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Produced by Annie R. McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S ROUND TABLE]

Copyright, 1896, by HARPER & BROTHERS. All Rights Reserved.

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* * * * *



A Story of the Revolution.




Propped up by pillows in an easy-chair before a roaring fire in the
great fireplace, George Frothingham was sitting, relating to a group of
listeners the story of his adventures on the way from New York.

His sister Grace, seated on the arm of the chair, was softly stroking
his hand.

Aunt Clarissa, who had discarded her tatting-frames, was busily clicking
her needles at the toe of a woollen stocking.

"What I don't see," said George, "is where I got that little
chopped-down horse that you say I rode upon. I do not know where he came

"But you are anticipating," said Aunt Clarissa; "you had only got as far
in your story as sighting Lyons Farms."

"Oh, that's so!" said George. "Now comes the part that I hate most to
tell. When I came down the hill, it was evident that something was wrong
in the collection of little houses. No one was stirring about, and the
ruins of a small building were smoking to the left of the road. What do
you suppose had happened? The firing that I had heard two or three hours
before had taken place here. There had been a skirmish. A body of
English troops and a company of Hessians on a marauding excursion had
been met at the cross-roads by a handful of militia. It makes my blood
boil to tell the rest, but the Lord will punish them. All this had
happened only a few hours before I arrived. They had shot Mr. Hinckley,
and a brute of a Hessian had rested his gun on the window-sill, and
killed his wife as she bent over her baby's cradle. Then, like redskins,
they had hurried off. I found no one amongst the dwellings but some
frightened children huddling in a cellar. The houses were robbed and

Aunt Clarissa had dropped her stocking and rushed into the next room.
"God forgive me!" she had exclaimed, when she was alone, and she had
reached her long arms up above her head. "Curse them and their tyrants
to the bottom of the sea! How could I have been so blind - so stubborn?"

When she had come back, however, she kissed her nephew on the forehead.

The remembrance of the scene, and the picture of it which was going
through his mind, had caused George to pause and sink back silently
among the cushions. "I think I will rest a little," he said.

No one disturbed him, and for some time there was silence.

In a few minutes a loud, hearty voice was heard ringing through the

George smiled. "Colonel Hewes," he said. "Do ask him in."

The Colonel greeted his young friend with a subdued effusion, and, with
the gentleness of a woman, spread out George's fingers in his palm.

"Just back from headquarters!" he said. "Lad, lad, I have had you on my
mind, and when I heard of your escape, I grew quite young again. The
Commander-in-Chief himself rejoiced to hear of it, for the officer with
despatches from the north brought the news of your arrival. But when his
Excellency heard for what you had gone to New York he grew quite angry.
He laid aside my request for active service, though. Too bad the plan
fell through! It was my idea. - I wrote and proposed it to the printer."

George smiled to himself. Perhaps Mr. Hewes's next venture would be an
attempt to capture the King of England.

"Did you come along by the Tumble Ridge Road?" inquired the Colonel. He
did not catch Aunt Clarissa's warning glance.

George wrinkled his forehead. "Now let me think; yes - there's where it
occurred," he said. "But wait; I have got to think how it all happened."

"Don't try, brother George," said Grace. "Wait until another day."

"No, I must tell it now. Where was I?"

"You were telling about Lyons Farms," said his sister.

"Oh yes! I found an old sledge in a shed much like the one that my good
friend Wissinck had driven me in from Paulus Hook. Although old Molly
was very tired, I harnessed her up and put the children - there were four
of them - in a feather-bed, and drove across the hill. I stopped at the
first house that I came across, and found two old women there. You
should have heard their stories! The Hessians have been worse than
Indians; you would hardly believe it. - But enough. I left the children
there with the two old women, and pushed along as best I could three or
four miles further. Here I came upon the remains of a camp-fire by the
road-side, and was glad enough to find the remnants of a meal in the
kettle that hung over the smouldering fire. It had been left hurriedly.

"That night I slept in a farm-house in the mountains. The poor old mare
was so tired by this time that I determined to make the rest of the trip
on foot, and left her in the care of the old farmer, who promised to
return her. I shall never forget how I suffered all that day. If it had
not been for two rough snow-shoes that I had made out of the staves of a
molasses hogshead, I could not have gotten through the snow at all." He
paused. "Now comes the part that leads up to my forgetting."

George had seemed to gather strength as he went on with the recital. He
now sat up straighter, and the color came to his pale cheeks.

"I had almost feared I had lost my way when I saw the trunk of a
shattered pine - the one that was struck by lightning, you remember - then
I knew that I was only six miles from home. I was weak and faint, for I
had had nothing to eat but a frozen potato all that day. I soon came to
the cross-roads where the path winds across the ridge. It was a
short-cut, and I took it. The bushes interfered with my rough
snow-shoes, and I discarded them and plunged through the snow. When I
came to the hollow by the old Camel rock, I smelt smoke quite
distinctly. - It is here, you know, that the path joins the road
again. - As I pushed through the short pines the smoke became stronger,
and all at once I found myself face to face with a group of men seated
about a fire. Two or three horses were tethered to the trees, and the
men were all armed.

"'God save our country!' I exclaimed - for the idea that there were
English so close about seemed impossible.

"'God save ourselves!' said one of the men, with a laugh.

"At that moment I recognized a man in the little circle who was slowly
rising to his feet. It was that rascal Cloud, the man who had robbed
Uncle Nathan unknown for so many years, you remember."

"Well," cried Colonel Hewes. "He's got his dues. I - " The Colonel
stopped and dug his fingers into his palm.

George had not noticed the interruption. "I knew, of course," he went
on, "that some mischief was afoot, for that wretch never had an honest
thought. I backed away, and was going to make a break for the road near
by, when I tripped and fell.

"'Seize him!' said Cloud, and in another moment I was bound hand and
foot. They took my purse, which yet contained some gold pieces. They
were as murdering a lot of pirates as you ever saw!"

"We know of them," the Colonel broke in, excitedly. "There's a price on
all their heads, for they acknowledge no law or party. But go on."

"'What are you going to do with me?' I asked, after they had searched
every pocket. No one paid the least attention.

"They had drawn apart and were whispering together, and I could see that
Cloud was talking angrily. How long they conversed I do not know, but it
was at some length. When Cloud had finished speaking, there was some
dissent about what he said, and the rest - all but two - took their
bundles, and, heading about, struck off through the woods. Cloud was
left sitting opposite to me, his horse was tied to a tree a short
distance off. I shall never forget the look in that man's eyes. It was
the look of Satan himself."

"Go on," said Colonel Hewes, breathlessly.

Aunt Clarissa and Grace gathered closer.

"'Do you remember me?' asked Cloud.

"'I do for a thieving villain,' I replied.

"'Do you know that your uncle had me tied and thrashed like a low black
nigger?' he exclaimed, his teeth coming over his under lip.

"'And well deserved,' said I. Perhaps it was foolish, but I so detest
the man that I could reply naught else.

"'I swore that I would be revenged on him and his,' snarled Cloud.

"'What are you going to do?' I inquired. I was wound about lengthwise
with a long rope, and could move no more than my little finger.

"'I am going to hang you,' he replied. The two men that had been left
behind approached us as if to interfere, but he repulsed them, and they
hurried into the woods.

"I was frightened. The idea that he really intended to do it never
entered my mind. But now I judge that he must be a maniac and nothing

"'You villain,' I said, 'you dare not lay hands on me!'"

Aunt Clarissa started. She remembered this was the expression that
George had used in his delirium.

"Do you know what that, _that_" - George paused for an expression - "what
he did?" he said at last, quite calmly. "He put a rope around my neck,
and threw the end over the branch of a tree. Even then I did not suppose
that he was trying to do anything but frighten me, but I shall never
forget the horror with which I felt the rope tighten about my throat! As
he was no heavier than I, he could not lift me entirely from the
ground. - I could still almost stand upon my toes."

Aunt Clarissa and Grace both grew faint. The Colonel dashed his
riding-whip to the ground.

George panted as he went on with his story. "I can remember no more than
seeing that fiend standing there cross-legged, looking up at me. Then
it seemed to me I fell from some frightful height."

"You must have come home after that," said Aunt Clarissa, "for you
arrived here shortly after dusk."

She made up her mind that she would not say anything about the latter
escapade and his escape from the house, as George did not wish to talk
on further, and Colonel Hewes also concluded to say nothing about the
doctor's discovery, which the latter had related to him.

"After I fell, I remember nothing for two days, you know," George added.

"Never mind," said Aunt Clarissa, smoothing back his hair. "You must
rest, dear boy."

The lad closed his eyes, and appeared to drop asleep.

Colonel Hewes took his leave at once. As he went across the meadow
toward the foundry a thought struck him. "Jove! I have the solution!" he
said, "It was Adam Bent Knee's revenge. Indian blood will show out. I
have always held it so. He has settled scores for good and all with his
old enemy Cloud."

There was one thing that puzzled every one - the presence of the strange
horse that it was supposed George must have picked up somewhere on the
Tumble Ridge Road, and while still under the influence of his disordered
mind. Burnt into the saddle was the name "Ralston, Hoboken." If the
"colt" could have talked, it could have added some astonishing
information that would have cleared away the fog of uncertainty. It was
thought, however, that the little horse might have escaped from the band
of marauders, and that the young man had found him after he had fallen,
and had managed to free himself from his bonds. Colonel Hewes's cousin
could have solved a great deal of this mystery, but he had gone to
Morristown, and had been ordered thence to General Putnam's forces in
the southern part of the State.

There was some confusion also about the time of day at which things had
taken place.

But we must return and follow the doings of the royalist Lieutenant,
young William Frothingham, after he had closed the door of his old home
behind him, and had bade that mysterious adieu to his white-robed sister
in the hallway. Her exclamation and her calling him by his brother's
name had proved again that the resemblance must be as marvelous as ever.
As soon as he had left the house he started on a run toward the old
bridge, and taking a lumber path, he waded through the snow, intending
to make for the hut of Adam Bent Knee that was in the hollow in the
ridge. He knew that the old Indian would give him shelter, and would
help him on his way, no matter to what party he belonged.

He reached the hut at last. It was built against a bank, and was roofed
with bark and slabs of pine. Something had happened here, however, for
the interior was torn to pieces. The furs that hung upon the wall were
cut and slashed, and a half-barrel of apples had been thrown across the
floor. All this had been done quite recently, for there were signs
before the door of footprints and horses' hoofs. They led along the
lumber path from the summit, and a short distance further on the same
tracks were seen going in the opposite direction as if the party had
doubled. The latter trail was much the fresher. William followed it.

They had broken a way through the snow, and he could travel for three or
four miles much more easily. The trail led him through the woods until
he descried the other side of the mountain. Far below him William made
out a fire's light shimmering through the trees. Broad streaks had
appeared in the east, and the edge of the red sun was showing through
the horizon clouds. It was a grand sight. So still was the air that a
twig that he stepped on in the snow seemed to him to crack like the
report of a pistol. A belated owl in its sturdy driving flight swept
across the clearing before him. Such a feeling of loneliness came over
him that his heart sank again. What had his career as an officer of the
crown brought to him? There was nothing of the coward in his
disposition, and his sense of duty, as we know, was developed to the
limit, but he hoped with all his soul that should he arrive safely back
in the city, that he and all the gleaming bayonets there might be
bundled back into the ships and sent to England. He prayed that he might
never be compelled to draw his sword against this people, his own
people, who were "rebels" no longer in his mind or estimation!

The sight of the fire in the woods reminded him that he was hungry, and
must push ahead that he might reconnoitre. He half slid down the sharp
declivity, and forced his way through the bushes.

There was a group of rough-looking men seated about a bivouac at the
right of a great oak; some leaning forward wrapped in heavy blankets,
appeared asleep. Three horses were nibbling at the twigs of the stunted
undergrowth. One had strayed to quite a distance, and was standing
mournfully leg-deep in the snow. As William came down the hill he found
himself at the top of a great rock even with the branches of the oak and
overlooking the small fire. He was in full sight when one of the party
looked up and saw him. The man's jaw dropped, and he caught his breath,
with an exclamation that aroused the drowsy ones about him. One of the
men rolled backwards with a howl, and with his blanket trailing behind
him plunged down the hill.

"Greeting, good friends," said William.

The effect of this short speech astonished him. Two of the men sprang up
and jumped astride of the nearest horses, and the others took to their
heels like the first, and soon the whole party was crashing down the
hill like a herd of startled deer.

William did not move. He was too astonished to call after them, and from
his post on the rock saw them come out into the meadow some distance
below, where they stopped and talked. They appeared to come to one
decision, for after looking back, they pushed on hastily, and entered
the woods at the other side of the valley.

Swinging himself down by the branches of the oak, William found himself
in possession of the very things that he most needed. In their
unaccountable flight the strange party had left behind them a rough
blanket and a blue woollen cape, and a huge flint-lock pistol, whose
dark butt protruded from the snow, where it had been dropped, like some
new growth of the forest.

A short distance away was a placid-looking horse who had commenced again
to gnaw the trunk of a white birch.

"Refuse not the gifts the gods provide," quoted William. "What did they
take me for? I must look like an army or a constable. A lot of thieves,
most likely."

He extricated the horse with some difficulty, and picking up the blanket
and woollen cape, he retraced his steps to the top of the ridge, and
made his way along the summit toward the travelled road to the
southward. He had now the things he had wished for to continue his
journey. By noon he had covered some fifteen miles, for he could hardly
urge the sorry beast out of a walk. He met no one on the road until the
sun glowered directly above his head. He had passed several houses, but
deemed it safer to go on as far as he could before he stopped and asked
the direction. As he made his way through a bit of swampy land he saw
ahead of him a strange-looking object. It was a man carrying a heavy
burden on his back. What it was at first William could not make out, but
as he approached nearer he saw that it was the body of a freshly
slaughtered hog. He was almost at the strange figure's heels before the
latter turned. The broad honest face with a cheek closely pressed
against the dead pig's open-mouthed visage presented such a comical
picture that William to save himself could not but smile.

"Greeting, good friend," he said. "Good-morrow."

The man did not answer, but walked closely up to William's side, almost
thrusting his own face and the pig's into the saddle.

"What sayest thou?" he inquired. "I am deaf as a ploughshare."

"Can you tell me the direction of Plainfield?" shouted William, bending

"Yea, friend," was the answer, "but thou art too far north." William had
surmised as much.

"Where are you going with your burden?" he inquired.

"Oh, the shoat?" the man answered, rubbing his cheek against the pig's
fat jowl to steady him on his shoulder. "It's a gift I am making to a
righteous cause. I am not a man of war," he added. "It is against my
creed, but they who fight need flesh to strengthen them. I am taking
this to some good people who are camped below us. Thou art a soldier?"

"I am," said William.

"I would shake hands with thee, but I should drop my load." The broad
face smiled.

"Come, place him upon my horse," said William, dismounting.

As they were placing the pink body across the saddle, and William was
marvelling at the man's great strength, there was a hail from a clump of
alders to the left.

"Ah, Brother Whitehead," was the exclamation, "what have we here?"

A tall, black-bearded man came through the bushes. Behind him followed
three or four stalwart youths, with long-barrelled rifles over their
shoulders. But before another word was spoken the first man leaped
across a ditch and came toward William, saluting as he did so. Then it
was seen that he wore a ragged Continental uniform.

"Well met indeed, and God bless you, Lieutenant Frothingham! Methinks
you are in time to aid us." The youths who were with him also came to an
awkward salute. "We have the green-coated women-slayers cornered," he
continued. "Not one of them will escape. There were some 'Lobster Backs'
with them. They will suffer for the doings at Lyons Farms, I'll warrant

"Are the English near us?" inquired William, his heart beating fast.

"Ay, and the Hessians too! They were driven back in their efforts to
reach Elizabethtown, and we have been gathering our forces for an attack
this afternoon. You rank me, sir," he continued. "I am but Sergeant
Ralston, and my elbow touched yours at Princeton and Harlem, you may
remember. Come now, sir, will you take command? We have some brave
hearts with us."

William half faltered. Here, indeed, was a predicament.





One of the most familiar names to the student of English history is that
of Lady Arabella Stuart, who was long a constant source of alarm to
James I., because she was born near the throne. She never urged her
claim nor appeared to covet the crown; daughter of Charles, Earl of
Lennox, and cousin to the King, she inherited a full share of the beauty
and misfortunes of her race. A lovely girl, full of wit and grace,
gifted with the gentle art of making friends, she was the life of a
lifeless court.

Many matches were proposed to the sovereign, who had power to make or
break a marriage for her. Suitors of various rank and countries knelt at
her feet, and it was told that even Henri the Great of France had dreams
of seating the blue-eyed Countess with the wavy tresses on the throne of

So passed her youth; and in her thirty-fifth year James, by way of
banter, told the maiden she had remained fancy free to suit him long
enough; she might now wed whom she would. Poets, adventurers, courtiers,
and knights of high lineage kissed her white hand, but came no nearer
the heart, which beat faster for none but William Seymour, afterward
Marquis of Hertford, a youth of twenty-three years. Only the stars were
witness as they sealed their vows and oath, and the secret kept well for
a season. But a bird in the air carried the matter to Windsor, and
Seymour was arrested and brought before the Council to answer for the
outrage - betrothal in secrecy.

He denied everything; swore he had not thought of anything but pastime.
What did he want with a wife ten years older than himself? And so the
rumor was forgotten with other court gossip.

They thought the King would give up his nonsense, for Seymour was from
one of the proudest families of Europe, and there was no reason in this
opposition; besides, he had consented to a wedding. But no relenting was
admitted by James, and in July, 1610, a poor priest was found and bribed
to risk his neck by going through the marriage ceremony for the lovers.


After a year of concealment the news reached the King's ear. He was
enraged; the priest was thrown into prison, the two witnesses present
were arrested, and the offending pair parted in the first sweetness of
the honeymoon. Seymour was sent to St. Thomas's Tower on the river. He
was furnished handsome apartments, with plates, hangings, books,
luxurious belongings; and the Countess was lodged in a fine house on the
Thames, with attendance and surroundings as became her rank; allowed
every freedom - except freedom.

Indifferent to the elegancies about her, the bride wrote tender and
passionate letters to her bridegroom, but he answered never a word.
Sweet William made no sign, sent no love-gift. He wrote only to the
Lords of the Council, praying to be restored to liberty, that his health
would be lost if he were not freed, and busied his days making himself
comfortable in the chambers over the Traitors' Gate of London Tower, his
wife's money paying the bills.

One dull, foggy day she quietly stepped into a common barge and floated
down the river to the barred window on the wharf, where she might make
signs to him who did not appear bold enough to plan an escape, and
returned safely to her castle. The brave movement could not be
concealed, and in his wrath the King ordered a dozen counties to be put
between his cousin and the defiant prisoner looking with despair at the

Sadly did the tearful blue eyes turn to the bleak and frozen North,
while sentinels doubled their watch on the square tower built over the

Such was his Majesty's pleasure.

Lady Arabella's attendants were devoted, ready to brave death itself for
their mistress; her soft, kind manner never failed to win where
self-love had not taken too deep a hold. Day and night, while she sighed
her soul away, they schemed and planned to open a path to reunion in the
pleasant land of France, where they might be at peace in banishment. At
last she slipped off, well provided by her aunt, the Countess of
Shrewsbury, with costly jewels current in any country, and with good
English gold to lavish on any who might espouse her cause. She glided
down the Thames, reached the Channel, by arrangement was taken on a
light French bark; but the open water in front of Calais was not for the
hapless bride. Captain Corvè did his best; his little craft was no match
for the swift war-ship _Adventure_ in pursuit. Gallantly he fought wind
and wave, but Admiral Monson outsped him, and after thirteen shots were

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Online LibraryVariousHarper's Round Table, March 10, 1896 → online text (page 1 of 7)