The Liberty Boys and the Black Horseman, or, Defeating a dangerous foe


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The Liberty Boys and the Black Horseman, or, Defeating a dangerous foe

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The Liberty Boys and the Black Horseman, or, Defeating a dangerous foe
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Liberty Boys of "76"
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Moore, Harry
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New York
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Frank Tousey
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English
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1 online resource (28 p.) 28 cm.: ;

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Dime novels. ( lcsh )
History -- United States -- Revolution, 1775-1783 ( lcsh )
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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L20-00279 ( USFLDC DOI )
l20.279 ( USFLDC Handle )

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FRANK TOUSEY, PUBLISllER, 168 WEST 23D STREET, NiW YORK No. 1085 NEW YORK, OCTOBER 14, 1921. Price 7 Cents Suddenly there came a pounding of horses' hoofs, and a masked horseman came 1lying over the fence, with a sword in his hand. The -three L iberty Boys recoiled from around the fire. "It's the Black Horseman!" cried Dick, as he scrambled to his feet. --\ I \ • / _

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The Liberty Iaaed Weekly-Subscription prlce, $3.llO per :rear; Canada, $4.00; Foreign, $4.llO. Frank Tousey, Publisher, 1U Weet 23d Street. New York, N . Y. Entered aa Second-Class Mntter January 31, 1913, at the PoatOffice at N e w York, N. Y .. under the Act of March 3, 187 9 . No . 108 5 NEW YORK, O CTOBER .JJ, 1921. Price 7 Cents. The Liberty Boys Black Horseman OR, DEFEATING A DANGEROUS FOE By HAR RY MOO R E CHAPTER I.-A Brave Young Virginian. "Here, you young rebel, get us something for our horses and tell the people of the house to get dinne r ready, and i n a hurry, too, for we are hungry and have no time to waste." It was a British officer who made this demand of a boy chopping wood near a neat house standing by the roadside, one pleasant sum!Der day at about noon . There was a party of six redcoats led by a sergeant, who made a demand u pon the boy chopping wood, apparently thinking that the latter w<>uld not dare refuse. The boy paused in his work, and, looking u p, said carelessly : " I don't happen to be a reb e l , Mx. Redcoat, and i f I was I w oul-0 not do what you asked till you learned better manners." T h e sergeant seemed somewhat asto nished, and said, as if in explanation for h is rudeness: . "You are not a rebel ? Why, I thought a ll Vir ginians were rebel s, like y<>ur Mr. Washington. " "Oh, y o u did? Well , that sho w s your ignorance. I don't know whom yo u mea n by Mr. Wash ington. Is i t possi ble that yo u mean General Washington?" "Pshaw! y<>u r ebels . have no generals!" with a contemptuous tone. " I t old y<>u I was not a rebel. There's no one at home but-your manners need improving, so g o t o the ale-house down the road, to which you are accustomed, and get what you want." " Well , then, get some provender for our horses, and be quick about it. I thought you were a rebel for everybody about here is, and trouble en-0ugh they make for us, too." "You will get nothing here," said the boy in a determined t<>ne. "'If the patriots make trouble for you it is no more than you deserve, coming over here and trying to put everybody under y ou r thumb's . Why don't you stay at home in the picayune little island where you belong, and not c ome poking yt call : ing u s reb e l s ? Why, y ou imp e r tinen t r e dcoat, I don't believe y-0u know w hat the w a r i s a ll a b o u t , and that you a11e just figh t i n g b ecause you are told to, without givin g t h e thing a thought. You ' won't find us ' rebels,' as y ou call us, doing th rt" • "H'm! y<>u are a rebel, just as I supposed," with a snort. "Well, my man, since the young rebel won't give us what we want, we must help ourselves, so get to work." The boy sprang in front of the gate, axe in han d, as the redcoats dismounted and started for the barn, and called o ut: "Hallo! Jim, Pete, Joe, Georg-e come here, y<>u lazy black rascal l The redcoats are going to run off with you ! " Then, as three or four blacks came from the barn and from the kitchen behind the house the boy raised his axe t hreateningly, and said: ' "Keep off, y ou purl<>ining redc<>ats ! I 'll split; the first of you that tries t o get through this gate from head to h eels ! " Then one <>f the men tried t o leap the fence instead of g-0ing through t h e gate, when the boy caught him by the heels, and the attempt was a rank failure, the redcoat landing <>n his head in a l<>t <>f bushes on the very side that he started from. The sergeant, scf'iWJe he boy was likely , to get the better of ttre I unless stringent meas were taken, now cirled his meq sharply anl s, aim ing them at the sergeant's head. "If you give that order, you give it to me as well as to your men! " he said in a clear tone. T h e sergeant turned pale, and muttered: " J ove! I know that horse. Fire upon the rebel, men. That is Dick Slater, the captain of the Lib erty Boys. There is not another black horse like that in all the C
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• l J J r. ' I ;J ' '' J I j I l f 2 THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN !Dick tossed them each a pistol, seeming to have an unlimited supply of them, for in a moment he had two more aimed at the sergeant. The n the other two negroes came up, armed with pitch forks, and the sergeant suddenly found himself in a mo s t embarrassing position. Two young girls about fifteen years old, and looking exactly alike, came running
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THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN 3 reckon that will be a bit large. won't it, captain?" with a laugh. "Something, brttl I 'thlnk I' can fix ft. I won't take the entire suit. Let me 'have what you can spare and I will arrange it all right." The planter then took Dick into the house and left him in the parlor chamber, and then went out again. There were none of the Liberty Boys in sight now, Tom being engaged splitting wood as he had been when the redcoats first came up. There were more of the redcoats this time, and Tom recognized the .sergeant, the latter getting down as the party halted. "There is the young rebel who threatened us with an axe," the man said, pointing at the boy. "They are all rebels, and you will probably find rebels in the house, the same ones that the boy called to his aid." Tom suddenly whipped out the t\vo pistols Dick had given him, and said in a voice of great determination: "Call off your men or I will shoot you! We Virginians know how to shoot as well as you do, and maybe a little better. Boys!" The two black boys came forward, and in a moment were aiming at the lieutenant. The latter did not expect any such resistance, having a 'very poor opinion of "rebels," and he turned pale. "You'd better .go," said the planter. "Tom is a determined young fellow, and if he says he'll do a thing he will. If anybody is hurt it won't be any fault of mine." At this Dick came out, looking so entirely unlike himself that the sergeant did not recognize him. He was attired in a long black coat,' and had his hair thickly ffoured and tied with a black bow behind, his face being lined to make him look like an old man. "Men of war," he said, "why do you disturb the peace of this quiet household? Why do you talk of ...:;hooting and searching? Go away, lest the wrath of the people fall upon you." "There are rebels concealed in the house, Dick Slater among them, and we intend to have them out if we kill every one here!" ejaculated the lieutenant angrily. "And if you come on or order your men to do so I will shoot you dead!" replied Tom. "If I am shot myself-the next moment." "Dick.Slater is not in the house," observed Dick quietly. "Neither are any rebels in the house. If you wish to enter, a few of you, and look about, you may do so." Tom :rruman was quick-witted, and he guessed in a tnoment what Dick's plan was. The redcoats were to be admitted, and at once seized and dis armed. The lieutenant suspected something of the kind, however, and said with a snarl: "Let everyone come out of the house, and then we will enter it. You treachery, but you won't succeed. This resistance will not avail you, for I intend to have the rebel out and to punish you for your defiance of the king and the laws." Then . the officer quickly withdrew his men and ordered them to fire. "Hurrah! there is Mark, with a score and more of the boys!" shouted Bob. "Let them have it, boys!" "Charge on them " cried Dick. "Corner the raiders if we can." t .... The lieutenant realized his danger, and was not obstinate enough to remain and face such odds, knowing that they would all be cap tured if not shot down. He had learned the temper of the Liberty Boys and of the Virginians as well before now, and was wise enough to get away while there was time. When he thought that he had a superi9r force he was quite willing to do all the damage he could, but now that the tables were turned he was not so stubborn as to remain. He quickly withdrew, therefore, and in good time, too, for the dashing second lieutenant of the Liberty Boys came sweeping down upon him so fiercely that a few minutes'-more delay would have meant the capture of the entire troop. Mark and his gallant boys fired a rattling volley, which had its effect a s a number of redcoats were seen to -waver in their saddles, and two or three fell to the road and lay still. "Take some of the boys and go the way the redcoats came, Bob. I will return to the camp," said Dick. The greater part of the boys went with Bob, some going with Dick .setting off for the camp alone. "If the redcoats come in any numbers," he said to himself, "we will have to get word to the general so as to stop their march. I shall know by the time Bob comes back about how many there are." !Dick was .riding on at a good speed, suddenly a man all in black and with a black mask on his face, and riding a black horse, came dash. ing out of a clump of bushes at the side of the road and cried: "Surrender, you miserable rebel!" "Not just now!" retorted Dick, dashing ahead, not knowing how many might be with the stra1.ge man. "Sun-ender or I fire!" hissed the man, coming on after Dick at a gallop. Dick had recovered all his pistols, and turning, with a brace of them in his hands, he re-plied: "Flre away, my man, if you think best!" Then, seeing that the stranger was determined to overtake him, tbj.'filYOUlJJ: patriot captain resolved to show hinf'"7:)'f what Major, his black Arabian, could do. There was not a horse in all the country -thereabouts that could distance the magnificent animal, and Dick had never seen his equal, although it was quite possible that he ex isted. Without using either whip or spur, or speaking in other than an ordinary tone, Dick urged the noble creature forward, and away he went like the wind, gaining on the other home by lengths. "Beware of the black horseman, you rebel!" the stranger shouted, in a high, far-reaching voice. Dick turned again, and, aiming both pistols, le plied in as clear a tone: "Beware of me, then, black horseman, for if I chose there would be nothing of you to beware of." Dick went on at the same tremendous pace, s oon turning a bend in the road, and leaving the mysterious horseman behind. He thought no more of the black horseman, but rode on to the camp and had his dinner served to him in his tent by a jolly looking, rosy-cheeked Irish boy, the company cook,

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LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK and one of providers otfn f0i; .the :who ,le •eamp. "' , , . . , . "And what happened the rest of the boys at all, captain dear?" asked Patsy Brannigan. "Oh, they are out scouting, Patsy, and I don't know when they will return. We had a little brush with some redcoats, and they are now look ifg for the enemy's camp." CHAPTER III.-The Mysterious Rider Again. The boys went to their tents, the guards were set, the fires burned low, and before long all was quiet in the camp. One of the boys had brought in the informa tion that th. e British were advancing. In the morning Dick set out for. Lafayette's camp to inform the young French general of the appearance of the enemy, it being just possible that his scouts had not informed him of the fact. Dick Slater was a famous scout and spy as well as the captain of the Liberty Boys, and he had been on many a secret mission of great. importance for General Washington and other commanders, always giving the utmost satisfaction. After he should have returned from the French general's camp, he intended to go over to the camp of the enemy in disguise and learn all he could Setting out upon Major soon after breakfast, he rode at a god pace and made rapid progress, seeing nothing to alarm him, and meeting few persons on his way, as it wa& still early. Those he did meet greeted him heartily, for he was well known in the district, and thoroughly liked . There was one exception, for, as he was riding along, being then not more than half a mile from Lafayette's camp, he met two men on horseback at a point where the road was narrow and very bad, the middle being the only place where the travel was any way decent. There was room for Dick if one of the men hung back, but both refused to do t!hls, and one of them said with a growl: "Turn out, you sneaking rebe\, arl'd let gentlemen pass, or we will ride you down!" "Where are the asked Dick quietly, reining his horse. "I do not see any gentlemen. I see nothing but a couple of in solent Tories." "Do you mean to insinuate that a Tory is not a gentleman, you impertinent rebel?" growled the ether. "Not at all. He may be one, of course, but neither of you individuals can lay claim to the title. If one of you will step back of the other there will be room for me to go by, and I a s k you to do so, if you please." , " Well, we don't please to do anything of the sort. The ditch is good enough for rebe l s , and that's where you will find yourself if you don't turn out." Then as if by a preconcerted plan, the two men su
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THE BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN That this was a signal to some one Dick had no doubt at the next moment, when four or five rough-looking men came flying out of the thicket, and at the same time a number came from the t avern, some around the side of the hous e and i:;ome from the place itself. The latter were on foot, the others on horseback, and Dick saw in a moment that it was the intention of all of them to stop him. Among the men riding he recogni zed the t w o Tories he had had the altercation with, and he guessed at onc e that they had concocted the plot agains t . him. Whether they knew of his visit to Lafl!yette's camp or not he could not tell, but it was certainly sure that they meant to detain him. He dashed at once into the crowd of men that had come out of the bushes, overturning them in a moment and scattering them right and left. It might not b e s o eas y to get rid of the rest, but D ic k meant to w aste no time nor ceremony u pon them, and he dashed ahead, suddenly seizing t h e pi s tol s from his holsters and firing at the c rowd on horsebac k, having more to fear from these tha n from those on foot. He had no desire to injure any of the men, but he wi s hed to confus e them, and this he did to a considerable degree. The Tories he had met were in the lead, and he shot off the h a t s of these, causing them to r ein in so suddenly that they threw the others in confu sio n, and caused two or three to be un• seated. The crowd on foot became panicstricken, and fell back in has t e , falling over each othain their hurry to get b a ck to the tavern. There was not one of them who did not think, apparently, that he was going to be made a mark for a pistol at the next mom ent, and they all fled in the greatest haste. The confu s ion among the men on horseback enabled Dick to get past them without trouble, and there was nothing to be feared from the men on foQt after the two shots he had fired. He went on with a rush, passed the tavern, turned the bend in the road, and quickly lost sight of the inn and of the crowd that had come from it. "That black horseman is a very odd sort of per son," he muttered a s he went on, "and he is evidently determmed to make all the trouble he can. If we get hold of him once, he will make no more, but the difficulty is that he appears at such unexpected moments and without the slightest warning. W e ll, the pitcher that goes too often to the well gets broken at last, and this will probably be hi s case." He kept on at good speed, and finally reached the camp without further adventure, the boys receiving him with a cclaim, and wishing to 'know all that had happened. It was a common saying among the L i b e1'ty Boy s that Dick Slater nev e r left the c amp without meeting with some adventure, a nd they w ere always ready to hea r some inte resting story upon h i s return. "Well, what happened this t i me, captain?" a sked Mark, whe n Dick rode in and di smounted. "Se v eral things, " with a smile, " and I'll tell you about them while I put on a disgui s e in which to make m y way into the enemy's camp." T h e boys were all greatly interes t ed , but Bob sputtered: • "That f e llo w will come around once too often o ne o f thes e days . He i s a Britis h s pY, and this of going all in black and coming out at unexpected moments is all for show . It may frightl'!n some, but it can't scare us, and the thing he knows he will get a shot that will brinir him down and the cat will be out of the bag." Dick did not take Major to go to the camp, aa the noble animal was too well known to the ene my, as his adventure of the day before showe& plainly. Reaching the cottage where Tom Tru man lived, he saw the young Virginian hoeing ill the garden, the two girls being seen at work in the house, their mother. superintending them. Dick looked like an ordinary country boy in hi:t suit of gray homespun, blue woolen hose and round hat, as he came jogging along, and Tom had no idea who he was when he .looked up and said pleasantly:_ "Good-morning. Stranger in these parts, aren't you?" "Well, I donno," with a drawl. "I lrnow Tom Truman." Tom looked greatly surprised, and answered: "Well, I don't know you, then, and you've got me for fair. Who are you, anyhow? u . "Have the redcoats got into any more trouble since last night, Tom?" asked Dick, in his natural tones . . Tom looked around to see where Dick was, recognizing his voice, and then colored when Dick laughed. "Well, I vow, captain, I would never have krwwn you!" he declared, "and I saw you in dis guis e yesterday, too." "Heard any more from the redcoats, Tom?" "No, nothing special. They're there yet, but they haven't made any forward move. Goini' down there?" "Yes, I thought I would. You have not seen a man on a black a black mask, go by?" ..., . 'No, I have not. What does he want to wear a mask for?" "I don't know, but such is his habit. He calla himself the black horseman. He is a spy of the British, so if you see him, be careful what you say or do." "All right, captain," and then Di c k rode on.. while Tom resumed his hoeing. CHAPTER IV.-Exciting Tim e s . Dick rode on at a fairly good speed, althougl the horse he rode was no match for Major, and at las t he came in sight of the Britis h camp, and saw the royal ensign flying over a large tent i n fr.& center. "Cornwallis himself mus t be there, " he murmured. "l'his mus t mean something. The e nemy . expect to march on, no doubt. If Lafayette ha.S not sent out any scouts I shall have to send h\m word." He had passed one or two p ic k e t s without quez.. tion, the guar d s t aking him for a sim pl e c ountry bo y , and was nearing the camp, when the b lack horseman came d ashin g su ddenl y past him, in g : "There i s Dick Slater, the rebe l s p y ! Selze him!"

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6 THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK Hn"R.SEMAN The strange man disappeared in a moment, but am a patriot and an officer in the Continental now redcoats came running from this quarti:r and army, but I am no rebel." that, and the young patriot was surrounded in a "You are a rebel!" sputtered the lieutenant, short time. "and you will be hanged as a spy. Lord Corn'1Where is Dick Slater, the rebel?" asked one. wallis has giv .en orders to that effect." "I hain't seen him," with a drawl and a look of "Lord Corn\\q\llis has not seen me," said Dick great simplicity. shortly. "I was not taken in your camp. You had Then the sergeant of the day before appeared, better let Cornwallis see me, and give his own or-looked criticaly at Dick, and said: ders." "By George! I believe you are the rebel your"You are a spy," snarled the other, "and self. Seize him!" whether you were taken in the camp or not, there "I ain't no rebel; I'm jus't a Virginia boy. What are standing orders to hang all spies, wherever you want to catch me fur?" taken." "Are you not Dick Slater, the rebel?" ' Dick said nothing, and was led away on foot. "I donno as I am." having been disarmed and his horse taken away. Then the lieutenant came tip, and the sergeant Cornwallis did see him a few minutes later, recog-said to the men surrounding Dick: nized him, and said: • "Search'the bumpkin. If he is the rebel spy he "Yes, that is Dick Slater, a most dangerous will have paper on him. Search him.!' spy. He wiU be hange
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THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN 7 Quick as a flash Dick cut a slit in the back of his tent, wrapped a blanket around him, slipped out, and stole away. He passed a dozen men, but kept the tents between them and himself, a:id none saw him skulking along. The boy presently turned into another camp street, entered a cent where a redcoat lay asleep with his uniform thrown across the pallet, picked up the coat, put it and a cocked hat on, and hurried away down o n e street and into another, and finally reached the edge of the camp, where there were some tethered. "Too bad about Peters," he said to the soldier gua r cl:n g them, and slipping the tether of one o f the horses . "Horse stepped on his foot. The ,;o ctor i s off at the Rose and Crown; something got to be done about it at once, or mortifica tion is sure to set in." Then Dick jumped upon the hors e ' s back and off toward the road, past the guard. 'Oh, whats the password?" he called back, reining in for an instant. It was all done in the most natural manner possib le , and the redcoat sentry never suspected Dick for a moment. "Cornwallis," he answered, and Dick went on and reached the guard at the road. "Cornwallis going for a doctor; Peter's foot in bad shape' from a horse stepping on it," he said, all in a breath. "Pass," said the sentry, and Dick rode out upon the road and took his way toward his own camp at a gallop. He was no more than out of sight of the other camp when off went his scarlet coat and his cocked hat, both being thrown into the thicket. A quarter of a mile farther on the black horseman suddenly appeared in front of him and yelled: . "Surrender, y ou rebel! That was very clever, but you can't escape me, for you are unarmed." "Am I?" flashed Dick, grabbing at the pistols in the holsters, which the other had evidently not noticed. Dick had taken a horse already saddled and provided with a holster. The instant that the black horseman saw the pistol in Dick's hand, he wheeled his horse like a flash and swept around a turn in the road like a whirlwind. Crack! Dick fired a shot which went through the man's black cloak but did not seem to do him any harm. After the mysterious horseman rode the young patriot, but .when he had rounded the tu'rn he saw nothing of the fellow, although there was a straight stretch of a quarter of a mile ahead of him. Dick rode on at a tremendous rate, and presently saw a break in the bushes where the black horseman had left the road. "He is waiting there for me to fire a shot as I go by," thought the young captain, as quick as a fl.ash. Then he leaned far over on the opposite side, holding on by not more than a heel and lying along the horse's neck as he1 dashed on a t full gallop. There was a report, and then whistling of a bullet over Dick's head a s he went flying past the break in the thicket. Dick had a pistol in his left hand, and he now fired a shot at the point where he saw a puff of smoke. Then he went on like a flash of lightning, and sat up in his saddl as he looked back. He saw no one and heard no sound, but he fired his last shot, and it would be dangerous to go back and see what effect it had had. "I may have hit him," he muttered, as he rode on, "but at any rate he did not hit me, and I am safe, even if I did not learn anything of the enemy's intentions." The mysterious black horseman had interfered with his project as he had done once before and Dick was no better off than when he had entered the camp of the redcoats. "At all events, the fellow knows that he has a determined enemy to deal with,'' he muttered "and that may make him more cautious in the ture, for not one of u s will now hesitate to fire upon him at sight after this." Dick heard no sound of pursuit, but rode on at a gallop till he came to Tom Truman's when he alighted, dismounted; and said ' "Give me a load for these two pistols, Tom. I haven't a single charge left in them." "Why, captain, you are without coat or hat, and that is not the beast you went away with. I reckon you have had an adventure." "I reckon I h ave!" laughed Dick. "Two or three of them, in fact." CHAPTER V.-A Startling Interruptiqn. Mr. Truman was at home, and he now came out and gave Dick some ammunition, and while the young captain loaded the pistols he related his adventures at the camp of the redcoats. "My sakes, you did have a time of it!" exclaimed Tom. "So the fellow yt>u told me about bobbed up again, did he? He must be a ghost!" "He may be, by this time, Tom," grimly. "He certainly is if that last shot of mine took ef fect." "The man is a dangerous foe," declared Truman. "I don't know of a man answering to his description around here. He is persistent, and has plentv of nerve.I' "He w1Jl need it • ....\;f he gets the Liberty Boys after him," with -U( l:'.,ermination. "If he interferes with our plans any more he will find himself in trouble." "I reckon h e will. The man is a spy, no doubt, and you've got a rig-ht to shoot him on sight, now that yotLknow what he is." "The rascal moves with the rapidity of a fl.ash of lightning,'' Dick rejoined, "and is quick-witted as well. As soon as he saw I was armed, he was off like the wind." "I reckon you're as quick as he is, captain," with a grunt. "He didn't hit y.ou from his hid ing place in the bushes." "One has to be quick in our line of work," briefly. "If we were not, we v1ould not last long." "There are more of the redcoats than there were at first,'' Dick observed, "and I think their intentions are to march against Lafayette, but I have no idea when they mean to do so, as this black horseman prevente d my learn_ing anything." "That's too plumb bad! How d-0 you suppose he knew you? Torn did not, and he's seen you as many times as this chap has, I reckon." "I don't know. I deceived others, but this. Wll terious fellow appears to divine .thing& , at a

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,, 8 THE LIBERTY'BO YS AND THE BLACK H O RSEMAN glance . B:ow he gets across country so fast puz zles me, also. I am a pretty good rider myself, but the way he gets about is astonishing. " "I reckon some of the folks hereabouts would say he had the help of the evil one," said Tru-man. "Yes, but I don't believe s uch tales. The man i s clever, there is no denying." "Yes, so he is, and wicked, too." . "Where is the Rose and Crown tavern?" Dick asked. \ "Below whe r e the redcoats have their camp. Mostly Tories go to it." "I did not know. I heard them talk about it, and so I used the name. No one seemed to ques tion the truth of my statement that the doctor wa s there. " "That was one of the coolest pieces of work I ev e r heard of, getting out of the back of the tent, and then hurrying away for the doctor. " "It was the daririg of the thing that insured its s uccess," with a smile. "If it had not ,been the mo s t natural thing in the world, I should have lbeen stopped b'Y' the outposts." "And not one noticed that you were in a misfit uniform?" "The men w ere dressed all sorts of ways , and I was no strang er-looking than the rest. It was the natural part of the affair that made it go through ." Having rested and refres hed himself and given the horse something to eat and drink and a rubdown, Dick set out for the camp, which he reacJ:ied before the boys had 'begun to worry over hi s ab sen ce. " Hallo! that is not the horse you took awa y with you , " declared Mark, who was quick to se e things , "and you have neither hat no1 coat. " "No, I left them b e hind," quietly, as he dis mounted. "It was rather warm. " "I guess you had a w arm time getting away," with a laugh. "Isn't t h a t what you me an?" "Yes , r ather, but I did . " The boys were interes t e d i n the story of Dick ' s e xploit s , and indignant at ''ff. black horseman for having prevente d h im frorfel earning what he harseman, you rebels!" hiss ed the man, as he went dashing on. Neither Ben nor Sam had his musket at hand at the nwment, but Dick whipped out a ,brace of pistol s a nd fired . One bullet whistled thr'1gh the edge of the black oloak worn l:>y the mysterious rider, and an<>ther cartie
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I THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN 9 "If that mysterious horseman was not so fond of making a display of himself," muttered Dick, "he could have had the redcoats down upon us almost before we knew it, but he has to put in an appearance with theatrical effects always, which really goes far to defeat his own The boys fell lback, but not far, holding the road so as to give Bob time to break camp and get the boys away. On came the redcoats at length, but the Liberty, Boys-.rere in advantageous position in the road, and meant to hold it as long as they could, possibly until Bob sent back word that the boys were on their march toward Lafayette's camp. The redcoats tried to execute a flank movement, and surround the plucky iboys, but there were hills to climb to do this, and they exposed themselves to the :fire of Bob's scouts, all of his boys not being occupied in !breaking camp. See irig a number of the boys emerging from the woods and opening fire upon them, and seeing still others at the camp, the redcoats got an idea that there were many more of the Liberty Boys than was actually the case, and were cautious about advancing. Bob hurled his scouts upon them, the boys flitting from tree to tree at every shot, and so giving the impression that there was a wood of the brave fellows. Dick heard the :firing and presently fell back, meeting Jack Warren on the road with the word that Bob was ready to in case it was necessary. "Yes, it is, Jack," declared Dick. "There is a large force of the enemy, larger than you saw, and I think larger than was there yesterday." "Then we will have to get out of the way for a fact!" muttered Jack. ' Dick and his detachment :fired a volley upon the party sent to execute a flank movement and caused them to retreat in confusion, thinking that the entire force of Liberty Boys was after them. Then Dick hurried on, and soon joined the main troop on the march. . "There is a road to the east of the Truman house," Dick said to Bob, "with a bridge over a creek. I think we will take that." "So as not to put the Trumans in danger?" Bob returned. "Yes, and partly because we can get an advantage over the enemy which we cannot get if we take the other road." "What is that, Dick?" "By cutting the !bridge we delay them. The stream is not wide, of itself, but is bordered by swampy ground, by thick woods, and by heavy tangles of brush and briar, through which it would be difficult to make one's way." "Oh, I see," laughed Bob. "And there is no such place on the other road?" "No, there is not." The boys went on at a gallop, and presently struck into the road Dick meant to take. Very few of the boys lrnew why this road was taken in preference to the other, but they asked no questions, going where they were told and taking it for grante'd that it was all right. Nearing the bridge that he had mentioned, Dick held back a number of boys with axes, sending on the others as fast as they could go. Bob led the advance, Mark had the rearguard, and Dick took charge of the axemen1 setting them to work as soon as they reachea the bridge. They set to work cutting it away at both ends, those nearest the enemy falling back as the structure became weakened, so that they might not be caught on the wrong side. They were worki.llg away vigorously, when Dick caught the clatter q1' hqofs some time before the rest of the bovs heard it. "Get o\.er, boys!" he said. "Keep right at work, but some of you might pile brush on the farther side and set fire to it. The wind is away from us." Some of the boys immediately began to get great piles of brush and heaped it up right across the eljld of the and higher than their heads. They set this on fire, and 1etreated as the smoke and flame began to pour forth. At length they all heard the sound of the enemy coming on, and set to work more vigorously than ever. The fire on the bridge would hold back the enemy, and would at the same time help in the destruction of the bridge. The enemy presently came in sight, and the boys plied their axes more energetically, the structure so on beginning to tremble. On came the. redcoats with a shout, hoping to catch up with the brave boys and make their work futile. Dick ordered all the boys off, and none too soon, either, for in a few moments the bridge began to tremble, and at last gave way on the side nearest to the boys. The other hung for a time, but it was piled high with burning ibrush which presented an impassable dbstacle to the enemy. Then the boys mounted their horses and rode away, and in a few moments they beard the crftsh of the falling bridge. It would be some time before the iedcoat.s could build another, and as long before they could get around and cross the stream below, and the boys hurried on so as to keep the advantage they had gained. "Our black horseman won't be able to leap that gap very eas ily," muttered Dick, "and if he is on our side of the stream he stands a good chance of being captured if we come across him." "We can't have him riding about the country, breaking in upon us at odd times , interfering with• our plans and bringing the enemy down upon us," dedared Ben. "We have got to capture the fellow, and stop his making trouble." ""He could have had the enem y down upon us this morning if h e had not wanted to m ake a show of himsel f , tiyingto frighten us with his bugaboo ways," put in Sam. "That is what I thotight myself," replied Dick, "and I do not think the man is quite right in his head, or he would not do such thmgs. He is a dangerous foe, for a!! that, and we must try and get rid of him as soon as we can." , On went the boys, a bend in the road quickly hiding them from the sight of the enemy. "This will give us a chance to reach Lafayette and prepare him for the enemy," s aid Dick to himself, as they went on at a gal1(lp. "He may choose to have a brush with them, do all the damage he can, and then get away. He win not engage Cornwallis in open fight just now, but he will be able to do a lot of mischief the other way and he has just the spirit for that." Dick at length caugh t up with the main troop, and then "'ent on less rapidly till they

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J \" : r 1 • f t ', 1 J ! 1 '' 1 • \ 1 ; I l ! 10 THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN reached the camp of the young French general. Lafayette had heard that the enemy were advancing, but did not know that they were so near, and decided to push on toward the Anna R iver, where he thought he might meet either wayne or Steuben or perhaps both. "We may be able to have a brus h with these fellows, and get the best of them, general," said Dick. "With a larger force we shall be able to do better than with the Liberty Boys a'\one." "There may be an opportunity for an encounter with them and to our advantage, captain," replied t.he general. Toward noon they halted for a short rest, and Dick rode ahead Gn Major to look over the country and to look for some good place where they could meet the enemy and have the advantage. Riding on at a brisk rate, he came at length to a ford of the river, and began to look about him. A ltttle cabservation showed him that it was just the place to meet the enemy, the fo:rd itself being narrow, with quite deep water on each side, above and below. "This is .a fine place for an ambush," he declared. "A comparatively small force can hold the enemy at bay, and do a lot of damage b esides . It was indeed fortunate that I found this place." The enemy might not come on at once, but at any rate it is better to be on the other side of the ford in case of a s udd e n surprise, and Dick now rode back to acquaint Lafayette with the discovery he had made. The general agreed with him that the ford was a good place at which to meet the enemy, and the entire force moved on without delay and crossed over. When they were in camp on the other side, a considerable number of the Liberty Boys remaining n ea r to watch it, Dick took about a score and rode leisurely back upon the road they had taken. At length, having passed their temporary camp, Dick halted and listened intently. For a time he heard nothing, but at last he sai.d to Mark, who was with him: "They are comiing. They have lost no time, it seems. They think that they are sure of catching us as well as Lafayette, and they are coming on with all speed." "When they see us they will think that they are sure of their prey, no doubt," Mark replied. "Yes, and that is what I want them to think," shortly. The boys waited in the road till the sound of the oncoming enemy was quite distinct, and then turned and went on slowly as if worn out. At las t they seemed to suddenly espy the redcoats, and went ahead at a gallop. . The British set up a shout, for they thought they had come upon the main body of the Liberty Boys and meant to capture them. The boys were not as exhausted as they seemed, and led the redcoats a pretty chase, keeping straight on toward the ford. CO'!"nwallis swept through the site of the abandoned camp, considering that it had been given up in a hurry, and that he was right up on the hee'ls of the "boy," as he slightingly called Lafayette. Dick and his gallant boys , Jed them a good chase, laughing at the trick they would play upon them in a short time. . On came the redcoats in full force, never doubting that they would soon catch Ull with Lafayette and either capture him or administer a defeat from which he would not soon recover. Reaching the ford purposely not far in advance of the enemy, the boys crossed over in great haste. The enemy p roceeded to follow, but could not send a large force across at a time on account of its narrowness. All at once while they were in mid stream, a much larger force of the Liberty Boys than they had before seen suddenly appeared and opened fire. Then still others appeared, many o1 them riding into the stream and pouring a steady fire upon them. Then the plucky fellows spread themselves along shore, and poured a hot cross-fire upon the too-confident redcoats, making many a break in their ranks. Dick led the detachment in the water, and was a 1Jrominent figure, encouraging the boys by voice and act, and cheering them on by force of example. It was not going to be such an easy matter to gobble up the Liberty Boys as the enemy had supposed, and they saw that it be still more difficult when the daring lads were reinforced by a considerable force sent by Lafayette. Cornwallis persisted in trying to get over, but at length when a number of his men had been caught in the swift current of the deeper water, and were swept away, and he saw the gaps that the determined b-Oys were making in his ranks, he seemed to think that discretion was the better part of valor, and fell back. "Not s o eas y, after all, was it, my lord?" laughed Ilob, and the boys gave a cheer. CHAP'fER VIL-The Strange Rider Again. The Liberty Boys made their camp near the ford so as to keep a watch upon the enemy, Lafayette being we ll back from it, but ready to come up if he were needed. "They may try to get over somewhere above or below so as to get behind us,'' said Dick, "and we must keep a watch upon them. Cornwallis is a good general, and we must remember him." "Others have gotten the best of him, though," rejoined Bob, "and we might do it." "To be sure, but we must always remember that he is a man of ripe experience, and must not be over-confident." "No, of course not, but we generally g ive our enemies credit for all the ability they possess, and somet;mes for a little more, so that we will not make any mistakes." The camp was not right on the river bank, but some of the tents were in sight from the opposite shore, an arrangement which Dick had purposely made when he had located the camp. In case the boys wished to fall back for any reaso n , the camp could be left in apparently the same condition as it was at the beginning-, and the enemy would not suspect that any change had been made. It might be necessary for them to get away quietly, and, with this arrangement, it could be done without the redcoats knowing anything of it. After a time bick took Major and rode along the river, but not in sight of it, in order to see if the enemy were making any move, it being suspected that they might attempt to get around to the rear and cut off the boys' re-

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THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN treat. He was passing through a wood where the shadows were quite deep, the trees forming a complete arch above the nal'l'Ow bridle path, when the straJlge 'figure 'he 'had seen so often suddenly loomed up before him. The man's appearance was very sudden, for Dick had heard no sound of hoofs, and there was a straight road ahead of him for some distance. It seemed as if he were not there, and then, all of a sudden he was, without having come there, appearing on the instant, as it were, ln the place where Dick saw him. He was sitting motionless on his horse, like a figure carved in ebony, the horse being as motionless as his rider. Dick knew, of course, that something had intervened between him and the man until that moment, and that the deep shade had something to do with his not seeing him as well, but he was l ess somewhat startled at seeing him. For all that, he was not taken a'back, nor was he unprepared, for in an instant he had whipped out his oistols and had a bead drawn upon the mysterious rider. ' "You cannot frighten me with your theatrical display," he said, as he reined in quickly. "What is your business?" The man looked .fixedly at Dick as if he would . pierce the boy with his eyes, and said nothing for a few moments. Then he"suddenly uttered a shrill cry, which had great carrying power, and came dashing down like a whirlwind, as if to bear down the young patriot. Dick fired pointblank at him, but, as the report rang out the man was seen to suddenly swerve to one side, and in another instant he went dashing past so close to the boy that his .black cloak brushed the latter's face. Dick turned in the saddle, and, as quick as lightning, whipped out two pistols and fired again. Then in a moment the man was gone, and no sound of hoofs could be heard. "That js nothing!" muttered Dick. "The path is deep with moss and dead leaves right here, and I made no sound myself." Then he imitated the cry of a hawk, shrill and clear, which he felt sure that the boys would hear, and turned and listened. In a moment he heard the distant dull tramp of horses on the ground, and then caught the gleam of scarlet uniforms through, the trees, being as yet unseen by the newcomers, apparently. He waited a few moments to see if he could tell if it were simply a small reconnoitering party or a considera:ble detachment of the enemy. The path was somewhat wider farther on, and Dick saw three or four redcoats riding abreast, and behind them one or two other .files, there being perhaps a dozen of the enemy in all. "There is notliing much to be feared from them, if that is all there are," he said to himself. "The enemy cannot advance rapidly along this path, b u t there may be more to the noi;:th." The redcoats now halted. Then he heard someone corning up in the direction he was himself ;.:o ing, hearing a signal used by Bob' alone, in another moment. He repeated it, and then he saw )3ob and half a dozen of the Liberty Boys coming on. "Did you meet the black horseman?" he asked. "No; but I heard shots. What were they about?" "I fired at the ,spy, btit seemed to make no more impression than if I had fired in the air. That fellow possesses the most astonishing iity. He is here, there and everywhere, all m a m()ment." "Well he will be nowhere, one of these days, if he troubles us any more," grimly. "There are redcoats coming," said Dick. "Their leader brought them to a sudden halt." "I did not know that there were anywhere about." "Come on and we may meet them." The boys went ahead, and presently the redcoats caught sight of the little party and halted. "Surrender, you rebels!" demanded one, and Dick recognized the whom he h .ad met before. "Surrender yourselves," returned. "Com e on, Liberty Boys! Catch these fellows." Dick knew that the redcoats would fall back if there were no more behind .them, and this was what when the 'boys suddenly dasJ:\ed ahead. "They are merely: a scouting party," Dkk said to himself. • The boys rushed on, and the redcoats turned and fled in several directions, evidently thinking that there were many more of the daring young fellows. Dick did not pursue them to any distance, and he did not think that any but a strong party would venture in that direction. When he saw that the redcoats were in full flight he halted, and the boys then went back to the camp, seeing nothing of the mysterious black horseman who had so startled Dick iby his sudden appearance. Dick saw Lafayette and reported the appearance of the enemy on their side of the river, the general deciding to push on toward the north branch of the Anna River, in the hope of meet ing either Wayne or Steuben. In a short time the troops were in motion, the Liberty Boys following in half an hour, Bob taking command, as Dick and a dozen or so Femained behind to watch the enemy. The tents in view from the opposite side of the river were left up so as to deceive the enemy but it was Dick's idea that if some had crossed farther up o!Jtei-s might do so. He therefore sent Jack Warren to watch the upper ford, and to let him know at once if the enemy came over in any cpnsiderab1e numbers, he and his little party watching the enemy at the ford meanwhile. As their tents were in sight and they were still supposed to be in camp the boys showed themselves freely on the bank, Dick himself appearing now and then, as if there had been no change made. Jack Warren was a very trusty boy, and could be depended on to keep a strict watch and to report any dangerous condition of affairs without delay, having been chosen on account of the speed of his s leek mare as well as for his own abilities. Jack rode on toward the upper ford, and had come in sight of it when he heard some one coming through the wood on hotseback a little to one side of him. In a few moments the mysterious black horseman burst upon his gaze, coming on rapidly. He came into the p.ath a little ahead of Jack, and turned suddenly as if to fire at the boy. Jack was as quick as a flash

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12' 'THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN how ver, ahlt'. was , i o be tak 1 i' b , surprise. "So 'that's your game, is it, my man?" he mut, tered. "Well, two can p1ay at that game." Then he snatched a pistol from hi s hol sters, and fired at the mysterious horseman. There was a puff of smoke, a loud report, and then the man 'fell from his saddle into a clump of bushes close by, the hors e going oh. "Ha! 'that's the time we winged y ou!" muttered Jack. "I had an idea you would catch it one of these days." The;n J ack reined in, di smounted and advance d cautious ly, not knowing but that the man was merely pl aying a trick on him, and perhaps had not bee n hurt at all. He advanced cautious l y, keeping his eye on the man so as to detect any act of treachery on his part in an instant. He saw the black cloak and the bat the man wore, and then went on carefully, pistol in hand, the mare following close behind. As he neared the bushes into which the man had fallen ii s uddenl y occurred to him that the mysterious p e r sonag e took up very little space, .and then stepped forward quickly and saw that there was no man there at all, but only a cloak and hat. "Well, I am stumped!" he declared, and at that moment he saw the strange rider sud
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THE LIBERTY BOYS . AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN 13 ting ready to come over, and gave it as his opin ion that they were probably on the march at that time, although they had seen nothing of them since. They all pushed on for a time, and then the Liberty Boys halted while the troops went on for half an hour, when they made a temporary camp, the boys acting as a rear guard to keep watch upon the enemy. The weather was warm, and the redcoats, heavily accoutred, were unused to marching long distances in the heat and would doubtless rest even before the men they were pursuing. Dick had a temporary camp made, and set his pickets, placing a rear guard at some little distance behind to keep a watch upon the enemy. Before sunset he rode back over road they had come on in order to see if there were any signs of the redcoats. About a mile to the south of where the rearguard was posted was a tavern, standing at the junction orf two roads, and here Dick determined to stop to make inquiries, thinking that perhaps some one had come in since they had pass ed who would know about the enemy. Dismounting, Dick left Major at the roadside, and was entering the tavern when he heard some one in the taproom S{lY: • "If the redcoats are coming after the m rebels, Pete Ketchum will let 'em know which rnad to fast enough." "Yes but maybe they're farther back than what Pete thinks, and he will have to walk a good bit before he comes up with 'em,'' some one answered. "Maybe so; but Pete don ' t like rebels, and he'll take any amount of trouble to get the best on 'em." "So one of these Tories has gone to direct the redcoats, has he?" thought Dick. "And on foot, too. Then I can overtake him, n o doubt. It is too wann to walk fast, and he cannot have been gone so long." Then, without waiting to hear more, Dick left the entrance hall, leaped into the saddle, and rode on at a good pace." Riding on, he at length saw, from a bit of rising ground, a man plodding along the hot and dusty road, stopping now a.nd then to wipe the perspiration from his forehead, and at last sitting on a large stone at the roadside. "If he sees me, he will go into the woods, and I may not be able to catch him,'' thought Dick. He rode to the bottom of the hill without being observed, and then entered the wood, leaving Major behind a thick .clump of. bushes, and h!1r ried forward. Reaching a pomt nearly behmd the man on the stone, Dick heard him say to himself: "Huh! it's as hot as ever, an' I donno how far off the redcoats are, an' maybe they ain't comin' at all an' I only thought they was. Wish I'd asked' the rebels what they was runnin' away from, an' purtended to be a rebel myself. Then, if the redcoats wasn't comin' I wouldn't have had all this walk fur nothin'." Dick went on stealthily, passed tl'ie man, and came out upon the fellow, who had not moved from his place. "Hallo!" said the Tory, astonished at seeing Dick coming from that direction. "Where mought you be going'!" "Oh, along here a bit," Dick answered. "You have not seen any redcoats, have you?" "No, I hain't. Where's the rest o' you fellers goin'? You want to keep out o' the way of the ,redcoats. Do you expect 'em directly? I'll stay here and tell 'em you went the other way, if you do. I'm a rebel myself, an' I'll keep 'em from followin' you." If Dick had not already known that the maR was a Tory, he would have known it now, for no patriot ever called him self a rebel. "I think I'll take you with me," said Dick. "Come, get up, you have had a long enough res t." "Oh, I better stay here and send the redcoats on the wrong track,'' the m;i.n said, somewhat taken aback. "You don't know when they are coming,'' Dick replied. "Why, they're comin' on directly, aren't they? Didn't you say they was, captain?" "No, I did not say a word about them. I know what you are waiting for. You think the redcoats may be along soon, and you want to tell them which way we have gone. You are a Tory, and you'd like to sell us out to the British." The man looked greatly astonished, for he had no idea how Dick had discovered his purpose supposing no one knew it except the men at tavern. "No, I ain' t. I'm a good rebel, same as you and the other rebels,'' he protested. "Why," you blundering idiot, don't you know that no patriot calls himself a rebel?" Dick asked. "I overheard your plot at the tavern, and fol lowed you. Now you are going with me so that you cannot do any mischief• I don't know when the redcoats are coming, but I am not going to run any chances by letting you stay here and tell them which way we have' gone, so get up!" The command was enforced by the sudden whipping out of a pistol, and Pete Ketchum got up in great haste. • "You won't have to walk all the way" added Dick, as he started the fellow on. "I1 have a horse not far off. You don't have the honor of riding a horse like mine often, you Tories don't." Then Dick gave a peculiar call, and in a few moments Major was seen trotting down the road toward them. Dick quickly thrust his hands inside the Tory's coat, and saw that he had no pistol_s, man be;ing astonistied at the rapid way m which the thmg was done, having no idea what Dick was about until it was all over. "Get up there," said the young captain and Pete Ketchum got into the saddle, havin'g an idea that he could dash away with Major and leave the young patriot in the lurch. He reckoned without his ho s t here, as he had in the other matter, however, for he was scarcely in the before Dick was up behind him, and sendmg the noble creature aht:)ad at a gallop having control of the reins, much to Pete urn's astonishment. "You thought you'd get away from me, didn't you?" Dick laughed. "Oh, I know what you Tories are up t0, every time." Pete Ketchum was greatly astonished, for Dick had guessed hi s very thoughts. This was not so difficult a matter, ho wever, as it was the most natural thing for one to do under the circumstance, and just what Dick himself would have done. It seemed wonderful to man of slow wit

PAGE 15

, 14 THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN like Ketchum, however, that Dick should have fathomed his thoughts, and bis admiration for such a master mind greatly increased with every. moment. "I am not going back by the way of the tavern," Dick continued. "You would want to tell iehe men there to warn the redcoats. Now they think you have gone off for the redcoats, and they will not do any more about it, 11,ot even when the redcoatS come." "Waal, I vow!" grunted the Tory, realizing that Dick had read his thoughts again. Before reaching the tavern, Dick 'turned off into a little by-path which led in the direction he wi s hed to go, and would take him out of sight of. the tavern. Even if the path led quite aiway from the tavern he could easily ,get back to the other without being seen. Ketchum did not say any more, being convinced now that he was no match for Dick. They rode on past the tavern, and finally into the road beyond it, and so on to the point where the rear guard was stationed, the people in the tavern having no idea but that Pj!te Ketchum was still waiting for the redcoatt to come along. The boys were greatly surprised to s ee Dick come in with a stranger in the s addle, and knew at once that he had had some adventure. "This is Pete Ketchum," he said, as he made the man get down . "He has an idea that he is a very clever fellow, or at least he had that but I think he has somewhat gotten over it. You don ' t think you are half as smart as you did, do you, Pete?" "No, by durn, I
PAGE 16

THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN 15 He heard them coming at length, and uttered a shrill call which they well knew and whiah sent them flying on all the faster. Dick saw them coming at last and wheeled, crying in a loud, clear voice: "Now, then, Liberty Boys, give it to the red coats!" "Don't be afraid, there are only half a dozen of them!" cried the black horseman. "You can capture all of them." There were more of the boys than tlhat in the rearguard, and Bob had sent some to get instructions from Dick, and thes e had just a r r iv e d when the rest were setting out. T.he strang e rider soon discovered the mistake he had made, and rode off at a gallop, an example vvhic h the r e d coats were quickly forced to follow or be captured. Frnm pursuers they quickly became J?Urs ue (l, and many took to the woods to escape capture , the others dashing down tihe road at full s peed. Dick cared more about catching the black horseman than any one else, and when he saw that the man had disappeared, he abandoned the pursuit. "He will come prowling about our camp later," said Dick, "and then we must catch him. He cannot seem to keep away from us, and if we keep a sharp watch we will catch him before he knows it." The boys then rode back, going on as far as the camp of the main division, which had been moved forward some little distance. Dick remained with the rearguard, a number of rude shacks being put up for the accommodations of the boys, and a fire being lighted for their comfort, as it was cool in the evening. The fire was so sheltered that the light from it was not seen to any distance, and so would not attract the enemy. Among the boys comprising tlhe rearguard were Jack, Ben, the two Harrys, and Sam, and these were gathered about the fire when it grew late, Dick being in one of the shacks and the other boys being in theirs or asleep a little away from the fire. The moon shone brightly, but the boys .were in a little wood, where it was quite dark, but from which they could l ook out upon tihe road and see the enemy if they approached. "There is something strange about black horseman," muttered Jack. "You would think he would come up quietly and then get away so as not to be seen, but h e always comes out with a dash and a display like an actor. at a playhouse." "And some day he will be more than hissed from the stage," laughed Ben. "Yes; his comedy will grow tragic," declared Sam. "I don't think he i s right in his head myself. If he were, he would not act as he does." "I shouldn't wonder if he were an actor all the time," added Jack. "lle seems like one, and not like a sensible person." "Can't an actor be sensible?-" asked Ben. "Yes, of couMe; but a sensible person_ is not acting all the time, as this fellow seemes to be." The boys presently ceased talking, but kept a watch just the same, not knowing when an enemy might appear. It was quite late, and Dick was asleep, when he awoke without any apparent reason, and listened to see if there .. were any sound that might have aroused him, but heard nothing. Then he arose and looked out, being in the shadow and not visible to any -One in the camp. Pres-enily he heard a cautious footstep, so light that the boys at the fire were not aroused by it. He said nothing, but listened again, and heard the ster> a Recon d time, but now stealing quietly away instead of approaching the camp. Dick left the shack without making the slightest noise, keeping in the shadow s o as not to be observed, and mak ing his way back of the hut and along the edge of the wood. Listening intently, he heard the footsteps stealing away more rapidly than be fore, and followed t:hem noiselessly. He at length came to the edge of the wood, where the moon li ght was bright, and here he saw the strange rider, now on foot, making his way stealthily along on the edge of the road, turning hi s head to listen. Dick kept along the edge of the wood, with his eye on the mysterious strange r, but making not the slightest sound. He was in the shade and could see di stinctly wi t h o u t being s ee n, the moonlight falling full upo n the s py, but not upon himself. The man was ma'.dr.g his way quietly away from the camp, but seemed to be listening as if he expected some on e from the other direction . Then he s uddenly paused and semed to be li stening more attentively. Then Dick suddenly shot out and seized him by the throat with one hand, while he tore away his mas k with the other. For an instant only he felt a strange dread sei zed him, for h e beheld not a human face, but a grinning skull. "Pshaw! another mask!" he said, and he tore this away, revealing an evil face, and one black with hate and rage. The spy struck at him and tried to dra w a pis tol, but Dick struck his hand down and then gave a sharp whistle. "This way, boys!" he cried, and in another moment Ben and the two Harrys came dashing for ward. The spy tried to slip out of his cloak and leaVf' it in Dick's grasp, but the J<>Ung captain was too quick for him and seized his wrist. Then the three boys came rmming up, and Dick said: "I've got the black horseman, boys. He is not a handsome fellow , is he?" The man, taken prisoner, Dick now rele
PAGE 17

16 THE LIBERTY B O YS AND THE BLACK H ORS EMAN boys' fire upon themselves, and not caring to risk it. The boys fell back, keeping the spy !n front of them, so that any shots the enemy might fire would hit him first, while the redcoats began to fall back and quite rapidly. Then Dick and the boys hurried on, mounted their horses, taking the spy with, his horse not having appeared. The ma_n s p1st:ols v:ere taken frQm him, and his h1_m prevent his escape, Ben s1ttmg behmd him m the saddle. The spy said n1>thing, but every now and then he gave one or another of_ the a look of the most intense hatred. Dick did not see these baleful glances, but Sam said a laugh: "There is no use of your lookmg so pleasant, Mr. Rider, for we are not chil1i-en to be fri_ght ened by sour looks, and it wont do you a bit of good." . "You are not particularly handsome to begm with" ' continued Ben "and I don't think it will you any, and: besides, it is very silly and doos us no harm." "I SUP.pose you think you have me now?" the man snarled. "Well, it looks like it," shortly. "What will you take-how much money, I mean -to let me escape?" . "If you say that again, I'll choke you!" hissed Ben. "How low an estimate of us have you? Do you think we are as mean as yourself?" "Gag him if he talks, Ben," said Dick quietly. The boys rode on, and at last came to the camp, where Bob and-the othe.rs w!lre verY: much astonished to see them come m with a pnsoner. "Who is that, Dick?" asked Bob. "The black horseman. I don't know his name. We caught him spying upon our camp and captured him. " "The captain did, not we," laughed Ben . "We never heard a sound till we heard the captain's whistle, and found that he had this fellow in his grasp." "What are you going to do with him, Dick?" asked Bob. "Find out all he has to tell, and then hang him. He is too dangerous an enemy to allow to be at large." The man glared savagely at Dick, who continued: "Get a rope, Bob. We cannot waste any time on a fellow like this." Bob sent two of the boys for a rope, and Ben and the two Hanys led the captured spy beneath a tree where the firelight shone full upon him. While' the two Harrys held him, Ben loosened his shirt collar and turned it back. Then a startled expression burst from him, and he stepped back, his hands trembling violently. "Jove! look at that!" he exclaimed. . The boys nearest" t1> the spy saw a blood-red mark encircling his coming up close to the left ear. It was a mark made .by a rope, appar ently, and could never be erased. '"Ha! that alarms does it?" the man laughed. "Yes, that is the mark of a rope. I have been hanged once, so you see I am used to it,'' and the man laughed as if it were the funniest thing in the world. "Could it be possible, Dick?" asked Bob , in a whisper. "Yes; but it seldom happens twice," grimly. CHAf'.TER fC:.-Getting the Best of the Sergeant. "How could it happen, Dick?" asked Bob. "The man's neck was not broken, and he was resuscitated. The rope caused' a coagulation of blood, and left the mark you see. That may never go away as long as he lives . " It ,'vas a disagreeable duty the Liberty Boys had to perform,and Dick very seldom asked them to do it, but there were times when it became necessary, and this was one of them. The end of the rope was thrown over the limb of a tree, and then one of the boys advanced to put the noose about the prisoner's neck. At that instant there was a sudden clatter of hoofs, the sound of 'firing, and a loud alarm. "The redcoattl!" was heard, and then there was more firing and a flashing of lights in the woods. All of a sudden the mysterious prisoner broke away from the startled boys, and, bound as he was, dashed into the woods. shots were fired at him, but none seemed to take effect, as the man could be heard running for some few moments afterward. There was no time to attend to him, however, as the outposts seemed to have been attacked, and the enemy must be driven back. The boys speedily rallied 1lnder the lead of Dick Slater, and went to the aid of their comrades, torches blazing, drums beating, muskets rattling, and a tremendous din going on. There was not a large force of the redcoats, and these had evidently thought to surprise the boys and throw them into confusion. They had not done this, but they had caused the escape of the prisoner, for, when the boys came back to the camp, there was nothing to be seen of him. "It would look as if that alarm were gotten up for his especial benefit,'' declared Dick to Bob, "but of course they could not have known any thing about our having him." "It was lucky for him, though," answered Bob. "I suppose he will get to them somehow, and they will release him. That was a narrow escape, and it is likely that he will keep away from us after this." "Or at any rate not be caught. Still, he did not suspect that he was in danger, all being so still in'our camp." "No, but he will know now that you are always wide awake, and that it is not safe to approach so close to your tent." "No, nor to yours, either, Bob," with a smile. "I think you would have been on the lookout as well as myself. We seem to have a sense of danger at such times which makes us more than usually on the alet"t." "Yes, I suppose we do," "You , are that way, at all events." "Yes, and so are many of the boys. Well, I am just as glad we did not have to hang the fel low, although it is my belief that he will come to it one of ,these days." "I shouldn't wonder," tersely. The Libe1-ty Boys moved up quietly in an hour or so, took a position adjacent to that of the

PAGE 18

THE LIBERTY BOYS AND THE BLACK HORSEMAN 17 main body, all going on in the early the general wishing to keep ahe.ad of Cornwallis for time. They went on rapidly for some hours, and at length encamped on the farther side of a little river where there was a difficult ford, the patriots gotten over the best _Point _on account of having an expenenced guide with them. The boys encamped in sight of th_ e river, but not on it and away from the ford, bemg near another which was quite dangerous, being very narrow, the water deepening suddenly on. ea<'.h side without warning. The boy s had their dmners, and then Dick set out on .Major to see if there were any signs of the enemy. He did not go by the road they had come, but took another, think ing that there mi&"ht be. redcoats and wishing to determme this. ndmg . some little distance, he saw a log cabm by the side of the road and would have gone by, but two girls came suddenly running to the door and called to him. "Captain, come in!" they cried. . . Then he recognized them as the twm sisters of Tom Truman, drew rein, and dismounted. "I am very glad to see you,'' he said. "Is Tom here?" "No we came alone on a visit,'' said one. "We were i/ery much s urpi-ised to see you going past:" A middle-aged woman now came out and srud cordially: "Won't you come in, captain? I've heard the girls talk a lot about you since they've been here. I'm their aunt. Are you around here?" "Yes a few miles off. I have come to see if there any redcoats about. Have you seen any?" "No, we not." "We have haa several brushes with them, and I thought they might be on this road. They would know that we would be looking for them on the other, and so they might take tl;is." . ,, "We have not seen any. Wont you come m? "I suppose I might, for a few minutes.,'' pleasantly. "I will leave Major behind the house, and then, if any one comes along, they will not see him. It is best to be on the safe side always." "Yes, so it is." Dick left Major at the back of the house, and then entered, passing through the kitchen to the Jiving room in front. They all sat down and began to talk, Dick noticing the arrangement of the room in a moment. There was a tall clock reaching nearly to the ceiling in one corner, a chest of drawers in another, and a long, low oak i chest used as a lounge at one side. Opposite this was the door of a closet, and in the middle of the room a table, which the woman of the house now proceeded to set. "Don't get anything for me, ma'am," said Dick, smiling. "I have just had my breakfast, you might say." "We had ours long ago," laughed one of the girls. "You don't mind our having a bite?" "Why, no, indeed! Go ahead, and-Jove! Those fellows came up pretty quiet!" What had caused this exclamation was the sudden sight of a number of redcoats in the road . .rr'hey were on foot, and had come up so noiselessly that Dick had not known of them till he suddenly saw them outside. They saw him through the window, and at once set up a shout and dashed toward the house. Dick looked around, threw open the door of the closet, and went in, closing tne door behind him. '"8unound the cabin; don't let the fellow get away!" one of the redcoats shouted. In a few moments he
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