Boys and girls of seventy-seven

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Boys and girls of seventy-seven

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Boys and girls of seventy-seven
Smith, Mary P. Wells ( Mary Prudence Wells ), 1840-1930
Grunwald, Charles ( illustrator )
Place of Publication:
Boston [Mass.]
Little, Brown and Company
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Copyright Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Massachusetts -- Revolution, 1775-1783 ( lcsh )


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Origianl pictorial cloth. x, 315 p., [4] leaves of plates

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
030002654 ( ALEPH )
12734087 ( OCLC )
C21-00041 ( USFLDC DOI )
c21.41 ( USFLDC Handle )

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By .Mary P. Wells Smith. THE YOUNG PURITANS SERIES. The Young Puritans of Old Hadley. The Y oung Puritans lu Kinll PWllp's War. The Young Purlt&ns In C&ptlvlty . The Younll and Old Puritans of H&tlleld . 4 vols . Il!U.11tr&ted. 16mo . Decorated cloth, '1.25 per volume. The set, In box , $6. 00 THE JOLLY GOOD TIMES SERIES. Jolly Good Time s ; or, Child Life o n a F arm. J o lly Good 'l'lmea at S c hool; also, S ome T ! mes n o t so Jolly. The Browns , Their Canoe Trip. Jolly Good 'l' lmes at Haclanatack. More Good Times at Hac . Jolly Good Times 'l'o-day. A Jolly Good Summe r . 8 vols . Illustrated. 12mo . Cloth, gilt, $1.26 per volum e. The set, uniformly bound In cloth, gilt, In box, $10.00. Four o n a Farm. Illuatrate

"Colonel Wells gave his loved children a foml smile unrl hand wave as he r ode by." -Frontispiece. See page 24(.




Copyrigltt, 1909, BT LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY • .All ri9hl1 ruenied P11blished September, 1909 THE UNIVBR81TY PRB88, OAlllBRIDGB, U. 8. A.




THIS is a story of the Revolutionary period, especially as affecting that region of Western Massachusetts in which the previous historic tales by the author are located. It closes with the surrender of Burgoyne. It aims to bring home to young readers the high courage, patriotism, and self-sacrifice animating our fore fathers, who, a small and scattered people, in a new and poor country, with limited means, no regular army or navy or trained soldiers, ventured to declare war for a principle against one of the world's most powerful nations, and after seven years of strenuous conflict, triumphed. The experiences of Colonel David Wells and family are given because typical of those under gone by many families at that time, and also because their story is familiar to the author, the main incidents having often been recounted


viii PREFACE. to her by her father, who, in his youth, heard them in his turn from the actors in the scenes. Revolutionary times are fast becoming wholly traditional, and it seems worth while, therefore, to preserve the personal touch with them when possible. Young readers may rest assured that this is "a true story." GREENl'IELD, MABB •• June a, 1909. MARY P . w ELLS SMITH.






LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. "Colonel Wells gave his loved children a fond smile and hand wave as he rode by" . . Frontispiece " At last the captain began, the children gathering eagerly close around him" . . Page 17 "Away went the fiddle, squeaking out 'Money Musk'". " 'We drew up beside the road, and I made a real deep courtesy' " . ,, 82 " 181


BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. CHAPTER I. THE ARRIVAL. AMOONLIGHT night in February, 1772. As Captain Agrippa Wells came in from his barn he paused a second to glance around before entering the little log house. Through the window, whence the candle-light streamed ruddily out upon the snow, he saw his wife, Mehitable, . sitting before the fire knitting, her needles glancing in the firelight as her fingers flew. Around him on every side rose high hills, mostly still covered with primeval forest. Spot less snow, glistening in the moonlight, covered every cleared space. Down below him stretched a wide expanse of the Connecticut Valley, white in the moonlight, with hills beyond. In the valley below, but three miles away, the captain saw . shining the lights of the little village of Greenfield. Silently the moonlight fell over 1


2 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. this wide, beautiful landscape. No sound broke the intense silence save a distant howling from the woods on the northwest hills. " Wolves ! " thought Agrippa. " Well, let them howl. My sheep and cattle are safe from their teeth behind my stout barnyard palisade." "It is a glorious moonlight night out, Mehit able," he said as he entered the room. " I know it," answered his wife, yawning wearily as she folded her work. "But I am so tired after our packing to-day, I cannot keep my eyes open longer, and must to bed, though it be but eight o' clock." For here the tall clock in the corner slowly chimed eight solemn strokes. " I am tired, and sleepy too," said Agrippa. "But I must just look into this Boston 'Gazette' that J obn Wells sent over to-day. I haven't seen a Boston paper for two weeks. I want to keep my eye on Sam Adams and see what he advises." Agrippa seated himself before the :fireplace, where the fire, save the big back log, had died down to a glowing bed of coals. He took the candle and, bending over, elbows on his knees, held it between himself and the paper in his hands, the better to see.


THE ARRIVAL. 3 "Ha!" he exclaimed presently, with a start that nearly set his paper ablaze. "That's the way to talk I It takes Sam Adams to speak his mind to Governor Hutchinson. He isn't afraid of the king himself." But, filled with patriotism though Agrippa was, the fatigue of the day would make itself felt, and at last he reluctantly folded his paper, carefully buried the fire in ashes, and went to bed. Silence profound descended on the solitary log house and its slumbering inmates. By and by Agrippa, who slept heavily after his day's labor in the wintry air, was wakened by his wife, who was shaking him. " Agrippa ! " she cried, " wake up ! Some one's pounding on the outer door. What can be wanted at this time of night ? " Agrippa, thus roused, heard a smart rapping on the door and the sound of voices outside. Hastily tumbling out and pulling on his gar ments, he hurried to open the door a crack and peer out. " 'V ell, Cousin Agrippa, here we are at last, you see, bag and baggage," said a hearty VOICe. " What, David, have you really come?" cried Agrippa, throwing the door wide open. "I'm


4 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. downright glad to see you. Welcome, Cousin Mary, and all the young folks too. Welcome to Shelburne. Come right in." Before the door in the moonlight stood a two horse sled piled high with furniture and bed ding, on which rode a mother and little ones. The father and older children were mounted on horseback, one boy leading a cow. A tired looking dog followed the party. In all, here was a company of nine persons, threatening to more than fill the little log house. But the welcome was most hearty, both from Agrippa and his wife, who had hurriedly dressed on hearing her husband's joyful call: "Mehitable ! Here's Cousin David and his family arrived at last ! " For these were the cousins from Connecticut to whom Agrippa had sold his farm in Shelburne the previous October. Captain David Wells had then told his cousin that he intended to move his family up and take possession of the farm the last of the winter, before sleighing was gone. There was little opportunity to send letters, and Agrippa had heard nothing further. But he and his wife had begun packing their goods and were prepared to move on short notice,


THE ARRIVAL. 5 that, as spring was approaching, the Wells family must arrive ere long. And now here they were ! The weary young travellers gladly dismounted from their horses • and the mother brought her drowsy little ones in to the fire. Mehitable had already raked it open, throwing on light pine wood, which quickly kindled to a blaze, lighting the rude room cheerfully. " I wish I could offer you a cup of hot tea, Cousin Mary," said Mehitable. "Nothing would so refresh you after your long, cold ride. But that, you know, is forbidden." " Yes, I should certainly think you and Cousin Agrippa were Tories if I so much as smelt aw of tea under your roof," said Mrs. Mary, smiling in spite of her fatigue. "We stopped in Deerfield, at Major Salah Barnard's tavern,1 for a late supper, so need nothing now but our beds. David thought the night was so fine we had best keep right on. A ring around the moon seems to foretell a storm to-' " morrow. " And we were all anxious to reach our long journey's end, when so near it, and see our new t The Frary house. Long occupied by the late Miss C. Alice Baker. I


6 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. home," said Mary Wells, the second daughter, a spirited girl of eighteen. "In truth, I must say, it looks rather dole ful," half whispered her sister Patience, the older daughter. Patience was tired, and the log house certainly looked rather primitive to the young people coming from the older settlements of Connecticut. "'Sh, Patience, none of your 'dolefuls,'" said Mary, as she took baby Walter, a sturdy boy of two, heavy with sleep, out of her mother's tired arms. Patience, aided by Lucinda, the fourteen-year old sister, began to remove the heavy wraps which protected their sister Eunice, aged eight, and their little brother William, five years old, who really staggered with sleep as he stood patiently to be undone. But Eunice, who was a child of much sturdy independence, rejected the efforts of Lucinda to aid her. " I 'm not a baby, Lucinda," she said, pushing her sister away. "You don't need to help me. I can undress myself." The two mothers, aided by the two fathers, now tried to devise sleeping accommodations for the night. The log house had but two rooms,


THE ARRIVAL. a large living-room and a bedroom, with a loft above, to which steep, ladder-like steps led from one corner of the living-room. Agrippa Wells, his wife and younger children, occupied the bed room. His two older children were asleep in the loft, unawakened as yet by the sound of voices below. The feather beds and bedclothes were brought in from the sled and spread on the floor. Cap tain David, his wife, and the younger children occupied these beds, while the older children climbed the steep stairs into the loft, where their cousin Mehitable had improvised beds for them. A feather bed on a floor is not a downy couch of ease. But the Wells family, after riding all day, and for two previous days, in the cold, were in no mood to be critical. It was a luxury to stretch their cramped limbs and lie down in peace, anyhow and anywhere ; to feel that their long journey was ended and that they had reached their new home. Sleep soon descended on the whole household. From the fire's cover ing of ashes a coal or two glimmered, painting a rosy ray of light on the ceiling and dimly lighting the sleeping forms below. . Captain David Wells, like Captain Agrippa,


8 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. was directly descended from Thomas Wells, one of the " engagers" who came up from W ethers:field to settle Hadley in 1659. Their grand fathers were his sons. But Noah Wells, David's grandfather, had gone back to the old home country in Connecticut, and :finally settled at Colchester. Here David was born, had married, and had lived on the half of the paternal farm set off to him by his father, bearing an active part in matters of church and State, as a captain of the South Military Company in the Twelfth Connecticut Regiment of Militia, chairman of the committee in charge of building a new church, etc . . Now he was forty-nine years old and the father of nine children, five of whom were sons. As his boys began to grow up, Captain Wells had felt it necessary to seek the better oppor tunities which a new country would offer them. He had therefore come up the previous autumn into the new and sparsely settled region on the hills northwest of Deerfield. Here the amount for which he could sell his Colchester farm would purchase a great tract of land, mostly un cleared as yet, but which the labor of himself and his sons would gradually convert into fine farms.


THE ARRIVAL. 9 Shelburne had only been incorporated as a Reparate town four years. Not until the close of the Frenc;h and Indian Wars in 1760 had any one ventured to settle there permanently. Now a few settlers were scattered about in log houses set in clearings here and there in the vast forests covering the hills which composed the town. For Shelburne was a mountain town, lying up among the hills which extended from the Hoosac Range. The W ellses were as truly pioneers in coming up to settle on this western farm as were, a little later, those who went from Con necticut to the Northwestern Reserve. The next day was a busy one in the crowded log house. Agrippa and his wife had packed everything possible while still living in the house. He had bought a house in Greenfield village, where he intended to set up a blacksmith shop. ''How did your husband happen to decide on moving to Greenfield ? I should almost have thought he would have gone back to his old home in Deerfield," said Mrs. David Wells. " Greenfield is growing to be quite a village. It ha.s about twenty houses now, and they are building a good-sized meeting-house of their own up on Trap Plain,1 in the centre of the 1 Appendix A.


10 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. town. Agrippa thinks the village is likely to grow still more, and that it will furnish a good opening for him ; he can add blacksmithing to his farm work, and so earn more. As one's family increases, one's expenses increase, you know." "Yes, I know that well," said Mrs. Wells. The Agrippa Wells family were packing their last things, nailing up boxes and barrels, and loading sleds, while the David Wells family were unpacking their belongings and moving in. Agrippa's children, young Agrippa, Mehit able, and Mary, had been delighted, on awaken ing, to find that their new cousins had arrived. It was a great day for the children. They were so numerous, so interested in everything, so determined to "help," that at last Mehitable said: "Cousin Mary, I am sure you will agree with me that we can get along better without the children's help. They 're so thick under foot, I'm afraid some-Agrippa, what are you doing with that warming-pan?" " Israel and I are playing Indian, and I 'm on his trail. This is my war club." " Put it down at once. You must n't meddle with Cousin David's things."


THE A.RRIV AL. 11 "Eunice," said her mother, "don't try to lift one end of that heavy chest. You '11 strain yourself. Come, come, children, you '11 help us most by getting out of the way." "Let them all go out to the barn and play," said Mehitable. To the barn all the younger children had to go, exiled from the fun of unpacking and the general excitement pervading the house. The ba.rn, like the house, was built of logs, and looked small to the Connecticut children. But the barnyard was surrounded by such a fence as they had never seen; it was made of half-logs set closely together side by side, and very high. "I never saw a fence like that," said Israel. "That's a palisade," said young Agrippa, " to keep out wild animals, wolves and panthers, who would carry off our sheep and calves but for this fence." " Dear me,'' said Eunice, looking over at the woods near by with a shudder, "I am afraid. I heard the wolves howling on the hills as we rode up last night." "You needn't fear," said Agrippa. "They are shy enough in the daytime." The children found plenty to interest them at the barn.


12 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "I wonder if all our cattle can get in here," said Israel, disposed to boast. "V{ e have thirty head in all." " Where are they ? " asked Agrippa. " You only brought one cow up with you." "Father left them behind in Colchester, to eat up the hay in our barn there. My big brothers, David and Noah, stayed to take care of them. By and by, when the grass is up, so the cattle can feed along the way, the boys will drive them up." " This is a good barn to play hide and seek in," said Mehitable. "Let's have a game, there's so many of us," said Eunice. The barn soon presented an animated scene, with children scampering all over it, climbing up and down the beams, chasing each other, and sliding down the mows. "Do let's stop and rest a bit," said little Mary at last, warm and out of breath. The children perched on an old sled standing on the barn floor. "Are there any Indians around here now, Agrippa ? " asked Israel. "I've never seen any," said Agrippa, "but I would love to."


THE ARRIVAL. 13 " So would I,'' said Israel. "I'd like noth ing better." ".Oh, ho," said Eunice, " I '11 warrant you 'd both run as fast as any of us at sight of one." "There used to be plenty of them about here," said Agrippa, " and not so very long ago, either. You ought to hear my father tell about Indians. He has fought them plenty of times." " Major Barnard told us a good Indian story last night, when we stopped at his house for supper," said Israel. "And it was true, too." "What was it?" asked Agrippa. "He and father were talking about the French and Indian wars. Major Barnard was one of the soldiers in Fort William Henry when it was taken by Montcalm. Major Barnard said the French and their Indian allies they had two or three thousand Indians with them outnumbered the English two to one. The fort held out for six days, and then Colonel Munroe surrendered it, on condition that the French would escort his men in safety to Fort Edward, the nearest English post. This Montcalm promised to do. So Major Barnard said the English marched out, supposing themselves safe, as they had Montcalm's promise. But hardly


14: BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. were our men outside the fort when this swarm of bloodthirsty Indians fell on them with horrid whoops and yells, murdering officers, men, women, and children, robbing them of all their baggage, even stripping their clothing from their backs." " What were the Frenchmen doing ? " asked Agrippa. "Why didn't they keep their word?" "I don't know. Major Barnard said they simply stood and looked on, making no effort to stop the killing. Two Indians seized Major Barnard. Each had tight hold of one of his hands, and they began to drag him away to the woods to strip and murder him." "How horrible ! " said Mehitable. " Wait till you hear the end. As the Indians were dragging him along in this way, they came to a steep descent. Now Major Barnard saw his chance. As they began to descend this steep pitch, Barnard suddenly braced himself back, tore his hands from the lndians' grasp, and, seizing the two Indians' heads, swung them together with a mighty crash, stunning them both. They rolled down the hill, and the major ran for his life, and finally found his way through the woods to Fort Edward in safety."


THE ARRIVAL. 15 "Good! I'm glad he did that," said the girls. " I 've heard about that fight before," said Agrippa. " Captain John Burke of Bernard ston was captured then. Father told me about it. The Indians stripped Burke too, but he was strong, and managed to escape to Fort Edward. But my father can tell as good stories as those, of what happened to himself. You ought to hear him tell about the time the Indians cap tured him and carried him off to Canada." "Don't you think he would tell us about it?" asked Israel. " I love to hear Indian stories, even if they do frighten me," said Eunice. " So do I," piped up little William. "Maybe father '11 tell us his adventures this evening, if he isn't too busy," said Agrippa. "I '11 watch a chance to ask him."


CHAPTER II. CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. THAT evening, when supper was over, the packing done, and the little children asleep in their trundle beds, the parents and older chil dren of both families sat around the blazing fire in the big living-room, welcoming the oppor tunity for peaceful rest and quiet visiting after the day's toil. While the fathers discussed the state of the country and the mothers their domestic affairs, the boys were playing fox and geese on a home made board, marked with a red-hot poker on one side for checkers, on the other for fox and geese. Mary and Patience were entertain ing young John Wells, son of Colonel Samuel Wells, another cousin, who lived at the west end of Greenfield's main street. He had come up to aid his cousin Agrippa in moving and driving down his stock, and was happy to make the acquaintance of the pretty girls from Con necticut, cousins of his own age. True, they


, " At last the captain began, the children gathering eagerly close arnund him." -Page 17.


CAPT.A.IN 'GRIP'S STORY. 17 were only fourth cousins-, but fourth cousinship is sometimes a most precious relation. Neither Eunice nor Israel had forgotten the Indian stories. Eunice came over to the boys and whispered to Agrippa: "You know what you promised us, Agrippa?" " Yes, those Indian stories. Do get him to tell them," said Israel. Agrippa waited until there was a pause in the elders' talk, and then said to his father : "Sir, our cousins here are anxious to hear the story of your adventures among the Indians." "Oh, that's a pretty old story now," said Captain Agrippa. "But it is one that will well bear retelling," said Captain David. ''While I know something of your experiences, I have never heard the par ticulars, . and should enjoy hearing the full story from your own lips." Mrs. Wells too joined in the entreaty, and at last the captain began, the children gathering eagerly close around him, to lose not a word. "I went out in Captain Jonathan Burbank's company in Rogers' Rangers, in April, 1758," said the captain. " We were sent out on the frontier, to do garrison duty and scouting, and were camped on Lake George. One day in 2


18 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. June a small party of us were ordered to scout up around Sabbath Day Point, on the west shore of Lake George. Our men were Martin and Matthew Severance of Deerfield by the way, David, Martin Severance has settled in Shelburne." " Has he ? In what part ? " " Over at Salmon Falls. He and James Ryder were the first settlers in town, but the taking of Fort Massachusetts and the slaying of Captain Rice at Charlemont drove them away. Martin returned at the end of the war." "He has been a valiant soldier," said Captain David. "None braver. Out in all the wars since he was twenty. But to go on with my story. William Clark of Coleraine was also in our party. While we four were scouting around Sabbath Day Point, a band of Indians, twenty strong, fell upon us and took us captive, and off we had to march for Canada. Luckily it was June, so food was fairly plenty, and we at least fared as well as our Indian masters. I can't say our rations were equal to my wife's cooking, but they served to hold soul and body together. "We discovered later that our captors were


CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. 19 feeding us, not out of kindness, -far from it, but to keep us strong for a grand exhibition they meant to give on arrival home. When at last we reached the Indian village, there was a great powwow. The whole tribe turned out to greet us, whooping, howling, and dancing around us in triumph. "Before long we saw the Indians forming themselves in two long lines, opposite each other. Every Indian in the village was stand ing in these lines, even to the boys and old squaws, all bearing some kind of a weapon, if only a switch. "'It's plain what that means,' said Martin Severance to me. ' These Indians are not up for a contra dance. We've got to run the gauntlet.' " Here two Indians seized me, stripped me of every rag of clothes, and dressed me up in an old squaw's deerskin shirt, jeering at me as they pulled it over my head." The young people laughed at this. "I see the young folks laughing," said Captain Agrippa. "The Severances and Clark, though they were in the same boat with me, could not help laughing either, on seeing me in that rig. But I tell you, I didn't feel a bit like laughing.


20 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. I was mad clear through, mad enough to have killed half a dozen Indians, if I only could. " The next thing, we all had to run, one after the other, down between these two rows of Indians, who each tried to give us a cut, a stab, or a blow as we dashed by. I was only twenty then, strong as a young lion, and so mad it doubled my strength. I resolved to do my best. Stripped as I was I knew it would be easy runnmg. "When my turn came, with a whoop and a dash I bounded into the lines, and away I went like lightning. The Indians were so surprised at my boldness that they hardly rallied soon enough to give me many clips, and I was near ing the lower end when an old squaw stepped out and gave me a hard blow with a big club. That was too much. I turned and gave her such a kick in the stomach that she doubled up and keeled over backwards, screeching, while I shot out at the lower end of the line." "I should have thought the Indians would have killed you for that," said Israel. "I thought the same," said Captain Agrippa. "But they admired me for it; thought I was a lad of spirit, and proceeded at once to adopt me into the tribe. I was not a very contented son,


CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. 21 I can tell you. I tried to make the best of it, but I can never tell how thankful I was, a little later, to be taken to France as a prisoner of war. Anything was better than living among the Indians. I stayed among the parlez-vous a while until an exchange of prisoners was made, when I came home by way of England." " You did not get back in time to join the expedition of Rogers' Rangers against St. Francis?" said Captain David. " No, that was over before I returned. I should have liked nothing better than a chance to pay the Indians back in their own coin. The boys had hard times, though." "Tell us about it, Cousin 'Grip," said John Wells. "I've heard the whole story often from some of the boys who were out with Rogers. In October, 1759, Rogers was at Crown Point, when General Amherst ordered him and bis Rangers to make a raid on St. Francis and destroy the place." "Why did he pick out St. Francis rather than any other Indian village ? " asked Israel. " St. Francis had been the headquarters of such terrible bloody raids upon the English. That is the village where Stephen Williams of


22 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Deerfield was taken as a captive, and many an other English prisoner. General Amherst felt it must be destroyed, just as you would destroy a hornet's nest." "Where is St. Francis?" asked Eunice. "Near the mouth of the St. Francis River in Canada, where it empties into the St. Lawrence. General Amherst charged Rogers to remember the barbarities committed by these savages, and to show no quarter except to women and children." ''Rogers and about two hundred Rangers rowed up Lake Champlain to Missisquoi Bay. Here they left their boats with provisions in charge of a guard and struck off into the wil derness to the northeast. Two days later the guard Rogers had left overtook him, reporting that a force of three hundred French and Indians had seized the boats left behind and were even now on his trail." " A hard situation, that," said John Wells, ''for a mere handful of Englishmen out there in the wilderness, far from any possible help." "Rogers and his men didn't flinch. They only pushed on the faster. On their twenty second day out they drew near St. Francis. One of the men, who climbed a tall tree, re-


CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. 23 ported the village in sight, so they proceeded cautiously. They l'.eached the outskirts of the village about dusk, and halted in the woods. When night came on, Rogers and two of his men dressed themselves up as Indians and went into the village." " How dared they do it ! " exclaimed Patience. "They were plucky, clear grit. They found a big feast going on, to celebrate a chief's wedding, and that the Indians evidently had not a suspicion of danger nigh. They came safely back to the main body and lay still until towards morning, when, the feast being over, all at last was quiet in the Indian village. " Then Rogers divided his men into three companies, and posted them around St. Francis. At three o' clock in the morning the order was given for the attack. Our men marched up to the very doors of the wigwams in squads, each squad selecting the wigwam to be attacked. At the signal, they leaped right in, and did deadly execution. Many an Indian was killed before he knew what had hurt him. Two-thirds of the Indians were slain then and there." "It sounds cruel, like butchery," said Mary. "But think of all the butchery done by these very Indians on our people, over and over again.


24 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Why, the next morning, when day dawned, our men saw over six hundred English scalps hung up on poles, blowing in the wind, some bearing the long, fair hair of women. That sight in furiated them. They set fire to the wigwams, making a clean sweep of the whole place. They rescued five English captives held there, and took considerable spoil. Also they captured two hundred Indians. " They had obeyed orders and destroyed St. Francis. Rogers now hastened to retreat, fear ing his pursuers would soon be upon him. His plan was to follow up the St. Francis to Lake Memphremagog, then travel across the carrying place from the lake to the Connecticut River, and thence down the river to Fort No. 4.1 Rogers knew that General Amherst had ordered supplies sent him from Fort No. 4 to the mouth of the Ammonoosuc, there to await his arrival. "Now began the terrible struggle to get home through the unbroken wilderness. The Rangers managed to keep together eight days, but soon had to release their captives, as their provisions began to run low. Then they divided into three parties, each under an experienced leader, to reach the Ammonoosuc as best they could." 1 Charlestown, N. H.


CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. 25 "I should have thought it would have been safer for them to keep together," said Lucinda. " Food was so scarce that small bands stood a better chance foraging for game, nuts, and roots. Twice Rogers and the men with him were attacked by furious savages, and several of the English were slain or captured. The weather turned terribly cold, and the men suf fered greatly. They were footsore, hungry, and cold. Yet still they struggled on, buoyed up by the hope of soon reaching the Ammonoosuc, and there finding relief. " Rogers and his party were the first to reach the Ammonoosuc. To his dismay he found the place deserted. A fresh fire still burning in the camp showed that it had but recently been aban doned. Rogers fired guns to call back the sup plies. But the relief party from No. 4, who bad been there for two days and had but just left, being then but six miles away, only hurried the faster on hearing the guns, fearing that a band of Indians was coming to attack them." " What a cowardly thing to do ! " exclaimed John Wells. "You may well say that. I guess those cow ards . were ashamed of that action to their dying day. Rogers and his men were now almost in


26 BOYS AND GIRLS' OF SEVENTYSEVEN. despair. It seemed as if they must lie down there in the woods and die of starvation. Rogers saw that the only hope was for him to get down to No. 4 as quickly as possible, there secure help and food, and come back for the others. He, Captain Ogden, and another man managed to make a raft of dry pine trees, on which . they started to fl.oat down the river. With their hatchets they hewed out something that answered for paddles, and by these managed to keep their poor raft in the middle of the stream, where the current would bear it down. " The second day they reached White River Falls and almost went over them. They lost their raft, but had strength left to get ashore and walk around the falls. " Below the falls they had the good fortune to kill some red squirrels and a partridge, and this food revived them somewhat. It was neces-' sary to build another raft. Being unable to cut down the trees, Rogers burned them down, and then burnt the trunks into logs the right length for his raft." "It sounds like hard work," said Israel. "Hard! I guess it was. No one that hasn't gone through it can begin to imagine what such a struggle of starving men through a wilderness


CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. 27 means. On their raft the three men floated down to Water Queeche Falls. Now the ques tion was how to get their raft over the falls. They must do it or they were lost, for they no longer had strength to build another raft. They landed, and Captain Ogden managed to hold the raft by a withe of bushes while the others went below the falls and swam out. The three then contrived to get the raft over the falls, paddle it to shore, and fasten it. " They rested there that night. The next morning they floated down the river nearly to No. 4, when they came upon a party of men who helped them down to the fort. As soon as they reached the fort and told their story, a canoe with food was sent up the river for the men left at the Ammonoosuc. Two days later, when he had recovered strength, Rogers returned up the river with two more canoes loaded with prov1s10ns. The few survivors rescued were in terrible plight. They had lived on such small game as they could kill, on roots, nuts, and birch-bark, and had even eaten their leathern belts and moccasins. Since leaving St. Francis, Rogers had lost three lieutenants and forty-six privates, mostly from starvation and exposure. But that was the end of St. Francis. That


28 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. was thirteen years ago, and no more Indian raids have we had." " It is a wonderful story of human endur ance," said Captain David. "And of pluck," said Captain Agrippa. "Do you think, John, you young fellows of to-day would be equal to such bravery if we had another war ? " "We '11 certainly do our best, sir," said John. "Don't speak of the possibility of another war," said Mrs. David Wells. "I confess my heart sinks within me at the mere possibility of war, with all its horrors. But Eunice, Israel, it is long after your bedtime. I've let you sit up to hear your com1in's stories. Say good night. Here's your candle, Eunice." " I 'm afraid to go up in the loft alone," said Eunice, on w horn the Indian stories had made a deep impression, all the stronger because the children vividly realized that they had come out into a new, wild region to live, very different from their Connecticut home. " Can't I sit up . till the girls go to bed, mother ? " "No. Go at once. There are no Indians around here now. Good-night, Eunice." Eunice dared say no more, but took her candle and climbed up into the loft, with many wistful looks back at the cosey :fireside.


CAPTAIN 'GRIP'S STORY. 29 Israel's lot was still harder. The boys slept at "the shop," a small log building standing a few rods from the house. Israel tried to entice Larry the dog to go with him. But Larry, though he thumped the floor with his tail at Israel's flattering attentions, refused to leave his snug berth by the fire. Israel would have liked to wait for John; but being a boy, he was ashamed to show fear, like Eunice. So he banged the outer door behind him and sped out to the shop, looking over his shoulder as he ran, half fancying he saw an Indian stirring behind every bush on the way. Swiftly did he plunge into bed and draw the blankets well up over his head.


CHAPTER III. GETTING SETTLED. WHEN the others had retired, the two cap tains were left sitting alone by the fire. " What is the feeling in Connecticut, Cousin David?" asked Agrippa. "Do the leaders think the differences between the colonies and the king likely to result in war ? " "Many feel, with Franklin, that a bloody struggle is inevitable, although they are will ing to make all reasonable concessions to avoid war. But there is a limit beyond which free men cannot go. We must stand, at all haz ards, by our just claim, no taxation without represen ta ti on." "Right," said Captain Agrippa. " I agree . with you, and with Samuel Adams. Let me read you something of his from this Boston 'Gazette' that young John brought up." Putting on his glasses Captain Agrippa read: "The tragedy of American freedom is nearly com pleted. A tyranny seems to be at the very door. They who lie under oppression deserve what they


GETTING SETTLED. 31 suffer; let them perish with their oppressors. Could millions be enslaved if all possessed the independent spirit of Brutus, who, to his immortal honor, expelled the tyrant of Rome and his royal and rebellious race ? The liberties of our country are worth defending at all hazards. If we should suffer them to be wrested from us, millions yet unborn may be the sharers of the event. Every step has been taken but one; and the last appeal would require prudence, unanimity, and fortitude. America must herself, under God, finally work out her own salvation." "Strong words, and true," said Captain David. "I confess it looks to me like stormy days ahead." "Well, if it comes to 'the last appeal,' I for one stand ready to do my part," said Captain Agrippa. "'Britons never will be slaves,' as the old song says." "No, we will fight it out to the end," said Captain David. The next morning Captain Agrippa and fam ily, aided by young John Wells, set out for their new home in Greenfield. David Wells and family were left alone in the log house, sur rounded by woods, far from any other dwelling. There were almost no roads in the town. The old Albany road from Deerfield passed through the southern part of the town to Salmon


32 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Falls, on through Charlemont, and thence, by the Cold River Trail, over Hoosac Mountain. This was the chief thoroughfare from the settle ments below to the west. Another rude road, but little more than a bridle path, led from the Albany road north to Coleraine, passing Cap tain Wells' house. Bridle-paths led through the woods from farm to farm, and to the centre, where stood the log meeting-house, on one of the highest hills in hilly Shelburne. Captain Wells sadly missed the help of his two oldest sons, David and Noah, who had remained in Colchester to care for the cattle. But he went valiantly to work with such help as he could get out of Israel, to start operations on the new farm. One fine morning in March, when a sharp, frosty night was followed by brilliant sunshine and a soft air that hinted of coming spring, Captain Wells said, as he came in with his milk pails: "This is a good sugar morning. Sap would run to-day in streams." " Why don't you tap some of the big maples around here and make some sugar, father?" " I want to, but I hardly see how I can manage it, I am so busy, without the boys to help."


GETTING SETTLED. 33 " we '11 help you, father," cried Mary, Pa tience, and Lucinda, all together. "We can gather sap as well as the boys." "I'd love to help," said Eunice. <'With so many valiant helpers I ought to be encouraged," said their father, laughing. The captain yielded to the persuasions of his family and tapped a number of large maples of the original forest still standing on the home lot of several acres, and also some trees at the edge of the all-surrounding woods. The girls kept their word. Young, straight, and strong, in the full bloom and vigor of young womanhood, they made little work of putting sap yokes on their shoulders, with a sap bucket hang ing on each side, and going out on the crust to the near by trees to gather the sap. They were much aided, as she thought, by Eunice, who ran along with them, to help empty the buckets. " Well, Eunice," said Patience, "if we have much such help as yours, it will save trouble, for we shall not have enough sap left to boil down." Eunice was standing with her head thrown back, drinking deeply from a bucket. " That is the sweetest one yet," said Eunice. "I only wanted to see which was the sweetest." "I want some. I love sap," said William. 3


34 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "So do we all," said Mary. " But if we all drank all we could, woe to our sugar. But give Billy a drink, Eunice." The girls came in from their walk on the crust with blooming cheeks. Their mother, secrstly proud of her pretty girls, but, with true New England reserve, careful not to hint a compli ment, said, -"You girls look as if farm work agreed with you. ,, "I 'd rather be outdoors gathering sap any time than indoors spinning," said Patience. "Or weaving," said Mary. "Or washing dishes," said Lucinda. "Tut, tut," said the mother, reprovingly. "Spinning and weaving and housework are women's proper work. Don't let me hear you speak against either. Where 's Eunice ? " " She has gone off on the sled with father and Israel, to help gather sap from the woods." "She ought to be knitting her stint now," said the mother. "But never mind, if she can be of any help to your father." Eunice was enjoying her present duties even more than knitting her stint. It was great fun standing on the sled with Israel, holding by the stakes, gliding along over the hard crust, with


GETTING SETTLED. 35 many a jar and bump as the sled hit some pro jecting rock. William sat on the sled bottom, getting the full benefit of every bump, while Larry travelled many miles as he ran hither and thither far over the fields and up into the woods, stopping to sniff and dig at every woodchuck hole or squirrel track. Eunice and Israel ran up into the woods and brought out the sap buckets to their father, who emptied them into the barrel on the sled. "I would be afraid to come up here in the woods alone, without father, wouldn't you, Israel ? " said Eunice. "Oh, I shouldn't mind it," said Israel. " I guess if you were followed by a pack of wolves, like Daniel Nims, you would mind it." " What was it about Daniel Nims ? " " Didn't you hear Cousin John Wells tell about that the other night ? Daniel Nims lives over beyond the centre. He was riding home one night through the woods when he heard wolves on his track. The howling grew louder and nearer. He put spurs to his horse and rode as fast as he could. He had just reached home, put up his horse safely, and entered the house, when a great pack of hungry wolves rushed into his yard. He escaped, but they killed one of his beat calyes."


36 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "The moral is," said her father, "that we must examine the barnyard palisades right away and make sure that they are tight." Mrs. Wells and her daughters had charge of boiling down the sap and sugaring off. It was Saturday, near noon. Mrs. Wells was busy with her baking, -an important work in a family as large as hers. The brick oven had been heated, and out of it now, with the long handled "peel," she was drawing the coals, pre paring to slide in the ten loaves of rye and Indian bread which rose high above their pans on the hearth. Patience was watching a large kettle of syrup hanging over the fire, whose boiling and bubbling indicated that it was nearly done. Eunice was taking care of baby Walter, who was running about, into everything, unless vigilantly watched. "This sugar is about done," said Patience, holding up the ladle. "See, it strings down." "I '11 get some snow to try it," said Eunice, seizing a pan and running out to a big snow bank still lying north of the house . "Me go, too," said Walter, heading for the door. Mary, who was spinning at the big wheel one side of the room, ran after and captured


GETTING SETTLED. 37 Walter, half stumbling over Larry as she turned, the dog being close behind her. "Dear me," said Ma.ry, "I wish Eunice would attend to her own work. I never shaU get this bunch 0 rolls spun i I have to mind Walter." " Where 's Lucinda ? " "She's out at the shop doing something." "Look out, Walter! He almost sat down on one 0 your loaves 0 bread then, mother." Eunice, meantime, nad given the signal to the other children, " The sugar 's done ! " and they all came flocking in. Patience filled the saucers with hot sugar, and Eunice's pan 0 snow, well packed down, was soon covered with brown patches 0 sugar, turning to a delicious maple wax. " It looks like the map 0 the world," said Eunice, as she spread on her sugar. "See, this is North America, and this South America, and this is Africa." " I 'll swallow South America at one mouth ful," said Israel, as he thrust his spoon into that continent. "That's mine. Keep your own side 0 the pan, Israel," said Eunice. "Don't quarrel, children," said the mother. "There is plenty for you all . "


38 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. There was not the least trouble to keep Walter quiet now, as he sat in Lucinda's lap eating waxed maple sugar. Although a" sugar ing off" came almost daily, the children were able to eat as much each time as if it had been an entire novelty. Mrs. Wells had put into the brick oven a large pot of b _ eans, with a piece of salt pork in the centre. This would be left in the oven until Sunday morning, furnishing both break fast and supper for that day, when all unnec essary work must be avoided. After supper Israel said: "Come on outdoors and play, Eunice." Eunice was reaching for her hood, when her mother said : "Children, you forget that it is Saturday night. The sun is just setting. You must keep quiet now, and read your books, and get ready for Sunday." The children subsided at once, for well they knew playing to be forbidden on Saturday night. Sunday began at sundown, and must be strictly observed until sundown of the Sabbath. "Anyway, I am glad to-morrow is Sunday," said Eunice, "for I want to see the meeting house and the neighbors."


GETTING SETTLED. 39 All the family shared Eunice's feeling, for, living in so isolated a place, it was natural they should be interested to see something of the town, and the people among whom their lot was henceforth to be cast. "Father says it looks like rain," said Lucinda. "If it rains, we cannot go." The sky was overcast with clouds, and an east wind full of dampness seemed to portend rain. "Oh, dear, I think it will be a shame if it rains ! " exclaimed Eunice. "Eunice! I am surprised," said her mother. "Never complain of the weather God He know best." ' " •. ' ;


CHAPTER IV. TO MEETING. THE next morning Eunice and Lucinda woke their sisters early by hopping from bed and running to peep from the loft's east ward window. " Oh, girls," cried Eunice, " do wake ! It is the loveliest morning you ever saw ! The sun is just coming up over the hills, bright and clear. It rained in the night, and then turned cold and froze, and everything is coated with ice, glis tening in the sun ! " " It almost puts my eyes out, everything shines so," said Lucinda. Mary and Patience, glad to hear that the day was fair, forgave their sisters for waking them so early and joined with them in admiring the beauty of the outdoor world. Every tree was coated with ice to its least twig, gleaming like silver in the morning sunlight, and tinkling a bit as the breeze smote the branches together. Even the seedy weed stalks that rose above the snow glittered in beauty.


TO MEETING. 41 After breakfast the women hurried to do the morning work and dress for meeting. The coals in the fireplace were carefully banked with ashes to keep a fire until the family returned. Captain Wells and Israel saddled the horses and brought them up to the horse-block. It was not considered necessary to lock the outer doors, as it was quite certain that no human being would come in the vicinity during their absence. Captain Wells took baby Walter in front of his saddle, holding the little one firmly with his left arm, while his right hand held the bridle rein. Walter's face beamed with smiles, he was so happy to be on father's big horse, help ing father drive, as he fondly fancied, because he was allowed to hold one end of the bridle. Eunice rode on the pillion behind her father. Mrs. Wells took the lively William on the pillion behind her, saying as they started: ''Now remember, William, you must sit still. Don't kick old Whitey and try to make her trot, for the hills are steep, and we must let her take it easily. Hold on tightly." Lucinda rode on the pillion behind Mary, while it was Patience's doom to ride behind Israel. Israel intended to go in the rear, having


42 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVE;N. planned to perform certain tricks likely to frighten Patience. But his wise father said: " Here, Israel, you ride next to me and let your mother go last." Larry capered and barked for joy around the horses, excited by the coming expedition. " Is Larry going to meeting, too ? " asked Eunice. "He will have to," said the captain. "We cannot leave him here alone all day." Mrs. Wells wore a red and green plaid cloak, coming nearly to the bottom of her dress, and a pumpkin hood of green quilted silk. The girls were clad in long scarlet cloaks, and hoods fitting closely around their fair faces. All the women wore over their dresses as a protection a plain skirt called a " safeguard," which would be taken off and thrown across the saddle on reaching the meeting-house. Captain Wells wore " splatter-dashes," reaching to his knees, over his silk stockings and buckled shoes. The procession and wound along the narrow bridle-path through the woods, marked by blazed trees, up hill and down, towards the centre of the town. Although the trees' icy coating was beginning to thaw slightly, and bits of ice came tinkling


TO MEETING. 43 down with every puff of wind, pricking the horses and making them jump, to Israel's joy, still enough ice remained to transform the wintry woods into a scene of beauty. The boughs of every hemlock and pine were weighed down with glistening ice, and the aisles of the woods were like an enchanted land. The air was fresh and pure, as the blooming cheeks of the whole party testified. On one height Captain Wells turned and said: "Do you see that blue peak far off in the That is Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire." At last they reached the steepest, longest hill they had yet encountered. "This is our last hill," said the cap tain. "The meeting-house is on top of this hill." A loud blast resounded over the hills, waking the echoes far and near as they were climb ing this hill, the stout horses steadily pegging their way up, step by step, with their solid loads. " There goes the conch shell ! We shall be late," said Israel, trying to hasten his horse. "No," said his father, "do not try to hurry


44 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Ned on this hill. The conch shell is always blown a good quarter of an hour before meeting begins, to warn all laggards." Arrived at last on the summit, they rode up to the big horse-block in front of the square, log meeting-house. " This does n 't look much like Colchester meeting-house," said Patience. " Or the stately meeting-house with the gilt weathercock on its tall spire that we saw as we rode through Deerfield," said Lucinda. "You must remember that Shelburne is only newly settled," said their father. "No doubt we too shall have a nice meeting-house, all in good time. It is a sightly situation." One looking off from meeting-house hill on the landscape around could well realize that Shel burne was a mountain town. In every direction rolled a sea of hills and valleys, covered with the original forest, with but a few breaks of cleared land. An open space back of the meeting-house had been reserved for a burying-ground and was sur rounded by a rude fence. There were but one or two graves in it as yet. To the fence were tied a number of saddle-horses, those with pil lions usually having a safeguard skirt thrown


TO MEETING. 45 across the saddle, to be donned again when the fair owner should start for home. Several men gathered before the meeting-house now came forward to greet the newcomers cor dially, and assist them to dismount. In this early stage of the town's settlement the arrival of a reputable settler and man of family, like Captain Wells, was most welcome. Among those advancing to greet the W ellses was one whom Captain Wells saluted as "Cousin . John" and hastened to introduce to his wife, sayrng: " Mary, this is our cousin John Wells, of w horn I have told you." "Welcome to Shelburne, Cousin Mary," said John Wells. " My wife and all our women will be glad to make your acquaintance." This John Wells had been among the earliest settlers of Shelburne. He had married Tamar Rice, daughter of Captain Moses Rice of Charle mont, and had bought a farm at " Deerfield Northwest," as Shelburne was then called, mov ing up from Deerfield soon after the close of the French and Indian wars. He was town clerk and a leading man. He was second cousin to both Captain David Wells and Captain Agrippa. Escorted by their cousin John, the W ellses


46 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. filed into the little meeting-house. There were no pews. The people sat on benches, the women one side the centre aisle, the men the other. Israel walked forward and took a seat with the other boys of the town on the pulpit's steps. Abner Nims, the tithing-man, armed with his stout tithing-stick, judiciously sat not far from the boys. Larry, head and ears hanging down, humbly followed his master into the meeting-house and curled up at his feet quietly for the whole service, paying no attention to the overtures of John Taylor's dog under a neighboring bench, who evidently wished to strike up an acquaintance then and there. For Larry had been to meeting before, and well knew the conduct expected from all selfrespecting dogs. He also knew what the dog-whipper was apt to do if any dog forgot himself and disturbed the peace of the sanctuary. Although the sun shone so brightly without, the meeting-house, warmed by no fire, after stand ing closed all the week, was chilly and damp. Mr. Robert Hubbard, the young minister, cer tainly needed the cloak and mittens he wore while preaching. Mrs . Wells wished she had brought her foot-stove, as she drew her cloak


TO MEETING. 47 more closely around Httle Walter, who, after his ride, slept peacefully on her lap through the long service. The boys on the pulpit stairs kicked and pounded their feet to warm them all they dared, with furtive eyes on Abner Nims, who, they well knew, would not suffer things to go too far. As Mr. Hubbard only turned the hour-glass once during his sermon, the service was considered a short one. The brief nooning was spent at the tavern near the meeting-house. The men in the barroom, and the women and girls in an adjoin ing room, were only too glad to gather around the blazing fires in the huge fireplaces and thaw their fingers as they ate their luncheons of doughnuts, cheese, and gingerbread. Eunice and Lucinda did not forget to throw Larry the bits which he sat, head and ears up, eagerly expecting. Much visiting was always done during the Sunday nooning. The people, living scattered on solitary farms, welcomed this opportunity to meet and exchange news. Mary and Patience were glad to make the acquaintance of Phoebe Hubbard, the minister's pretty sister who was visiting him from Middletown, Connecticut, and others of the young girls of their own age, while


48 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Lucinda and Eunice made rapid progress in becoming friends with Daniel Nims's daughters, Dorothy Kemp, the Ransom girls, and others. Israel, walking around outdoors with some of the boys, was also improving his time. "I hope, Cousin Mary," said Mrs. Tamar Wells, ''you will not be discouraged and lose heart at coming up here in the woods to live. You must find it a great change from the older settlements in Connecticut." " I came prepared to find things new and different," said Mrs. Wells. "David had told me what to expect. I have been so busy since our arrival that there has been little time to be home-sick, though I confess I have felt some pangs of longing for Colchester and my old home." " That is but natural," said Mrs. Tamar Wells. " I 've often heard my mother say how her heart sank within her when we first arrived at our re mote home in Charlemont. We children were, of course, pleased with the novelty of everything, but I fancy mother suffered more than she ever admitted." " And she had the constant fear of Indians overhanging her," said Mrs. Robert Wilson. "Yes, poor mother," said Mrs. Tamar Wells,


TO MEETING. 49 with a saddened look, as she thought of all the horrors her mother and all the family had en dured when her father, Captain Rice, was slain by the Indians. " That is at least one comfort we can have," said Mrs. David Wells, " the feeling that Indian onslaughts are over, never to return." " This feeling of relief is so recent," said Mrs. Wilson, " that we can hardly realize it yet. I confess I cannot overcome a nervous dread of Indians. I don't like to be left alone on the farm." "No wonder you feel so," said Mrs. John Taylor. "Mrs. Wilson has had painful experi ences with Indians." " Were you ever attacked, Mrs. Wilson ? " asked Mrs. Wells, while Lucinda and Eunice, who, like Mrs. Wilson, felt that Indians might still frequent Shelburne, listened with eager attention. "Not attacked, but we expected to be. Our farm lies, as you all know, near the Coleraine line," said Mrs. Wilson. " When we first settled there, Indians were still around. We lived in constant fear of them. If Mr. Wilson went out in the woods hunting or making sugar when snow lay on the ground, he was always careful 4


50 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. to take a different path home for fear savages might be lying in ambush on his track. One cold winter's night, when my first baby was but a few weeks old, a Coleraine neighbor, riding past, stopped to warn us that signs of Indians had been seen in our vicinity. " ' I felt I ought to put you on your guard, Wilson,' he said, ' as you live here so alone.' " My husband decided that our safest plan was to make for the South Fort, over the line in Coleraine. It was several miles to the fort, and the snow was deep, but I did not mind that. Anything to escape the Indians. Robert took his gun and I the baby, and we set forth in the darkness, wading through the snow. When, near midnight, we drew near the fort, we heard guns and knew that it was attacked by Indians ! " " What could you do then ? " asked Mrs. Wells, while the girls listened with breathless interest. " We hardly knew what to do," said Mrs. Wilson, her face pale as the horror of that moment came freshly back. "My strength was completely exhausted. I could not pos sibly walk back to our house, which might already be rifled and burned for aught we knew. We ventured on, nearer the fort, and, to our joy, found that the Indians were all


TO MEETING. 51 on its north side. By God's aid, as I always felt, we succeeding in reaching the south gate undiscovered and in making ourselves heard, and were safely admitted. I have never ceased to thank the Lord for our escape; but the horror of those Indian guns and war-whoops still cleaves to me." " It is not strange," said Mrs. Wells. " But happily we know that that danger is over now." "Yes, unless we have war with the mother country, which some predict," said Mrs. Law rence Kemp. " In that event the British might let loose on us the Canadian Indians." "Don't speak of such a horrible possibility," said Mrs. Severance as she threw more wood on the blazing fire. Here a long-drawn blast from the conch shell resounded over the hills and all hastened back to the meeting-house for the afternoon service. When the Wellses reached home late that afternoon, they found their deserted house still standing. "The Indians haven't burned our house down," said Eunice. "I hope they haven't eaten our beans," said Israel, "for I am hungry enough to make way


52 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. with the whole of them myself, bean pot and all." Every one shared Israel's feeling, after the meagre cold luncheon and the three mile ride in the fresh air. The hot baked beans from the oven, mother's rye and Indian bread, and cider apple-sauce, soon suffered an inroad nearly as destructive as an Indian raid.


CHAPTER V. TOWN MEETING DAY. TOWN meeting came the last of March. On Sunday Mrs. Wells had been told by her new friends that it was the custom of the Shel burne women to attend town meeting with their husbands, -not to vote, or take part in the meetings. But, as they lived so widely apart, there were few opportunities of meeting, and the women were therefore glad to embrace this chance of coming together and visiting while their husbands transacted the town business. Mrs. Wells, being the mother of nine children, had come to have full faith in the old couplet: "Satan finds some mischief still For idle bands to do." Before departing, she was careful to provide each child with occupation. "Mary," she said, "this will be a good time for you and Patience to wash and cleanse that new yarn. Hang on the big kettle. Patience will help you."


54 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "All right, mother," said the brisk Mary. "We will have it done before you get back." "Lucinda, I want you and Israel to card that wool out in the shop, and have it ready for me to work into rolls to-morrow." Israel slouched on the settle by the fire, legs stretched out, eating an apple and toasting his feet. His attitude did not indicate a surplus of energy. " What, all that wool, mother ? " he asked in a complaining tone. "we can't begin to do it in a day. I hate to card wool, anyway." " Oh, come along, Israel," said Lucinda. "Let's get right at it!" "Israel 'hates' almost any kind of work, don't you, Israel ? " asked Mary. "Don't pick at Israel, Mary," said the mother, adding emphatically : "Israel, do as I say." Israel dared not loiter longer, but pulled himself together and dragged slowly off the shop, where his businesslike sister Lucinda was already seated, wool-cards in hand, drawing the greasy wool across their teeth. Mrs. Wells disguised to herself the fact Israel was a little inclined to that worst sin in New England eyes, laziness, by feeling that he


TOWN MEETING DAY. 55 was delicate, owing to a severe illness m his infancy. " Israel has never recovered from that attack of scarlet fever," she was wont to say. "He has never been so strong and capable as the other children." " I hate carding wool," said Israel again, as he seated himself in the shop and slowly picked up his cards and bunch of wool. " Well, who does love it ? " asked Lucinda. "I'm sure I don't. But it has to be done, or where would our clothes and stockings come from, I should like to know? My way is, if I have to do anything I hate, why just go at it, and get it over with." "It 's easy talking," said the unconverted Israel. Mrs. Wells said to Eunice : " I want you, Eunice, to take care of William and Walter, and keep them out of mischief. And you may wind off all the skeins of yarn you can on the clock-reel." " I '11 do the best I can, mother," said Eunice, who well knew that to keep William and Walter out of mischief was no sinecure. Here Captain Wells rode his bay horse up to the door. Mrs. Wells put her knitting into her


56 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. capacious pocket, mom1ted on the pillion, and set off, saying: "Good-by, children. Be good children while I am away. Don't let the little boys go near the fire, Eunice." This was far easier said than done. The two little fellows, full of life and activity, kept Eunice running, first after one, then after the other. She set out the clock-reel and began winding yarn, as her mother had directed. But first she bad to run to rescue Walter from the blue-dye tub. One band was already well in, and be was about to drop in his mother's cape, saymg: " Make it all pretty." "Now, Walter, you mustn't do that. Come over and help sister wind the yarn. Listen. Pretty soon the reel will say ' click ! ' William, what are you doing?" William held a long pine splinter which he had set on fire. He was waving the blazing brand dangerously near his frock. " William ! Drop that ! " "This is my gun. I 'm going hunting for bears," said William. "Me want gun. Me hunt," said Walter, running towards the fire.


TOWN MEETING DAY. 57 " William ! Drop that ! Throw it in the fire at once ! Didn't you hear mother say you were not to go near the fire ? " William laughed roguishly and started to run away. Making for the outer door, he bumped into Patience, who was entering with a pail of water from the spring, which gushed out of the hillside below the house. The collision emptied the pail, dividing its contents impartially between William himself, Patience's gown, and the floor. Patience needed all the virtue implied by her name, as she wrung out her dress, wiped up the floor, and went back for another pail of water. But she was good-natured and only said : "You did n't mean to do it, did you, Billy ? Accidents will happen sometimes." "Eunice," said Mary, "you will have to take the boys out to the shop. We can never get ahead with our work while the two of them are scampering around here, into everything. And I 'm afraid they may get scalded with our ket tles of hot water, do our best." The yarn in the large kettle hanging over the fire had to be rinsed and rerinsed, scoured through many waters, then hung . out to dry. When dry, it must be brought in and carefully


58 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. sorted. In the large family constant industry was needed to keep all in clothes, for nearly everything was home raised and home made. To the shop Eunice and the little boys now went. Here Eunice found some safe tools she could let them play with, provided she was watchful not to let Walter hit William with bis wooden mallet, or William hurt himself or any one else with the swingle. As the children were all busy and happily chatting, suddenly Lucinda said : " Hark, boys ! Keep still a minute. I heard a strange noise." All kept quiet and listened. From outdoors, through the stillness, came a distant yelling or whooping. " 'What can that be ? " asked Lucinda, looking frightened. The children were well aware that they were here alone in the forest, far from any other house; and they had heard so 1nany true Indian stories since their arrival that they were ready to be easily frightened. They listened with quickened heart-beats. The whooping drew nearer. It evidently came from the woods on the hill southwest of the house.


TOWN MEETING DAY. 59 "It's Indians!" cried Eunice. "They 're coming to kill us ! " " Yes, it is Indians," said Lucinda, as the wild uies grew still nearer. She seized Walter, Israel took William in his arms, and all five fled to the house, bursting into the kitchen with the cry : "The Indians! The Indians! They 're com ing, girls. They 're close by ! Oh, what can we do ! Oh, if father were only here! " Mary and Patience had been so busily at work among their clattering pots and pans that they had not heard the noise. "Are you children crazy ? What are you talking about?" asked Mary. " Hark ! " said Patience, growing pale, as she too heard the strange whooping. She and Mary were now convinced that a band of Indians was indeed upon them. The younger children took refuge in the loft, dragging William and Walter with them, both of whom were crying at the top of their voices, frightened by the general panic, although without knowing why. Patience hastily dropped into its iron sockets the wooden bar that bolted the outer door, while Mary, pale but resolute, took down the long-bar-


60 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. relled flintlock musket, that was always kept loaded on the hooks over the :fireplace. "We must try to save the children and ourselves," she said. Here came a trampling of feet outside, and then a knock at the door ! Patience ventured to peep out. Then she laughed joyously. "Why, Mary," she cried, " they are white boys!" The girls hastened to unlock the door. There stood eight or ten boys of varying ages, with friendly though bashful smiles. " We are some of your neighbors from over in the west part of the town," said young Taylor, one of the older boys. " Seeing it was town meeting day, we thought we would come over and get acquainted." Then he noticed the gun in Mary's hand. " What is the matter? Did you take us for Indians ? " he asked. "We certainly did," said Mary. At this all the boys laughed, joined by Mary and Patience, who now fully realized the agony of fear they had suffered by the happy sense of relief. " I suppose we . did make considerable noise,"


TOWN MEETING DAY. 61 said young Taylor. " Amasa here declared he could give the real Indian war-whoop; learned it in Deerfield. So we were all practising it in the woods as we came along." Israel, hearing friendly voices, had hastened down from the loft, and now gave his new friends glad greeting. No more wool-carding that day for Israel. He took the boys outdoors, and was soon whooping as loudly and running as fast as any of the company, not seeming a bit languid or feeble. The women at the centre had gathered by the Severance fireside with their knitting work, while the husbands and brothers were transact ing the town's affairs in the log meeting-house. " I wish,'' said Mrs. Severance, as she entered with a steaming teapot in her hand, "that I could offer you all a nice cup of tea. But that will not answer now, among patriots. I 've brewed a pot of what my sister-in-law in Deer field calls ' Liberty tea.' It 's made from the dried leaves of the loosestrife. It's a poor apol ogy for real tea, I fear. Still, I hope it is better than none." The ladies tasted the Liberty tea and pro nounced it fairly good. "I believe I prefer thorough wort tea," said


62 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Mrs. Fellows. " We keep plenty of dried thor oughwort on hand, and I always feel that a drink of that is good for the blood, especially in the spring of the year." The men assembled in the meeting-house found plenty of time to discuss politics in the intervals of town business. "They are having serious trouble at Provi dence, I hear," said Ebenezer Fisk. " David Field was telling me about it at Deerfield last week. The British have stationed a ship, the 'Gaspee,' in Providence harbor, and its com mander, Lieutenant Dudington, acts as if he owns the whole place. Complaint was made to the admiral of the fleet in Boston, but he up holds Lieutenant Dudington, who now is worse than ever. He plunders the islands of sheep and hogs, cuts down the farmers' trees without leave, and insults the townspeople. Of course our Governor Hutchinson sides with the admiral." "It is enough to make one's blood boil,'' said Lawrence Kemp, " to hear that our people are so abused and tyrannized over without redress. The British had best be careful. The American people will not stand everything." "When Samuel Adams said, 'Independent we are, and independent we will be,' he hit the nail


TOWN MEETING DAY. 63 on the head," said Benjamin Nash. "If King George and bis ministers think they are dealing with a pack of cringing slaves, they will find themselves mistaken." " Have you a militia company in Shelburne ? " asked Captain Wells. " N qt yet," said John Wells. " But it is high time we were thinking of forming one, and you, Cousin David, are of all others the man to organize and drill it." The others warmly seconded this idea. Captain Wells replied : " I will think about it. I am as yet but newly arrived in town and am not well started in my home work. But I fully agree with the rest of you that it is high time we began to organize and prepare for the worst if it comes. I stand ready to do my part." When Mrs. Wells returned home that night, she did not find all the work accomplished that she bad hoped. But after she had listened to a spirited account of the expected Indian attack, an account in which all the children took part, talking all together, even Walter saying, " Me run, me hide,'' she said : "It might have been worse. Finding the work behind is a small matter to what it would have been to come home and find our children


64 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. killed or captured and our home burned. I often think we are not half thankful enough for what does not happen to us. I'm glad, Israel, to have you know the town boys. But to-morrow you must work a little harder to make up for lost time. It's a true saying : "'When the cat's away, The mice will play.'"


CHAPTER VI. THE BOYS ARRIVE. THE spring was unusually late in coming this year. It was almost April before at last there dawned a day so bright, so warm and balmy, that every one said, "This really seems like spring." Soon Eunice came running into the house with the joyful tidings," I heard a robin, mother, I really did." " Are you sure ? " "Yes, and I saw him, too, over in that big elm by the rock." Plenty of rocks cropped out of the ground in Captain Wells's home lot. But there was one, a little north of the house, which the children called" the rock." It seemed to have been made expressly for an outdoor playhouse for children . Its projecting, moss-clad sides formed what Eunice plainly saw was a staircase, leading to the "parlor," where were a table and sofa moulded in rock, and where the roots of the great trees that 6


66 BOYS .AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. contrived to grow on it wound about most ac commodatingly into hollows filled with dead leaves, making luxurious arm-chairs. Eunice, at those rather rare intervals when she had time to play, liked nothing better, now the snow had gone, than to take her little broth ers and play "keep house" on the rock. Some times Israel could be induced to join them, but he was not altogether satisfactory, as he usually insisted on marching about with a stick over his shoulder for a gun, playing that Indians or wild beasts were prowling around, and it was his duty to fight them, with many loud " bangs ! " of his gun. "Boys are so queer," often lamented Eunice. "'I1hey always want to be making a noise. They never want to play quietly and make be lieve, like girls." While playing on the rock this lovely morning, Eunice had heard the first robin, and had run to the house to announce the great news. Every one went out the door to listen. Yes, from the elm came the glad refrain, " Cheer up, cheer up," seeming to brighten the whole world. "Spring is here in earnest if the robins have come," said Mrs. Wells. " I never was more glad to hear them."


THE BOYS ARRIVE. 67 " The grass is beginning to grow green down around the spring and in the wet hollow below," said Patience. "The boys will be here before long now," ex claimed Mary, " and how glad we shall be to see them!" "It hasn't seemed natural without our boys," admitted her mother. "I believe I shall feel really settled and at home here when they come." Although the boys might be expected soon, yet there could be no certainty as to the time of their arrival. There were no post-offices. Letters were sent by obliging travellers, if, by good luck, some one happened to be travelling near the place whither one wished to write. In this way Captain Wells at rare intervals received letters from his Connecticut relatives, which were usually left at Deerfield, and found there on some trip to that village. One Saturday towards noon, the third week in April, Israel and his father were out cutting down trees in the forest southeast of the house, when Israel paused in his work, exclaiming: " Father ! I hear cattle lowing down the road. The boys must be coming ! " "Perhaps,'' said his father, looking, however, as pleased as Israel, while he too leaned on his


68 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. axe handle, listening to the sounds as they drew nearer. " It does sound like it," he said. The captain and Israel dropped their axes and strode through the stumps and underbrush over to the road. Presently down the hill to the south came first a drove of cattle plodding slowly along, and behind them two young men. One was on horseback ; one was walking, carrying a long whip, the better to manage the cattle in difficult places and keep them in the right road. "Halloo, David! Halloo, Noah!" cried Israel, running down the road to greet his brothers. "Halloo, Israel ! How are you, father ? Here we are at last, safe and sound, and every steer, ox, cow, and calf with us." Captain Wells gave his two manly sons a hearty greeting. "When did you start? How long have you been on the way?'' he asked. "We left Colchester bright and early Tuesday morning," said David, "and we have been a little over four days on the way." " We made East Hartford the first night," said Noah. "That was our longest day's journey. The cattle were fresh and could make better


THE BOYS ARRIVE. 69 time. The next day we kept along the east side of the river through Enfield, and reached Long meadow Wednesday night. We decided to stop at Longmeadow tavern, rather than go on to Springfield, because we eared there might be no pasture for the cattle at Springfield." "You were quite right," said the captain. There being no means of transportation for cattle, they must always be driven to market, or wherever bound. Accordingly the numerous country taverns along the main roads had pas tures or fields near by, where the "drifts" of cattle (as such droves were called) could be kept over night. "The next morning we drove the cattle through Springfield," continued Noah, " and a hard time we had doing it, did n't we, David ? " " Yes. There were so many side streets, teams to meet, dogs to bark at and chase the cattle, and noises to scare them. We both had to go on foot, shout ourselves hoarse, and run our legs off this way and that." " What did Major do while yuu were running about Springfield ? " asked Israel. " Oh, he followed faithfully right along and took care of himself, like the wise old fellow he is," said David, patting his horse's neck.


70 1WYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " Springfield is a big village ; it has almost two thousand inhabitants now, they say," said his father. "It must have been a task driving the cattle through there." "It was," said Noah. "Thursday we reached Hadley, where we lodged that night. The next morning we crossed the river to Hatfield, and came on to Deerfield, where we stopped last night at David Saxton's tavern." "Right," said his father. For Saxton's tav ern was one of the noted Whig headquarters in Deerfield. "This morning we took the Albany road, forded the Deerfield, and struck off up into the Shelburne hills, and here we are at last," said Noah, looking around with interest at the strange place which was now to be his home. "You 're both pretty tired, I guess," said their father. "Rather lame and leg weary," confessed David. "W took turns riding. But between us we have footed a good many miles since we left Colchester. The cattle will be glad to take a rest, too, though they have stood it fairly well. We drove them carefully; just kept them moving quietly along." " You 're pretty high up in the world, father,"


THE BOYS ARRIVE. said Noah, as he looked down into the smiling, fertile valley of the Connecticut below, spread ing out for many miles north and south, a fair sight. " Yes, we feel that the lines have fallen to us in pleasant places," said Captain Wells. " Our prospects are flattering, if only the king and his ministers wilJ hear to reason. If we are driven into war to fight for our just rights, hard times will be ahead for every one." "Do you really think, father, we shall have war with Great Britain?" asked David. "The times are dark and troubled. Many things of late seem to point towards war." "Will you go if there is a war?" asked Israel. "I shall try to do my duty, my son," said the father. The drove o( cattle, browsing and straggling along . the road, had now come in sight of the house. Lucinda, down at the spring, first saw them, and ran up to the house, crying : " Mother ! Mother ! Here come the boys ! " Out of the house poured all the womenkind, and warm and joyful was the welcome the boys received. "How Walter has grown ! " said Noah, as he


72 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. tossed his little brother high in the air, deftly catching him. " And as for William, he 's almost a man, aren't you, William? Shelburne air seems to agree with every one. The girls are all as blooming as roses." Noah was a great favorite with his sisters. David, the oldest of the large family, now twenty-two, was not so tall as Noah, and more sturdily built. He was a steady, reliable young man, of few words, his father's staff and reli ance. Noah was tall, slender, full of life and enthusiasm. Through his blue eyes flashed the gleams of a bright spirit. Now that he had his sons to help him, Captain Wells pushed his farm work vigorously. The recently cleared fields were ploughed between the stumps, and crops were planted. If there were an interval between planting, hoeing, and mowing, plenty of work was always at hand in the woods, in cutting down trees, hauling out or burning stumps and brush, trying constantly to clear more land for cultivation. The land, rich with the leaf mould of count less ages, produced fine crops. Captain Wells was particularly proud of a crop of corn grow ing on the slope of a hill northwest of his house, later known as " the mountain pasture."


THE BOYS ARRIVE. 73 " Never have I seen corn-stalks so tall as those," he said. " And the ears are thick on the stalks, and growing large and long. A fine crop I shall have, far ahead of anything I ever raised in Colchester." A few days later David came in one night, saymg: "Father, we struck across your corn-field to-night, coming home from the woods over on the mountain, and discovered that some body or something is helping you gather your corn." "A big bear, I judge by the tracks," said Noah. "He has pulled and trodden down con siderable on the north side and eaten a good many ears." "I '11 go after him to-night," said the captain. "No, father, let us boys go. We want no better fun than a bear hunt, do we, David ? " When the darkness fell that night, David and Noah took their guns and Larry, and went over to the corn-field. Larry seemed to scent excite ment in the air, jumping and barking wildly about the boys. "Be still, Larry. Down, sir. You must keep your mouth shut or you will spoil all our fun."


74 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Larry seemed to understand and subsided, walking quietly behind the boys, but with alert eyes on every side. "Don't let the bear catch you, Noah," called Lucinda after the boys. "No, that isn't our plan," said Noah; "we mean to catch the bear." " I feel almost afraid," said Eunice. "I wouldn't go down as far as our spring for any thing, with bears about. I'm glad I am not you, Israel, sleeping out at the shop." "Men and boys are not afraid," said Israel valiantly. Yet when the time came that he must go to bed, he said to Patience: "Leave the back door open, will you, Patience? It's so dark I ran into a stump last night and bruised my shin like everything." The friendly light from the house door streamed out nearly to the shop, and com forted Israel not a little as he raced across to his bed. When David and Noah reached the corn-field, they concealed themselves among the tall stalks on the northern side near the damaged section and patiently waited, Noah keeping Larry close to his feet. When their eyes had become wonted


THE BOYS ARRIVE. 75 to the darkness, they could see dimly in the bright starlight. By and by they heard steps approaching, the steps of some heavy creature. "'Sh, Larry,'' whispered Noah, keeping tight hold of Larry's collar. His own heart beat fast with excitement. The boys now dimly descried a huge black body plunging into the corn-field. David fired, but, if he hit the bear he did not kill it, for it began a hasty retreat. " Seek him, Larry ! " cried Noah, letting Larry go. Away went Larry on the trail of the bear, and after him ran the boys. The bear had a decided advantage of them in being perfectly famil iar with his ground and route. But they followed on as fast as they could in the dark, stumbling and sometimes falling over rocks and logs, guided by the sound of Larry's yelps through the woods. David's shot had wounded the bear, and at last, weakened by the loss of blood, on the border of a swamp he took refuge in a tree. Here the boys found him, with Larry leaping and yelping frantically below. "It's hit or miss now, for we can't see to aim," said David.


76 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Both boys blazed away into the treetop, twice. Then, with a heavy thump, down dropped the bear. "That's a dead bear," said Noah, prodding the body with his gun-stock, while Larry sniffed eagerly around it. "We will not try to take it home to-night," said David. "It will be something to write the Watrous boys that we've shot a bear," said Noah. " They don't have bears at Colchester." The boys returned home and went quietly to bed in the shop, so their good fortune was not known until morning . Captain Wells was de lighted that the marauder in his corn-field was slain, and he and Israel went with the boys to help skin the bear and bring home the meat. " This is a great stroke of luck for us," said Mrs. Wells. "I am told that bear meat is quite equal to fresh pork, tastes much like it, so now we shall have fresh meat in plenty. I must send a piece over to Cousin John's." "And the skin will make a nice fur robe," said Mary. " Yes, your father will cure it, and next winter we shall be glad of it."


CHAPTER VII. A HUSKING-BEE. MARY and Patience found that the coming of the elder brothers lent variety to their lives. It was now possible to get out more. In late October there were several husking-bees. The young people of the town were invited to different farms for an evening, where the "many hands" made the proverbial "light work," and converted what would have been monotonous toil, if done alone, into a happy frolic. Mary and Patience, mounted on pillions behind David and Noah, rode fearlessly over the narrow bridle-paths through the dark woods more than one evening, to attend husking-bees at the farms . of Messrs. Taylor, Fisk, Fellows, Nims, Kellogg, at Dr. Long's, and other places. "Father, why cannot we have a huskingbee?" asked Noah, after an especially pleasant time the previous evening at Captain Lawrence Kemp's.


78 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "I wish we could," said David. "We've helped the others, and I know they will be glad to give us a lift in return." "I am rather sceptical about the actual amount of work done at these husking-bees," said the captain. "I know the young folks have a lively frolic and bussing bee, but how much corn they husk is another question." "Try us and see," said Noah. The girls too pleaded for a husking-bee. "As the children all have their hearts so set upon it, I think, father, you had best let them have the husking," said Mrs. Wells. Acc ordingly next Sunday invitations were given for a husking-bee at Captain David Wells's the following Thursday night. When the important evening came, Lucinda, Israel, and Eunice were even more excited than the older children. For they were as yet too young to be allowed to attend husking-bees abroad, but could not well be denied the pleasure of one in their own barn. Cheerfully they helped hang up lanterns to light the barn, and carry out chairs, gathering also tubs, pails, and piggins, which, turned over, would in an emergency serve as seats around the great pile of corn which the boys had carted in upon the barn floor.


A HUSKING-BEE. 79 Captain Wells gazed complacently upon this goodly store of corn, proof of the fertility of his new farm. "Do you youngsters expect to busk half that big pile to-night?" be asked. "You wait and see, father," said Noah. " I want to husk, too. I can husk corn," said William. " See me, father.'' And the sturdy little fellow seized a big ear and began manfully pulling off the dry husk. His father smiled, but said : "William, every dog has bis day, and your day hasn't come yet. You will be in bed long before the busking begins.'' Immediately after supper, although William's eyes did not look at all drowsy, and although he said, "I 'm not sleepy; I don't want to go to bed," yet to bed he had to go, ignominiously, shut out from all the fun. "I wish I were a big boy," was his last thought as he fell asleep, in spite of his resolve to stay wide awake, to show his mother that be had been wrongfully sent to bed. The lanterns hanging from rafters and beams were lit early in the barn, tin lanterns, in which burned candles, with the doors left open, to throw out all possible light. Soon laughing


80 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. voices and the trampling of horses' hoofs were heard through the evening _ stillness, and horse after horse trotted up to the Wellses' door, each bearing a young couple full of zeal for the husk ing. There were reinforcements from Greenfield also, as young John Wells came up to help, bringing with him his friend, Moses Arms. The barn was a scene for a painter, with the bright young faces, the busy hands merrily stripping the husks from the golden ears of corn, the lantern light streaming out in bright rays through the dusty interior, the dark corners in the background where peered forth the faces of cows and horses, blinking in surprise at this invasion of their usual quiet darkness. Captain and Mrs. Wells came out, bringing pewter platters heaped high with toothsome doughnuts and cookies, also jugs of cider, with pewter mugs and flip glasses to pass around the circle. By and by John Wells found a red ear, and thereupon insisted on kissing his blushing Cousin Mary, who sat next to him. Soon Moses Arms, who sat not far from John, also found a red ear, and proceeded to kiss his next neighbor, Patience. But when, presently, the youth sitting next Moses also found a red ear, the girls cried:


A HUSKING-BEE. 81 "You 're cheating. You are passing that red ear along! It isn't fair." The boys laughed and did not deny the charge. "Young folks will be young folks, you know," said Mrs. Wells to her husband. " Yes, I know ; I 've been there myself," was the indulgent reply. It was amazing how rapidly the pile of un husked corn diminished under the swift work of the strong young hands. Before Captain Wells could credit his own eyes, the corn was actually all husked. "Well, father, what do you think now?" asked David. "I wouldn't have believed it possible," said the captain. Here Noah approached, his eyes shining with eagerness. "Father," he said, "they want to dance a little. Dan Nims has brought his fiddle. It 's early yet, and we have worked smartly." Captain Wells was known to be a man of strict ideas, a deacon in the church, first in Colchester and now in Shelburne. But he was indulgent to his children. When his wife said, " I don't see any harm 6


82 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. in letting the young folks dance, David," he re plied : "Well, Noah, you can dance; but don't keep it up too late." The barn floor was speedily cleared. Dan Nims began to scrape and tune up his fiddle, an exciting sound, and the young couples formed in two long lines for "Money Musk." " I want to dance, Israel," said Eunice, her eyes shining with excitement. " Come on, let us dance together." "You don't know how, nor I either. We shall make fools of ourselves," said Israel, as anxious as Eunice to dance, but bashful about trying. " We can take a place in the middle and watch the others, and do as they We shall never learn if we don't begin sometime. Come on, Israel." Israel allowed himself to be dragged out upon the floor by his energetic little sister, and the two children found a place each side in the long lines of dancers, while Lucinda was happy in a partner of her own age, Asa Nims. Away went the fiddle, merrily squeaking out "Money Musk," and away went the dancers, twining in and out the mazes of the dance, those whose turn to whirl and twirl had not yet


"Awa y w ent til e fiddl e, s qu e akin g out ' M o ney JUus k.'" P e tge 82.


A HUSKING-BEE. 83 come impatiently tapping the barn floor with their feet in time to the music. It was noticeable that Captain Wells's feet also kept time to the fiddle's notes. He was fond of music, and had been a famous dancer in his youth. " It makes me think of the old times in Colchester when we were young," said Mrs. Wells. " I believe I could dance just as well now as I ever did." " Come on and try it, wife," said the captain, offering his hand. Loud were the acclamations of the young people when the captain and his wife took their places in the ranks, and great was the delight of their children. Mrs. Wells, a trifle stately, proved to be a graceful dancer, while the cap tain took all the steps like a master, and bowed to the ladies as he took their hands with an old school courtesy beautiful to witness. Eunice, who was full of music, watched the older dancers, and when her turn came, pranced with energy through the figure, keeping exact time to the fiddle's joyous notes, and dragging Israel along with her, both perfectly happy. " Your little sister does well for a beginner," said Dorothy Kemp to Mary.

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84 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Eunice always does anything she sets out to do," said Mary. Later on "Chorus Jig," "Lady Walpole's Reel," and other favorite contra dances were danced, and at last, when every one was well warmed to the work, Dan struck up "Fisher's Hornpipe," and several of the youths won loud applause as they executed all the :flourishes of the hornpipe with some high leaping. " I hope your barn floor has a strong under pinning, David," said Dan. "It will last through to-night, I guess," said David, from the corner where he stood with Phoebe Hubbard, for whom he had ridden over to the minister's to bring her to the husking. At last the moon, rising above the tree-tops, streamed in at the open barn door. "The moon's up," said Solomon Kemp. "It's midnight or after; time we broke up." All were forced to admit that Solomon was right . The horses were brought around, and the young couples mounted, setting off homeward with many jokes and much laughter. "Don't let the wolves catch you, David," shouted Noah after his brother, as David rode off to carry Phoebe Hubbard home. "I have my gun handy," said David.

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A HUSKING-BEE. 85 The candles, now burning low in the lanterns, were blown out, the barn and cattle were left to their usual darkness and quiet, and the Wells family went to bed, Eunice and Israel counting the months to next year's husking, and Lucinda the years until she should be a young lady. John Wells and Moses Arms spent the night, there always being room for a few more at the shop. November had come, and preparations on the farm for the long siege of a New England winter were nearly completed. Corn, rye, barley, flax, wool, vegetables, hay, oats, provisions of all sorts were stowed away in cellar, loft, shop, and barn. A mountainous pile of wood, nearly as large as the log house, was stacked in the wood-yard, to fight the winter's cold. " It is a sharp morning," said the captain, as he came in from the barn, his fur cap pulled well down over his ears. "We shall have snow before long. To-morrow I shall send the boys down to Cousin Agrippa's shop in Greenfield with the horses, to be sharp shod for winter." "Mary and Patience can ride down with them, to visit their cousins and buy some things I need at the store. I need thread, needles, beads for

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86 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. the bead bags the girls plan to embroider this winter, and some spice," said Mrs. Wells. "The boys must get some shoemaker's wax and thread too, and some pipes," said the captain, as he knocked the ashes out of his pipe. The next day the young people rode down to Greenfield. It was a sharp, clear morning. As the girls were good horsewomen, each was mounted on a steed of her own, for it was necessary to take all the horses down to the blacksmith's. They were full of pleasure in the prospect of the day's outing and the visit at Colonel Samuel Wells's, where John had urgently invited them. All admired the view as they rode along. " The view is almost prettier now than in summer," said Patience. "The trees being bare, we can see much farther. And the air is so clear, and all the mountains look so blue ! " " How plainly we can see Greenfield ! " said Mary. " It looks almost as if we could step right off into it," said Noah. "But we have to ride round about, half-way to Deerfield, to get there." "Some day we will have a road of our own to Greenfield, right down the mountain through the woods," said David.

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A HUSKING-BEE; 87 In due time the W ellses reached the village, then hardly more than twenty houses scattered the length of the one long street, with farm lands between, but seeming quite a metropolis to the girls, coming from their isolated mountain farm. They went first to the blacksmith shop of Captain Agrippa Wells, receiving hearty wel come from the bluff old captain. The boys stopped at the blacksmith shop, while the girls crossed over to Ruel ' Willard's store to make their purchases before going down to Colonel Wells's. " Any news, Cousin 'Grip ? " asked David, as the captain hammered away on the horses' feet. "Plenty of it, plenty," said Captain 'Grip. " Matters are coming to a head fast down in Boston. You know all the excitement last August caused by the king's making provision to take the judges of our province into his own pay, thus making them his hirelings?" " Yes, father has talked about that a great deal. He thinks that a direct blow at our liberties." " Every one does. Well, it seems that the last of October the Boston folk had a town meeting in Faneuil Hall and appointed a com mittee to ask Governor Hutchinson if the judges

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88 BOYS .AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. of this province had become stipendaries of the crown, and then adjourned two days to await his answer. The governor refused to answer the inquiry of the town, and sent a message which meant, in plain English, that it was none of the town's business to discuss public questions." "That is flat tyranny," said David. "You are right," said the captain. " After the meeting had read this message, they voted unanimously that the people of Boston have, ever had, and ought to have, a right to petition the king or his representatives to redress or prevent grievances." " Good ! " exclaimed David. "Governor Hutchinson will find he can't trample on Boston people," said Noah. "Not while they have Sam Adams for a leader," said the captain, stopping work and standing erect in his earnestness. "Adams im mediately made a motion that a committee of correspondence be appointed to state the rights of the colonists, and to communicate the same to the towns of this province and to the world, with all the infringements that have been made on those rights, asking each town to vote on the subject."

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.A. HUSKING-BEE. 89 " That is taking action in earnest," said Noah. " They have put fine men on that committee of correspondence: Samuel Adams, James Otis, Joseph Warren, and the like. I 'm waiting anxiously to hear their statement." " Father will be greatly interested in this," said David. "I want to send him out the Boston' Gazette' of October 28, which has a spirited article on this subject," said the captain. "He need not return it. Pass it on in Shelburne and let the folks up there know how Boston feels about the actions of the king and Governor Hutchinson. I feel sure that Greenfield, Shelburne, and most of our towns will stand by the Boston patriots, whatever action they take ; but I don't feel so certain of Deerfield." "Deerfield ? " asked David in surprise. "No. The town is full of Tories, from Par son Ashley down. Still, I guess there are enough Whigs to carry the day, if it comes to the worst." The g1rls had a delightful visit at Colonel Wells's, and all the young people rode up the mountain in fine spirits, after having had so pleasant a change and seeing something, as they felt, of the outside world.

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90 BOY5 AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Captain Wells that evening eagerly read the Boston " Gazette." "Listen to this," he said presently, reading with emphasis : " 'We must now strike a home blow, or sit down under the yoke of tyranny. The people in every town must instruct their representatives to send a remonstrance to the King of Great Britain, and assure him (unless their Liberties are immediately restored whole and entire) they will form an independent Commonwealth, after the example of the Dutch Prov inces; and offer a free trade to all nations. Should any one Province begin the example, the other Prov inces will follow; and Great Britain must comply with our demands, or sink under the united force of the French and Spaniards.' " "That article is signed 'American,' but I would not be afraid to wager that the pen of Samuel Adams wrote it," said Captain Wells, " It sounds like him." " I hope all this trouble will not lead to war with Great Britain," said Mrs. Wells anxiously. " If the king and Lord North will yield, and restore our rights, that will end the trouble. If not, there is no recourse but war," said the captain. "If there is a war, I shall enlist," said Noah.

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A HUSKING-BEE. 91 "So shall I," said David. " Don't let me hear you talk about enlisting, boys," said Mrs. Wells. " You had best forget about war and go to bed, for we must all be up betimes to-morrow."

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CHAPTER VIII. WINTER. ONE gloomy, cloudy day the last of January, Captain Wells came in from the barn, say ing, as he stamped off the snow: "A big snowstorm is coming. There's a chill in the air that seems to curdle the very life-blood. The backbone of winter is not broken yet, by a good deal." " We ought to be thankful that we have a good roof over our heads, plenty of wood . and provisions, and that we have all kept well so far," said his wife. "We have more mercies than we deserve, I fear," said the captain. That evening, while the wind roared around the little house, and snowflakes blew down the chimney, spattering into the :fire, the captain read a Boston paper which David had brought up from Deerfield. "Major Salah Barnard sent it to you, father," said David. "He said he hoped we of Shel burne would act promptly. The Deerfield

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WINTER. 93 Whigs are talking of appointing a committee of correspondence." "I hope, David, whatever happens," said his wife, " that you will not be put on any more committees. You have more than you can do now." For the captain had been elected one of the school committee, and also put on the committee to build the new meeting-house, to be erected on the hill at the centre, in place of the log meeting-house. " We must all do our part to help the world along, mother," said the captain. He added, as he scanned the paper: "All the towns in the province are rallying, I see, in answer to the appeal of the Boston committee. They all declare in substance, like Ipswich,' The Inhabitants of this Province should support and stand firm as one man to maintain all their just rights and privileges.' " "Major Barnard said the news that King George has ordered the Providence men who took part in burning the 'Gaspee' to be sent to England for trial has stirred up everybody," said David. "Mr. David Field came into the barroom while we were talking. He said sending an American citizen across the Atlantic for the trial

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94 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. 0 his life was a violation of our rights that no .American ought to endure tamely." "It's an intolerable injustice," said Captain Wells , with a fl.ash of his eyes. "Mr. Field says the Deerfield Tories think it is all right, and they uphold Governor Hutchinson in advi s ing that Rhode Island's charter be taken away," added David. " I see by this paper that Samuel Adams says 'an attack upon the liberties of one colony is an attack upon the liberties of all,' and that we should all stand by each other," said the captain. " I think the colonies will have to effect some kind of a union, that we may stand by and help each other. ' Union is strength.' " When the boys went out to the shop to bed, Mary noticed that Israel was taking off his shoes and stockings before starting. "Do look at Israel, mother," she said. "Israel, what are you doing ? " asked his mother. "I'm going to leave my shoes and stockings here before the fire, so they will be warm to put on in the morning." " But you will freeze your eet." "No, ma'am. It makes them warm as toast after I run through the snow, when I jump into

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WINTER. 95 bed in the woollen sheets. I've tried it before. And I like warm shoes to put on these cold . " mormngs. Israel was allowed to try his own patent for warm feet, although not without some jibes and jeers from the other children. The next morning the snow was still falling steadily, although it already lay deep on the ground. The men ploughed through it to the barn to feed the hungry stock. Though it was stormy, all had plenty of work. Noah and Israel threshed corn on the barn floor, the whack of their flails echoing cheerfully through the storm. Captain Wells and David were at the shop, the captain at his shoe bench, repairing shoes for some of his numerous family, and David making an ox-bow, being much helped, as he thought, by William, whom David had bundled up and brought out on his back. Indoors, the women were busy with their cook ing, weaving, spinning, etc. As the day went on, the storm increased. The wind rose, moaning around the house and howl ing down the chimney as it drove the snowflakes before it in white sheets. The boys hauled in on sleds great logs for the fire, which blazed high, the one bright spot in all the waste around.

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96 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. The storm ceased in the night. The next morning, the log house was almost buried. Snowdrifts blocked the doors and nearly covered the windows. "There's plenty of work laid out for every one to-day," said the captain, as he and the boys began digging paths. "It's a white world," said Patience, standing in the open door, looking off over the dazzling expanse of pure snow covering the fields, the valley below, and the mountains beyond. " Who would think there were flowers and grass underneath, waiting to make this a green . world?" said Eunice. Here the girls heard a shouting in the distance. "There come the . road-breakers," said Mary. Soon yokes of oxen appeared, tugging through the drifts, drawing rude sleds laden with men and boys armed with shovels, to dig out the worst drifts. The oxen were half buried in the snow, their breath puffing out in white steam which frosted their nostrils. Captain Wells and family were glad to see their neighbors, after being shut in so long, as well as pleased to have their road broken out. The captain invited the company in, to rest and

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WINTER. 97 warm themselves. The girls brought up cider, and the captain brewed a huge mug of hot flip which passed from one to another around the circle. As the flip circulated, the men, as at all gath erings in these exciting times, began to talk politics. " Shelburne will have to appoint a committee of correspondence soon," said Ebenezer Fisk. " I see eighty towns in the province have already done it." "New Salem and Coleraine have appointed a committee," said Lawrence Kemp. "We mustn't lag behind them. But Governor Hutchinson says that this scheme of keeping up a correspondence throughout the province is so foolish that it will only make us ridiculous." "If Governor Hutchinson ridicules it, that is enough to recommend it to all true patriots," said Captain Wells. " We will appoint our committee at our next town meeting." "This plan of having a committee of corre spondence may spread to the other colonies," said Samuel Fellows, " and so lead to a union between us." "That is what is most needed," said Captain Wells, and the others agreed. 7

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98 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. While the elder men were thus discussing the affairs of the nation, the were talk ing and joking with the girls. At last the road-breakers, refreshed and warmed, set forth again, reinforced by and Noah, who cheerfully took their ox-sled and went to help break out the road to the meeting-house, and to Dr. Long's. The girls all stood in the doorway watching the teams start. This lively invasion of their solitude had indeed been a welcome diversion. "Look out, Mary! " suddenly cried Patience. The young men were firing a parting salute of well-aimed snowballs at the group of girls who, rosy and smiling, hastened to retaliate. They sent back snowballs in return, and then rushed, breathless and laughing, into the house, and slammed the door. "My ball hit Daniel Nims," said Eunice. "And mine nearly knocked off Solomon Kemp's cap," said Patience. " We '11 teach the saucy fellows to snowball us," said Mary, as, flushed and animated, she returned to her spinning.

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CHAPTER IX. THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY. ECHOES of the contest which the Boston patriots continued to wage with the king and governor did not fail to reach. all the little towns of Western Massachusetts, through the system of correspondence so wisely planned by Samuel Adams. They were kept advised of every step. Captain Wells was much excited one day when he returned from Deerfield, where he had been to transact some law business before 'Squire John Williams. " Deerfield is a regular Tory hotbed," he said. " Of course I did not discuss the state of the country with 'Squire Williams. I know where he stands, and he knows where I stand. No use to waste breath. But I happened to meet John Sheldon, who told me that the governor is send ing out Tory emissaries all over the province to further his ends, and that three of these Tories came to Deerfield April third. The Deerfield Tories met them at Seth Catlin's tavern, and

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100 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. they kept it up there till two o'clock the next morning. Sheldon says they no doubt consumed considerable flip drinking his Majesty's health, if they did nothing else." Shelburne now had its com,mittee of corre spondence, and the town had taken action on the famous letters of Governor Hutchinson which Franklin had discovered in England and sent home, copies having been sent to all the towns through the committee of correspondence. This committee was found to furnish the best possible means for keeping the patriots of the province in touch with each other. As has been said, there were no post-o:ffices.1 When Benjamin Franklin was turned out of the office of Postmaster General of America because he was a Whig, the service, poor at best, wholly broke down. Captain Wells was therefore very glad to cooperate in a plan arranged by the lead ing men of Deerfield to get the mail regularly. Twenty or more of the Deerfield men, with Aaron Rice and Othniel Taylor of Charlemont, Moses Bascon of Greenfield, and Captain David Wells of Shelburne, agreed to each pay William Mosman twelve shillings a year for riding post to Boston. He brought letters, papers, and l Appendix B.

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THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY. 101 small packages once a week, as the trip down and back consumed about a week. The out-of town subscribers, knowing when the post-rider might be expected, usually planned to ride down to David Hoyt's tavern to meet him. The third week in December Captain Wells sent David to Deerfield to meet the post-rider. Israel begged so hard to be allowed also to ride down that the captain finally consented. When the two boys rode out of the Albany road upon the common in front of 'Squire Wil liams's store, they found a crowd collected before David Hoyt's tavern,1 which the post-rider made his headquarters. Some were eagerly tearing open the papers which Mosman was handing out of his pouch; but more were gathered around David Field. Mr. Field was chairman of the Deerfield committee of correspondence, and had been to Boston to confer with the Whig leaders, riding home with the post-rider. "I wonder what has happened," said Israel. " Something out of the ordinary. Every one seems so excited," said David. The boys tied their horses and hastened to join the crowd arolJ.nd Mr. Field. "What is it, Mr. Hoyt?" asked David of i The Old Indian House .

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102 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Lieutenant Jonathan Hoyt, who stood near him in the crowd. " Field brings word that the Boston Whigs have been engaged in most seditious acts," an swered Hoyt, with an angry look. " The town will suffer for it when the king hears of their doings." David well knew Hoyt to be a strong Tory. He pressed farther into the crowd, nearer Mr. Field, who was repeating his story most willingly to the fresh throng of listeners gathering around. "You all know," said Mr. Field, ''how deter mined the king and Lord North have been to force us to pay a tax on tea. They care not so much for the money as for the principle. They well know that if they can force us to pay the smallest fraction of a penny on tea, we shall lose the great principle for which we stand, no taxation without representation." "Yes, yes; we know. Go on." "As you know, three ship-loads of tea have been sent to Boston, but the Boston committee would not allow them to be landed, and they have remained unloaded at Griffin's Wharf. Hutchinson tried to fix matters so that the committee would be compelled to let the tea be landed. He refused to give the ships a pass to

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THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY. 103 leave until that was done. At the same time he ordered the ships guarding the harbor and the soldiers at the Castle to fire on any ship attempting to go out without a pass. " The night of December sixteenth a rousing meeting was held in the Old South Church, seven thousand men from Boston and all the towns around gathering there. Captain Rotch of the ship' Dartmouth' had been sent out to Governor Hutchinson's in Milton, to ask for a pass. Mean time Adams and Young made speeches, asking if the people were resolved to abide by their resolutions forbidding the tea to be landed. The whole great assembly vowed unanimously that the tea should not be landed." " Good ! hurrah ! " shouted some of the Deer field Whigs, while the dark faces of the Tories showed how little they sympathized with Field's story. "It was candle-light before Captain Rotch returned," continued Field. " The governor bad refused him a pass because the cargo was not landed. At this Samuel Adams rose, and said with solemn emphasis : ' This meeting can do nothing more to save the country ! ' " I suppose that was an understood signal, for at once a shout arose on the porch, the

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104 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. war-whoop was heard, and a party of forty or more men disguised as Indians appeared, and set off for Griffin's Wharf. The rest of us followed on to see what was done. " Setting a guard to prevent interruption or spies, the Indians went aboard the ships, and in three hours' time they burst open and emptied into the harbor three hundred and forty chests of tea!" "Hurrah! Three cheers for the Boston Whigs ! " shouted the Whigs, while the Tories looked blacker than ever. " Although there was an immense crowd gathered, looking on, everything was so still you could plainly hear the crashing of chest after chest as it was burst open and the tea thrown into the sea. But all was done decently and in order." "Order!" exclaimed Jonathan Ashley, sneer ingly. "A fine sample of decency and order such mob violence ! " " So you see the Whigs brewed a big dish of tea in Boston harbor that night," said Field in conclusion. "You'll find that your jaunty Boston Whig friends have brewed the bitterest cup ever pressed to the lips of this country, -a cup

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THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY. 105 mingled with blood," said Nathaniel Dickinson, as he, Jonathan Ashley, and the other Tories present turned and went into David Hoyt's tavern, which was one of the Tory head quarters in Deerfield. David Field, Joseph Stebbins, and others of the leading Whigs crossed the common to David Saxton's tavern. Their excited and happy con ference over the action at Boston lasted late into the night. David and Israel could hardly wait for their mail, they were so anxious to reach home and tell their father news which was sure greatly to interest him. " I'm glad I came down to Deerfield this after noon," said Israel. "I wouldn't have missed hearing Mr. Field's story for anything." "Why, here's Cousin Agrippa!" exclaimed David at that moment. Captain Agrippa Wells came up where the boys were untying their horses. "Boys," he said, "I'm glad I happened to see you. I rode over this afternoon hoping David Field might have returned, being anxious to get the latest news from Boston. And I 've got it! This news will set the whole country ablaze from Maine to South Carolina. Tell

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106 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. your father, boys, that I am going to organize a militia company right away. I know he has talked of doing the same in Shelburne. Tell him I think now is the time. We must be drilling and getting ready. There's :fighting not far ahead, unless I'm vastly mistaken." The boys hurried their horses on the home ward ride all that the steep hills and the gather ing darkness permitted. The family were at supper when they entered. "News, father, great news," cried Israel. "The Boston Whigs have had a big tea-party," said David. The captain frowned. " The Boston Whigs using tea ! " he exclaimed. "What do you mean? I hope they have not abandoned their principles." But when the captain heard what kind of tea-party the Boston Whigs had held, his in terest and delight knew no bounds. "Cousin Agrippa iti right," he said. "No backward step is possible after this. Unless the king yields, which is not probable, for this affair of the tea will enrage him more than ever, -fighting is not far ahead." " David, what if war comes and the king wins ? " asked his wife. " This country is young

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THE BOSTON TEA-PARTY. 107 and poor, with no army. England is rich and powerful, with great, well-trained armies." " The Lord will be on our side because it is the right, Mary," said the captain, "and that is a mightier reinforcement than all the chariots and horsemen of Israel. ' They that be for us are more than they that be with him.' I shall take Cousin Agrippa's advice and begin to or ganize and drill a militia company here as soon as spring opens." "We may have no armies, as mother says," said David, " but we Americans know how to handle guns. We can aim straight and shoot straight." "And hit the mark every time," said Noah. "Yes," said their father, "the British will find that a century's experience in :fighting French and Indians has not been wasted on us." At family prayers that night the captain read with fervor the sixth chapter of Second Kings, and the One Hundredth and Twenty-fourth and One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Psalms.

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CHAPTER X. THE MILITIA COMPANY. WITH the opening of spring Captain Wells kept his word. The young men of the town were quite ready to form a militia company. "If we are going to fight, we had best learn how," said Daniel Nims," and nobody in Shel burne can drill us better than Captain David Wells. He was an officer in the Connecticut militia for seventeen years before moving to Shelburne." David and Noah both enlisted in the com pany, much more to their own satisfaction than to their mother's. "But I still hope," she said to her daughters, "that the trouble will somehow be averted. I cannot believe that we shall really have a war with the mother country." "Don't say 'mother country,'" said Mary. "'Stepmother country' would be a truer title for Great Britain."

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THE MILITIA COMPANY. 109 " Now I must object," said Mrs. Wells. " I never like to hear the term ' stepmother ' used as expressing unkindness or neglect, for I have known some stepmothers who were the kindest friends orphaned children ever knew." "Well, whatever we call her, Great Britain has certainly shown herself anything but a friend to her colonies," said Mary. " There is a division of opinion, I find, among our best-men," said Mrs. Wells. " I had quite a long talk the last time I was in Deerfield with Parson Ashley. He thinks the trouble will be peaceably settled. He feels the recent action of our province little short of seditious, dis loyal to the lawful authority of the king and Parliament." "Parson Ashley is a Tory of the deepest dye," said Patience. "I shouldn't pay the least attention to anything he says." "Young people should always respect the clergy and those in authority," said . Mrs. Wells reprovingly. The first training of the Shelburne militia company was to be held on the W ellses' home lot, which had been cleared long enough to be free from stumps, and included several acres lying east and south of the house.

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110 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. It was an exciting morning on the farm when the young soldiers began to arrive. None wore uniforms. They came from their farm work in homespun woollen frocks. But every one carried a gun, and knew bow to handle it. The officers, Captain Wells and Lieutenant Benjamin Nash, had already secured their commissions from His Majesty, King George. The company of stalwart youths was formed on the pleasant stretch of land overlooking Greenfield and the Connecticut Valley, and there Captain Wells drilled them all the morning. Of course the younger members of the Wells family took the liveliest interest in the proceed ings. Perched on the rock, they watched all the manamvres and exercises, the marching and countermarching, as Captain Wells's voice rang out: " Shoulder arms ! Right about ! Face! March ! Halt ! Eli Skinner, who played the fife, struck up a lively tune, the martial tap of t}le drum echoed far and wide over the hills, and the boys marched back and forth in fine style. "That music stirs me so I can hardly keep still," said Mary. " It almost makes me wish I were a young man."

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THE MILITIA COMPANY. 111 " I wish I were grown up, so I could enlist," said Israel. William, a long stick held at bis shoulder, was marching up and down in time to the music, closely imitated by little Walter, whose one aim in life was to do whatever William did. When Captain Wells's voice rang out sharply, " Fire ! " the volley which seemed to shake the hills around made the girls stop their ears and even the valiant Israel and William jump. In the house, Mrs. Wells, who was preparing din ner, also started, then exclaimed with a sigh: " What a terrible thing war is ! I pray God to avert it from us." After this, the little boys' favorite play was "being soldier," a game on which Captain Wells looked with indulgent fondness, saying: "There's good stuff there, if they are my boys. They will be able to ' speak with the enemy in the gate' one of these days." " It will be a hard time for the enemy when William and Walter get on their track," said Noah, laughing as he watched the little boys marching. Captain Agrippa Wells, who had organized a militia company in Greenfield, rode out to Shel burne in May, and invited the Shelburne com-

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112 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. pany to come down to Greenfield and drill with his company. " It will be good practice for the boys to learn to drill in a larger body," he said. "And it will do 1(10 hurt for us, David, to practise manreu vring larger bodies." "An excellent plan," said Captain David. The Shelburne men were up in the early dawn of that May day, and by six o'clock they were marching down the hills to Greenfield, The drill was to be on the farm of Colonel Samuel w ells, at the western end of Greenfield's long street. Here, east of Colonel Wells's house, was a large open lot of several acres, on the brow of the hill overlooking Green River, the view extending across the Deerfield meadows to Mt. Pocumtuck. The Shelburne company naturally attracted much attention as it marched down the village street. The young men kept step to the music and marched proudly along, escorted by every boy in town hanging along the sides and rear of the company, also marching in time to the fife and drum. At Colonel Wells's, Captain David found the colonel and his cousin Agrippa in earnest and excited conference.

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THE MILITIA COMPANY. 113 "Cousin David," said Agrippa, "Mosman brought bad news from Boston last night. King George and Parliament, in revenge for the tea-party, have passed a bill closing the port of Boston, forbidding all lading or unlading of goods there after June first. The custom-house is to be transferred to Salem." " Outrageous ! " exclaimed Captain Wells. "And they have altered our charter," con tinued Captain Agrippa, "decreeing that all judges and magistrates shall be appointed by the crown, holding office only during the royal pleasure. And they 've abolished town meet ings, except for the choice of officers, or on special permission of the governor." "Do they expect Massachusetts men will submit tamely to such tyranny?" asked Captain Wells, while all standing around echoed his sentiments. " Worse is yet to come," said Captain Agrippa. "An officer indicted for murder in this prov ince must be sent for trial either to Great Britain or Nova Scotia. The aim of this meas ure is plain. General ' Gage is now on his way to take Governor Hutchinson's place, with troops to domineer over Boston and suppress the patriots. This law gives Gage power to murder Boston folks with practical impunity." 8

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114 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " Has Boston taken any action ? " asked Captain David. " Joseph Warren, for the committee of corre spondence, has invited eight of the neighboring towns to a conference to be held in Faneuil Hall on the twelfth. Gage had not yet arrived, but was expected daily. That was the latest news when Mosman left Boston." " Closing the port will throw hundreds of innocent people in Boston into poverty and suffering," said Colonel Wells. " This action is sure to rouse the other col onies," said Captain David, "and so good may come out of evil." "We must get to our drilling," said Captain Agrippa. "We have cause now to put heart into our work as never before." All shared the captain's feeling. The hearts of the young fellows in the homespun frocks burned within them as they thought of their province's wrongs, and they marched and countermarched with unusual spirit, while the drummer beat as though he were drubbing King George himself, and Eli Skinner's fife played up shrill and defiant. " The boys do well, very well," said Colonel Wells to Captain Timothy Childs, who bad

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THE MILITIA. COMPANY. 115 come down from the north part of Greenfield expressly to see the drill. " They will give a good account of them selves if it comes to actual :fighting," said Captain Childs. "I intend to organize a com pany of militia in the north part of the town." Captain Childs had acquired his title by valiant service in the French and Indian wars. " No one could be more competent than your self for that duty," said Colonel Wells. "It is high time we colonists were preparing actively to defend our rights." At noon the soldiers bivouacked in the shade of the trees on the brow of the pleasant hill and ate the luncheons they had brought with them, being further refreshed by various drinks hospitably provided by Colonel Wells : The companies drilled all the afternoon, and then the Shelburne boys marched home, feeling that they had done a good day's work. As each returned to his home afar on some lonely hill side, he carried the news of the Boston Port Bill, and that night a blaze of indignant patri otism burned high on the scattered Shelburne farms. As Captain Wells, David, and Noah, rather footsore and weary after their day's strenuous

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116 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. exertions, approached home, they saw William sitting on a stump by the road, evidently await ing their arrival. " William must have important news to tell,'' said David. "Father!" cried William, as they drew near, "what do you think? Israel has caught a wild goose!" All laughed, and the captain said: " You mean shot a wild goose, William." "No, sir, I mean just what I say. Israel took a gun, mother said he might, and he and I went up towards the west woods to watch for game. By and by we heard a loud 'honk, honk ' overhead, and there was a flock of wild geese, shaped just like the letter V, flying north. Israel fired, and he hit one ! It dropped, but when we ran to pick it up, it was only wounded, not killed, and Israel is gomg to keep it and tame it." " So there will be no roast goose for sup per," said David. " You made my mouth water.'' "And mine too," said Noah. "I'm famished after marching around all day with only a dry lunch at noon." " No, sir-ee. You don't get Israel's wild goose.

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THE MILITIA COMPANY. 117 But mother has a nice hot Johnny-cake in the bake-oven for you." "Well, that's good news, anyway," said Noah. " Israel calls his goose Jezebel, she is so ugly and picks at him so fiercely," continued William, whose head was full of the wild goose. " Israel says he shall clip her wings, so she can't fly away. And to-morrow we are going to build a pen for her. Father, please let me carry your gun." "It weighs about as much as you, my boy," said the father. "Your day for carrying guns will come later." "My day is always coming and never here," said William. "I 'm afraid everything will be over before it comes." " I think there will still be a few things left for you to do, my son, when your day arrives," said his father. "

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CHAPTER XI. THE SUMMER OF 1774. NOWHERE can JU:ne be lovelier than on Shelburne hills. The tall grass that covered the home lot rippled in waves as the summer breeze blew across the field. Yellow buttercups, with yellow butterflies dancing above them like detached :flowers, waved in the wind. Oxeye daisies and wild roses adorned the roadside, and the depths of the woods were brightened by the blossoms of the dogwood and wild cherry and the first blooms of the pink mountain laurel. The trees in the fresh and tender green of their new leaves made picturesque frames for the ex quisite views one caught from every summit, extending across the valley to the mountains beyond, blue with the haze of distance. It was not strange that the Wells girls longed to be outdoors. But idling was not allowed. No one was expected to leave her work and go " gadding abroad " without some good excuse Mary bethought herself of one.

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THE SUMMER OF 1774. 119 " Mother," she said, " don't you think we had best lay in a store of flag-root to dry? There is plenty down by the brook." "It certainly would be well," said the mother. " Nothing is better for a cough than sugared flagroot. After the dinner dishes are done, you girls might go for some. But don't stay too long. The rest of those rolls must be spun to-day, ready for my weaving to-morrow." "We will not dawdle, mother," said Mary. After Eunice had wiped the dishes, she went up to the rock to play with William and Walter. The summer air, sweet with the odors of grass and wild-grape blossoms, blew pleasantly around the children, and they were playing happily. Eunice had " dinner " all ready on the rock table, some sorrel leaves and young birch bark, with a few wild strawberries, set forth on bits of broken crockery. "Come to dinner, boys," she called to her small brothers, who were marching up and down, keeping step to William's "one, two, one, two," uttered in a tone of military command. Here she saw Mary, Patience, and Lucinda coming out of the house, with pans and knives. " Oh, girls," she cried, "if you are going to the brook for flag-root, I'm going with you," and

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120 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. away she ran, deserting her dinner, of which the two small boys soon made short work. The brook fl.owed through a hollow west of the house. In the marshy land, each side its banks, the girls found plenty of the long green flags growing. They pulled and dug them up, cutting off the tops. Here, too, they found many cowslips, which gave them further excuse for tarrying outdoors in the June sunshine. " Mother will be glad of a big mess of cowslip greens to boil for dinner to-morrow, I know," said Patience. Mrs. Wells was beginning to think the girls were gone an unnecessarily long time, when at last they appeared, their pans piled high with flag-root and cowslip greens. Eunice also brought in a bouquet of wild columbine, which she put in a pitcher on the mantle. "You have done well, girls," said Mrs. Wells. "Now, Mary and Patience, go to your spinning. Lucinda, you and Eunice may help me clean and cut the flag-root." The pungent flag-root was scraped clean, sliced, and boiled slowly in a thick sugar syrup, then dried in the sun, making a comfit that the children needed no urging to take as a remedy. In fact, Mrs Wells had to watch it closely while

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THE SUMMER OF 1774. 121 drying, lest the two small boys be tempted be yond their power of resistance. The two little boys, left alone on the rock, after their "dinner" was over, cast about for something else to do. "There goes Israel," cried William," down to the brook with a shovel. Come on, Walter; let's go and see what he means to do." The brook, circling around from the swamp, crossed the lower land south and back of Captain Wells's house. A bridge spanned it, for the road which ran from Captain Wells's down to the Albany road. Israel was hard at work, digging above the bridge. " What are you doing, Israel ? " " I 'm building a dam to make a pond for Jezebel. She needs a pond." Jezebel had now become quite tame, so that, when let out of her pen, she made no effort to escape, returning to her pen at night "as tame as any old hen," Israel said. He had shining visions of future wealth, based on two fine large eggs whic . h Jezebel had laid. " I shall set her eggs and raise a big flock of geese," he said, " and then sell their feathers. Live geese feathers bring a high price. Will you buy feathers of me, mother ? "

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122 BOYS .A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Of course," said his mother, smiling. "Israel is evid e ntly cut out for the million naire of the family," said Noah. " You needn't laugh, Noah; you just wait and see," said Israel. William and Walter offered to help Israel build the dam. " Great help you '11 be, I guess," said Israel. "Here comes Larry. I suppose he wants to 'help' too. Look out, Walter. You 're getting wet." The sturdy William proved a valuable helper, tugging stones almost too big for him to lift. As for Larry, he really helped, too, by keeping Walter so busy throwing sticks into the water for the dog to bring out, and then chasing him about to pull the stick from Larry's tightly shut jaws, that the little fellow was prevented from getting in the brook himself. As the boys were busily working, they heard the ' click ' of a horse's hoofs on the bridge below. Israel saw a horseman whom he recog nized as Mr. Joseph Stebbins of Deerfield. "Is your father at home?" asked Mr. Stebbins. "Yes, sir. He's over on the hill yonder, at work," said Israel. When Captain Wells saw Mr. Stebbins riding

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THE SUMMER OF 1774. 123 up the rude cart path, he hastened to give him cordial greeting. " I have ridden out," said Mr. Stebbins, " to consult with you 0 Shelburne about matters pertaining to the state 0 our country. News has just come from Boston that General Gage has ordered two regiments 0 soldjers to encamp on Boston Common; two companies 0 artillery and eight cannon have been sent to Castle Wil liam. The king's fleet controls the harbor, and more battalions 0 infantry are daily expected." "Then Boston is really in a state 0 siege," said Captain Wells. " Yes. The king thinks thus to compel the people to pay for the tea. But Joseph Warren and Samuel Adams and the other leaders remind the people constantly that payment in any form is yielding the question, and will open the way to total submission, -to slavery, in fact." " They are right, and so every true patriot will say," said Captain Wells. "At a big town meeting held June seven teenth," continued Mr. Stebbins, "they fixed on September first as the date 0 a Congress 0 all the colonies, to be held at Philadelphia, and chose Samuel and John Adams, Cushing, and Robert Treat Paine as delegates from this province. It

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124 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. is proposed to raise money for their expenses by a tax on the province, each town bearing its share." " Is it believed the other colonies will join in this Congress ? " asked Captain Wells. "Yes, New York will, and New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maryland have already elected delegates. And great news comes from Virginia." " What is it?" asked Captain Wells eagerly. " Their House of Burgesses took most patriotic action on hearing of the Boston Port Bill. They voted to make June first, the day the port closed, a day of fasting." " Our province observed that day as a Fast Day , as was meet," said Captain Wells, "but it is indeed good news that Virginia stands by the patriot cause so stanchly." " The papers say that June first was ushered in there by the tolling of bells, and observed by all true patriots as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. Major Washington fasted rigidly, and George Mason ordered his family to attend church in mourning. So you see Virginia may be depended on to sustain the patriotic cause to the last." " I have always believed that the other colo nies would feel that our ca.use wa,s their own,"

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THE SUMMER OF 1774 . 125 said Captain Wells. "One colony cannot lose its rights without endangering those of all the rest." Here Mr. Stebbins drew from his pocket a large, sealed document, addressed to Cap tain Wells at Deerfield, " in care of Joseph Stebbins." " This is no dou ht a copy of the solemn League and Covenant sent out by the Boston committee to all the towns. Deerfield has re ceived a copy. The subscribers to it bind them selves to drop all intercourse with Great Britain after August first, until our chartered rights are restored to us." " We shall no doubt hold a special town meet ing here at once, to take action," said Captain Wells. Opening the document, the captain found with it a letter, stating that this plan had been adopted to recall the British oppressors to reason. The subscriptions of the people were entreated " as the last and only method of preserving the land from slavery without drenching it in blood." Captain Wells hastened to confer with his fel low selectmen, and a town meeting was called at the meeting-house July 20, 1774, "to see if the District will sign the Covenant that was

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126 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. sent from Boston not to purchase any goods imported from Great Britain after the first day of October next." Also, "to see if five pounds, ten shillings, ten pence shall be drawn out of the town treasury to pay those men that go to sit with the Congress, which is our proportion with the whole province." David and Noah were much stirred on hear ing the news of the latest oppressions upon Boston. " There 's not much doubt how we Shelburne men will vote on that question," said David. "It's a shame I'm not old enough yet to vote," said Noah. "But I will be after next October fifth, that 's one good thing." Noah had to see his father and David ride off to town meeting, while he stayed tamely at home to work in the hay-field, with such help as he could get out of Israel. "Never mind, Noah," said his father, appre ciating how the boy felt. "You are also helping your country by working here at home. The country will need everything that can be raised, to provide for the struggle which I fear is ahead of us. So you are doing a patriot's duty too." "That may be," thought Noah, as he watched

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THE SUMMER OF 1774. 127 his father riding spurring his horse to overtake David. "But haying isn't half so in teresting as going to town meeting, hearing the speeches, and voting. " Come on, boys," he called to Israel and William, who were turning somersaults over a hay-cock. "Quit your fooling and get to work. You go to the barn, Israel, get the ox cart, and drive down to the hay-field. William, come with me. You can rake after cart as well as any one. Let's show father what we can do." At the little town meeting on top of the hill excitement ran high when it was learned that Governor Gage had issued a proclamation pro nouncing the league not to purchase articles imported from Great Britain " hostile and trait orous," and enjoining magistrates everywhere to arrest and bold for trial all persons who should " publish, sign, or invite others to sign the covenant." It was also said that Samuel Adams and others of the Boston committee were to be seized and put in jail. " But the committee," said Dr. John Long, who had recently returned from Boston, "met, and voted to 'attend to their business as usual.' They will not run or hide."

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128 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " They know the people of the province will stand by them," said Captain Kemp. " And of the neighboring provinces too," said Dr. Long. "Provisions are pouring into be leagured Boston. South Carolina has sent two hundred barrels of rice, and promised eight hun dred more ; Windham, Connecticut, sent in two hundred and fifty-eight sheep, and so it goes. From all over the country stores of food as well as money are being constantly sent in. But it shows the state of tyranny in Boston, that, when the Marblehead men wanted to send a quantity of fish, they were obliged to carry them around by land. No boat, not so much as a ferry-boat, is allowed in Boston harbor." The men of Shelburne, deeply stirred by these reports, voted to adhere to the " League and Covenant," and also voted to pay the town's portion of the sum required to send the Massa chusetts delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia the following September. Like action was taken by all the towns around. It might, and probably did, seem to Governor Gage a trifling matter what action was taken by these insignificantly small towns in Western Massachusetts. What could they do against powerful Great Britain ? He did not

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THE SUMMER OF 1774. 129 reflect on the truth of the Scotch proverb, "Many mickles make a muckle." "Well, girls," said Mrs. Wells, when her hus band and David returned and reported the town's action, "this means redoubled work for us. No more imported silks for the Boston dames, or woollens and calicoes for us. Here after our own lands must raise the materials for our dresses, and our own hands spin and weave them." "We can do it, mother," said Mary. "I want to learn to weave now," said Lucinda. " I'll have Patience give you a lesson to morrow," said Mrs. Wells. " Can't I learn too, mother ? " asked Eunice. " Your part, for a while yet, will be to wind the thread in skeins on the reel," said her mother. "But it is all part of the whole." "I am glad to see my girls, as well as my boys, patriotic," said Captain Wells. " Girls are not to be despised, father," said Patience. 9

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CHAPTER XII. MOBBING IN DEERFIELD. EXCITEMENT ran high in Deerfield, this summer of 177 4. The fact that most of the leading men in town, including the minister, were Tories, while there was also a large body of determined Whigs, gave rise to many con flicts, these troubled times.1 Noah, who had been to Deerfield for the mail one August afternoon, came home with exciting news. "The Sons of Liberty have set up a tall Liberty Pole before David Field's store," said Noah. " The boys drew it ipto town towards night, and left it in front of the store, intending to erect it the next day. During the night some Tory rascals sawed that pole in two. But the Whigs got another, taller than the first, and set it up in defiance of the Tories." " I hope they will not get to fighting among themselves in Deerfield," said Mrs. Wells. 1 Appendix: C.

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MOBBING IN DEERFIELD. 131 "The Whigs will not stand insults tamely," said Noah. "David Dickinson told me that on our Fast Day the Tories not only took no notice of it, because our General Court had appointed it, but tried to show their contempt in every way possible. And Parson Ashley had a tea party the very next day, just after we have been asked not to use any British articles ! " "Where did he get tea, pray?" asked Captain Wells. " Does any one in Deerfield dare sell tea?" " The parson sent his son, on Fast Day, mind you, down to Colonel Israel Williams's store in Hatfield for the tea. And the next day his son carried a pound over to Parson Newton's wife in Greenfield." "Mrs. Newton must have relished that tea!" exclaimed Mrs. Wells, involuntarily. " Mother ! " exclaimed her children, horri fied, while her husband regarded her with some surprise. " I mean," explained Mrs. Wells, not without a blush, "just what I say. We all know how a good cup of tea relishes. I am not upholding Mrs. Newton in drinking it, only i couldn't help thinking how good it must have tasted to her."

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132 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Don't be alarmed, children," said the cap tain. " Your mother is not turning Tory yet, if she does sometimes yearn for her cup of tea." " Nothing would tempt me to touch a drop of it now, much as I like it," said Mrs. Wells. "Three cheers for mother!" said Mary. "Dickinson says, what every one knows, that Colonel Israel Williams is a, terrible old Tory. He attended meeting in Deerfield last Sunday. Going up to Parson Ashley's at noon, he passed the new Liberty Pole. He told some one that such a pole was ' a profanation of the ordinance.' " "Ridiculous!" exclaimed Captain Wells. " The Deerfield people expect exciting times when the session of the courts begins the last of this month," continued Noah. "The Whigs are determined no judges, sheriffs, or counsellors appointed by the king under the Regulator Act shall serve. There is free talk of mobs if they try to hold court." "I hope there will be no violence. Mobs will hurt the Whig cause more than they will help it, I fear," said Captain Wells. Later on Liberty Poles were heard of in other towns in Western Massachusetts. Hadley erected one a hundred and thirty feet high. In

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MOBBING IN DEERFIELD. 133 Montague the Whigs erected a Liberty Pole near the meeting-house. The minister, being like many of the clergy a Tory sympathizer, on the following Sunday preached a sermon on "the sin of . erecting such an Idol," whereupon Moses Gunn, an ardent Whig, retorted trench antly. He said that a Liberty Pole "could be treated as an Idol and the Persons who set it up as Idolators" would " never have entered his head." He then told the minister what the pole meant. " It means this people are for liberty. I wish it reached to the clouds ! " Early in September Captain Wells rode down to Deerfield. As he came out of the Albany road upon the common, he saw about one hun dred men gathered in front of Jonathan Arms's blacksmith shop, across the common. David Saxton was standing on his tavern steps, looking across at the crowd. "What is this?" asked Captain Wells. "Not a mob, I hope." "No, these are law and order men, of both parties, whose aim is to put down mob violence on either side," said Saxton. " There are all sorts of rumors afloat. Last night a party of Tories garrisoned the house of 'Squire Ashley, expecting he would be visited by a mob. About

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134 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. three o'clock this morning a messenger rode in from Hatfield, saying that all Western Massa chusetts was going to mob Colonel Israel Williams and others in that town, and begging help. Our men are just starting for Hatfield. We are bound to prevent mobbing." The Deerfield men rode off to the south, while Wells and Saxton were talking. "It is certainly of the utmost importance for the friends of law and order to act together now," said Captain Wells. "Since that body of a thousand or more men at Springfield took possession of the court-house steps, and would not allow the court to sit, and compelled the judges to swear not to execute any commission under General Gage, there has been a tendency to lawlessness." "You are right," said Saxton. "We have had stirring times here. The evening of Fast Day a Whig mob hunted out Phineas Munn, seized him, and forced him to make a confession. Judge Williams's friends gathered at his house, armed with guns, expecting the mob would attack him next ; but nothing more was done. No real violence has been committed yet, but such a spirit, once started, is apt to grow be yond control."

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MOBBING IN DEERFIELD. 135 "Yes, the mob spirit is , truly a dangerous thing to get started in a community," said Captain Wells, "and I am glad your wiser people are determined to hold it in check." " Are you going down to the convention at Northampton the twentieth?" asked Saxton. "Yes, I expect to," said the captain. To this convention all the towns of Western Massachusetts were called, to consider the measures to be adopted in view of the attack of Parliament on the province's charter rights. It held two days' session at Northampton, and recommended a strict observance of the Non importation Act, agreement that no money be paid to the royal treasurer, that the people drill under military leaders, and that a Provincial Congress meet at Concord, October second. When Captain Wells rode homeward after his two days' absence at this convention, the young moon was just setting, and the depths of the woods each side the road looked dark and mys terious as the captain rode along. Sometimes there was a rustling in the dead leaves, or the cracking of a twig, denoting that some wild creature was prow ling in the forest. Captain Wells was armed, in case of trouble, but did not go out of his way to seek it, as he rode on, pon-

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136 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. dering his country's difficulties and all that might be impending. Drawing near home about nine o'clock, he was startled to hear two shots fired. Then the front door burst open, and out rushed his wife, the gi:r:ls, Israel, and Larry. "Oh, I hope they've shot him!" cried Mary. "I'm going out to the barnyard,'' said Israel, starting to run, while Larry was already far ahead, barking wildly. " Israel, come back ! Come back this minute! " cried his mother. "You might be shot in the dark by mistake." "What does all this mean ? " cried Captain Wells, as he leaped from his horse. "What is the matter ? Where are the boys ? " " Out at the barn, I suppose," said Mrs. Wells. "They were determined to find out what crea ture has been preying on our flocks. Say all I could, they went out there with their guns last night, and watched all night, but nothing ap peared. So they were determined to try again to-night." The W ellses drove their sheep and calves nightly into the barnyard with its high palisade, to protect them from the wild animals which still frequented Shelburne woods. But of late

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MOBBING IN DEERFIELD. 13 7 every few nights a sheep or lamb had disap peared from the barnyard during the night, and the boys had resolved to catch the mysterious depredator. Israel had been extremely anxious to join his older brothers, but his mother would not allow it. David and Noah went out with their guns after dark and concealed themselves in the barnyard, keeping perfectly quiet. The night here in the country was intensely still, and the boy's ears were strained for the least sound. The thin sickle of the new moon gave but a faint light, hardly more than the starlight. By and by, the boys heard a soft footfall outside the . fence, -that is, the leaves rustled as if some thing were moving through them. David nudged Noah, and both boys cocked their guns. The branches of a tall tree growing close out side the fence overhung the barnyard. Now the boys heard a scratching, clawing noise on the trunk of this tree. Straining their eyes through the dim light, they perceived a large, dark object ascending its trunk. Then it crawled out on one of the overhanging boughs, lying low on the limb. "Shall we fire now, or wait?" whispered Noah.

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138 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Better save a lamb," said David. Both guns rang out. The animal fell heavily to the ground. The boys went nearer, but not too near, until they had again :fired, making sure that the creature was dead. The group standing in the open door as the boys came into the light, bringing their load, cried out: " What is it ? " "Why, it's a panther, and a big one too," said Captain Wells. " He will never make way with any more of our sheep, that's certain," said Noah, as he and David dropped the heavy body on the grass, in the ray of candle-light streaming out from the door. "How powerfully he is built!" said David. " Look at his muscles ! No wonder he could jump back into the tree with a lamb in his mouth. He looks equal to it." "You 've done well, boys," said the captain.

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CHAPTER XIII. A WEDDING. ONE Sunday evening in September, Lucinda, who happened to sit by the front window, heard horses' hoofs down the road. As travel lers were few, she cried excitedly: " Oh, girls, some one 's coming ! " Then, peering out through the semi-darkness, she said: " There are two horsemen riding up the new road from Greenfield. I 'm not sure, but I think they are John Wells and Moses Arms." " Yes," said Eunice, who had run to look out over Lucinda's shoulder, "it is they, and they 're coming here." A new road had recently been opened from Greenfield, following the banks of the brook which ran behind the W ellses' house and then plunged down the mountain side, leaping in cas cades over the rocks of a wild, mossy gorge. John and Moses had shown a commendable desire to improve this new road, riding out quite often of late.

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140 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. At Lucinda's announcement Mary and Pa tience seemed agitated, and began to smooth their locks and adjust their dress, with furtive glances in the gilt-framed mirror on the wall, as they asked each other : "Is my hair all right? " The riders, as the girls had surmised, proved to be John Wells and his friend Moses. After chatting a while they broached their errand, which proved to be most important. " We have come," said John, " to ask you young ladies to attend a wedding in Greenfield." " A wedding ! " exclaimed the girls in chorus. " Whose, pray ? " "Elijah Dwight's and Diana Hinsdale's." " Oh, yes, we know Diana. So the day is fixed at last." . "Yes, they are to be married the twenty seventh. We are asked, with liberty to bring any ladies we please, and would like to have you and Patience go, if your parents consent." The girls were most agreeably excited and flattered by this invitation, and eager to accept. Not since they had left Connecticut had an opportunity for 'such social gayety come in their way. They eagerly sought their parents and laid the case before them.

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.A. WEDDING. 141 Now a wedding was a wedding in those days, usually involving several days' festivities. As Mr. Dwight, the bridegroom, lived in Belcher town, acceptance would no doubt include a jaunt to that town, among other features. Captain and Mrs. Wells conferred with the young men, inquired into all the details of the affair, and then held a private consultation before giving their answer. "I'm almost afraid to have the girls go off on such a jaunt," said Mrs. Wells. " Patience is rather delicate, and young folks are so apt to be careless. To dance all day, and then ride in the cool of the evening, will certainly give Patience a cold." " You cannot keep your girls under a glass case, mother," said the captain. "They have to take their chances in life, like other young people. They will no doubt come home rather tired, but that will not hurt them. If they are going out at all, they could not have safer escorts than young Arms and their cousin John." " Yes, I know they belong to some of the best old families and are fine young men in every way," said Mrs. Wells. "I suppose we had best consent, the girls' hearts are so set on going."

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142 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " They will not be young but once. Every dog has his day. This is their day. Better let them enjoy it," said the captain. Consent was given for the girls to attend the wedding, Mrs. Wells impressing it upon the young men that she should expect them to take the best care of her daughters. " You may depend on that, Mrs. Wells," said Moses Arms. "We are invited by my cousin Aaron to spend the night each way, going and coming, at the house of his father, my uncle Daniel Arms in Deerfield, so we shall be in good quarters." " What is the latest news from Boston, John?" asked the captain. "Matters there are getting worse and worse, we hear. The first of this month General Gage sent soldiers out to Charlestown, where our province keeps its powder _ for the militia stored, you know." " Yes. The towns were beginning to take away each its own share," said Captain Wells. "Well, Gage's soldiers seized all the powder in the public magazine, over two hundred and fifty half barrels, 'tis said, and carried it to the castle. And they carried off two field-pieces from Cambridge."

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A WEDDING. 143 " A high-handed outrage ! " exclaimed the captain. "He had no right to touch a grain of that powder." "The whole eastern end of the State was up in arms about it," said John. " Thousands of men swarmed in and around Boston; Gage dared not send out his troops against them. If he had, Warren said they would have been annihilated before they had marched five miles into the country, the people were so enraged. Gage has sent to England for more troops. And he has fortified Boston neck; thrown up earthworks across, as if in an enemy's country." "That certainly looks as if war were near at hand," said Captain Wells. "The Suffolk County Convention met the next day at Dedham. They sent Joseph War ren in to General Gage to against these fortifications in the name of Suffolk County." " Gage will not pay any attention to that," said Captain Wells. "No, probably not. But it will show the other colonies that we have used every means to avert war. The Convention despatched copies of their resolutions by a special courier to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. Best

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144 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. of all, they have arranged to send couriers with written messages to the selectmen or committee of correspondence of every town in the colony, to notify them in case of any sudden alarm." " A wise plan," said Captain Wells. " One thing is certain: it plainly behooves us of the militia to be prepared for a sudden call." The young people now strolled out for an ev.ening walk, when all the details of the com ing wedding were talked over fully. It is needless to say that from that evening until the eventful day of the wedding the girls' minds were much occupied with the great question of dress. They clapped and clear starched and ironed laces and muslins, made fresh bows of ribbon, and anxiously tried on dresses to be sure that all was right. The evening before the wedding the girls a rrayed themselves in all their finery, and came downstairs to be inspected by the assembled family. They certainly looked very pleasing. Mary's dress was a damask silk, formerly her mother's, richly flowered with pink roses, with a quilted petticoat of plain silk to match. She wore a lace stomacher and her mother's gold beads. In her hair, which was powdered and drawn

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A WEDDING. 145 up over a cushion, she wore a jaunty knot of pink ribbon. Patience, who had blue eyes and blond hair, was dressed in like fashion, only her damask silk was blue, made from a dress sent her by the aunt in Connecticut for whom she was named, the same aunt's gold beads encircling her fair neck. " Well, how do you think we look, mother? " said Mary, as she and Patience spread out their skirts and made a deep courtesy. " Will we do ? " asked Patience. " Yes, you will do very well," said the proud mother, careful to refrain from any compliment. Noah, who had just entered, took off his cocked hat, held it to his heart, and made a deep bow, saying with mock gallantry: "Fair damsels, allow me to pay tribute to your charms." " Tut, tut, Noah," said his mother. "Don't be foolish. You 'll turn the girls' heads." "You look lovely," said Lucinda. " I wish I were a young lady going to the wedding." "People are so pretty when they are dressed up," said Eunice. " I wish I had a damask silk." "Fine feathers don't make fine birds," said 10

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146 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. the captain. "If the girls behave as well as they look, they will do well enough. In fact, if they behave so that we have no reason to be ashamed of them, it doesn't matter how they look." Captain Wells, as his eyes dwelling fondly on them plainly showed in spite of himself, ad mired his pretty girls vastly, but it was not the New England fashion to praise or flatter young people. The next day, about noon, the young gal lants rode up to the door, where the girls' horses were already standing, ready saddled. The girls donned their safeguard skirts, their red cloaks with many capes, their silk hoods, and mounted their horses, all happy smiles and blushes. "I'm like Lucinda," said David. "I almost wish I too were going to the wedding." "With pretty Mistress Hubbard as companion, I suppose," said John, slyly. David blushed as he bent to tighten Patience's saddle-girth, while Mary said: " Yes, you may be certain Phoebe Hubbard would go if David did." The young couples rode down the new road through the wild mountain gorge, and up

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A WEDDING. 14'7 through Greenfield meadows to Samuel Hins dale's. Here they found a large party assem bled, including several couples from Deerfield, and some from Belchertown. A wedding supper was served, after which the marriage was per formed by Rev. Roger Newton, the Greenfield minister. The young guests then danced until after nine o'clock, when all the "weddingers" set forth for Deerfield, where, with the generous hospitality of the time, the party was enter. tained at the houses of different friends. The next morning the bridal pair, escorted by their young friends, rode from Deerfield down through Sunderland and Amherst to Belcher town. They dined at Amherst, and rested there about an hour. As they rode on east from Amherst, a long procession of horses and riders was seen approaching, gayly trotting towards them. This proved to be twenty-six couples from Belchertown, who had ridden forth to meet the "weddingers" and escort them into town. This long procession of gay young folk, mostly on horseback, was a pleasing sight, and attracted much attention all along the way. "Sarah ! Hannah ! Come quick ! The wed dingers are riding past ! And see that couple in

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148 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. one of those new-fangled chaises ! " was the cry at many a house. For young Elihu Ashley of Deerfield, son of the parson, carried Miss Polly Williams, daughter of the Deerfield doctor, in a carriage.1 Carriages were none too common, even in Bos ton. There were none in Greenfield,2 and prob ably this was the only one in the region, so young Ashley and Miss Polly were the observed of all observers as they rode along. The groom's house in Belchertown was reached at two o'clock. After dressing, the party dined at the house of the groom's father, and then returned to the groom's and danced. That night was spent in Belchertown, the . out of-town guests being entertained at the houses of the groom's friends. The next afternoon a still larger company assembled at the groom's, many friends coming in from Belchertown, and the whole afternoon a.nd evening were spent in dancing. The next morning, at ten o'clock, having seen young Dwight and his bride well started in married life, the guests from Greenfield and Deerfield set out for home, escorted well on their l Sheldon's History of Deerfield, page 690. 2 Appendix D.

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A WEDDING. 149 way to Amherst by a number of couples from Belchertown. They reached Deerfield about six that afternoon. Mary and Patience again spent the night at Daniel Arms's and the next morning were escorted home. Elihu Ashley brought them out a letter addressed : "To CAPT. D.A.vm WELLES, Shelburne. To the Care of REv'n MR. AsHLEY, Deerfield." "This is from Connecticut, I know," said Mary. "Father will be delighted, for it is long since we have heard from our Connecticut friends." "Father is anxious to know how they feel down there about the state of the country," said Patience. "He wants to know how they stand." " I don't believe there is much doubt how they stand. I'm sure you don't number any Tories among your relatives," said Moses Arms. "I should hope not," said Patience, with a scornful toss of her pretty head. The girls were certainly tired, after their exciting four days' gayety, but one long night's sleep restored them ; and they bad enjoyed so

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150 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. much, had so many interesting things to tell about the people and places they had seen, the new ideas they had picked up, that their hap piness brightened life for the whole family on the remote farm. Captain Wells's letter proved to be from his brother, the Rev. Dr. Noah Wells of the First Church at Stamford, Connecticut. After mentioning various items of family news, the letter said : "I heartily condole with your province, and espe cially Boston the Capital, suffering under the cruel hand of arbitrary and tyrannical acts of the British Parliament. You have many cordial friends in these parts who consider you as suffering in the common cause of American Liberty. Collections are made and making in this town for the Relief of the Sufferers in Boston. The aspects of Divine Provi dence are truly dark and threatening with respect to the British Empire in general as well as America. May Divine Providence protect us, humble us for our sins, the procuring cause of these Judgments, make us a reformed, a truly religious, and then we shall be a happy people. " . . . Should rejoice at a visit, and to hear from you often." "I am glad to learn from Brother Noah," said the captain, "that Connecticut stands firm,

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A WEDDING. 151 and is so heartily with us. I believe all the col onies are with us, and, if war comes, that our province will not have to fight Great Britain single-handed." "I wish we could accept Brother Noah's invi tation and pay him a visit," said Mrs. Wells. "It seems long indeed since we left Connecticut and all our friends there." " The times are not auspicious now for visits," said her husband. " As my brother truly says, the aspect is dark and threatening. But we will trust in God, and believe that, since our cause is just, He will be on our side." Captain Wells, David, and Noah now plunged into the Boston papers which the girls had brought up, eager to learn the latest tidings from Boston, the seat of war. The girls noticed that Israel looked downcast, and seemed to take no interest in their stories or their uncle's letter. "What is the matter, Israel?" asked Mary. "Don't you feel well?" "I'm all right," said Israel, gruffly. "Good night, everybody. I 'm going to bed," and out he went, slamming the door after him. " Israel seems all out of sorts. What is the reason ? " asked Mary.

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152 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Israel feels bad," said his mother. "He has met with a great loss. He has neglected to clip his goose's wings lately, as she seemed so perfectly contented and at home. Yester day a flock of wild geese flew honking over, / going south. Jezebel, who was down on her pond, gave an answering cry, spread her wings, and away she flew with them." "That is too bad," said the girls, full of sympathy. But David and Noah could not resist teasing Israel a little the next day. "Riches have wings, Israel," said David. "It's always the way with the fair sex, Israel," said Noah. "Jezebel was a fickle female, like all her sex. Trust them not. 'Frailty, thy name is woman, _ ' as Hamlet said." " Hang Hamlet," said Israel.

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CHAPTER XIV. IN THE SPRING. THE Provincial Congress which met at Cam bridge in October, and then adjourned to Concord, took prompt action. It directed the towns to provide at once a stock of powder and ordnance. It appointed a Committee of Safety for the province, among whom were John Hancock and Joseph Warren, this com mittee being given . power to alarm and muster the militia at need. It ordered that one-fourth of the militia should hold themselves ready to march at a minute's notice. These were the "minutemen." Connecticut took similar action, as did most of the other colonies. In 1775, came the report of two actions of the Briti s h Parliament which only served to set the people more firmly towards independence. Parliament had excluded the fishermen of New England from the Ban'ks of

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154 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Newfoundland and had presented an address to George the Third, declaring Massachusetts to be "in rebellion." The ,king, in his reply, pledged himself speedily to "enforce obedience to the laws, and to the authority of the su preme legislation." Soon after this news reached Shelburne, the militia were called to meet on meeting-house hill, where a bonfire blazed high before the meeting-house. After the company was formed, and stood in order, Captain David Wells made them a brief address. " Fellow Soldiers," he said, " I know not what course the rest of you may think best to pursue, but as for me, I ca.n nq longer hold a commission from King George. I own alle giance now only to . my suffering country, groan ing under his oppressions." So saying, amid loud shouts and huzzas from the soldiers, Captain Wells tore his commission into a hundred pieces, and threw the fragments into the bonfire. Lieutenant Nash followed his example, amidst the continued wild applause of the soldiers. The company was now without officers, and disorganized. What should be done

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IN THE SPRING. 155 Captain Wells solved the dilemma by saying: "I will continue to drill you, if that be your pleasure, until commissions for officers can be obtained from our province's Committee of Safety." More huzzas from the men signified their assent, and the drill went on with spirit . under the company's volunteer officers. On March sixth Shelburne voted to pay her minutemen "one shilling lawful money" for every half-day they should exercise two half days a week. Young Noah Wells had joined the company of minutemen commanded by his cousin, Captain Agrippa Wells, much more to his own satisfaction than his mother's. His father said: "You would not want a son, Mary, who held back, who was unwilling to do his part in his country's need." " No, that is true," said Mrs. Wells. " I admire Noah's patriotism, but I cannot help dreading the time when he may be called into service." "The matter is in the hands. We must trust in Him," said the captain. Tidings had come to Shelburne late in the winter of exciting events down the valley, the

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156 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. chief being the mobbing of Colonel Israel Williams and his son at Hatfield, the leaders among the local Tories. A mob of one hundred and fifty men had seized Williams and his son and carried them to Hadley, where they were confined under guard of armed men and nearly suffocated by being "smoked" during the night, the declared intention being, "to smoke old Williams to a Whig, to humble the old Dog." After signing a paper agreeing to do nothing to oppose Congress, and not to correspond with General Gage, they were released, but later were seized again, and confined for some time m Northampton jail. In March, David Wells, having to ride to Deerfield for the mail, saw, as soon as he entered the village, that some excitement was hurrying men and boys across the common and down the street as fast as they could run. "What is the matter?" asked David of Elihu Ashley, whom he chanced to meet. " Another mob ? " " I don ' t know but our Whigs will think they must have a mob," said Ashley. "Some of the leading men in Vermont, the judges, the high sheriff, and others, have been , seized at Westminster by a crowd of forty

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IN THE SPRING. 157 Whigs, who are now taking them to North ampton jail. They are to spend the night at Catlin's tavern. My father will no doubt visit and condole with them, if suffered to do so by their oppressors." David asked no further questions of Ashley, whom he well knew to be a strong Tory, but hastened on until he reached Catlin's tavern, near the lower end of Deerfield's long street. A crowd of men and boys filled the street before the tavern. Here Davi heard another version of the story from Colonel David Field, who said: "An attempt to hold court at Westminster, to assert at once the jurisdiction of New York and the king over Vermont, has been frustrated by a body of Green Mountain Boys. The Boys took possession of the court-house. The high sheriff ordered them to be fired upon, and two men were shot. As soon as the rumors of this outrage spread, armed men poured into West minster until five hundred were gathered there. They seized the offenders, tried them in an e:xtemporized court, and they are now on their way, under an armed guard, to Northampton." When. David told his father this news, the captain said :

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158 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "At least one good will be accomplished. This will settle the Green Mountain Boys. They will be on the right side when the break comes, and will do good work there, too." Soon after, Captain Wells received an appoint ment from the Massachusetts Committee of Safety as Major in the Fifth Regiment of Hampshire County Militia, composed of men from the northern part of the county.1 The colonel of the regiment was Colonel David Field of Deerfield. This new responsibility obliged Major Wells to be absent from home often, in order to assist in the formation and drilling of his regiment. Arid the first of April, when the opening spring brought much work needing to be done on the large farm, Major Wells was obliged to leave for possibly some weeks' absence. He had been chosen a member of the Provincial Congress, to meet at Concord. Major Wells felt that, at this crisis, the demands of his country were imperative. Home duties must for the time stand second. " We will do our best to run the farm while you are away, father," said Noah. 1 Franklin County was a t this time a. part of Hampshire County.

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IN THE SPRING. 159 " Yes, father, you may depend on us," said David. "We will help the boys all we can, father," said the older daughters. "Israel, why don't you speak up ? " asked Noah. " No need of my speaking up. Father knows you and David will get all the work out of me you can, anyway," grumbled Israel. " Walter and I are big enough to drive the cows alone now," said William. "And I can milk a little, too." . "I am glad I leave such a willing corps of workers behind," said the major. "I regret being obliged to leave at this season, but it seems to be my first duty to go." When Major Wells reached Concord, he learned that two English vessels had come into Marblehead April second, bringing news that heavy reinforcements were even then on the way to General Gage at Boston, fourteen regiments of foot, two of artillery, and seven teen sail of the line. _ Also that both houses of Parliament had pledged King George their lives and fortunes for the reduction of America to submission. Benjamin Franklin, who had been for months in England, trying to arrange

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160 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. a compromise and avert war, finding all his efforts useless, had sailed for Philadelphi . a. The worst tidings, which sent a shudder of horror all over New England, was that the British, through certain Canadians, were seeking to influence the Indians of the Northwest to join their army. The horrors of Indian assault and massacre were too recent in New England to cause this news to be heard without dismay and dread. Congress immediately took steps to hold the Indians neutral in the coming conflict. Dartmouth College, a new institution on the north ern frontier, started primarily to educate Indian boys, sent a young preacher, James Dean, who understood Iroquois thoroughly, up into Can ada to go about among the tribes there and "brighten the chain of friendship " Kirkland, wh() had lived as a missionary among the Mohawks, was sent by Congress to labor among that tribe in New York. Congress also sent to each of the converted Indians at Stockbridge a gift of a blanket or ribbon, in token of friendship. Word came from Vermont that the Green Mountain Boys had absolutely renounced al legiance to New York and to the king, and the Massachusetts patriot leaders, Samuel Adams

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IN THE SPRING. 161 and Joseph Warren, received secret word that these same Green Mountain Boys stood ready to seize Fort Ticonderoga the moment the British troops opened hostilities. Congress, while preparing for the worst, yet forbade any act that might seem to be the be ginning of hostilities. The militia were only to act on the defensive. Congress adjourned April fifteenth. Major Wells set out for home the next day, glad to have the company on the road of Sam uel Hinsdale, Greenfield's representative, and of Colonel David Field, the representative from Deerfield. They had much anxious talk, as they rode along, about the prospects of the country. They reached Deerfield the morning of the nineteenth. "I am especially glad to arrive home to-day," said Colonel Field, as the three rode into Deer field, "for to-morrow we are to have an important town meetin . g to inaugurate into office our newly elected Whig clerk and trea,surer, and make provisions for our minutemen. We have many prominent Tories in Deerfield, and it is very important that every Whig able to go from the bed to the chair should be out at town meeting, or the Tories may spring some trap on us. Will 11

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162 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. you not stop at my house, Major Wells, and rest before climbing the hill for home? " "Thank you, no. After my long absence, as you will understand, I am impatient to reach home and learn how all has gone there." Calling for his mail at Hoyt's tavern, Major Wells turned down the Albany road. His horse, though tired, well knowing that the home stable was now near at hand, splashed eagerly into the ford and pressed stoutly up the steep western hill. As Major Wells came out on the hilltop whence he caught his first glimpse of the little log house, bis face was lit with a tender smile. Home, home again, to his loved ones, from whom he had beard not a word during his absence of almost three weeks. Pushing eagerly on, his horse's hoofs rattled over the little bridge. Down the bill came run ning to meet him his three young children, who had been playing on the rock, when suddenly they saw their father coming. "Father! Father! Here comes father! " they cried joyfully, as they ran to meet him. Hardly were the first happy greetings ov:er when William and Walter burst out with the important news,-

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IN THE SPRING. 163 "Father, we saw a wolf, we did!" "Eunice runned, but I didn't," said little Walter. " Me and William just walked away." " We went up to the woods to get sassafras," said Eunice. " Mother wanted to steep some for sassafras tea. Larry was with us, and he acted very queerly; kept running up into the woods a little way, growling fiercely, then coming back to us." " And then," burst in William, " a big wolf came out of the woods ! Some one had shot him, or a panther had jumped on him, -I don't know which. He was all bloody, and he showed his teeth and snarled. Eunice ran away as fast as she could." "I don't care," said Eunice. "I wanted to call David and Noah." "But Walter and I just walked away, didn't we, Walter ? We would n't run for the old wolf, would we?" "No, sir," said Walter. " You walked pretty fast, I noticed," said Eunice. "Larry stayed behind and kept running up towards the wolf, barking and growling, and then dodging back. I guess the wolf would have chased us but for Larry."

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164 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " Well, well, that was an adventure," said the major. He had dismounted from his horse and put the little boys on the horse's back. "What happened next? Did Larry catch the wolf?" "No, sir. Eunice found Noah and Israel at the barn getting a load of manure. David was ploughing over on the south hill. Noah ran in for his gun, and he and Israel went up to the woods and found the wolf easily by Larry's barking, and shot him." "His skin is drying on the barn door," said Walter. "A very good place for it; better than on the wolf's back," said Major Wells. Here they neared the house, and Mrs. W el1s and the girls came out joyfully to welcome home the returned traveller. " All has gone very well in your absence," said his wife; " better than I thought possible. We missed you sorely, I don't need to tell you. But all the boys worked valiantly ; I will say that for them. And we have all kept well, thank God.'' "We have much for which to thank Him," said the major. "I cannot tell you how

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IN THE SPRING. 165 good it is to be at home again, and find all well." That evening there was brisk talking, natu rally. Finally Patience said: " Father, you must hear the girls' new song. Lucinda and Eunice learned it of the Nims girls while you were away. It is a ballad that Mrs. Nims bought of a pedler who stopped overnight there. He taught the Nimses the tune." "I '11 give you the pitch," said David, bring ing out the wooden pitchpipe and sounding the right note. Lucinda and Eunice had naturally sweet voices, and, like all the family, were fond of music. Their girlish faces were full of anima tion a s they stood side by side and sang : " Of worthy Captain Lovewell I purpose now to sing, How valiantly he served his country and his king; He and his valiant soldiers did range the woods full wide, And hardships they endured, to quell the Indians' pride. " 'Twas nigh unto Pigwacket, on the eighth day of May, They spied a rebel Indian soon after break of day; He on a bank was walking, upon a neck of land Which leads into a pond, as we 're given to understand." The ballad was long. As the girls neared the closing verses they were surprised to hear their father's fine voice joining theirs:

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166 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. '' Our worthy Captain Lovewell among them there did die, They killed Lieutenant Robbins, and wounded good young Frye, Who was our English chaplain; he many Indians slew, And some of them he scalped while bullets round him flew." " Why, father, how did you know the ballad ? " asked the girls, when they had finished. "My Aunt Jerusha used to sing it down at Colchester. I 'm glad you girls have learned it. You sing very well, I must say." "Lucinda sings at meeting now, father," said Eunice, "and I mean to when I'm a little older." "All in good time, daughter," said the major. " But we are sitting up late for farmers, who must rise with the sun. We will have our prayers now, and then to bed."

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CHAPTER XV. STARTLING NEWS. THE next day was to bring tidings of which Major Wells and family little dreamed as they went peacefully to bed that night of April nineteenth ; tidings destined to bring great changes, not only to the nation, but also into their family circle. It was a lovely April day. The major and his sons had been improving it by hard work, ploughing and planting. Supper time had come. The boys were out at the back door, washing faces and hands in a pewter basin standing on a bench. Near by was a piggin of soft soap, and the pail of water which Noah had just brought up from the spring, with its gourd dipper. This outdoor washing-place saved much work in the house; and the men, soiled from their labors in the fields and woods, were free here to spatter and splash all they wished. Suddenly the boys heard the distant sound of a horse's hoofs, galloping rapidly. "Who can that be?" asked David.

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168 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " He rides as if in hot haste, whoever he be," said Noah. Here Israel called : "It is Benjamin Nash, and he is spurring his horse up the hill. I never saw him ride like that before." Nash dashed up to the door, reined in his panting steed, and asked : "Where is Major Wells?" Major Wells hurried out. "The war has begun, Major," cried Nash. "The British fired on our militia at Lexington yesterday." "Is this true?" asked the major. "How did you hear?" "I was in Deerfield when an express rode in with the news. Town meeting was just over, and the men had come out of the schoolhouse upon the common, when a furious galloping was heard, and a man rode into their midst, covered with dust, his horse all lather and foam, ready to drop. As all stood astounded, he shouted : 'Gage has fired upon the people! Minute-men to the rescue! Now is the time; Cambridge the place!' " His horse could go no farther. I took the news to Greenfield, and agreed to notify Shel-

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STARTLING NEWS. 169 burne and send word to the towns beyond. Men were sent riding off in hot haste from Deerfield in every direction." "Father," said Noah, "I must start at once. I'm a minuteman in Cousin 'Grip's company. I must off." Noah started for the house to get his gun, about to hasten to Greenfield. He had forgotten that he was tired after his Jong day's work; he had but one thought-the hour had come, and he must go. " Wait, Noah; hold on!" cried Nash. "Captain 'Grip and his men are off already, I suppose." "What do you mean?" asked Noah, incred ulous. "What I say. You know Captain 'Grip is not one to Jet the grass grow under his feet. He rallied all the men he could get hold of in a hurry, and they 're probably off now. I under stood these men go for ten days only, to meet this emergency, and the rest of the regulair minutemen will be called out later." The Wellses urged Nash to stop to supper, and give his horse a rest; but he refused, too excited to eat. "No," he said, " I must on at once to carry the news to our town folks."

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170 BOYS .A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. And away rode Nash, up the hill and on, as many a man was riding that night, through the length and breadth of the province, and on and on into the colonies beyond, bearing word that the British had at last fired the fateful shot "heard round the . world." The Wells family little appetite for supper; in truth, they knew not what they ate, as they discussed this tidings in all its bearings. Noah felt greatly chagrined and disappointed. "A pretty minuteman I am," he said, "not to start when the call comes." "You must not blame yourself, my boy," said his father. " You are ready and willing. It was not your fault." " I shall ride down to Greenfield the first thing to-morrow and find out about it," said Noah. " And I shall go to Deerfield and see Colonel Field," said Major Wells. "The Fifth Regi ment may be called out any day." Mrs. Wells, pale and anxious, said little, but her heart sank within her. Was this weak young country, with no fortresses, no wealth, no navy, no army save its half-trained militia, to wage war with powerful Great Britain? And must she let son and husband go? Inwardly

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STARTLING NEWS. 171 she cried to God for strength that she might do her duty. When Noah rode into Greenfield the next morning, he found the town all excitement. Captain Agrippa Wells had hastily gathered a band of fifty men from Greenfield and Bernard ston, and marched off for Cambridge during the night. "But don't worry, Noah," said Colonel Sam uel Wells, at whose house Noah had stopped to make inquiries. " Your chance will come in a few days. When the ten days are up, the reg ular minutemen are to take their places. The point now was to get there, right away. Cousin Agrippa would n't wait a minute for anything. Elijah Mitchell, who lives a mile out of the vil lage, went out home on foot, and returned with his gun and blanket, ready to march, in fifteen minutes from the time he started. My boys could hardly wait for me to say yes, and for their mother to hunt up blankets and provi sions for them, before they were off." "Your boys ? " asked Noah. " Yes, John and Daniel have both gone. Daniel is only seventeen. But there was no holding the boy." When Noah rode home and reported that

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172 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. John and young Daniel Wells and Moses Arms had all marched off to Cambridge in Captain Agrippa Wells's company the previous night, the knowledge of the meaning of war came home to all as never before. Mary and Patience tried to conceal their feelings. They went quietly about their work, as usual, but the old jests and merry laugh were more rarely heard. When Major Wells arrived home from Deer field, he too brought plenty of exciting news. "The whole country is up in arms," he said. " Gage will find he stirred up a hornet's nest in good earnest when he sent his soldiers out to Concord and Lexington to seize our stores, and when they fired upon our people on Lexington common." "Has any one gone from Deerfield?" asked David. "A company of fifty or more, mostly Deer field men, marched off at once under Captain Locke. The alarm reached Northfield about noon yesterday. Elihu Lyman beat the long roll on his drum, twenty-five or more men made ready in short order, and marched off east through Warwick, where the Warwick minutemen fell into the ranks. About twenty-

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STARTLING NEWS. 173 five men went from Warwick, and all the soldiers from this section are to be in the regi- • ment of Colonel Samuel Williams of Warwick. Pretty good showing for a small town like Warwick." " Charlemont and Coleraine have sent men," said Noah. "John and Samuel Fellows were over to see us to-day. They think it a shame that the minutemen from Shelburne belonging to Captain 'Grip's company were not notified in season to get off." " Their time will come soon," said Major Wells. "John Fellows said that forty-four men went from Coleraine and that section, under Captain Hugh McClellan," said Noah. "The men were hurriedly summoned, and slept that night on the floor in the houses of Captain McClellan, Deacon McGee, and Deacon Harroun, -that is, when they were not moulding bullets and preparing to go. The Coleraine women spent the night frying doughnuts for their rations, and the com pany were off in the early morning." " Lieutenant Hugh Maxwell led a company of men from Charlemont and Myrifield," said David. "Tertius and Othniel Taylor have gone from Charlemont."

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174 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "So they've gone even from little Myri field," said Major Wells. "Yes," said David, "about every man in town able to shoulder a gun has gone, so John said." " When the British Parliament and King George thought that the Americans were cow ards, that they would not fight, they little knew the spirit of our people," said Major Wells. " They said five thousand British troops could . whip fifteen thousand Americans! " " And one British officer said ' Two thousand men will be enough to clear America of these rebels,'" added David. "Let them try it," said Noah. "We'll show them!" Myrifield was a new and small settlement, started only fifteen years previous, in 1760, by Rev. Cornelius Jones, up in the Hoosac Moun tains, around old Fort Pelham. When from such a town nearly all the men took up arms, the signs were indeed ominous for Great Britain. From scores of little towns in New England, towns so insignificant that King George never heard of them, and if he had, would have con sidered them of too trifling consequence to be

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STARTLING NEWS. 175 worth a moment's thought, men sternly r e solved to fight to the end for their country's freedom were streaming towards Cambridge. These men started without rations, or tents, or any provision for their needs. As they marched, they slept at night, sometimes on the floors of barns and houses, hospitably opened to receive the country's defenders, sometimes under hastily constructed brush shelters.1 On April twenty-fourth Coleraine voted "to send a waggon load of provisions to our men at Boston who have gone to the defence of their country," and a collection of blankets was also made in town to send to the soldiers. Bernardston and other towns provided for their men in like fashion. The work on the W ellses' farm was necessa rily left largely to the sons, for Major Wells was much away on outside business. At the town meeting held April twenty-seventh, he was elected chairman of the committee of corre spondence, to carry out " the directions of the Continental and Provincial Congress." 2 B e tween the duties of this office and those of recruiting for his regiment he was indeed busy. Ten days can pass away very swiftly. Before 1 Appendix E. 2 Appendix I<'.

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176 BOY S AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. any one could believe it, the first of May had come, and Noah must be off to join Captain Agrippa Wells's company, which was camping at Cambridge, aiding in the siege of t.he British troops shut up in Boston, who were penned in by thousands of volunteer militia camped around the city. About half of the men who had left so hastily with Captain Agrippa at the first alarm were obliged to return home, and the other minute men were summoned to fill the ranks. Such a heavenly day as dawned this first day of May ! Every tree had burst out in a miracle of tiny green leaves, the air was fragrant with all the odors of spring, the birds sang rap turously, and all the Shelburne brooks were brimful of clear brown water, dashing down over the rocks in foaming white cascades. The little new ferns were uncurling their spirals, white bloodroot blossoms starred the grass, and among the rocks in the woods many wild flow ers raised their spires. The whole world was so beautiful, so instinct with freshness and newness of life, and Noah was starting off for the war ! Noah himself was too excited to eat much breakfast. He listened respectfully to the last

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STARTLING NEWS. 177 words of advice which his father and mother, with anxious faces, were giving him, cautions about the care of his health, directions what to do in emergencies that might arise. "I know, my son," said his father, "I need not charge you to do your duty manfully wherever you are placed, however hard it may be." "No, father," said Noah. "I mean to do my best for my country, no matter what happens." " But don't run any unnecessary risks, Noah," said his mother. " Don't do anything rash. Take good care of yourself." " I will, mother, only I must obey orders, at all hazards." William and Walter hung around Noah, fingering his powder-horn, wishing they too were going to war. " You '11 have to step in and fill my place now, Israel," said Noah. " I '11 see about it," said Israel, making a poor attempt to laugh. The girls were pale and excited, but trying to joke, and to send Noah off with smiling faces. Now appeared a number of the Shelburne minutemen, who were, like Noah, to join Cap-12

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178 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. tain Wells's company at Cambridge. Major and Mrs. Wells were pleased that Noah was to have the company of these neighbors and friends on his long march to Cambridge. "Well, I suppose I must start," said Noah, as he threw over his shoulder his roll, contain ing the warm blanket his mother had selected for him from her store, and the bag of dough nuts the girls had fried for him to serve as rations along the way, and fastened on the pouch of bullets which he and David had moulded. "Good-by, every one," he said, as he shouldered his musket. His slender, erect form, his bright, expres sive face, his eyes shining with excitement and emotion, had never looked so beautiful in the eyes of his parents as now. "Good-by, Noah, good-by," cried all after him as he set off. " God be with you and keep you, my son," said the father, as he pressed the boy's hand at parting. The mother could not trust herself to speak as she tenderly kissed her boy. The family stood outside the front door, watching the young men depart. At the last bend in the road Noah turned with a smile,

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STARTLING NEWS. 179 waved his hat to the group by the familiar doorstep, and then disappeared from sight. Mrs. Wells hurriedly took refuge in her bedroom, to conceal the tears that would flow. The girls, with obstinate lumps in their throats that somehow would not down, resumed their work. Tears stood in the major's eyes as he s aid: " Well, David, Israel, we must to our plough ing. Work will not stand still, even for war." The sun shone as brightly, the birds sang as sweetly as before, but Eunice voiced the general feeling when she said : " How queer it seems since Noah has gone ! Everything seems different, somehow. 1'he house feels so empty."

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CHAPTER XVI. A LOSS. THE morning of May sixth Mrs. Wells sent Eunice on an errand to a neighbor who lived over in the south part of the town. William and Walter were sent with her, partly as company, partly to keep the little boys out of mischief. When the children returned about noon, Mrs. Wells asked : "What did Mrs. Taylor say? Can she and the girls corrie to our quilting next week?" "Ob, mother," burst out Eunice, too excited to answer properly, "what do you suppose we saw? We met an officer on horseback! " " And he spoke to us and threw us some pennies," said William, diving into his pocket and bringing tip several pennies. "I got a penny, too," said Walter, showing a penny clutched close in his warm, fat little fist. " Well, that was wonderful," said the mother. " Where did you meet the officer ? "

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" ' \Ve drew up beside the road, and I made a real deep courtesy.'" -Page 181.

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A LOSS. 181 "Just as we came out of our road into the Albany road we saw this general riding up from Deerfield, with a man riding behind him," said Eunice. " The general wore a blue uni form trimmed with gold, and plumes in his hat, and sat up very straight, and had bright, quick eyes." "Did you children remember to make your manners?" asked the mother. "You may be sure we did not forget to do that, mother. We drew up beside the road, and I made a real deep courtesy, and William and Walter took off their caps and bowed low. The general looked pleased, and said : ' That 's a little lady.' 'Here, my little gentlemen' " "And then he threw out a whole handful of pennies to us," said William. " I said ' Thank you, sir,' but Walter forgot." "I was busy trying to pick up pennies," said Walter. " He asked which of these roads led to Charlemont," continued Eunice. " I . showed him, and he whipped up his horse and galloped away. We told Mrs. Taylor about hi1 t, but she couldn't think who he could be . . She said that she and the girls will be very happy to come to the quilting."

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182 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Now that so many blankets were likely to be demanded for army use, Mrs. Wells felt it pru dent to increase her stock of bedquilts. She and the girls, even including Eunice, who had to do her "stint" of sewing as well as knitting daily, had pieced a quilt of the "Rising Sun" pattern, which the neighbors would help quilt, enjoying at the same time a pleasant visit, followed by a good supper. " Who do you think this officer could be?" asked Mrs. Wells of her husband. "I know nothing to call an army officer into this vicinity, unless it be-" here Major Wells paused as if struck by an idea not prudent to mention. The next. day was Sunday. As the Wells family rode up meeting-house hill, they saw before the meeting-house a group of men gath ered around John Taylor, listening eagerly to something he was telling. In these war times all were anxious for news, and Major Wells and the boys hastened to join the group around Mr. Taylor, who was saying: "When we rode into the Albany road this morning on our way to church, imagine our surprise at running into a drift of fourteen or more cattle. They were driven by Thomas

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A LOSS. 183 Dickinson of Deerfield, and his young brother Consider. " Halloo, Dickinson," said I, "isn't this a vio lation of the Lord's Day ? How happens it that you, of all men, are breaking the Sabbath?" "'In war times, everything must give way to necessity,' said Dickinson, and then he told me that Saturday morning people in Deerfield street were excited by seeing an officer, in a shining new uniform, with gold lace and epaul ettes and waving plumes, dashing into the street, with a man servant riding behind him. He stopped at Major Salah Barnard's tavern, and sent for Dickinson." "Who was the officer?" asked some impa tient hearers. "It was Colonel Benedict Arnold, that daring Connecticut officer. He had just come from our Provincial Congress at Watertown, and brought Dickinson a commission from the Committee of Safety as Assistant Commissary. Then he ordered Dickinson to procure forthwith fifteen thousand pounds of beef for an expedition now on foot." "What expedition?" " Colonel Arnold did not say. He was very secret about it. But Dickinson thinks an attempt is to be made to take Fort Ticonderoga.

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184 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. At any rate, Dickinson let no grass grow under his feet. He has bought these oxen, and is now driving them on, through Charlemont, over the Hoosacs by the Cold River trail, towards Fort Ti." So it was Benedict Arnold the Wells children had encountered the previous day, as he rode . through Shelburne to the west. The Shelburne folk were so stirred by Taylor's news that it is to be feared they had some diffi culty in keeping their minds on Rev. Mr. Hub bard's discourse that morning. All longed to hear the result of the attempt to be made on Fort Ticonderoga. But nothing further was heard for several days. A week or more had passed, when Mr. Dick inson and his brother returned home, distributing along the way the glorious news of the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga to Arnold and Ethan Allen, "in the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress." Great was the rejoicing of the people, and the added confidence in their own powers given by this victory. The people of New England and New York realized that to hold command of Lake Champlain was their strongest safeguard against a possible invasion of Canadians and

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A LOSS. 185 Indians from the North such as the British threatened. "Fort Ticonderoga, which bad cost England eight million pounds, was won in ten minutes by a few undisciplined volunteers." With the fortress the Americans likewise captured fifty prisoners, who were sent to Connecticut with the men from that province, and also, what was of prime importance to the slenderly equipped American forces, they had taken one hundred cannon, a thirteen-inch mortar, and a large quantity of the other military stores so greatly needed by their armies. News soon came that Crown Point had sur rendered to a detachment under Seth vVarner, and that another party had captured both Major Skene, a virulent Tory, and Skenesboro.1 Well might the Americans be elated at the results of their first offensive movements. On May twenty-third the Shelburne town meeting voted that Deacon Samuel Fellows and Major David Wells be representatives to attend the Congress, and John Burdick a com mittee of correspondence to assist them. But Major Wells did not go down to Watertown at this time, and bis colleague served instead. 1 Now White Hall.

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186 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. The absence of Noah added much to the duties at home. All missed the absent boy, and longed to know how it fared with him. "If we could only hear from Noah, and know how he is, and how situated, I should feel better about him," said Mrs. Wells more than once as the days, and then the weeks, went by with no word, until the end of May drew nigh. "Perhaps he will have a chance to send us a letter ere long," said her husband. "It would certainly be a great comfort to hear from him." "I know Noah will write if he can send a letter," said Patience. "It seems a year instead of three weeks since he left." It was fortunate that the loving friends at home could not see how it fared with the absent one. Following the attack on Lexington and Concord, thousands of men from all parts of New England had poured into the vicinity of Boston, and were camped for ten miles encircling the city. They came hurriedly, almost destitute of equipments, from farm and shop. The Pro vincial Congress suddenly found itself with a war on its hands, but as yet possessing small means and few preparations. The home friends and the patriotic people in the province managed to keep the soldiers fairly well supplied with food.

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A LOSS. 187 But of tents there was a sad dearth. The soldiers were forced to improvise shelters for themselves as best they could. Rev. William Emerson of Concord, who visited the camp at this time, wrote of these shel ters : " Some are made of boards, and some of sail cloth; some partly of one, partly of the other. Again others are made of stone and turf, brick and brush." It was not strange that a camp fever raged among the soldiers, many of them but boys, torn from home comforts, and subjected to such hard conditions. Early in June, Major Wells had to ride to Deerfield. His wife's last words were: " I do hope you will bring us some news of Noah ; if not a letter from him, yet perhaps some one in Deerfield may have heard from the company. It seems as if I must hear from him." "I trust we shall hear soon, perhaps to-day," said the major, as he rode away. Mrs. Wells and the girls, _ though busy with their work, yet kept a sharp watch on the road to catch the first glimpse of the returning major. At last they saw him coming in the distance.

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188 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "But how slowly father rides!" said Mary. "And David and Israel have left their work, and are walking along with him, one each side his horse. They are talking very earnestly." "I pray there is no bad news from the army," said Mrs. Wells, turning pale, her mother's heart filled with anxiety. As her husband rode nearer the door, she saw that he was trying to suppress deep emotion. Grief was written on his face, and on David's and Israel's. All looked at their mother as if dreading to speak. "Oh, wha is it, David?" cried Mrs. Wells, while the girls pressed silently around, anxiously awaiting their father's words. Major Wells dismounted, and taking his wife's hand, led her into the house. "Mary," he said tenderly, "our hoy is no more. The Lord gave him, the Lord hath taken him away. In the dew of his youth he has laid down his life for his country. Let us try not to sorrow for ourselves too greatly, but rather rejoice for him, who has entered so early into peace." At Deerfield Major Wells had found a letter awaiting him from Captain Agrippa Wells stat ing that his son Noah had died in camp at

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At: LOSS. 189 Cambridge, May thirty-first, at eight o'clock, that he was buried with regimental honors, and that his expressions at the last, when he was conscious that death was near, showed a deep and unshaken trust in God. He had died from camp fever, induced by the privations and hard ships to which all the enlisted men were ex posed, laying down his life for his country as truly as if he had died in battle. His body lay in some unknown and unmarked grave in Cambridge. His death was the first break in the large family circle. Now, in place of the living presence, there was a sacred mem ory, a deep, tender, undying love in the heart, deeper and more living than can be felt an earthly friend. Heaven was no longer a strange land, since one of their number had already entered there. When their own time came, it would be but going home to the dear one awaiting them.

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CHAPTER XVII. AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. MOSES ARMS returned from Boston when the term of his enlistment expired, going out again later for another period of service. He often rode out to Shelburne, and the W ellses were glad to learn from this friend, who was with him to the end, the details of Noah's last days. His visits cheered Patience, who, natur ally delicate, had drooped perceptibly since the death of her favorite brother, Noah. The sum mer had not far advanced when Moses and Patience became engaged, the parents feeling young Arms to be one on whom they could safely bestow their daughter. The W ellses began their haying in June. On June seventeenth they were working in a large field on a sloping hillside lying some distance southeast of the house. It was a very warm day, the first really hot day of the summer. About two o'clock the sun's rays beat down on the hillside with intolerable heat. Major

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. 191 Wells and David paid no attention to the heat, their scythes swinging steadily on as they swept back and forth across the field, side by side, laying down long rows of the tall grass. Now and then they stopped to wipe their dripping brows and whet their scythes. Israel and William were helping, by following along after the mowers and tossing out the hay to dry. The boys' zeal gradually waned under the sun's heat, and they felt obliged to take frequent trips to the spot where a jug of cooling drink, compounded by their mother of vinegar, molasses, ginger, and water, rested in a spring gushing out of the hillside. As Major Wells stopped to whet his scythe, he noticed that both Israel and William had abandoned work, and were lying down in the shade of a tree near the spring. It was cer tainly much pleasanter lying thus under the shade of the tree, with the wide view of the Connecticut Valley spread out below like a fair picture, than to be tossing hay in the hot sun, and William had succumbed to Israel's example, and decided also to "take a rest." "Boys, what does this mean?" asked the major, with a note of military command in his voice.

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192 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "It's so hot, father," said Israel, plaintively. " Hot! Well, what of it? A man must not stop for the weather. Up and to work, boys. I fear you have yet to learn the truth of Franklin's proverb, 'Drive thy work, or thy work will drive thee.' If this hay is spread right out under this hot sun, it will soon be dry enough to go into the barn." "It couldn't be better haying weather," said David. Israel slowly pulled himself up. But here William exclaimed : "Father, I hear something ! A strange boom, boom noise in the ground." Israel now lay down with his ear on the earth, and said: "Father, it is really so. I hear it, too." Major Wells and David now lay down and listened. There was no mistaking that far away booming jar in the earth. "It is heavy cannonading we hear," said Major Wells. "There is a great battle going on somewhere to the east. We shall soon hear of heavy fighting Boston way." All forgot the heat now in the excitement of knowing that somewhere a big battle was being fought, and worked rapidly, even the boys,

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. '193 lately so exhausted, tossing the hay about as if their pitchforks had been bayonets and every wisp of hay a British grenadier. It was hard to wait for tidings, and many were the speculations and discussions as to the probable battle. But the second day after the Wellses had heard the noise of distant cannon, a courier rode into Deerfield with intelligence of the Battle of Bunker Hill, news quickly car ried to the adjoining towns. The news greatly stirred the people of Northern Hampshire, where many of the participants were well known. Captain Hugh Maxwell's company from Charlemont, and Captain Joseph Stebbins's company from Deerfield, were in the thickest of the fight under Prescott. Captain Maxwell received a ball through his right shoulder. Both companies worked all night helping to throw up the redoubt on Bunker Hill, and were in the heaviest of the fighting around it the next day. The first man killed in the bat tle was Aaron Barr, from the little mountain settlement of Myrifield. His leg was taken off by a cannon ball, and he died soon after being carried from the field. Timothy Catlin of Deerfield, in Captain Joseph Stebbins's company, was near Warren when he 13

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194 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. was slain and saw him fall. Catlin himself was wounded in the face, and bore an honorable, if disfiguring, scar to his death. The gallant veteran, Seth Pomeroy of North ampton, who showed such patriotic pluck on the occasion, retiring from the field backward, stub bornly contesting every inch of ground, fight ing to the last, was well known to Major Wells and other Shelburne men. All bitterly lamented the great loss to the American cause in the death of Joseph Warren, who had been, with Samuel Adams and John Hancock, a leader of the province in the re sistance to British tyranny. Although the Americans had at last been driven from the hill, it was only with terrible loss to the British army, over a thousand of whom had been killed or wounded, ninety of their officers wounded, and thirteen slain. And this by undisciplined men, fresh from their farms and shops, undrilled, short of ammuni tion, of everything indeed except native cour age and loyalty to liberty. "I wonder what General Burgoyne thinks now ? " said Major Wells, when he heard the details of the Battle of Bunker Hill. "Last month, when he sailed into Boston with his

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. 195 troops, he could hardly find words to express his scorn at finding Gage's army penned in by our American boys. "'What,' he said, ' ten thousand peasants keep five thousand king's troops shut up? Well, let us get in, and we '11 soon find elbow room.' He and the other British officers have at least discovered one fact, -that Americans can and will fight." "I'm afraid Burgoyne bruised his elbows a little at Bunker Hill," said Mary. " I wonder if the British will be as fond now of that tune, 'Yankee Doodle Dandy,' which they have played to insult us," said Patience. "The Yankees may teach them to play an other tune before they are done with them," said Major Wells. In July, Major Wells was again called from home. He went as representative from Shel burne to the Provincial Congress at Watertown, July nineteenth. In June word reached New England that the Continental Congress had taken under its charge the miscellaneous body of men from different colonies collected around Boston, who were now for the first time called "The Continental Army" ; that it had voted to borrow six thousand pounds to be used in pur-

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196 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. chasing gunpowder for that army, which at present was rendered helpless by having al most none, having sent for it in vain all over New England and New York, and even farther south ; and, above all, that a certain noted Vir ginia officer, one George Washington, had been appointed by the Congress to take command of the army. Major Wells was glad of the public duty calling him to Watertown, giving him an op portunity, as it would, to see for himself the condition of the army besieging Boston, and perhaps learn something of the character of the new commander-in-chief. Washington had set out for Boston from Philadelphia on horseback June twenty-first, escorted by Major Generals Schuyler and Lee, and a "gentleman troop" from Philadelphia. Hardly had they gone twenty miles when they met a courier riding post haste to carry from the army around Boston to Congress, then in session at Philadelphia, the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill. . Washington had many eager inquiries to make, especially as to the conduct of the militia. "They stood their ground without :flinching, under a hot fire from the British troops and

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. 197 ships," replied the courier. "They held their own fire until the enemy were at close quar ters, and then delivered it with terrible effect. The British were slain thirteen to one of our men. Our men are sharpshooters and aim well. They fought bravely to the very end." A great weight seemed lifted from Wash ington's heart at this news. " Then the liberties of the country are safe," he said. The whole country had been electrified by the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill, and as the brilliant company escorting the new commander in-chief galloped on through towns and villages along his route, everywhere the people were on the alert to catch if possible a glimpse of Gen eral Washington as he rode through. Washington reached New York City June twenty-fifth, leaving the next day. The Pro vincial Congress of Massachusetts, which had provided suitable quarters at Cambridge as a residence for the new commander, sent an escort to meet him at Springfield. Volunteer compa nies and cavalcades of gentlemen also joined his company, and escorted him along his way. Thus honorably attended, Washington Cambridge July twenty-second. The following

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198 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. day he took command of the army, drawn up on Cambridge Common. Captain Agrippa Wells and his company were still in the army encamped around Boston. "I suppose you will see Cousin 'Grip, father," said David. "Yes, I shall certainly look up Cousin Agrippa, and the boys we know in his company, at the first opportunity, to learn how it fares with them," said the major. The Skinners, Ransoms, Fellowses, Kelloggs, Allens, Hales, Kemps, and other Shelburne fam ilies who had sons or relatives in the army eagerly embraced this rare opportunity of send ing letters to their absent friends by Major wells, as well as some small gifts. Mary Wells had been knitting two mysteri ous pairs of socks, of stout blue yarn, spun by herself. "David; and your father too, have plenty of socks on hand for the present, Mary," said her mother one day, observing Mary's industry. " You had better knit some stockings for _ William and Walter. They go through theirs faster than I can keep up with them, in spite of all my d . ,, arnrng. , "These are not for father or David , " said

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. 199 Mary, with a blush, and her wise mother said no more. Mary's fingers were never idle. They flew every evening, every leisure hour of the day. Who can tell how many loving wishes and ten der prayers were knit into the blue socks by the gentle hands ? The night before the major was to set out for Watertown, Mary managed to catch her father alone, a difficult matter in so large a family, and, producing a small bundle and a letter, asked, with many blushes : " Father, could you take these to John Wells? You will be sure and see him, will you not ? " The major looked smilingly at the pretty, blushing face, and said : "I '11 manage it somehow, my daughter. My saddle-bags are pretty well crammed now with letters and budgets for the soldier boys, but I will tuck yours into my surtout pocket. And I '11 be sure to see John, you may depend." The major also stopped in Greenfield at Mrs. Agrippa Wells's and Colonel Samuel Wells's, to take any letters they rnight wish to send to their friends in the army. He had been gone but a few weeks when an other sad event occurred in his family. Again

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200 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. death entered the home circle. The last of August, Patience sickened and died. A great gap was left in the family circle by the two deaths coming but a few months apart. At the urgent wish of young Arms, Patience's body was laid to rest, not in the Shelburne burial-ground on meeting-house hill, but in his own family lot in Greenfield's " Old Burial Ground." 1 On Major Wells's return from Watertown he stopped in Deerfield to leave at Major Salah Barnard's tavern various letters and papers for Deerfield people which had been confided to his care. It was evening when Major Wells reached Deerfield, and Colonel David Field, Thomas Dickinson and his son David, John Sheldon, and others of the prominent Whigs and members of the Deerfield Committee of Safety, had gathered at Barnard's inn, as was often their custom of an evening, to exchange news and discuss the state of the country. To this company, the arrival of Major Wells, fresh from Congress and the seat of war, was indeed a godsend, and they plied him with . . . eager mqmnes. 1 Appendix G.

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. 201 " First and foremost," said Colonel Field, "did you by good chance happen to see our new commander-in-chief, General Washington?" " I had the happiness of seeing General Wash ington . twice," said Major Wells. "The first time I visited the camp, he rode past, escorted by several officers. He is a man of most commanding appearance, tall, noble, and majestic. His face at once inspires confidence. Its ex pression is kind and agreeable, yet he wears a dignity with which no one would presume . to trifle. He looks born to command. I may seem to speak strongly, but I cannot exaggerate the favorable expression he made upon me." "I rejoice to hear such an account of him from you," said Colonel Field. "We are in deed favored of Heaven that the command of our army has fallen into such hands. What is the condition of things in the army ? " "Rather bad, I regret to say," replied Major Wells. " Our troops are strung out for ten miles or so in a semicircle surrounding Boston, from Winter Hill on the north, to Roxbury and Dorchester Neck on the south. The line is but thin in places, and not strongly fortified." " What about the boys from this section ? " asked David Dickinson.

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202 BOY S AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Like the rest, they are living in all sorts of poor shelters put up by themselves, and are sometimes short of proper food. It is no wonder that there is considerable sickness in camp. And there, in the midst, lies Boston, eleven thousand trained British soldiers within her limits, with ships and floating batteries at their command." "There seems danger that the British may see their chance, and sally forth to break through our lines, driving our soldiers before them," said John Sheldon. "No one knows why Gage has not yet at tempted it," said Major Wells. " But all are now inspired with new confidence by the arrival of Washington. It is felt that he could bring victory even out of I hear he is a man of strong religious faith, relying solely on the Divine Goodness wisely to direct him in order ing our affairs. And that I regard as one of the best auguries for our cause." " You are right," said Thomas Dickinson. " I was greatly interested to see the far famed riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia," said Major Wells. "Oh, tell us about them," said David Dickin son. "There are fourteen thousand of them in

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AMERICANS CAN FIGHT. 203 camp. Morgan's riflemen marched six hundred miles in three weeks to get into camp. They are stalwart looking fellows, I can tell you, standing six feet high in their fringed hunting shirts." "People say they are wonderful marksmen and sharp-shooters," said John Sheldon. " Cousin Agrippa told me a good story about that when I was in camp," said the major. "It seems that a man who had charge of raising a company of riflemen in the frontier counties of Pennsylvania had so many applicants he was forced to contrive some plan to sift them. So he drew with chalk on a board the figure of a man's nose, life-size, and placed it one hundred and fifty rods away. Sixty odd men hit the nose!" " Is it possible ! " exclaimed every one. " Since then, Agrippa says, it is a common saying in camp: 'General Gage, take care of your nose ! ' " All laughed at this. "I went up on Prospect Hill while in camp," said Major W eps. " ' Old Put' as the boys call General Putnam they worship him has intrenched himself up there with works that look impregnable. From Prospect Hill I could overlook the whole situation. The view is as

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204 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. extended as that from my farm. There lay Bunker Hill but a mile away eastward. It was galling, I assure you, to see the British flag floating triumphantly from its summit. I could see plainly the white British tents, and their men in scarlet uniforms walking about. Everything looked prosperous and successful up there. But down at the foot of the hill was a mass of blackened chimneys and rubbish heaps, where Charlestown once stood." "A shame, a loss we must avenge," muttered his hearers among themselves, too greatly in terested to interrupt the speaker. "Howe's sentries are out on the Neck. Three floating batteries are anchored in Mystic River, and a ship of twenty guns lies inside, between and the mainland. The British are strongly intrenched on Boston Neck, the only land entrance to Boston." " It looks as though it would be well-nigh impossible for our army to wrench Boston from the British clutches," said David Dickinson. " The British are strong in everything we lack, and they have the inside track." "There is more than one way out of a diffi culty," said Major Wells, "and since I have seen General Washington, I cannot help feeling

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.A.MERICA.NS CAN FIGHT. 205 confident that he will bring us through, in spite of King George and his Hessians." "Hessians? What do you mean?" "The latest news from England is that King George has hired of the Duke of Brunswick four thousand infantry and three hundred dragoons to augment his army here. They are to be commanded by General Riedesel of the Ducal army, an experienced officer. The Hessians are said to be highly trained and very effective. These hired soldiers are now on their way, to enter the field against us." "That is the worst thing King George has done yet," said Thomas Dickinson emphatically. "To hire foreigners, who know and care noth ing about the right or wrong of the case, to come over here to butcher in cold blood his former subjects and fellow countrymen ! " "This will set our people more firmly than ever against him," said Colonel Field. "So I prophesy," said Major Wells. "I was told that there is beginning to be great suffer ing for food in Boston." "We of Deerfield voted last May to provide for thirty-six of the Boston people who could not leave the city, and others of our towns are taking like action," said John Sheldon.

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206 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Even the British army are said to be on short rations now," said Major Wells. "I may tell you, although it is not to be noised abroad, that it was being whispered about that an expedition to Canada is contemplated soon." " There will be a call for more soldiers, then," said Colonel Field. "No doubt. Our Fifth Hampshire Regiment may be ordered out," said Major Wells. " We had best have another drill and review at once," said Colonel Field, "in order to be prepared for instant service."

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CHAPTER XVIII. THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. DURING the winter, Captain Agrippa Wells was able to come home for a short fur lough. Horne comforts seemed blissful indeed after the hardships of camp life. But Captain Wells was not one to dally long in idleness when his country's interests were at stake, and soon returned to camp. The leading Green field Whigs and members of the Committee of Safety, Samuel Hinsdale, Captain Timothy Childs, Daniel Nash, Thomas Nims, Ebenezer Arms, Benjamin Hastings, and Colonel Samuel Wells, and the relatives of the boys in camp were glad indeed to welcome Captain Agrippa home, and to hear his report of the outlook at beleaguered Boston. Soon after his return, Rev. Roger Newton, Greenfield's minister, called at Captain Wells ' s to discuss the war prospects. The family were at supper.

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208 llOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Mr. Newton was known to be, like Parson Ashley of Deerfield, a Tory sympathizer, although, being a man of peace, he was careful te say little of his unpopular views. But the heart of the valiant captain burned within him as they talked, knowing, as he did, where his minister stood on the question so near his own heart, his country's rights. Presently Mr. Newton asked mildly: '' If your army should succeed in capturing the Boston Tories, what do you intend to do with them ? " "Do with them?" asked the captain, bring ing his clenched fist down on the tea-table with an emphasis that set the dishes jingling. "Do with them? We intend to hang the devils." Mr. . Newton said little more, and soon departed. "Agrippa," remonstrated his wife, "you spoke rather rudely, not to say profanely, to Parson Newton." "I can't help it. It makes my blood boil to see men like him upholding the cause of tyranny and oppression. I could have said a good deal more." " I am heartily glad you restrained yourself," said his wife.

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THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. 209 While at home, Captain Wells happened to call at a neighbor's in the west part of the town, where he was asked to join in a cup of tea. "No," said the captain, looking with undis guised horror on the fragrant amber fluid. "I would sooner drink my children ' s heart-blood." It was during the captain's furlough that Parson Newton exchanged pulpits with Parson Ashley of Deerfield, perhaps thinking that Mr. Ashley's bolder utterance of what Mr. Newton believed to be needed home truths might open his people's eyes to the error of their ways. At all events, Mr. Ashley improved the occasion to air his political views, saying, among other dis tasteful things, that the souls of those rebels against the king who fell at Bunker Hill had undoubtedly gone to the lower regions. The only meeting-house in Greenfield was on Trap Plain, located there when the town had been set off from Deerfield because this was then the town's centre. But the village had persisted in growing up a mile or more south of the common. Most of the people, therefore, brought luncheons with them, and remained at the meeting-house for the short intermission between services.

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210 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. During the nooning following Parson Ashley's discourse there was much excited feeling and hot discussion among the men. "What are we going to do about it ? " asked Thomas Nims. "Head the traitor off. Don't suffer him to preach again," said Captain Agrippa, strength. ening his remarks by an oath or two. This advice coincided so well with the people's inclinations that it was at once accepted, and a committee of three Samuel Hinsdale, David Smead, and Daniel Nashwas appointed to enforce their resolve. Samuel Hinsdale had formerly lived near Parson Ashley in Deerfield, and ' had a personal dislike for him, as well as for his political views. Hinsdale stationed himself near the entrance door as the hour of afternoon service drew nigh, the others of the committee being with him. When Parson Ashley, stately and dignified, appeared, and attempted to enter the meeting house, Hinsdale jostled him back, not permit ting him to enter. This was repeated, when Mr. Ashley asked haughtily: "Why this unseemly conduct? Remember it is said, 'You shall not rebuke an elder.' "

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THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. 211 " An elder ! " retorted Hinsdale. " If you had not said you were an elder, I should have thought you were a poison sumach ! " There was no afternoon service that day, Mr. Ashley shaking the dust from his feet and departing for Deerfield. Feeling ran high in Deerfield. In Decemoer, action was taken against Nathaniel Dickinson, an active Tory living at Mill River. His farm was seized and leased to another, and all his livestock and other personal belongings were sold at auction, the amount realized, over two hundred pounds, being paid into the treasury of the province. Dickinson fled to Canada, there to spend the remnant of his days. The year 1775 closed sadly for the Ameri cans. Boston was still in a state of siege. The attempt on Canada (to which a company from Northfield led by Captain Thomas Alexander had gone) under Montgomery and Arnold had ended in disaster. The Americans had been repulsed, Montgomery s1ain, Arnold wounded, and Ethan Allen, previously captured, had been subjected to indignities that aroused the indig nation of Washington. On February 17, 1776, during these dark ancJ. anxious days, great interest and curiosity was

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212 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. excited in the Wells family by the return of David from Deerfield, bringing a large sealed public document addressed to his father. . "I wonder what it can be," said Mary, as Major Wells proceeded to open the document with the deliberation due to its dignity and his own. "I wish father would hurry," said Lucinda, eager to know the contents. " Whatever it is, I hope it does not bring any more business for you to attend to, David," said his wife. Major Wells was often called from home, not only by his military duties and those as repre sentative, but, as a public man, he was also in trusted with various commissions by his fellow townsmen. Late in the autumn he had carried on quite a transaction in salt. No salt was made in this country. All must be imported from the West Indies. British cruisers often seized Continental vessels, and this necessity of life had become scarce, sometimes impossible to obtain, and very high in price. Major Wells had succeeded in purchasing four hogsheads of table salt and seven tierces of rock salt of John Chester Williams in Had ley, who had only obtained this quantity, as he

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THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. 213 wrote, "thro' many difficulties encountered." Money was becoming very scarce, and many transactions were conducted by barter. The Shelburne folk paid for their salt in wheat. Carting the salt and wheat back and forth between the two towns, and carrying out the details of the whole transaction, had required much time and thought on the part of the maJor. The document, opened at last, proved to be a commission appointing Major Wells Lieutenant Colonel of the Fifth Hampshire County regiment. It was given by " The Major Part of the Coun cil of the Massachusetts Bay in New England," and was signed : "Given under our Hands and the seal of the said Colony, at Watertown the fourteenth day of February, in the sixteenth Year of the Reign of his Majesty King George the Third, Anno Domini 1776. By the command of the Major Part of the Council. PEREZ MORTON, Clerk." The seal affixed showed a man in a cocked hat, a drawn sword in one hand, a roll of parch ment in the other. " Well, Colonel Wells, I suppose you will ac cept," said his wife.

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2i4 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " I cannot do otherwise," said the new colo nel. "I have pledged myself to the cause of my country so long as I am needed, and I cannot refuse any honorable service to which I may be called, no matter how arduous the duties." The first duty required of Colonel Wells was to help raise money to purchase firearms for his regiment. Money was hard to secure, but he soon raised for this purpose in Shelburne two hundred and sixteen dollars, and sent it to Colonel Field, at Deerfield, the Colonel of the Fifth Hampshire regiment. Towards the last of March the clouds lifted. The joyful news came that at last, on March sixteenth, the British army had been forced by Washington's skilful generalship to evacuate Boston, and on the twentieth the main body of the Continental army had marched into the city, welcomed with joy indescribable by its loyal inhabitants, whose pale faces still showed the effects of the ten months' siege they had undergone. The Tories of the city had fled with the British army. Joy indescribable was felt all over New Eng land at this triumph, this relief from the be sieging forces , a nd confidence in Washington's

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THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. 215 ability was strengthened. The British forces had retreated to New York and its vicinity, and Washington and his army also departed for that city, which was now destined to be come the storm centre of the Revolution. In June a request was sent out by the Great and General Court to all the towns in the prov ince, asking that they express an opinion on the question of separation from Great Britain. Until this time many, on both sides, had clung desperately to the hope that the difficulties between Great Britain and her colonies might, even yet, be peaceably adjusted. But the aver sion to British rule and the desire for entire in dependence had been growing steadily in the colonies, and at last came the time when the issue must be squarely met. Shelburne held a town meeting, with Captain John Wells as moderator, June 26, 1776, and passed this vote : " Voted that this town will stand by the Honorable Continental Congress with their lives and fortunes, if their Honours think it Expedient to Declare us Independent from the Kingdom of Great Britain for the safety of our Rights and Privileges." Similar votes were taken at Deerfield and all the towns around, and then all awaited anxiously

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216 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. news of the action taken by the Continental Congress at Philadelphia. As Colonel Wells had so much engrossing public business, the burden of the farm work now fell on David, aided by Israel, while Wil liam, although only nine, was also able to render considerable assistance. The morning of July twelfth David said to William: " You must ride down to Deerfield this after noon for the mail and the news, William. Father will arrive home to-night, and he will be anxious to hear from Philadelphia." " All right," said William cheerfully. A ride to Deerfield was sure to be more di verting than raking after cart all the afternoon. " I had just as soon ride down for the mail as not, David," said Israel. "I can't spare you," said David. "We must both work as hard as we can to get this hay in before it rains." So Israel had to bend his back to labor, while William mounted old Whitey and wended his way down the mountain to Deerfield. As he crossed the ford and rode on across the meadow towards the village, he heard unusual sounds in that quiet region; the roll of a drum,

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THE FIRS T FOURTH OF JULY. 217 a few random shots fired, and, as he drew nearer, loud shouting and huzzas. William whipped up old Whitey and can tered around the corner upon the common. Before David Saxton's tavern was gathered a crowd of men and boys, among them a number from Greenfield, who had come over to meet the Deerfield post-rider and learn the latest news. Timothy Catlin, with his scarred face, had mounted the horse-block, and was beating a drum lustily. "What is it? What is the news ? " asked William of some boys he knew. " Congress has declared us Independent of Great Britain!" shouted the boys all together. "This will be good news for your father, William," said John Sheldon. " When did they do it ? " asked William. "On July fourth Congress adopted a resolu tion of Independence," said Sheldon. " The people of Philadelphia waited in crowds outside the hall, and when at last a signal was given, they rang the State-house bell fit to crack it, and all the other bells too. The Pennsylvania militia paraded on the common, and fired re peated vollies. They tore down the royal coat of arms in the court-house, and burned it

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218 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. on the common, amidst the huzzas of the people." "Listen to this," said Dickinson, who had torn open a New York paper sent him by a friend in that city. "There was great excite ment in New York. This paper says that on July ninth Washington had the Declaration of Independence read at the head of each brigade of the army. The soldiers, aided by some of the people, proceeded that very evening to pull down the leaden statue of King George that stood in front of the fort on Bowling Green, amid the shouts and cheers of the crowd. Then they broke it into pieces, to be run into bullets, to be used in the cause of independence. It yielded forty-two thousand, five hundred bul lets ! " "Best use that lead was ever put to ! Capi tal! Three cheers for New York!" shouted the crowd. " But it seems Washington disapproved of these doings, as bordering on a riot," said Dick inson, as he continued to skim his paper. "He may have felt it his duty, as a disciplin arian, to rebuke the soldiers, but I believe, down in his heart, he sympathized with the boys," said David Saxton.

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THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. 219 "Of course he did. He was glad of it," said Lieutenant Bardwell. William felt it a privilege indeed to be the one to bear such news as this home to Shel burne. Getting the mail, he rode away as fast as he could make old Whitey travel up the hills. He reached home rather late, after the sup per hour. His father stood on the doorsteps, looking down the road with some anxiety. " Hurrah, father ! " shouted William, waving his cap above his head. "Hurrah! Independ ence is declared ! " " Thanks be to God ! " exclaimed the colonel fervently. The whole family rushed out and gathered around William as he poured out an account of all that he bad heard and seen at Deerfield. "The fourth of July will always be a memorable day in this country," said Colonel Wells. " I only wish we had declared our independence sooner. We might have saved Canada." The American troops had been obliged to evacuate Canada in June, and now the upper as well as the lower part of New York State lay open to British invasion. " Israel, saddle me a fresh horse," said the

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220 BOYS .AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. colonel. " I must ride over to the centre with this great news forthwith." After William had hastily swallowed his bread and milk, and he and Israel had done their evening chores, the boys were allowed, aided and abetted by David, to fire off David's gun twice each, in celebration of the Declaration. "Let us fire just once more," begged William. "Twice isn't much for such a big occasion as this." "No, sir, not when powder is so scarce," said David. Walter hovered around, half scared, half anx ious to try firing himself. As for the girls, they stopped their ears every time the gun went off. "The noise splits my head," said Lucinda. "Pooh, that's nothing," said William. "Suppose you were a soldier in battle, with hundreds of muskets, and cannon besides, going off at once. What would you do then ? " "I'm glad I'm not a man," said Lucinda. "I wish I were," said William. "I'd enlist the first thing." "So would I," said Walter. As David stood firm on the powder question, the boys had to content themselves with build-

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THE FIRST FOURTH OF JULY. 221 ing a big bonfire of dead branches on the hill side east of the house. The bonfire blazed picturesquely skyward, lighting up the faces of the boys and girls scampering about for more fuel, and making an answering signal to another bonfire which, to the children's delight, they saw burning across the valley on the Montague hills, no doubt also started to celebrate the Declara tion of Independence. After the scripture reading that evening, Colonel Wells made a long and fervent . prayer for the country , beseeching God to bless this action of his people, to give them wisdom and courage to defend their country's liberties, and at last, in His own good time, to crown their struggles with success. Then the whole family joined in singing "The American Soldier's Hymn." The deep bass of Colonel Wells and David, the tenor, liable to crack at times, of Israel, the sweet of Mrs. 'V ells and the girls, and the childish voices of the little boys, blended harmoniously as all sang with fervor: " Lessons of war from Him we take And manly weapons le arn to wield, Strong bows of steel with ease we break, Forced by our stronger arms to yield.

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222 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " 'Tis God that still supports our right, His just revenge our foes pursues. 'Tis He that with resistless might Fierce nations to his power subdues." When, later, the Committee of Safety re ceived a copy of the Declaration, the people of the town assembled at the meeting-house, where it was read to them. All listened with swelling hearts to the inspired words of J e:fferson, voicing as they did the very squl of the country, its generous enthusiasm, its noble dar ing of danger for the eternal rights of man. Throughout New England the Declaration was read thus to the assembled people in the meet ing-houses, and was often engrossed in full on the town records. ':'I' ' \

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CHAPTER XIX. SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. THE Declaration of Independence was not followed by immediate success for the Americans. On the contrary, disaster after disaster was heaped upon them, as if to test their resolution to the utmost. On August twenty-second came the defeat at the Battle of Long Island, partly retrieved by the masterly retreat effected by Washington in withdrawing his troops across the water to New York in the very face of a victorious foe, far superior in numbers to his own poorly equipped and inexperienced soldiers. Massa chusetts people were proud to know that his boats on this retreat were manned by fishermen from Marblehead. In October came the unsuccessful fight at White Plains, and on November sixteenth Fort Washington on the Hudson was taken by the British, obliging the abandonment of Fort Lee on the opposite shore, and the retreat of

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224 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Washington and his army to Hackensack, New Jersey. Early in December, Washington was pushed farther and farther south by the far superior army under Lord Cornwallis, and finally forced to take refuge on the western shore of the Delaware. Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore. All indeed looked dark for the American cause. But Washington still stood firm and undaunted, with no thought of yielding. In a conversation with General Mercer at this time, he announced his purpose, if the worst came, of taking a stand in the mountains of West Vir ginia, familiar to him from the campaigns of his youth. "If overpowered," he said, "we must cross the Alleghanies." The pressure of the war in every way grew heavier and heavier on the people. Early in January a call for four thousand blankets was sent out, to be raised in Massachusetts for the Continental Army. There were no factories. Blankets were made in the homes, the yarn being spun and woven by the farmer's wives and daughters of wool sheared from the sheep raised on the farm. Of these four thousand blankets,

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SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. 225 three hundred were required of Hampshire County, divided as follows : Springfield, twelve; Hadley, Deerfield, and Greenfield, ten each; Hatfield, eleven; Northampton and Whateley, seven; and so on. These blankets were literally taken from the beds of the people. Mrs. Wells sent one, as her part of Shelburne's quota, and she and her daughters, like the other . women, worked early and late, spinning and weaving. "I do wish we could have some roast lamb," said Eunice one day. "It's so long since we have had any, I almost forget how it tastes." "Your father would almost as soon think of killing one of you children, I believe, as of slaughtering a lamb, when the country needs every ounce of wool we can raise, and more too," said her mother. "Think of our soldiers, Eunice," said Mary. "Often they have to march and :fight when cold and hungry. At least we have plenty to eat." "Ye-es," admitted Eunice, " but not good things, such as we used to have." Spices could no longer be obtained. There was no tea, coffee, or chocolate; no sugar but the homemade stock of maple sugar, which 15

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'\ 226 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. must be used sparingly, to make it last until spring came again. Salt was scarce and hard to obtain, and pork the meat chiefly in use. So there was some foundation for Eunice's complaint. But her mother said: " My child, your father would be ill-pleased indeed to know that a daughter of his was so unpatriotic as to complain of a little self-denial and hardship borne in the cause of our country. If we hope to conquer in the end, every one must do his or her part, from the oldest to the youngest. William, it's time for you and Walter to go for the cows.'' "Yes, ma'am, I'm going," said William, as he lingeringly laid down Freebetter's "New England Almanac for 1776, Printed in New London," which had come by mail for his father from a fellow representative in Boston. Children had almost no books, so there was a great charm even in an almanac, which had some reading matter, -an account of the bread fruit tree, etc., and a poem at the top of each month, of which this is a sample: "The Coward, when his Country claims his Aid, Flies to some Screen to hide his awful head. Not so the brave, when Tyranqy alarms Freedom's true Son, and forces him to Arms;

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SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. 227 Scorning soft Pleasure and ignoble Rest, His Country's Wrongs with Vengeance fire his Breast; Darts on his Foe, and drives the Slaves along ; For Justice guides his Arm, and Truth his Tongue." William liked that poem. There was also a wonderful picture on the almanac's cover. It was " The Able Doctor, or America Swallowing the Bitter Draught," and was taken from an en graving by Paul Revere in the" Royal American Magazine " of June, 177 4. In it America, dressed as an Indian squaw, was seen prostrate on the ground, held down by Lord North and another British minister, while King George the Third, in an imposing wig and cue, with the Boston Port Bill pro, truding from his pocket, was trying to force a drink from a large pot marked "TEA" down America's throat. Liberty, in the back ground, clasping her pole crowned with a French liberty cap, covered her face and wept. "I don't think this picture is right," said William, still holding the almanac. " King George didn't force any of his tea down our throats." "Don't you see," said Eunice, "America is spitting the tea back in the king's face?" "So she is. That is better," said William.

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228 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Steer on, boys, steer on, or the cows will be late for the milking," said their mother. William, seizing his cap and pouncing on Walter with a loud cry of "Darts on }lis Foe, and drives the Slaves along," -a proceeding duly resented by Walter, disappeared for the cows. The Wells cows had so wide a range over the hills and through the woods that sometimes the boys were forced to travel far to find them. So it was to-night. Not a cow was in sight when the boys let down the bars and entered the pasture. " Co-boss, Co-boss," called William, but no . gentle horned head pushed through the bushes in answer to his call. "I shouldn't wonder if they had gone through the woods over into the farther pasture," said William. "It would be just like them." " We can go and look at our traps when we are over that way," said Walter, "and see if we have caught any mink." "Not to-night. It's too late. We must hurry up or David will be after us," said William. The cows had chosen to tarry in the remotest corner of the farther pasture, and dusk was al ready falling as the boys drove them into the

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SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. 229 woods on the way back. It was dark in the woods, where there was a thick growth of pines and hemlocks scattered amongst the oaks and maples. Larry, as usual, was helping the boys drive the cows. But now he began to act strangely, growling, running off into the woods a way, then back to the boys, barking furiously. "Larry scents some wild beast ; I know he does," said Walter. "I'm afraid." " We '11 hurry on," said William, quickening his pace. But now the boys plainly heard a crackling in the brush, and twigs snapping as if under the tread of some heavy animal. "Run, Walter, run and tell the boys," said William. " I '11 try to bring the cows out." Walter took this advice without any urging, plying his little legs down the hill as fast as they could fly. The cows evidently scented danger, for they broke into a clumsy run, with William keeping close at their heels. Looking back over his shoulder William dimly saw through the gathering darkness the form of some big animal crashing through the underbrush. Rushing out of the woods and down the hill

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230 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. towards the bars, he met David and Israel with their guns. " It 's a bear ! I saw it," gasped William. Bears, wild-cats, and catamounts were still abundant on Hoosac Mountain, and sometimes strayed through into Shelburne, where Dragon Hill, Brimstone Hill, and many another hill still thickly wooded, afforded them excellent retreats. As the Great and General Court paid a bounty for all wild animals killed, the boys had a double motive in hunting, to protect their stock and to secure the bounty. Larry led the way back into .. the woods, where the boys ere long succeeded in killing a big black bear. "There," said David, with great satisfaction, "Eunice can have plenty of fresh meat now, without our slaughtering a lamb. It will taste good to us all, I guess." "And the skin will help piece out mother's blankets," said Israel. "And you and I can manage to find use for the bounty money, I fancy," said David. "Humph, I should say so," answered Israel. "I hope they will pay it in silver." December came in gloomily for the patriot cause, with the capture of General Lee, while

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SUNSHINE AFTER EA.IN. 231 Washington and his small _ army, but poorly supplied with clothing or ammunition, now lay encamped on the western shore of the Delaware. The British _ troops were posted in New Jersey, from Brunswick to the Delaware River. The Hessians under Colonel Rahl were at the front, on the Delaware's eastern shore, at Tren ton. It was known that the victorious British felt that an easy task lay before them, and were only awaiting the freezing of the Delaware (whence Washington had managed to remove all the boats) to cross on the ice, demolish the poor remnant of the American army, and take possession of Philadelphia. The Hessians had succeeded in making them selves cordially hated in New Jersey, by patriots and loyalists alike. Knowing nothing of the rights or wrongs of the cause, and regarding the war solely as an opportunity to enrich themselves, they bad robbed houses wherever they had been stationed in New Jersey, not only of food, but of silver, ornaments, clothing, and furniture, carrying off great packs of val uables from Tories as well as Whigs. The Hessian plundering had added to the hatred already felt in America for King George's hired soldiery. Dread was mingled with this hatred;

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232 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. for exaggerated stories were told of their im mense size and strength, reported to render them invincible. Captain Agrippa Wells and his company had returned home after the evacuation of Boston by the British, having been encamped there nine months. After his return, young John Wells was a frequent visitor at his cousin's in Shelburne, and finally the event which had been expected for some time by all their acquaint;.. ances came to pass, and John and Mary Wells were engaged to be married. One bitter cold night, the last of December, Colonel Wells came in from the barn. " Israel," he said, "you and William take the sled and haul in the biggest backlog you can find. It 's going to be the coldest night we have had yet. I feel sorry for our poor boys off in the army to-night." "I cannot help thinking of them day and night," said Mrs. Wells. "Jeremiah Graves, who was among those captured at Fort Washington, is at home now," said David. "He says it was galling to see the contrast beween our troops and the British. The British looked so trim and comfortable in their smart red coats, while our boys were

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SUNSHINE AFTER RA.IN. 233 dressed in tattered hunting shirts and frocks, their toes sticking out through their ragged shoes and stockings, if they were lucky enough to have any shoes. He said the British them selves couldn't help feeling sorry for them, their condition was so miserable, but ' hang it,' said Jeremiah, 'I want none of their pity.' The worst of it is, they think we 're such a poor lot of ragamuffins, they can beat us without trying." "God does not always favor the strongest battalions," said Colonel Wells. " But the prospect does look dark just now. If it is as cold as this in New Jersey to-night, the Dela ware will soon freeze over, and then " Here there came a loud rapping at the door, which was then opened without further cere mony by the newcomer, and in walked Captain Agrippa Wells. "Why, Cousin 'Grip, is it you? Glad to see you. What brings you riding out this cold night? No bad news, I hope?" asked Colonel Wells anxiously. "No, not very," answered Captain 'Grip, his eyes shining, his cheeks ruddy from the cold, as he threw off his fur cap and muffler. "There's news enough, though, glorious news. Too

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234 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. good to keep. I could not help riding out to tell you, if Mehitabel did think I was crazy to come." " What is it ? " asked every one at once. " Washington has crossed the Delaware, and captured the Hessians!" " You don't mean it ! Are you sure ? " " Yes, an express rode in to Deerfield and Greenfield this afternoon with the great news." "Praise the Lord!" cried the colonel, his face aglow. This sudden leap from despair to such unexpected joy was almost more than he could srasp. "Tell us all you know," he said. " We only know that Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware above Trenton . Cl].ristmas night. It was a stormy night, bitter cqld, much floating ice in the river, and Colonel Glover and his Marblehead fishermen, who manned the boats, had a hard struggle to get our men over. Washington meant to sur prise the Hessians at night, but crossing the river took so much longer than he expected that it was daylight, eight o'clock, before he reached Trenton. The cold was so bitter that two of his men were frozen to death that night."

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SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. 235 " Poor boys ! " said Mrs. Wells, tears in her eyes. "Somebody's sons. Probably they were thinly clad." " Go on, go on," cried the young folks, who all listened eagerly with shining eyes. "Well, sir, the long and short of it is, after some sharp :fighting those Hessians struck their colors to Washington, surrendered ! " . "He gave them 'Merry Christmas,' didn't he ? " said Israel. "Yes, my boy, he did. Our army took nearly a thousand Hessians prisoners, thirty-two officers among them. Their commander, Colonel Rahl, was fatally wounded, and died soon after the surrender." " Well, well," said Colonel Wells, his face radiant, " this seems almost too good to be true. what a glorious day for our country ! " "It has changed the whole face of things," said Captain 'Grip, rubbing his hands gleefully together. "The year will go out in very different shape from what we expected. Instead of our army being driven from pillar to post all over New Jersey, they've turned on their pur suers. Washington is going to do a little driv ing himself now. He will clear Howe and his troops out of New Jersey before next month ends, you will see."

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236 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "The time for which many of his men en listed is about expiring," said Colonel Wells. "That is one reason why we have felt such anxiety." "He is offering a big bounty to have them re-enlist." " Where can he get money in these hard times?" "The Lord has raised up a man to help our cause in this strait. Robert Morris of Philadel phia has come to the rescue, aided by a wealthy Quaker. And Congress, on December twenty seventh, made Washington our military dic tator." "A wise plan, too long delayed," said Colonel Wells. "I must ride on up to the centre, and tell Daniel Nims and the rest the good news, seeing I have started," said Captain Wells. "Before you set out on your cold ride, have a mug of hot flip," said the colonel, bringing from the fireplace the steaming glass mug from which Mary had just removed the hot flip iron. It was not in Captain 'Grip's heart to decline so timely an offer. " Here 's to our country and General Wash-

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SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. 237 ington ! " he said, raising the mug on high before draining its contents low. "Father," said David, "I'd like to ride over to the Taylors' and tell them this great news." "Do so, by all means, my son," said the colonel. "If Noah were only here, how delighted he would be!" exclaimed Mrs. Wells, in whose heart the absent ones were always present. After Captain 'Grip and David had ridden away, and the rest had talked over the en couraging news in all its bearings on the coun try's cause, Israel brought out the pitch pipe, saymg: "Father, please set the pitch, and let us all sing ' Yankee Doodle.' " The colonel laughed, but did as Israel re quested, and the Wellses, all good singers, old and young, sang lustily the song which now glorified the name first used by the British to deride the plain and simple country folk opposed to them. But, soon after the Battle of Bunker Hill, "Yankee Doodle" had become the national prean. The army marched to its inspiring strains, men whistled it at their work and boys at their play, and mothers crooned their babies

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238 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. to sleep with its strains as they rocked the cradle. CHORUS. " Father and I went down to camp, Along with Captain Gooding, And there we saw the men and boys As thick as hasty pudding. "Yankee Doodle, keep it up, Yankee doodle dandy, Mind the music and the steps, And with the girls be h .andy."

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CHAPTER XX. OFF FOR THE WAR. WASHINGTON and his army remained in winter quarters at Morristown, and there was a cessation of hostilities for a season. Spring would undoubtedly bring a renewal of activity, and it was hoped that the coming year would see a determined effort to repel the invaders crowned with success. In April, 1777, two battalions, of seven hun dred and fifty men each, were ordered from Hampshire County to Fort Ticonderoga for two months. In Shelburne, at a town meeting held April twenty-eighth, it was voted "that this Town will give eighteen pounds to every man that will et;igage in the Continental service, for three years or during the War, until the number we are to raise is completed, six pounds to be paid at the passing muster, and six pounds annually after that till the whole sum is paid, allowing Mr. Stephen Kellogg for his

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240 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. negro man Charles as much as the others have." The first of May, Colonel Wells, who had been at Northampton several days attending a convention, came home. David, who was at work ploughing on a hill side field that commanded a view, not only of the valley below, far up and down, but also of the road, saw his father coming and went down the hill to greet him. " I'm glad you are back, father," he said. "There is so much to be done just now, with all the spring work pushing on, I need your advice and help." As David spoke, he noticed that his father's face wore a serious and abstracted expression. "David," he said, "you and I will have to turn our attention to other matters. As I ex pected, our regiment is ordered out." David bad enlisted some time previously in the Shelburne company commanded by Cap tain Lawrence Kemp, in the Fifth Hampshire regiment. " We are ordered to reinforce Fort Ticonde roga. I saw Colonel Field, and consulted him as I came through Deerfield." "Will he be able to go?" asked David.

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 241 "No, he is too feeble. The command of the regiment devolves on me." "How soon do we go?" asked David, in excited tones. " We are ordered to meet at Deerfield May ninth, ready to march. I shall have my hands full from now on, mustering in the companies, enlisting some fresh recruits, and looking after supplies." David could not return to his work after such exciting news as this. He brought his horse from the field, and followed his father to the house, where the tidings that, at last, the father and oldest son were to follow in Noah's footsteps and go to the war, had to be broken to Mrs. Wells and her daughters. Often had Mrs. Wells looked forward with dread to this hour, beseeching her Father in Heaven to give her strength to meet it calmly, to do her duty, to stand by her country in its hour of trial, ready to make any sacrifice needed. Her face paled, and the blood rushed tumul tuously to her heart. Her voice was tremulous, in spite of herself, as she said : " So the time has come. Well, we must all do our part. Have you any idea how long you will be away, David?" 16

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242 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "Not much over two months, I suppose," said the colonel, cheerfully trying to put the best aspect on the case. " It all depends on the movements of the British." "Don't be worried, mother," said David, who, being a youth of spirit beneath his quiet exterior, was full of animation at the prospect before him. "We may not have the luck to see any fighting." "The British activity seems mostly confined to New Jersey at present," said the colonel. " Howe is waking up, as the grass gets green enough for forage, and has gone out to Brunswick, evidently aiming for Philadelphia. Washington has moved up to Middlebrook near by, to watch his movements." . "But what shall we do, father, while you and David are gone to the war?" asked Lucinda, in dismay. "Who will run the farm?" "Israel will have to do the best he can, with some help from William, under your mother's directions," said Colonel Wells. " Israel ! " exclaimed Lucinda. "Yes, Israel is fifteen now. He will do pretty well, with your mother to oversee him."

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 243 "I will do my best," said Mrs. Wells. "Of course things will not go on as usual. But we can manage after a fashion." "We will all help you, mother," said Mary. "Lucinda and I can aid the boys about planting and other work." " I can ride the horse to plough just as well as the boys," said Eunice. When Israel, on coming home to supper, learned that he was to be left at the head of affairs on the farm, he was perceptibly gratified, although he tried not to show it. At last he should be his own master, and have a chance to do as he liked. So often, when Israel was sure his way was the best, had he been obliged to yield to David. But now he would have a chance to show that he knew a few things as well as David. "All right, father," said Israel cheerfully. "I know all about what needs doing. If William and the girls will help me a little, I can manage, I know." "Make haste slowly, Israel," said his father. "I am glad to see your willing spirit, but you must be guided by your mother's -counsel, rememoer." " As if I needed to ask mother ! " thought

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244 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Israel, but careful to keep his opinion to himself. Busy were the next few days in the Wells household. David and his father were doing all they possibly could to leave the farm in good condition, though Colonel Wells was necessarily absent much of the time on public business. Mrs. Wells and the girls were busy getting together the necessary clothing and blankets and preparing food for the long march. On the afternoon of May ninth, Colonel Wells and David, laden with all the comforts home love could devise, shouldered their guns, knapsacks, and blankets, said a last good-bye, and departed down the hill, around the same turn where Noah had waved his last adieu. They were going to Deerfield, where the regi ment was to meet. Mrs. Wells had taken refuge in her bedroom to hide the irrepressible tears, and control her grief before meeting the remnant of her family. "0 God," cried her anguished heart, "help me! Help me to be brave for the sake of the others! Help me to do my duty in this strait! And, if it be Thy will, suffer my dear _ones to come home in safety."

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 245 "Do not watch them out of sight," said Mary, coming hastily back into the house as her father and David disappeared down the hill. "It is said to bring bad luck." " Bad luck ! " said Lucinda. "I think we have bad luck enough now, to be left here alone on the farm, with only Israel and William to do the men's work." "Lucinda is a Tory. She isn't willing to help her country," said Eunice. " I am willing, too," said Lucinda, with spirit. "But it's hard, all the same." " We will not say a word about bad luck, or complain of hard work," said Mary, "if father and David only get back safely." The Fifth Hampshire regiment marched from Deerfield for Fort Ticonderoga May tenth. In the regiment were the companies of Captain Timothy Childs, Captain John Wells, Captain Thomas French, Captain Lawrence Kemp, Captain Joseph Stebbins, and Captains Good ale, Starrow, Gunn, Harvey, and Jeremiah Ballard. The regiment was to march out the Albany road to the west, through Shelburne and Charle mont, then by the Cold River trail over Hoo sac Mountain to Williamstown (the site of old

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246 BOYS A.ND GIRLS O.F SEVENTY-SEVEN. Fort Massachusetts), and thence on northwest to Fort Ticonderoga. On the morning of May tenth William beset his mother to let him and Walter go down to the Albany road to see the regiment march by : "Do let us go, mother," begged William . . " We may never have another chance to see father's regiment." " I want to go," said Walter. "So do I," said Eunice. "May we go, mother? We will not be gone long." Mrs. Wells consented, but added: " You must all hurry back as soon as the regiment has passed, and not loiter by the way, for there is plenty of work for every one, even Walter, more than we all can do, work we ever so fast." Israel wanted to go as much as the others, but was sustained in his self-denial by the proud consciousness that he was now the man of the family, on whom everything depended, and could not be spared. The two bare-footed, rosy-cheeked, sunburned boys, looking so hardy and happy, and Eunice, with pink cheeks and shining blue eyes, her blue sunbonnet perched jauntily on her brown, wavy hair, raced off up the hill and down to-

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 247 wards the south, in terror lest the regiment should march past ere they arrived. But the dusty road showed no footprints as yet, and the breathless children perched themselves on the rail fence beside the road, to wait as patiently as they could. At last the faint tap, tap of a drum was heard in the distance. " They 're coming !'' cried the excited children. Soon, around the corner below, came march ing the soldiers. Their father and a few others of the officers were on horseback. The others marched by on foot, tramp, tramp, tramp, keep ing time to the drum-beat. Eli Skinner, the fifer, a Shelburne boy, recog nizing the children, struck up on his fife the popular war tune," Over the hills, and far away." Colonel Wells gave his loved children a fond smile and hand wave as he rode by. Over him fluttered the regimental flag, which showed a pine tree and a field of corn. He was a large man, of dignified, commanding aspect, and looked well fitted for his place. "There's David!" cried Eunice. "See, he's fourth from the end in that row. He's waving his hand to us." The boys waved their caps, and Eunice her

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248 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. sunbonnet, in response. They recognized many a friend in the ranks, -young men from Shel burne, Deerfield, and Greenfield, well known to them. In Captain Timothy Childs' company they saw Isaac and John Newton, Hull Nims, Aaron Denio, Simeon Nash, and the Hastings boys from Greenfield. " Who was that tall young fellow in Captain Stebbins's Deerfield company that bowed to you, Eunice ? " asked William. " I never saw him before." " His name is Preserved Smith. He comes from Baptist Corner in Ashfield," said Eunice. "I met him in Deerfield last winter. He is only sixteen years old." " Sixteen ! " said William. " I wish I were sixteen. I'd be off to the war with the rest, you may depend." The last note of the fife, the last tap of the drum, died away among the silent hills; the last man in this long procession of youths going to war vanished around the upper turn in the road whose dust was now full of footprints, and the birds began again to sing in the echoing silence. "I wouldn't have missed seeing that sight for anything," said William. '

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 249 "I mean to be a colonel, like father, when I grow up," said Walter. " I shall never forget that sight, even if I live to be an old lady," said Eunice, with fervor. "But now, boys, we must hurry home. You know what we promised mother." The children started for home, singing as they went "Over the hills, and far away," the tune to which the boys had marched past, and keeping step to the music in true soldierly fashion: "The white cockade , and the peacock feather, The American boys will fight forever; The drum shall beat , and the fife shall play, Over the hills, and far away." As the two boys were now so busy on the farm, it sometimes became Eunice's duty to ride down to Deerfield for any mail the posttider might bring. Eunice was now thirteen, and a good horsewoman, quite equal to the undertaking. Never had the mail been awaited with more impatience on the farm than on the afternoon of June twenty-second, when Eunice had gone to Deerfield for it. Nothing had been heard from father or son since their departure, nor had any intelligence been received as to the

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250 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. condition of affairs at Fort Ticonderoga and the north. All Shelburne, in common with the whole country, waited impatiently for tidings from the northern field. " If Eunice does not bring us any news tonight, I shall be almost in despair," said Mrs. Wells. " It seems as if I must hear from your father and David." "There she comes, mother,'' said Walter, now seven years old. " I '11 run to meet her, and see if she has any letters." And away dashed Walter down the hill to meet old Whitey, on whose back rode Eunice. Seeing him commg, Eunice waved a letter aloft, crying : "A letter! A letter from David!" Walter turned and raced back to the house to tell his mother the glad news, while Eunice whipped up old Whitey into as fast a jog as that reliable animal was ever known to exhibit, and came bouncing up to the door, where her mother stood awaiting her. All gathered around while Mrs. Wells opened the letter. It was only a few lines, written on a small, crqmpled piece of paper, . and dated '-'Fort Ti, June ye 5th, 1777."

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 251 After speaking of the fatiguing march, which had taken five days, David continued: "I have only time to scratch these few lines. Our regiment is posted on Mt. Independence, a high hill on the east shore of the lake, opposite Fort Ti. Here we boys are digging for all we are worth, throwing up batteries and entrenching this hill. Plenty of cannon are mounted here, and if the British take it, they will have to do some hard fighting. There is a rumor in the camp to-night that Burgoyne has gone to Canada, and means to come down this way with his army. Father is well, and so am I. Father is very busy. He desires his love to you and to all the fam ily. Tell Israel and William digging trenches all day in the hot sun is almost as hard work as farming. I must close, as there is a chance to send this letter by an express riding to Albany to-night. " Your dutiful son, ,, DAVID WELLS.'' "I hope that rumor about Burgoyne is not true," said Mrs. Wells. Hardly had she spoken when old Jedediah Jenkins was seen limping into the yard. Uncle Jed, as every one called him, lived over near the centre of the town, and was a well-known character. " How d' ye do, Mrs. Wells," he said, as he entered, dropping into a rush-bottomed chair

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252 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. with a force that threatened to go through it. "I was over this way fishin' and thought I 'd just drop in and tell you folks the news. I'm afraid our boys up at Fort Ti are goin' to see hard times." " What do you mean ? " asked Mrs. Wells, instantly alarmed. "Burgoyne is out on Lake Champlain with a big fleet, making for Fort Ti as fast as the wind can carry him." " How do you know' " asked Mrs. Wells. " Dr. Long has just come home from Albany; rode over the Hoosac by the old trail into Charlemont, and so home. While he was in Albany, General Schuyler had this news from the north, and left for Fort Ti right away. Albany folks heard from General Schuyler later. He was then at Fort George, doing all he could to hurry up proYisions and reinforcements for Fort Ti. Dr. Long says that Schuyler has writ ten that he thinks only a small part of Bur goyne's forces will stop at Fort Ti, to amuse our boys, and hold them there, while the main army, the general thinks, will push on to the Connecti cut River, and make a raid down this way." "How terrible, if true!" exclaimed Mrs. Wells, with pale face.

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OFF FOR THE WAR. 253 "Terrible! I guess it is," said Uncle Jed. "Why, they say Burgoyne's army is mostly made up of those hired Hessians and wild Indians, with a few renegade Tories and regu lars. If he lets a lot of those savages loose on us here, why, we know pretty well what to ex pect. Charlemont folks haven't forgotten the slaying of Captain Moses Rice, nor Deerfield people the massacre at the Bars. Plenty of people living now who remember all about it. I declare, my scalp begins to feel loose a'ready. I have to feel on 't once in a while, to make sure it's still on top my head," said Uncle Jed, press ing his hand on his uncombed shock of gray hair. " I wish father were here,'' said Lucinda, ready to cry. Mrs. Wells said nothing. Hard indeed was her position. Husband and son absent at the seat of war, perhaps to be slain in the coming battle; she here at home, struggling to carry on the large farm with her daughters and young boys; an _ d possibly a raid of Indians and foreign soldiers overhanging them, defenceless as they were! When all human help fails, there is still one refuge left the believing heart. Mrs. Wells sent

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254 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. a silent prayer up to the Father in Heaven, who saw all, knew all, to whom David and her hus band were as near as she, that He would watch over all her loved ones, protect them from threat ened danger, and yet bring peace out of these alarms. Uncle Jed stayed to supper, stowing away a large porringer full of hot bean porridge and a fabulous number of Mrs. Wells's biscuits with the air of one who has justly earned it all, making himself agreeable by recounting tales of Indian ravages in days gone by. ' . . ,., "

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CHAPTER XXI. DARK DAYS. IT was one of the hottest of summer days, this eighteenth of July, 1777. The Wellses were making hay, -at least, they were trying to. Israel was able to swing a scythe, and William was ambitious to, succeeding quite well for a boy of ten. Lucinda, Eunice, and Walter were also in the hayfield, tossing the grass about to dry and raking it up into cocks. Days had passed since Uncle Jed had given the W ellses so serious an alarm. Rumors had come from the north of disastrous fighting at Fort Ticonderoga, even that the fort had been abandoned, and that the American troops under General St. Clair had disappeared, no one knew where. How much truth there was in the con flicting rumors no one knew, for no really authentic information had been received. But there was ground for great uneasiness, and all New England awaited further news from the

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256 BOYS .A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. north with deepest anxiety. Every one realized that a victory for Burgoyne at Fort Ticonde roga would lay all New England open to his ravages. The W ellses had heard nothing further from their absent ones since David's letter, and Mrs. Wells had grown thin and worn, between her extra work and care and the terrible burden of anxiety she bore. The sun began to sink lower towards the western hills, and a grateful breeze sprang up. Israel stopped to mop his forehead. " Well, I know I am glad of one thing, to see that sun sinking lower. He's done his level best to scorch us. Now, William, the bay on this lot is ready to go in. You get the cart and tell Mary to come out and help us load. The rest of us will finish raking up by the time you get back with the cart." Israel certainly did enjoy ordering the others about, and was inclined to make the most of bis opportunity. Sometimes his brothers and sisters rebelled, but generally they realized that Israel was captain for the time being, and was doing his best in a hard place. For a boy who did not love work, Israel was really accomplishing wonders.

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DARK DAYS. 257 Mary was weaving a blanket on the loom, and was only too glad to exchange the hot work indoors for a ride on the cart, in the soft summer breeze now blowing, to the hayfield with William, who "gee-ed" and "hawed" the oxen in stentorian voice, that rang over the hills. Arrived at the hayfield, Mary stayed on the cart and stowed away the hay, as Israel and William tossed it up to her, while Lucinda, Eunice, and Walter raked after the cart. At last the load grew so high that William with bis short arms found it difficult to toss up the hay. "See here, Israel," he said, "that's a plenty big enough load. Let 's cart this to the barn and then come back for the rest." " What are you talking about ? " said Israel. "This isn't half a load. I mean to get the whole of the hay on this load." "You 're mighty smart, Israel," said William, tired, and cross from the heat. " Try it, if you want to. I 'm not going to break my back tossing another pitchfork-full, see if I do." William threw himself down on the ground and began to sing a well-known ballad, suitable, perhaps he felt, to his mutiny: 17

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258 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " My name was William Kidd, when I sailed, when I sailed, My name was William Kidd, when I sailed, My name was William Kidd, God's laws I did forbid, And so wickedly I did when I sailed." "I '11 kid you, Captain Kidd, as soon as I get this hay loaded," said Israel. "Boys, don't quarrel," began Mary, and then stopped. Suddenly from her station high on the load of hay, her eye was attracted by something down the road. "Boys," she cried, ''there's some one coming. Why, I do believe it is father and David!" The heat and all quarrels were forgotten now. Mary scrambled down from the load, she hardly knew how, pitchforks and rakes were dropped, as all ran to meet the returning soldiers. Great was the delight of the children to see their father again, who greeted them lovingly as "his brave little workers." David too had the heartiest greetings from the excited young people. They noticed at once, however, that both father and son looked as i they had seen hard times. "Where's Major, father?" asked Israel. " Why are you on foot ? "

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DARK DAYS. 259 "Poor old Major was shot somewhere in Vermont," said the colonel. " And only by good luck was father not shot with him," said David. " Is that a bullet-hole through your hat, David ? " asked Eunice. "I guess so. I 've been where bullets were flying fast and thick," said David. "Father, what is the matter?" asked Mary. "You and David look exhausted and really sick, and walk as if you could hardly drag yourselves along. And your clothes are soiled and torn." "We have but a sorry story to tell, I regret to say," answered the colonel, "a story of dire calamity to our cause." After reaching the house, where Mrs. Wells welcomed back husband and son almost as those risen from the dead, the colonel and David told the whole story of the disastrous outcome at Fort Ticonderoga; the discovery on July fifth of the fortifications erected by the British on Sugar Hill, or " Fort Defiance," as the British named it, completely overlooking and com manding both Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Inde pendence opposite, where the Fifth Hampshire regiment was stationed; the evacuation of the American forts that night, the retreat, under

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260 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. General St. Clair, through Vermont to Fort Edward, and the attack upon the Americans by the forces under General Fraser, with the hot fighting that followed. "What a terrible calamity to lose Fort Ticon deroga," said Mrs. Wells, as her husband, whose worn, haggard face showed but too plainly the hardships and anxieties he had borne, finished this story. "We not only lost the fort," said Colonel Wells, "but the loss in artillery, ammunition, and stores is tremendous, greater than the country can meet in its present straitened circumstances. Worse yet is the outlook for the future. The people at Albany are panic stricken. They fear that now the forts are taken to the north, and the British are in full possession of the lakes, Burgoyne will be right down upon th"1lm. They are said to be rushing about as if distracted, sending their goods off into the country, and preparing to leave themselves." ' ''What do you think of the prospect, David?" asked his wife anxiously. " I try to hope that the Lord will yet come to our rescue. The British, of course, will feel now that the war is about ended, and that the

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DARK DAYS. 261 rest will be easy. Burgoyne, no doubt, considers Albany already as good as in his possession; but we shall still struggle to save it." " I know it is selfish," said Mrs. Wells, tears dimming her eyes, "but, in spite of the country's calamities, I cannot help rejoicing because you and David are safely home again. It is such a comfort to see you, and hear your voice again. You don't know how I have missed you." " We are here but for a short time. Our regiment was discharged July eighth, and we had to make our way home as best we could. But we may be ordered out any day. I must hasten right away to enlist and equip fresh recruits to fill our broken ranks." "You ought to rest, David. You do not look able to do anything," said his wife. " This is no time to rest," said Colonel Wells. "To stay at home, doing nothing, in such a crisis as this, would wear on me more than anything I could do." At supper, both the returned soldiers ate as if half famished. "Mother, you can never imagine how delicious this bean porridge and your bread and butter taste," said David, as he passed up his porringer for another helping.

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262 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTYSEVEN. " We were often short of rations," said the colonel, " especially coming down through Ver mont. We had to depend mostly on the farm houses along the way for food, and sometimes the allowance was but scanty." " And we slept on the ground more than one night," said David. It seemed strange to David, after his camp life and the hard and dangerous scenes through which he had passed, to find home unchanged, everything as natural and peaceful as if his two months' campaign were but a dream. Never had home seemed so dear and pleasant to him. Yet he knew he must soon leave it again for the risks and hardships of another campaign. Because home and country were precious must he leave home to save it. For its sake he was ready again to encounter the perils of the battle-field. The Boston papers now published Burgoyne's proclamation issued at Crown Point, in which he threatened New England as follows : " Let not people consider their distance from my camp ; I have but to give stretch to the Indian forces under my direction, and they amount to thousands, to overtake the hardened enemies of Great Britain." It also became known that Burgoyne had

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DARK DAYS. 263 promised, as soon as he reached Albany, -an event which he felt involved only a short and easy campaign, to send his Indian allies " towardM Connecticut and Boston." These In dians were to be led by La Corne St. Luc, who was known to permit the free use of the scalp ing knife. These threats, and all the horrors they implied, were not lost on the New Englanders. They were made more emphatic the last of July, when the story of the massacre and scalping of Jane McCrea near Fort Edward ran like wild-fire all over horrified New England. Home to every heart came vividly the horrible possibilities of an invasion by Burgoyne. Colonel Wells brought the news home one night in early August, after a trip he had taken to Charlemont, to confer with Captain Hugh Maxwell, Captain Othniel Taylor, Captain Syl vanus Rice, and others of the local leaders, about raising more men. After Colonel Wells had related the story of Jane McCrea, which .aad come over the mountain from Albany, his wife, her face blanched with horror, looked on her girls' fair locks as if she already saw them in an Indian's clutch, and exclaimed:

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264 BOYS A.ND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "To think-it might have been one of our girls ! And it may be yet, if Burgoyne goes on conquering." " This will rouse our people as nothing else has done, you will see," said Colonel Wells. " Washington well understands the British plan. They intend that Burgoyne from the north and Howe from the south shall meet at Albany, and thus cut off New England entirely from the other colonies. Then they think they can easily dispose of us. But Washington will do his utmost to defeat this plan. General Schuyler is at Albany now, making every effort to secure reinforcements for the Northern army." "I pray he may succeed," said Mrs. Wells, whose face, not long ago that of a blooming mat,r-0n, was now seamed with far more anxious W1,'inkles than her years warranted. Burgoyne was encamped on the east shore of the Hudson, opposite Saratoga. On August eleventh he detached a force made up of Hessians, Indians, Tories familiar with the region, and Captain Fraser's corps of skilled marksmen, with orders to march upon Bennington fort, where the American stores of food, ammunition, arms, and live stock were kept, and seize all supplies there found. The whole country around

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DARK DAYS. 265 was also to be scoured for provisions, horses, and cattle. This expedition was led by the Hessian, Colonel Baum. Baum's orders were, after the capture of Ben nington, to cross the Green Mountains to the Connecticut River, descend upon Brattleboro, and thence march to Albany to join Burgoyne in that city, where the general confidently ex pected soon to be. The plan was to surprise Bennington. But as the heavily dressed and slow Hessians plodded clumsily along over bad roads in the August heat, Bennington received word of their approach, and at once took active measures for defence. Couriers were despatched in every direction summoning help. General Stark and Colonel Seth Warner, with a body of militiamen from Vermont and New Hampshire, went at once to Bennington. The morning of August fourteenth the W ellses were surprised to see Lieutenant Tertius Taylor of Charlemont riding up to their door in hot haste, his horse dripping with sweat. Colonel Wells instantly rushed out to meet him and learn his errand. "Colonel," cried Taylor, " we 've just had word that the British are marching on Benning-

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266 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. ton! Stark has sent word for every man that can handle a gun to come to the rescue ! " "I will start at once," said Colonel Wells. "David and I will alarm the people hereabouts. You had best take a fresh horse here, and ride on to Deerfield and Greenfield, to notify the people there. I will get as many as possible of my men together and start for Bennington this afternoon." Then indeed there was haste and excitement in the Wells family. There was no thought, even in Mrs. Wells's heart, of trying to hold the men back in this great crisis. A rushing about, a hasty gathering of needed supplies, a seizing of arms, with hardly time for a hurried farewell, and the colonel and David were off. " Who knows if we shall ever see them again," was the secret thought in every heart, as the family stood watching the departing forms of father and son. Like scenes were taking place in many a family throughtout Western New England. At Pittsfield, Parson Allen, after reading the call for aid from Bennington to his flock, urged the people to go. "We have no one to lead us," was the reply. " I 'll lead you myself," said the valiant par son ; and he did. Praying, believing, and fight-

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DARK DAYS. 26'7 ing, Parson Allen led his men to valiant service in the Battle of Bennington. In Coleraine, some of the minutemen beard the firing of the cannon at Bennington, and hurriedly rallying as many as possible of their company, marched off to the scene of fighting. A number of men from Northfield were in the Battle of Bennington. Moses Field was lieutenant of their company, which was held in reserve until the latter part of the day. Field noticed a horse and wagon, the wagon filled with red-coated British officers apparently in consultation, up the road at some distance. Lieutenant Field was a noted marksman. He managed, under cover of a large oak, to get within range of these officers, and fired several shots, well aimed. When the Northfield company returned to camp after the battle, the ground where the wagon bad stood was covered with blood, and Colonel Baum lay mortally wounded in a block house near by. Lieutenant Field always believed that one of his shots brought Baum down. Lieutenant Field's father, at work in Bennett's Meadow in N ortbfield with his younger sons, plainly heard the reports of the cannon during the Bennington battle. The father said:

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268 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "A battle is going on. I have a boy in it. I can't work," and went home, to suffer untold anxiety until the next day brought news of the victory and his son's safety. The Fifth Hampshire, or as many of its men as could be summoned in a hurry, marched, the afternoon of the day the alarm was received, out through Shelburne and Charlemont, and was joined as it marched by men from Charlemont and Myrifield. A forced march was made, with all possible despatch, over the Hoosac by the old Cold River trail, and thence on to Bennington. Colonel Wells and his regiment reached Ben. nington before sunset, late in the afternoon of August sixteenth, in time to join Stark in the repulse and pursuit of the troops under Brey man, who had been sent by Burgoyne to rein force Baum. Night fell, and Bennington was saved ! In the meeting-house on the village common upon the hilltop were shut up six hundred and ninety two British prisoners, of whom a large part were Hessians, while the battle-field on the shores of the W alloomsack was strewn with the bodies of the wounded, the dying, and the dead. The men from Coleraine and many another

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DARK DAYS. 269 town came pouring into Bennington during that night and the following day, too late for the battle, but not too late to glory in the defeat of the British, and to gaze with unbounded interest and curiosity on the captured Hessians and "red coats " confined in the village meeting-house. When night ended the pursuit of the British, Colonel Wells and his regiment encamped on the Batten Kill, where they were joined later the Deerfield company under Captain Joseph Steb bins, and by others belonging to the regiment. From thence the regiment marched to Fort Edward, to cut off any retreat Burgoyne attempt towards the north. This timely victory, won single-handed by the farmers of Vermont, New Hampshire, Western Massachusetts, was one of the most effective and far-reaching in its consequences of all the battles of the war. It showed not only that the plain Yankee farmer folk could and would fight, but did much to dissipate the dread of King George's hired mercenaries, the Hes sians. General Stark truly said: " Had our people been Alexanders or Charleses of Sweden, they could not have behaved better." When the news reached Shelburne, great was the relief and the rejoicing.

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270 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " I suppose father and David will be at home again, right away," said Israel, who sorely felt the need of stronger help in the hay and harvest fields. "Not likely," said Uncle Jed, who had brought over the glad tidings. "You see, it's this way. Burgoyne's scotched, .but he isn't killed yet. He is pushing on down the Hudson, expecting Howe and his army to meet him, if he can only hold out long enough. They said over at Nims's tavern last night that Washing ton has written to all the brigadier generals in Massachusetts and Connecticut flaming appeals, urging them to march for Saratoga with every man they can muster. More men are going right away, from all around here. Every man in Shelburne able to tote a gun will be off. You will not see anything of the colonel yet awhile, you may depend on that." "I feel that he and David ought to stay at the front, much as we need and want them at home," said Mrs. Wells. " That is the only place for them in such a crisis as this." "I tell Minervy I don't know but I ought to turn out myself," said poor lame old Uncle Jed. "But she just poohs when I talk of enlisting; seems to think I wouldn't make no great of a

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DA.RX DA. YS. 271 soldier. My hand may shake, and my eyesight isn't what it used to be," said Uncle Jed, his dim eyes lighting with the :fire of youth, " but I tell you what, you just put me behind a tree with my old flintlock, and a good branch to rest it on, and I snum, I believe I could pick off a few of them Hessians yet." " Of course you could, Uncle Jed," said Mary.

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CHAPTER XXII. THE COUNTRY AROUSED. MOVED by Washington's appeals, and a vivid sense of the pressing necessity of repelling Burgoyne's forces and preventing his union with Howe's army, hundreds of Massa chusetts men from all parts of the colony were marching to Saratoga to join the army there, now under the command of General Gates, who had superseded Schuyler by an unjust order of Congress, just as Schuyler had every thing in train for success. Northampton was excited on August twenty second by the arrival of one hundred and fifty of the Hessians captured at Bennington who had been sent there to be held as prisoners of war. They were not confined, however, but let out on parole, and set to work, and were reported to be well content with their lot. These Hessians had been impressed into ser vice and dragged away thousands of miles to a strange land, to risk their lives in a cause about

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THE COUNTRY AROUSED. 273 which they knew little and cared less. The change, therefore, from marching and fighting, to cultivating Northampton's fertile meadows, was to them n;iost welcome. Their help proved timely, in ihe absence of so many men in the war. In marching to Northampton, these Hessians crpssed Hoosac Mountain, stopping for a meal at Captain Othniel Taylor's tavern in Charle mont. Here several contrived to conceal them selves. When the main body had gone on, they came out from their hiding, and remained for some time on the Taylor farm, becoming finally good American citizens. Early in September the W ellses were sur prised by a flying visit from Colonel Wells. "I have come over the mountain," said Colonel Wells, "to stir up all the men from this region to join our forces at Saratoga. It is a vital matter for us to deal one last tre mendous blow there." " It seems as if every man around here had gone to the war that could be spared," said Mrs. Wells. "We must have every able-bodied man," said the colonel. " It is now or never with us." Colonel Wells rode about over the hills, 18

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27 4 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. stirring up the people all through the northern part of Hampshire County. " The women, imbued with the very spirit of the Spartan mothers, said, ' We will harvest the oats and care for the work that is pressing; go and fight for your country.' And through out this vicinity, from the Vermont line as far south as Savoy, he took back with him fifteen hundred additional men." 1 From Coleraine went forty-six of her minute men under Captain Hugh McClellan, who did good service. From little Myrifield went Rev. Cornelius Jones, its minister and first settler, and his son Reuben. The latter was killed at the Battle of Stillwater. Springfield, from its inland and central situa tion, and its distance from points liable to be attacked, had been made a depot for military stores and a place to repair arms. A few can non had also been cast there.2 The work was done on Main Street. General Gates sent a courier to General Mat toon of Amherst, ordering him to bring these cannon to Saratoga. General Mattoon, with a small body of men, rode over from Amherst to 1 Extract from "Early Settlers of Coleraine," by Charles H. McCl e llan. 2 The b e ginning of Springfield's armory.

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THE COUNTRY AROUSED. 275 Springfield on Sunday, took the cannon as ordered, and hauled them to Saratoga, no slight undertaking. Captain Isaac Newton of Greenfield raised a company there, and hastened to Saratoga. The women of his family hurried to card and spin wool, weave cloth, cut and make him a suit, so that, when the company marched off to the war, Captain Newton appeared arrayed in a full suit of white woollen, homemade, and afterwards was wont to boast : "I was the best dressed officer in the field." AU the more important was the repulse of Burgoyne felt to be when tidings came of the defeat of Washington at the Battle of Brandy wine, the retreat of his army to Germantown, and the triumphant entry of Howe's army into Philadelphia, whence Congress had fled to Yorktown. The condition of the Wells family at this time is a fair picture of many another in those anxious days. One word suffices to tell their story, -the word "work." Only by the incessant industry of the women and young boys could the necessary labor of the farm be kept even partly done. Mrs. Wells and her daughters were obliged to help in the hay

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276 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. and harvest fields and in the milking, besides their hard toil indoors. The hum of the spinning-wheel, the whack of the flax-brake, the snapping of the clock-reel, resounded constantly on the farm. "I must say," said Lucinda, late one pleasant September afternoon, when she had been hard at work all day, "I am tired of spinning. I wish I could go off in the woods so mew here and live a wild, free life with the Indians ; like them, anyway-where I should never see a spinning-wheel again!" "I'd like to go with you," said Eunice from the flax-wheel. Her mother, who was weaving cloth at the loom, plying the shuttle deftly too and fro, said: "Lucinda, you know how it is. Every little while comes a call for blankets or clothing for the soldiers, and we must be ready to meet it.1 ()ur poor soldiers need more than we can give. We have to fight at home for our country at the spinning-wheel, while your father and David are fighting with guns. But you girls have worked hard and faithfully to-day, and I know you are tired. You had best stop now and take 1 Appendix H.

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THE COUNTRY AROUSED. 277 a little run outdoors, before it is time to get supper." Mrs. Wells was tired too, but, mother-like, did not think of resting herself. "It's no matter about me; I can get along," she would have said had any one tried to sympathize with her. Gladly the girls deserted work and went outdoors. "Let's take some baskets, Eunice," said Lu cinda, " and go over in the pasture and see if we can find some blueberries." The girls drew long breaths of the pure mountain air as they walked on. " Oh, how beautiful it is outdoors ! " ex claimed Eunice. " Look down towards Greenfield," said Lu cinda. "It seems to let you out, doesn't it, to look far off over the valley ? See how blue and clear the Montague hills stand out ! " The sky was a deep, intense blue, and all around the hilltops rose up against it, their trees, touched with autumn tints, contrasting bril liantly with the sky's azure. The many hem locks and pines, abounding in the woods, and the white trunks of the birches, intensified this glow of color.

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278 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Blueberries were still to be found in the pastures, and the girls were filling their baskets, when they heard some one coming, whistling " Yankee Doodle." "There come William and Walter," said Eunice, looking down the hill. "I wonder why they are coming to the pasture so early." The boys each carried long switches, and were whipping the grass as they walked, ruthlessly snapping off the plumy heads of the golden-rod and purple asters. "You needn't say a word, Lucinda," said William, as they reached the girls. " Mother said Walter and I had worked so well, carding wool and picking up apples, we might start for the cows early enough to go over and look at our traps. So, now." "Let's go with them,'' said Eunice. "I have n't been over to the farther pasture this long time." Lucinda was pleased to take a longer walk, and the four went on together, up hill and through the woods. The sun, low in the west, pierced the thinning foliage with long shafts of yellow light, gilding the heavy green moss which everywhere covered logs and rocks. The air was fragrant with the odor of the

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THE COUNTRY AROUSED. 279 sweet fern, which abounded in the side-hill pasture. William was quite skilful in trapping, for bis age, and Walter liked to go with him, and help, and talk about " our traps." "Perhaps I shall get another marten to-day," said William. The side of the barn already bore one marten skin tacked up to dry, destined to help make William a warm winter cap. But the marten trap was still empty. Farther on, the boys had set a trap for wild turkeys, which were still quite plenty in Shelburne. They had worked hard building a pen of small logs, with a door so arranged that the boys were sure a turkey, feeding beneath, would drop the door, and so fasten itself in. Then the boys had scat tered a trail of oats along for some rods, leading into the pen, where a last beguiling handful was thrown. But as no turkey had deigned to enter the . elaborate trap and be caught, Israel made fun of the boys' work. When he came in to dinner he would say: ''What, nothing but salt pork? I thought we should certainly have roast turkey to-day from that wonderful trap the boys built. I tell you

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280 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. what, William, I '11 promise to give you a silver shilling for the first turkey you catch in that trap." As the young folks drew near the turkey trap to-day, William's ears were greeted by a delight ful sound. " Gobble, gobble, gobble ! " " We 've caught one, William ! " cried Walter. "I should say so," said William, all smiles. " A big gobbler, too." " What good luck ! " said Lucinda. " We haven't tasted fresh meat since Mr. Ransome sent us over that spare rib when he killed his hog." Such was the neighborly custom of the time. The farmers, when killing pigs, sheep, or lambs, sent portions to the nearest neighbors, who were careful to return the favor when they did their own slaughtering. This enabled all to enjoy fresh meat oftener than would otherwise have been possible. " Mother and Mary will be overjoyed," said Eunice. "But I'm not going to stay here to see you kill the poor thing," she added, looking at the beautiful wild bird, gobbling and frantically fluttering, in its efforts to escape from its pen and its doom.

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THE COUNTRY AROUSED. 281 "Nor I, either," said Lucinda. "We '11 go back and finish picking berries. We shall have plenty to eat with our bread and milk for supper to-night." The girls returned to the berry patch. By and by they heard the cows coming down the hill. Behind them walked William, proudly bearing his big gobbler by the legs. " . Let me carry him now, William. He's part mine. It's my trap, too, you know. I helped build it," begged Walter. " y OU 're too nttle. His head would drag on the ground, and he's so heavy it would make your arms ache. He weighs as much as fifteen pounds, I 'll bet," said William. Walter had to content himself with waving his long switch about, and " hollering" at the cows. "I shall dun Israel for that shilling the first thing," said William. "He will have to pay it." "Half of it is mine," said Walter. But, when Israel came in that night from the field, he said : "Mother, my head aches so, I don't want any supper. I '11 go to bed as soon as the milking is done." His mother looked anxiously at the lad. Al-

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282 BOY S AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. ways she had the feeling that he was not strong. And Israel, not yet sixteen, had been doing fully a man's work all the summer and fall. His face was flushed and his eyes heavy. Laying her hand tenderly on his forehead, his mother said : " Your head does feel hot. Go and lie down right away. I will help the others milk. But try and eat a little supper . The girls have picked some nice blueberries." "No, I don't want any supper," said Israel. William said something about his shilling, but Israel was too ill to notice, as he left for the shop, to tumble into bed. Mrs. Wells's heart was so heavy with anxiety about Israel that she did not seem nearly so pleased about his turkey as William had expected. "I wish your father and David were here, to share our roast turkey," she said. "It seems almost wrong for us to be enjoying it, when perhaps they are short of any kind of rations. I wis h we could hear from them." "I hope Israel isn't going to be sick," she added presently. "Now, mother," said Mary, "you 're always worrying about Israel. It is only a headache. He will be all right to-morrow,"

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THE COUNTRY AROUSED. 283 After supper Mrs. Wells prepared a home remedy for the headache. She put a shovelful of wood ashes from the hearth into a pitcher of cold water. When it had settled, she took it to the shop and roused Israel, who drank it readily, being very thirsty. William and Eunice were playing " hull gull, how many," with corn kernels, after doing their evening work, for a little while before going to bed. "Israel looks really sick," said his mother, when she came in and resumed her knitting. " You will see, mother, that he will be all right to-morrow morning," said the cheerful Mary.

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CHAP'I1ER XXIII. A VICTORY. IN spite of Mary's confident predictions, the next day saw Israel no better. He had a high fever, and stayed in bed, his mother giving him a good dose , of hot thoroughwort tea on general principles . "It will not hurt him, if it does no good," she said. "Israel is only tired, he has worked so hard," said Mary. "He will be all right after a little rest." " I hope so," said the anxious mother. The boys' turkey was roasting before a big fire in the fireplace. It was attached to an iron spit, which hung at the end of a long, stout string fastened to an iron hook under the mantlepiece. Eunice, her face flushed by the fire, was tend ing the turkey, turning it from time to time, and often basting it with the fat that oozed out and dripped into a pan set beneath.

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A VICTORY. 285 "How perfectly delicious it does smell ! " said Eunice. "What a pity father and David couldn't be here." The turkey was nearly done, and the table set for dinner, when Uncle Jed came limping in, his wrinkled face beaming. "I've come over to tell you the great news," he said. " There 's been a big battle fought at Bemis's Heights, near Saratoga. Our men were led by Arnold, General Benedict Arnold ; you know what a terrible :fighter he is." " Go on, go on," cried Mrs. Wells, unable to bear the suspense. " Well, after a lot of hard :fighting, our men got the better of the British, repulsed them, and prevented them from reaching our camp. You see Burgoyne set out to surround our army. He found he had bit off more than he could chew, I guess," said Uncle Jed, chuckling. Mrs. Wells wanted to ask if any report of the dead and wounded had come, but her heart failed her. " How . did you hear ? " she asked. "Lieutenant Robert Wilson brought the news over from Albany way. He says our boys are in great spirits now, and think they can finish up Burgoyne before long. Our Shelburne boys were

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286 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. in the thickest of the fight, but no one was killed, so far as Wilson could hear." Tears filled Mrs . Wells's eyes as she mur mured, " Thanks be to God ! " Then she added : " Uncle Jed, you must sit down and help us eat the boys' turkey. The news you have brought will make this a real Thanksgiving dinner for us all." "I don't care i I do,'' said Uncle Jed with alacrity, his nose as well as his eyes having already assured him of the turkey's deliciousness. No one would have believed that two mortal boys could have consumed the amount of roast turkey that William and Walter managed to devour. The turkey was tempting; moreover it was" our turkey," caught in "our trap." The wishbone was carefully saved, and hung on a hook by the fireplace to dry. When dry, the boys would pull it, and wish. " I shall wish for a gun of my own, like David's," said Walter. " I shall wish that we may whip the British," said William. "Israel will have to pay us that shilling as soon as he gets well," remarked William in the course of the dinner. "Poor boy!" said his mother. "I don't know

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A VICTORY. 287 where he will get it, I am sure. Shillings don't grow on the bushes these days." "Why, is Israel sick?" asked Uncle Jed. "I noticed he wasn't about, but thought perhaps he had gone to Greenfield to mill. What is the matter?" After hearing Israel's symptoms Uncle Jed said: "There's a lot of sickness in town just now. Folks seem to be taken just as Israel was. Some say it's because we've had such a wet season, and there's so much standing water about every where. But, whatever 's the cause, it's very sickly." This increased Mrs. Wells's anxiety, all the more because Lucinda began to complain of headache, and she herself felt far from well, although she tried to conceal her feelings and keep about as usual. Things changed rapidly from worse to worse. In a few more days every member of the Wells family except Eunice was ill with the prevailing distemper, which swept over the whole town. Eunice, only thirteen years old, was now the only dependence of the family. The illness was so general in town, it was impossible to get help. Mrs. Wells took William and Walter into a

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288 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. trundle bed in her room, where, ill as she was herself, she managed to look after them and so relieve Eunice somewhat. Fortunately Israel was now a little better, and able to crawl over to the house and lie on the settle by the fire, where he could help Eunice by watching anything cooking in the kettles hang ing on the crane. Eunice did the little cooking needed, brought up from the spring all the water, milked the cows, did, in short, whatever was done, until finally the child reached the last point of fatigue. Uncle Jed came into the kitchen one afternoon and found Eunice standing by the table, dish cloth in hand, trying to wash the dinner dishes, so exhausted that she had fallen fast asleep standing at her work. "Poor little gal!" exclaimed Uncle Jed. He took hold of Eunice by the shoulders. She woke with a start, looking wildly about, not realizing at first where she was. " You go right upstairs and lie down, and take a good nap," said Uncle Jed. "I'm going to wash these dishes, and stay here a while and help you out. Minervy and I have kept well so far, thank the Lord, and Minervy, she said to me: 'Jed, you'd better step over and see how

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A VICTORY. 289 the Wellses are getting along.' It's lucky I happened in just as I did." Never was helper more welcome than Uncle Jed. After that, he came over daily to help, until Israel was once more able to work. Hard though this trial was, the W ellses felt that they ought not to complain, when all their number recovered. For the epidemic wrought terrible havoc. In two months seventy people died in Shelburne out of a population of a few hundred . As it was the harvest season and many men were absent in the army, it was difficult to procure help to care for the sick and bury the dead. Dr. Long, who was absent as sur geon in the army, obtained leave of absence and came home to do what be could. Well might Mrs. Wells say, when the middle of October saw her children all gathered again around the supper table : " Children, we must praise God for all His loving kindness. In His mercy He has spared us, when so many have been called to mourn." At the family devotions that evening, which she conducted in her husband ' s absence, she read the 118th Psalm, and made a devout prayer of sincere thanksgiving. News now came from the army that filled all 19

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290 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. hearts with joy and helped many a sick one to recover. On October seventh, after a prolonged and hotly fought battle, Burgoyne's troops had been overwhelmingly defeated at Stillwater. "They say that our men routed the enemy, horse, foot, and dragoon, took a lot of prisoners and all the British field artillery, and that Burgoyne is retreating toward Saratoga," said Uncle Jed, who brought over the good news. This gleam of success brightened not a little the dark days in Shelburne. But better news was soon to follow. Israel, accompanied by William, had gone down to the grist mill on Green River in Green field, their horses laden with bags of grain to be ground. While they were absent, Lucinda and Eunice, who were out dampening a web of linen cloth laid on the grass to bleach, came in, saymg: " Mother, we hear guns firing down in Green field. And we think we hear drums and a noise like shouting. Something must have happened." " I wish the boys were at home," said Mrs. Wells. It seemed a long time before the boys were at last seen riding up the hill. As soon as they noticed their mother and the girls watching for

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A VICTORY. 291 them, Israel and William waved thei _ r caps above their heads, shouting: "Hurrah! Hurrah!" " What is it ? " cried the girls, running to meet them. '' Burgoyne has surrendered ! " shouted both boys together. "Is it possible?" cried Mrs. Wells. "Yes, his whole army is captured, and seven thousand stands of arms, and quantities of cloth ing, tents, and stores of all sorts; exactly what our army needs so badly." " People in Greenfield are all stirred up," said William. "They 're out on the streets, and the drums are beating, and the flags are run up and waving, and everybody's shouting. I'm glad we happened to be down there to see it all." "A courier from Saratoga rode to Westfield with the news," said Israel. "The Westfield folks despatched an express rider to Northamp ton, and the Northampton people sent word to Deerfield, and John Sheldon rode over from Deerfield to Greenfield to bring the news there." "Don't unsaddle your horses, boys," said Mrs. Wells. " After supper you had best ride over into the centre and spread the news. It is too good to keep." The boys were only too delighted to ride forth

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292 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. on such a mission as this. It is human nature to like to tell a bit of news. But when it was such joyful tidings, who could blame the boys for hastening their horses over the bills, in the frosty Octoper moonlight, as they cantered on to tell the Nimses, the Longs, the Taylors, the Fiskes, and the rest, not forgetting Uncle Jed, that Burgoyne had surrendered, and that the at tempt of the British to sever New England from the other colonies had signally failed? The boys felt almost as if they had fought the battle themselves, as their horses' hoofs rang over the frosty ground and they galloped on in the clear moonlight, bearing their joyful tidings, " Burgoyne has surrendered ! "

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CHAPTER XXIV. IN CONCLUSION. ON October 25, 1777, Abigail Adams wrote that to Boston "had come the joyful news of the surrender of Burgoyne and all his army to our victorious troops. Burgoyne is expected in by the middle of the week. Must not the vaporing Burgoyne, who, it is said, possesses great sensibility, be humbled to the dust? I have heard it proposed that he should take up his quarters in the Old South, but believe he will not be permitted to come to this town." There were not wanting people to wonder if Burgoyne had found the "elbow room" which seemed to him so easy to attain when he first landed in Boston. His troops were to be quar tered at Cambridge, and the people of Massachu setts were vastly interested in the passing of Burgoyne and bis army across tbe state.1 The army began its march October nineteenth, when it left Saratoga, crossed the Hudson in 1 Appendix I.

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294 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. boats, and went to Schaghticoke, then to Lans ingburg, and thence over the Hoosac Mountains. A severe storm of rain, hail, and snow, with a cold wind, raged about the prisoners as they traversed the wild and desolate mountain passes, and their sufferings were intense. The army apparently divided, the two sections taking slightly differing routes, probably for convenience in feeding and quartering so large a body of men in the little villages along their route. One division reached West Springfield on the twenty-ninth, and rested there over the thirtieth. The men encamped on West Spring field common, while General Riedesel crossed the Connecticut to Springfield to arrange for provi sions for his men. The Springfield people were not over cordial to the Hessian general, and wholly declined to quarter his troops. They therefore marched on to Palmer. Burgoyne, with a part of his army, passed through Hadley on October twenty-sixth. On that day, Mrs. Charles Phelps of Hadley recorded in her diary : "Our whole family left hometo see the Reg ulars pass, but only babe and me." Colonel Porter of Hadley, who had been serv ing in the campaign against Burgoyne, invited

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IN CONCLUSION. 295 that general to stay at his home while in town. The soldiers, meantime, were encamped on Aqua Vitre meadow. On leaving, Burgoyne presented General Porter with a sword, in recognition of his courteous hospitality. This sword is still carefully treasured in Hadley by the descendants of General Porter. Through Pelham the defeated army marched to Worcester, and thence to Cambridge. In the towns wherever the army stopped, men, women, and children thronged from far and near, more especially to gaze upon the once dreaded Hes sians, and the prisoners were annoyed at finding themselves stared at as if they had been wild animals on exhibition. Many were also desirous of seeing a real " lord " or " marquis." Along the way, as opportunity offered, some of the Hessians dropped out of the ranks, con cealed themselves, and remained to become per manent settlers. Many a town has on its records names of these quondam Hessian prisoners who had no desire to return to their native land, but pref erred to become American citizens. In November, Colonel Wells and his regiment were discharged and came home. "How different everything seems since father and David came home ! " said Mary one day.

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296 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. " We have almost as much to do, but somehow it all seems easier." " It is because the burden of responsibility is lifted," said Mrs. Wells. " We feel underneath all the time that your father is here, and so all must go well. No one can tell the difference it makes to me." That Israel was relieved goes without saying. His father was pleased to find that Israel, under the pressure of responsibility in his absence, had developed a greater degr e e of capacity and relia bility, and was much more manly. " There is considerable truth in the title of that little story book of Walter's, 'Hard Things Are Good For Folks,'" said the colonel to his wife. " Look at Israel. He is more of a man than I ever expected to see him." " Israel will be all right, give him time enough," said his mother. Immediately after bis return, Colonel Wells had to devote himself to the hard task of raising money to pay his soldiers for their services in the late campaign. Even the men who had served at Fort Ticonderoga in the early summer had not been paid. Money was almost impossible to obtain. Most business transactions were by barter. The Con-

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IN CONCLUSION. 297 tinental paper money was steadily deteriorating, and prices of all articles soared in value. But somehow Colonel Wells succeeded in raising the required amount, as sundry time-stained scraps of yellow paper still held by his descendants testify. Here is one : "SHELBURNE, Nov. 111777. "Received of Colonel David Wells of Shelburne for my Services and Company in the Service of the United States at Mount Independence last summer three hundred thirty pounds four shillings sixpence, I say received by me. " TIMOTHY CHILDS, Captain." In spite of the incessant spinning and weaving demanded of the women of the time to answer the calls from the army, besides providing for the families at home, Mary Wells had managed, by uncea,,sing industry, to make her "setting out"; that is, she had spun, woven, and made the necessary sheets, blankets, tablecloths, towels, etc., also bedquilts and comfortables, besides her own clothing, and in October, 1778, she was married to John Wells. He had bought a farm in the little new town of Myrifield up among the Hoosac Mountains. The wedding was a great event in the Wells family, and for the young people of Shelburne, many of whom rode in

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298 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. couples well out over the western hills to escort the bridal couple on their way to their new home.1 About the same time Colonel Wells built the first frame house in Shelburne, on the southeast part of his farm, which he had given to his oldest son David as his portion, when David was married to Phoebe Hubbard, sister of the min ister, Rev. Robert Hubbard. Thus time was bringing its inevitable changes into the once large Wells family. Only five children were now left at home. It is not the purpose of this book to follow . the history of our country through the Revolu tionary War. The country could hardly have endured to the end had its people realized the prolonged struggle before them. " Hope springs eternal in the human breast," and each year the Americans had confidently hoped that the next would surely see the end of the war. The surrender of Burgoyne practically ter minated the warfare in New England. The scene of the struggle was now tr an sf erred to the Southern States. But many New Englanders were still in the army, and at times made great sacrifices to aid the nation's cause. Captain 1 Appendix J,

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IN CONCLUSION. 299 Sylvanus Rice of Charlemont mortgaged his farm to raise money to pay his company when they marched to the aid of New London. Lieu tenant John Bolton of Coleraine, who was chief engineer in the construction department at West Point, finding in 1779 that his men, badly clothed and underfed, had received no pay for a long time, and were almost in a state of mutiny, came home, and mortgaged his valu able property in Coleraine to obtain money to pay them. Many similar stories of patriotic devotion could be told. On May 7, 1779, Shelburne voted to "take the oath of fidelity and allegiance to the United States of America." The new nation was born and named. It is difficult now to realize the hardship caused by the depreciation of the Continental money. On July 4, 1780, this little farming town of Shelburne voted " to raise 5000 pounds to defray Town Charges," and in November of the same year it was voted "this Town will raise 7000 pounds money to purchase this Town's quota of beef required by the General Court." There was a constant demand upon the poor little towns for beef and other supplies for the army. In January, 1781, Shelburne voted

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300 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. "to raise the town's quota of beef, the first moiety in beef, the second in grain or beef, and that Lieut. Robert Wilson be paid 158 pounds for his trouble and expense in purchasing and driving the beef to Northampton." In June, 1779, Congress ordered a large quantity of shirts, shoes, and stockings for the army, of which Springfield was to furnish sixty-six, Northamp ton sixty-four, and so on. In May, 1780, came a like order, with a call for half as many blank ets as of the other articles. Meantime the Continental currency continued to depreciate, until in September, 1781, Shel burne town meeting voted that "wheras the Continental money is dead," delinquent taxpayers "may pay in wheat at six shillings a bushel, delivering same at the constable's dwelling house." At this time a saying be came common, still sometimes applied to any thing absolutely valueless, "It's not worth a continental." On October 17, 1781, the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and his army at Yorktown filled the country with joy. Congress issued a procla mation for a day of general thanksgiving and prayer, in acknowledgment of "this signal inter position of Divine Providence."

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IN CONCLUSION. 301 Not until the spring of 1783 was peace form ally concluded. On November 3, 1783, Wash ington delivered his farewell address to his army, which was then disbanded. The weary struggle of seven years was ended, independence was won, and the new country, small and poor, impoverished indeed to the last degree by the war, its people only a few millions scattered along the Atlantic Coast, faced the world, ready to begin its career. Colonel David Wells lived to be ninety-one years old, dying in 1814, his mind unimpaired to the e d. An obituary notice says of him: "He was distinguished by an activity which is rarely to be met with among men of his station. He took an active part in the revolu tionary contest, and was one of those patriots who pledged their lives and fortunes in estab lishing our national independence." His wife died the following year. The chil dren scattered in various directions, only the two youngest, William and Walter, remaining in Shelburne, where William lived on the old home stead, in a frame house built by bis father about 1790, still standing, and Walter on a portion of the large original farm set off to him. Both were honored, useful, and public-spirited men.

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302 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Israel married and lived in Connecticut. In his old age, being left alone in the world, he came back to the home farm, and there passed his last years with William, where "Uncle Israel's" peculiarities afforded endless amuse ment to the next generation of young people growing up on the old farm, -William's children. Lucinda married a prosperous young farmer in Gill, a new town set off from the north part of Greenfield in 1793. After the war was ended, young Preserved Smith of Ashfield, the soldier of whom we had a glimpse marching to the war, succeeded, by his own exertions, in going through Brown Univer sity at Providence. He then came to Shelburne to study for the ministry with Rev. Robert Hub bard. Naturally, he visited in the family of his old commander, Colonel Wells, and equally of course, perhaps, he fell in love with Eunice, now a blooming maiden in the early twenties, a girl of sterling practical qualities and much strength of character. Rev. Preserved Smith was settled as minister over the church at Rowe (as Myri field had recently named itself), and here he and his wife lived for nearly forty years, powers for gooa in all the region around.

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IN CONCLUSION. 303 Happy were the days when Colonel Wells and wife, or William or Walter and their wives, out to Rowe to visit Mary and Eunice in their pleasant homes. When Eunice came home to the 8ld farm on an occasional visit, a Wells descendant has told the writer of the happy evenings he well remembered when "father and Aunt Eunice," aided sometimes by " Uncle Israel and Uncle Walter," always brought out their song books and sang again the old songs together. Those days are ended, and the actors in the Revolution have long since passed away. But now that the United States is a great, powerful, prosperous nation, it is well that we should sometimes go back to the days of small things, to the humble beginnings, recall those times of struggle and poverty, of self-denial for a noble cause, and realize, with a deep gratitude akin to that of our forefathers, how God has led our nation on.

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APPENDIX A. " The first meeting house was located on Trap Plain, at a point supposed to be central in the 'seven miles square grant' (now Greenfield and Gill). This locality was heavily wooded, and w:as much resorted to by local hunters. The old Indian spring a mile north on the stage road was particularly attractive to wild animals, and here a few years since was dug up one of James Gorse's bear traps." James Corse was "the historic hunter, trapper, and scout, a fit subject for the author of the Leatherstocking Tales. His common hunting-ground covered the Deerfield, Green, and Fall River valleys, up into southern Vermont. His traps were marked with three hacks, and he gen erally kept two chained together." -From the "History of Greenfield," by Francis M. Thompson. Trap Plain is now called Four Corners, or Long's Corners, and the electric cars whirl by there every half hour. A stone watering-trough with suitable inscription indicates the site of the town's first meeting-house. 20

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306 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. APPENDIX B. "There was no post-office in Williamstown in 1775, nor until twenty-two years later. At that time there were but four mail routes in the entire country: (1) the great seaboard route from Portland to Savannah; (2) the route from New York via Albany and Montreal to Quebec ; (3) the inception of the route from Phila delphia to Pittsburg; and ( 4) the ocean route from New York to Falmouth, England." -From" Williamstown and Williams College," by Professor Arthur L. Perry. APPENDIX C. " The whigs of Deerfield had heavy odds against them. Incense to the King from the fragrant Hyson filled the air. The minister, the judge, the sheriff, the esquire, the three doctors, the town clerk and treasurer, one store keeper, two of the three tavern keepers, most of those who had held commissions from the King in the late wars, and generally the young bloods who were looking forward to places of honor or office from royalty, were loyal to the source of power. A large proportion of the civil and military offices in other parts of Western Massachusetts were held by men of the same mind, and there were many ties of

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APPENDIX. 307 blood or marriage between these and the Tories of Deerfield." From the " History of Deerfield," by George Sheldon. APPENDIX D. The population of Greenfield in 1776 was 735. Now it is nearly or quite ten thousand. "There were, in 1776, 176 houses, 6 mills, 220 horses, 18 oxen &c ; ' carriages of all sorts none.' " From the" History of Greenfield," by Francis M. Thompson. APPENDIX E. As illustrating the experience of the Revolutionary soldiers the following extracts are given from the diary of Samuel King of Sutton, Mass., now in the pos session of his descendant, Mr. J. H. Sanderson 0 Greenfield. It is difficult, in this age of steam and trolley cars and automobiles, for us to realize that, during the Revolution, the soldiers must always travel on foot. 1 a Massachusetts company went to reinforce the American army in Virginia, it must walk the whole distance, as the companies from Penn sylvania, Maryland, and Virginia did when they came to help raise the siege of Boston.

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308 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. Samuel King was but seventeen years old when he "was draughted to reinforce the Northern Army, in August, 1777, at Sutton." "Aug. 16, 1777. We met and expected to march, but did not. Aug. 17. Upwards of thirty of us paraded and marched to meeting together. "Aug. 18, we marched to Charlton, arrived at Major Davies's who gave us a good supper and breakfast." After this, they marched from twenty-two to twenty five miles daily, through Brookfield, Belchertown, Northampton, Chesterfield, a place which looks, in the time-stained manuscript, like " Gageboro," then to East Hoosac (North Adams) and Williamstown, reaching Bennington August 26th. "Aug. 26. We arrived at Bennington, and went into a large Barn. "Aug. 28. We marched onto a plain where was a house and barn which one company went into. The two other companies of us laid a few boards for a shelter. Our centrys took a man, said he came from the enemy, said they were at Saratoga. ''Aug. 30 and 31 we worked upon our Barracks. "Sept. 1. We moved to our barracks, which were made of poles and boards, where we were joined by two more companies. "Sept. 2 and 3. N remarkable." Later they marched to Pawlet. "Sept. 9. We arrived at Pawlet and encamped in the woods. We mads our huts of poles, and thatched them with Fox-tail which we cut up with our knives.

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APPENDIX. 309 It rained very steady all night, however we did not get wet much. " Sept. 28th. We left Skeensboro after having burned all the boats at the landing of Lake Cham plain. We marched to Granville, and several of us lay around a stack of hay. I had a poor night of it, and lay very cold. " Sept. 29. We arrived at Pawlet and went into our old brush tents. "Oct. 2. We marched for Gen. Gates's Army, eight of us having packs, guns and accoutrements to carry for twelve men. Oct. 6. We arrived at Gen. Gates's Army encamped on Bemis's Heights three miles above Stillwater. We had no sort of a shelter." Oct. 7. After describing the battle, he says:" We stayed out until about ten o'clock (p. m.) when we had leave to retum to our Barracks and cook what provisions we had and lay upon our arms, though part of us had no Barracks nor provisions." Oct. 8. "We turned out at 3 o'clock (A. M.) and went down towards the enemy's line where we marched round till about noon, when a large detachment of us went to Saratoga in order to cut off the Enemy's re treat if they attempted it. We returned about dark.This night I was obliged to lie out in the open air. " Oct. 9. We drawed tents. However we had a tedious time of it, it being very windy and rainy. This night the Enemy retreated to Saratoga." "Oct. 17. Gen. Burgoyne's Anny marched out

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310 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. of their entrenchments. Grounded their arms and marched through our Army which was paraded, and proceeded on their way to Boston. "Oct. 18. We marched to Stillwater, and lay without any shelter. " Oct 19. We marched to Halfmoon and lay as before. "Oct. 20. We marched to Albany and encamped upon a miserable place upon account of wood and water. "21. A cold day and snowed a little." Nov. 16, he records, "We heard that the firing which occasioned the alarm last night were some men who shot at a bear." This was in the vicinity of White Plains, N. Y., I believe, where the regiment was disbanded, each soldier being left to find his way home on foot as best he could. After Sumner King's return from the war, he studied for the ministry, and was settled as a Baptist pastor at Wendell, Mass., later going as Baptist mis sionary to Pennsylvania, where he died. In this con nection, it is pleasant to give the testimony of one of the Hessian officers, quoted by Irving in his "Life of Washington," as to the appearance and demeanor of our ancestors on the occasion of the surrender of Burgoyne: "We passed through the American camp in which all the regiments were drawn out beside the artillery, and stood under arms. Not one of them was uni formly clad; each had on the clothes which he wore

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APPENDIX. 311 in the fields, the church, or the tavern. They stood, however, like soldiers well arranged, and with a military air, in which there was but little to find fault with. All the muskets had bayonets, and the sharp shooters had rifles. The men all stood so still that we were filled with wonder. Not one of them made a single motion as if he would speak with his neighbor. Nay more, all the lads that stood there in rank and file kind nature had formed so trim, so slender, so nervous, that it was a pleasure to look at them, and we all were surprised at the sight of such a handsome, well-formed race.'' Irving adds: " He made himself merry, however, with the equipment of the officers. A few wore regimen tals ; and these were fashioned to their own notions as to cut and color, being provided by themselves." Possibly the Hessian officer caught a glimpse of Captain Isaac Newton of Greenfield, in his home made suit of white woollen I APPENDIX F. On March 11, 1776, Shelburne chose these men as the Committee of Correspondence : Major David Wells, John Wells, Robert Wilson, Aaron Skinner, John Burdick, John Taylor, Samuel Wilson. In June, it was voted to increase this committee to twelve, and these names were added: Deacon Samuel Fel lows, Captain Lawrence Kemp, Lieutenant Benjamin Nash, Lieutenant John Long, Mr. Stephen Kellogg.

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312 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. APPENDIX G. Willard, in his History of Greenfield (1838), thus describes "the Old Burial Ground" : "From the brow of the hill at this burial ground, is to be found one of the most pleasant and picturesque prospects in this part of the country, and worthy the pencil of an artist. The eye here takes in a view of the sloping mountains of Shelburne, Deerfield and Sunderland, and the romantic rocky ridge bordering the village on the east; the rich meadows below and on the river; parts of those at Deerfield ; the scattered houses in the hamlet of Charleston, with its stone jail, princely jail house, and neat grounds ; the old mill; the windings of the Green River and the evergreen hill beyond, and minor objects. -A few years since, a beautiful grove of stately oaks covered the southern declivity of the hill adjoining this ground. Their appearance, to those coming from the south, was very beautiful. -It is still a very beautiful spot, although much which rendered it peculiarly inviting, is lost by the removal of the oaks." About thirty years ago, the town decided to tear up this burial place, in order to obtain a short cut to the railroad station, and the site is now covered with brick buildings. We cannot believe such a sacri lege would be committed now,. with the present greater regard for historic places and associations. ,

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APPENDIX. 313 All persons having relatives interred there were notified to remove their bodies, and the Colonel David Wells then living on the old farm (grandson of him of Revolutionary times) brought the few crumbling bones of Patience Wells to Shelburne, and placed them in the family lot there on meeting house hill, the spot familiar to her girlhood. APPENDIX H. In "Under a Colonial Roof-tree," by Miss Arria. Huntington, is given this extract from the diary of Mrs. Elizabeth Porter of Hadley. "August 13, 1775. Went down to Mrs. Thomas Smith's to get Lydia to show me how to make a pair of breeches, for the soldiers' people are sent to find ' em clothes." APPENDIX I. "It has been said that General Burgoyne occupied 'the Bishop's Palace' (at 10 Linden Street, Cam bridge). This was, of course, after his capitulation on October 17, 1777, at the time when the British and Hessian troops, 4200 strong, were assigned to Cambridge as their prison ground. The artillery of the captured troops was parked on the Common at

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314 BOYS AND GIRLS OF SEVENTY-SEVEN. this crisis, in front of Christ Church, and the bar racks built for the besiegers of Boston were now occupied by her vanquished foes." -From "The Romance of Old New England Churches," by Mary Caroline Crawford. \l•

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APPENDIX. 315 APPENDIX J. These inscriptions on grave-stones in the old Rowe burying-ground may interest the young friends of John and Mary Wells : " In memory of J 6hn Wells, Esq., died May 21st, 1813, in 59th yr of his age. This modest stone, what few vain marbles can, may truly say, Here lies an honest man, who broke no promise, served no private end, who sought no honors and betrayed no friend; Firm in his faith, from superstition free, Lover of peace and foe to tyranny, Calmly he looked on either life, and here Saw little to regret, or there to fear." " Mrs. Mary Wells, consort of John Wells, Esq., died 1797, 43d yr. Here rests a woman good without pretense, Blest with sound reason and with sober sense, Heaven, as its purest gold by tortures tried, The saint sustained it, but the woman died."

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Netv Colonial Stories for Young People OLD DEERFIELD SERIES By MARY P. WELLS SMITH Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth. $1.25 each ANEW series of colonial and revolutionary stories by the popular author of "The Young Puritans Series" with its scenes laid principally in Western Massachusetts. 1. The Boy Captive of Old Deer.field Mrs. Smith is the first to use the story of Stephen Williams, the captured son of Parson Williams, and his adventures among the Indians will be new to all young readers. The descriptions of Indian ways are faithful to truth. -Boston Journal. 2. The Boy Captive in Canada Tells in a life-like manner young Stephen's adventures during his wanderings as captive. -Philadelphia Press. 3. Boys of the Border Tells in a most spirited way the events in the Deerfield valley from 1746 to 1755 as they affected the Rice family. There is plenty of lively action. -Philadelphia Press. 4. Boys and Girls of Seventy-Seven A story of the Revolutionary War, more especially of the events culminating in the surrender of Burgoyne. LITTLE, BROWN, & CO., Publishers 254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON

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Accurate Adventure Stories "THE YOUNG PURITAN" SERIES By MARY P. WELLS SMITH 1. THE y OUNG PURITANS OF OLD HADLEY 2. TuE YouNG PURITANS IN KING Pnu.ip's WAR 3. THE YouNG PURITANS IN CAPTIVITY 4. THE Y ouNG AND OLD PURITANS HATFIELD Illustrated. Cloth. $1.25 each. MRS. Smith deserves very hearty commendation for the admirable pictures of Puritan life which are drawn with a skilful hand in this book (" Young Puritans of Old Hadley"). She has chosen a representative Puritan village as the scene, and the period of very early settlement of western Massachusetts for her story, a village which retains many of its early features to this day. -The Churchman, New York. Mrs. Smith has proven that she can write as simple and natural a story of child-life when the scene is laid two hundred and fifty years ago as when she chooses to de scribe country life in the New England of the present century. -Christian Register. She shows the same power of graphic description, the same faithful use of the best available material, and the same logical way of putting it into shape. -Commerical Advertiser, New York. Mrs. Smith has made history live again in her life-like narrative. The children of to-day may well learn something of the sterner virtues in reading this story of the endurance and fortitude of children of two centuries ago. Springfield Republican. She catches the very spirit of Puritan life. -Chicago Inter Ocean. LITTLE, BROWN, & CO., Publishers 254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON

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Bright, Livel!J, and Enjo!Jable "JOLLY GOOD TIMES" SERIES By MARY P. WELLS SMITH 1. JoLLY Goon Tua:s; OR, 5. JoLLY Goon TIMES To-DAY CHILD LIFE ON A FARM 6. A JOLLY Goon Smu1ER 2. JoLLvGoonTu1ESATSCHOOL 7. THE BRoWNs 3. JoLLY Goon TIMES AT HAcK8. THEIR CANOE TRIP MATACK 4. MoRE Goon Turns AT HACK-Illustrated. Cloth. MATACK $1.25 each THESE books (" J oily Good Times," etc.) give the best possible picture of New England child life about seventy-five years ago.-MISS HUNT, Supt. Children's Dept. Brooklyn Public Library. ' Allow me to express, unasked, the zest and satisfaction with which I read "Jolly Good Times." I am delighted that the joyous country life of New England is painted in its true colors for children.-COL. THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON. There is a fine fresh Jla.vor of country life in what Mrs. Smith writes, and her characters, particularly her chil dren, are thoroughly real and human.-R. H. STODDARD in New York Mail and Express. A bit of real literature is" Jolly Good Times at Hackmatack." It has all the vividness of actual experience.New York Tribune. LIT'rLE, BROWN, & CO., Publishers 254 WASHINGTON STREET, BOSTON

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Mrs. Smith's Story of C-Ountrg Life FOUR ON A FARM By MARY P. WELLS SMITH Illustrated. 12mo. Cloth. $1.50 MRS. SMITH'S latest book, like all the others she has writ t e n, is not only bright and natural, but wholesome and inspiring. -Pr01Jidenc e T e l e gram. The author knows her ground, for . she has reproduced the atmos phere of New Hampshire farm life to perfection. -W aahington Times . It would be well for American city youth if more such books descriptive of the joys and healthfulness of country life could be written . -P i ttsburg Chronicle Telegraph. The story of their everyday happenings is told naturally and entertainingly, and its ethical tone is strong and wholesome. -Congr e gationalist, Boston. In its pages children are taught to appreciate and enjoy the beauties of country life and the happiness to be attained by helping one another. -N61D Orleans Picayun e . It is a pleasing story, which will aid in making young people appreciate the beauties and delights of the country. -Phila delphia Press. The author of the "J oily Good Times" stories writes enter tainingly of the jolly good time four young people, from eleven years of age down to the kilt period, two little boys and two girls, had on a farm . -Pr01Jidence N61D1. LITTLE, BROWN, & CO., Publishers f.!54 WASHING TON STREET, BOSTON

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