the opportunity afforded him by their journey up the
hill, to urge the old commonplace that he would so
assist her up the hill of life ! And so on. The itera-
tions of love never grow stale to a lover, and the
saying was not so trite to her that it failed to give
her the little thrill of loving joy which seemed, for
the moment at leasts to tame her restless spirit, that
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
spirit of subtle yet merry mockery which charmed
yet drove him mad. She was so unwontedly quiet and
subdued that he stopped at the brow of the hill, and
said, half in alarm, " Katharine, why so silent? "
She looked at him gravely; a new light, not of
laughter, in her brown eyes, saying in answer to his
unspoken thought : " I was thinking of what you said
about your orders. Oh, if they should come to-day,
and you should go away on your ship and be shot at
again and perhaps wounded, what should I do? "
" Nonsense, Katharine dear, I am not going to be
wounded any more. I Ve something to live for now,
you see," he replied, smiling, taking both of her
hands in his own.
" You always had something to live for, even be-
fore — you had me."
" And what was that, pray? "
" Your country."
" Yes," he replied proudly, taking off his laced hat,
*' and liberty ; but you go together in my heart now,
Kate, — you and country."
" Don't say that, John — well, Seymour, then — '
say * country and you.' I would give you up for that,
but only for that."
" You would do well, Katharine; our country first
Since we have engaged in this war, we must succeed.
I fancy that more depends, and I only agree with
your father there, upon the issue of this war than men
dream of, and that the battle of liberty for the future
man is being fought right here and now. Unless our
people are willing to sacrifice everything, we cannot
maintain that glorious independence which has been
so brilliantly declared." He said this with all the
THE COUNTRY FIRST OF ALL
boldness of the Declaration itself; but she» being yet
a woman, asked him wistfully, —
"Would you give me up, sacrifice me for coun*
"Not for the whole wide — " She laid a finger
upon his lips.
" Hush, hush ! Do not even speak treason to the
creed. I am a daughter of Virginia. My father^
my brother, my friends, my people, and, yes, I will
say it, my lover are perilling their lives and have en-
gaged their honor in this contest for the indej>end-
ence of these colonies, for the cause of this people^
and the safeguarding of their liberties; and if I
stood in the pathway of liberty for a single instant, I
should despise the man who would not sweep me
aside without a moment's hesitation." She spoke-
with a pride and spirit which equalled his own, her
head high in the air, and her eyes flashing.
She had released her hands and had suited the
gesture to the word, throwing out her hand and arm
with a movement of splendid freedom and defiance.
She was a woman of many moods and V infinite vari-
ety." Each moment showed him something new to
love. He caught the outstretched hand, — the loose
sleeve had fallen back from the wrist, — he pressed
his lips to the white arm, and said with all his soul
in his voice, —
** May God prevent me from ever facing the neces-
sity of a choice like that, Katharine ! But indeed it
is spirit like yours which makes men believe the
cause is not wholly desperate. When our women
can so speak and feel, we may confidently expect the
blessing of God upon our efforts."
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
*' Father says that it is because General Washing*
ton knows the spirit of the people, because he feels
that even the youths and maidens, the little children,
cherish this feeling, he takes heart, and is confident
of ultimate success. I heard him say that no king
could stand against a united people."
"Would that you could have been in Paris with
your father when he pleaded with King Louis and
his ministers for aid and recognition! We might
have returned with a better answer than paltry money
and a few thousand stand of arms, which are only
promised, after all."
" Would that I were a man instead of being a weak,
feeble woman ! " she exclaimed vehemently.
"Ah, but I very much prefer you as you are,
Katharine, and 't is not little that you can do. You
can inspire men with your own patriotism, if you will.
There, for instance, is your friend Talbot. If you
could persuade him, with his wealth and position
and influence in this country, to join the army in New
Jersey — " As she shook her head, he continued :
" I am sure if he thought as I do of you, you could
persuade him to anything but treachery or dishonor."
His calm smile of superiority vanished in an expres-
sion of dismay at her reply, —
"Talbot! Hilary Talbot! Why, John, do you
know that he is — well, they say that he is in love
with me. Everybody expects that we shall marry
some day. Do you see? These old estates join,
" Kate, it is n't true, is it? You don't care for him,
do you ? " he interrupted in sudden alarm.
" Care for him? Why, of course I care for him. I
THE COUNTRY FIRST OF ALL
have known him ever since I was a child ; but I don*t
love him. Besides, he stays at home while others
are in the field. Silly boy, would I have let you kiss
me in the summer-house if it were so? No, sir ! We
are not such fine ladies as your friends in the city of
Philadelphia, perhaps, we Virginia country girls upon
whom your misses look with scorn, but no man kisses
us, and no man kisses me, upon the lips except the
one I — that I must — let me sec — is the word
•obey '? Shall you make me obey you all the time,
" Pshaw, Katharine, you never obey anybody, — so
your father says, at least, — and if you will only love
me, that will be sufficient."
" Love you ! " — the night had fallen and no one was
near — " love you, John ! " She kissed him bravely^
upon the lips. " Once, that *s for me, my own ; twice^
that 's for my country ; there is all my heart. Come,
sir, we must go in. There are lights in the house."
"Ah, Katharine, and there is light in my heart
As they came up the steps of the high pillared
porch which completely covered the face of the build-
ing, they were met, at the great door which gave en-
trance to the spacious hallway extending through the
house, by a stately and gracious, if somewhat elderly
There was a striking similarity, if not in facial ap-
pearance, at least in the erect carriage and free air,
between him and the young girl who, disregarding his
outstretched hand and totally disorganizing his cere-
monious bow, threw her arms about his neck and
kissed him with unwonted warmth, much to his dis-
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
may and yet not altogether to his displeasure. Per-
haps he suspected something from the bright and
happy faces of the two young people ; but if so, he
made no comment, merely celling them that supper
had been waiting this long time, and bidding them
hasten their preparation for the meal.
Katharine, followed by Chloe, her black maid, who
had been waiting for her, hastily ran up the stairs to
her own apartments, upon this signal, but turned upon
the topmost stair and waved a kiss to the two gentle-
men who were watching her, — one with the dim eyes
of an old father, the other with the bright eyes of a
" Colonel Wilton," exclaimed Seymour, impul-
sively, "I have something to say to you, — some-
thing I must say."
" Not now, my young friend," replied the colonel,
genially. " Supper will be served, nay, is served al-
ready, and only awaits you and Katharine ; afterward
we shall have the whole evening, and you may say
what you will."
''Oh, but, colonel — "
** Nay, sir, do not lay upon me the unpleasant duty
of commanding a guest, when it is my privilege as
host to entreat. Go, Mr. Seymour, and make you
ready. Katharine will return in a moment, and it
does not beseem gentlemen, much less officers, to
Iceep a lady waiting, you know. Philip and Bentley
have gone fishing, and I am informed they will not
return until late. We will not wait for them."
" As you wish, sir, but I must have some private
conversation with you as soon as possible."
** After supper, my boy, after supper."
LEFT to himself for a moment, the colonel heaved
a deep sigh ; he had a premonition of what was
coming, and then paced slowly up and down the long
He was attired, with all the splendor of an age in
which the subject of dress engrossed the attention of
the wisest and best, in the height of the prevailing
mode, which his recent arrival from Paris, then as now
the mould of fashion, permitted him to determine.
The soft light from the wax candles in their sconces
in the hall fell upon his thickly powdered wig, ran
in little ripples up and down the length of his pol-
ished dress-sword, and sparkled in the brilliants in the
buckles of his shoes. His face was the grave face of
a man accustomed from of old not only to com-
mand, but to assume the responsibility of his orders;
when they were carried out, his manner was a happy
mixture of the haughty sternness of a soldier and the
complacent suavity of the courtier, tempered both
by the spirit of frankness and geniality born of the
free life of a Virginia planter in colonial times.
In his early youth he had been a soldier under
Admiral Vernon, with his old and long-deceased
friend Lawrence Washington at Cartagena; later on,
he had served under Wolfe at Quebec. A visitor,
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
and a welcome one too, at half the courts of Europe,
he looked the man of affairs he was ; in spite of his
advanced age, he held himself as erect, and carried
himself as proudly as he had done on the Heights of
Abraham or in the court of St. Germain.
Too old to incur the hardships of the field, Colonel
Wilton had yet offered his services, with the ardor of
the youngest patriot, to his country, and pledged his
fortune, by no means inconsiderable, in its support.
The Congress, glad to avail themselves of the services
of so distinguished a man, had sent him, in company
with Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin, as an em-
bassy to the court of King Louis, bearing proposals
for an alliance and with a request for assistance dur-
ing the deadly struggle of the colonies with the
hereditary foe of France. They had been reasonably
successful in a portion of their attempt, at least ; as
the French government had agreed, though secretly ^
to furnish arms and other munitions of war through
a pseudo-mercantile firm which was represented by M.
de Beaumarchais, the gifted author of the comedy '* Le
Mariage de Figaro." The French had also agreed
to furnish a limited amount of money; but, more
important than all these, there were hints and indica-
tions that if the American army could win any de-
cisive battle or maintain the unequal conflict for any
length of time, an open and closer alliance would be
made. The envoys had despatched Colonel Wilton,
from their number, back to America to make a report
of the progress of their negotiations to Congress.
This had been done, and General Washington had
been informed of the situation.
The little ship, one of the gallant vessels of th«
nascent American navy, in which Colonel Wilton had
returned from France, had attacked and captured a
British brig of war during the return passage, and
young Seymour, who was the first lieutenant of the
ship, was severely wounded. The wound had been
received through his efforts to protect Colonel Wilton,
who had incautiously joined the boarding-party which
had captured the brig. After the interview with Con-
gress, Colonel Wilton was requested to await further
instructions before returning to France, and, pending
the result of the deliberations of Congress, after a
brief visit to the headquarters of his old friend and
neighbor General Washington, he had retired to his
estate. As a special favor, he was permitted to bring
with him the wounded lieutenant, in order that he
might recuperate and recover from his wound in the
pleasant valleys of Virginia. That Seymour was
willing to leave his own friends in Philadelphia, with
all their care and attention, was due entirely to his
desire to meet Miss Katharine Wilton, of whose
beauty he had heard, and whose portrait indeed, in
her father's possession, which he had seen before on
the voyage, had borne out her reputation. Seymour
had been informed since his stay at the Wiltons' that
he had been detached from the brig Argus, and noti-
fied that he was to receive orders shortly to report to
the ship Ranger, commanded by a certain Captain
John Paul Jones ; and he knew that he might expect
his sailing orders at any moment. He had improved,
as has been seen, the days of his brief stay to recover
from one wound and receive another, and, as might
have been expected, he had fallen violently in love
with Katharine Wilton.
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
There were also staying at the house, besides the
servants and slaves, young Philip Wilton, Katharine's
brother, a lad of sixteen, who had just received a mid-
shipman's warrant, and was to accompany Seymour
when he joined the Ranger, then outfitting at Philadel-
phia ; and Bentley, an old and veteran sailor, a boat-
swain's mate, who had accompanied Seymour from
ship to ship ever since the lieutenant was a midship*
man, — a man who had but one home, the sea-; one
hate, the English; one love, his country; and one
Colonel Wilton was a widower. As Katharine came
down the stairway, clad in all the finery her father
had brought back for her from Paris, her hair rolled
high and powdered, the old family diamonds with
their quaint setting of silver sparkling upon her
snowy neck, her fan languidly waving in her hand,
she looked strikingly like a pictured woman smiling
down at them from over the mantel ; but to the sweet-
ness and archness of her mother's laughing face were
added some of the colonel's pride, determination, and
courage. He stepped to meet her, and then bent and
kissed the hand she extended toward him, with all
the grace of the old regime ; and Seymour coming
upon them was entranced with the picture.
He too had changed his attire, and now was clad
in the becoming dress of a naval lieutenant of the
period. He wore a sword, of course, and a dark
blue uniform coat relieved with red facings, with a
single epaulet on his shoulder which denoted his
official rank ; his blond hair was lightly touched with
powder, and tied, after the fashion of active service^
in a queue with a black ribbon.
** Now, Seymour, since you two truants have come
at last, will you do me the honor to hand Miss Wilton
to the dining-room?" remarked the colonel, straight-
With a low bow, Seymour approached the object
of his adoration, who, after a sweeping courtesy, gave
him her hand. With much state and ceremony, pre-
ceded by one of the servants, who had been waiting
in attention in the hall, and followed by the colonel,
and lastly by the colonel's man, a stiff old campaigner
who had been with him many years, they entered the
dining-room, which opened from the rear of the hall.
The table was a mass of splendid plate, which
sparkled under the soft light of the wax candles in
candelabra about the room or on the table, and the
simple meal was served with all the elegance and pre-
cision which were habitual with the gentleman of as
fine a school as Colonel Wilton.
At the table, instead of the light and airy talk
which might have been expected in the situation, the
conversation assumed that grave and serious tone
which denoted the imminence of the emergency.
The American troops had been severely defeated
at Long Island in the summer, and since that time
had suffered a series of reverses, being forced steadily
back out of New York, after losing Fort Washington,
and down through the Jerseys, relentlessly pursued
by Howe and Cornwallis. Washington was now mak-
ing his way slowly to the west bank of the Delaware.
He was losing men at every step, some by desertion,
more by the expiration of the terms of ^Jieir en-
listment. The news which Colonel Vv'Uton had
brought threw a frail hope over the sit'^ation; hut
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
ruin stared them in the face, and unless something
decisive was soon accomplished, the game would be
" Did you have a pleasant ride up the river, Kath-
arine? *' asked her father.
"Very, sir," she answered, blushing violently and
looking involuntarily at Seymour, who matched her
blush with his own.
There was a painful pause, which Seymour broke>
coming to the rescue with a counter question.
"Did you notice that small sloop creeping up
under the west bank of the river, colonel, this even-
ing ? I should think she must be opposite the house
now, if the wind has held."
"Why, when did you see her, Mr. Seymour? I
thought you were looking at — at — " She broke
off in confusion, under her father's searching gaze.
He smiled, and said, —
" Ah, Katharine, trained eyes see all things unusual
about them, although they are apparently bent per-
sistently upon one spot. Yes, Seymour, I did notice
it; if we were farther down the river, we might sus-
pect it of being an enemy, but up here I fancy
even Dunmore's malevolence would scarcely dare to
Katharine looked up in alarm. "Oh, father, do
you think it is quite safe? Chloe told me that
Phoebus told her that the raiders had visited Major
Lithcomb's plantation, and you know that is not
more than fifty miles down the river from us.
Would it not be well to take some precaution ? "
"Tut, tut, child 1 gossip of the negro servants!'*
The colonel waved it aside carelessly. "I hardly
think we have anything to fear at present; though
what his lordship may do in the end^ unless he is
checked, I hardly like to imagine."
"But, father," persisted Katharine, "they said
that Johnson was in command of the party, and you
know he hates you. You remember he said he
would get even with you if it cost him his life,
when you had him turned out of the club at
"Pshaw, Katharine, the wretch would not dare.
It is a cowardly blackguard, Seymour, whom I saw
cheating at cards at the Assembly Club at the cap-
ital. I had him expelled from the society of gentle-
men, where, indeed, he had no right of admittance,
and I scarcely know how he got there originally.
He made some threats against me, to which I nat«
urally paid no attention. But what did you think
of the vessel ? "
"I confess I saw nothing suspicious about her,
sir," replied Seymour. "She seemed very much
like the packets which ply on the river; I only
spoke idly of the subject."
"But, father, the packet went up last week, the
day before you came back, and is due coming down
the riveviiow, while this boat is coming up," said
"Oh, well, I think we are safe enough now;
but, to relieve your imusual anxiety, I will send
Blodgett down to the wharf to examine and report.
— Blodgett, do you go down to the boat-Ianding and
keep watch for an hour or two. Take your musket,
man ; there is no knowing what you might need it
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY
The old soldier, who had stationed himself be-
hind the colonel's chair, saluted with military
precision, and left the room, saying, "Very good,
sir; I shall let nothing escape my notice, sir."
" Now, Katharine, I hope you are satisfied. "
"Yes, father; but if it is the raidets, Blodgett
won't be able to stop them.*'
"The raiders," laughed the colonel; and pinch-
ing his daughter's ear, he said, " I suspect the only
raiders we shall see here will be those who have
designs upon your heart, my bonny Kate, — eh,
Seymour ? "
"They would never dare to wear a British uni-
form in that case, father, " she retorted proudly.
" Well, Seymour, I hear, through an express from
Congress to-day, that Captain Jones has been ordered
to command the Ranger, and that the new flag —
we will drink to it, if you please; yes, you too,
Katharine, God bless every star and stripe in it —
will soon be seen on the ocean."
"It will be a rare sight there, sir," said Seymour;
" but it will not be long before the exploits of the
Ranger will make it known on the high seas, if
rumor does not belie her captain."
" I trust so ; but do you know this Captain Jones ? "
" Not at all, sir, save by reputation ; but I am told
he has one requisite for a successful officer. "
"And what is that.?"
"He will fight anything, at any time, or at any
place, no matter what the odds. "
Colonel Wilton smiled. "Ah, well, if it were
not for men of that kind, our little navy would never
have a chance."
**No, father, nor the army, either; if we waited
for equality before fighting, I am afraid we should
"True, Katharine. By the way, have you seen
" I wish that we might enlist his services in the
cause. I don't think there is much doubt about
Talbot himself, is there?"
"No. It is his mother, you know; she is a
loyalist to the core. As were her ancestors, so is
The colonel nodded gently; he had a soft spot in
bis heart for the subject of their discussion. " With
her teaching and training, I can well understand it,
Katharine. Proud, of high birth, descended from
the * loyal Talbots, ' and the widow of one of them,
she cannot bear the thought of rebellion against the
king. I don't think she cares much for the people,
or their liberties either."
"Yes, father; with her the creed is, the king can
do no wrong."
"Ah, well," said the colonel, reflectively, "I
thought so too once, and many is the blow I have
struck for this same king. But liberty is above
royalty, independence not a dweller in the court;
so, in my old age, I find myself on a diflferent side."
He sipped his wine thoughtfully a moment, and
"Madam Talbot has certainly striven to restrain
the boy, and successfully so far. He is a splendid
fellow ; I wish we had him. He would be of great
service to the cause, with his name and influence^
FOR LOVE OF COUNIRY
and the money he would bring; and then the quality
of the young man himself would be of value to us.
You have met him, Seymour, I believe ? "
"Yes, sir, several times; and I agree with you
entirely. It is his mother who keeps him back. I
have had one or two conversations with her. She is
a Tory through and through. "
"Not a doubt of it, not a doubt of it," said the
colonel. "Katharine, can't you do something with
"Oh, father, you know that I have talked with
him, pleaded with him, and begged him to follow his
inclination; but he remains by his mother."
" Nonsense, Katharine ! Don't speak of him in that
way ; give him time. It is a hard thing : he is her
only son ; she is a widow. Let us hope that some-
thing will induce him to come over to us." He said
this in gentle reproof of his spirited daughter; and
" Permit me to offer you a glass of wine, Se)rmour,
— you are not drinking anything; and to whom shall
we drink ? "
Seymour, who had been quaffing deep draughts of
Katharine's beauty, replied promptly, —
"If I might suggest, sir, I should say Mistress
"No, no," said Katharine. "Drink, first of all,
to the success of our cause. I will give you a toast,
gentlemen : Before our sweethearts, our sisters, our
wives, our mothers, let us place — our country," she
exclaimed, lifting her own glass.
The colonel laughed as he drank his toast, saying,
" Nothing comes before country with Katharine. "
And Seymour, while he appreciated the spirit ol
the maiden, felt a little pang of grief that even
to a country he should be second, — an astonishing
change from that spirit of humility which a moment
since contented itself with metaphorically kissing
the ground she walked upon.
"By the way, father, where is Philip?" asked
" He went up the branch fishing, with Bcntley, I