A call to duty, or, The young guardsman on detached service

A call to duty, or, The young guardsman on detached service

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A call to duty, or, The young guardsman on detached service
Lounsberry, Lionel
David McKay
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Subjects / Keywords:
Adventure stories ( lcsh )
Conduct of life ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Loyalty -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogs ( lcsh )
Sailors -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Sildiers -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Temper -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
United States -- History -- French and Indian War, 1754-1763 -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Youth -- Conduct -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )

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University Of South Florida
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University Of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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023285069 ( ALEPH )
327769439 ( OCLC )
C21-00024 ( USFLDC DOI )
c21.24 ( USFLDC Handle )

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BOYS OF LIBERTY LIBRARY. 12mo. Cloth, handsomely bound Price, each, postpaid, 50 cents. PAUL REVERE and the Boys of Liberty. By John D e M o rgan. THE FIRST SHOT FOR LIBERTY or The Minute Men of Massachusetts B y John De Morgan. FOOLING THE ENEMY. A Story of the Siege of Boston. By John D e Morgan INTO THE JAWS OF DEATH or The Boys of Liberty at the Battle of Long Island. By John De Morgan. THE HERO OF TICONDEROGA or Ethan Allen and His Green Mountai n Boys. B y John De Morgan. ON TO QUEBEC or With Montgomery in Canada. By John De Morgan. FIGHTING HAL or From Fort Necesaity to Quebec. B y John De M organ. MARION AND HIS MEN or Tho Swamp Fox of Carolina. By John De Morgan. THE YOUNG AMBASSADOR or Washington's First Triumph. By John De Morgan. THE YOUNG GUARDSMAN or With Washington In the Ohio Valley. B y J ohn D e Morgan. THE CRUISE OF THE LIVELY BEE or A Boy' s Adventure in the War of i812. B y John De Morgan. THE TORY PLOT o Saving Washington' s Life. By T. C Harbaugh. IN BUFF AND BLUE or Serving under Old Put. B y T. C H arbaugh. WASHINGTON' S YOUNG SPY or Outwittin&: General Howe. By T. C. Harb a u g h UNDER GREENE'S BANNER or The Boy Heroes of i781. By T. C. Harba u g h FOR FREEDOM' S CAUSE or On to Saratoga. By T C. Harbaugh. CAPTAIN OF THE MINUTE MEN or The Concord Boys of 1775. By H arrie Irvin g H a n c o ck. THE TRADER'S CAPTIVE or The Young Guardsman and The Frencb Spies. By Lieut. Lounsberry. THE QUAKER SPY, A Talc of the Revolutionary War, By Lieut. L o un s berr y F IGHTING FOR FREEDOM or The Birth of the Stars and Stripes. By Lieut. Lounsberry. BY ORDER OF THE COLONEL or The Captain of the Young Guarda. men. B y Lieut. Lounsberry. A CALL TO DUTY or The Younr Guardsman. By Lieut. Lounsberry. GLORY'S VAN or The Young Guardsman at Loai1bourg. By Lieut. Lounsberry. 1'HE YOUNG PATRIOT or The Younr Guardftmen at Fort Wiiiiam Henry. By Lieut. Lounsberry. "OLD P\J f" THE PATRIOT or Flghtlnll" for Home and Country. By Fre" ric k A. Ober. THE LEAGUE OF FIVE or Washlne:ton's Boy Scouts. By Commander Post. THE KING'S MESSENGER or The Fall of Ticonderoga. By Capt. Fnmk R a lph. DASH!NG PAUL JONES, The Hero of the Colonial Navy. By Frank Sheridan. FROM MIDSHIPMAN TO COMMODORE or The Glories of Our lnfaat Navy. B y Frank Sheridan. THE CRUISE OF THE ESSEX or Making the Stara and Stripes a .. spccted. By Frank Sheridan.


"Ned's face turned a sickly white under the gleam of the lantborn. Yet be was too bra Ye to cringe or cower before his foes ." (See page 132)




Copyright, l904 BJ' STREET & A C&U to Dlat7


A CALL TO DUTY. CHAPTER I. THE CABIN OF THE MAN-01-WAR .. I reckon dat's de Pallas Marse Gawge. De rain sorter blurs mah eyes like, but ain't dem ship's lights what I sees dead ahead?" ''They must be the ship's Ianthorns, Quirp. Pull for them." "I'll git yo' dar, Marse Gawge, doan' yo' worry none 'bout dat." A pungy, manned by a slave, and carrying a pas senger who stood upright in the bow, splashed its way in the direction of two lights, gleaming like will o' -the-wisps through a mis t of rain. As the pungy came closer, two bells were heard from the direction of the lights. "Nine o' the clock," quoth the youth in the bow of


6 The Cabin of the Man-o' -War. the pungy, rather to himself than to his comp a nion. "A pretty hour this, and a pretty sort o f w e a t h e r to board the Pallas. Who may this Brad win b e t hat he sends me such a hasty summons? Faith, I like i t but little that he said nothing concerning the business in the note." By then the huge bulk of the war ship stood out like a black blot against the dark sky and darker water. The youth turned his head. "Steady now, Quirp !" he ordered. "Lay the pungy alongside and follow till we come to the ladder." "I'se an ol' hand at dis bizness, Marse Gawge," chattered the darky. "Doan' yo' fear none w'en you's wid ol' Quirp." "Ahoy, there!" came the hoarse voice of the watch. "Ahoy, the Pallas!" cried the youth. "What do you want?" "To come aboard, of course! What else should I be doing here on such a night? I must see Lieut. Bradwin." "There's company aboard, an' I doubt if ye can see the lieutenant--"


The Cabin of the Man-o' -War. 7 "I will see him, having come here by his request. Hold the boat steady, Quirp, and wait for me." Without more ado the youth grabbed the ladder and climbed to the deck. A roar of mirth and a tumult of high voices reached him from some place aft-proof that the "company" mentioned by the watch was of a somewhat convivial nature. "What did you say your name was, mate?" asked the sailor. "Tell Lieut. Bradwin that Capt. George Lee has come ," answered the youth. "Ay ay sir," returned the other, and something like a chuckle floated back from him as he made off. Leaning against one of the big guns, neatly covered with a tarpaulin to guard it against the weather, Capt. George waited, wondering at the merriment indulged in by the watch, and li stening to the sounds from aft which came to him by tits and starts through the swish of the ra in. Some of the officers were having an uproarious time with the "company," that was sure. Thick voices that told of too much liquor bawled out a maudlin song,


8 The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. hardly fit for respectable ears to listen to. Then as the youthful captain continued his impatient wait, a thin, reckless voice launched into something a little better: "Love me little, Jove me long, Is the burth e n of my s ong; Love that i s too hot and strong, Runneth soon to wa s te. After this came a veritable pandemonium as the whole assemblage repeated, Love me little, love me 1-o-n-g," etc. While the refrain was going the watch came chuckling back. "My fine bucks are havin' it high in the cabin," said be. "Cap'n Culver is ashore, and the lubbe rs from town are aboard, swilling Madeira by the quart--" "My good fellow," broke in Capt. Lee, "don t hold me here. I am no fish t-0 be out in such weather Did you tell this lieutenant of yours I had come?'' "Ay, sir; that I did." "And what did he s ay?" "He said I was to fetch you, s ir." "Then lead the way. I would have this business done with and go ashore again."


The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. 9 The sailor hesitated. One of the lanthorns swung above their heads, and in the light of it he regarded the young captain with a curious eye. "What ails thee?" cried George. "Do you think I'm French, and an object of suspicion?" "Bless thee, lad, not so bad as that, I hope. Hast thy sword with thee?" "And why?" demanded George, almost in a temper with the man. "Ye may have need o' it, my hearty." "What!" rapped out the youth. "A loyal subject of the king have need of a sword on the king's war-craft? Out on you, for the thought !" "A provincial captain, my blood, is considered fair sport for the king's regulars. Your boat is at the side ; get into it and go back. Y e've been called here for no good to yourself." Under the red glow of the lanthorn the face of the young provincial officer grew scarlet. Well he knew the derision, almost the contempt, with which the British regular regarded the colonial militiaman. "Thank you, my man," went on George; "but I have


10 The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. a sword and am able to use it. I shall not go back until I speak with Lieut. Bradwin." "Finely said, my silks an' laces! Ye've the spirit, well enough, an' if y e will have it follow me." As the sailor turned George dropped a hand on his shoulder. "Why this cross-fire of talk?" he asked. "Your Dr. Franklin says that a word to the wise is sufficient," answered the sailor, over his shoulder. With that he led the way aft, down the companion and pointed to a door. "There you are,'' he added. "Ye've a clear head, which is more than ye'll find in there. If worst comes, make for your boat, and I'll see that ye get into it and away." The young captain vouchsafed no reply, but opening the door he passed his dripping form quickly across the threshold. Coming from the outer d a rkness the light of many candles blinded him for t he moment, and he could see but littl e ; yet his hearin g was keen and a babel of hiccou g hing voices smote on his ears. "Here's our twopenny hero!"


The Cabin of the Man-o' War. 11 "Doff hats, an' it please ye, to a captain of pr<>'" vincials !" "A great man o' the colony, my lads." "He has a pretty trick o' the sword, they say. What a deuce! Who'd think it from the looks of him?" By then the scene in the cabin had cleared to George Lee's blinking eyes. A long table was spread before him, bearing wine glasses and decanters. Pipes were going here and there, and a haze of tobacco smoke wreathed itself about a dozen youths, about half in his majesty's uniform and the rest in civilian's clothes. The derisive tone of the words with which he was greeted was not lost upon the visitor. His face burned and then went white. A moment later he had cast aside his dripping greatcoat and stood forth, slender, straight as a pine, as handsome a youth as could have been found in all that company. "I am here at the request of Lieut. Bradwin," said George, coolly eying the faces of those about the table. Some of the landsmen he knew, but they were toadeat ers and ne'er-do-wells, provincials who loved London


u The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. better than their native Williamsburg. "Where is Lieut. Bradwin ?" George added. "This way with your eyes, my blade," answered a youth in a lieutenant's uniform, rising unsteadily at the head of the table, then turning and leaning against it, while he studied the visitor's face with mocking eyes. "You left a message with Master Glybeck at the Coffee House for me," continued George. "By my troth, ye have it right, Gen. Lee--" "Capt. Lee, an' it please you." "Ay ay I bethink me, now, that you are dubbed Capt. Hotspur in the town." "The nickname is not to my liking, though it is said I act up to it on occasion. But enough of small talk, Lieut. Bradwin. Your message seemed urgent, but was scarcely so pressing, I imagine, as I thought. Now that I am here, what is your pleasure?" Mere ly to make your acquaintance, Maj Lee." There was tipsy insol ence 111 the lieut enant's eyes as they r anged over the visitor. Smothered laughs went up from the others.


The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. 13 "An honor I would willingly forego," said George. "How now!" cried Bradwin. "Here's a nest of fire works, indeed! There is small honor, forsooth, in a provincial making the acquaintance of a king's man. What say you to that, messmates?" "Cut the spurs of this coxcomb, Bradwin !" "Teach him how he can appreciate the honor!" "He may be a master at fence, but you are a better, Bradwin !" Capt. Lee was not only puzzled by his reception hut indignant as well. Had he been summoned aboard the Pallas merely to be insulted by a stranger? The mano' -war had dropped anchor in the roads the preceding forenoon, and every officer in her complement was a stranger to him. Bradwin assumed a maudlin gravity, fluttering his hand to his friends to enjoin silence. Bracing himself against the table behind him, he went on: "Our doughty colonel of provincials does not un derstand. Know, sir, that I am full cousin to Mistress Amy Randolph." If a spark were needed to set fire to the young cap-


1+ The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. tain's temper this mention of Mistress Amy furnished it. George bowed. "A seven days' wonder, sir, that you and she can be of the same blood," he answered. The taunt in the words struck instantly into Bracl win's heavy wit, and his smooth face reddened. "Capt. Hotspur likes not to brook such a rival," he sneered. "On the contrary,'' quoth George; "Capt. Hotspur has no fear of such a rival. What he likes not is to hear the name of a fair young women mentioned in such a company." "Like it, or not," cried Bradwin, hotly, "you shall hear what I choose to say." "There you mistake," continued George, reaching for his greatcoat. "I will not stay to listen." "Ah! The brave nephew of Gov. Dinwiddie knows how to retreat under fire!" The young captain flung the coat to the floor. "Not under such fire as you and your unmannerly pack can turn on him," he retorted.


The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. IS "Perhaps you can t e ach me better manners?" cooed Bradwin, fire smoldering in his wat e ry eyes. "A choreboy could do that." A growl of tipsy rage came from the lieut e nant' s fellow officers. Nor were the provincials at the tabl e s -more shame to them !-slow in egging on this gratuitous quarrel. George read the cause of the scene now. He re membered having heard Mistress Amy speak of her cou s in over sea, and of the hope of the English Ran dolphs that this young blade should one day wed the belle of Williamsburg and eke out his wasted p a tri mony with her Virginia plantations. In Geor g e Lee Bradwin recognized a dangerous rival. He had left his summons at the Coffee House merely to get the young captain where he could feel his enmity. "That is already ground enough for a meeting cried a fiery young midshipman on the lieutenant' s right. "Softly, Collinson," said Bradwin, to the mid s hip man. "It is hard to make a provincial see an ell b e yond his nose. Fill me a bumper, lad I have a toast,


16 The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. and our Capt. Hotspur shall drink it with me before he leaves the cabin." A silence had settled over the revelers. A porten tous feeling was abroad in their ranks, and it gave the most reckless of them pause. Collinson poured the bumper with unsteady hand. With a hand as unsteady Bradwin presented the glass to George with a mock ing bow. Taking the glass, George held it and waited. There was a smile on the young captain's face, and if Frank Vernon, or Kenward Mason, of George's Young Guardsmen, had been at hand they could have told Bradwin that the smile foreboded him no good. "I give you, Mistress Amy Randolph,'' said Brad win, lifting a second glass, "a lady of quality who looks farther and higher than a provincial captain--" Bradwin spluttered and choked on the last words, for at that moment Capt. George's wine was in bis teeth, splashing his face and dripping red upon his ruf fles. All in the cabin leaped to their feet in great com motion. An oath burst from Bradwin, and he snatched out his sword and staggered toward George, who had hurled his empty glass crashing to the floor In a


The Cabin of the Man-o'-War. 17 twinkling the young captain had drawn his own blade, and, by a trick of which he was past master, had dis armed Bradwin and sent his steel clattering to the farther side of the cabin. Collinso n sprang between the two. "A provincial," remarked George, "can see far enough beyond his nose to mark the play of his point, as Bradwin shall find if he choose to put the matter to further test. I will be at the Coffee House to morrow afternoon with a friend." Then, while the company stood gasping at the sud denness of it all, George picked up his greatcoa t and passed from the cabin.


CHAPTER II. A CALL TO DUTY. It was the early summer of 1757, a grave and anxious time in his majesty's loyal colony of Virginiaand, indeed, in all the other colonies, as well. Nearly two years had passed since the Braddock campaign against the French and Indians had ended so disas trously, and the successes of the French arms were continuing on every hand. Shirley, governor of Massachusetts and second in command to Braddock, led an expedition against Fort Niagara, but hearing of Braddock's defeat, and further discouraged by the desertion of his Indian allies, sick ness of his men and the lateness of the season, he abandoned his plans, built two forts at Oswego and re turned to Albany. The following year-1756-Montcalm, the French leader, captured the forts at Oswego, securing large stores of provisions, ammunition, money and the vessels Shirley had provided for the Niagara expedition.


A Call to Duty. The Earl of Loudon had come from England in 1756 to take charge of the British and colonial forces, but he was a man of "masterly inaction," and did little but give way on every point before the French. During all this time the heroic Was hington had his headquar ters at Winchester, guarding the frontier, and waiting patiently to co-operate with the British troops when ever they saw fit to take the initiative. At the head of a score of brave Virginia youths, re cruited by the express command of Washington, George Lee had seen hard service both in the Braddock and also on the frontier. Wounded and captured by the French, the young captain had finally effected his escape, and had been given leave of ab sence to return to his home at Williamsburg. Frank Vernon, second lieutenant of the Young Guardsmen, as George s company was called, returned to Williamsburg with him, the troop being left under the tempo rary leadership of First Lieut. Kenward Mason. The British "regulars" carried themselves high in their de a lin g s with the coloni a ls. No provincial officer could have supreme command of any body of troops,


20 A Call to Duty. but must serve in subordinate capacity under a British commander. The supercilious, and at times insulting, bearing of English officers when treating with colonials, is well illustrated by the visit of young Capt. Lee to the mano' -war Pallas. The young coxcombs in the naval serv ice wanted sport, and felt that they could have it by making "Capt. Hotspur" feel his inferiority. There was a personal note, too; in the arrogance of Bradwin, who would have gone far to humiliate George Lee in the eyes of Mistress Amy Randolph. Quirp was dispatched early in the following after noon to summon Frank Vernon to the Coffee House. Frank came quickly, and found his young commander awaiting him. There was warm and loyal affection between these two lads, as there must ever be between comrades who have faced perils and fought for their country shoulder to shoulder. "What a day, George?" cried Frank, sinking into a chair opposite his friend. "I vow it has been long since I have seen you pull such a long face." "I am troubled, Frank," George answered.


A C a ll to Du ty "Has the fair Amy not written?" quizzed Vernon "I have a letter from Joanna, forwarded express from Philadelphia--" "Philade l phia?" exclaimed George, looking up in surprise. "I thought Amy and J oanna were to bide at Annapolis." "They went from there to Philadelphia a few day s since." Sudden l y sobering, Frank added: "I t hink lad, that what we both need is a call to duty. Now that the winter is well past I hope Loudon will strike the Frenchies, and do it good and hard." "There is no t much to be hoped from Loudon," sighed George. "There are many things in the air, George, and per haps something will yet be accomplished Hast heard that our chief reached Williamsburg last night?" "What!" exclaimed George, a look of pleasure c ross ing his face, "has Washington come to "Williamsburg?" "That he has Impatient as he is to see another ex pedition on the way to Fort Du Quesne, can you not see that his presence here points to active operations?" But George shook his head.


A Call to Duty. "It is not for our brave chief to say what shall be done. He must serve these redcoats from England, and there is little he can do of his own will. By Jove, Frank it makes my blood boil, the way tht:se so called regulars treat us of the colonies." "What now?" queried Frank, eying his friend curi ou sly. "What has gone wrong, George? There is somethin g on your mind, certainly. Why did you send for me in such haste?" Then the young captain told of his visit to the Pallas the evening before. Frank Vernon listened intently, his face burning with indignation. When George had fini shed and settled back in his chair, Frank said: "It means a meeting, George. This Bradwifl stands in need of a lesson, and you must teach it to him." "He was in liquor last night. Perhaps he will think better of his actions to-day." "That he will not, if I know aught of these English hot-heads. Besides, his grievance against you is more personal than otherwise. That Mistress Amy favors you is no secret here in Williamsburg, and this un-


A Call to Duty. 23 mannerly man-o'-war's man will welcome a chance to clear you out of his path." "Perhaps "'Tis plain enough. He summoned you to the Pallas for the sole purpose of fostering a quarrel." "In that event, he has had his wish Vernon laughed. "Gad! It must have been a pretty sight to see y ou spill your good Madeira in the upstart's face. You did it well, I 'll warrant." "But a duel mutte r ed George. "Our chief, as you well know, condemns the practice." "Faith! he would not condemn this duel, an' he knew the cause." "He thinks it ill," pursued George, "that two men should stand up before each other and put in hazard two lives which might prove of value to th e ir country." "Why how my Lord Long-Face has swerved out of his bent! 'Tis n o t like you, Capt. Hotspur, to pull back in an a ffair of honor." "Nor shall I pull back now, Frank. You know me


A Call to Duty. too wdl for that. But think, lad. I want not this Bradwin's life, nor would I take it, if I could." "A pest on your scruples I He'd take yours, an' he could." "Small doubt; but he shall not take it. I shall not take his, either. Still, accidents are liable to happen--" "Well said !" chuckled Frank. "Yours is the best in the colony, George." "And if Bradwin is hurt, how will Amy feel when she learns that it was by my hand?" "Do not let that trouble y ou. Mistress Amy is as sensible as she is fair, and--" "Hist!" whispered George, leaning suddenly toward Vernon. "If I mistake not, here come two from the Pallas, and they are acting for Bradwin." George had cau ght sight of two young naval of ficers just entering the room. He reco g nized both of them as having formed part of the riotous company aboard the man-a' -war the night before. One was the midshipman Collinson. Se e in g th e young captain, Collin s on and his companion made in the direction of


A Call to Duty. George and Frank. Halting in front of George, the midshipman bowed with studied politeness. The greeting was coldly returned. "Possibly you will understand why I am here, Capt. Lee," said Collinson. "You either bring an apology or a challenge, I sup pose," answered George. "I bring no apology," was the grim retort. "Nor am I empowered to accept one from you. What you did last night ran up a score which can be settled in only one way. Lieut. Leslie, Capt. Lee." George rose and greeted the midshipman's com panion. Then he presented Frank to each of the of ficers. "I serve Capt. Lee in this matter, gentlemen," said Frank, "and I trust the seconds will also be allowed to engage." "No! no!" cried George, in protest. "I have no quarrel with you," said Collinson. "You have a quarrel, sir, with every true-hearted provincial soldier in Virginia," responded Vernon, with spirit. "It is time you gentlemen from England


A Call to Duty. tried the mettle of your brothers-in-arms tn the col onies. If your respect for the provincials be not in creased, then the fault will lie with you." "As you will, sir," answered Collinson, and Frank walked away with the two to arrange details. Scarcely were the two gone from the room when the black face of Quirp showed itself in the doorway. "Marse Gawge !" he called, entering. "What is it, Quirp ?" inquired Capt. Lee, divining at once that the black was the bearer of something of im poctance. "l's done seen Kunnel Washington, sah," replied Qt1irp. "Where was he?" inquired George. "He come to de house, Marse Gawge, an' he ask fo' you. I say

A Call to Duty. "Did the chief say what he wanted me for?" George asked, rising briskly. "He say, yo' tell Marse Gawge dat it's a call t' duty." "Ah!" A thrill of satisfaction sped tingling through the young captain's every nerve. To receive a call to duty from his chief was a high honor, and he could not stand upon the order of going forthwith to the gov ernor's. But here was this affair with Bradwin It must wait, for the present. "Quirp," continued George, "remain here in this room. Lieut. Vernon will be back presently. You must tell him where I have gone, and say I will be back as soon as I can to hear what he has to say to me." "Trust ole Quirp t' do dat, Marse Gawge," an swered the black, and without further words George left the Coffee House.


CHAPTER III. WITH WASHINGTON AND THE GOVERNOR. The College of William and Mary, where George had imbibed lo y alty to Virginia as well as book learning, stood at one end of Duke of Gloucester Street, and the Stadt House stood at the other. Quickly as he could, the young captain made his way to the latter building, and was soon in an anteroom without the gove rnor's office. Col. Washington was there, waiting to see his excellency. A feeling of indignation filled George to see his chief thus kept waiting. It was common report that there was something of cooln ess between Washington and Gov. Dinwid die which had all come about through the appoint ment of Col. Washington as commander-in-chief of the colonial forces at Winchester. The governor had de sired to appoint Col. Innes to the post, but popular sentiment had so favored Washington that Dinwiddie had had no alternative but to give him the place. Since that event, the governor h ad not regarded Washington


With Washington and the Governor. 2.9 with a friendly eye, and to keep him waiting now may have been a petty result of that animosity. at least, leaped to that conclusion. Possibly the chief, who had a keen eye for character, read the youth's feelings. At any rate, he had too high a spirit to dis play any impatience over the slight, even if one were intended. Washington's face brightened at the sight of George Lee, and he got up and took him cordially by the hand. "It is well to see thee, lad," said Washington. "It was a pleasure I had counted upon in planning my journey to Williamsburg. How fares the world, com rade?" "Well enough, sir," answered the youth; "but it will fare better when I find myself engaged in active work for my chief and my country. Washington gave the captain's hand a grateful pres sure and released it. "Sit by me, George," he went on "and we will talk until such time as we may have the governor's ear." "Does my uncle know you are here, sir?" inquired George.


30 With Washington and the Governor. "He does ; but at the present moment he is engaged. I am glad," the chief added, quickly, "since it gives me time for a few words with you." "Am I to rejoin my Guardsmen at Winchester, chief?" George asked. Washington smiled and shook his head. "Not as yet, my friend. You are to be on detached duty for some time longer. You will be serving the cause, how ever, much better than you could do at Winchester." "What is the duty, colonel?" "All in good time, Capt. Hotspur," laughed Washington. "The governor will tell you of that. Suffice to say, it will be difficult and, mayhap, dangerous-just such a duty as we would confide to one of your bravery and discretion." The youth flushed under the chief's praise. "When do we march to retake Du Quesne, sir?" George asked. '\i\T a s hington's brow clouded. "No t I fear," he answered, after a pause, "until the Great Commoner take s the helm in England. Speed the day," he added; "all will be different in these col-


With Washington and the Governor. 31 onies when Pitt assumes control. Then, lad, you will see an end to mismanagement and incompetence, and these successes of the French will be turned to defeats. Until Pitt forges to the fore we must bide our time with what we may." At this juncture a man entered the anteroom, his moccasined feet carrying him noiselessly and without ostentation. From head to heel he wore the buckskin garb of the pioneer, his tall, spare frame, his deter mined face and keen eyes and the independent poise of his body making him the very ideal of a ranger. Washington glimpsed him on the moment of entrance and gave him warm greeting. "Master Boone," he exclaimed, "what do you so far from the Yadkin?" "I bear a message from the royal governor of North Carolina to his excellency, Gov. Dinwiddie," answered Boone. "It is a service I little like," he finished bluntly. "So I imagine," said Washington. "Your people down there are antagonizing the royal authority, I hear.


32 With Washington and the Governor. Master Boone, give greeting to Capt. George Lee, of the Virginia Guards." Dani e l Boone at this period of his career was somewhat more than twenty-two years of age, but already he had given promise of great things. Washington read him as he read every man with whom he came in contact, giving his sterling character the credit to which it was entitled. Born in Exeter Township, Bucks County, Pennsyl vania, Daniel Boone, while still a youth, had removed with his father to North Carolina. He was pre-emi nently a woodsman, carrying the atmosphere of forest and wilderness with him wherever he went. While the three stood talking, Patrick Henry came and join ed the little group. Fate could not have con spired better to bring together men who were one day to do more for their country. The fiery Henry, startling the Virginia Ass;embly by a never-to-be-for gotten speech, the heroic Washington, already marked as his country's liberator, and the courageous Boone, carrying civilization far to the West and founding the State of Kentucky. In after times, George Lee re-


With Washington and the Governor. 33 called that meeting, and was proud to think that he had formed one of the little group. As they stood talking word came that the governor would see Col. Washington, and the chief and the young captain passed into the inner room. "You have brought my nephew, I see, colonel," re marked the governor, turning a trifle coolly from Washington to regard George "Rather, your excellency," answered Washington, "he brought himself. He was abroad when I reached his home, and a slave went for him." "Geo r ge," said Gov. Dinwiddie, "the colonel and I have decided to send you on a very particular mission." "Anything in the line of duty, sir," George answered, "would be most agreeable to me." "I know that, lad. The colonel is never done sounding your praises." "I can tell a good soldier, your excellency, the mo ment I clap eyes on him," spoke up the chief. "Tut! George ought to be a good soldier-he comes of a long line of soldiers. But I much mislike this nickname they have given him about town. What have


34 With Washington and the Governor. you d o ne, y oung man, that Tom, Dick and Harry should ref e r to y ou glibly as Capt. Hotspur ?" "I do not know, uncle," George replied. "I like the nickname as little as you do." Washington smiled, and the governor turned on him with signs of displeasure. "Egad, colonel! Perhaps you can tell whether or no the lad i s a reckl ess jackanapes, firing like tinder with or without a spark of provocation?" "Your nephew is of another sort, your excellency," said Washington. "He is hot to ge t at the French, his country s enemies, and n e eds no spur aside from his loyalty. Thus he com e s by his nickname. His Young Guardsmen will call him nothing else, and so the name has spread." George looked the gratitude his chief's words in spired, and the governor sank back in his chair and dropped his chin into his ruffled breast with a deep breath of satisfaction. "I look to him to cover the name of Lee with credit, said the governor, pulling his snuffbox and offering it to the chief, who shook his head. After a delibera ..


With Washington and the Governor. 35 tive pinch, his slowly snapped the lid and put the box away; then he reached into his cabinet and drew out a letter, bulk y and double-sealed. "I am making you a special messenger, George. This en velope contains matters of grave concern to the cause, and is designed for the Earl of Loudon, who will re ceive it in Philadelphia. Eh? What now?" At the word "Philadelphia" George had given a start, and uttered an exclamation Seeing that he had attracted his uncle s attention, he reddened with em barrassment. "You say I am to find the Earl of Loudon in Phila delphia, sir?" "Out on you, rogue!" cried the governor, winking at the colonel. "Perhaps you know Mistress Amy Randolph, Washington?" "I have had that honor, sir," smiled the chief. "A pretty bit of baggage, eh? She is in Philadel phia, I hear, and our young blade blushes like a school boy when I even m e nti o n th e name of that Quaker town. He think s e g ad! that his duty and pleasure lie


36 With Washington and the Governor. in the one direction. Tut, sir! Now will you list.en to me and have done with your smirking." "I am listening, sir," answered George. "I see you are-your body here and your mind in Quakerdom. You are to know, nephew, that these colonies are full of French spies, and the contents of that letter would prove a fine morsel for Monsieur Montcalm. You are not to let it reach his hands, saving it if necessary at the cost of your life.'' "I will prove faithful to the trust, sir." "It's a very dangerous and difficult affair," proceeded the governor, gravely; "were it not so, we should in trust the letter to the ordinary express. The Pallas weighs anchor in the morning, and you are to go with her." "Aboard the Pallas!" exclaimed George, his mind reverting to Bradwin. "Ay, sir, and why not?" "I have no objections to the Pallas, sir," George answered, collecting himself. "I should hope not," continued the governor, "for the Pallas is a good ship. Col. Washington suggests


With Washington and the Governor. 37 that, as two heads are wiser than one, you choose a companion to accompany you." "I will choose him,'' returned the youth, his thoughts on Vernon. "Then our interview is over. The longboat of the man-of-war will be waiting for you at the wharf in the morning, and the captain has been informed. Good-by, and good luck to you Stay, colonel," the governor added to Washington ; "we have affairs of our own to dwell on Washington nodded, shook George's hand when his uncle had released it, and wished the lad success and God -s peed. Thrusting the missive into the breast of his waistcoat, George left the office and took his way back in the direction of the Coffee House He was greatly perturbed. He had pledged himself to perform a mission of importance, and he could not retreat from it with honor. Nor could he r et reat with honor from the meeting with Bradwin, for which Ver non had gone to arrange. To tell either Washington or Gov. Dinwiddie of the meeting, would be equivalent to having it stopped-thereby tarnishing his own good


38 With Washington and the Governor. name. But here he was, embarked on an important matter of state, and placing his life in jeopardy! Truth to tell, he thought little of any danger, but if Bradwin should wound him and delay his start for Philadelphia? On the other hand, supposing he was to injure Brad win, what sort of comfort could he take aboard the Pallas during his brief voyage in her? Dueling was a custom of the times; frowned upon, yet, nevertheless the man who shirked a meeting, on jm;t grounds, was looked upon as a poltroon. George was in a difficult position. Perhaps, he thought, Vernon might counsel with him as to what he ought to do. He found the lieutenant waiting in the place where Quirp had been left. "The black said you had a call to duty, George," Frank said, making no attempt to disguise the interest he felt in Quirp's announcement. "It's a joint duty, Frank," George answered. "A joint duty?" echoed Vernon. "How mean you?" "I mean that you are to share in it." "For the chief?" "Ay, and the governor."


With Washington and the Governor. 39 "Good I am tired of cooling my heels here in Williamsburg when there will be so much doing in the war on the frontier. We are off to the border, I sup pose?" "Not so far. Philadelphia is the place." "Philadelphia!" cried Frank, his face bright with anticipation. "You are thinking of Joanna laughed George. "No more so, I fancy, than you are thinking of Amy. Duty and pleasure could not come more pleasantly together." "So my uncle said, or something to the same effect." "Let us know more of the busin ess, George. When do we start, and why, and--" "Softly, comrade. First tell me what you did with Collinson." Frank's brow clouded. "My word, but that 's a peculiar affair," said he. "Peculiar?" repeated George. "Yes, that's the very word for it. Brad win must bt more than savage I had perforce to meet him half-


40 With Washington and the Governor. way, however. The Pallas weighs anchor in the morning." "So I have recently been told." "Well, Bradwin, Collinson and Leslie can't get shore leave until this evening, and the meeting will b e with rapi ers at the glebe lands up the river. You will fight in sight of the parish church, if that i! any consolation to either of you." "At night, you say?" asked George, astonished. "So Collinson would have it." "At what hour?" "Ten." "Surely you jest, Frank!" "I heartil y wish I did," was the gloomy rejoinder. "But I could do nothing else. I t is Bradwin's only chanc e." "There will be no moon to-night--" "A flambeau will light the scene sufficiently well. If I did not know that your sword was without an equal in the colony, I should have flatly refused. You can enga g e Bradwin on one side of the flambeau and I'll do the same by Collinson on the other."


With Washington and the Governor. 41 George sank moodily into his seat. "A pretty kettle of fish," he muttered. "For Bradwin, yes," answered Vernon. "You can spit him like an eel if you want to, George. You'll pink him, probably, and let it go at that. As for Col linson, well! He may be better than I." "You and Collinson should have kept out of it," said George. "Look ye, George," returned Vernon, leaning across the table; "what these Britishers need is to be taught that we provincials are shoulder high with them. I hold myself under obligations to you for this chance to deal with Collinson." "If you have arranged it so, I can say nothing. It is a bad pother, though, and stands squarely in the way of our duty." Frank opened his eyes at this. "This meeting stands in the way of our duty, say you? In spite of that, there is no shirking the meeting. If we try to crawl out now, by my troth, Bradwin and his clique will have good reason for thinking ill of us colonials."


.. p. With Washington and the Governor. "We are not going to crawl out!" exclaimed George. "That is the very last thing I should think of." "But what of this duty? My ears are itching to hear more of it." "We are to deliver this"-and here George took the double sealed packet from his breast and handed it to his friend-"to his excellency, Lord Loudon, who will be in Philadelphia to receive it." "Ah, ha!" ejaculated Vernon. "You think that if anything goes wrong in this duel, there will be some difficulty in carrying out the governor's request. Is that it?" "Part! y." "It is out of the question that both of us will be laid by. Even if the worst comes, one of us will certainly be left well enough in wind and limb to do the errand." "That is not all," proceed e d George. "What more is there?" "The man-of-war Pallas weighs anchor in the morn ing. It is the governor's order that we proceed to Philadelphia aboard of her." "Gad!" George's words were a thrust that went


With Washington and the Governor. 43 home, and Vernon was all but dumfounded. "You are right, George. It is a fine web the governor has woven for us. Still, if there is anything of the man in Bradwin, he will say nothing of the fight if we are both so fortunate as to be passengers aboard the Pallas. Anyhow, lad, there is nothing else for it. The tide is setting strongly and we must drift with it." "We can do no more," acquiesced George. "If I understand rightly, there is matter in that envelope which the French would give much to lay hold of. All the colonies are honeycombed with spies, and we shall have to be wary and have our wits about us up to the very moment the letter is placed in the hands of Lou don. There is no-" "Hist, George!" Vernon's face took on a suspicious look and he dropped the envelope on the table in front of him. "Can you t ell me when that sea dog in the corner came into the room? Softly! Don't look around at him now. Take your time for it, and then do it covertly. He's watching us with hawk's eyes, and is giving less attention to the grog in front of him than to this letter. He's an ill-looking rapscallion."


44 With Washington and the Governor. George took occasion to examine the man in stealthy manner, and found him a large, heavy person, wearing a sailor's costume that showed evidence of hard usage. He had a leathery, weather-beaten face, ropy, black hair and little jet black eyes that gleamed like polished musket balls. A personage, taken all in all, to inspire one with distrust. "There's a slaver in port," said George, withdrawing his eyes from the sailor, "and it may be that that pretty fellow is one of her crew. Certainly, there is nothin g French about his looks." "If he's in the slave trade," returned Frank, "the rogue is equal to anything, French or English. He is interested in us, and I like his intere st but little." Suddenly a light came into Vernon's eyes. "Can you get me an envelope and some paper from the governor's, George?" "Why? asked George, astonished at such a request. "Leave that to me. Stow this letter somewhere in the lining of your coat, and, if you can, wrap it first in a bit of oilskin as a prote ction. It is well to throw


With Washington and the Governor. 45 safeguards around the packet. Master Hawk-Eyes, yonder, has set me to thinking. "I will do as you say, Frank. In truth, some such makeshift was already suggesting itself to me." "And you will send Quirp to me with the governor's paper?" "Yes, as soon as I reach home." "Good I" returned Frank, rising. "Now let's be off about our business. Be at the Rose-and-Crown at eight o' the clock. I will have horses ready, and all you will need to bring will be yourself and your sword. Keep a stiff upper lip, George. I have a feeling that you will come out of this and that the governor will have no cause to complain that his commission was not properly attended to." The two youths then left the room, the bullet-like eyes of the sailor watching them sharply until they had passed the door.


CHAPTER IV. THE "BLACK ROVER." It was late in the afternoon when George Lee reached his home, sent Quirp with a supply of the gov ernor's stationery to Vernon, and then gave his atten tion to the important packet intrusted to his care. Eight o'clock found him at the Rose-and-Crown, ready to ride to the glebe lands and yield himself into the hands of fate. Vernon was there, walking back and forth, and ap parently much perturbed in mind. The daring youth rarely allowed himself to be dashed by any ill fortune, but now he was certainly impressed with the gravity of the affairs confronting himself and George. "Did ever such an untoward set of circumstances t a ke grip on lads like ourselves?" he queried, after he and his comrade had mounted and were trotting through the dusky woods beyond town, bound for the glebe lands. "I hold it ill to put our lives in hazard when they may


The "Black Rover." 47 prove valuable to our chief and the governor," an swered George. "The governor was too late with his summons," said Frank. "Bradwin had a prior claim on your attention Of course, however, you could not tell your uncle or the chief about that. But cheer up. There is small good in crossing bridges before you get to them. As I told you when we left the Coffee House, it is borne in on me that we are to see light through the clouds." "My impressions all run the other way, Frank," George answered. "Some bad luck is to befall us, and soon "What sort of bad luck?" "Would that I knew, for then we would take meas ures to fend it off." "You cannot think that Bradwin will disable you?" "Not unless he puts the light of the flam beau squar e ly in my eyes and is then more than quick with his blade." "Look well to that, George Keep your back to the torch. If Bradwin gets the better of you, I'll doff my hat to him as the best fencer in or out of Virginia. Gad, if I but had your wrist! and your neat thrust


The "Black Rover." over the guard, your flanconnades, beats and lunges 'Tis a marvel the Young Guardsmen never tire of harping about. So, Capt. Hotspur--" "Pray have done with that, Frank. Capt. Hotspur is a name grates on me. Why, even my uncle took me to task about it, this afternoon. I have discretion, have I not?" Vernon lau g hed. "You have more fire than discretion, and we all love you for it. When did you ever pause to weigh chances, if dut y called you? You are no laggard when it comes t o d oing your dut y, for s trai g htwa y y o u are all to uch and go. Ruze La Mort knew that well; and Tontorf." Vernon had refer ence to a wild d a sh among the French and Indians, by Washington's order, when two scoundrel s wh o harri e d th e bord e r s of the colony were neatly brought to book. All Virg inia had rung with the exploit Althou g h months had passed since it came about, it was still a live topic. When Vernon finished speaking, he and his com panion stru c k into a wood e d ro ad, the shadows hovering thickly between the flanking trees. Suddenly there


The "Black Rover.'' came a sound of breaking brush, and a startled excla mation broke from Vernon. "Gallop !" shouted Vernon, goading his horse fiercely. "We are beset I" As he called, Vernon loosened his coat to get at the sword buckled to his waist beneath it. George also tried to draw, but ere either could get weapon in hand, a pistol cracked from the roadside and strong hands grabbed the horses' bridles. The young captain's horse, in frantic attempt to get rid of the restraining hand, flung itself sideways, fell, and George was thrown into the road, striking his head heavily against a stone. A blank followed, during which the youth was dead to all that transpired. When he recoverd, after a lapse of minutes or of hours-he could not tell-he was conscious of a dull ache in the temples. He was lying in a narrow space, in pitchy darkness. Where was he? he asked himself. At the parish house near the glebe lands? "Vernon !" he called. No answer was returned to him. He repeated the call, but still without result. Putting out his hands, he felt rough beams above


50 The "Black Rover." him; at one side there was a curved wall; on the other space. There was a rolling motion to everything about him. At first he thought this motion merely a result of his disordered mind, and that he simply imagined it. Then he heard a sound that startled him. It was the lap and swish of water against the curved wall. He was afloat! But this dank, foul-smelling hole in wl:iich he found himself was not the forecastle of the Pallas. In what ship was he, then? He thought of press gangs, and wondered if he and Vernon had been seized upon by such a mob. A moment's reflection con vinced him that this could not be. No skipper would be lawless enough to impress the nephew of Gov. Din widdie, the aide of Washington. But what meant it all, anyway? ''Vernon !" he called again, in wild impatience. This time his shout brought an answer. A sound as of a body crawling toward him came from the darkness. "Is that you, Vernon ?" "Hist, cap'n !" returned a familiar voice. It was not Vernon's voice, however. "Who are you?" asked George.


The "Black Rover." "Cracky, cap'n Can't ye recognize the voice o' Nimble Ned?" "Nimble Ned What m the world are you doing here?" "Dunno, cap'n. I rode into Williamsburg with Col. Washington, yesterday, and while he was about his business I went around town. I met a sailor, who made friends with me, and asked me to drink a little bombo. I don't drink, as ye know, but this sailor was such a nice lad I hated to offend him. I couldn't re member anythin' after I drank the bombo, cap'n. When I woke up, a big chap was kickin' me, an' I found I was on the deck of the Black Rover, well down the bay. About the first fellow I saw was Vernon, sittin' on a coil of rope. He tried to speak to me, but a ruffian in an old uniform wouldn't let him. As soon as I got to my feet, I was grabbed by the collar and pulled down here. The mate told me to watch you, an' carry word above when ye got your wits back." "This is the Black Rover, you say?" queried George, sitting up on the edge of the bunk and feeling the back of his head.


The "Black Rover." "Sure, cap'n. She's in the slave trade, an' mayhap we're bound for the coast of Africa, I don't know." "Vernon was well, Ned?" "He seemed well, cap'n; but gloomy, an' in a good deal of a temper." George became silent. Meeting Nimble Ned, whom he had parted from, weeks before, in Winchester, was a great surprise in itself. But he was confronted with a whole series of surprises, and could dwell but briefly on any one of them. Ned, it seems, had accompanied Washington to Wil liamsburg, and had been impressed into the slaver's crew. But that could hardly be the case with George and Vernon. They had been captured and brought aboard for some darker purpose. The young captain's mind went back to his ride with Vernon, toward the place of meeting, on the glebe lands. He started as though stung. What would Bradwin think of him to fail in keeping the appoint ment? Of course Brad win c o uld not know how he had been waylaid on the road. It was this thought that hurt George more than anything else.


The "Black Rover." 53 Then he thought of th e Pallas. He could not take passage in her to Philadelphia, as his uncl e the gov ernor, had commande d He gave a groan, th e n started to his feet with sudd e n determination. "What o'clock is it, Ned?" he asked. "Ten i' th morning, cap n the boy replied. "Ten in the morning!" cried George. "And I have lain here in these filthy quarters since these scoundrels brought me last night? There will be some one to pay for this," he ground out between his teeth. "Don't git reckless, cap n," caution e d Ned. "What can you do against the whole ship s crew?" "There's Vernon to help." "Yes, an' me. But what can the three of us do? The cap'n's cabin is full o mu s k e ts, cutlasses an' pikes. 1Be sure, the ole sea wolf would shoot or cut us down as quick as he'd eat a meal. Oh, he s a prime lad, the cap'n o' the Black Rover! "We can't be far off the capes," said George drear ily, realizing how hopeless was their position. "Land was still in sight when I came down here, cap'n."


54 The "Black Rover." "What is the captain's name, Ned?" "Todd, sir; Skull-an'-Cross-Bones Todd, they call 'im." "What of the crew, lad?" "Cutthroats to a man, cap'n. What could ye expect to find aboard a slaver?" "True enough. Have you any notion why Vernon and I were brought here?" "It can't be they want ye in the crew, cap'n, like they do me. I've been tryin' to guess what ye was knocked on the head for, an' lugged aboard, but I can't. Ver non passed his sword through the shoulder o' one that ambushed ye, an' Cap'n Todd is in a mighty rage about it. Lor', but I'm fearin' what'll happen when ye show yourself on deck." "Whatever happens will come about very soon, Ned," returned George. "I'm going on deck now. Dost know the way out of this hole?" "I can guide ye, cap'n. But how's your head? Are you well enough--" "I'm plenty well enough to meet this man, Todd, and tell him a few things he'll relish but little."


The "Black Rover." 55 "Remember ye' re in his hands, cap'n. Don't do any thin' reckless." "Give me your hand," answered George, shortly, "and lead me out of this." Still whispering words of caution to the young colonial, Ned took him by the hand, and conducted him to a ladder which led upward to a deck; through an other hatchway they pushed, and out into the glare of brood day. The sun was blindingly bright, and the sea as smooth as a pond. A hoarse bellow of wrath broke from some where near George. "Ye hibberly imp! I told ye to fetch word when young silks an' laces here s howed life si g nals. Aboard the Black Ro ver the cap n an the mate do the pipin' an the r e st o' ye dance. Dost hear? Take that for your aloomin' failure to obey orders There came the swish and fall of a rope's end, fol lowed by a howl of pain from Ned. George dashed his h a nd across his e y es, and his sight cle ared. The fat, tub of a man, with ropy hair and bullet eyes, was


The "Black Rover." belaboring Ned with a knotted rope, laying on with the ferocity of a fiend. "Stop!" shouted George. "Oh, I'll stop!" cried the other, mockingly, kicking Ned to the deck. "An' it please your worship, I'll give 1 you a dose of the cat, if ye make any remarks to me. A fine--" George was on fire at sight of the fellow's brutality. Quick as a flash he hurled himself forward and his fist shot out, catching the wretch on the point of the jaw and pitching him fair upon the deck. 'Twas a blow that would well-nigh have floored an ox, and small wonder that the man lay quivering and all but daft. The sailors, a motley, ill-favored crew came running from all parts of the deck, some of them laughing and some cursing but none making a move to lay hands on George. Perhaps, at bottom, they were glad to see the mate thus finely come up with. "Zounds, George!" breathed a hoarse voice m the youth's ear, "this means trouble for us. You've struck down the mate."


The "Black Rover 57 "Vernon !" muttered George, facing his friend, wh o had pressed close to his side. Frank's clothing was torn, he was bare-headed, and there was a black and blue mark on his cheek. George, indeed, was hardly in better trim, being minus his ha t and, in other ways, showing the effects o f the nigh t's struggle. Before the friends could indulge in further talk, a perfect roar came from aft, and the sailors, who had formed a close ring about the dramatic scene amid ships, were thrown right and left With a blood curdling oath a large man in a tarnished naval uniform hurled himself in front of George and Frank, his blo o d shot eyes traveling from the prostrate form of the mate to the two youths "So, ho!" the newcomer bellowed, one hand groping for the hilt of a cutlass that dangled from his belt. "Which of ye was it that keeled over the mate? Was it you, my spark? Or you?" He hurled the question first at Vernon, and then at George Both maintained silence. "Speak up, ye gawping fools!" thundered the man, glaring about him at the crew. "Who struck


58 The "Black Rover." down the mate? Answer, or by Heaven I'll flog the lot o' ye." "'Twas the lubber as come up from below, Cap'n Todd," spoke up one of the sailors. The captain whirled on George, and regarded him with a glaring eye. "So it was you, my fine buck!" growled Todd. "What did ye use? A belaying pin?" "He used his bare bob, Cap n Todd," chimed in the sailor who had spoken before. "What!" cried the captain, his eyes staring. "Floored that dog fish of a McLevy with his naked fist?" "That's the right o' it, cap n. r seen it with my own eyes. Eh, mates?" The hand appealed to his fellows, and there came a chorus of affirmatives. "Yer looks b e lie yer muscle," quoth the skipper, dryly. "A dandy with a bob like a sled ge hammer. Well, well !" A certain amount of resp ect had filtered into the captain 's manner. "'Tis luck y," he added, with a fiendi s h grin, "that ye've so much mettle left after the round o' last ni ght; ye'll need it all, I'm thinkin'."


The "Black Rover." 59 Just here, McLevy stirred, and sat up blinking. Todd let out a swirl of laughter. "Hast drifted back to earth, McLevy ?" he sneered. "A braw mate ye are, i' faith, to let a macaroni from the town stretch out yer fivefee t-eight on the deck." Swearing furiously, McLevy leaped to his feet, and rushed at George, who instantly threw himself into an attitude of defense. Todd whipped out his cutlass, and barred the mate with the point of it. "Not so fast, McLevy," warned the skipper. "An other blow like the first an' ye'll go into the sea with a shot at yer pins. 'Vast, I tell ye !" McLevy drew back, scowling darkly. "Didst find the letter, McLevy ?" asked Todd, his voice shaking down to a harsh whisper. "Pest take him! growled the mate. "He had the letter at the Coffee House, and he has it now. Hark ye, sir l It's the letter we want, an' if ye'll masthead him, we can make him tell where it is." These words were a revelation to George and Ver non. Now they knew why they had been beset on the road to the glebe lands. It was the governor's letter


60 The "Black Rover." the rascals wanted, and they had taken this devious method to get it. "You hear, my g allant?" spoke Todd, sheathing his cutlass and waving the mate b a ck. "Produce the letter, and all wm be well wi' ye." "Whose flag do you fly, Capt. Todd?" asked George. "A pretty question that, on my soul!" grunted Todd. ''We sail under the cross of St. George, an' it does ye any good to know." "Then, 'bout ship and take myself and friends back to Williamsburg, if you care to save your precious hide. The less said of the letter, the better 'twill be for yourself "Oh! ho! ho!" shouted the captain his brea s t ex panding wrathfully. "Our cock-o -the-walk is as quick with his ton g ue as h e is with his fist. I'll s a y as much as I please about the le tter, my h e arty ; and as for re turnin g you to your home port, you 'll produce the let ter, or ye'Il never see Williamsburg again. An' there's for ye. What's y er will?" "My will is," answered the young captain defiantly,


The "Black. Rover." 61 "that whatever letters I have about me I shall keep. Are you French or English, Todd?" The skipper swore, and Frank pulled restrainingly at George's sleeve. "You're playing with fire, George," he whispered. "Hold yourself in check-don't anger him." George, however, was sternly set to the purpose he had formed. "By Heaven," said Todd, "ye'll find, whether French or English, that I'm a man to be obeyed. This is my craft, from trucks to keelson. Whatever Todd says on the Black Ro'l!er is law." The young captain drew himself up to his full height. "I'll have you know, Capt. Todd," he said, "that I am Capt. George Lee, nephew of Gov. Dinwiddie, and aide on Col. Washington's staff. You and your mate will suffer for this outrage you have committed." "An' how will it be, my bantam, if you never reach port to enter complaint? Fiend take ye! Strip him to the waist, men By the seven spritsails, we'll masthead him. Bo' sun, the cat! The rest o' ye gawping bullies


62 The "Black Rover." lay hold of him I Bare his back, and lay him against the mast!" "Lay a hand on me, an' you dar e !" cried George. Vernon ranged himself alongside his comrade, shoul der to shoulder. The sample of hard-hitting which the young captain had already given the rascals made them slow to carry out the captain's orders. In a swirl of fury, Todd grabbed one of the men, and threw him t<> ward George. "D'ye hear my order?" he shouted, drawing his cut lass. "Obey it, or I'll cut ye down!" The profanity that accompanied these words proved the captain was beside himself with rage. Threatened hy the cutlass and goaded on by the mate as well as the captain the men rushed upon the two youths. Nimble Ned, who until now had kept dis creetly in the back g round, succeeded in tripping one of the sailors, pitchin g him sprawling into the others. C o nfu s i o n follow ed. G e orge tried to snatch a dirk fro m the belt of the s ailor n ea re s t him, but did not suc ceed Retreatin g to the rail he and Vernon used their fists.


The "Black Rover." Yet it was a hopeless battle. By sheer weight of numbers they were overborne. George's coat, waist coat and shirt were stripped from his back, and he was lashed to the mast. This excitement had claimed the attention of the whole ship's crew, the man at the wheel being the only one who paid any thought to his duty. As he stood at the mast, George's eyes rested on Vernon, who, beaten and sore, leaned limply against the rail. He was not so far spent, however, as he made it appear, for the in stant he caught his comrade's attention he jerked his head backward, in the direction of the poop. Scarcely turning his eyes, George followed the mo tion. Nimble Ned was there, wildly waving a white kerchief. What ailed the boy? George asked himself; and the next moment he knew. Off to starboard loomed the huge bulk of a ship, all sails set, and bearing hard down on the Rover. She was so close that George could make out the forms of the people on her decks. So interested was the young captain that, for the


The "Black Rover." moment, he forgot his predicament. The words of Todd soon brought the sorry situation home to him. "Lay on, bo'sun, an' when this pretty fellow tells where he has placed that letter, hold your hand." The bo'sun stepped forward, grasping the cat-o' nine-tails in his big fist. But before the cat could fall a cry of "Sail, ho I" went up. Great was the hubbub that ensued, and Todd, not caring to have spyglasses from the other ship turned on that scene in the waist of his own boat, ordered George released, and all three of the prisoners taken below, where they would be out of sight. "Blast that young un's eyes!" bellowed Todd, getting a look at Ned, who was still waving the kerchief. "Knock him down, some un Keel haul me, if I don't make him food for sharks !" Drawing a pistol from his belt, Todd gave a hasty look at the priming; then, crooking his left arm in front of his face, laid the barrel of the weapon across and took steady aim. "Look out, Ned!" shouted Vernon. Todd cursed long and loud, and Nimble Ned, just as


The "Black Rover." the pistol spoke spitefully, threw himself from the ship into the water. Boom! With startling suddenness a shot was thrown across the bows of the Rover, an unmistakable order for her to be brought to. A g lanc e in the direction of the other craft showed a second gunne r standing by his piece wi t h lig hted fuse, ready to fire a second shot if the first were not heeded. Todd was in a towe rin g rage by this time. Instead of ordering his ship hove to, he threw himself fiercely amo n g his men, ordering them to crowd on more sail; then, dissatisfied with the way his helmsman was per forming his duty, he leaped to the wheel, struck the man away and took it into his own hands. In a me as ure, George and Vernon were left to their own devices. Two sailors only were spared from work in g the ship to lo ok after them. A dirk had been slashed through the rope that bound the young capta in to the mast, and he was b eing conducted toward a hatchway, behind Vernon. All at once Frank turned on the sailor beside him,


66 The "Black Rover." and laid out gallantly with his fisti. Taken by surprise, the sailor reeled backward. "Now, George!" shouted Frank. "Let's follow Ned and get clear of this viper's nest." George saw the wisdom of the suggestion the mo ment it was made. With a quick move, he tripped the fellow who held him by the arm, rushed to the rail, grabbing up his coat from the deck as he ran, and threw himself after his comrade.


CHAPTER V. THE "PALLAS" AGAIN. A torrent of oaths burst from Todd's lips as the other two prisoners took to the water. He ordered his crew to fire on George and Frank, but before a musket or a pistol could be secured for the purpose the Rover had glided on, and the two youths were far astern. Another shot crashed from the 'Protruding muzzle of a gun on the other ship, tearing a huge rent in one of the Rover's main sails, but clearing the deck and dropping into the water beyond. Whatever else might be said of the Rover, certainly she had a good pair of I heels, and showed them well. Hand over fist she drew away from the larger: boat. On the latter craft, sailors had manned the falls the instant Ned threw himself into the water. The boy was picked up, and so also were George and Frank, after a long swim. Pursuit being hop e less, the larger craft gave it up, laid to and wai ted for th e lon g b oat t o r e turn w i th the three who had b e en r es cued. It is fa i r to assume that


68 The "Pallas" Again. there was much speculation aboard the big vessel as to the peculiar doings on the slaver. To the intense surprise of George Lee, the young officer in the longboat who laid hold of him and hauled him to safety, was none other than Lieut. Bradwin. To all appearance, Bradwin's astonishment at the strange meeting was as great as George's. "Gad!" ejeculated Bradwin. "An' I live if it is1l't Capt. Hotspur !" "And his friend, Lieut. Vernon!" piped Midshipman Collinson, from the other end of the boat. Chance had continued to play pranks, for it was he who had pulled Frank in out of the wet. "The same, Lieut. Bradwin,'' answered George. "This is not exactly the meeting I had counted upon." "Hardly," muttered Bradwin. "Last night's affair has hardly raised our estimate of you provincials, Lee." "That can be explained to your satisfaction," sai d George. "Not here,'' whispered Bradwin. "Keep a still tongue in your head concerning our differences, I beg you. The tale would not be relished by Capt. Culver."


The "Pallas" Again. should think not." "But I shall have satisfaction of you, for all that," went on the lieutenant, between his teeth. "You will get all the satisfaction you want, when ever and wherever fate offers opportunity." "So be it!" whispered Bradwin. "We will bide our time." Ned, wet as a drowned rat, but otherwise little the worse for his ducking, had risen to his knees. "Are ye all right, cap n ?" he sang out. "Right as can be, lad," answered George. "How goes it with yourself?" "Never better, sir. But, cracky we had a tight squeeze of it." "A miss is as good as a mile," spoke up Vernon, phil o sophically. "Luck was with us, George. Our good star brought the Pallas to the rescue. I thi nk I should be entirely happy if one of those cannon balls had struck the slaver between wind and water. Skull and-Cro ssBones Todd and Mate McLevy ought to fill an engagement in th e Williamsburg gatehouse."


The "Pallas" Again. "The slaver was too fast for us," chimed in Bradwin. "We nev e r should have been able to get so close to her had all hands not b ee n engaged at some sort of devilr y. You were the object of it; eh, Lee? They had you bared to the waist and trussed up, ready for the cat. We saw it throu g h our g las ses ." George made no re sponse, but the hot blood rushed to his face. If fortune would only be kind to him, and give him a chance to settle old scores with McLevy and Todd! That is all he would ask. Soon the lon gboa t was at the side of the Pallas, and the three rescued youths were hauled aboard. A fine looking officer met the dripping trio as they made the deck. "Zounds, but you got out of that trouble by a hair's breadth !" the officer exclaimed. "Who are you, if I may inquire, and what were you doing aboard the Black Rover! You are hardly of a feather with the birds on that craft, an' I am any judge of appear ances." "I am Capt. George Lee, sir--" '"What! Dinwiddie's nephew?''


The "Pallas" Again. 71 "At your service, sir. The young man with me is Lieut. Vernon, of my company of Young Guardsmen, now on the frontier with Washington. The lad is Nimble Ned, a private in the troop. He came to Williamsburg with Washington and fell afoul of a miscreant, who drugged him and impressed him into the slaver's crew." The officer regarded George, Frank and Ned for a space, then informed them that he was Capt. Culver, commanding the man-o' -war, and asked all three into his cabin. Some of the officers sent in an extra supply of cloth ing, and in the captain's berthroom all three got into dry garments, and made themselves more comfortable. Thereupon they joined the captain again. "A strange renconter, gent lemen!" exclaimed Capt. Culver. "My longb oat waited an hour for you at the very least. As you did not show yourse lves, I had made up my mind that the governor had changed his plans, and that you were not to go with us, after all." "Did th e governo r, or anyone ashore, learn that we had not sailed with the PaUas?" George asked.


72 The "Pallas" Again. "Not a soul ashore knows that you did not leave on the Pallas, captain. What happened to you that you left harbor on the Black Rover! Surely you and your lieutenant were not impressed along with the lad, there? These press gangs are lawless enough, yet they are careful not to aim too in their lawless work." Both Ned and Vernon maintained silence, thinking it would be best to let George do the talking. There was much the young captain might wish to withhold from even the commander of the Pallas. "Our misadventure, said George, "is directly due to this important mission of my uncle's. French spies fairly honeycomb the colonies, and I and my friend were carried off by such a man, who happens to be mate aboard the Black Rover." "Did the scoundrel succeed in his evil purpose, captain?" "No, sir; thanks to you and the Pallas. Your cGming was most timely, and saved the day for all three of us." George said nothing about the important document intrusted to him by the chief and the governor. Ned,


The "Pallas" Again. 7 3 in truth, knew something of that, as he had picked up a little knowledge of his young captain's work during the scene aboard the Rover. He was a sharp lad, and clever in putting two and two together so an inkling of George's mission was already in his mind. Much talk was indulged in, and when it was done, Capt. Culver was most hearty in his praise of the two youths and Nimble Ned. "You provincials have a way of going about matters that I like," said Culver. "My one regret is that we could not compel the Ro ver to heave to, while we took off this scoundrelly captain and mate; in faith, that would have been a good stroke of work for the king and the colonies. I shall have to put you young gen tlemen in tl:e officers' quarters and mess, and am only sorry that my own cabin is too small to offer you ac commodation. The fongboat that picked you up w as in charge of Lieut. Bradwin. I will introduce you t o him, and he will see that you are made as comfortal:>le as possible during the run north." George and Vernon exchanged looks at this If C apt. Culver had known of that meeting between


74 The "Pallas" Again. George and Bradwin, in the cabin of the Pallas the night the boat lay in the roads off Williamsburg, it is fair to suppose he would have made different arrange ments. Calling an orderly at the door he sent for Lieut. Bradwin. "Lieutenant," said the commander, "I want you to meet as brave a set of lads as there is in Virginia. They go with us to Philadelphia, and will lodge with you and your brother officers. Capt. Lee Lieut. Bradwin; and Lieut. Vernon. The boy is Nimble Ned" the commander smiled-"and whether he has any other name or not, I can't say." "Nimble Ned is all I was ever called, cap n," said the boy, with a broad grin. "But I'm one o' Cap'n Lee's Young Guardsmen, an' I know how to fight. Don't I, cap'n ?" Ned appealed to Georg e B e for e G e orge could an swer, Capt. Culver spoke up: "I don't need an y on e to t ell me y ou're a pluck y y oung ster. The way you dod ge d that pi s tol ball and took to the w at!!r proves that I think." Bradwin bowed to Geor g e and Frank.


The "Pallas" Again. 7$ "Confound it, Brad win!" cried Culver. "Why all this formality? Strike hands with the lads, can't you?" Bradwin s face whitened. If he refused the civility, a suspicio11 might be bred in his commander's mind. He offered his hand George gave it a perfunctory clasp, being followed by Frank in precisely the same manner. Then, with a word of thanks to Capt. Cul ver, George, Frank and Ned followed Bradwin from the cabin Among the officers to whom they were presently pre sented by Bradwin, George recognized thos e who had formed a part of the convivial gathering that night in the roadstead. These were cool in their greetings, espe cially Lieut. Leslie The others were more than hos pitable, at first, until Leslie took them apart and en gaged in a whispered conversation with them After. that, they, too, gave the newcomers as little notice as the rest. At the noon meal, which they all ate together, barring the few whose duties kept them on deck, George took occasion to say a few words with the view of setting himself and Vernon right in the minds of those pres-


76 The "Pallas" Again. ent. Neither of the youths wished to be looked upon as skulkers, in the matter of the duel. "I wish to lay a case before you, gentlemen," said George, passing his eyes over the none too friendly faces clustered about the board. "If one gentleman agrees to meet another in an affair of honor, yet fails to reach the field through no fault of his, would any of you here have cause to asperse his bravery?" "An' it was through no fault of his," answered Les lie, with unpleasant emphasis and a side glance at Bradwin, "there would be no cause to look upon such a gentleman with suspicion. But there are make shifts--" "The makeshift, as you are pleased to call it," in terrupted George, "was a halting on the ro a d by mem bers of the crew of the Black Rover. The gentleman in question had his horse fall under him, receiving a blow on the head that rend ered him senseless. On re gaining consciousness he was aboard the slaver, escaping thence with his friends in a manner with which you all must be familiar. That is the gentleman's case, and


The "Pallas" Again. 77 he is willing to let it rest with any impartial English man ashore or afloat." These remarks brought a decided change in the bearing of all the officers save Bradwin, Collinson and Leslie. They still held themselves aloof, and treated George and Vernon with studied indifference. Feeling that they had done all in their power to bridge over the misunderstanding, neither the young captain nor his lieutenant made any further advances. In the middle of the afternoon, Collinson approached the two youths as they walked the deck, arm in arm. "The Pallas will be in Philadelphia for some time,'' said the midshipman, "and Lieut. Bradwin hopes he will be able to meet Capt. Hotspur while there, in the manner proposed at the glebe lands, beyond Williams burg." "If you come from Lieut. Bradwin,'' began George, "I--" "I come from him, certainly,'' interrupted Col linson. "Then I would have you tell him that Capt. Lee will


The "Pallas'' Again. be pleased to meet him at any time and in any place he may name." "Lieut. Bradwin trusts that no more makeshifts will arise to interfere with--" Collinson's sneering speech was cut short by an angry exclamation from Vernon. "Have done, will you? Such talk, Collinson, dis ... graces the uniform you wear." The midshipman bit his lip, and shot an angry look into Vernon's face. "You are adding to the little account now standing between us, Lieut. Vernon," said he. "And which account, if you allow no makeshift of your own to interfere, will be fully settled at the time Capt. Lee wipes out his score." Collinson nodded and withdrew. George had no liking to see Frank drawn farther and farther into the projected meeting, but fate seemed to have laid hold of him for that purpose. "How do you like the hospitality of these man-o' war's men, George?" asked Vernon, with a low laugh.


The Pallas" Again. 79 "I shall be glad when we reach Philadelphia," the young captain answered. "And I, if only for the fact that we shall see Joann a and Amy when we get there." "We must make our first business the delivery of the governor's letter to Lord Loudon." "Of a certainty we must! That letter is as danger ous for us as a keg of powder and a lighted train. Until it is delivered, we shall not know what trouble may not overtake us on account of it. But the docu ment is safe, George ?" "Safe, yes. It was hardly dampened by my plunge in the water, thanks to the oil-skin case in which I placed it. It is now lying in the breast of this bor rowed coat." "Good! I think we are well rid of McLevy, and I doubt if any other spy is informed of our mission. Still, one can never be too sure of anything in this world-heavens! What is going on aft there?" Shouts and laughter were coming from the rear of the deck. The excitement seemed to focus about Nim-


S o The "P allas" Again. hie Ned and a huge, red-faced hulk of a sea dog, who was rolling aft with a bucket of hot tar. The clothing that had been 'sent to Capt. Culver's cabin for Ned had been a world too big for him, and not of a kind that the lad had been accustomed to. He reefed them in where necessary, so that they could not interfere with his movements, but they "hung all over him" in a way that was ludicrous to behold. A cocked hat, so large it fell about his ears, topped off the costume. In wandering about the decks the sailor men had made sport of the lad. Down in their hearts there were few of the crew who did not admire the lad for his pluck aboard the slaver, but a jack tar is always keen for a joke, and the big sailor with the bucket in his hand could not pass Ned without having a fling at his appearance. Ned retorted in kind, bringing a laugh from the by standers. The sailor did not relish having the laugh turned to himself, and grew angry. Ned, grinning broadly, continued to say things that put a sharp edge on the big fellow's temper. Finally the sailor, his


The Pallas" Again. 81 patience entirely exhausted, set down his bucket, and made a rush at his tormentor. Ned started for the ratlines, intending to climb up to the crosstrees ; but he changed his mind, dodged around the mainmast, zigzagged across the deck and at the last hopped over the bucket. The big sailor was close after him. Not being so light on his feet, however, he tripped over the bucket, upset it, and floundered into the hot tar. By dint of great effort he managed to rise to a sitting but there he stuck, alternately shouting for help and shaking his fist at Ned, who was stepping off an Indian dance all around him, crowing from sheer delight. George and Frank were on the point of hurrying to the scene and doing what they could to extricate the unfortnnate sailor, but Leslie, the first lieutenant, got there before them. In spite of himself, Leslie had to laugh at the big sailor's plight. By a heroic effort, the sailor tore himself free and retreated to the forecastle


The "Pallas" Again. minus a very important part of his trousers, a roar of mirth following him fron1 every part of the deck. The affair was explained to Leslie, and he l ookerl around for Ned ; but that worthy had vanished, an d was nowhere to be seen.


CHAPTER VI. A SURPRISE. The voyage up the Delaware was pleasantly and quickly made, and a pinnace from the man-o'-war set George, Frank and Nimble Ned ashore at Crooked Bil let wharf. The youths had taken friendly leave of Capt. Culver and most of the officers. There were a few intimates of Bradwin's, however, who hung back. It so fell out that Bradwin and Collinson were in charge of the pinnace that landed the young provincials. 'Where do you stay while in Philadelphia, c a ptain?" inquired Bradwin, as George paused for a moment at the boat side before clambering to the wharf. "At the home of my cousin, Marmaduke Lee, on High Street," George answered. "A communication will reach you there?" "Yes; but let your communication come soon, lieu tenant, for after my business is dispatched I shall not tarry long in the cit y ." "You will tarry long enough, I think, to call on Miss


A Surprise. Randolph. You will make but one call, captain, for, my word for it, she will send yo u to the rightabout." The hot blood rushed through George Lee's veins, and he could have struck the sneering face of the young officer. Withal his good birth and fine uniform, had he not the first instincts of a gentleman? This second insult was gratuitous, like the first. The fellow seemed bent on goading the young colonial into savage mood. Restraining himself, George bowed coldly and leaped up the wharf. The first move made by the three comrades was to find a shop where they could clothe themselves more fittingly When all was done, they stood forth in gar ments that were a credit to them. The change was all for the better, especially in Ned. "I had a heap o' fun out o' them clothes, cap'n," r e marked Ned, gazing humorously at the ill-fitting odds and ends donated to him aboard the Pallas. He was thinking of the big sailor with the bucket of tar. "Have a care, Ned," warned George. "We are like to have troubles enough without seeking any." The lad was as full of mischief as an egg is of meat,


A Surprise 85 and always had been. He was quite hopeless in th is respect, however, and even his many sad experienc es were not equal to teaching him be, tter. My Lord Loudon was supposed, by Gov Dinwid d ie, to be at the home of Master Courtright, a rich trader, an ardent Tory and a distant relative of the nob l e man's Master Courtright's house was in Walnut Street, and his shipping headquarte r s in Dock Street, along the river. A call at the Dock Street building fai l ed to d i sc o ve r the trader, and a visit to his house, although discovering him, developed the information that Lord Loud on was daily expected, but had not as yet arrived The youths were disappointed and perplexed Yet it can hardly be said that they were astonished. Lord Loudon was an inefficient man, w i th a fatal leaning toward procrastination. He had come out from England the year before to conduct the campaign against the French, and to his dilatory tactics more than anything else was due the disasters that had attended the B r itish and colonial arms. Presumably he was now casting about for some exploit which would retrieve


86 A Surprise. himself before he could be recalled and another sent to take his place. "This letter," said George, when he and his com panions had left the Courtright house, "was to be d e livered to Lord Loudon in person." "That means," r et urned Frank, "that we shall have to bide here in Philadelphia until we can perform our mission." "That will not be so great a misfortune, in one re spect," said George, with a smile. "You are thinking that Joanna and Amy will drive dull care away while we are waiting," laughed Frank. "That is the bri ght side of the picture Frank. The dark side is that every hour's delay affords our ene mies a fresh chance." "Oh, bother! Now that Capt. Todd and Mate Mc Levy have sailed off across the Atlantic, we have no enemies the French and this coxcomb, Bradwin, and Collinson." "Bradwin and Collinson, of course, have no designs upon the l etter, so we'll put a good face on the matter, and wait for my lord to return. First, though, we'll go


A Surprise. to the Half Moon tavern for a little to eat. Ned will stay there, and try and keep out of mischief while we pay our devoirs to Amy and Joanna." The tavern was in Fourth Street, just beyond the "academy," or college, as it was called, where once the great Whitefield had preached. George did not medi tate a very long stay at the Half Moon, but wished its use temporarily until he could establish himself at his cousin 's. His cousin, albeit a whole-souled gentleman, was rather peculiar. Although George was all but certain his friends would be as welcome at the High Street mansion as himself, he thought it best to call and acquaint Marmaduke with the situation. Mine host at the Half Moon was no Quaker, despite the fact that he wore drab clothes, with great horn but tons, and looked as humble as any "Thee and Thou" in the parish. The meal he set forth was ample to stay the appetites of three hearty lads like George, Frank and Ned. The meal over, George and Frank gave a few additional touches to their toilet, and started for the Pemberton mansion on Arch Street. Here, so


88 A Surprise. Joanna's Jetter to Frank had said, the two ladies were staying. A certain curiosity, not unmixed with reverence, led them to shape their course so as to pass the printing house of the great Dr. Franklin, whose name, at that time, had become a household word in every part of the English-speaking colonies. "Poor Richard s Alma nac," whose publication began in 1732, and continued for the space of twenty-five years, had become enor mously popular, and was the most quoted work in the country. Had Dr. Franklin been about the premises, the youths would most c e rtainly have called upon him, but at that hour he was on the seas, bound for England. As usual it was State business, having to do with the welfare of Pennsylvania, that had called him abroad. Whe n George and Frank knock e d at the door of the Pemberton house, a short st o n e 's throw beyond the somb e r buildin g where th e Frie nds held their meet in g s a blackamoor came to the entrance to meet them. "Is M i s s R a ndolph here?" G e orge asked. "Yass, suh," the slave answered, "Miss Randolph is


A Surprise. heah, suh. She an' Miss Joan done gone out in de gyarden. Step in, gen'l mun, an' I'll call de ladies." "No," said Frank, following George into the hall, "show us the way to the garden, and we'll join them there." "Yass, suh," answered the darky. He Jed them through the parlor-a. great room with thick rugs from the Orient covering the floor, and containing a spinet, a corner book closet and massive furniture in red walnut-and on and on, past door after door until they emerged into a grape arbor that led into the garden at its farther end. From somewhere in the distance George and Frank could hear a merry chatter of voices. "You need not come farther," said George to the black. "We will go alone-the ladies are our friends." The slave drew back, and George and Frank ran swiftly down the arbor. It had been long since they had seen their sweethearts, and their eagerness was not slow in getting into their heels. A disagreeable surprise awaited them. As they hurried out through the lower end of the


A Surprise. arbor they came upon the girls but Lieut. Bradwin and Midshipman Collin s on wer e with them. All four w e re s eated on a rustic bench under a cherry tree, the young na v al officers looking very handsome and fine in their uniforms. George and Frank restrained th e ir impetuous haste, and came to an abrupt halt, staring with no very agreeable feelings at the sce ne that met their eyes. Bradwin was devoting himself to Amy, and Collinson apparently had eyes for no one but Joanna. "Why, George!" cried Am y springing up from the bench, and running joyfully to meet the young captain. "Frank!" exclaimed Joanna, hastening to the lieu tenant. "Why didn't you let us know you were coming to Philad e lphia?" asked Am y when the greetings were over. "I did not kno w we w e r e comin g until the last moment Am y ," G e or g e answered, s t ea ling a lo o k at the nav a l office rs, w ho were s c o wlin g and bitin g their lips.


A Surprise. 91 "You might have let us know, an y wa y ," pouted Joanna. "There was no ti111e, Joanna," said Frank. "When we left Williamsburg, it was in a manner as sudden as it was unexpected," and here he also cast a look at Bradwin and Collinson. "It is a happy surprise you have given us, at all events," continued Amy, her beautiful face flushed with the pleasure of meeting her sweetheart. "Come, George. I wish to present to you my cousin, Alfred Bradwin, who has come to port in the good ship Pallas. You and Frank must meet him and his friend. This to be a day for surprises, does it not?" George did not answer, but wondered grimly at the fortune which had caused him twice to be presented to Bradwin, once by Capt. Culver and now by Amy. Introductions were given, and George and Frank, out of deference to the presence of the ladies, offered their hands to their enemies. Bradwin and Collinson haughtily refused the handclasp, thereby proving themselves to be cads. A pained and surprised look


A Surprise. crossed Amy's face, while a flash of resentment darted into Joanna's dark eyes. "I have had the-er-honor"-and here Bradwin gave a contemptuous twist to his voice--"of meeting Capt. Hotspur before." "And I have also had the pleasure"-Collinson spoke the word in an ironical way-"of en countering Lieut. Vernon. I hope our next meeting," he added, with an expressive glance, "will be more to my liking-if not to his." "It boots not how much either of us like the meeting you speak of," said Vernon, bluntly, "it will come, I can promise you." "Why-why-where have you met before?" queried '.Amy, in troubled tones. "We came with the Pallas to Philadelphia," said George. "Perhaps Lieut. Bradwin did not inform you?" "I did not," said Bradwin. "Had I known Mistress Amy Randolph would be so overj oyed in meeting Capt. Hotspur, I should not have called here at all." "Capt. Hotspur !" exclaimed Amy. "I do not like


A Surprise. 93 to hear Capt. Lee referred to by that name, Cousin Alfred." "Possibly not, Cousin Amy," returned Bradwin, sneeringly. "A hotspur has, or should have, a certain amount of courage. So I take it the nickname fits your Capt. Lee but ill." George's face went red in a flash; then, as suddenly, paled. Was Bradwin mad that he should speak in this manner before the ladies ? A muttered exclamation sprang from Vernon s lips, and he started forward. George caught his sleeve and held him back. The pained surprise in Amy's face had changed to a look of defiance. "Perhaps y ou do not know, Alfred Bradwin, said she, "that Capt. Lee is a v e ry dear friend of mine. Your words are insulting, not only to him, but to me. You are a relative, and I trust you will understand how that gi v es me the ri g ht to speak plainly. You are to apologize to Capt. Le e for your rudeness or leave here at onc e !" Am y had drawn h e r s le nd e r fig ure to it s full hei g ht, and the sharpness with which she sp o ke was a proof


94 A Surprise. of her vexation and earnestness. Bradwin appeared dazed by the unexpected reproof, As he stood blink ing, hi s gaze passing blankly fro1.11 George to Amy, Col linson stepped to his side, and whispered to him. Neither George nor Frank 'nad any idea what the midshipman said, but it had the effect of arousing Brad win. "I shall not apologize," said he. "And, since you have ordered me away, I can only do as you have bid. I trust, however, that I shall be long enough in Phila aelphia to unmask this Capt. Hotspur, and show you what he is." He bowed to Amy and to Joanna. "Come on, Collinson." The two stalked away, exchanging looks of deepest anger and resentment with George and Frank. When the two were gone, Amy sank down on the seat, breathless with the s uddenn ess of it alI, and nearly on the point of tears. George sat down beside her, and Frank went over to Joanna "I am sorry for your sake, Amy," said George, "that your cousin made suc h a scene." "There is something back of it, George," Amy re-


A Surprise. 95 turned. "Did you quarrel with Alfred while on the way to Philad e lphia? There was no quarrel while on the way to Phila delphia," said George, "but your cousin treated both Vernon and myself with a great deal of coolness." He did not want Amy to know anything about what happened in the cabin of the Pallas as she lay off Wil liamsburg, so he made his answer indefinite. At last, after a moment's thought, Amy went on: "I believe I understand the true cause of his feeling against you, George. Cousin Alfred has acted a most unmanly part. I hope he will see his error and ac knowledge it." "And if he does not--" "I shall not see him again," was the decided answer. Thereupon the subject was dropped, and the conversation flowed into other channels. The war was discussed. It was known that the British command e r in-chief was planning an expedition against Louisburg, ai:id both George and Frank were certain that the letter sent to Lord Loudon by Col. Washington and Gov. Dinwiddie had some bearing on that expedition.


A Surprise. But in this work, as in everything else, Loudon showed no energy whatever. He was forever planning, but never accomplishing anything. The mission that had brought George and Frank to P hiladelphia was confided to the girls, but nothing was said about the abduction carri e d out by the mate of the Black Rover, for the obvious reason that this would have led directly up to George s quarrel with Bradwin, and of that he was determined that Amy should know nothing. "Then you will be here until you can deliver that letter to Lord Loudon, will you, George?" inquired Amy. "Yes "I hope his lordship will be a long time in coming," said Joanna, with a coquettish side glance at Vernon. "I don't know but I am, too," laughed Frank, and thereupon, without giving the sli g htest notice of his intentions, he caught Joanna about the waist and kissed her on the lips. "You owed me that," said he, as his sweetheart struggled away from him.


A Surprise. 97 "Owed you that?" cried Joanna, with a toss of the head. "How so, Lieut. Whirlwind?" "Capt. Hotspur and Lieut. Whirlwind," smiled George. "There are a pair of names to conjure with." "Because," went on Frank, answering Joanna's question, "you should have greeted me in that way, Joan, when George and I first met you, here in the garden." "A thing that is not worth taking, Master Vernon, is not worth having," cried Amy. "That's so," spoke up George, and snatched a kiss from Amy's ripe, red lips before she had fairly done speaking. "After all, Amy," said Joanna, with a sly look at her friend, "that young midshipman is a handsome fellow, don't you think?" Frank looked worried. "Glad you think so," said he, a little tartly. "He has a very pretty uniform; eh, George?" "A most amazing uniform,'' answered the young cap tain, "but as for Collinson being handsome--well, to my mind, handsome is as handsome does."

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A Surprise. This appeared to touch the vital point of the matter. Joanna relented, and presently the young officers took their leave, after promising to call on the following da y and, if duty permitted, ride with the young ladies as far as Germantown. When they got back to the Half Moon, the two comrades found that Ned had left the tavern some time before. The landlord did not know where he had gone. Leaving Frank at the tavern, George made his way to High Street, and was soon with his cousin, Marmaduke Marmaduke Lee was a tall, solemn-faced man, who made no secret of his bitter animosity toward the king and parliament. This animosity began at the time Braddock, sent over from England to conduct the war against the French, assembled all the royal governors of the colonies at Alexandria, and endeavored to per suade them to tax the colonials in order to raise funds for the war. Marmaduke was supposed to have "a bee in his bon net.'' Already he was dreaming of unity among the

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A Surprise. 99 colonies, and of independence, although he kept these dreams carefully to himself. On occasion, however, he would say something to evidence his state of mind, and thus his natural bent became known. At his house, matters were not running smoothly at all. Four redcoat officers had been billeted upon him. Knowing Marmaduke Lee for a Whig, the officers spared no pains in their efforts to annoy their un gracious host. George was warmly g rPete d by his cousin, and, in spite of the fact that the hospitalities of the house were already taxed by the redcoats, insisted that George should bring Frank and Ned with him, a:nd come there to stay as long as duty kept the youths in Philadelphia. The young captain expressed his thanks, said he would come as soon as he could conveniently do so, and went away. As he descended the steps and turned into the street he came face to face with Lieut. Leslie and Midshipman Collinson. Leslie gave a nod of recognition, but Collinson, still rankled with the unpleasant scene in Master Pember-

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100 A Surprise. ton's garden, gave the young captain no greeting what ever. In a churlish tone he asked: "Your friend, Vernon, is in the house?" "No," replied George; "he is at the Half Moon tavern, on Fourth Street." "Gad!" growled Collinson. "It is hard work for Bradwin to get a meeting with you." He turned to his c ompanion. "I suppose we shall have to go to the Half Moon, Leslie. When we get there, more than likely Capt. Hotspur's friend will have dodged away so that we shall have only our trouble for our pains." "Lieut. Vernon is not given to dodging his enemies," retorted George, sharply "But, if you feel that there is any danger of his having done so, waive formality in the matter, and deliver your message to me." "Here it is, then," flared Collinson. "Be at the spring in the governor's woods at seven in the morn ing. Are the time and place agreeable to you?" "Any time and any place will be agreeable," replied George. "The sooner this business is over with the better. Vernon and I will be on hand." "Have a care that nothing happens to you before you

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A Surprise. IOI reach the governor 's woods," added Collinson, !!la liciously, as he and L e slie turned away. George flushed ang rily, but kept a bridle on his tongue. A few moments later he was striding awaYi in the direction of the Half Moon tavern.

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CHAPTER VII. NED'S STARTLING DISCOVERY. It was early candlelight when the young captain re joined his comrade at the tavern. To his relief, he found Nimble Ned with Vernon. "Here's George, now!" exclaimed Frank, rising from the table where he was sitting as George en tered the room. "Where did you go, Ned?" asked George, some what sternly. "You had orders to wait here until Lieut. Vernon and I returned." "Like yourself, cap'n," grinned Ned, "I was on de tached duty." "Detached duty?" echoed George. Ned nodded. "The lad has been doing brave work, George," spoke up Frank. "Unless he is greatly mistaken he has made a startling discovery, and one that is of great concern to you and me." "What is it?" asked George. Vernon had again

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Ned's Startling Discovery. 103 seated himself, and George took a chair and drew it close to the table. "Go on, Ned," said Frank. "Tell the captain just what you told me." "Well, cap'n," proceeded Ned, "I was sittin' out in front o the tavern, a little while after you an' the lieu tenant left, an' I saw a man in one o' those Quaker suits, with a beaver hat on his ugly head, walkin' past. I knew him in a minute, cap'n, in spite o' his clothes; but he didn't know me, although he gave me a pretty square look, right in the eyes." "Who was it?" asked George, deeply interested. "Mate McLevy." George bounded forward in his chair as though a firelock had been set off near him. "McLevy !" he exclaimed. "Here, in Philadelphia. Why, we left him--" George did not finish, but turned blankly on Vernon. "I know what you'd say, George," said Frank. "We left McLevy, Todd and their crew of scorpions sailing the sea, the prow of the Black Rover pointed across

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104 Ned's Startling D iscovery. the Atlantic. Now, if Ned has it right, one of thaf rascally crew is right in this town of Philadelphia." "But how could it be?" murmured the young captain. "It could well be, I think," answered Frank. "The Rover is a fast boat when properly handled, as we know. It would not have been at all difficult for her to follow the Pallas up the Delaware, and set McLevy ashore at Lewes. He could ride here horseback." "Following us, you think?" "Who else? What should bring him to this place if not that letter you are to deliver to Loudon ?" "Softly, lad," returned George. "How could Mc Levy know that the letter would not be delivered be fore he reached here? I have had plenty of time to dis charge my mission, as this scurvy rascal must know, full well." "He may know that Loudon is not here as yet. I'd give a king's shilling to know more about McLevy and Todd. If they are Britons, why are they playing thus into the hands of the French?" "Britons, pah !" answered George. "They are little better than pirates, Frank, and I should not have been

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Ned's Startling Discovery. ms at all surprised to see them break out a black flag at the masthead while we were aboard their craft. Todd and McLevy will get that letter, if they can, and they will sell it to the French. Remember, the governor said Montcalm would pay. a pretty penny to see the letter's contents." "True. We have proof enough, I think, to warrant us in the belief that McLevy and Todd are renegades, working for their country's enemies. But," and here he turned to Ned, "go on with the rest of it, my boy." "There ain't much more to tell," continued Nimble Ned. "As I said, McLevy did not recognize me. The clothes I have on now are different from what I wore on the Rover-so different that he passed me by, al though he looked over the Half Moon pretty sharp." "Possibly he knows we are lodging here," quoth Frank. "As McLevy walked on," said Ned, "I followed him, and he went down toward the river, and went in at the sign of the Three Mariners-no very reputable place, cap'n, so I hear." "What, then, Ned?" asked George.

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106 N cd's Startling Discovery. "I wait e d around hopin' to see more o McLevy, but he did not show himself. Then, as it was g ettin late, I came here an' found Lieut. V e rnon. That's all." "How long since you got back here J Ned ? "A matter o' half an hour, I r e ckon, cap'n." George arose. "Where away?" asked Frank, also rising. "To the sign of the Three Mariners," replied George, grimly. "If this fellow in Quaker costume is really McLevy, he must be captured and sent to the gaol. "A good stroke, that, if we can accomplish it,'' said V croon. "Let us make haste, George. The fellow may have already escaped us." They started forthwith Ned following them. George was not strange to the streets of the town, having visited Marmaduke Lee several times in ous years. The Three Mariners was th e inn at which Franklin would have stopp ed, wh e n a p e nniless y outh s e eking his fortune, he first entered Philadelphia, long before

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Ned's Startling Discovery. 107 A young Quaker met Franklin before he could enter the place, however, and sent him elsewhere. Sounds indicative of most unseemly carousing broke on the ears of the three friends as they came near th e door of the taproom. There were dicers' oaths, and sea songs bellowed loudly, and all manner of hoarse sailor talk. Opening the door and stepping across the threshold, George and Frank and Ned found themselves in a room reeking with the fumes of liquor and tobacco. Pipes were going and glasses were clinking on every hand; so thicl{ was the tobacco smoke that the room was befogged with it. "What would ye tiere ?" growled a voice, from some where in the vapor ....... Straining their eyes, the youths made out a puffy, red-faced man seated at a table. The man wore a hor s e hair peruke which was awry, on his head, so that the tail of it stuck straight upward. He was smoking a "churchwarden"-a kind of long, clay pipe. This worthy gentleman knew very well that George and Fr.;mk were not patronizing the Three M arin e rs

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r 108 Ned's Startling Discovery. from any love of the inn or of the entertainment to be had there. The very appearance of the youths was against any such supposition. "We are looking for a man, who, we have been told, came here," said George. "His name?" "What he calls himself now we do not know. We should like to walk through the room and look for him." The eyes of the little man twinkled suspiciously. "Chut !" he muttered. "Take yourselves off. The Three Mariners is not for gentry of your sort. As for 'this man ye seek, if he is a patron of the inn he is under my protection. I will not have him spied upon.'' "Ah!" exclaimed Frank. "Mayhap you'll not be able to help yourself, friend." "I am none of your long-faced Quaker tribe," cried the little man, floundering to his feet in a temper, "nor yet a friend of yours. Will you leave here in peace?" "After we look for the man we have come to find," returned George, starting toward the rear of the room. The little man started after the youth, and Ned, al-

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Ned's Startling Discovery. 109 ways on the alert, threw a chair against his fat legs and pitched him forward into the sand of the floor. The proprietor gave a dismal howl, tried to get up and rolled against the table. The table was upset, and the lighted candles, which stood on its top, tumbled with it. Instantly that part of the room was in total darkness. Most of the other inmates had been attracted by the disturbance near the door. Naturally they were all on the landlord's side. The moment darkness fell, George felt a form hurl itself against him with a force that well-nigh drove him off his feet. Regaining his balance quickly, the young captain leaped back. An oath broke from the darkness as the other pressed again to the attack. "Here's a pretty pother !" cried Frank, from some where to the right. "Use your fists, captain, and use them well if you'd save yourself a broken head." From the sturdy "thwack thwack!" and fierce shuf fling of feet in the sand, following swiftly upon Ver non's words, it was plain that he himself was following the advice he had given his comrade. A shrill cry

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IIO Ned's Startling Discovery. broke from Ned, a cry of excitement not unmixed with delight. "Cracky This is almost as fine as fightin' the Frenchies. But I'd like it more if we could see." N d, it must be owned, had a sad taste, and dearly loved a fight; so there was no doubt but that he was improving this opportunity to its full extent. George, meanwhile, had caught a blow in the shoul der that turned him half around. Spinning back to his former position, he charged his unseen opponent, grasped him about the middle and flung him backward. In falling, the fellow must have carried several of those at his back down with him, for a chorus of angry yells went up. Just as George was thinking that the errand that had brought himself and his friends to the inn would. result disastrously, so far as finding McLevy was con cerned, a sharp cry escaped Ned. "Cap'n There goes our man through the door! Come on, quick !" As the boy spoke, he bounded out. "Frank !" shouted George.

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Ned's Startling Discovery. 111 "Here!" Frank answered, close at hand. "Come on! We'll follow Ned. He may be on the right track." Then they, too, dashed from the room and into the street.

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CHAPTER VIII. A HOT CHASE. It was not nearly so dark in the street as it had been in the taproom of the inn. As George and Frank stood for a moment to get their bearings, th e y heard another cry from Ned. Facing in the direction from which the cry came, they saw two dark figures in the distance. One of th e se fig ure s the y knew must belong to Ned and the other to the man whom he thought to be McLevy. The figures were close together, and suddenly the figure in the lead turned on the one behind. There came the sound of a blow, a shout as of pain and one form measured its length on the ground, while the other continued on in wild flig ht. "Ned's down! muttered Frank, through his ''We must get the villain, panted George, and both youths struck into a swift run. The form on the ground was rising as they hurried past.

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A Hot Chase. 113 "Are you badly hurt, Ned?" asked George. "No, cap'n," the boy flung back. "That blow o' his caught me nappin'. Keep after him-I can't run very much myself, or--" Neither George nor Frank had slackened speed, and were out of earshot before Ned had finished talking. On and on sped the two youths, gaining on the man ahead at every step. McLevy was making hard work of the race. He was more used to the rolling deck of a ship, than to the firm earth; and then, too, he was heavy and loggy, and not built for running. George and Frank could hear him wheezing, and puffing, and swearing as he stumbled forward in his feverish haste. "We'll be up with him before many minutes have passed," said Frank. George did not spare breath to answer, but jumped ahead at renewed speed. McLevy had laid a north west course in the direction of a low bluff near to Dock Creek-a small stream emptying into the Delaware. Not far from the foot of the bluff stood a substantial l o oking house, and the fleeing man, being too hard

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A Hot Chase. pressed to proceed farther turned in at the house, dis appearing into the front of it as if by magic. As the youths came closer, McLevy s was explained. As was the fashion in some of the houses of that time, the great door at the entrance was in two parts, cut through at the middle. The upper half of the door was open, and McLevy had thrown himself through it. George lost little time in effecting en trance in the same manner, and Frank followed close behind his friend. Darkness and silence filled the house, and the youths paused, breathless from their run, and list e ned for s o me sound that would indicate McLevy s presence and whereabouts. At last they saw a candle gleam down a corridor, approaching from an angle of the passage. They started forward, but had taken only a few st e ps when they heard an exclamation of surprise followed by a heavy fall. The next moment they rounded the angle, and came upon the form of a tall man sitting dazedly in the sand, which thickly covered the floor. The man was evidently a Friend, for he was dressed

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A Hot Chase. in drab, with horn bottons, straight collar, his slim legs clad in dark hose. As he sat up in the sand he caressed his forehead with one hand, and with the other raised aloft the candlestick. By some chance the candle had not been extinguished. "Beasts of the pit!" he cried. "This is a house of peace. Begone! Begone, I tell thee." "Why," cried George, starting back. "Tobias I Can this be you, Tobias?" The Quaker brush ed a surprised hand across his eyes, then got up, gazing sharply at George as he did so. "Yea,," said he, "thou hast my name, friend. Tobias Scatterwell is my name. But thou-where have I seen thee? Ah!" A look of pleasure suddenly overspread his face. "Can it be thyself, Capt. George Lee? Lad, lad, what dost thou here at such a time, and coming in such a way?" It was a strange meeting. George Lee had been riding in hot haste to the outpost of Winchester some months before, answering a summons sent by Col. Washington. At a crossroads tavern he had had a

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116 A Hot Ch2Se. brush with enemies, and Friend Tobias had forgotten that he was a man of peace and had taken a courageous part in the trouble and helped the young captain save the day. A service like that was something George Lee never forgot. There was scant time for greetings. "I and my friend here are in pursuit of a man who flung himself through your door, Tobias," said George, clasping the Quaker's hand hurriedly. "A large man with an evil face, Friend George?'' asked Tobias, instantly on the alert. "A man wearing Friends' clothes, yet not of our society?" "Yes, yes." "It was he whom I encountered in the passage. Hearing a noise at the door I came to see what was wrong, and the fellow met me at the angle here with a blow that felled me. Inasmuch as he struck me on one cheek I should have turned the other. But I am worldly minded at such times, Friend George, and, I trow, I should have struck him back had I been able. But come, perhaps he is yet in the house." McLevy was not in the house, however, as a hasty

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A Hot Chase. search proved. From the house the search was carried to the garden. The garden was filled with fruit trees and stretched down to the waters of Dock Creek. Here and there through the shadows the three looked, but in vain. Finally, standing at the edge of the creek, Tobias caught George's arm. "Listen," he breathed. "Dost thee not hear it?" "I hear a splash of oars," said Vernon. "Yea, verily. The rogue has taken my boat and is rowing into the Delaware. I fear he has escaped thee, George. Let him go his way. Come back into the house with thy friend. I will make thee comfortable and we will--" "Not now, Friend Tobias," broke in George. "Is there not another boat somewhere near?" "There is a yawl belonging to Neighbor Hackwell convenient to hand. Since thou art determined to follow the man, I will show it to thee." Appreciating the necessity of instant action, Tobias ran farther down the creek bank and pointed out the small fishing boat in question. A pair of oars lay across the seats, and without more ado, George and

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118 A Hot Chase. Frank tumbled aboard, Frank picking up the oars and George standing erect in order that he might search the gloom ahead. "I shall see thee again, captain, shall I not?" called Tobias, from the bank. "At the first opportunity, Tobias," George answered. "Remember, I shall expect it. Good luck to thee, lad. Have a care of thyself if thou findest the man. He is desperate. If thou comest to close quarters, however, pray give him something on my account." And Tobias, who was not so good a Quaker as he might be, chuckled to himself as he turned away. Vernon had skill with the oars, and pulled a strong, silent stroke. They glided noiselessly down Dock Creek to the river, George scanning the broad reach of water that lay before and listening intently for the sound of McLevy's oars. By that time the moon had risen and was trailing a path of molten silver across the Delaware. Suddenly George sank to his knees in the yawl and gave a mut tered exclamation. "What is it, George?" asked Frank.

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A Hot Chase. 119 "Hist! not so loud. Lay the yawl m among the flags along the bank. Quick, Frank I Our man is above us ; if he does not see us he will think he has given us the slip and mayhap will return to the creek." Noiselessly Frank whirled the no!'e of the yawl into the flags that skirted the river bank, and then drove it straight ahead. The broad leaves of the water-plants shrouded the small craft and its passengers completely. Lifting their heads above the tops of the flags, George and Frank were able to look out and see without being seen. Above them, in the direction of Cohocsink Creek, they made out the form of a man and a boat. The man was using his oars 011ly enough to keep his skiff far ot from the bank, so that it was dropping down with the tide, well into midstream. Presently he would drift past the point where the two youths were watch in g but too far out for them to intercept him. "I have a pistol," whispered Frank, "and I could pick the rascal off with it as he drifts past us." "Don't do that," returned George. "We are not ab-

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110 A Hot Chase. solutely certain yet that he is the right man. Even if he is the right man he has done nothing for which we should kill him." ''He may not be the right man," responded Frank; "but as to the rest of it I am in no mood to split hairs. If I knew he was McLevy I would as soon bullet him as I would any other French spy." "It were best to take him prisoner," answered George, quietly. "If he turns into Dock Creek he will have to pull ashore very near where we are now; then, if fortune is with us, you can lay the yaw l alongside his boat and I will take care of him." So they waited and watched. McLevy, however, did not make for the inlet of Doc k Creek ; on the con trary, he drifted far past that point, and at last swerved the bow of his craft and pulled manfully, dis appearin g in the dark shadow of Windmill Island. "He has landed on the island," muttered Frank. "The shadows lie so thick along the i s land," re turned George, "that it is hard to tell what he has done. I think it would be well for us to go over there, though, and investigate."

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A Hot Chase. 121 "It is the only thing to be done," returned Frank. Thereupon the yawl was pulled out into open water and driven with lusty strokes to the island, making shore at about the point where McLevy had disap peared from sight. "There's the boat he used!" exclaimed George, in an undertone, as he caught sight of the skiff. "And McLevy isn't in it, eh?" "No. We'll land a little farther down shore, Frank, and then get out and see what we can find." Ominous quiet hovered over the island, broken only by a croaking of frogs and a chirping of crickets. There was timber abreast of the point where the youths stepped ashore, and they pushed into the darker shadow of the trees. George took the lead and Frank followed him closely. They had not penetrated into the woods a hundred feet before the young captain whirled and caught his companion by the arm. There was no need for Frank to inquire the cause of this startled movement on George's part, for his own eyes showed him the danger. A little distance away a light had suddenly become

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122 A Hot Chase. visible. It was given out by a lanthorn, suspended from the limb of a tree. Seated on a log under the lanthern, his face turned toward them and full in the light, the youths saw Todd, the captain of the Black Rover!

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CHAPTER IX. A DARING PLOT. "Skull-and-Cross-Bones" Todd was not alone. Near him, squatting on the earth, were two other men) evi dently belonging to the slaver's crew. But neither of the two men with Todd was McLevy. Of that the two youths were certain. This unexpected discovery of the skipper of the Black Rover surprised the lads not a little. Todd was certainly a daring rogue to trust himself so near the man-o' -war Pallas after what had happened. The three worthies under the lanthorn were talking, but in tones so low their words could not be distin guished by George and Frank. Although he abhorred the role of an eavesdropper, the young captain felt it his duty to learn as much as he could of Todd's inten tions, especially as they seemed to relate entirely to himself and the mission on which the governor had sent him to Philadelphia. Without a word to Frank, George dropped down on

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A Daring Plot. his kne es and began a stealthy advance in the direction of the lanthorn and the group underneath it. Frank understood the reason for the proceeding, and also went down on all fours and crept after his comrade. A thicket of brush, near enough to Todd and his companions to enable the youths to overhear what was said, formed a screen, and behind this thicket the youths halted and listened. "What ails McLevy ?" growled Todd. "He should have got back here long ago." "Mayhap he has run afoul of those lubbers that jumped from the Rover when the Pallas bore down on us," suggested one of the others. Todd swore in angry impatience. "An' what if he has?" he demanded. "Catch a weasel asleep if ye can, but ye'll never catch McLevy off his guard. By the seven spritsails if he crosses the course of young Lee I'll wager all o' Kidd's gold that he get s th e letter. No more of such talk, Clapham. Mc Levy will come, mark me." "I miscloubt me, cap'n, if we ever lay hold o' that let ter," grumbled the third member of the group. "Faith,

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A Daring Plot. it is a foolish business that brings us here, after what was done on the Rover." Todd threw himself forward until his face was within a foot of the man's who had just spoken, his bloodshot eyes glaring fiercely into the face in front of him, his clinched fist half drawn back as though to strike. The other clapped a hand to his belt. "I mean it," he continued. "We're ashore now, an' not afloat, cap'n. Raise your hand against me an' I'll put a bullet through you. Treat me right, an' I'll sarve ye well ; but I'll not be bullied by the likes o' you." "Ye've got French courage, Hornby," grunted Todd, falling back. "An I'll tell ye this, my man-either afloat or ashore, ye're under my orders, an' ye'lJ obey orders, or ye'll never live to get back to the Rover." "All my eye an' Betty Martin, Todd," answered Hornby, insolently. "I go not a step farther in this till I know your plans. You are after big game, an' I'm goin' to know what it is. If ye don t tell me, I'll leave ye to shift for yourself. Nor will I go back to the Rover, but stay in this colony of Pennsylvania." "An' see the inside of a gaol for yer pains!" gritted

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:.. 126 A Daring Plot. Todd, repressing his wrath with a fierce effort. "We're all in the pay o' the French." "I make no objections to that," said Hornby. "Gold is gold, whether it is French or British. What are we to get, an' what are we to do to get it?" "Hornby's on the right tack, cap'n," spoke up Clap ham. "It's right we shoul<;l know." "Have I said I wouldn t tell ye?" demanded Todd. "If we succeed in our work we'll all be set up for life. England may be too hot to hold us, an' as for these colonies they were never to my mind. But there's France. We can live with the frog-eaters, an' we please; and we can all have commissions in the French service." "The work! the work!" returned Hornby, impa tiently. "Getting that letter Dinwiddie sent to Loudon is the least of it. A blow is to be struck against Louisburg, an' the French are anxious, as well they may be. Din widdie's letter contains suggestions from Washington relative to the expedition." "But if the letter is now in Loudon's hands?"

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A Daring Plot. "It can't be. Loudon is not in Philadelphia. He has no energy, this Loudon, an' when he does a thing he does it by halves. He should have been in Phila delphia long ago, but he has wasted time on the way. To-morrow he will reach Germantown, with only one orderly at his heels, and will lie for the night at the Crown Inn." "What of that?'' "What! Can'st not see through the bole in the millstone, man?" "I can see, I think, that if Loudon gets not his letter to-day he will get it to-morrow, or the day after, when he reaches Philadelphia." "Zounds, man! He will never reach Philadelphia." Hornby and Clapham stirred excitedly. "Not reach the town?" queried Clapham. "Faith, no," said Todd, with a raucous laugh. "He will be met on the road from Germantown b y four farmers. Swift horses will carry us across country to the Delaware. Under cover of night we drop down the river by safe and easy stages until we reach the Rover. After that, our port of call will be Louisburg,

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128 A Daring Plot. and my Lord Loudon will find himself in the hands of the French." The wild and reckless daring of such a plot was al most beyond belief. Frank took a grip on George's arm as they listened. The harebrained scheme had small chance of success, and yet, with such men as Todd and McLevy, that slight chance might be wrought into a success. There was one way to settle this precious plot for good and all, and that was by taking to the yawl and :.:owing to the Pallas without a moment's delay. Capt. Culver could be given the facts and the longboat could be sent to Windmill Island and the conspirators cap tured ere they could attempt to execute their plans. This proceeding was in George's mind. Before he co u ld make a move in the direction of carrying it out, however, there came sounds of some one approaching. Instantly Todd and his two companions were on their feet, Todd with his cutlass in hand, and Hornby and Clapham with pistols out and ready. But there was small cause for alarm. The new comer proved to be McLevy, and he was dragging a

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A Daring Plot. prisoner with him. To the amazement of the youths in the thicket, the prisoner was none other than Nimble Ned! How had Ned come to be in such a predicament? He had been left on Dock Street staggering under a blow giv e n him by the mate and unable to take active part in the pursuit. Ned had a propensity for putting in a most untimely app eara nce in the most unexp e cted places. Yet how he came to be there at that time was a riddl e which his friends were unable to guess. "Oh, it's you, is it?" grunted Todd, sheathing his cutlass. "Who have ye there, McLevy ?" "A spy, cap'n. You know him I think? "Know him? Not I, mate. If he is spying on us, why have ye failed to tumble him into the river?" "I thought he could give us news of young Lee." "Lee? What has he to do with young Lee?" "Give him a sharp look, Todd. Ye'll know him, I'll warrant." Todd stepped closer and gave Nimble Ned a critical

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130 A Daring Plot. glance. Then he swore roundly, and clapped a hand to the hilt of his weapon. "So, ho! my young cock-o'-the-walk !" he cried. "It's you, hey? Well met, say I. What hast thou been doing with thyself since taking French leave of the R over?" Ned was a most defiant prisoner. McLevy had him by the collar, and was clinging to him with a grip of iron, but the boy showed not a sign of fear. "Why should I tell you what I've been
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A Daring Plot. 131 "Think ye an officer has fellowship with a private? He is my cap'n." "And the company?" "The Young Guardsmen," answered Ned, straight ening proudly and throwing out his chest. A contemptuous laugh broke from Todd 's lips. "Where is the captain and the friend that was with him?" he asked. "I know not. Faith, it's hard enough to keep track o' myself, let alone the cap'n an' the lieutenant." "He cuts his talk out of a whole cloth, cap'n," put in McLevy, giving a vicious jerk to Ned's collar. "It was he that discovered me in this Quaker rig, and I had the work of my life getting free of this cap'n of his an' the lieutenant. A stern chase they gave me, straight from the sign of the Three Mariners to Dock Creek. I dashed into the house of an old 'Thee-an' Thou,' knocked a Quaker off his pins, got out a rear door and so to a boat on the creek. Young Lee missed me, fair enough, but this bantam stuck to my heels like a leech. He must have got a boat and rowed to the island. At any rate I heard a noise in the brush,

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131 A Daring Plot. near the marsh at the lower end of the island, and went there. I had no trouble in findin' the boy an' layin' hold of him." "Then, McLevy," returned Todd, "he's a spy, as ye say. As we can't tell how much he has found out about us, we must clear him out o' the way. Now is the time. We can't play fast an' loose with a source of danger like this." Not only the ruffian's words, bMt his manner as well, showed clearly that he would not hesitate to take the lad's life. Crouching; in the thicket, George and Frank heard and saw everything. If Ned was saved, some thing would have to be done, and quickly. Hornby, Clapham and McLevy were likewise of Todd's way of thinking. The s.uccess of their daring plot might be menaced b y Ned and the knowledge he had picked up. The lust for gold, in such men, is suf ficient excuse for any crime, however d a rk. Ned's face turned a s ickly white under the gleam of t he lanthorn. Yet he wa s t o o brave to crin g e or cower before his foes. Hornby drew his pistol and

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A Daring Plot. 133 extended it toward Todd. The latter shook his head and took firmer grip on his cutlass. "That would make too much noise," said he. "Clap a hand over his mouth, mate," he added to McLevy, and took a step toward Ned, pushing up the sleeve of his sword arm as he did so. Ned, aware that he was face to face with an issue of life and death, and that no mercy was to be hoped for from these fiends in human form, began to struggle. He was like a child in McLevy's grasp, however, and his struggles were futile. Then he attempted to cry out, but the mate's hand was over his lips. Just at that instant, when Ned's life wavered in the balance, Vernon drew his pistol, took careful aim at Todd and would have fired, had not George laid a quick hand on his arm. "The lanthorn !" whispered George. To shoot Todd would have availed little, and might have wrecked the whole scheme for saving Ned. In the darkness and excitement following a shot at the lanthorn the boy perhaps would succeed in effecting his escape.

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134 A Daring Plot. Frank, recognizing at once the value of his com rade's suggestion, turned the point of the pistol upon the lanthorn. The explosion of th e weapon foll o w e d quickly. There was a crash of breaking glass, the light was snuffed out, and after a moment of silence a swirling torrent of oaths broke from the rascally quartet. "Run, Ned!" shouted George. "Run for your life, boy!" "I'm free, cap'n !" came a shout from Ned. "Look to yerself."

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CHAPTER X. FRANK'S RUSE. The reassuring cry from Nimble Ned proved that the main part of the counterplot engineered by George and Frank had succeeded. The boy had escaped in the excitement following the shot from the brush and the breaking of the lanthorn. It now remained to evade the four rascals from the Black Rover and re gain the boat at the shore. In a perfect fury of rage Todd and his companions had rushed blindly into the undergrowth from which the well-aimed bullet had come. But, when they reached the point, George and Frank were not there. The two youths had turned and raced for the point where the yawl had been left. George was in the lead, Frank following him by a few feet. A cry from Frank caused George to halt. "What has happened, Frank?" asked George. "I'm down, George. Save yourself-don't bother about me."

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Frank's Ruse. "Are you hurt?" George returned through the dark to his friend's side as he put the question. "I tripped over a log," returned the lieutenant, "and have sprained my ankle. Quick, George! make offthere's not a second to waste." "I shall not leave you, Frank," answered George. "Don't be foolish All I can do is to hobble along, and if you stay to help me you can't get away. Gad I how that ankle hurts! It's badly twisted." "Give me your hand, lad," returned George. "Now lean on me and we'll get to the boat some way." "You're forgetting the letter," begged Frank, w;1is pering in his friend's ear. "I'm forgetting nothing," was George's firm response. "I'll not abandon you, no matter what happens. Come -we're a good way from being captured. We can reach the yawl, I'm sure." To demur was useless, as Frank could plainly see. Capt. Hotspur was never known to desert a friend in danger. Leaning heavily on the young captain's shoulder the lieutenant limped painfully onward, smothering the

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Frank's Ruse. 137 groans that rose to his lips and proceeding as fast as he could under the circumstances. The sounds of crashing brush and wild oaths had died away as if by magic, "Todd and his bravos have gone on a wild goose chase," said George, cheeringly. "They are looking for us in some other direction, and while they're at it we 'll make good our escape." Vernon was berating the accident that had lamed him at such a critical moment. "There, there, lad !" broke in George. "I think luck has been with us in this venture in spite of your mis hap. Ned got away, and I'll warrant the scoundrels will not catch him. The boy's life is saved, and if ever he needed help he did then." "But that letter," groaned Frank. "Todd and Mc Levy would give their eye-teeth to get it, and every moment that hinders our flight gives them a chance." "They have small chance now. There is our yawl yonder. A few steps more and we shall be aboard." It was with great difficulty that the young captain got his friend into the yawl. The reeds grew thickly

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138 Frank's Ruse. along that part of the shore, and the water was somewhat shallow. After Frank had been made a:; com fortable as possible in the stern of the small craft, George unshipped one of the oars and arose to push off. They could not wait for Ned, but they knew very well that the boy could be trusted to look after him self. "Not so fast Cap n Hotspur !" The hoarse voice came from one side of the yawl. Looking in that direction George and Frank saw the scowlin g face of McLevy peering at them throu g h the p arted reeds. On a line with his eyes McLevy held a p istol, its point within two feet of the young captain's breast. The mate was standing in water above his knees, and his left hand had firm hold of the gunwale. "Drop your hand, McLevy !" shouted Frank, raising his own weapon. A hoarse lau g h broke from the mate's lips. "Don't fire, lieutenant," he growled. "Look behind you." Vernon thought this a ruse to have him turn away, and did not look. But he soon found out that no trick

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Frank's Ruse. 139 was intended. The cold point of a pistol was laid against his neck and another voice-the voice of out: "I'm at yer back, my lad, an' if you shoot I shoot, too." "An' here am I," came from Clapham, also showing himself through the reeds on Hornby's side of the boat. He likewise was armed with a pistol. It was a discouraging situation, and the moon was s0 bright that it showed it in every detail. "A pretty trap we laid for ye," went on McLevy, with a choppy laugh, "an' how finely ye dropped into it. Drop that oar, Cap'n Hotspur, an' come ashore with yer friend. We've business with the two o' ye." "We're not going ashore," answered George, cast ing about in his mind for some way out of the dif ficulty. "Belay with such talk! Ye're goin' ashore, right enough, my buck, whether willin' or no." "See here," said Frank. "You want that letter, Mc Levy--" "Ye know it well. An' I'm goin' to have it, too."

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Frank s Ruse. "l\ot unless you make a bargain with us." "A bargain, ye say? What sort of a bargain?" The eagerness in the mate's voice did not escape Vernon. George, astonished at his comrade's words, watched him keenly and wondered what he was about to do "Let us go and you shall have the letter," said Frank. "No!" cried George, amazed that Frank should try to make such a bargain with the miscreants. "I say yes, captain retorted Frank, sharply. "I have no mind to take chances with my life even if you have with yours." Such language was totally unlike Frank Vernon; so unlike him, in fact, that the young captain knew he must be playing a part of some kind. "Will you take the letter, McLevy, and allow us to leave the island?" Frank asked, addressing the mate. "If it' s the ri g ht letter, yes," said McLevy, exultation in his voice. "You can make sure that it is the right letter before releasin g the boat."

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Frank's Ruse. "Let me have it, then." "First draw your men off toward the shore. I will trust you no farther than I have to." "An' when Hornby there comes ashore," answered McLevy, "away ye go without givin' up the :letter." "Keep your weapons upon us, then," said Frank. "Lay yer own pistol in the bottom of the yawl," went on McLevy, after a moment's thought. Frank obeyed. McLevy then backed away toward the bow of the yawl, ordering Hornby and Clapham to do likewise. There, a little way from the boat, and with pistols still aimed at George and Frank, they came to a halt. "Now have done with yer parleyin'," growled Mc Levy, "an' hand over that letter. I warn ye I won't put up with any nonsense." "Here's the letter," said Frank, drawing a large en velope from his pocket. A thrill of astonishment shot through George. He could see little of the document brought forth by his friend, yet he saw enough to fill him with wonder.

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Frank's Ruse. The yawl shot backward to th e open w at e r, scraping through the reeds, while McLevy, Hornby and Clap ham splashed out on th e bank. While George was seating himself, preparing to get to work with oars, a roaring rumble broke from Capt. Todd, who pushed into view through the brush. Where Todd had been during the parley between Frank and McLevy the youths had no idea. Possibly he had been searching the i s land over for Ned, or for those who had come to his rescue. B e that as it may, however, he now came charging upon the scene, fairly raging with disappointment and anger. Mc Levy and Todd had words, but what they were the youths in the yawl could not hear. What Todd said had the effect of changing the tre nd of things. "Stop! you there in that boat!" yelled Todd, tearin g frantically down the slope of the bank to the water's edge. "Come back here or we'll pour a broadside 1nto you." George flung back a mocking laugh-a lau g h in which Frank, despite the pain from his injured ankle, joined him. This served only to increase Todd's fury.

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Frank's Ruse McLevy, Hornby and Clapman had followed Todd back to the river's brink, and the skipper, turning furiously, snatched a pistol from his mate's hand. "Sink 'em!" he bellowed, with an oath. The explo sion of his piece followed close upon the words. Then one more barked out, while a third flashed without setting off the charge. One of the bullets had sped wildly into the air, but the other had whipped past George's face so n ea r that he could feel the air of it. Before the skipper and his companions could reload George had driven the yawl far into the river and out of range. "We have shaken the wolves from our heels," mut tered George. "Ah, Frank, I begin to understand now why you wanted some of the governor's stationery. Faith, it was to manufacture a counterfeit letter for the fooling of some rascal like McLevy." "I wonder you did not guess it before," returned Frank. "McLevy has a thick head, and it was easy to pull the wool over his eyes. But not so with old Skull-and-Cross -Bones. He saw how the wind veered the moment he passed words with the mate. Thank

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Frank's Ruse. Heaven we are safe out of that web, but I would have given much could we have captured Todd and the rest." "We are too few in numbers. We did well enough as it is, and it was well to let well enough alone "I wond e r where Ned is?" "Safely awa y no doubt. If he could--" "Ahoy, there I came a hail from up the river. Turning startl e d looks up stream, the youths made out the dark outlin e s of a boat, manned with four oarsmen and with two other men at stern and bow. "Aho y !" sang out George. "What caused that firing over toward the island?" called the voice from the other boat. "We were the cause of it," answered George, pulling steadily in the direction of this second craft. "Anything wrong?" "There's much gone amiss,'' Frank replied. "Who are you?" "I'm Lieut. Leslie, from the man-o'-war Pallas. The watch heard the shouting and firing and I ord e red this boat out to investigate. 'Pon my soul !" By then

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146 Frank's Ruse. the two boats had come so close together that it was possible to recognize the passengers aboard. "Capt. Hotspur and friend! Faith, we have strange meet ings." "Lieutenant," said George, laying to in order to have speech with the officer, "Todd and his mate, Mc Levy, together with two other men from the slaver, are on Windmill Island--" "Todd and McLevy ?" echoed the officer. "Yes ; and--" "Nonsense, man! Those rascals would not dare show themselves so near Philadelphia after what has happened. They are well into the Atlantic by this time." "You are mistaken, sir," said George, coldly. "They are on Windmill Island. Lieut. Vernon and I know whereof we speak, for we have met the rascals face to face. They are there, and you can capture them if you act without delay." George took up the oars and began pulling for shore. "If you are so sure they are there !" cried Leslie, "'why don't you pilot the way and bear a baud?"

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Frank's Ruse. "Because Vernon is injured and must be taken care of," the young captain replied. He saw the man-o'-war's boat lay to in mid-river for many minutes; then, after the lieut e nant had apparently made up his mind that th e s tory told him might be true, the oars got in motion and the boat started toward Windmill Island. "Leslie is going to test the truth of what you told him at all events," said Frank. He finished with a smothered groan as his ankle gave him a twinge. "How do you feel, Frank?" George asked. "The ankle hurts a good deal. I gave it a savage wrench when I tumbled over that l og. Oh, confound the luck I So much to be done and here I'm laid by for repairs right in the thick o f it. I had counted on riding to Germantown with you in the morning." "It will be a week or two before you can sit a horse, Frank." "Small doubt of it. And while you save the Earl of Loudon fr om thi s wild plot o f Todd's, I must idl e away my time in a chair in the Half Moon."

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Frank's Ruse. "Why not idle away your time at Master Pembcr ton's, with Joanna to nurse you?" Frank laughed a little in spite of the pain he felt. "Well," he said, "there is a bright side to the picture, surely." "And then, too, you forget one thing, Frank." "What is that?" "Why, if Leslie captures that worthy quartet on the island there will be nothing to fear on behalf of Lord Loudon. Mayhap I shall not be obliged to ride to Germantown in the morning." "Leslie won't capture the rascals. He doesn't more than half believe what you told him, so he won't more than half try." Vernon was silent for a few moments, finally breaking out with: "Then there's that meeting with Bradwin !" "Never mind about that," answered George. He had not told Frank: how he had encountered Leslie and Collinson in front of his cousin's house on High Street, and had agreed to be at the spring in the governor's woods the following morning. It will be remembered that when he got back to the Half

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Frank's Ruse. Moon Inn, Ned was with Vernon, and had brought the important news concerning McLevy. The chase fol lowed, together with the exciting developments on the island, so that no opportunity had presented itself for telling Vernon of the proposed meeting. Now that there was opportunity, George said not a word. In Frank's present condition it would be im possible for him to take part in the duel, and if told that it was to come off in the morning he would be fairly beside himself with disappointment and worry, Therefore George kept his own counsel, secretly pleased that fate had made it impossible for Vernon t<> cross swords with Collinson. They landed at Dock Creek at the same point from which they had started. There was a form on the bank awaiting them. "Is that you, Friend Scatterwell ?" George called "Nay, cap'n," cried a familiar voice; "'tis Nimble Ned, an' right glad he is to find you with a whole skin I reckon you saved me, cap'n, you an' the lieutenant." Ned laid hold of the boat and pulled it in. "I suppose we did, lad," returned George. "You

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Frank's Ruse. have much to tell us, but this is neither tile time nor place. Come and help me with Vernon." "Is the lieutenant hurt?" cried Ned. "Nothing to speak of, Ned," Frank answered. "A sprained ankle is the worst of it." Between them George and Ned got Frank clear of the yawl and into the dwelling of Friend Tobias. A few words explained the situation to the Quaker, and he did his utmost to make the lieutenant comfortable. Having a knowledge of surgery and also of medicines, he attended to the ankle, dressed and bandaged it, and so eased the pain that Vernon dropped away into sound slumber.

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CHAPTER XI. THE GOVERNOR'S WOODS. George and Ned also passed the remainder of the night under the hospitable roof of Tobias Scatterwell. Before retiring, Ned told George of the manner in which he had gained the island and involved himself in the danger from which his friends had saved him. The blow dealt Ned by McLevy was a heavy one, and for a space seemed to sap every particle of the boy's strength. He roused up sufficiently to make an swer to George as he and the lieuteruint sped by, and then took part in the chase himself. At first Ned could only stagger along, but gradually his strength returned to him. He was hopelessly left behind in the pursuit, however, and arrived at the bridge over Dock Creek with small knowledge as to whither his friends and McLevy had gone. He halt ed on the bridge and, as he stood there, saw the dark figure of a man on the bank below release a boat and paddle away toward the Delaware. Ned did

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152 The Governor's Woods. not know that this man was McLevy, but it was a queer time for anyone to go for a boat ride, and the boy felt that it would be well to follow the man if he could find a way to do it. Lowering himself over the bridge approach he dro pped to the bank below, found a boat and pushed off. When he reached the river he could not see the man he was following-McLevy at that time hugging the shore and awaiting cautiously to find whether he was still pursued. Ned was perplexed, and presently got it into his head that McLevy, if the man were really he, had gone to the island. So he pulled in that direction, l anded and began a search. Some time passed before his search was rewarded in any way. Then he heard sounds in the darkness, started to investigate them and ran full tilt into the hands of McLevy, and was dragged, as we have seen, into the presence of Todd and the other two scoundrels The breaking of the lanthorn was the saving of Ned. So startled was McLevy by the unexpected shot from the thicket that his hand relaxed on the boy's collar and

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The Governor's Woods. I 53 Ned tore away, regained his boat and pulled swiftly back to Dock Creek. George was up at five of the morning. Frank and Ned were still soundly sleeping, and the young cap tain was intending to fare forth without word or sign to anyone in the house, but was confronted at the front door by Tobias. "What dost thou, Friend George?" inquired Tobias. "Thou wilt sur e l y break thy fa s t with me before leaving my roof? Fie, sir, to treat my hospitality thus!" "I have urgent business, Tobias," answered the young captain, somewhat taken aback by this unfore seen encounter with the brave Quaker. "Send thy lad about the business." "Ah," laughed George "thou dost forget the good Dr. Franklin's words, Tobias : 'If you would have your business done go; if not, send.' Besides this business is nothing a servant can attend to." "It must be very pressing to call thee abroad so earl y ." "So it is."

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154 The Governor's Woods. Tobias was curious. "May I not help thee, Friend George?" "Thou canst not I fear." "At least, make trial of me. 'Tis no more than one friend should do by another." "Then fetch me a horse and a trusty rapier. My own blade was left in Williamsburg." George mentioned the sword with a broad smile. Quakers, he knew, looked with abhorrenc e upon any sort of weapon. But if he thought he had given Tobias a poser he was mistaken. "Thou needst a sword, Friend George?" asked To bias, clasping his hands and rolling his e yes solemnly. "Perhaps thou art faring forth on some dangerous errand?" "Let the blade be true," repli e d Geor ge, lightly, "and I can promise you there will be small danger in the er rand for me." Tobia s threw out both hands and l a id them on G e o r ge s s h o uld e r s l ook in g him sq uar ely in th e eyes. "Keep th y own c o un se l a n t h o u wilt Thou shalt have the sword, and th e horse, too But have a care

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The Governor's Woods. ISS lest the knowl e d g e get abroad. l care not to be in structed by the Friends." "Then you have a sword?" smiled Geor ge. "Ay as true a blad e a s ever came out of Damascus. l am worldly mind ed, and l have clung to the blade against the tim e th e theories of my cousin, M armaduke Lee, are proved. Should there be a war for the inde pend e nce of th ese colonies 1-1--" Tobias broke off abruptly. "What am l saying? Forget it, Friend G eorge. M y mind is forever betraying me into wild words. W a it." Tobias hurri e d away. Presently he returned with a belt and rapi e r. The exquisite workmanship of the blade dre w an admiring exclamation from the young capt a in. "Thou likest the weapon?" said Tobias. "'Tis well Go out to the dinin g room and eat what thou wilt find on the tab l e th e r e While thou art about this l will get the hor s e." G eorge fo ll owe d th e Quaker' s instruction s and had barely finish e d the fru g al m ea l when To b ias entered. "Thy horse is r ea dy for th e e," said he.

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The Governor's Woods. "Thank you, Tobias," returned George. "You are a true friend." "In a worldly sense, although somewhat lax in the r e quirements of our society." Tobias smiled, then straightened his face solemnly. "Say nothing of this to my friends, Tobias," cau tioned George. "No word of it shall pass my lips." "And when Ned, the boy, shows himself, have him go to Master Pemberton's and acquaint a young lady there of the injury to Master Vernon." "It shall be done. The boy knows the lady?" "Yes." Thereupon George buckled the rapier to his waist, shook hands with Tobias and went out and mounted. Tobias, standing in the door, called after him: "It grieves me to see thee start forth on such an e rrand, but if thou findest thine enemy, and come to blows with him, I know well thou wilt not dishonor the steel b o rrowed of me The d e wy freshness of the morning brought bright ness into the young captain's heart. He was on his

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The Governor's Woods. 157 way to fight a duel, but he had no thought of the affray in which he was planning to engage His mind was upon Mistress Amy. As he rode through the gov ernor's woods to the spring the birds were singing in the branches above him, and the breath of wild flow ers hovered in the air like incense. A sanguinary meeting was sadly out of place amid such surround ings. When he came out upon the cleared space near the spring his horse whinnied and was answered in kind by two other horses whose riders were on the ground with bridles looped over their arms. The two riders were Lieut. Leslie and Midshipman Collinson. Brad win was not with them. "Good-morning, captain," said Leslie, as George drew rein. The young captain bowed, the salutation being coldly
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The Governor's Woods. "Not the sort of an apolo gy you think, cu t in Col l inson. "Br a dwin has the ri ght of this quarrel, and w e do not bring an apol ogy from him to you for what h appened in th e cabin of th e Pallas. No?" returned George, calmly. "What then?" "It was impossible for Lieut. Bradwin to come here in per s on, proceeded Leslie. "He has been ordered to G e rmantown to ride to Philadelphia with the Earl of Loudon, who comes this afternoon. Lieut. Bradwin is alr e ady on the road." G e or g e was surprised at this information. Yet he need not have been. The British fleet was to aid Loudon in his projected expedition against Louisburg, and no doubt Bradwin was a bearer of some message from C a pt. Culver. By th e w ay," said Collinson, "where is your friend, C a pt. Hotsp ur ?" "He me t w i th an accid e nt last nig ht r e pli e d George, a n d was p hysicall y unabl e to keep th e ap p ointm e nt." Oh s n eere d th e mid s hipman. "Anot he r make shift!"

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The Governor's Woods. 159 "No makeshift, sir," quoth George, hotly. "I am at your service in Lieut. Vernon's stead." He dismounted as he spoke. "That will do fairly well,'' said the midshipman, stripping to the shirt sleeves. "Wait, Collinson!" cried Leslie, frowning. "I claim precedence on behalf of Bradwin. Capt. Lee, will you first engage with me on Bradwin's account?" "With pleasure,'' said George. Collinson was in a temper. "When he finishes with you, Leslie,'' he muttered, "I will have no chance." "That remains to be seen," responded Leslie. "At any rate, it were asking too much of Capt. Lee to have him engage us in succession. The choice is with him." "I choose to do so," said George. A gleam came into Leslie's eye-a friendly light, such as George had never before seen there. "Although a provincial," said Leslie, pulling off coat and waistcoat and rolling up his right shirt sleeve, "I find you a gentleman of courage, Capt. Lee. It is a

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J 60 The Governor's Woods. pleasure to cross blades with you. Collinson, the horses." The midshipman moved over to the horses and took the bridles of all three. But he did so sulkily, and was evidently in resentful mood. George made ready. When stripped for combat he showed a litheness and grace that still further won Leslie's admiration. They saluted, their points crossed and the fight began. The young captain had hardly felt the lieutenant's wrist ere he knew he had to deal with the pupil of a master of fence. Like fire the blades flew, gathering the early sunlight on their polished surfaces and re flecting it in blinding circles. Like lightning there was a feint in high carte and a thrust in low tierce; it was a volte coupe, and Leslie's sword passed through a fold of George's shirt. George smiled as his unswerving eyes kept them s e lves riveted upon his antagonist's face. He had his man's measure now. A g ain Leslie tried his trick, this time in prime and s e conde. But Geor g e was r eady

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The Governor's "Woods. 161 for him. There was a circular parry, a thrust over the guard, a wrench of the wrist, and away flew Leslie's weapon, high in air. "Gad I" burst from the lips of the astounded lieu tenant. "As pretty a thrust as I ever saw in my life!" "Will you have more, lieutenant?" asked George, waiting. "I will have this much more," replied Leslie, "and that is the hand of a gentleman whom I have wronged, If there are many provincial soldiers like you, Capt. Lee, my estimate of them will undergo a change." "Thank you for that," said George, shifting his rapier to his left hand and stretching out his right. "When the king's men recognize the fact that there is some merit and mettle in us provincials, affairs in these colonies will fare differently. We Americans wish the of our kinsmen from oversea. We must have y o u for our good friends or good enemies, one or the other ." "Let it be friends, then," and th e two young men struck hands heartily.

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162 The Governor's Woods. "Here, snapped Collinson, "take the horses, Leslie. My turn now." Leslie turned on the midshipman with a frown. "You are mad, Collinson!" said he, sharply. "I am a better sword s man than you, and the captain--" Collinson stamped with rage. "I'll show him !" he snarled. "Take these horses." Leslie did not venture to demur further, but took the bridles and faced about. Collinson grabbed up his sword and rushed to combat with reckless fury. The steel had hardly crashed to g ether before he was disarmed-his blad e plucked from his hand with neat ness and dispatch. He screamed an oath and ran for his weapon. A g ain he engaged and again he wa.;; disarmed. Thrice this happened, the young man not being able to hold his weapon long enough to give battle. Leslie shrugge d his shoulders and watched with an amused smile. The third time he was disarmed Collinson lost com plete control of himself. "Out on your tricks !" he cried. "Dodge this, an' you c.an I"

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The Governor's Woods. From the breast of his shirt he drew a pistol and would have snapped it at the young captain had not the lieutenant, with an angry imprecation, jumped for ward and struck it out of his hand. "Poltroon!" cried Leslie, indignant. "Beg pardon of Capt. Lee for that knavery or you are no longer friend of mine. In Heaven's name, Collinson, what sort of man are you?" Collinson scowled, but made no reply. "Do you excuse yourself for what yott did in heat of temper?" demanded Leslie, pressing his point. "I excuse myself for nothing," said Collinson, hotly, getting into his garments. "Then it is for me to do so," said Leslie, pale with anger. "Capt. Lee, not all king's men are like Collin son, I would have you know. Had I imagined he would act in this manner I should not have come out with him." "The mid s hipman has much to learn," said George. "I sup pose w e may cr y q uits on our quarrel now?" "With all my heart."

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164 The Governor's Woods. Collinson, having donned his coat, waistcoat and hat, buckled his sword about him, flung himself on his horse and rode madly away. George and Leslie made their arrangements in more leisurely fashion. As the lieutenant was about to take himself off, the young captain asked : "Can you tell me, lieutenant, when my Lord Loudon leaves Germantown for Philadelphia?" "This afternoon, I believe, although I am not well informed of his plans." "And what about last night? Did you succeed in capturing Todd, McLevy and the other two rascals?" "They escaped us in a boat, although we chased them off the island." "Thank you." "I trust we shall meet again, Capt. Lee." "It will give me pleasure, Lieut. Leslie." With a parting word Leslie rode off after Collinson. "Now for Germantown," thought George, as he r,;wung himself astride the horse Tobias had provided for him. "Todd was misinformed as to the hour Lord Loudon is to leave Germantown, and possibly this fact

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The Governor's Woods. 16 S will foil his desperate designs. But I cannot afford to take chances on such a matter. If there is deviltry afoo t, I must make sure that it comes to nothing." A few moments later he was galloping along the Germantown road

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CHAPTER XII. GERMANTOWN. When George Lee, somewhat weary with his hard ride, reached Germantown he made straight for the Crown Inn. This was the inn, if Todd's information was correct, in which Lord Loudon was to secure re freshment while tarrying in the town. A word with the landlord revealed the fact that his lordship was there. Yielding his steed to a hostler and giving instructions that the animal was to be well rubbed down and baited at the end of a half hour, George went into the house. Bradwin was at a table in the public room and started up as the young captain entered. Plainly, the encounter was a surprise to the lieutenant. George walked up to where he was standing. "vVhy have you followed me here?" asked Bradwin, flushing. "I did not come here following you," George replied.

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Germantown. "You saw Leslie and Collinson m the governor's woods?" queried Bradwin. "Yes." "Was there an encounter?" "There was." Bradwin started and looked at George as though he doubted his word. "Faith," said he, "you seem to have come well out of it. Cousin Amy will be well pleased, no doubt." George leaned toward the lieutenant with flashing eyes. "You will not use Miss Randolph's name again in connection with that affair," said he, sharply. "I do not have to come to a fellow like you for my rules of behavior," ans;wered Bradwin, in his usual sneering tone. "If you met Leslie in my behalf, please understand that it still leaves the matter open between you and me." "That is as you will; but I advise you to talk with Lieut. Leslie before you press the matter further." "If you did not follow me, why are you here?" asked Bradwin, biting his lips.

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168 Germantown. "Busin e ss has brought me. I wish to see Lord Loudon." "Lord Loudon has no time to give to you provin cials," was the lofty response. "Will you go to his lordship and tell him Capt. Lee is here with an important communication from Gov. Dinwiddie and Col. Washington?" "I am not his lordship's orderly Up to that moment the two had been alone in the public room. Jus t then the landlord enter e d, and George turned to him. Will y ou have the kindness to inform Lord Loudon that Capt. L ee, of the Youn g Guardsmen, wishes to consult with him on a very important matter?" George asked. "His lordship is up s tairs, and left word that he was not to be disturb ed. He arrived late last night, and is sleeping late to-day. He has a hard ride before him this afternoon." The landlord was kindly, but inflexible. "I tell y ou thi s i s important," persist e d George. "I cannot help it returned the landlord.

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Germantown. "Where is his lordship's ordetlY. ?" "Abroad somewhere, looking to the shoeing of the horses." George again went back to Bradwin, who was enjoy ing the young captain's discomfiture. "Bradwin," said George, in a low tone, "I entreat you to get word to his lordship at once. This matter on w hich I come means much to him." "I can give you no aid, Capt. Hotspur. Take my ad vice and ride back to Philadelphia. Bide there for his lordship Bradwin again seated himself, eying the youthful captain insolently. George bent his eyes on the lieutenant for a moment then turned on his heel and went back to the landlord. "Which is his lordship's room?" he asked. "The fron t chamber, directly over this; but--" George was already at the stairway, and the landlord ran toward the passage and barred his path. "I t ell yo u his lordship is not to be seen!" cried the landl o rd, angrily. "Will you take my message to him?" asked George, sternly.

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170 Germantown. "I dare not. His word--" "I care nothing about what he told you," was the sharp retort. "If you will not act, s tand aside and I will be my own messenger." "Hoitytoit y This i s my house young man. Have a care lest you go too far." "I will go as far as the fr on:. ..:i 1 a mb e r, above stairs," and George grabbed the lan d lord about the middle and incontinently hustled him out of the way. A moment more and he hac1 th e upper landing and was knocking at the door o f his lord s hip s chamber. Two emphatic raps failed to rouse his lordship. By that time the landlord had clattered angrily up the stairs, with Bradwin close behind. "Begone from this house, sir!" fumed the landlord. "How dare you lay hands on me? I am the master here! I will not have his lord s hip disturbed." "Hold your distance, landlord!" answered George, fir m l y "I will rouse his lord ship-" Jus t th e n t h e door of the room opened and a night capped h e ad s h owed i tse lf. "My wo r d cr i e d the man m th e ni g htcap. "A

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Germantown. pretty how d'ye do, I must say Cannot a man take his rest in this house without having the peace disturbed in such unseemly fashion? Gad! I should have put up at the other inn." "I cannot help it, sir," cried the landlord, beside him self. "This unmannerly fellow would come up in spite of me." "Take him away! take him away!" His lordship would then have withdrawn, but George thrust his feet between the door and the casing. "What's this? What's this?" cried his lordship. "Where's my orderly? Here, Brad win, show this fellow downstairs. Zounds a pretty pother, indeed. I'll be so 'roused I can't sleep." "Bradwin will not interfere with me, your lordship," said George. "I am Capt. Lee--" "Who in the fiend's name is Capt. Lee?" "Of the Virginia Guards, your lordship. I come with a message from Col. Washington--" "Pest take the Virginia Guards and Col. Washington Will you leave here, sirrah ?" "Not till I finish my busrness," was the cool re-

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17z Germantown. joinder. "You would best Jet me into your room. What I have to say is for your ears alone." "Plague take the fellow I I--" "Gov. Dinwiddie," began George, "has commissioned me jointly with Col. Washington to--" "What of Dinwiddie?" cried his lordship. "You say you come from him?" "I am Gov. Dinwiddie's nephew and Col. Wash ington's aide," proceeded George, noting that he had at last made an impression on his stubborn lordship. "I am the bearer of an important Jetter--" "Then why did you not say so?" asked Lord Lou don. "I was expecting to receive the message in Phila delphia." "It was necessary for me to come here with it, your lord ship, since I--" "Have done, sir, and give me the letter." George handed the letter in to his lordship. "You will please give me a writing to state that you have received the communication," said he. "Will not your uncle, th e governor, take your word?" "It is but business, your lordship."

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Germantown. "Hold your peace, then. I will give you the writ-ing when I come down." "But I have a further message for you." "Is it in writing?" "I must deliver it orally, your lordship. It concerns you much-I may say it is of vital importance." "It can wait." Without more ado George applied his strength to the door, pushed it open and passed into the room. His lordship was white with anger. "I shall make it my business," quoth he, "to notify your uncle of your unseemly conduct. Would that my orderly were here, or some one else who could do my will. Will you begone?" "Not until I acquaint your lordship with a plot that is aimed against your personal safety." "Out on you, young man What can menace me in this colony? The French are not at the doors of Philadelphia, I take it?" "It is not the French you have to fear, but renegade English."

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Germantown. "Colonials, eh?" "Not Colonials ; but your own countrymen from across the sea." "Moonshine Your fears mislead you, Capt.-er-er--" "Lee ," suggested George. "Well, Lee. I am in no danger, here in the heart of the province." "You will be in danger from the time you leave Ger mantown. An' you will, I should like permission to ride with you." A frown crossed his lordship's face. "I choose my own company, sir. Your actions are not such as to entitle you to my confidence. Lieut. Bradwin and my orderly ride with me. They will suffice." ''Very w'ell, sir ." George left the room, joined Bradwin and the land lord outside and passed down to the office, the other two following. The landlord was loud in his com-

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Germantown. 175 plaints at the y oung captain's behavior. So much so, in fact, that Georg e ord e red his horse to be brought, paid his reckoning and rode to the other inn, where he had his dinner. He had had a sorry experience with Lord Loudon, but, truth to tell, he was not much surpri s ed. From all accounts he had rec e ived of his lordship, not much better could have been expected of him. Early in the afternoon George mounted and rode back to the Crown. Three hor ses were in front, a redcoat astride of one and holding another with empty saddle, while Bradwin sat a third. As George drew to a halt his lordship, resplend ent in gold lace and fin ery, came forth, prepared to mount and ride. He caught sight of the young Colonial. "That receipt you wanted, Capt.--er--er--" "Hotspt.tr," said Bradwin. "That rec e ipt you wanted, Capt. Hotspur,'' went on bis lordship, "is in the hands of the host here Thereupon his lordship gained the saddle and set out on the road to Philadelphia, Bradwin and the orderly trotting behind.

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Germantown. George went in and got his receipt, stowed it away, in his pocket, then came out, mounted and trailed after: the three who had ridden before. Well was it for Lord Loudon that the courageous young provincial happened to be such a short distance behind.

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CHAPTER XIII. ON THE ROAD. George had it in mind that his services might be needed, so he did not suffer himself to drop far be hind his lordship and the two who rode with him, al though he contrived to keep himself out of sight. It well might be that Skull-and-Cross-Bones Todd and his rascally companions would not show their hands, being mistaken in the hour his lordship was to fare forth on his journey from the Crown Inn. Yet, on the other hand, they might attempt to carry out their plans and, so far from harboring any resentment, the young captain was anxious only to be of service, if needed. Beyond Germantown the road struck into a thick wood. The course wound hither and yon, the bends be ing thiek ly grown with den s e timber, so that two parties mi ght ride l e ss than a hundred yards apart and see nothing of each other. It was in this wood that George

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On the Road. looked for the blow to fall, if fall it did, and when he struck into it his eyes and ears were keenly on the alert. He had no pistol, but the trusty blade loaned him by Friend Tobias was still at his side, and the good horse, also loaned by the Quaker, was under him. The youth would have felt more content if he had had a pistol, knowing well how fully supplied Todd and his mis creants would be with such weapons. George was not disappointed in suspecting the wood as a place of ambush. Suddenly he heard a sharp cry ahead, followed by the explosion of a pistol, the fright ened neighing of horses and other sounds indicative of a disturbance. Putting his horse to the gallop he rounded the curve ahead and came full upon an exciting scene. Bradwin was unhorsed and lying at the roadside, tugging to get at his pistol. The orderly was also down, his left arm hanging limp at his side, while he pluckily laid about him with his sword. Lord Loudon was still mounted, but a man clung to his horse's bridle, while another presented a pistol at his head, holding him inactive,

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On the Road. 179 his hand on his sword hilt. Two other men were threatening Bradwin and the orderly. The attacking party were all in farmer's smocks, but it was not difficult for the young captain to recognize them. It was Todd who held a pistol to Lord Lou don's head, and McLevy who clung to the bridle of his lord ship's horse. Hornby was standing over Brad win with drawn cutlass, and Clapham's eye was ranging along a pistol barrel, whose point was within a few feet of the orderly's breast. A trick suggested itself to George, by the working of which he hoped to take the rascally crew by sur prise and gain an advantage--the same sort of an advantage that had been gained by the breaking of the lanthorn on Windmill Island. Waving his sword above his head, George shouted : "This way, lads I His lordship is in danger! Forward-double-quick!" That clarion-like cry struck terror to the hearts of the villains. Oaths leaped from their lips. Hornby and Clapham turned to see whence the shout proceeded,

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180 On the Road. and thus Bradwin and the orderly were given their opportunity. Bradwin pulled trigger and Hornby fell back curs ing, a bullet through his sword arm and his cutlass fall ing to the ground. The orderly used his sword with right good will, and Clapham received a thrust in the shoulder that sent him reeling backward with a howl of agony. "It's young Lee!" roared Todd. "Fiend take him! Stand by, ye lubbers I He's alone--:there's no one with him." Todd turnen the point of his pistol and sent a ball through the brim of George's hat. With a muttered anathema, his lordship sought to draw his blade, but the shot and the commotion so frightened his horse that the animal shied, throwing the commander-in-chief into the road. He was hurled against Todd, who fell under him. McLevy released the bridle of the horse and flew toward George, who had jumped out of the saddle and raced for the scene. McLevy sought to use a firearm, but the piece snapped fruitlessly. Hurling the weapon from him,

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On the Road. 181 he brought out his cutlass and fell to with the youth. The mate was a poor swordsman, and George had small trouble in planting his point in the rascal's side. "I'm done for I" groaned McLevy. "No I" cried George; "you'll do well enough, Mc Levy I I would not cheat the gallows of such prey." Thereupon the youth turned to see where next his sword could be of most service. A glance showed him. Hornby, gripping his cutlass in his left hand, was standing over Bradwin, murder in his eyes and his face fiendish with rage. The cutlass was lif t ed. "This for ye, my gamecock!" roared Hornby. Bradwin s aw his peril but could only look mutely up at the fate in store for him. A second more and the blade would have descended. But George, spring ing forward, caught the falling blad e on his own steel, at the same time striking Hornby a blow with his left fist Homby reeled and fell sprawling. His lordship was struggling furiously with the burly Todd. The skipper, rendered desperate by the total failure of his plan, brou ght about entirely by the timely arrival of the young captain, would have taken the

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r82 On the Road. commander's life. George gave help at the critical moment, the commander was freed, drew a weapon from the breast of his coat and threatened the skipper with death in case he attempted to flee. It was sharp work while it lasted. Thanks to George, howev&r, the tables were turned. Hornby and Clap ham, when there came time to look for them, were found to have vanished, their injuries not being such as to in terfere with the use of their legs. But Todd and McLevy were made prisoners. A supply of stout cords was found on the person of the mate, intended supposedly for use in making his lord ship and the orderly secure. These cords were used on the persons of Todd and McLevy. "By gad!" exclaimed the bewildered Loudon, as his orderly led up his horse. "What a whirl we had of it! The rascals would have carried the day, too, but for this young man, Capt.-er-er--" "Lee," spoke up Bradwin, rising painfully from the ground. "It may be he saved my life," went on his lordship, eying George fixedly. "Lee, you've done yeoman serv-

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On the Road. ice for the cause to-day. You ought to be in the regular army. There's no sense in a fellow like you training with these provincials." "He saved the lieutenant's life, too, your excel lency," spoke up the orderly, as he stood near binding a hand ker chief about his injured arm. "For that mat ter, his coming saved the lives of all of us, I take it. I never saw a man who could handle a sword like he does." Bradwin said nothing to George directly. "Our mounts have run away," he remarked to his lordship. "Perhaps Capt. Lee will take his horse and recover the animals for us? He seems the only one who is able to do much work at this moment." "I'll get them," said George. A moment more he 'was astride his own animal and galloping back along the road. He returned in half an hour with the runaways. While he bad been gone the orderly had bound up Mc L evy's wound as well as he was able. The mate was seriously, but not mortally, hurt.

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On the Road. "Capt. Lee," said his lordship, "are these the men you warned me against?" "Yes, your excellency." "What were they trying to do ?" "Make a prisoner of you, get you to the Delaware and then drop down stream undl'!r cover of night. They have a ship about New Castle somewhere, and they were going to put you aboard and ultimately deliver you to the Fre nch at Louisburg." Loudon listened to this with distended eyes. "By gad!" he gasped. "That such an attempt should be made in these parts is one of the seven wonders What are we to do with these prisoners, Lee? We can't leave them here, and we can't very well carry them with us." "If you will wait here with your friends, your ex cellency," said George, "I will ride on to the next farm house and see if I can get a wagon. The prisoners can be put into the wagon and carried forward to Philad e lphia." "That's the only thing to be done. We'll wait here, captain, while you go for the conveyance."

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On the Road. George had not dismounted after recovering the horses, and he now turned and made off along the road. An hour later he had secured a team and wagon, with a countryman to drive it, and returned to the point in the road where his lordship had been left. "Now, your excellency," said the young captain, "you and your friends can proceed safely on to your destination. I will follow with the wagon and the prisoners." "I shall not forget this service, Capt. Lee," said Loudon. "I was going to write Gov. Dinwiddie about you"-he smiled as he spoke-"but when I do write him, my lett er shall be of a much different tenor from what I had intended." George bowed. "Would you not like to see active service m the North?" his lordship asked. "I am a Virginian, your excellency," answered Geor ge, "and serve under Washington. We shall have much to do in the South if we retake Du Quesne For a moment the commander looked far from

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186 On the Road. pleased. Then his face cleared again arid he gave the youth his hand. "Perhaps, after all," said he, "you can be of more service on the frontier of Virginia than elsewhere. But you are a gallant youth, and I would give much to have you with me." Thereupon he turned and rode off the orderly and Bradwin galloping after. Bradwin had no word for George, nor even a look.

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' CHAPTER XIV. CONCLUSION. It was late that evening when the big "Conestoga wain" rumbled into Philadelphia with the two prison ers. Bradwin had already been aboard the Pallas and reported the capture, and George was met by Leslie with a request from Capt. Culver that the prisoners be sent to him. George was pleased to be rid of the men thus quickly, and gave them over into the care of the boat's crew who had come ashore with the officer. "You have done wonders this day, Capt. Lee," said Leslie. "Bradwin says you saved his life, and Lord Loudon's orderly says you saved the lives of all three." "I think no harm would have befallen his lordship," said George. "His life was not in jeopardy." "But his liberty was. That crack-brained scheme of Todd's might have been carried through to success, reckless and daring as it was. Todd will swing from the yardarm for this, and McLevy, too, if he ever gets over that thrust you gave him."

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188 Conclusion. "He'll get over it," said George. "I had no mind to cheat the gallows of its due." The boat's crew had already gone off with the pris oners, and Leslie started to follow, but halted and re turned to George's side. "I think that the little affair between you and Brad win is a thing of the past. It will never be mentioned again." "Bradwin should mention it, Leslie," answered the young captain, "to the extent of an apology at least. You were in the cabin of the PaUas that night, off Williamsburg. You know the insult he offered me was gratuitous and about as insolent as well could be." "He is a cad if he does not apologize handsomely,'' said Leslie. "You have acted the part of a gentleman all through the affair. My one regret is that I took sides with Bradwin. But he is a brother officer, and--" "We ll," laughed George, "we'll forget it. Bygones shall be by g ones." "That is generous of you, captain." The two then parted, George galloping on to the

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Conclusion. Quaker's house near Dock Creek. Friend Tobias was there to receive both the horse and the sword. "How is Lieut. Vernon, Tobias?" was George's first words. "As well as any man can be, I take it, George, with a twisted ankle and a fair girl to watch over him." Tobias spoke slyly. "Nimble Ned brought the young lady here to see Frank?" "Nimble Ned brought two young ladies, one of whom inquired most particularly concerning thyself. I could but fence with her about where you had gone and what was your purpose. When the ladies left thy friend was taken with them." "To Master Pemberton's house?" "That is the place. I trow Lieut. Vernon will do well enough in such hands. But, tell me, Friend George, did the horse serve thee well?" .wr'he horse could not have served me better. I fear I have given the animal a hard day of it." "He has had many a hard day, and his mettle is such that he does not mind. And the sword," he

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Conclusion. added, as George unbuckled the belt and tendered him the weapon; "did that serve thee as well as did the horse?" "I have no cause for complaint. The sword did good work for the king to-day, Tobias." "I shall look forward to the time when it shall do good work for the colonies. But, softly I I am going off on one of Marmaduke Lee's tangents, which is not well in a Friend. Wilt not come in and have sup with me?" "Thankyou, no, Tobias. I must on to Master Pem berton's to see how fares it with the lieutenant." "And with the lady who inquired so solicitously about thyself. Ah, George, George! Such a pair of eyes. They are well worth fighting for." Whether the shrewd Quaker had guessed his pur pose in going forth that morning with borrowed horse and sword, the young captain never knew. But his words pointed somewhat in that direction. At Master Pemberton's George received a bright welcome. Nimble Ned was there, and the captain was called upon to relate his adventures to a little circle

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Conclusion. comprising the ladies, Frank and Ned. As may well be supposed, George had naught to say concerning the affair in the governor's woods, but dwelt in some detail on his journey to Germantown and the danger to Lord Loudon. Modesty-a very pronounced trait in the young guardsman-kept George from giving himself full credit, and it was not until some days later that Amy and Joanna got a full report from Alfred Brad win. Bradwin was most humble when he called at Master Pemberton's. He acknowledged the wrong he had done the young captain, apologized before the ladies and departed from the house a sadder-and, let us hope-a wiser and a better man. Of a certainty both he and the officers of the Pallas had received a good sample of provincial mettle. There were at least two Young Guardsmen who were thereafter appreciated by the king's men. After his call at Master Pemberton's, which lasted until well on toward midnight, George and Ned went away together, and took up their quarters with Marma duke Lee, on High Street.

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Conclusion. George's mission to Philadelphia had now been sat isfactorily performed, and the only thing to keep him in the city was the injury to his comrade. He thought he could snatch enough time from his duty to remain a fortnight in the Quaker city. At the end of that time Frank was sufficiently recovered to be able to proceed homeward on horseback. Many days before the youths started for Williamsburg the Pallas weighed anchor for Boston, with Lord Loudon and his orderly as passengers. When Todd and McLevy were taken aboard the man-o' -war the boat dropped down stream as soon as the tide favored, and made search for the Black Rover. Todd, however, had left a man in charge of the ves sel who had instructions as to what he should do in case of any untoward event befalling. It is doubtful whether the man in charge heard of the capture of the skipper and the mate, although it may be that Hornby and Clapham reached him in time with a warn ing. In any event the Black Rover was not to be found. Months after she was heard of on the Spanish

PAGE 195

Conclusion. 193 seas, with a black flag at the peak, and orders were given to his majesty's navy to sink her wherever en coun tered. As Leslie had said would be the case, Todd and Mc Levy ended their evil lives at the yardarm of the Pallas -fit examples for others of their kind. McLevy made a confession, in which he told of bar gaining with the French for the letter Dinwiddie and Wash in gt on were to send to Lord Loudon ; and also for the person of Lord Loudon himself, in case handf could be laid on him. No doubt the captain and mate would have beell richl y paid for their work if it had succeeded. A traitor, however, loses not only the respect of his own coun trymen, but of those who pay him for hii; dis" lo yalty as well. In the War of Independence, whicl1 was the dream of Marmaduke Lee, and which fol lowed the French War, the case of Benedict Arnold furnishes sufficient example. The exped ition against Louisburg, long in the plan ning, was finally embarked and reached Halifax in

PAGE 196

194 Conclusion. June. A squadron from England with additional forces had sailed in May, but did not arrive at the rendezvous until July. The French, it was discovered, had learned of the whole affair through spies, and twenty-two ships of the line were drawn up in Louisburg harbor, awaiting the attack. Loudon had with him ten thousand troops and six teen ships and frigates, which he thought to be of no avail against the forces mustered by the enemy. So the English returned to New York, the squadron from England was disabled by a storm, and the English troops experienced a repulse which gave much glory to the French. Loudon continued to busy himself with plans which amounted to nothing, and thus were not even worth the paper they were sketched on. History says that at last he came to be regarded as a "mere trifling busybody," and in the spring he was recalled. "Under his leadership the depth of degradation had been sounded. The French were in successful occu pation of five-sixths of the continent, while England

PAGE 197

Conclusion. 195 held less than half of the remaining portion. Louis XV. and his Indian allies controlled not only the two great waterways of the St. Lawrence and the Miss issippi, but they actually held every portage between them; by way of Waterford to Fort Du Quesne, by way of the Maumee to the Wabash, and by way of what is now Chicago to the Illinois. The unsuccess ful general returned to England, sure that the colonies had been the root of his failure, and that the first neces sity was for Parliament to assume administrative and fiscal control. A stamp act for America would have been one of his remedies." All this time there was one on the frontier of Vir ginia who could have assumed command of the English forces and wrested instant success from defeat. But this man was a Colonial, and the command had gone forth that Colonials could only serve when sub ordinate to those commanders who were sent out by the king That man was Washington, as impatient and restive under all these failures df the English com manders as a man well could be.

PAGE 198

Conclusion. But the hour of the French was close at hand. And it was Pitt, the most virile mind in England, who was to fire the train that brought victory to his country men. In all that followed, Capt. Lee, the Young Guardsman, bore a conspicuous part. THE END.

PAGE 199

THE CREAM OF JUVENILE FICTI O N THE BOYS' OWN A Selection of the Best Books for Boys by the Most Popular Authors XHE t i tles in this splendid juvenile series have been selected wit h care, and as a result all the stories can be relied upon for thell' excellence. They are bright and sparkling; not over-burdened with lengthy descriptions, but brimful of adventure from the first page to the last-in fact they are just the kind of yarns that appeal strongly to the healthy boy who is fond of thrilling exploit and deeda of heroism. Among the authors whose names are included in the Boys' Own Library are Horatio Alger, Jr., Edward S. Ellis, James Otis, Capt. Ralph Bonehill, Burt t.. Standish, Gilbert Patten and Frank H. Con. Terse. SPECIAL FEATURES OF THE BOYS' OWN LIBRARY .JI. .JI. All the books in this series are copyrighted, printed on good paper, type, illustrated, printed wrappers, handsome cloth covera stamped in inks and gold-fifteen special cover designs. t50 Titles Price, per 75 cents For sale by all booksellers, or sent, postpaid, on receipt of price l!be publisher, DAVID McKAY, .,ASHINGTON SQ U ARE. PH1LADELPHIA, PA. (i)

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HOR.A.TIO ALGER, Jr. One of the bat known and most popular writers. Good, clean, liealthy stories for the American Boy. Adventures of a Telegraph Bo7 Dean Dunham Erie Train Boy, The Five Hund.reci Dollar Check From Canal Boy to President; From Farm Boy to Senator J3acltwoods Boy, The Mark Stanton Ned Newton New Yorlt Bo:r Tom Brace Tom Tracy Walter G iftith Young Acroba'I: C. B. ASHLEY. One of the best stories ever written on hunting, trapping and acJ,. .f'enture in the W t, after the Custer Massacre. Gilbert, tile Boy .AMMIE ASHXOB.E. A splendid lltory, reoording the adventures of a bGy with smugglera. 8musclr'a Cave, The CAPT. RALPH BONEHILL. Capt. Bonehill is in the very front rank as an author of bo;ys' stories. These are two of his best works. lfelta, the Boy Conjurer Tour "f the Zero Club WALTER. F. BB.1JN8 .A.n excellent story of adventure in the oelebrated Sunk Landa of Missouri and Kansas. In the Sunk Lands Fll..llliK H. CONVERSE. This writer has established a splendid reputation as a. boys' author, and although his books usually co=a.nd per volume, we offer the following at a more popular price. Gold of Plat Top llount&in Jiappy-Go-Luoky Jack Heir to a Million In Bearcb. of An Unknown Race In Southern Seaa Mystery of a Diamond That Treasure Voyaiie to the Gold Cou' DAVID Publisher, Philadelphia. (ii}

PAGE 201

HARRY COLLINGWOOD. One of England's most successful writers of storiea for boys. Bia best story is Pirate !Ill.and GEORGE H. COOMER.. Two books we highly recommend. One is a splendid story of venture at sea, when .American ships were in every port in the world, and the other tells of adventures while the first railway in the Andea Mountains was being built. Boys in the Forecastle Old Kan of the Mountain WILLIAM DALTON. Three stories by one of the very greatest writers for boys. The stories deal with boys' adventures in India, China and Aby!!Biuia. These books are strongly recommended for boys' reading, as they contain a large amount of historical information. White Elephant War Tien EDWARD S. ELLIS. These books are considered the beet works this well-known writer ever produoed. No better reading for bright young Americans. Arthur Helmuth Check No. 2134 From Tent to White Houae Perils of the Jungle On the Trail of Geronimo White Mustang GEORGE MANVILLE FENN. For the past fifty years Mr. Fenn has been writing books for boys and p
PAGE 202

7oung American should read. Ria stories are full of very interesting information about the navy, training ships, etc. Bound for Annapolia Clif, the Naval Cadet Cruiae of the Traininl' Ship From Port to Port Stranire Cruise, A WILLIAM :MUJl.R.A. Y GR.A. YDON. An author of world-wide p o pularity. Mr. Graydon i s essentially a mend of youn g people, and we offer herewith ten of hie best works, wherein he relates a great diversity of interesting adventures in various parts of the world, combined with accurate historical data. Butcher of Cawnpore, The Camp in the Snow, The Campaigning with Braddock Cryptogram, The From Lake to Wilderneaa In BIU'racke a.nd Wiewam In Fort and Prison Juneles and Traitors RrJ&h's Fortre111, The White Kine of Africa, The LIEUT. FREDERICK GA.RR.ISON, U.S .A.. Every American boy takes a keen interest in the affain of West Point. No more capable writer on this popular sub j ect c o uld be found than Lieut. Garrison, who vividly describes the life, adventures and unique incidents that have occurred in that great institution-in these famous West Point stories. 011' for West Point On Guard Cadet's Honor, A West l:-oint Treasure, The West Point RiTalll, The HE.A.DON HILL. The hunt for has always been a popular subject for considera tion, and Mr. Hill has added a splendid story on the subject in thia romance of the Klondyke. Spectre Gold HENRY HAR.RISON LEWIS. Mr. Lewis is a gradu a te of the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and hu written a great many books for boy s Amon g his be s t works are the foll o wing titles-the subjects inclmle a vast serie s o f adventure s in all parts of the world. The historical data is corre ct, and they lhould be read by all boys, for the excellent information they contain. Centreboard Jim Kina; of the Island ]l(idahipman Merrill Ensign Merrill Sword and Pen Valley of M:rster:r, The Yankee Boys i n Japan DAVID McKAY, Publisher, Philadelphia. ( iv)

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LmvT. LIONEL LOUNSBERRY. A setles of boob embracing many adventures under our famoua -val oomma.ndere, and with our army during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Founded on sound history, these boob are written for boys, with the idea ot combining pleasure with profit; to cutivatti a fondness for study--espec:i.ally of whai has been &ee0mpliahed \7 our army and nary. Cadet Kit Care7 Cap'ain Care7 Xit Carer Protese Lieut. Care7'11 Luck Out With Commodore Decatur Tom Truxton'11 School Da711 Tom Truxton' Ocean Trip of the Golden Crater Won at West Point BROOKS McCORMICK. Fonr splendid boob of adl'entnre on 19ea and land, by this well, known writer tor boys Giant Islanders, The How He Won Nature-. Young Nobleman Bival Battalions WALTER MORRIS. This charming story contaim thirty-two chapters of just the sort of achool life that charms the boy readers. Bob Porter at Lakeview Academ7 STA.NLEV NORRIS. Mr. Norris ia without a rival as a writer of "Circus Stories" for boys. These four boob are full of thrilling adventures, but good, wholaome reading for young Americans. Phil, the Showman Youns Showman's Pluck, The Y<>Wl& Showman' BiTal, The Youns Showman' Triumph UEVT .J.AltIES K. ORTON. When a boy haa read one of Lieut. Orton's boob, it requires no urging to induce him to read the others. Not a dull page in any of them. Beach Bo7 Joe Laat Chance Kine Secret Chart, The Tom Ravena with the Whit. Squadron DAVID McKAY, Publisher, Philadelphia. (v)

PAGE 204

JAMES OTIS. Mr. Otis is known by nearly every American boy, and needs no ii lrodwition here. The following copyrights are among his beat : Cbued Through Norway Xiiland Waterways Unprovok.6.d XuQil7 Wheeline fA' l'ortunt Reuben Green's Adventures at Yale GILBERT PATTEN. Mr. Patten has had the distinction of having his ba.oka adopted by U. S. Govemment for all naval libraries on board our war ships. While aiming to avoid the extravagant and sensational. the storiee C
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CAPT. DAVID SOUTHWICK .An exceptionally good story of frontier life ameng t.be Indians h the far West, during the early settlement period .Tack Wheeler The Famous Frank Merriwell .Stories. BURT L. STANDISH. No modem series of tales for boys and youths has met with any thing like the cordial reoeption and popularity accorded to the Fratik Merri well Stories. There must lie a reason for We and there is. Frank Merriwell, as portra yed author, is a jolly whola-i3dttle.d, honest, courageous .America o I who appeals to 1h:e hearts of the boys. He has no bad habits, an his manliness incnleates the idea that it i s not neces sary for a boy to indulge in pettyvioea to be a Frank Merriwell' s example is a shining light for every ambitioua lifd to follow. Twenty volumes now ready : Frank MerriwelPs Sohool Daya Frank Kerriwell's Chuma Frank Merriwell's Foes Frank JCerriwell's Tri.P West Frank Merriwell Down South Frank Merriwell's Oourage Frank Merriwell's Daring lhank M:erriwell's Skill Frank Kerriwell's Chamii Q.118 Frllollk Merriwell's Retlll'D tiO Yale Frank Merriwell's Bravery Frank Merriwell's Frank Merriwell's Rooes Frank Merriwell's Frank Merriwell's Hunting Tour Frank Merriwell's Re..raia Frank Merriwell's Sports Afield Frank Meuiwell's Faith Frank Merri well at Yale Frank Merriwell's Victorles VICTOR ST. CLAIR. These books are full of good, clean adventure, thrilling enough .to plelUle the full-b l ooded wid e-awake boy, y e t containing nothUig to which there can be any objection from thos e who are careful as to the kind of books they put into the hands of the young. Cast Away in the .Tungle Comrades Under Castro For Home and Honor From Switch to Lever Little Snap, the Post Boy Zig-Zag, the Boy Con3urer Zip, the Acrobat MATTHEW WHITE, JR. Good, healthy, strong books for the Am erican lad. No more in teresting books for the young appear on our lists. Adventures of a Young Athlete Eric Dane Guy Hammersley My Mysterious Fortune Tour of a Private Car Young Editor, The DAVID McKAY, Publisher, Philadelphia. (vii)

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ARTHUR :n. WINFIELD. One of the moat popular authors of boys' books. Here are three Qf his best. Jl:ark Dale' Stace Venture Youns Bank Clerk, The Youns Bridge Tender, The GAYLE WINTERTON. This very interesting atory relates the trial1 and triumphs of a Young .American Actor, including &0lution of a very puzzling mystery. Youns Actor, J:..ie EB.NEST A. YOUNG. This book ia not a treatiae on sports, as the title would indicate, bui relates a series of thrilling adventures among boy campers in ihe woods of liaine. Boa.ts, Bat and BiOJ'ClH DA.VW McKAY, Publiab.er, Philadelphia. (Tili)


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