« 上一页继续 »
OR INCIDENTS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “ THE DOCTOR'S THIRD PATIENT.”
Did my reader ever see an “Indian sum- / portfolio in her arms. He hardly noticed her, mer,” as we, in all the northern parts of the till she half paused, and with a comical look United States, witness it every autumn? It said, comes late in autumn, after the rich glories of “So, Henry Buel, you have come to be a summer are past-after the trees have yielded fool with the rest of us !” their fruits, and their foliage is either gone or “Why, Kitty! is that you ?” touched and painted by the frosts. The sky “It's me, or my ghost. But what are you wears a robe of softest blue, and the most de- here for ?” licious haze rests upon the landscape; the “Why, to attend the funeral, to be sure. I winds sleep, and the clouds float like piles of have come down out of the woods to bury the pearl, crested and fluted and polished; and dead,” and then added in a low voice, “maythough the green of nature is faded, yet Nature be to see a resurrection, too!" herself is robed in a loveliness, calm and inde “What a strange fellow you are! I suppose scribable. It is Summer, giving us her last you would go further to see this mock funeral, smiles, ere she falls into the cold grave which than if all the rest of us should die, or even kill Winter will dig, covering up her children in a ourselves for your sport!" winding-sheet of snow, and transfixing her “Now don't be trying that to see, Kitty. streams with his cold, icy spear. This short But where are you going so early ?" period used to be seized upon by the Indian to “Oh! I am going with my father. But you complete whatever might be necessary about are such a whig that I'm afraid to tell you anyhis wigwam or traps, or preparation for winter. thing. But my father is going to his log Hence it has always been called “the Indian cottage,' as he calls it, till these times have summer.” The squirrels come out and do their gone past, and the people are ready to obey last foraging; the wild fowls take their last the Bible and honour the King, as you Purilooks upon the northern lakes before leaving, tans might read, if you chose !" and the timid deer comes out of the forest to “Well, we won't quarrel now, dear Kitty, graze in the warm sun, ere he exchanges his because I know you think just as I do about summer diet for bushes and shoots.
these things-and—” It was early in the morning of the 1st of “You don't know any such thing, Mr. Henry November, 1765, on one of these lovely days, Buel," and she tossed her pretty head most that a canoe was seen coming down the Pis-scornfully. “Whether I do or not,” she added cataqua River, in New Hampshire, and making | after a pause, “I am glad that my poor father towards the then little town of Portsmouth. is going where he won't be so vexed, and where The canoe was made of a single pine tree, and none of you naughty whigs can find him.” though she moved slowly and heavily, yet she “He must go a great way off, if he means to was not ungraceful. In her bow was stuck the get rid of one—at any rate.” waring branch, fresh from a young pine; and The beautiful girl blushed, stammered somein the stern sat a youth alone, about twenty thing, shook her little hand and went on her years old. He was dressed in homespun and way. Just then the sun began to peep from home-made clothes, with a beaver-skin cap, the east, and the moment his golden form was around which was a black piece of crape, seen, the bells from the town began to toll which hung streaming out behind. On his slowly and solemnly. Black ribands were hung arms, just above each elbow, was another huge
on the door handles, and muffled drums began strip of old crape. It was evident that he was to beat. At an early hour the crowds began in deep mourning, or at least affecting to be. to assemble near the old court house, and long He landed just above the village, drew his before noon, it seemed as if “everybody" was canoe out of the water, and made his way into there. It was the day appointed by Royal the town. Hardly had he entered it, before he Proclamation, for the first distribution of the met a girl about sixteen years of age, tripping stamp paper, forced upon the Colonies by the her way hastily along the street, with a large British Parliament, and so indignantly rejected
by the Colonies. The countenances of all | hill, sloping eastward, down to the river. On evinced trouble, fear, and a scowl of daring. the north and south the country had been About eleven o'clock the marshals had formed cleared up; but on the west lay a forest, unerthe procession. The pall-bearers had gone into plored, and which reached back to the Great the court-house, and all stood silent. All had Lakes. When the new-made soldier first arsome grave badge of mourning about their per- rived at the camp, he saw what seemed to be sons. The bells had not stopped tolling since careless gaiety and leisure; but he soon found sunrise. Presently there came out, borne upon that behind the most glittering uniforms and the shoulders of men, a new bier, on which was parades, there were such things as poor and placed a superb coffin. It was richly orna- insufficient food, lodgings on the cold ground, mented, with a drooping eagle, spreading his without a covering, wounds that were not feeble wings over it. On the coffin-lid, in large dressed, sickness without nursing, and disletters, was printed “ LIBERTY, AGED cxLv. tresses without alleviation, and often without YEARS," dating her birth in 1620, at the landing compassion. Every selfish feeling of the heart of the Pilgrims on Plymouth Rock. With slow had full play. There were watchings and marchtread, and muffled drum, and tolling bell, the ings amid autumnal storms and winter sleet, coffin was carried to the grave, and let down and often the officers were unfeeling, and even gently, amid the firing of minute guns. After inhuman. About mid-day, a solitary soldier resting in the grave, an oration was pronounced was seen returning to the camp, without arms over this friend of the people, eloquent and of any kind. He had been off to a log house stirring, and terribly severe upon the authors almost four miles distant, but why he had been of her death. Scarcely had the oration closed, there no one knew. He was thoughtful, sober, and they were preparing to fill up the grave, and apparently greatly perplexed. He was a when our young canoe-man leaped up on the noble fellow, commonly known as “the Puridirt which came out of the grave and cried, tan,” because he read his Bible regularly,
“ Hold, hold! I see her move! She ain't never used profane language, never drank, and dead yet! She's only taken too much of their never quarrelled. Yet all knew that he was doctor-stuff! She's just awaking! Don't bury no coward. In the daily drill, leaping ditches her!"
and fences, carrying burdens, firing at the Like wildfire the spark caught and spread. / target, or acting the scout, he had no superior. There was a loud shout, and up came the For the last few days there had been quite a coffin. The drums struck up a lively beat, stir in the little encampment, by a danger, new the procession was re-formed, the badges were and mysterious. It was found that the sentinel torn off the arms and thrown into the grave; at the stand near the woods, on the west, had the bells rang aloud with a merry peal, and been missing every night. No traces of him “ LIBERTY REVIVED" was hastily scrawled and were to be found. They could not have destuck over the coffin, while the multitudes serted, because the patrols at the north and marched and shouted through the streets. The south would have intercepted them, and because young man who applied the torch at the right they would not dare to attempt to penetrate an moment, whether by design or accident, was interminable forest on the west. Some of them, • pressed into the selectest of the company, and too, were such characters as would never desert. became at once quite a hero. He bore it all For nearly a dozen nights, the sentinel had very meekly, and the ladies all declared the thus mysteriously disappeared. The men were young fellow was better educated than he was not ashamed to refuse to take the post. Some dressed. The day was closed with a great thought the Evil One had too much to do with supper, at which all partook who chose, with it. The humane but perplexed commander patriotic speeches, sentiments, and prophecies next called for volunteers, and none but the as to the future. At a late hour, Henry Buel bravest offered themselves. But the result was sought his canoe, and leaving the town far the same. No braver men lived than some who behind, paddled far up the beautiful Piscata- were thus taken away. As the soldier whom I qua—now starlit in the centre, and shaded by | have mentioned, slowly bent his steps towards overhanging trees on either bank.
his tent, with his eyes on the ground, he was Several years after this event, a part of the met by his Captain, with a face hardly less army under General Gates was encamped in anxious. He thus addressed him: the valley of the Hudson, watching the move- “Well, Buel, you have got back quick. Have ments of Burgoyne, previous to the battle in you made any discovery? Our Colonel is conwhich he surrendered. It was a small number founded, and relies on you to ferret out the of men who were selected especially to take mystery, and intimates that it will be as good the post of observation. As they were sur- as a captain's commission, if you can do it.” rounded by hostile Indians, it was also a post “Truce to his intimations, Captain. I have of danger. They were encamped on & side obtained no great light, and yet enough to help me form a theory. I have determined to i foundly dark and still. At every turn he volunteer to stand sentinel to-night, provided whistled some snatches of a tune, now emitting the Colonel will let me make my own condi- a loud note, and now sinking so low as to be tions.”
unheard, and at periods so uncertain that no “ What are these?”
one could calculate for a moment, by the whis“I will name them before my comrades when tling, precisely where the soldier was. He had we muster.”
also taken off his shoes, and walked in his “ Very well.”
stockings. He had walked his post nearly two Just before night, the little company were hours, when he noticed the grunting and the paraded, and volunteers for the forlorn post tread of a large hog among the bushes. His first were called for. Buel at once stepped out of thought was, “Why is not that fellow at home the ranks and said, “I will take the post, on and abed ?” The second thought was, “She three conditions. That there is a mysterious said so!” As he walked and whistled by turns, and certain danger, is very plain. That we the hog evidently worked along nearer. But as are all afraid to take the stand, is equally yet he could not see him. The animal rooted and plain. I trust I shall not be thought to forfeit grunted. After a while the soldier fixed his the character of a soldier, if I insist on my eye on the hog, nor did he for an instant take conditions."
it off, sometimes walking, and sometimes halt“Name them."
ing. About ten feet from where the soldier “ First, my post shall be nearer the woods; stood, was a small log, lying parallel with his that is, I will have four trees this side of me, path, or beat. The moment the bog attempted instead of having them all to the west of me." to step over the log, he noticed that he did not
** Well, I think the Colonel won't object to lift his foot naturally. It was done too carethat."
fully. In an instant he brought his gun to his “Second, that I may blacken the barrel and shoulder, and the woods echoed long and loud bayonet of my gun.”
at the report. The soldier stepped back a few “I think too, that may be allowed.”
paces, from the spot where the flash of the gun “Third, that I may whistle on my post.” revealed him, and commenced reloading. At
" Whistle on your post! A sentinel whistle on that instant a groan, unlike that of a dying his post !”
hog, was heard, and the alarm drum beat, to * Yes, sir, I mean just so, and I deem this so call out the guard to his relief. The guard essential to my safety, that I cannot volunteer came upon the run and met the sentinel. without it.”
“Buel, all well ?” “Stand to your arms,” shouted the Captain, “ All well, sir." and turned upon his heel for the quarters of “At what did you discharge your arms ?” the commander. In a few minutes he returned “We will see, sir,” and he led the guard to and dismissed the company. “Buel," said he, his mark. after the men had retired, “I believe you or “So you have actually shot a hog in your the Colonel, or both, are crazy, or fools, and terror.” perhaps both. The Colonel says you may whistle He gave the hog a kick, and off came the softly and low."
hog-skin, revealing a monstrous Indian, full " Very well, sir, that is all I ask for.” six feet and four inches long! He was dead,
About ten o'clock the soldier stood leaning and the mystery was solved. He had crept up upon his gun. He had blackened the barrel, to the sentinel in the disguise of a hog, night and had contrived to conceal his uniform, and after night, till he was so near that with a even to shade his face. He had written two spring he could leap upon him and throttle long letters, which he committed to a cområde, him, and carry him off dead. Buel received with a charge to forward them, provided he the congratulations of his comrades, the praises never returned. He had also read his Bible, of his officers, and it was the first step in his and even, with a few like himself, had spent a promotions, which followed in rapid succession. little season in prayer. The proper guard ac | Now for the links to our story. Among the companied him, as usual, to his post. It was first who went with Mason to his grant on the plain that they never expected to see him Piscataqua River was Egbert Hamilton, a man again. He merely said, “Officer of the guard, of fortune, a daring spirit, and who loved exif my musket is heard, I trust the guard will citement for its own sake, and dangers for the lose no time in coming to my relief.”
sake of their excitements. He was a thorough “You may be assured of that, my good fel Englishman in all his habits, views, and feellow.”
ings, attached to the Episcopal form of worship, The soldier shouldered his musket, and care- prejudiced against Puritanism, and ready to fully kicked every dry stick out of the path die for his king. That the king could do no which he was to pace. The night was pro- I wrong, was a prime article in his creed. He fixed his residence at Portsmouth, where, with | were both gone up the river on business. But a lovely wife and a little girl, he created a plea- his sister at home felt the shock no less than sant home. In the same neighbourhood lived the rest. She knew that on his return the & sturdy single-hearted Puritan by the name next morning, Henry would be off. But what of Jehiel Buel. He was a thrifty, well-to-do- could he do for clothing? It so happened that in-the-world sort of a man, who began his he was deficient in pantaloons, and neither garSabbath precisely at sunset on Saturday even ments nor materials could be bought. What ing, who never cheated a human being out of shall the patriotic girl do? She gets a dish of a. cent, who was a devout worshipper, an oats, goes out and calls the sheep, catches one, humble Christian, and an iron Whig. If Egbert and with her shears, takes off half of its fleece. Hamilton knelt with his prayer-book, Jehiel | How shall she colour it? She hesitates not, Buel stood up and uncovered his head, and let but goes and catches a black sheep and shears nothing come between him and his God but his it in the same way. This she washes, dries, Redeemer. If Hamilton was an uncompromising cards, spins, weaves, and, by sitting up all Tory, Buel was a Whig, bred in the bone. Yet night, actually had the pantaloons cut and they lived happily side by side, their families made up ready for her brother by sunrise the occasionally mingling together at the fireside next morning!* On the return of her brother, and their children conning their lessons toge he snatched his gun and pantaloons, kissed his ther in the same little log schoolhouse. But wearied, weeping sister, and went to the gathertime produces great changes. Egbert Hamil- ing of the people in the day of their peril. From ton buried his family—all excepting Kitty, this time onward, he had been in the army, who was left to him as a bright sunbeam in a sometimes almost · naked, sometimes almost dark night. Buel, too, had been called to starving, but never flinching. Like thousands mourning. He had been stripped of family and thousands, he served his country without and property, save one son, Henry, and a rewards, or honours, or the hopes of either. daughter, two years younger. In consequence When we next introduce Henry Buel, he is in of his misfortunes, he had left the town and the army at an advanced post of observation gone up the river and cleared up a wild farm,
as we have narrated. About a week before where he was living at the time when our his
the event of his standing sentinel, in one of tory commences. It was from this farm that his lonely scouting excursions he
| his lonely scouting excursions he had fallen in Henry came down in his canoe when we first with a large, strongly-built log house, which, find him attending the funeral of Liberty. The
from watching in concealment one whole day, excitement of the times, which had Boston for he was sure was the resort of Tories, Indians, its centre, was very great. It reached and and even British officers. By some means or thrilled every dweller in the land. One pulse other, to his utter amazement, he found it was seemed to beat through the nation. When the habitation of his father's old neighbour, Hamilton found that all around him were Egbert Hamilton! By some equally mysterious going to be Whigs, and that he must be left process, too, he discovered that his old schoolalone, he resolved to leave Portsmouth, and mate, Kitty, inhabited the cottage! How he go to a more loyal part of the country. New contrived to meet her alone, and actually.to York at that time seemed to be more passive to speak to her, to shake her little hand, and to the king and his ministers than the rest of the see the tear of gladness that dropped from her land, and owning a small estate on the Hudson eye, I am sure is equally mysterious. For River, he took his child and fled to find quiet | years they had been separated, neither knowand repose. He actually left his comfortable / ing where the other was, and neither expectin home on the morning of the popular outbreak ever to see each other again. And now they which we have described. Henry and Kitty | met-he, a soldier risking his life daily for had known each other at school. They were his country, and she, the daughter of a most very young, and probably had no very intimate determined Tory! She had too much filial knowledge of each other. But it is natural reverence to compromit her father by word or for the heart to indulge in day-dreams, and deed, and about him or his company she these usually commence early and last late in would not utter a single word. It came to life. The visions which dance before the eyes | pass also, that under the pretence of scouting, of the imagination, lie forward of us in youth, Henry was in the neighbourhood of the solitary and back of us in age.
dwelling often, almost daily, and by some When the first tidings of shedding of blood means or other it so happened, that he seldom at Lexington spread through New England, it came away without at least a short interview caused every young man to start up, seize his with Kitty. In these chance meetings, they gun, and hasten down from the hills and forests never talked of anything but politics — the to the scene of action. When they reached Portsmouth and vicinity, Mr. Buel and his son
* A literal fact.