The young rebels

Material Information

The young rebels a story of the Battle of Lexington
Moncrieff, A. R. Hope ( Ascott Robert Hope ), 1846-1927
Sunday School Union (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Unwin Brothers ( Printer )
Gresham Press ( Printer )
Butterworth and Heath ( Engraver )
Place of Publication:
London (56 Old Bailey)
Sunday School Union
Unwin Brothers, Gresham Press
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
120, [8] p., [1] leaf of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Lexington, Battle of, Lexington, Mass., 1775 -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Children's stories ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- United States -- Revolution, 1775-1783 ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1879 ( rbgenr )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1879 ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1879
Children's literature ( fast )
Publishers' catalogues ( rbgenr )
fiction ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
England -- Chilworth
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Includes illustrated publisher's catalog.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Butterworth & Heath.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ascott R. Hope.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
023828405 ( ALEPH )
23350566 ( OCLC )
AHM3336 ( NOTIS )


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I. OLIVER AND I ... ... ... ... 9

II. THE RUNAWAYS ... ... ... ... 21


IV. THE DEA .... ... .. .. .. 48

V. THE BATTLE ... ... ... ... C3

VI. AN EARLY VICTIM ... ... ... ... 77

VII. TAKEN PRISONER ... ... ... ...

VIII. CONCLUSION... ... ...' ... ... 106


Frontispiece-AN EARLY VICTIM.


A WELCOME RETREAT ... ... ... ... 51

" OUR UNCLE" ... ... ... ... .. 71

"I WILL TELL YOU NOTHING ... ... ... 95

UNDER FIRE ... ... ... ... ... 107


C- !- : -
T was once my good fortune to travel
PC I" | up the Hudson River, from New York
". to Albany, in one of those enormous
"'- steamboats which might ,also be called
floating palaces. After passing the beau-
:.- tiful scenery of West Point and the Catskill
'. Mountains, I got into conversation with a
gentleman, whom, like most other well-bred
"I and well-informed Americans, I found extremely
communicative and courteous to myself as a stranger.
Our talk turned upon the causes and events of the
separation between our countries, and in the course
of it my new acquaintance related to me some
personal reminiscences of his father, who, if I remem-
ber rightly, had been a Baptist minister near Salem,
and afterwards at Syracuse, New York, where he


died at a good old age. This story interested me very
much, and served to while away the latter part of
the journey, during which the scenery was less attrac-
tive, and a heavy rain came on, almost hiding the
banks from our sight. I wrote down at the time as
much as I could remember of it, and I believe I have
not omitted any of the main features, so I will now
proceed to give it as if in the old minister's very
own words, only regretting that we could not hear
from his own lips his account of a series of adventures
which should be most interesting and instructive to
the young people of both the great nations that, if
unhappily separated in political constitution, are still
One in speech and one in face,
One in honest pride of race;
One in stories of the past,
One in glories still to last !"

English readers will bear in mind that it is an
American who is speaking, and that he of course
speaks from an American point of view. But it does
none of us any harm to stand in our neighbour's
shoes; and seeing ourselves as others see us" is
a specially wholesome lesson for a gentleman like
Mr. John Bull, with such a good opinion of himself.




N the stirring days of 1775, "the times
that tried men's souls," I was at boarding
school in Weston, county of Middlesex,
Massachusetts, along with my elder brother, Oliver,
who afterwards entered the American navy, and was
killed, poor fellow! in the famous fight between the
Chesapeake and the Shannon. We had been left
orphans at a very early age, and were taken to live
with an uncle who had a farm near the Concord
river. Most country boys then did not get much


schooling except what they could pick up by attending
the nearest district school when there was not much
work c'oing on the farm. But our uncle had more stout
boys of his own than he could give employment to;
and as my father, who was a minister in Boston, had
left a little money, it was determined in a family
council that this should be made to go as far as
possible in getting for us what was then considered
a high-class education. So, when I was nine years old,
we were, very much against our will, sent off to this
boarding-school, one of some reputation in that part
of the country.
Our master, the Reverend Septimus Tyson, an
Episcopal minister, was heartily disliked by his
pupils: no rare thing in those days, when harsh means
of discipline were the rule at schools, and boys and
their teachers looked upon one another as natural
enemies. But there was a special reason for our
dislike towards Mr. Tyson. He was a Tory a sup-
porter of the British Government; whereas we were
nearly all zealous Whigs. The discontent produced
by the infatuated conduct of the king's ministers,
was nowhere stronger than in Boston and its vicinity,
where, during my school days, the people hid been
driven almost to the verge of open resistance by the


closing of the port and the presence of Royal troops
sent out to coerce them. Every true Massachusetts
boy had been brought up to maintain the right of
the colonies to tax themselves, and to detest the
Stamp Act and the Custom duties, which the Govern-
ment were attempting to enforce. Even if we did not
clearly understand the questions in dispute, we knew
that our country was oppressed, and shared the general
excitement, the momentous consequences of which were
as yet guessed by few.
At our school, we boys had, in imitation of our
elders, formed ourselves into a juvenile association
of Sons of Liberty. I can't say that this society
lent any practical aid to the popular cause, but we
had the satisfaction of expressing our patriotic feel-
ings and of plotting in private against the Reverend
Septimus, who, as a Tory and a schoolmaster, was
wholly outside our sympathies. I fear the main
object of the young Sons of Liberty was to vex
our master by as much unruliness and disobedience
as we could venture upon; in which ventures, however,
he generally got the best of it; for since he had a
hot temper, a strong arm, and a grove full of birch-
trees growing round the school-house, he was able to
be much more vigorous and effective in his measures


of repression than his friends who, by the king's
authority, were now tyrannising over the province.
He could not subdue our spirit though, and during my
last half year at it, our school was, like our country,
in i state of suppressed rebellion.
In most of our outbreaks of turbulence, Oliver and
I.were the ringleaders, partly because we were among
the eldest boys in the school, and partly because, as
we were now to leave it before long, we were more
reckless about gaining the ill-will of our master.
For the same reason Mr. Tyson was specially severe
towards us, punishing our slightest offences with a
severity that would be considered cruelty nowadays,
and that only made us more hardened and careless.
There were faults on both sides, no doubt; but we.
were not much to blame if we eagerly looked for-
ward to the day when we should see the last of our
About two months before the arrival of the holidays,
to which we were looking forward so willingly, some-
thing happened that brought to a head the ill-feeling
between us and our master. You have read, no doubt,
of the disturbances caused by the attempt to intro-
duce taxed tea into the colonies, and how, at Boston,
men disguised as Red Indians boarded the ships con-


veying it, and threw the tea chests into the bay. From
that time tea was an abominable luxury in the eyes
of all true Sons of Liberty, and we boys were not
behind-hand in our detestation of it, not that we were
able to renounce it for ourselves; milk and water
was our beverage ; but our patriotic zeal was offended
by the Reverend Septimus, who continued to drink his
tea every afternoon, as if to testify his loyalty to the
Government. This we could not prevent: but one day,
when we found his tea-pot and snuff-box both filled
"and ready for use, it came into some mischievous
young head that to empty the latter' into the former
would not only be a clever trick but a public duty.
The notion was highly approved of, and after bind-
ing ourselves to secrecy, whatever might come of it,
we hastily drew lots to determine who should do the
dangerous deed: for dangerous it was, when every
minute might bring our master upon us. The lot fell
upon one of the youngest boys, but he did not shrink
from the undertaking. He poured the contents of the
snuff-box into the hot tea-pot, and you may imagine
how Mr. Tyson spluttered and stormed when, having
sat down with his slippers and newspaper to make
himself comfortable, he took a good mouthful of his
favourite drink, and jumped up in such a fury that


for once this beverage seemed to have the effect less
of cheering than inebriating.
The empty snuff-box and the horrible compound in
the tea-pot told their own tale; but we would tell
nothing further. Of course, he knew that this prank
had been played by one of us, and did all in his
power to find out the culprit. We were staunch to
our agreement, in spite of all his threats; then, in
his rage, he fixed upon Oliver, and vowed that he
should be punished if the real offender were not given
up: indeed, he seemed to think that it must have
been either Oliver or myself.
He might as well have spoken to the wind as tried
to make my brother betray a companion. The end
of it was poor Oliver was most severely flogged,
though the truth was that he had not been among us
at the time, and had no hand in the matter. Further-
more, he was threatened with another severe punish-
ment in the morning unless a full confession was
made. It was whispered among us that he was to be
forced to drink up the disgusting and unpatriotic con-
coction, from which both the stomach and soul of
every young American could not but revolt.
I was as indignant at my brother's cruel and unjust
treatment as if I had myself been the sufferer, and


in my indignation I made a bold proposal,-nothing
less than that we should both run away that very
night, and place ourselves out of the power of our
tyrant. Our uncle's farm, near the Concord river,
was only about twenty miles off, and surely our
friends would not blame us for what we had done
when they knew what good reason we had for it.
Smarting both in body and mind from his injuries,
Oliver was easily brought to agree with me; and the
other boys, who looked on him as a martyr, willingly
aided us in our preparations.
These were simple enough. Our schoolfellows
would have given us anything they had: but money
was not common among schoolboys in those days,
and was not much needed, when any traveller who
wanted a dinner had only to call at the nearest farm-
house. We took nothing with us but the clothes on
our backs, making little doubt but that we should be
home before morning.
Between nine and ten o'clock, when we were sup-
posed to have been fast asleep for an hour or so,
Oliver and I slipped down by the aid of a cord from
"one v f.the schoolroom windows. Mr. Tyson had
some friends of his own feather to supper that evening,
and I remember we heard them noisily drinking the


king's health as we made off, holding our shoes in
our hands and stealing under the darkest shadows
for fear of being detected. This was the night of
Monday, the 18th of April, 1775, the eve of a day
that will always be memorable in the history of our
"We were soon clear of the few houses which lay
between us and the open country, and ran as fast as
we could along the dark muddy road that would lead
us to Concord, the first point for which we meant to
make. Not a soul was stirring. Folks went to bed
early in those days and in those parts; but we were
none the less afraid of being met and detained by
some one who might know us, and hurried on,
scarcely stopping to take breath till we had put a
couple of miles or so between us and our master's
Then we pulled up with one accord at the foot of a
hill. It was not the steepness that made us halt.
All at once we both remembered that on the summit
of this hill there hung in chains the corpse of a
negro, who had been executed for a murder committed
there. I fancied I could see the gibhet standing out
black against the faint light of the stars; and neither
Oliver nor I cared to pass near it at such an hour,


for we were not braver nor wiser than other boys of
our own age; and strange stories had been whispered
among us about this dreadsome spot. So when I, in
a low voice and turning my head away, proposed to
go round the hill and regain the road at the other
side, Oliver made no objection.
We struck off then through the fields, stumbling
and groping our way as best we could. Both of us
knew the country well enough by daylight; we had
often explored it in nutting and berrying expeditions,
and had no notion that it would be so difficult to
direct our steps in the darkness. First of all we bore
to the right, trying to keep by the base of the hill,
but soon found ourselves close to a farmhouse, and
made a hasty retreat when the dogs began to bark at
us. Next we tried to take a wider sweep, so as to
keep clear of the house, and this led us into some
swampy ground, where we floundered and struggled
till we landed on a path that did not seem to lead in
the right direction. We followed it, however, for a
short distance, and were presently brought up by a
brook. After walking for some distance along the
bank of this we began to confess to ourselves that
we had .made a mistake in leaving the road. The
brook made a sudden bend to the sbuth, whereas


we wanted to go northwards. We tried to steer our-
selves by the north star, but when we had wandered
through several fields, and found the country getting
more and more rough and wooded, we thought it best
to sit down on a fence and wait for the moon.
When the moon appeared, we could see that we
were at the entrance of a little valley, shut in on all
sides by large rocks and patches of wood. At the
bottom of the valley we could hear the trickling of a
stream, but did not know whether this was the brook
we had just left or not. We were still unable to
recognize anything that might inform us as to our
Oliver and I talked it over a bit, and agreed to stay
in this lonely spot, where, at least, we should be safer
from pursuit than on the road. With the dawn we
would be up and strike across the country for
Concord, from which we knew our way home. So we
got under the lee of a thicket, and, lying down on the
grass, disposed ourselves to pass the night as com-
fortably as possible.
It was a fine spring night; and we, being country
boys, thought it would be no great hardship to spend
a few hours under the stars. We soon found, though,
that lying on the damp grass is cold work, even on a


fine night in April; and as our stockings and breeches
had been pretty well soaked in passing through the
swamp, we were more inclined to shiver than to
sleep, now that we no longer kept ourselves warm by
moving on. But we tried our best to keep up heart,
lying side by side and encouraging one another, till
we grew tired of talking, by recounting the tyrannous
acts of "the old Tory," as we called our master, and
assuring ourselves that our friends could not find
fault with us for running away from school in such a
spirit of patriotism.
How many hundreds of moons have waxed and
waned since that night! but the older I grow the
more clearly I call it to mind, as if it were but
yesterday. There we two boys lay on the bare
ground, with our arms round one another's necks,
and our faces turned up to the moonlit sky, and
whispered the evening prayers which we had been
taught to repeat at our dear mother's knee, and
forgot our fears of the great silent night, and felt
sure that God could and would take care of us; so
Oliver reminded me, and so I believed, for we had
beeR brought up in that atmosphere of faith in an
Almighty Power which made the old Puritan house-
holds what they were. A sense of security seemed to


steal over my mind, overcoming all misgivings and
bodily discomforts; and at last I was dozing off, and
half awake, half asleep, fancied I saw my mother
standing by and smiling on me, when I was suddenly
and roughly roused from this pleasant dream.
It was Oliver. He was shaking me, and calling
me by name.
"Will! Will! Listen!"



STARTED up and rubbed my eyes, half
expecting to find myself in the merciless
hands of our master. Then I was aware
that a church bell was ringing at some distance, yet
near enough to let us hear that its tones, so sober and
measured on Sundays, were now violent, excited, per-
emptory. Something serious had taken place, and
the people were being called out of their beds. And
not in one village only, for, as we strained our ears to
listen, we caught the sound of another bell in a dif-
ferent direction.
What could the matter be! Without being able
to guess, we began to feel uneasy. We had counted
on getting quietly away, but if the country was being
roused, we bewildered fugitives might find ourselves


in trouble. And ouir anxiety was not diminished when
to the sound of the bells was added the baying of dogs
close at hand. We got on our feet without delay.
Men were shouting and lights could be seen moving
towards us.
We looked at each other in dismay. Was it possible
that we were the cause of all this commotion ? Voices
and footsteps were heard coming nearer and nearer.
We must hide. We crept into a thicket, and lay
down among some raspberry bushes.
"They are after us," whispered Oliver, and I be-
lieved he was right. We had never supposed that our
master would take such energetic steps to pursue us.
But we could only interchange a few words in a low
tone, for the men were now close upon us. We lay
on the ground, scarcely venturing to breathe, and
watched the glimmer of the lights through the bare
To our great relief they did not stop to examine
the woods, but passed on hurriedly, so near to us that
we caught here and there a few words of their loud
and confused talk.
"Shall we get up to them?" it seemed that one
man said.
"I guess they will be sorny for this night's work."


How far have they come, think ye ?"
Not far off now."
Keep a good look-out."
These and similar expressions we made sure referred
to us, and only wondered that so many grown-up men
should trouble themselves to turn out in search of two
poor little runaways.
Not till the party had gone by for some minutes did
we crawl out from our place of shelter and seriously
proceed to consider what was to be done next. We
must move on, that was clear, and take any direction
which would lead us away from the searchers. The
moon now enabled us to pick our way without much
difficulty, and we made for the rising ground on the
side of the valley. But as soon as we reached the top
we were dismayed to see lights again moving along;
and from another quarter came shouts warning us of
the whereabouts of a third party. We were almost
surrounded, and began to regret our rashness when
we thought of the tender mercies of our old master, to
which we stood in such danger of being delivered. So
hastily did we retreat that I tripped on a smooth stone,
and rolled over and over half-way down the hill before
I could stop myself. Luckily I escaped with no worse
injury than a few scratches and bruises, and, in spite of


our alarm, we could not help laughing at this comical
misadventure. But it was no laughing matter.
"How have they tracked us out into this quiet
place? I asked in amazement.
"They must have put the dogs on our trail," replied
Oliver, and he was ready with a proposal which would
never have occurred to me. They can't follow the
scent in water. Let us take to the brook, and keep
by it till we reach the road. Then we can make a
fair run for it."
This was good advice, and we lost no time in fol-
lowing it. Once more we retraced our steps, and soon
reached the brook, which was thickly-bordered by
willow trees and low bushes, and would offer many
good hiding-places, even if we should be overtaken.
And both of us were determined not to be overtaken
without making every possible effort.
Hurriedly we stripped off our shoes and stockings,
-and, carrying them in our hands, began to wade up
the narrow channel of the brook. The water was
icy cold, and swollen to an unusual depth by recent
rains; the bottom was stony and uneven, so it may
be imagined that our progress was neither pleasant
nor rapid. Several times we had to abandon the
stream and pick our way through the thick grass and

4 .7

:i It



weeds on the bank, sorely afraid of snakes and
thorns. Once at least I fairly slipped, and was
soused in the shallow water, while Oliver stepped
unsuspiciously into a pool, and had to swim for it;
so that soon we were both drenched, and dripping
from head to foot. But the novelty and excitement
of this mode of travelling helped to reconcile us to
its discomforts, and we were spurred on to fresh
efforts as often as we heard a dog behind us, or saw
a light shining through the trees to mark the advance
of our pursuers.
More bells could now be heard ringing, and sounds
came from all directions, which seemed to show that
the whole country was being roused to the chase, as
when children were lost in the woods, or the Indians
made a raid upon the back settlements.
Painfully and slowly we made our way up the
brook, till we reached the little bridge by which the
road crossed it.
By this time the sounds and lights behind us had
moved in another direction, and we flattered ourselves
that our pursuers must have lost the trail. But
when we had put on our shoes and stockings, and
wrung some of the water out of our clothes, we
heard the swift galloping of horses along the road,


and crouched down underneath the bridge. We were
not yet out of danger !
"Let us get into the bushes," whispered Oliver;
but there was not time. The horsemen, two or three'
in number, were on us in a moment, and passed by
at full speed, making the old wooden bridge groan
and creak above our heads.
He must have borrowed the horses from Deacon
Twinch," said I; for our preceptor had only one,
and that one could not have galloped a hundred
yards at such a rate to save its own life, if it had
been ever so hotly pursued.
As soon as we knew that the horsemen had gone
by without stopping to examine the bridge, we stole
out to have a look at them from its sheltering
shadow. But we could only catch a momentary
glimpse of the riders disappearing round a corner,
and in that light could not say if our master were
one of them, though the way in which the men were
flogging on their horses looked like a trait of charac-
ter which we thought we could recognize.
Suddenly the galloping ceased. They had pulled
up before a farmhouse almost hidden in trees. Next
came the sound of furious knocking at the door;
then, in a minute or so, we heard voices in loud and


animated conversation. No doubt we were being
asked for, and the farmer was declaring that he had
seen nothing of us. Would they come back to search
by the brook? No; after interchanging a few sentences
with the inhabitants of the house, their visitors
seemed to be satisfied, and galloped on at the same
rapid pace.
Lights appeared in the windows of the farmhouse.
The people there must be coming out to join the
Not till the clatter of the hoofs had died away did
we show ourselves on the road, and then we turned
in the opposite direction, and began to run. We had
need of a little violent exercise, indeed, to warm our
blood after the wetting we had just undergone, and it
was evidently not safe to stay near this farm, where
the people were so obliging to our angry pedagogue.
But we seemed only to escape one danger to en-
counter another. We had scarcely gone a quarter of
a mile before the moonlight showed us several men
advancing in front of us at no great distance.. We
started back, and, trusting that we, were unseen,
crawled through a gate and slunk up to the right,
under the friendly shadow of a stone wall. At the
top of the field we stopped to take breath. The men


passed beneath, and evidently had not noticed us;
but before we could congratulate ourselves on our
good fortune, voices and lights let us know again that
still another party was approaching. Once more we
had to double like hares before the dogs.
A little before we had almost been in despair, but
by this time, after making so many narrow escapes,
our spirits began to rise, and it was with something
like glee that we addressed ourselves to ascending the
rather high hill on which we now were, and from the
top of which we thought it well to look about us
before deciding what to do next.
To our great satisfaction we were now left to
pursue our way without interruption; there seemed
to be not a human being on the bare sides of the
hill, where, indeed, if closely pursued, we should
have found some difficulty in finding a place of con-
cealment. But below, the commotion seemed to be
increasing every minute. The lights were moving
in all directions, and guns were fired here and
And now we began to guess that, after all, this
wide-spread alarm should have some more serious
object than our insignificant selves. Something of
very unusual importance must have taken place to


call so many quiet men from their beds in the middle
of the night; and, great man as we took our school-
master to be, we did not believe him able to raise the
neighbours for half-a-dozen miles round to hunt after
his pupils. If our consciences had not been rather
ill at ease about the bold step we had taken in run-
ning away from school, we should not have been so
ready to take alarm.
But what, then, could be the matter? We were
sorely puzzled.
Our astonishment was by no means lessened when
we reached the top of the hill, which commanded a
wide prospect of the surrounding country, and found
that not only the immediate neighbourhood but the
whole district was in commotion. On every side
lights shone from the windows of the quiet home-
steads, that at this hour were usually buried in
sound sleep; torches and lanterns were gleaming
along the valleys, all apparently moving towards the
same point; from more than one eminence within
sight the ruddy glare of a beacon was visible far and
In every village the bells were now clanging out
their note of alarm, and were echoed back by the
blowing of horns, the firing of guns, and the occa-


sional roll of a drum, turning the peaceful night into
a strange scene of uproar and confusion.
Amid all these discordant sounds our ears some-
times fancied that they caught a low steady hum, as
of large bodies of men moving rapidly beneath; but,
by the insufficient light, we could see nothing for
certain of what was taking place, and were more and
more at a loss to explain this extraordinary dis-
turbance. We supposed, indeed, that it must 'be
somehow or other connected with the political troubles
of the country; but we were too young to know much
of the precise state of public affairs, and could not
even guess what had happened.
"We had enough to do, indeed, to think of ourselves.
Tired, wet, and bewildered we were in a sorry plight,
and sadly in need of rest. But with all that was
going on around us it was useless to think of sleep.
We should rather try to keep ourselves warm by
walking on during the short period of the night that
still remained; and when we should be far enough
from the school to hope not to be recognized, we
might appeal to the hospitality of some farmer, who
would probably give us refreshments and directions
for our way.
For some time, however, we remained watching


the lights, and wondering what might be the cause of
them till they began to grow pale when the first
faint streaks of dawn appeared in the east. The
-wave of excitement seemed to have passed by us, and
the sounds of alarm came back fainter and fainter in
the distance, as we descended the other side of the
hill, and set forward through the fields without know-
ing where chance might lead us.
I shall never forget that weary walk and how long
the morning appeared in coming. We plodded on as
well as our weary limbs would let us, and at last the
crowing of cocks and the lowing of cattle warned us
that we were approaching habitations.
It was now dawn, but the air was filled with a dim
haze, in which we were soon able to make out the
belfry of a meeting-house and the roofs of a small
village, Lexington, as we afterwards learned. Through
this haze came a dull unfamiliar sound, which we
were at a loss to recognise-the near marching of a
large body of men, then the quick roll of a drum.
There was nothing else as yet to show that the
village was not awakening to its usual occupations of
peaceful industry.
We hurried on, and a few steps brought us out
suddenly upon a corner of the village green, where


we stopped short in amazement.. This is what we
Near us were drawn up a company of country men,
rudely armed and equipped-" Minute Men," as this
patriotic militia was called in those days. About
half as many men and boys stood by as spectators,
like ourselves.
From the opposite side of the village green a large
detachment of British soldiers was advancing in
that perfect order and pomp of warfare which had
so often moved our boyish admiration on Boston
Common, in days when few dreamed that these deadly
arms would ever be turned against their fellow-sub-
jects. On they came at a run, an old officer riding
in front, waving his sword, and shouting to the
Minute Men to disperse.
Before we had time to ask a question, even to
wonder, the sharp crack of a pistol was heard. Then
a louder report-another-and a rolling volley of
musketry broke from the advancing ranks, that soon
were hidden in smoke. But through the smoke we
could see men totter and fall, and over the roar of
musketry we heard shouts and cries, and the sten-
torian voice of the militia captain bidding his men
stand firm.


A hall whizzed between Oliver and me, so near
tha I fetthe wind. of it on my cheek. ':
A second volley: the odds were 'to: great. A few
score of men against hundreds!
"Disperse, and take care of yourselves!" cried the
The little band of country men broke, turned, and
hurried away, followed by another volley and an
insulting cheer from the troops. A few dropping
shots were returned; then the fight was over.
In that brief space had been struck, before our eyes,
the first blow of one of the most famous conflicts in
history, and we stood aghast, and could scarcely
believe that we were not dreaming.



HE smoke slowly cleared away, and we had
a momentary glimpse of the field, which
S has remained stamped on my memory
with indelible distinctness. The alarmed spectators
were hurrying into their houses, or seeking shelter inf
the tavern at the corner of the green. Four or five
bodies lay motionless, stretched out on the wet grass;
other poor fellows were staggering away, or moaning
and writhing in helpless agony. One had been struck
on coming out of the little village church, and had
fallen near the door, where the ground was trodden
bare by the feet of the worshippers. Another was
trying to crawl towards his own house, from which
his wife, a child in her arms, rushed forth with a
wild shriek to meet him. A soldier was driving his


bayonet through the prostrate form of a negro, so
near to us that-never can I forget the eyes. of the
slaughterer and the slaughtered! And before the
weapon was withdrawn, a tall powerful man came
running towards us, one who had stood his ground
when his comrades retreated, but must now fly for
his life. As he dashed across the green, shots were
fired-one-two. With breathless anxiety we watched
him run on unharmed; but when within a few yards
of us he dropped his firelock, hounded into the air,
threw up his arms to heaven, as if protesting against
the cruelty of his fellow-men, and fell like a log at our
feet, with his face to the ground.
All this we saw in a few seconds, during which,we
stood as spell-bound. When the spell was broken
we turned and fled like frightened deer, quivering in
every limb with passionate and indignant emotion.
This was the first time that either of us had seen
death; we never thought to have seen our fellow-
countrymen butchered thus. Our minds' were in too
great a whirl of excitement to know whether we wera
pursued or fired at, and at the top of a slight rising
we halted to collect our thoughts and relieve our
feelings from the horror of what we had just wit-
nessed. Oliver was as brave a boy as ever walked; but


he was sensitive and tender-hearted. He flung him-
self on the ground and cried like a child, and I could
not but follow his example.
We soon mastered this pardonable weakness, and
looked back once more upon the village with feelings
which I cannot describe. What a scene it was! The
whole country began to be bathed in the fresh and
tender beauty which ushers in a fine spring day.
The opening buds sent out their perfume; the young
.herbs glistened with dew; among the swelling
"branches the birds piped and twittered as the first
beams of the pure morning sun peeped forth, chasing
away the misty haze from the soft blue sky, and
shining brightly on the gay scarlet and glittering
steel of the soldiers grouped about the village green.
All nature was joy and peace and loveliness, and
seemed to rest with a forgiving smile even upon that
hateful blot of the bloody strife of men.
At our age we were scarcely able to enter into
those deeper lessons of the scene. After gazing at
the village for a few minutes we thought we could
detect signs that the soldiers were about to move on,
and; hastily resuming our flight, passed over the
rising ground, and were soon far beyond the range of
their guns.


But where were we to go now ? In our excitement,
we never thought of settling that question till it was
settled for us by the sight of a party of the routed
Minute Men at, some distance ahead. Then we
hurried after them as fast as we could. They were
retreating in haste, but could not be said to be run-
ning away, for when they passed through a fence they
stopped to set the bars right again with as much
carefulness as if they had merely been taking a walk
on ordinary business or pleasure. These prudent ,.
farmers were not going to let their neighbours' cattle-
stray because the British soldiers were about. We
soon found ourselves gaining upon them, but, from
the uneven nature of the ground, kept losing sight of
the party, and they did not seem to notice us, though
we shouted out to them several times and waved our
hats. But we hastened on, and forgot fatigue in our
eagerness to join our countrymen. and learn from
them the meaning of what we had just seen.
At one time we thought that we had succeeded in
attracting their attention. They were skirting the
edge of a large wood when they stopped and looked
round. But it was only a momentary halt for delibe-
ration. Hot and panting we entered the other end of
the field just in time to see the whole band turn into


the wood, and disappear without apparently knowing
that we were behind them.
We stayed a minute at the edge of the wood, but
soon resolved to follow the men, hoping to catch them
up before they could get far into it. It was no joke.
for an inexperienced stranger to launch out into one
of the wildernesses of trees which in those days
covered miles of country where you now see fields and
farms and smooth roads. But we did not think of
this danger, and plunged into the wood without wait-
ing to look for a path.
The ground near the edge was soft and wet, and at
first we had no difficulty in tracing the footmarks of
the party, but as we went deeper among the trees we
lost the trail, and did not find it again, by blundering
on, first in one direction and then in another.
"I am sure they went this way," Oliver would
"No. I hear them on this side."
Then we would make a dash on, and stop, and
shout, and listen, and hear nothing, and fancy we
heard some sound which led us farther astray; and
at last we became aware that we had missed the men
and must take care of ourselves is best we could.
"Let us go on till we find a path that will lead us


to some house, or hit upon their trail again." This
was my proposal.
But no, thought Oliver. We could not have ad-
vanced very far into the wood, and the best thing to
do would be to make our way back again to the fields,
where at least we could look about us. We would
still, have the wood to make for as a hiding-place, if
it should be necessary to get out of the way of the
I always fell in with my brother's opinions, which
were generally better than mine, though in this case
he was perhaps wrong. It was very well to talk of
finding our way back, but that was easier said than
done. In the haste of our pursuit we had not looked
about us much, and had taken so many turns and
twists that it was now hard to say in which direction
we had come. So we began to confess to ourselves,
when after trying for some time to hit upon the right
way, and wandering at least twice as far as from the
Point at which we had lost sight of the men to that
where their track failed us, we could not catch a
K glimpse of the open country, and seemed only to be
going deeper and deeper into the wood.
Again we stopped to look about us, and take counsel
in this predicament. All around rose a maze of


various trunks-maples, pines, oaks, sumachs, birches,
hemlock-trees, and others, of which we did not know
the names, the space between being choked up by
thick 'underwood and a tangled mass of dry vines, or
by rank weeds that had already shot up fresh' and
green under the breath of spring. Though in some
spots violets were blooming, and the roots and fallen
trunks were covered with patches of rich moss, there
was as yet more of winter than summer in the scene,
which looked doubly cold and unpleasing in our
heated mood. The damp earth was strewn with
withered leaves and rotting twigs; a few of the trees
were coming into leaf; but most of them, except here
and there a sombre evergreen, still showed nothing
but bare branches, interlacing each other, against the
blue of the morning sky. We seemed, as it were,
caught in a net, and shut up in this woodland solitude;
while without, such things were stirring as our
country had never yet seen. This was the thought,
unexpressed and even unformed in our minds, which
troubled us more than any fear of danger. Our
excitement and impatience and curiosity could not
bear to be imprisoned thus. We lay down and put
our ears to the ground, hoping to hear some footfall,
)r the sound of a cow-bell, which might guide us; but


"fi TE



nothing was to be heard except the merry note of
the birds building their nests, and the only sign of
life we saw was an impudent little squirrel peeping
down upon us from the trunk of a dead pine, now
scurrying up a little higher, and now stopping to take
another look, as if uncertain whether it were worth
while to be afraid of us or not.
It must be remembered that we had now been on
foot for the best part of twelve hours, and had gone
without sleep all night, not to mention cold, and
wetting, and excitement, so it need not be wondered
at if we found ourselves somewhat disheartened. We
were hungry and thirsty, too, but saw no prospect of
getting anything to eat in this wood, which at another
time of the year would have abounded in nuts and
berries. There were fungus plants growing in profusion
in some spots : but these we scarcely liked to venture
upon, though we had heard our uncle say that many of
them were not 'poisonous. In this strait we began to
cast longing eyes at the squirrel, which, perhaps
guessing our thoughts, gave a contemptuous frisk of
its tail and disappeared among the thick branches, to
our no small disgust, for though we could not hope to
catch it, it was something to have company in this
solitude, even that of a squirrel.


It was of no use, however, to sit down and lament
over our misfortunes. The only thing to be done was
to keep moving on, in the hope of finding some path
or line of blazed trees by which our weary legs might
be guided out of the wood. So we started off again,
trusting to chance for the direction, but agreeing to
keep straight on -unless we saw good reason to turn to
one side or the other. And as in the present position
of affairs it seemed desirable to go armed, we now
provided ourselves with the best weapons at hand,
that is to say, a pair of stout oak cudgels, with which,
in our patriotic zeal, we were prepared to sell our
lives dearly should chance throw us in the way of a
British regiment. You may laugh, but we were only
boys, you know, and had that morning had more than
enough cause to turn our heads a little. If it had not
been for our patriotism we might have regretted that-
we had run away from school. Our school was not
the most agreeable place in the world, but at least
there was breakfast there, and a bed to go to at night;
and to be flogged and scolded seemed not such grievous
evils, now that we were wandering about in a leafless
wood and beginning to despair of ever getting out of it.
But after seeing what we had seen on the village green
at Lexington, and knowing that our countrymen were


actually in arms against the British, we -owed to
each other that nothing would make us go back to
school and slavery under a Tory. It was not for
nothing that we were children of the Pilgrim Fathers,
whose courage and endurance we had so often, with
reverence and thrilling interest, heard of in legendary
tales told by the farmhouse fire, when, on the long
winter nights, the pine knots were crackling and
blazing within and the wind was howling and the
snow drifting without.
But there was one terrible story of a boy who came
over in the Mayflower, and was lost in the woods, and
never heard of till his bones were found, half-eaten
by wolves or bears. That story we scarcely cared to
think of now.



Nwe went through the silence and solitude,
sometimes sinking into the spongy earth,
or up to the knees in rotting leaves, some-
times slipping on mossy roots and rocks, sometimes
crashing through berry-bushes and breaking down
saplings, so thick was the bush, and it seemed to be
growing thicker at every step. Now and then, in
some dark corner, we came upon a forlorn patch of
snow, lying so far out of the world that it did not
know winter was over; now a snake glided away
from our path; now a bee would hum by, sent out
thus early from the hive, like Noah's dove, to see if
the deluge of frost had abated and the leaves and
flowers were beginning to appear again upon earth;


now a racoon peeped out at us from behind a stump.
Our clothes were torn in several places, and bid fair
to become little better than rags if. this kind of
journeying was to last much longer; and 'not only
our clothes suffered, but our skins were scratched, and
I had a cut across the face from a lithe branch that,
springing suddenly back, brought the tears to my
;eyes and raised a red weal which did not disappear
for some days. But we pressed on, and at last our
perseverance was rewarded when we came -out into a
little clearing, where there was room to look about,
and where, to our great satisfaction, we found signs of
the neighbourhood of inhabitants. Trees had been-
cut down, and a sawpit dug; an axe was sticking in
a gaping trunk, where it had been left by the owner
without fear of thieves. But the most welcome sight
was a sugar-maple, tapped, and with a trough at
the foot of it, half full of the thick sap; a huge
kettle was hung upon poles hard by over the ashes
of a fire.
Here was a lucky find! We never supposed that
the owner of the trough, whoever he might be, would
grudge two hungry boys a little of his maple-sugar.
So we- soon had two sticks ready, and, dipping them
in the trough, sucked the sweet sap with avidity. It


was just like the Scripture story of Jonathan tasting
the honey, Oliver said.
It was the strangest breakfast I ever made but we
-were very glad of the refreshment. And while we
were still licking our rough spoons we heard a sound
which, for a moment, made us think that we were
again in luck-the sound of approaching steps behind
us. On they came crackling loudly among the dry
stalks; but when we turned round we found, to our
confusion, that they were not the steps of a man, but of
a black bear, which, when it saw us, suddenly stopped,
and stood looking at us from between two trunks.
I will not say we were glad to see it, though we
had often seen bears before, both alive and dead.
Bears, we knew, seldom attack men, unless provoked,
but this bear looked unpleasantly lean and hungry,
and this was the time of year when they are most
unscrupulous, after the long winter fast during which
they are said to
-- suck their claws,
AnI quarter themselves upon their paws."

Besides, how were we to know that Master Bruin
did not look on this sugar trough as a private rre-
serve, and might not be angry with us for helping
ourselves to his breakfast without an invitation ? So

" -I f.'J




we felt, if not exactly alarmed, at least a little
doubtful as to his intentions, and I for one was not
quite sure whether we ought not to make a speedy
retreat. But Oliver advanced a step, and snatching
the axe out of the tree presented a bold front to the
enemy. Very much the same reflections were no
doubt passing through the mind of the bear, for
presentlythe settled the matter by turning round and
trotting off, leaving us in undisputed possession of
our discovery.
Our-spirits were now not a little raised, and we sat
down on a fallen trunk and found ourselves taking a
more hopeful view of the situation. As the maple-
sap had suggested Jonathan to Oliver's mind, so now
the bear and the sawpit reminded him of David; and
he also compared our case to that of the Children in
the Wood, whom we had read of in an old dog-eared
nursery-book, which was one of the treasures of our
small library, and declared that, for his part, he
would rather not be covered up with withered leaves
by the birds singing all around us. Our position,
you may be sure, did not look so bad when we could
afford to joke about it. After all, in a country so
much cleared, this wood could not be so large but
that we must come to the outside of it after an hour


or two's walking at the most. Encouraging our-
selves thus, and having rested for a time, we were
preparing to push on, when suddenly we heard loud
and piercing cries close at hand.
Oliver and I jumped up, seized our cudgels, and
were about to rush to the place from which the
cries proceeded. But before we,had g6ne three yards
we stopped, and could< not help laughing as we
recognized the familiar1 voice of' a young pig as
that of the creature in distress. The bear! we
exclaimed with one voice, and just then a whole
family of porkers began to join their voices to that
of their unfortunate brother, making the wood re-echo
with their squeals of alarm, and calling forth a noisy
chorus of dogs barking, cocks crowing, ducks quack-
ing, tu'lss gobbling, crows cawing, all within a
hundred yards of us. We knew now that we were
close to a farm, and made towards it in all haste,
without thinking of the possible danger of interrupt-
ing the bear at his breakfast. It is an ill wind, they
say, that blows nobody good, and we at least should
have been grateful to Bruin for raising an alarm that
showed us we were on the wrong track, and perhaps
saved us from a good deal of weary wandering.
Forcing our way through the bushes we soon


found ourselves out of the wood at last, and close to
a small farmhouse, the yard of which was the scene
of all this commotion. At the back door an old
woman was standing with a broomstick grasped in
her hand, the first weapon, no doubt, she had been
able to catch up on hearing the alarm.
"What's the matter ? she said, bidding the dogs
lie down, and chasing the pigs away from the door
with the broomstick. I thought there was a bear."
So there was: he has carried off one of your
hogs, I guess."
That's the second since last Monday. Dear!
dear What with bears and British, it's hard times
for us folks. But it can't be helped now. Aren't
you coming in ?"
Give me a gun and I'll go after him! cried Oliver.
Gun there isn't one in the house. My husband
and our hired lad have taken them to go out with
Captain Parker. Esther-that's my girl-is driving
the cattle a good way into the wood, for fear of the
soldiers getting them, and I am here all alone, so
you are welcome if you will come in for a bit."
"What is it all about? What are they fighting
for ? we asked eagerly, seeing a chance of at last
getting some information.


"Fighting! Have they begun to fight ? What have
you seen ? she replied with no less eagerness.
"Did you not hear the firing! we said, and related
the scene which we had witnessed on the village green.
"My husband she cried. "He would be with
them. Did you see him? He was a big man-the
biggest man there, I guess, except the blacksmith at
Lexington-a man they might be proud to shoot, the
red-coated rascals!"
"We could only assure her that we did not know
whether any harm had happened to her husband,
and that most of the Minute Men had got away safe.
"They will be gone to Concord. That's where the
British are making for. You haven't heard of it!
Where have you come from ? Where were you when
the whole country was roused up last night ? I thought
it was the barn on fire at first, when they came a-
knocking at the door like to break it in, and-telling
us that the soldiers were marching to take the cannon
at Concord. And they have fired on the people, have
they ? God forgive them They never did a worse day's
work in their lives, and they will be sorry for it before
they know what they have done," cried the old woman,
grasping her broomstick as if it had been a musket,
while we boys re-echoed her sentiments with a will.


"We now felt inclined to be more than half-ashamed
of the fears that had been caused us by the strange
occurrences of the night. It was indeed ludicrous
of us to have supposed that all the turmoil had been
on our account, when so much more important
matters were calling our countrymen from their
beds. I may here say that it was a long time before
we confessed to any one the absurd mistake we had
made. Now that we knew the real cause of the
alarm we were filled with the warmest enthusiasm
and the bitterest indignation against the soldiers who
had- murdered our countrymen before our eyes, when,
as we took for granted, they had committed no other
crime than that of defending their just rights. We
only wished we had the King of England before us,
to give him a piece of our minds. Already we were
stauncher Republicans than most of our elders, who as
yet affected to lay the blame of the arbitrary proceed-
ings of the Government upon his Majesty's advisers.
After a little the woman began to put home ques-
tions to us as to where we came from and where we
were going. The night before we should have been
afraid to tell the truth, but now we felt no need for
caution, and with the confidence that ought to exist
among true patriots we took her into counsel and


narrated our adventures, honestly confessing that we
had run away from school, and drawing, I am afraid,
a too black picture 6f our cruel master, whose tyranny
was our excuse. The good woman listened with the
greatest sympathy.
"Pcor lads! poor lads!" she kept on exclaiming.
"And. you have been walking all night, and had
nothing to eat, and me' keeping you standing out
here! Come in, come in, this minute!" she cried,
leading the way.
After our hardships and privations we were not
sorry to find ourselves harboured in the warm kitchen,
where we were made to sit by the fire while our kind
hostess bustled about, and would not hear another
word till she had sat before us a plentiful meal of
brown bread, cold pork and beans, and cider, to which
the exciting experiences of the morning did not pre-
vent us from doing ample justice. We ate like hungry
young bears, for the taste of the maple-sap had not
even taken the edge off our appetites. When we had
finished, the motherly old woman, finding that our
clothes were wet, proposed that we should go to bed
till they could be thoroughly dried. In. any other
circumstances a comfortable bed would have been
most welcome to us, but at such a time we could not


think of sleeping. We would rather have resumed
our journey: but the country was scarcely safe for
travelling, and it seemed we might as well rest awhile
in this out-of-the-way house, which the soldiers were
not likely to visit. It was a plain substantial
weather-worn house, of a fashion very common in
those days-a wooden building, on some of the beams
of which the bark could still be seen, two storeys high
in front and one behind, with small square windows
and a gable roof of mossy shingles-in fact, just the
sort of industrious, decent, well-to-do homestead in
which we could easily feel ourselves at home. So we
allowed Mrs. Mardock-that was her name, I think-
-to persuade us to stay till some good news came, and.
we sat down on the dye-tub by the great log fire in the
kitchen. But in spite of our stiff limbs we kept all
the time jumping up at the slightest sound, and run-
iing out of doors to see or hear something of the
great doings that were a-foot.
Sit still and rest yourselves, sonnies," was the
good woman's advice, given in vain. "When your
hair is as grey as mine you will know better than to
trouble your heads about what you can't help or
hinder. But I wish my old man was safe at home,
that I do, with all my heart! she said, over and


over again, setting an example of anxiety that did
not agree with her precepts.
When she saw that our restlessness was not to be
reasoned with, she sought to distract our minds by
setting us about some small tasks-chopping wood,
feeding the fowls, bringing water from the well, and so
forth, a kind of work we were used to, and liked far
better than the lessons which we ought to have been
doing under the rod of the Reverend Septimus Tyson.
Mrs. Mardock herself tried to go about her household
duties as usual, but it was plain she was sorely ill at
ease on her husband's account.
"He has been bad with the rheumatism all winter,"
she told us, "and 'tis not fit for the like of him to go
fighting the cruel-minded British. But he would go,
and I wasn't the one to bid him stay. I pity the red-
coat that comes in front of his gun And yet who
knows but they have wives and children, too, in the
old country! Eh boys, but it's a hard world to live
in, where folks won't leave other folks to get their
living in peace, but must come taxing, and soldiering,
and shooting, and taking honest men from their work
. fore the spring wheat is in the ground. It would
be a good job, I guess, if kings and red-coats were all
at the bottom of the pond-hole in our big pasture;


but the world wasn't of our making, and Heaven's
"will be done! I hope he will be home before night,
and not stay out to catch cold-and his thick woollen
shirts packed away last week at the bottom of the
big chest! "
In this way she ran on all the forenoon, talking
partly to herself and partly to us, and got dinner
ready at the usual hour. Then, such is the force of
habit, she was taking down the horn with which she
usually summoned her husband from his work, when
two or three of the neighbours came in to ask if she
had heard any news.
"They had nothing but the most confused and contra-
dictory reports. One woman believed the British
were still at Lexington; and another declared that
they were spreading over the country, robbing and
burning wherever they went. There was not a man
about, and these women durst not go far from home,
and could only add to one another's anxiety and uncer-
tainty. But they had all heard of the Minute Men
having been killed at Lexington, and were all full of
indignation against the soldiers, and proud that their
husbands and sons were in arms for the liberty of the'
About half an hour later an old minister rode up to


the farm.. He had been attending to the wounded at
Lexington, and brought certain news that the soldiers
had advanced to Concord, where the militia were
mustering in force to oppose them, and a desperate
conflict was expected to be the result. He himself
was going on to Concord by another road than the one
taken by the troops, but stayed at the farm for a time
to refresh himself and the animal on which he had
ridden more than twenty miles that morning. Then,
as he was speaking a few words of kindliness to those
present, and exhorting them to trust in God for the
safety of their friends and the welfare of their
country, he was interrupted by a sound to which we
all listened with hushed voices and strained ears-the
.sound of firing.
The farmer's wife ran to the door with troubled
looks, and the rest of us followed. She did not turn
pale or shed tears, for that was not the way of our
farmers' wives, but I saw her lips moving, and knew
she was praying for her husband. Poor woman at
that moment, as we afterwards learned, he was
breathing his last in a little cottage near Concord
Bridge, with two British bullets in his breast.



UR ears had not deceived us. Firing was
going on, and not very far off, in the direc-
S tion of the Concord road. The little
gathering broke up. The neighbours hurried home.
The minister mounted his pony and rode off towards
the scene of action, with no fear for his grey hairs,
but thinking only how he could be of service to
the wounded and dying.
Oliver and I grew more and more restless. The
shots came louder and closer; it was soon plain that
the fighting was being brought nearer to us. Before
long the smoke could be seen curling up from the
hollows not a mile off, and our impatient curiosity
was no longer to be restrained. Leaving the woman
of the house before the kitchen fire, where she was


airing her husband's night-cap and bed-gown, by way
of preparing for the worst, we slipped off, and ran
across the fields in search of some point from which
we might have a glimpse of what was going on.
Good fortune guided us to the very best spot that we
could have chosen.
There was a steep rocky bank overlooking the
road to Concord, on the brow of which grew a single
oak-tree, its gnarled roots left bare by a recent land-
slip, so that the trunk itself appeared about to fall at
every moment, while its bare branches still spread
wide over the declivity, towering above .a belt of
stunted pines, and serving as a landmark to the
valleys on either side. For this tree we made in all
haste, urged on by the increasing reports of musketry
beyond. When we reached it we found that nothing
was to be seen without mounting the tree, and this
might be dangerous, as firing seemed to be going on
at the foot of the bank. Oliver did not hesitate a
moment. It was an awkward tree to climb, but my
brother, active as a cat, sprung up the rough trunk,
and swung himself into one of the outermost
branches, while I, after one or two failures to mount
the tree, ran from side to side along the brow of the
cliff, trying to catch a peep through the tops of the


pines. But these grew too thickly to let me have
a glimpse of anything more than a little smoke in
the valley below, which was filled with the roar of
guns. Fancy the vexation of hearing without being
ble to see the spectacle which Oliver eagerly de-
scribed to me!
"They are fighting close by! Thousands of them !
Oh Will, the soldiers are running. Hurrah for the
Bay State! Fire away at them! There's that officer
on the horse-he's down It was he that made them
-fire on the people at Lexington. Do you hear the
-drum? They are going to charge. No-they are
afraid. Oh! how I wish I had a rifle-don't let one
of them get home 1 "
Then came another volley, and a loud cheer from
below. It was most tantalising. In vain I searched
for a gap. My brother kept crying to me. I had been
"a tinmid climber ever since I fell from an apple-tree
and broke my arm; but this was not a time to be
afraid. I made one more desperate effort, and how
I managed it I never knew, but at last I found myself
panting among the lower boughs, and managed to
scramble over to the place where Oliver stood swaying
on a stout branch, from which, if he lost his insecure
"footing, it seemed that he -must be dashed to pieces


on the rocks below. I took up a more cautious
position, lying full length along the thick end of a
sloping limb, on which, however, I had an equally good
view of the scene that was being enacted at our feet.
There were few men living in America who had
seen such a sight as we two now gazed upon that
lovely April day. Right beneath us were the soldiers,
a straggling column of some hundreds of men, con-
spicuous by their scarlet coats and tall hats, which
had long been associated in our minds with irresistible
power. Coats, hats, guns, and glittering bayonets,
all their equipment, were as formidable as ever, and
but it was evident even to our inexperienced eyes that
the lobsters," as we boys used to call them, had
now lost the careless confidence and perfect order
with which we had seen them charging across thfl
green at Lexington. They were retiring, slowly,
indeed, and disputing the ground, but certainly retir-
ing, almost surrounded by the country men; who, in
little knots or as single marksmen, pressed upon
them with an undisciplined courage that, favoured by
the nature of the ground, threatened before long to
turn the retreat into a flight. From thickets and
heights, from behind walls and trees and houses,
came curling jets of smoke, and, as far as the eye


might reach, we could pick out here and there dots
of red upon the ground, the bodies of the killed and
wounded, marking the line of march, and proving
that these irregular fighters knew how to use their
weapons. Taking advantage, of every feature of the
country which afforded shelter, they kept closing
upon the harassed troops, who from time to time
would turn to bay, or would charge to the right and
left to dislodge their assailants and secure a free
passage. Then the country men would give way, but
as soon as the regulars resumed their retreat, would
return and again appear, hanging in scattered parties
upon the flanks and rear, and suffering little from the
wild and ineffectual fire of the close ranks which
offered them such an easy target. The most pitiable
part of the sight was the wounded or exhausted men,
who could be noticed falling out of the ranks, and
limping painfully along through the dust and glare,
in the vain endeavour to keep up with their comrades.
Nor were the horrors 6f war absent. Mad with rage,
and scarcely to be kept together by the utmost exer-
tions of their officers, the soldiers were seen rushing
into houses and farmyards that stood near their way,
from which the flames then came bursting forth, and
thick smoke rolled across the fields from two or three


points, mingling with the cloud that rose along the
road, and hiding half the combatants. Yet it could
always be seen that the British retreated, and that
the Colonists, their numbers increasing from every
side, continued to press them hard.
It was indeed a glorious spectacle for the despised
Americans, and our pulses beat high as we witnessed
the triumph of our countrymen. I know not how
long we sat in our post of observation, breathlessly
following each turn of the struggle, and longing to be
able to take part in it, and strike a blow for the cause
which every Massachusetts boy who knew his right
hand from his left had at heart. Indeed, there was
a moment for which we might claim that we were in
the fight. The bushes almost right beneath us were
occupied by a handful of riflemen, who did such exe-
cution among the soldiers passing on the road, that
a company of grenadiers was sent to drive them out.
Facing about,-and wheeling into line, they dashed up
with bayonets fixed. The little band, half hidden in
the bushes, did not flinch, though their retreat was
cut off by the steep face of the cliff behind them.
Even at that moment they took steady aim, and man
after man was struck down in the advancing ranks.
But the soldiers came bravely on, till we could see


their faces beneath their tall hats and hear the orders
shouted out by the officers. A few steps more and
the bayonet would do its work! But the fire was
too hot; suddenly they wavered, halted, and began
to move back in confusion, in spite of all the exer-
tions of their officers, who were shouting and beckon-
ing them on, and even, as we saw, using the points
of their swords upon the runaways, but without being
able to make them face the rifles. Then it was that
Oliver, carried away by his excitement, leant forward
on his perch till he had almost fallen over, and
hurrahed for-joy, waving his cap, and attracting the
attention of a sergeant, who, as he turned, to run,
pointed his firelock at us, and took a hasty shot into
the tree. We heard the ball breaking through the
branches, and involuntarily ducked our heads; but in
the excitement of the moment we thought no more
of it than if it had been a pebble. This was the
second time we had been under fire that day.
The British officers now began to recognize that it
was hopeless for their tired and disheartened men to
contend longer against an enemy who had such an
advantage of position. The march of the main body
was visibly quickened, only small parties lingered in
the rear to check the pursuers, and the aim of the


troops seemed to be to get away as fast as possible
from such a murderous conflict. Loud cheers, mingled
with the crack of rifles, followed them from all
sides, when it was seen that they had learned to be
afraid of the colonial arms; but the militia pressed
on all the faster, and plied their pieces so as to make
the invaders bitterly repent this expedition against
a peaceful population. Poor fellows! it was not their
fault that George III. was an obstinate old gentleman,
and that his ministers did not understand the temper
of the American colonists. But when men sell them-
selves to be food for powder, it is they who suffer for
the follies and crimes of their masters. At that very
hour, perhaps, the King was comfortably dozing in
his arm-chair, or playing in public the part of benevo-
lent father of his subjects, while in his name so many
were being made widows and orphans. Truly the
poet has said,-
War is a game that, were their subjects wise,
Kings would not play at."
And if the kings themselves were wise, they would
always think twice before playing at such a game,
when the stake is nothing less than the liberty of
a brave and law-loving people.
We stayed in our tree till the retreat of the British

- ---- ^.,- .-



was hid from view by the formation of the ground.
Then at last we descended, and making our way down
the steep face of the cliff, at the risk of breaking our
necks, we were about to follow the pursuit, quite for-
getting our fatigue. But as we forced a path through
the thick bushes, we soon came upon an elderly and
unpicturesque warrior, who was sitting under a hedge,
and seemed to be refreshing himself after the exer-
tions of the fight. He wore a suit of brown home-
spun, with blue yarn stockings. At his feet lay
a long duck gun; his only other military accoutre-
ment, if it might be called so, was a great red hand-
kerchief that he had tied round his head to keep off
the rays of the sun. With another of the same kind
in his right hand, he kept mopping his face, and in
his left he held a large sausage, at which he was
munching away as we approached.
It was our uncle I recognized him as soon as he
took the handkerchief away,from his face, and he
recognized us as he was in the act of biting another
mouthful out of the sausage.
"You here! was all he said. On such a day,
people had not much thought to give to small sur-
We were not long in telling him how we had come


to run away from our school, telling .no lies; but
making out as good a story for ourselvesas we could,
and somewhat to our relief found that he was not
disposed to blame us. Uncle was a strict disciplin-
arian in his own way, and we had not been free of.
a certain fear that he might make things very un-
pleasant for us when we arrived at home. There was
a big horsewhip at the farm, which entered largely
into its master's ideas of education; so we might
have not impossibly found that we had got out of the
frying-pan into the fire, and our experience had led
us to believe that, though rebellion might be con-
sidered a very laudable thing for grown-up people,
our guardians were given to look upon severe school-
masters as being always in the right and refractory
boys as always in the wrong. But now our uncle
didn't say a word about the horse-whip. He had,
better things to think of.
I don't know that it isn't maybe worth while run-
ning away from school to see what you boys have
seen," he declared when he had swallowed his mouthful
and ruminated over our story for a minute. "British
soldiers beaten by Yankee farmers! I expect you
will have something to tell your great grandchildren,
if you live to be a hundred."


We had twenty questions to ask him, almost in a
"breath, about the battle.
"All I know is," he said, "that I was fetched out
of my bed before the cocks were crowing, and Deacon
Symms and I and the boys set off to Concord. By.
and-by the British came along, and we went over the
river, and weren't quite clear what was to be done.
But when we heard that the soldiers were robbing and
ill-using folk, we just marched back, and when we
got to the bridge, there they were. But they didn't
stay there, for there was a good deal of shooting, and
they concluded to go home. So they did, and we came
after them-and here we are, and there they are, and
I guess the best part of the job's done. But I am just
going on a bit, to be sure that I am not wanted. If they
mean to have a war, they have made a bad beginning
to it, I guess."
Uncle ended this speech, which was for him an un-
usually long one, by taking a lohg pull at a big bottle,
which he had slung over his shoulder like a cartridge-
box, balancing the powder-horn on the other side.
Then he very deliberately got on his legs, adjusted his
head-gear with more regard to comfort than elegance,
looked to the priming of his piece, and prepared to
march on, just as serviceable a soldier as if he, had


been covered with lace and scarlet and had worn a
plume of feathers the height of a steeple.
Can we come with you ?" we both asked eagerly.
You! What would two strips of boys like you do ?
If a British bullet hit you fair, it would flatten you
out, so that there would be no knowing you. No, no,
you go home, and stay with your aunt, and we will
send for you if we can't beat the British back into
"Oh, Uncle Reuben! we exclaimed, but uncle
wouldn't listen. He was a man not to be contradicted,
and, to our great disgust, he insisted that we had seen
enough fighting for one day, and that this was no
work for us. He directed us to go to a miller's house
a few miles off, where he had left his waggon and
team, which we were to take, and make our way
straight home, to cheer up our aunt by telling her
that things were going on well, and that he meant to
stay and see it through."
So he finished his sausage, shouldered his rifle, and
trudged off to the front, while we were fain to turn
our steps homewards, just as the roar of cannon
announced that the British had received reinforce-
ments, and that the battle was being renewed with
fresh vigour.


E lingered for some time listening to the
firing; indeed, it was not easy to leave such
a scene. Signs of the battle that had just
passed by presented themselves at every turn. Now
it was a band of country men, hurrying on to be in
time for the fighting, with whom we must stop to ex-
change news; now a wounded man making the best
of his way to the nearest house; now a dead body, at
the sight of which we shrunk back, and passed on the
other side. The road was strewn with articles which
the tired soldiers had thrown away as impeding their
toilsome march-dead geese and turkeys, and pieces of
portable property, no doubt plundered from the houses
at an early hour of the day, with here and there a
broken drum or a heavy knapsack marked with the


well-known initials G. R., that henceforth were no
more to be held in reverence throughout the States
of America. If we had been so minded, we might have
laden ourselves with such spoils, but our experiences
of warfare had not yet been long enough to remove
from our minds certain scruples about taking what
belonged to others, in which we had been religiously
educated, and the fact that the owners of these articles
were probably dead made us the more unwilling to
touch anything of theirs. The only thing we brought
away was a flattened bullet, which Oliver picked up,
and which I have kept to this day as a relic of the
Battle of Lexington.
Thus we loitered along the road, till, at the same
time that we began to be again sensible of the fatigues
we had undergone, we called to mind our uncle's in-
junction to get home as soon as possible, and remem-
bered that we had still several miles to go, tired as we
were, before reaching the mill where he had left his
waggon. He had pointed out to us certain landmarks,
by observing which we might take a bee-line across the
country, and we were not sorry to get off the hot dusty
road and betake ourselves once more to the fields.
Now that, as we thought, we had fairly turned our
backs on the lattle-field, we made an effort to step out


briskly, and fixed our minds on home. But, what with
the heat and our tired limbs, we soon found that it was
going to be a weary walk, and the first house we came
in sight of tempted us to turn aside with the intention
of asking for a drink of milk and taking another rest.
This was a brick house, lying snugly at the bottom
of a little hollow, and almost hid, except the front, by
lines of great elms, just bursting into leaf, and large
blossoming orchards. .As we drew closer we found
that it was a mansion of some pretensions, inhabited,
likely, by some of the old gentry, who in those days
still held their heads up and were duly respected by
us simple folk. Instead of presenting ourselves at the
chief entrance we passed round, through high hedges
of box and lilac, to the kitchen door, where, at least,
we made no doubt of being hospitably received. But
at the sound of our footsteps no one came out, and
there was no sign of inhabitants except the furious
barking of a dog chained in the yard.
We stood for a minute beside a great barberry bush,
which had probably grown there in the days when
this fine residence had been nothing but the wooden
make-shift of a house, now hidden away behind the
handsome front, and used as the servants' quarters.
It seemed strange that the barking of the dog brought


no one out. We knocked at last at the open door: no
answer. The windows were also wide open; we
peeped in, but saw no one. After knocking ergain
two or three times, we ventured to enter and made
our way into the kitchen.
Here we found all the usual signs of recent occupa-
tion, but in strange disorder. A spinning-wheel lay
overturned in one corner; in another stood a cider-
barrel, surrounded by pots and mugs that seemed to
have been hastily thrown down. The windows showed
bullet-holes in several places; there were the same
marks on the walls, and near the door were strewn
fragments of a pile of smashed crockery. The floor
was wet and slippery; we thought it must be blood,
but, on examination, found the liquid had proceeded
from a milk-pail, standing on a shelf, with a hole
right through it near the bottom. Provisions of
various kinds were scattered in profusion and con-
fusion over the table and the wooden dresser which
ran all along the wall. The clock had stopped at ten
minutes past one, and no wonder, for the weights were
gone. Perhaps they had been cut up for slugs. The
kettle had boiled over and almost extinguished the
fire, but a few embers still smouldered in a corner of
the hearth, before which sat a large grey cat, licking


her whiskers with contented unconcern, and scarcely
taking the trouble to blink solemnly at us as we stood
hesitating in the doorway.
"Where are the people of the house ? "
Shall we go and see ? "
Unable to resist our curiosity, yet surprised at our
own boldness, we stepped across the kitchen, and
through another door entered a short passage, at the
further end of which hung a thick curtain. We paused
here for a minute, but took courage to draw it softly
aside, and found ourselves in the hall of the mansion.
Again we stopped, almost afraid to tread with our
thick dirty boots upon the diamond-pattern mosaic
work of various woods which composed the floor.
Round about the walls hung thick tapestry, and here
and there were trophies of old arms, deer's heads, and
implements of the chase. A broad stone staircase led
to the upper storey. On either hand open folding
doors let us see into the public rooms of the family:
but all seemed empty. The only living thing in the
house was the cat, which had accompanied us and
now led the way into one of the apartments, as if
inviting us to follow.
On tiptoe we stole across the hall and entered the
room, where pussy had comfortably taken up her


position, on a velvet couch, and, purring and peeping
out of her half-shut eyes at us, seemed to be asking,
"Did you ever see anything like this before in your
lives ?"
Indeed we had not, and were filled with wonder at
all the fine things which met our eyes-the rich fur-
niture,,the old china, the.quaint Japan cabinets, the
embroidered cushions, the gilded cornices, the painted
panels, the fireplace lined with coloured tiles, the
marble mantelpiece, the carved ceiling, the polished
floor, on which, in mahogany, ebony, and red cedar,
were regular intervals the representations
of some uncouth fabulous animal and other symbols
from the arms of the family. A harpsichord stood at
one end, with music lying upon it. Oliver touched
the keys, and it gave forth a low sound that startled
us in this scene of silence, where it seemed right to
hold our breath as we softly moved about. At the
other end of the room hung a tall mirror in a gilded
frame, in which we caught sight of our dusty and
tattered figures, and slunk back through the door,
remembering that we had no right to be there.
"It is quite like the story of the Enchanted Palace
of the Sleeping Beauty," whispered Oliver, as we
peeped into the next room.


The door of this also was wide open, and we could
not but enter it. Here we found the then uncommon
luxury of a thick carpet, on which we walked with
caution, almost with awe, and looked up to the pictures
hanging on the walls-grave old gentlemen in long
wigs, ancestral warriors with coats of steel and grim
beards, beautiful ladies with hoops and patches and
powdered hair. This was a larger room, furnished in
a different style with carved oak, massive silver plate,
heavy mahogany chairs and tables, and shelves of
well-bound books behind glass cases. But the owners
of all this grandeur-to us it was nothing short of
grandeur-where were they ? We had not the heart to
explore further, afraid of the next discovery we might
I began to feel that we had been rash and imperti-
nent in penetrating so far. It seemed as if one
of these fierce old ancestors must presently walk out
of his frame, draw his long sword, and bid us stand
and excuse ourselves. The oldest of them, in the
darkest corner, was already glowering -at us with the
yellow face which we had just been able to distinguish
upon the brown cracked surface of the picture. Oliver
stood before it as if fascinated, but I drew him away,
and we hastily passed out into the broad verandah,


overgrown with creepers, which ran round three sides
of the house.
Looking into the yard we still saw no one, but we
could make out that the ground had been trampled
by many footsteps. A fence had been thrown down,
and there were other marks of a struggle having
taken place around the house, from which the in-
habitants had probably fled in haste, or had left it
to pursue the defeated phrty.
This was bringing war to the homes and hearths of
the people. Like death, war spares neither the castle
nor the cottage, and well would it be if it never took
any more desolating shape than that in which it had
visited this mansion.
One of the ricks, standing a little way back of the
house, was seen to be blackened on one side. It must
have been set on fire, but luckily there was no.wind,
or we might have found the whole place a heap of
smoking ruins.
We went out into the yard, where the dog was
straining at his chain and barking loudly, as if to
say that he could tell a tale of what had just hap-
pened. We visited the farm-buildings, which were
on a scale suitable to such an establishment. We
looked into the dairy, the barn, the stables, the


kitchen garden, the granary, the wood-house, and
found them all empty. The place was entirely de-
serted, and there was no saying when its inhabitants
would return.
In the meanwhile a great sun-dial in the yard
warned us that the afternoon was passing, and that
we must be moving homewards. So we did, but first
we took the liberty of milking a cow which came
wandering disconsolately about the premises, and
seemed glad to see us and entertain us to the best of
her ability. We were most grateful for the refresh-
ment that hot afternoon, when there were many poor
fellows who would have given its weight in silver for
a drink of milk.
Beyond the garden was a thick grove of trees
through which ran a sparkling stream, that miir-
mured a pleasant invitation to the tired traveller to
stay and rest himself on its shady banks. We sat
down on a rock, and gladly bathed our blistered feet
in one of the clear brown pools, and spent some
little time in talking over what we had just seen, and
speculating on what must have been taking place so
lately in this quiet spot. Then, resolved to lose no
more time, we moved on, and took a path that led
over an ornamental bridge to a high hedge fringing


the grove, beyond which lay a meadow planted with
As we were moving slowly along this 'hedge, we
heard a sound which made us suddenly pause. Some-
body was groaning faintly on the other side. The
sound was repeated: we were not mistaken. We
peeped through and caught a glimpse of a red uni-
form, and our first impulse was to make off with all
speed. But, when we looked again, we found that
there was nothing to be afraid of but a single soldier,
who was lying wounded at the foot of a tree, and
seemed exhausted by his feeble efforts to attract our
With. some little difficulty we forced our way
through the first gap in the hedge, and ran towards
He was a British officer, a mere boy, scarcely older
than Oliver, with yellow hair like a child's, and
round smooth cheeks that ought to have been pink
as the peach blossoms overhead, but were now white
from loss of blood. There he lay, helpless, on the
green meadow, among the opening daisies, whidh
here and there were dyed with the same red stains
that showed dark upon the bright scarlet of his coat.
We stood over him, looking down with eyes full of


wonder and pity, and he turned his face beseechingly
towards us, and murmured,-
"Water, water for the love of Heaven."
For the moment we forgot that he was an enemy,
and were as anxious to relieve his sufferings as if he
had been our own brother.
Oliver said one word to me, and was off like an
arrow to the stream. I stayed beside the sufferer,
longing to be able to do something for him, but feel-
ing as helpless as himself in my inexperience. Such
a sight as this made me realise all the horror of
death. That old men should die seemed natural,
but for a boy like myself, who an hour ago had
been full of spirits and thoughtlessness- it was
And this lad's life had probably known little of
pain and misery. I could see at a glance that he was
not one of us: his linen, dabbled with blood, was
white and fine; it was a small, delicate hand that
still clasped the hilt of his useless sword; and the
very cut of his features marked him as something
different from the homely country-people among
whom we had been brought up. How hard it was
that he should die!
It was like an hour before Oliver came running


back with his hat full of water, which had leaked out
at every step. He succeeded in bringing up little
more than a single mouthful. Gently raising the
young officer's head, we poured it between his lips.
He swallowed it greedily, and gave a long sigh.
"Shall I run to the house and get a pitcher?"
asked Oliver, breathlessly, and flew off without wait-
ing a moment.
In the meantime I raised the poor fellow's head
and placed his hat under it as a support.. This
appeared to give him a little ease, and the water
revived him for an instant.
I noticed those white soft fingers of his fumbling
at his throat, and he looked at me anxiously and
spoke, but in such a weak voice that I had to bend
down to catch the words, and even then could not
understand what he said.
At last it struck me that he wanted his coat open.
I undid the fastenings, loosened his rich cravat, and
bared his neck, disclosing a small gold chain, by
which hung a little ivory portrait, the features on it
almost entirely blotted out by blood. I saw in his
eyes that this .was what ,he was thinking of. iHe
raised his head and tried to speak, but before he
could tell me what he wished done, his strength


wholly failed him, and I thought he would have died
on the spot.
When was Oliver coming back? At such a moment
I was afraid to be alone.
As I was bending over the insensible body, wonder-
ing with awe whether it had not become a corpse,
I suddenly heard the sound of voices behind, and,
looking round, was astonished to see some half-a-
dozen soldiers, who had just entered the orchard from
a little thicket beyond, and were hurrying towards us.
Before I could bethink myself what to do they were
upon me.
'Tis our ensign! cried an old sergeant, who led
the party, catching sight of the wounded lad.
Aye, the best officer in the regiment! exclaimed
another, with an oath. I thought he had got away
with the rest of the company. Poor young gentle-
man! he deserved something 'better than to be shot
by these skulking rebels from behind a wall."
"And what has this young villain been doing to
him? Robbing him-murdering him, perhaps."
Then he has done the worst job he ever did in
his life, and the last!" cried one of the men,
clubbing his musket as if about to strike me on the

.t (


I shut my eyes involuntarily, expecting to be felled
to the ground. Then I felt myself rudely grasped by
these strong men, and heard a confusion of angry
voices round me.
Shoot him like a dog !"
Hang him up to that tree "
Hanging is too good for him if he has done any
harm to the ensign."
"He should be flayed alive, the scoundrel!"
Frightened and bewildered,-I was pulled about and
dragged along by the infuriated soldiers, who almost
choked me, so that I could not say a word for my-
self, even if I had been able to explain the matter
and they in a mood to listen. For one moment the
grasp on my throat was loosened, and I had just
presence of mind enough to raise a cry to warn my
brother. Then my head swam round, and I had
given myself up for lost, when a loud voice cried
"Hold and I was allowed to fall on the grass.
"Don't hurt the lad," the sergeant was saying.
"'Who knows that he was doing any harm to the
ensign? At least, here is his purse and his watch in
his pocket, so no one has robbed him."
"Why did he not say so, then ?" sullenly asked
the soldier who had been for giving me no chance of


saying a word; and, leaving me alone, they gathered
round the wounded lad, without paying much atten-
tion to my earnest assurances as to the part I had
been playing towards their officer. How glad I was
that I had not taken the picture from him, or they
might have had some cause for their suspicions.



ERE was an unexpected interruption to
my journey homewards. It seemed that
for me, at least, the dangers of the day
were not over; and my only consolation was that
Oliver had not also fallen in with the soldiers. I
didn't know what to think of it, as I sat down and
began to put on my shoes and stockings, which
latterly I had been carrying in my hand. Though we
wore these articles as a mark of our dignity as pupils
of an academy, we were ordinarily much more at ease
walking without them. But now I was by no means
at ease either shod or barefoot, for the long walking
had made my feet "surbated," as the old-fashioned
folks used to say, and I felt all the more helpless in
the hands of the enemy.


I was surprised to see how tender these fierce sons
of Anak, as they seemed to me, could show them-
selves towards the sufferer. With rude surgery they
examined and bound up his wounds, and brought
water from the stream to assuage his thirst. The
old sergeant gave him a dram of spirits from a gourd
which he carried slung round his shoulder. This put
a little strength into him, and the first words he
muttered were about the two boys who had been kind
to him.
"Oh! there were two of 'em," said the sergeant.
"And where is the other, pray? Gone to raise the
country upon us, no doubt."
This was the very question I was asking myself. I
had been looking round in hopes of catching sight of
Oliver, and now I was almost certain that he was
hiding behind the thick hedge. A slight movement
of the twigs confirmed my -suspicions, and presently,
as the attention of the soldiers was taken up with
their officer, I might as well make an attempt to
escape to him. I gave myself no time to think over
it, but suddenly bounded towards the nearest gap in
the hedge, running for my life, when the soldiers
raised a shout, and every moment I feared that a
bullet would be sent after me.


But, alas! tired and confused, I did not look where
I went. Before I had run a few rods my foot caught
in-a root and I sprawled on the ground, making my
nose bleed and cutting my hand on a stone. I picked
myself up in all haste, but just in time to see Oliver
flying across the next field, and to feel the hand of
one of the red coats on my collar.
"Stole away, my lad! "' he cried, slapping me on
the back so hard as to take away the little breath left
in me, and laughing coarsely at the woeful spectacle
presented by my face covered .with blood and dirt.
"It won't do We want thee."
"Listen to me," said another, the same who had
before been so ready to knock me on the head. "You
must show us how to get back to Boston without
going near that pack of murdering rebels. Will you
help us, or do you want to be made cold meat of ?"
I did not say a word, indeed the man was shaking
me so roughly that I could scarcely think what to say.
But in a moment I had made up my mind that I
could give no aid to the enemies of my country. For
another moment a wild thought came to me. Should
I agree to be a guide .to these soldiers, only to play
them false and lead them right among our riflemen?
They might kill me, then; -but not one of them would


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4 I~ ~ ~~~$ WILTL O OIIIt



escape. Then I looked at the wounded young officer,
and could not do it. I stood silent, till the man who
was holding me began to twist my arm to screw out
an answer, while another of the soldiers pricked me
with his bayonet, and asked if I had not a tongue in
my head. Then, wild with rage and pain, I cried out,
" I will tell you nothing! Go to Lexington, where you
killed our people, and ask them, you cruel cowards! "
I fully expected to be made a martyr of on the
spot, but most of the soldiers only laughed at this
outburst, and one of them said,-
The young cock crows well."
The obstinate little beast I will make him sing
to another tune," swore my tormentor, but his com-
rades bade him desist.
"'Tis a brave lad," said the old sergeant, and de-
serves to serve the King. Pity thou art a rebel; but
thou must go with us, willy-nilly. Loose him, Dick, and
let him be. Only see that he does not give us the slip."
So I found myself a prisoner, to my no small
dismay, when I came to reflect on my position. While
two or three of the men prowled about the orchard
reconnoitring, but apparently without suspecting that
there was a house so close at hand behind the trees,
.another of them took me to the spring and helped me


to wash my face, making a great many jokes on the
figure I cut. He was a good-natured fellow, but he
gave me to understand, in the most friendly manner
in the world, that he would shoot me if I tried to run
away again.
It was useless for me to declare that I myself was a
stranger in the place, and could not guide them even
if I would. They believed I was lying, and clearly
intended that I should accompany them wherever
they went. They did not seem inclined to ill-use me,
but my former tormentor took a great deal of trouble
to threaten me with terrible things, if I were found
playing them false. He could not frighten me, how-
ever; my blood was up now. I sullenly gave in to
them, but resolved that it would not be my fault if I
led them into anything but mischief.
The fact was that they were in far greater danger
than myself, and they knew it. As I gathered from
their talk, this was a party that had been cut off by
an incident natural to this irregular kind of fighting,
and, trying to get back to the main body, had lost
themselves and been obliged to skulk in the neigh-
bourhood, desperately afraid of being discovered by
the enemy, and sadly at a loss how to rejoin their
comrades without cutting their way through over-