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desperation, the deep powerful struggle for life, served him to the last—and that he had completely on the one hand, and death on the other.
baffled his pursuers—what was the surprise of
every listener ! The afternoon of that day was not yet ended, when a loud huzzaing reverberated through the
CHAPTER V. camp of the Virginia Legion. Caps and colors 'Twas then in hour of utmost need waved, the discharge of carbines and pistols rent He proved his courage, art and speed.
Now slowly stalked with stealthy pace, the air, and tumultuous cries of "the scoundrel
Now started forth in rapid race, is killed—the deserter is cut to pieces”-resounded Oft doubling back in mazy train, on every side.
To blind the trace the dews retain, Middleton was descried returning with his party.
Now clombe the rocks projecting high,
To ballle the pursuers eye, In the rear, a dragoon led by the bridle the power
Now sought the stream, whose brawling sound ful war-horse of the sergeant-major: but naught The echo of his footsteps drowned.
Rokey. occupied the sadule save the military cloak and Immediately after crossing the bill upon which boots, and the sword-scabbard of the missing. they first descried Champe, Middleton had arrived Those were slung across it like relics over the led at an abrupt turn in the road : but from the angle steed of the dead warrior in the funeral procession, thus formed, diverged a less frequented, but more and appeared plainly to indicate the dark fate of direct route through a thick wood, to Paules Hork, the deserter.
the main road leaving the shortest course in order “ Thus may it ever be,” cried the stern Carnes, to pass through the village of Bergen. The path who stood in front of a group of officers, drawn through the wood rejoined the highway a short by the clamor from their quarters, “ with the rash distance below Bergen, and before it reached a fool who deems it an easy matter to bring disgrace deep creek, running through a swamp, at the upon this Legion.” And fifty voices applauded foot of the high ground on which the village is the sentiment in a deafening shout.
situated. Suddenly the noise was hushed: a murmur ran Upon inspection, it was discovered to the equal through the camp, and the officers fell back as surprise and joy of the pursuers, that the fugitive Lee, himself, walked forward to gaze upon the had taken the longest route. sight that had caused the tumult. A faint smile “By the soul of Washington!” cried the gratiirradiated his countenance as he returned the fied Cornet, in high excitement," he is ours. Thus, salutations of his officers; but those very officers, my boys, you see that guilt can make the most whose love for their commander quickened their acute man a fool. Sergeant Watkins, take three perception, could not fail to notice that it was men of your own choosing, and away with you forced. Nay, the step that heretofore was ever through the woods, as if a certain old gentleman firm, slightly faltered now; and the cheek that you are well acquainted with was at your heels. had never before revealed dismay, was blanched Take possession of the bridge, and I will drive to a deathlike paleness.
the rascal into your arms. But mark me, sirThis unusual appearance of their valued leader take him alive-or I will hold you accountable for wrought an instant change in the feelings of his his blood. There is no necessity for killing him troops; and as they now looked upon that which now.” had caused their late rejoicing, sorrow took pos The parties separated that of the sergeant rushsession of their souls ; their minds dwelt upon the ing with headlong speed down the rough wood path, thousand virtues instead of the one fault of the and that of Middleton moving at a brisk gallop strangely deluded Champe. But how fluctuating on the trail of the deserter's horse. Watkins soon are the feelings and passions of man, and how gained his post, and carefully concealed his party, swayed by the most irifling circumstance! Affec- two on either side of the road. Thus situated, he tion for an unfortunate comrade, was now upper- waited some time ;—but no sound broke the stillmost in the bosoms of those bardy warriors who ness of the morning. had just banished exultation in his downfall. In Meanwhile the party of Middleton came on in a few short minutes they would experience morti- strict order, increasing their speed as they drew fication for having ever loved him or pitied his fate. nearer the point of junction and perceived not To this would succeed implacable hatred to his Champe. They rushed through the village like a memory-uncompromising detestation of his very whirlwind, startling the quiet Dutch inhabitants,
about this time taking their early morning meal, When the advancing party drew near, it was and dashed down the hill toward the bridge, the observable that there was no exultation or triumph loud blast of their bugle announcing their approach in their looks. In this, it might be they but res- to Watkins. ponded to the feelings of those they met. But when, The watchful sergeant now ordered his men from in answer to the demand of his Major, Middleton their cover, and formed a line directly across the reported that the ingenuity of the deserter had/bridge. The tramp of Middleton's horses sounded
nearer and nearer. His party came in sight, “ And into them he means to plunge, d-n they closed in with their friends—and, to their him,” shouted the strong sighted Watkins; " for utter mortification and chagrin, discovered that if he has’nt strapped his valise to bis shoulders I'll Champe had once more completely deceived them. be savin' your presence, Cornet Middleton,
A brief consultation decided that it was impos- but there lays his scabbard, ylistening in the sun, sible that he could have passed the bridge before in front-yes, and just beyond it, his cloak.” Watkins reached it; and that, if it was possible, “ Forward!" roared Middleton at the top of his he must be so near the enemies post at Paules voice. “Have you no spurs, you villains? ForHook that further pursuit would be useless. The ward, I say. Are you riding the clumsy nags of result was that the whole party returned to Ber-Clinton's Hessians, or the high mettled steeds of gen; but not with the laggard motion of worn-old Virginia? Forward! I say, forward! Don't down and disappointed men ; for the ambitious be afraid to break your ranks now—the man who and determined young officer who commanded goes ahead is the best fellow. Lee wishes to see them had already resolved upon his course. Wat- his sergeant-major-don't let him get drowned kins was ordered to divide the men into four par- among the rocks off the point.” ties, and look for the track of the deserter's horse A turn in the road near a small clump of cedars, in every avenue leading from the village in any now hid the form of the fugitive, momentarily, direction ; while he himself made inquiries of the from his pursuers' sight: but obeying the cominhabitants whether the man he sought had been mand of their leader, each man did his utmost to seen by them. He learned that a dragoon had excel his companions,–Middleton, his sergeant, ridden through their village, at full speed, but and the young Buxton taking the lead of the none could tell in which direction he had left it. others. For a minute the three rode side by side, They could only inform the Cornet that they be- and then Watkins dashed ahead of his rivals, lieved the fellow had turned every corner he came sweeping past the cedars with the swiftness of the to, and rude through each one of the few streets wind. In another instant he had passed the horse of of the place; and these were so beaten and muddy Champe, his bridle thrown over a sapling, biting that no distinct track of man or horse was dis- off the grass at its root, with a composure plainly cernible.
indicating that the noble animal had been favored Such information was anything but satisfactory; so as to have performed with ease all that had been but, owing to the vigilance of his men, Middleton required of him. The rider had left the road, and was not left long to ponder upon it in suspense. was now running across the marsh in the direction The discharge of a pistol, the preconcerted signal, of two British gallies moored in the Kills. His suddenly announced that a party who had taken boots had been drawn, and lay in the road. the road leading westward, to Bergen Point, had Although Watkins immediately perceived the struck the trail of Champe's horse! The different situation of affairs, his horse was under such speed parties again amalgamated; and when Middleton that he found it impossible to hold him up. He rode up, he was informed, that from the trail dis- however exerted his powerful voice in warning covered, it was evident the fugitive had once more his companions to dismount, and in a short time leisurely walked his horse off, while they had been the fugitive found himself closely pursued by the riding swiftly toward the bridge.
Cornet and Buston, followed at a short distance “ Whether he walks or runs,” cried the Cornet, by the whole party on foot. “he must be our prisoner now—thank Heaven, “ Yield yourself, villain,” cried Middleton," or there is no road leading to or from the point but I'll drive a bullet through your faithless heart. this. Nevertheless, we may as well make short Yield, and save your life—if it is worth saving. work of it. Forward.”
Champe! yield, I say. I have the advantage of Once more they dashed their spurs into the you. You have no fire-arms." flanks of their jaded horses, and once more was the The deserter sped onward. He neither looked deserter descried. Again it was evident that he behind him or replied; and the ball from a pocketwas apprised of their contiguity before them- pistol of Middleton's wbizzed past his ear. He now selves ;—for the trail showed that the walk of his exhibited another act of consummate coolness, and horse had been changed to a gallop on the very actually slackened his speed, in order that he might spot whence they discovered him.
not exhaust himself so much as to be unable to swim “He is ours,” cried Middleton again—"with well, when he reached the water; rightly judging steep rocks on one side and the swamp on the that his ardent pursuers had not taken time to draw other, he cannot escape. Remember your orders, their pistols from the holsters, upon abandoning men—there will be no necessity for taking his life. their horses. Middleton, however, failed not to This road leads only to the deep waters of the improve the advantage this gave him, and was Kills. "*
rapidly gaining upon him; when, unfortunately, a * Generally known by this appellation. The proper or rather low, soft spot in the marsh impeded his progress the original Dutch name was Kill Van Kuhl, or Van Kuhl's River. It is a strait connecting Newark and New York bays. in his heavy horseman's boots. Instantly perceiv
ing this, and observing that the crews of the gal- chagrin, but did not censure the Cornet. On the lies, having been aroused by the discharge of the contrary, he applauded his zeal and acuteness, tellCornet’s pistol, were watching him, Champe paus- ing him that had the deserter been any other than ed an instant upon the shore, and shouted aloud- Champe, he must certainly have been taken.
“In the name of the King's majesty, help! For a day or two, the story of Champe's perfidy help!-save a loyal subject from the merciless was in the mouths of the whole Legion. At first, rebels."
his place in the corps was, from day to day, supIn the next moment, the voice of young Buxton, plied by temporary appointments; but at the end faint and broken by his extreme exertion, but of a fortnight, a regular sergeant-major was named full of bitter sarcasm, fell upon his ear.
by the commander—and the name of Champe“Come back," he cried, “come back and teach once the pride of the Legion-was scarcely heard us a “soldier's honor,' John Champe. Come back, among those wronged warriors to whom his virand preach for us again, you hellish hypocrite.” tues had in better days endeared him as a brother. And attempting in his indignation and anger, a Meantime, the deserter was in New York, in bound too powerful for his exhausted strength, he the midst of plenty-patronized by Sir Henry fell prostrate and nearly breathless at the feet of Clinton-British gold in his pocket,-and-fitting the deserter.
conclusion--cheek by jowl with that prince of traiStung to the quick by the bitter taunt, Champe tors, Arnold himself. turned upon the fallen youth, his dark visage glow It now becomes our duty to follow him into the ing with an expression as horrible as though all strong hold of the enemies of his country-10 the torture of mind he had been doomed to feel, watch his actions—his words--his rery looks; throughout his inglorious flight, was concentrated and to ascertain whether conscience can be stifled in that one look. His naked sabre whirled around by gold, or whether even his consummate self-poshis head with a fierce celerity, but in the next in- session can hide its restless workings from obserstant his self-possession had conquered. The blade vation. flew twenty feet in the air, and the deserter plunged into the blue waves of the Kills.
No time was lost by the rest of the pursuing party, and the swistest runners had now reached I have cause, and will, and strength, and means, the shore. Sabres, boots, coats, scabbards, in To do 't. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me: stantaneously strewed the earth, and several had
Witness, this army of such mass, and charge. dashed into the water as they were, when, by
Exposing what is mortal, and unsure, order of the watchful Middleton, a bugle sounded To all that fortune, death, and danger, dare, the recall.
Even for an egg-shell! Rightly to be great,
Is, not to stir without great argument; Strict as was the discipline of the Legion, and
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw, great as was the confidence of the men in their When honor's at the stake? How stand I then? officers, it was not without some mutterings of
Hamlet. dissatisfaction that the dragoons prepared to obey As soon as the captain of the galley ascertained this signal. Another moment, however, served the views of Champe, he sent bim with a letter, to reveal the wisdom of the Cornet's decision; for stating the circumstances of his desertion, which a sharp sudden sound rent the air, and a ball from he had witnessed, to the commandant of New a small swivel on board of one of the gallies, tore York. After questioning him closely, the latter up the mud of the shore at their feet. Those who officer transferred him under the care of an orderly had cast off their clothes or accoutrements hastily sergeant to the adjutant general. Here he was seizing them, the dragoons sullenly retreated; again interrogated, and much satisfaction was esthough not without venting their rage in hallooing hibited, when it was discovered that he had belongto their former comrade, now safely seated in a ed to a corps so celebrated for their fidelity as the boat which had been sent to meet him, under cover Virginia Legion. According to the usage of the of the guns of the gallies. Loud and bitter were British, his name, the place of his birth, his size, the revilings that followed the deserter from the form, countenance, and other particulars respectshores of that patriotic little state in which he had ing him, were carefully noted and preserved. He first disregarded the words of bis dying father. The was then sent in charge of one of the staff, with British answered to the taunting shouts of their a letter from the adjutant to the commander-inenemies by a discharge of musketry, doing little chief of the British forces in America. injury—but serving to heighten the Virginians' In the afternoon of that day, Champe stood in enmity to themselves, and their hatred of the man a splendidly furnished apartment in Queen street. they protected.
His countenance was downcast, though, once or We have now given the substance of the report twice, those who were seated in front of him imamade by the disappointed Middleton to his superior. gined that, from beneath his bent brow, his eyes Lee listened with deep attention, exhibited some glanced searchingly around on cvery side. Pos
sibly they were mistaken, but if not, they ima- | without complaining, as any other people : but
“ You said the opinion was gaining ground that then assemble together, and have long consultaGeneral Arnold bad taken the wisest course," said tions among themselves. This makes me think" Sir Henry Clinton, after come remarks in an “Go on sir, go on,” said Clinton impatiently, undertone to two of his aids w bo sat near bim. when he observed the hesitation of the American. “What causes you to think so ?”
“Speak your mind freely, and fear nothing." “Your excellency is well acquainted with the “It makes me think, your excellency," resumed fact,” returned the Virginian,“ that Lee's Legion the deserter, “ that some scheme for coming over has been throughout the war one of the most faith to the King, with all the troops, is on foot' ful corps in the American service.”
“ Aha!” eagerly exclaimed Clinton, turning to “I am; and that which most surprised me in his companions, who were regarding Champe with regard to your own defection, was the circumstance the closest attention. “Do you hear that, gentleof your having come to us from that corps.” men? Does not the plot work well? You are a
“Well, your excellency, I know that very shrewd fellow, sergeant. You have shown it no corps is now full of discontent. The men are un- less in coming to us beforehand, than in foreseeing paid, and half the time unfed. Besides that, Gen- that a revulsion will take place. What induceeral Arnold's letter has convinced them that it is ments do you think most likely to bring this spirit their real interest to discontinue their resistance. of defection to an issue?” They think bis arguments very plain.”
Again the deserter hesitated.
“Of course, your “ They think rightly,” returned Clinton, with excellency is aware,” said he, cautiously looking a grim expression of satisfaction. “But your ac- around, as though fearing he might be overheard count does not agree with information I have here- by some person who ought not to be intrusted tofore received of the Virginia Legion. I have with an important secret," that I am not the best been told that Lee is an excellent provider, and judge of that; but my poor opinion is, in regard exceedingly careful of the interests of his men— to the Legion in particular, that is the men were nay, that he has even supplied, from his private offered a month's pay in advance, and some clothresources, the means of paying them, when Con- ing, such as shirts, stockings, and boots—so that gress has been deficient.'
the men might have them all in plain sight—that “I believe that is true, your excellency,” re- is, if it could be done, your excellency, by a fag turned the self-possessed Champe,“ but I know- or in any other way—their necessities would comand every man in the Legion knows—that he has pel them to accept them. Promises would not do not done so lately. It is reported in the corps, so well—first, because they have had too many of that he has found out that Congress is not likely to them from Congress; and second, because it is be able to repay him; and since that, we have had immediate relief they require. Then if the offito do without pay altogether. What he calls his cers could be offered bandsome pay-partly in adpatriotism has cooled down, though he preaches vance--and that shown them in gold—for they are about it as much as erer.”
entirely disgusted with paper-I think they would The stern features of the British Chief relaxed come over at once." into a smile, and the two aids indulged in a hearty “ You perceive, gentlemen,” said Clinton, again laugh.
turning to his aids, “ that my opinion of the re“I don't mean to say, your excellency,” rejoin- bels was well founded. Tell me not of the virtues ed the deserter quickly," that the Americans are of men reared from the cradle to the art of making any worse than other troops in regard to fighting money. Money is their idol—they love it more without pay; for I believe they will do it as long, than they fear gunpowder--and they shall have it.”
One of the aids narrowly remarked the counte As this appeared to preclude farther elucidation nance of the deserier while his superior uttered of the subject, Clinton was about closing the interthis sarcasm upon his country; but whether the view with his new adherent, when the aid who bad American had become dead to all sense of nation- not before spoken, suddenly askedal pride and spirit, or whatever was the cause, he, “Do you know whether Washington suspects at all events, did not betray the least feeling. On any officers of note of participating in the treathe contrary, his naturally bright eye seemed fix- the conspir—that is, in the defection of Arnold?" ed in a stare of vacant admiration on some of the "Ah, true," exclaimed Sir Henry, eagerly,rich furniture near which he stood.
"answer that question.” “ A chance is now offered,” resumed Clinton, " It is said that the commander-in chief is very with apparent carelessness, rising and walking to much agitated,” returned Champe; “insomuch a window that gave a view of the glancing wa- that he is almost afraid to trust any of the officers ters of the Hudson—" for some officer to serve his around him." King effectually. If that Legion could he brought “Aha!” cried the delighted Briton. One over en masse He interrupted himself, as more question, my good fellow, and we have done. though his attention had been attracted by some Is there not a certain officer of high rank wbom object without
Washington particularly suspects?" The aids looked at each other. One smiled sig The British General and his aids all appeared to nificantly, while the other darkly frowned—but listen breathlessly for the answer to this question. both remained silent. If they had chanced to On the other hand, Champe did not, in reality, reglance at Champe at that moment, they would gard their every word, expression of countenance, have caught his eye bent searchingly upon them. or motion, with an observation less searching and As the disappointed Chief turned from the window, close than that which they bestowed upon bim. the expression of the deserter's countenance in- There was this difference however in their appearstantly resumed the stare of stupid wonder, at the ance—the royal officers did not conceal their anssplendor around him, which we have before noticed. iety, while the imperturbable Virginian seemed
“ You appear dull, gentlemen,” said Clinton, perfectly indifferent. He even played carelessly endeavoring to conceal the irritation which his with the ornaments of the dragoon cap he held in flashing eye revealed, despite the effort. “Do his hand, though he looked steadily at the counteyour minds suggest no questions to put to this nance of the royal commander-in-chief, as be an
swered slowly“What is the current opinion in the rebel army “ There is one officer, your excellency, who is as to the probable fate of Andre ?” abruptly asked strongly suspected.” the officer who had appeared most indignant at the “ His name?” demanded the scheming Clinton, indirect offer just made by his superior.
advancing a step, in his eagerness. The face of Clinton Aushed with deep anger; “He is a major-general," returned Champe, but as he turned towards Champe, with the osten- somewhat evasively, and cautiously looking around sible object of listening to the answer he might the apartment, as though he did not feel secure, make to the question, but in reality to conceal his even in the British head-quarters, in stigmatizing resentment, and the querist himself also continued with so foul a crime, an officer who had performed to regard the American closely, their eyes did not signal service in desence of his country. meet.
“Enough,” muttered Clinton, with grim exul“The whole army are opposed to taking his tation—" I understand you." lise," answered Champe, without hesitation. The aids appeared to be greatly struck with the
The countenance of Clinton resumed its com- intelligence, and to comprehend perfectly to whom placency. “They cannot make him out a spy," the American alluded. said he, “ let them do what they will.”
“ Colonel,” resumed Clinton, addressing one of Ay-you mean the men,” quickly rejoined them with an air of reassured and haughty supethe aid, addressing Champe. "What say the offi- riority—"you will please write to General Arcers? What says Washington? What says that nold informing him of this affair.” Turning to peaceable man, the Quaker, Greene? Have you Champe, with a condescending smile, he said, heard his opinion? Or have you heard that of the “ upon Brigadier Arnold, my good fellow, you foreign officers in the rebel service?"
will wait with this letter, when finished ; and I “ There are various opinions among the general recommend you join without delay the American officers," answered Champe, exhibiting a slight Legion,' which he is now raising for the service of expression of impatience; for the royal officers had his majesty. Meanwhile, here is an earnest of the been questioning him more than an hour. “But reward which I shall take care that you receive I believe, your honor, it will make little difference for your commendable loyalty.” what they think; it is said the affair will be reser Then uttering a sigh, which if involuntary, was red to Congress.”
creditable to his feelings, he added—“ I sincerely