« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
movement, but did not think it necessary to tions on obtaining so brare and distinguished remind him that there was more than one a nephew. “ captain” in the world.
“A nice girl, that, i' faith,” said he to “You more than realize my expectations, himself. “She puzzles me considerably, my dear niece ; and I am rejoiced to see though. But I suppose it's all maiden you so tractable; but you were always a bashfulness. I shall observe her narrowly dutiful girl.”
at dinner, and have no coquettish airs. She The heart of Agnes smote her for a mo- shall treat him as her future husband, or I ment; but the remorse was not sufficient to will " induce her to undeceive her relative.
"Alone, sir ?" asked a voice, and a curious “No one appears better on horseback half-idiot face peeped in at the door, somethan the Captain ; and at the head of his what dubious whether to advance or not. troop he looks and acts the hero."
“Come in, Dromio. What do you “ He does indeed,” replied Agnes. want?”
“A more noble and valiant youth could At this permission the face was followed not be found. One who scorns a dishonor by a grotesque-looking body, mounted on a able action, and has no feeling in common pair of long, ill-shapen limbs, with arms to with rebel or traitor."
match. A coat much too short for these " True, most true, uncle."
arms, and nether garments equally short “Of high birth and immense wealth: | for the legs, with a gaudy-flowered waistOne of the aristocracy of England !” Agnes coat, and a three-cornered hat, completed thought of her heart's chosen—a captive, the attire of this strange apparition. A without home, friends, or the world's wealth pompous flourish of the three-cornered hat, and honors ; rich only in that nobility of and an awkward scrape of the foot preceded soul which changed Tasso's dungeon into a the delivery of Dromio's message, which palace--and her fine face glowed with pride proved to be merely a letter; and he was as she still echoed her uncle's words. scraping himself out again, when his master
“ You are a happy girl, Agnes!" bade him stay. Dromio drew up his foot,
“ Happy! Oh yes, uncle, I am very, crushed his hat under his arm, and strode very happy!” and poor Agnes burst into across the room to a small recess, where he tears, and wept for some time as if her heart sat catching flies and feeding a large spider, were breaking.
suspended from the ceiling. "A strange way of evincing it, by Jupiter!" General Howe opened the letter and read exclaimed General Howe, gazing on his as follows: niece with increased amazement. “Come, come, child, this capricious conduct is ex- DEAR GENERAL:—I have just received tremely silly. And wbat a face to show an insolent message from Mr. Washington, your betrothed, when he comes! I have in demanding more lenient treatment of the vited him to dinner. Will you meet him | prisoners in our possession. Does he supwith tears ? Go, foolish girl, and make pose we shall seek no retaliation for the yourself fit to be seen. This is the most many injuries inflicted upon the noble Britons wayward prank I ever witnessed in you." who, in the fortune of war, have fallen into
Glad to escape, Agnes flew to her cham- the hands of the rebels? In my opinion, ber, shut the door, and gave vent to the these rebels should suffer the fate of comagony of her mind; while her joyful uncle mon criminals. I see no distinction in the sat down and wrote a long letter to Captain nature of their offense. The young man Chester, of the Royal Guards, informing who, with several soldiers, was sent to you him of the successful issue of his suit, to a few days since, has been suspected of which was added his own warm congratula- carrying on an intricate correspondence, which has drawn some of our bravest men the sudden ejaculation, “ridiculous airs, that into a snare. I would suggest the propriety ought to be cured," escaped his lips. He of keeping him in close confinement; and if unfolded and folded again the letter in his any one must be exchanged, let it be any hands, walked the room, and was growing other than he. A fellow by the name of impatient of his own solitary thoughts, when Dr. Church has been arrested in Boston, the door opened, and Colonel Williams charged with writing a letter in cipher to entered with an expression of pleasure and Captain Wallace, and suspected of contain- satisfaction upon his countenance. ing some conspiracy against the Americans. The letter was read, and its contents disThis circumstance should make us watchful. cussed by the two officers. Williams listened Have you examined young B- yet? If attentively, tapping his boot the while; but not, I advise that you do so immediately. at the conclusion, to the extreme astonishCaptain Chester will be with you at two ment of Howe, burst into a violent fit of o'clock.
laughter: The quick blood sprang in a fiery Yours, etc.,
GAGE. torrent to the brow of his superior officer, General HowE.
who demanded, in a fierce tone, “ what he P.S.- Washington thinks to intimidate meant by such an insult ?" me by threatening the same treatment to
Williams was one of the best-humored our prisoners which he alleges his to have
men in the world. It was always said of received. I have some anxiety as to the him, that “ he never wounded a fellowfate of in that case.
creature, save on the field of battle, where
he was a very lion;" and the idea of insult“More lenient treatment !” said Howe to ing his General was a crime he had never himself, crushing the letter in his clenched thought of. It was some time, however, band. “Ha, ha! if my brave Hessians were ere he could compose his risibles, even when out of their hands, I would show the varlets he observed the dark brow before him growwhat mercy is due to traitors." He rung ing darker; a circumstance which instantly the bell, and an orderly appeared.
reminded him of his imprudence. “Is Colonel Williams below?"
" Pardon me, my dear sir; I was far “He is, sir."
from intending any insult; but really, the “ Desire him to step up here a moment.” | contemptuous appellation, Mr. Washington, The man bowed, and withdrew. The
and the exhibition of Gage’s tender mercies General continued his soliloquy.
towards the enemy, was too much for “I must use Chester to further my plans, my philosophy. Are you aware that a letand Agnes shall be the pledge for the faith- ter was written by to Mr. Washington, ful performance of his duty. Such pliant and returned with the cool answer that minds are necessary sometimes. The matter there was no such person in the American shall be settled at once; and I know not army,' and that the Commander-in-Chief why the marriage should not take place of the American forces must be addressed without delay. As for Agnes—but I have by his proper title, or no letter or other her consent, and that is sufficient.”
document sent to him would be honored Yet, although General Howe confessed with a perusal! himself satisfied at the happy results of his The habitual grave severity of Howe's plans, there was a certain nervous twitching countenance was not proof against the inof his fingers, a restlessness in his move- fection caught from the laughing eye of his ments, a contracting of his heavy eyebrows, companion. The contracted brow began to which denoted a mind ill at ease. Several unbend, and the compressed lips to unclose; times the half-audible words,“ silly girl," or but it was more to assail the presumption of “ maiden bashfulness," and more frequently the self-made aristocrat, as he called him, than to laugh at the oddity of the thing. “Yis, sir," replied the menial; and freeing More important business, however, soon the captive flies, he made three strides to drew the attention of both officers, and the door, his eyeballs rolling up in his head, Williams hastened to communicate the and his finger thrust into his cheek, imitating agreeable intelligence that forty privates the sound made by extracting a cork from had deserted from the American army to a bottle. But Dromio had no intention of their standard, and were impatient to be put removing himself beyond the reach of his on duty. They were now in the guard master's voice. The door was left ajar, and room, awaiting his orders.
occasionally a cocked hat, with an unmean“Another bone for Schuyler to pick," ex- | ing eye peering from under it, was cautiously claimed Howe, springing up with animation; protruded, and again withdrawn. At length "and, by the way, that reminds me that I the good fellow's curiosity was satisfied, for have another agreeable piece of business to
he shut the door, and, scampering across the perform. Young Bradford must be ex- hall, took his station at the head of the stairs ; amined, that we may decide whether he is and again the sound of the uncorking of a to be treated as a prisoner of war or an
bottle proceeded from his broad cheek. unworthy culprit."
“No ketch this weasel 'sleep;"-bung ! During the discussion, Dromio had glided (uncorking the bottle with great vehemence.) about the room, pretending to be very busy "How long Miss Aggy stays !" — bung! in arranging the furniture, though, much to “ Master Bradford swing on apple-tree afore the annoyance of his master, he put every she come;" and at the thought, Dromio thing in the wrong place, in bis endeavors shook his fist repeatedly at the door of the to make them “prim," as he called it. He room, where the sound of voices was hardly was repeatedly ordered to desist, when he perceptible. would reply, “Yis, master," and go to work “ Think I's a fool, hey! I'll show 'em a in another corner. Colonel Williams watched thing or two 'fore morning”—bung! and him for some time, and, bursting into another Dromio finished his soliloquy by pulling peal of merriment, asked Howe where he several large pieces of gingerbread from his picked up such a curious specimen of pocket, and, sitting down on the stairs, humanity as that.
commenced devouring them with great vora" It is an appendage of the house of city. Fletcher," replied Howe. “I should have Suddenly the faint tingle of a bell rung got rid of the fellow long ago, but he seems along the gallery. Dromio started to his such a simple, inoffensive animal, that, in feet, and the last cake of gingerbread went pity to his misfortune-for you observe he rolling down the stairs. Snatching from his is a witling-I suffer him to go at large. I pocket a bright red silk handkerchief, he suppose it would break the poor fool's heart wiped his mouth with it, and then, carefully to leave his mistress, my niece. He fol- folding it, returned it to its place. He then lows her about like a dog. But he is very cut several capers in the air, to the imminent troublesome to me, for he not only keeps peril of his skull, which several times saluted every thing in confusion, but"
the ceiling. He took off his three-cornered At this moment the old servant, making hat, stroked down his long locks till they a sudden dart at a large blue-bottle fly, resembled sea-weeds on a rock, pulled down drove his fist through a pane of glass in the his coat-sleeves as far as they would descend, window, and scattered the shivered frag- and at length, satisfied with his personal ments in every direction.
appearance, marched along the gallery in " Leave the room, you rascal, or I'll break the direction of the sound. A door opened, your head," thundered the General, raising his and Agnes Fletcher beckoned him towards ponderous cane, and shaking it at the culprit. her.
“ What do they say, Dromio? Is he to of a fellow-being? And what though the be released ?"
world contemn! what though I may proDromio took off his hat, clasped both his voke its sneers ! what though my uncle even hands around his neck, pretending to stran- should cast me off as a disgrace to his loyal gle, and shook his fist in the direction of house! Louis ! I could be happier with Howe's apartment.
thee in the loneliest corner of the earth, than “Good heavens, is it possible! Dromio, if mistress of the world, with the knowledge you must go instantly to my brother, and that thou wert sacrificed, and I might have tell him to come here with all speed." saved thee!" She wiped away the struggling
“What, Miss Aggy! go 'mong all them tears that would rise, in spite of all her efforts guns and swords? They won't let me see to restrain them, folded the letter, sealed it Master Edward; they'll kill me. What shall carefully, and gave it to her faithful attendI do if they kitch me? and you'll have no- ant, with strict charge to becareful to deliver body to take care of you while I'm gone. it into no other hands than his young masOh dear, dear!"
ter's. " Then you would rather they should Whatever failing Dromio might possess, hang poor Mr. Bradford, than go through a he was cunning as a fox, and Agnes knew little danger to save him, Dromio ?" it was safer to confide a message to his care
Dromio was a coward, but his love for his than trust a wiser messenger. The poor mistress was superior to every other consider- fellow's misfortune would be his protection, ation. He consented to go, and Agnes flew and his known attachment to his master into her room, wrote a few hasty lines to her sure his admittance into the royal camp. brother, explaining the situation of Louis, It was now a most difficult task to account and her fears that the trial would only result to her uncle for the absence of the servant, in a sentence of death.
and Agnes, unused to deceit, spent some "Do try, dear brother," she wrote, “to hours in considering how she might frame ascertain what has become of that unfortu- an excuse for him. It was near the dinnernate letter. According to Mr. Bradford's hour, too, and a more difficult task was statement, it is of every importance to insure before her, that of veiling her troubled counhis safety. He says that the poor man who tenance in smiles, and preparing to meet a was arrested at the same time with himself, suitor unwelcome on many accounts, but has been put to death. If you could discover now doubly hateful as the persecutor of him who was with him in his last moments, she loved. With a heart ill at ease, but a perhaps you might hear something of it. countenance composed, the young lady deIf you cannot come immediately, Edward, scended to the drawing-room, where her send word by Dromio if any thing can be uncle met her at the door, and presented done on my part to save your friend.” her to his military guests. The dreaded Agnes here dropped the pen, and buried suitor had not yet arrived ; and as the perher burning face in her hands. “What am sons present were elderly officers, and busily I about ?" said she to herself; "conniving at engaged in conversation about the plans and the escape of a rebel, and urging my brother operations of the army, Agnes took her to do the same! Perhaps exposing him to needle-work, and seated herself in a recess, the very peril from which I would rescue half 'hidden from view by a rich drapery of Louis. What would my uncle say, if he red satin. The dinner was announced, and knew all this? Yet he must not, shall not Captain Chester had not yet arrived. She die! Heavenly Father!” she exclaimed, indulged the forlorn hope that he might be throwing herself on her knees, " Thou alone delayed until her brother's arrival, when knowest the purity of my motives. Am I they could devise some plan of escape from not justified in endeavoring to save the life the toils in which she was now involved. But how did her heart beat when Colonel well-known spy. A letter, also, was found Williams proposed to examine the prisoner upon him, in your writing, and enigmatical before an answer should be sent to the letter enough to excite suspicion. If you can exof General Gage. The proposal met with the plain the nature of that communication, and approbation of the other officers, and a guard your motive for writing it, it might materially was sent to conduct Bradford to their presence. alter our view of the case." Agnes drew the folds of the large curtain At mention of the letter, Agnes listened together. Her uncle seemed to have for- with the most painful anxiety. She was gotten that she was in the room ; and she certain that Louis would shed his heart's was uncertain whether to escape or remain blood rather than betray those feelings where she was. There was no time, how- which, though honorable and worthy, he ever, for deliberation, for a few moments scorned to exhibit to the world; and yet, saw her lover standing before his stern without some explanation, how could he judges.
satisfy the minds of those upon whose deciThe youth and intellectual beauty of sion hung his fate! “Oh! if Edward would Louis appeared to make a favorable impres-only come,” thought she," he might save sion. The British officers looked at each him—save me, for with his life is involved other, and then at the young soldier in ad- my own." miring silence. Louis drew up his manly The prisoner lost not for a moment the figure, and his proud, dark eye quailed not calm composure which marked him on his as he looked upon his judges. Agnes had entrance. At the question as to the contents shrunk to the farthest corner of the recess of the letter, a deep flush passed over his as Louis entered the room, but she could countenance for an instant, and was gone, not refrain from one glance at that form observed only by one agitated spectator. which might soon be removed from her Had he known who was a witness to his sight for ever. “Oh, Louis !” thought she, emotion, that strong effort at self-control as she gazed at his high and thoughtful might have been vain. brow, “can any one for a moment see thee In the mild countenance of Colonel Wilthus, and imagine thee guilty of a base liams, Agnes saw the only expression of pity action ?"
Once or twice she thought of for the condition of the prisoner. All the making some movement to acquaint him others were rigid as stone; and more firm with her presence, but maiden delicacy for- and determined did they grow, as Louis bade. General Howe now bent his search refused to give any further explanation of ing eye upon the prisoner, and demanded his conduct.
consider the guilt of this young “ Louis Bradford.”
man as certain, since he cannot clear himself “ You belong to the army of Washing from this charge. Let him be removed, and ton?"
to-morrow morning his sentence shall be "I am a captain, sir, in the service of my pronounced.” country, under the banner of the commander
Agnes, starting from her seat, made a in-chief of her forces."
faint effort to speak, but her tongue seemed “You are accused of carrying on a secret to cleave to her mouth. She could not utter correspondence with the soldiers of his Ma- a word; she could not move a step. At this jesty, in order to draw them from their alle moment she perceived a horseman galloping giance."
at full speed towards the house." It is he“Will it please you, sir, to bring forward it is my brother!" she ejaculated, “ and he my accusers ?"
may yet be saved.” “It is not necessary to do so, since you “Remove the prisoner.” were arrested while in the company of a The guard were about to obey. VOL. III.