, broken, feeble, helpless, old.
With many interruptions he told her the sad story.
He laid the long dark lock of hair he had cut from
her son's head in her hand. There was a letter from
Geoige Washington which he read to her, in which,
after many tender words of consolation, he spoke of
Talbot as " one who would have done honor to any
country." He told her of that military funeral, the
THE LAST OF THE TALBOTS
kind words of Corawallis, the guard of honor, thci
soldiers of the king, and then he put Talbot's own
letter to him before her, and she must be told of
the loss of the frigate. Kate dead too, and Colonel
Wilton. Alas, poor friends ! But all her plans and
hopes were gone; what mattered it — what mattered
anything now !
** Oh, what a load must those unrighteous men bear
before God who have inaugurated this wicked war ! "
she cried; but no echo of her reproach was heard in
the houses of Parliament in London, or whispered
in the antechamber of the king, to whom, assuredly,
And by and by he left her. It wrung his heart
so to do, but the call of duty was stronger than her
need. His ship was ready, or would be in a short
time, and he had snatched a few days from his press-
ing work to fulfil this task. His presence was abso-
lutely necessary on the vessel, and he must go.
Saying nay to her piteous plea that he should stay,
and most reluctantly refusing her proffers of hospi-
tality, after leaving with her the letters and the pic-
tures, he left the room. But in the doorway he
looked back at her. The tears had come at last.
Moved by a sudden impulse, he ran back and knelt
down by her, and took her old face beween his hands
and kissed her.
"Good-by, dear madam," he whispered; "would
it had been I!"
She laid her thin hands upon his head.
" Good-by," she whispered ; " God bless you. Oh,
my boy — my boy ! " She turned her face to the wall
in bitterness, and so he fled.
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
On the brow of the hill one could see, if he were
keen-eyed, the Wilton place. There was the boat-
house. There she had said she loved him. He
struck spurs to his horse and galloped madly away.
Was there nothing but grief and sorrow, then, under
The lawyer and the doctor and the minister
were with Madam Talbot all that day, but it was
little they could do. She added a codicil to her
will with the lawyer, submissively took the medi-
cine the doctor left her, and listened quietly to the
prayers of the priest. In the morning they found
her whiter, stiller, calmer than ever. She had gone
to meet her son in that new country where none
rebel against the King!
A DEATH GRAPPLE ON THE DEEP
A Sailo/s Opinion of the Land
IT was a delightful morning in February. The
Continental ship Randolph, a tight little thirty-
two-gun frigate, the first to get to sea of those
ordered by Congress in 1775, was just leaving the
beautiful harbor of Charleston, South Carolina,
by way of the main ship channel, on her maiden
cruise, under the command of Captain John Seymour
Seymour, late first lieutenant of the Ranger. This
was the second departure she had taken from that
port. Forced by severe damages, incurred in an en-
counter with a heavy gale shortly after leaving Phila-
delphia, to put into that harbor for needed repairs
to the new and unsettled vessel, she had put to sea
again after a short interval, and in one week had
taken six valuable prizes, one of them, an armed
vessel of twenty guns, after a short action. After
this brief and brilliant excursion she had put back
to Charleston to dispose of her prizes, re-collect her
prize crews, and land her prisoners.
There was another motive, however, for the sudden
return. From one of the prizes it had been learned
that the English thirty- two-gun frigate Carrysford,
the twenty-gun sloop Perseus, the sixteen-gun sloop
Hinchinbrook, with several privateers, had been
cruising off the coast together, and the commander
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
of the Randolph was most anxious to get the help
of some of the South Carolina State cruisers to go
in search of the British ships. The indefatigable
Governor Rutledge, when the news had been com-
municated to him, had worked assiduously to pro-
vide the State ships, and the young captain of the
Randolph speedily found himself at the head of a
little fleet of war vessels outward bound.
The departure of the squadron, the Randolph
in the lead, the rest following, and all under full
sail, made a pretty picture to the enthusiastic Caro-
linians, who watched them from the islands and
fortifications in the harbor, and from a number of
small boats which accompanied the war ships a short
distance on their voyage. Besides Seymour's own
vessel, there were the eighteen-gun ship General
Moultrie, the two sixteen-gun ships Notre Dame
and Polly, and the fourteen-gun brig Fair Ameri-
can; the last commanded by a certain master,
Philip Wilton. They made officers of very young
men in those days, and mere boys often occupied
positions of trust and responsibility apparently far
beyond their years, — even Seymour himself, though
now a commodore or flag officer by courtesy, was
very young for the position ; and Governor Rutledge,
moved by a warm friendship of long standing. for old
Colonel Wilton, and upon Seymour's own urgent
recommendation, had intrusted the smallest vessel
to young Captain Philip. We shall see how he
showed himself worthy of the trust reposed in him
in spite of his tender years.
All of these ships were converted merchantmen,
hastily fitted out, poorly adapted for any warlike
A SAILOR'S OPINION OF THE LAND
purpose, and, with the exception of the Fair Ameri*
can, exceedingly slow and unwieldy ; but the heart
of the young commander filled with pride as
he surveyed the little squadron, which followed
in his wake, looking handsome enough under full
sail. It was a great trust and responsibility re-
posed in his skill and experience; doubtless it was
the only fleet the country had assembled, or could
assemble, at that time; the ships were certainly not
as he would have desired them, but they were the
best that could be got together; and manned and
officered by devoted men, they could at least fight
ships of their own size when the time came, and he
trusted to be able to give a good account of the
enemy, should they be so fortunate as to fall in with
them. As for his own vessel, as his practised and
critical eye surveyed the graceful proportions of the
new and well-appointed ship, Seymour felt entirely
satisfied with her. He regarded with pleasant appre-
ciation the decks white as constant holy-stoning
could make them, the long rows of grim black guns
thrusting out their formidable muzzles on either
side, and the lofty spars covered with clouds of new
and snowy canvas. Everything was as neat and
trim, and as ready, as ardor, experience, and ability,
coupled with a generous expenditure from his own
purse, could make them. He was satisfied with his
officers and crew too. Seymour's reputation, his
recent association with Paul Jones, the romantic
story of his last successful cruise, the esteem in
which he was held by Washington, and his own
charming personality had conspired to render him
a great favorite, and he had had the pick of Phila-
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
delphia's hardy seamen and gallant officers ere he
sailed away. The three hundred and odd seamen
and marines who comprised the crew were as fit
and capable a body of men as ever trod the deck of
a ship. Constant exercise and careful instruction,
and drill and target practice, had made them exceed-
ingly able in all the necessary manoeuvres, and in
the handling of the guns.
Forward on the forecastle old Bentley was planted,
surrounded by such of the older and more experi-
enced petty officers and men as he permitted to asso-
ciate with him on terms of more or less familiarity.
Not only the position he occupied, that of boatswain
of the frigate, gave him a vast importance with the
men, but his age and experience, his long associa-
tion with the captain, as well as some almost incred-
ible tales of his familiar companionship with certain
men of awe-inspiring name and great renown, with
various mighty feats of arms in recent campaigns,
vaguely current, conduced to make him the monarch
of the forecastle, and the arbiter of the various dis-
cussions and arguments among the men, who rarely
ventured to dispute the dictum of their oracle.
"Well, here we are pointing out again, thank the
Lord ! " he said to his particular friend and crony
among the crew, the carpenter, Richard Spicer, a
battered old shell-back, like himself. "There is
only one place from which I like to see the land,
" And where is that, bosun ? "
" Over the stern, as now, mate, when we 're going
free with a fair wind, and leaving it fast behind. I
feci safer then. A time since and I felt as if I never
A SAILOR'S OPINION OF THE LAND