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Sir John. His head was bent, but as I entered he cried Sir John. “They carried aboard their ship looked at me from under his brows and glared something that meant more than ten times the angrily.
powder.” He rose from his chair and began Lord Bedford was standing and was speaking pacing the room, glowering fiercely all the while; when I drew near.
and the others stood in silence, shifting from one “We saw the ship blown up, Sir John, and im- foot to another and seeming as uncomfortable mediately sent two boats, in one of which I went as I. myself. We picked up the maid here, and Lieu- At last Sir John stopped and addressed Lord tenant Trelawney went on to investigate. He re- Bedford. ports that there was no sign of any one else, and "Was there aught else in the boat but this that, except for a little wreckage on the shore, girl?” he found nothing. There was no evidence of any “There were some boxes and a portmanteau one having landed.”
evidently holding her belongings. They are on “Do you mean to tell me they blew up the ship deck awaiting your orders." with all hands?" growled Sir John, not looking at "Have them searched at once," he commanded, Lord Bedford, but staring at me beneath his “and bring me every bit of writing you can find. brows.
Look sharp, now, for this is no paltry matter of a "It seems likely," was the answer, "for the few pounds of powder. 'T is not unlikely these boats were all at their davits except the one this scoundrelly rebels might make a messenger of the maid came in; of that there is no doubt.”
maid, thinking to trick us. Look to it, and bring "A fool's tale !"-Sir John snapped. "Hold, and me every scrap of writing that is found.” let me question the girl. Now, miss, the truth, As Lord Bedford hurried away to search the or 't will be the worse for you. Tell us how boxes, my heart sank, for I knew, if no one else came this accident to the Bouncing Betsey." in that room did, for what Sir John was looking.
" 'T was not an accident," I answered, as calmly It was, of course, the paper Captain Timmons as I could. “'T was by design.”
had been so much concerned about, and which, at "How know you that?" he demanded.
that moment, was hidden in the little book of "I heard the captain talk about it to Mr. Green, Moral Maxims in my portmanteau. Now, it the mate. He said he would send her to the bot- seemed to me that Sir John would surely find it, tom with all hands before he would let you take and I trembled for fear of what was to come, but her."
I hid my anxiety and tried to look as indifferent “Did the men leave the ship before or after as I could, for I knew that he was searching my you?" was his next question, and his eye had a face to see if, perchance, I might betray any cunning look in it as if he thought to trap me. knowledge of what he had hinted at. I took my
“I saw none leave the ship before or after," I courage in my two hands as Mr. Vernon had replied.
bade me, and, for love of the cause of liberty “But it is unbelievable !” cried Sir John, an- with which Captain Timmons had imbued me, I grily. “The shore was scarce a mile away. They determined to do my best to keep the secret; but could have escaped to the land.”
in my heart I was fearful. “They feared the troops ashore," I put in vol- While we waited, Sir John began to quiz me untarily, for I knew that Captain Timmons again. wished those on board the Good Will to believe “Why were you on the ship at all ?” he asked that all hands had gone down.
abruptly. “So they knew that, did they?” said Sir John, “I was going to my relative in America," I anmore to himself than to any one else. "I would swered. like to know how they found out”; then, seeming "And who is that?" was his next question. to break into a sudden rage, he brought his fist "Mr. John Travers, of Germantown," I redown on the table with a resounding thwack. plied, and then, thinking of another hint Mr.
“I 'll not believe I 'm to be balked by a lot of Vernon had given me, I added, "the Travers are rascally rebels !” he shouted.
cousins to Lord Harborough and to Sir Horace “But, Sir John," one of the officers put in Travers of Kent.” mildly, "it can scarce make any great difference. I watched to see how he would receive this The powder is lost to them, and if the men have news, and was glad to note that it had made an got ashore, which seems monstrous doubtful, impression, for he looked at me more closely than they will be captured within two hours of their before, and stopped in his walk up and down the landing."
cabin. "But the powder is the smallest part of it !" "Is your relative the Lord Harborough who lately married with the daughter of His Grace And then, as if to put a cap to all my woes, the Duke of Beaumont?” he said with a hint at a Lord Bedford came in hurriedly and handed my sneer, but I could see that, although he was not little book of Moral Maxims to Sir John, who inclined to believe me, he was uncertain.
snatched it eagerly. But I covered my face with “'T is the same," I replied; "and it was be- my hands, for very shame that my word had cause of the marriage that I am going to my seemingly been proved false and that the paper cousin, Mr. Travers.”
was like to be discovered. "A rigmarole," Sir John shouted. “Think you When I had gained control of myself suffiI believe such a tale from a waif picked up from ciently to take my hands from my face, I saw a rebel ship? Stuff! Is Harborough like to have Sir John again seated at the table with my book his cousins half over the world? I tell you before him. plainly, girl, I do not believe you."
He regarded it curiously for a moment or two, His doubting made me very angry all in a min- taking particular interest in the worked cover, so ute.
that my heart stood still, for fear he should dis"Nevertheless it is true as is all else I have cover the paper hidden therein. Then, to my told you," I retorted, and I could feel my face great relief, he picked it up and ruffled the leaves, flushing, which he noted as well, for his manner expecting, no doubt, that what he looked for became a little more civil.
would fall out. Failing in this, he began to go "Who is this relative to whom you are going?” through it, leaf by leaf, but I noted that here and he asked, after a moment's thought.
there he stopped to read what had been written, “'T is Mr. Travers, of Germantown."
and, as he read, the scowl on his face grew deeper "What kind of a man is he?" was the next
and deeper. question.
All in the room watched him, I, you may be “I know but little of him except that he is an sure, closest of all; and when, at last, he came to old gentleman and is reputed well to do.”
the end and shut the little volume with a bang. “Of Germantown,” Sir John muttered, repeat- I had all I could do to keep back an audible sigh ing my words. And then he looked about the of relief. company in the cabin as if in search for some Sir John glared at me, and then faced Lord
Bedford. "Where is Mr. Vernon?” he demanded. A "Was there naught else?” he asked. messenger went out of the cabin hurriedly, and a “Nay, Sir John," was the answer. “There was moment later entered again with Mr. Vernon, no other writing, and we searched her boxes who stepped up to Sir John, saluting in the naval diligently." fashion.
Once more the commander turned his attention "I have heard that you have lately visited in to me. the colonies, Mr. Vernon,” Sir John began, “and "So, cousin to Lord Harborough,” he began, that you had acquaintance with many people in with a sneer, "you are naught better than a rebel Philadelphia. Did you by any chance ever come spy. Why, there is enough treason in this book up with a Mr. Travers, of Germantown?” of yours to hang a dozen men! Take her away,
“Oh, yes," answered Mr. Vernon; "Jack Trav- Bedford, and have an eye kept on her till we ers I knew very well, indeed."
come up with the rest of the feet; then back to "Is he, mayhap, a rebel?” asked Sir John. England we will ship her, where I have no doubt
“I fear so, Sir John," answered Mr. Vernon. she will soon find other cousins a-plenty.” “'T is only to be expected from a hot-headed Lord Bedford nodded to Mr. Vernon, who young fellow with plenty of money."
stepped forward to lead me away; but I was in a "Young fellow?" demanded Sir John.
panic at the thought of being sent back to Eng"Why, yes,” said Mr. Vernon. "He came into land, with the fear added that I should not be his majority but last year. I was at the supper, able to deliver that paper after all. I knew not and a good one it was, too.”
what to do, but my desire was to have back my But no one paid the slightest attention to the property, so I stepped forward and held out my last remark, for Sir John had turned on me furi- hand. ously.
“I want my book," I said, as resolutely as I “So, miss," he roared, “your old Mr. Travers could. "The book that Granny gave me.” turns out to be a young, hot-headed rebel! I did “Oh! you want your book, do you?" Sir John well to doubt you, and I believe you have that for mocked. "Well, get that whimsy out of your which I am looking, in spite of your childish head; I shall keep it. It will make interesting ways and your seeming ignorance about it." reading for Admiral Howe when we join him.”
I MAKE A FRIEND
“But 't is mine, and you have no right to it!" cation. It might well be that an old man would I burst out recklessly, for I was become fair des- take in a girl when he expected a boy, but what perate, and felt I must have the book, not alone would a young man think of it? His letter to because of my fondness for it, but for what it Granny showed all too plainly. “I will take one contained.
of the boys, but, as I have no wife, I cannot take “Right! right !" shouted Sir John, as if he a maid.” scarce believed his ears; "you talk to me of "What shall I do!" I exclaimed, more to myright? Look you here, girl, 't is my right to clap self than to Mr. Vernon; but he answered quickly you in irons for a rebel wench, with a cock-and- and sympathetically, for he must have seen that bull story of being cousin to Lord Harborough. my distress was deep indeed. Don't prate to me of right, and be off with you." "If you will tell me all about it,” he said, in a
“ 'T is no Englishman, but a brute you are!" I most kindly way, "mayhap I can help; and, under cried, and would have gone on but that Mr. Ver- any circumstances, I promise no one else shall non, catching me by the shoulder, whirled me know of it; but if, perchance, you hold any rebel round and gave me a little push toward the door. secrets such as Sir John seems to suspect, keep
"Hush,” he whispered, "or you 're like to land them. Tell but about yourself, Mistress Beatrice, in the brig. Save your breath, for 't is not Sir for you are n't a very big girl, after all, and you John who has the last word.”
do seem to have more than your share of trou
ble." CHAPTER XI
So then and there, I told Mr. Vernon how I had come to leave home, and about Mr. Van der
Helst shipping me off to a relative of whom we Mr. Vernon led me on deck and found a place knew very little; but I said naught of the paper for me to sit on one of the gun-carriages. He hidden in the book of Maxims, for reasons which tried his best to console me, but, at first, I would any one will understand. not listen to him, being angered as never before “'T is easy to see how you have been mistaken in my life, and at my wit's end what to do, for about Mr. Travers," he said, "and there is no I must have the book. Finally, seeing that I paid need to be downhearted about it. You 'll find not the slightest heed to him, he spoke of it. Admiral Howe a very different person from Sir
“And how have I offended, Mistress Pris- John, and with him will rest the decision, for, oner?” he asked, assuming a most humble pos- whatever was aboard the Bouncing Betsey that ture.
Sir John is seeking, it seems to be of such impor"Was it not you who shamed me before them tance that a report is to be made to Lord Howe.” all by saying that Mr. Travers was a young man, Now that was the first of many long talks I when you know it is otherwise?" I burst out. had with Mr. Vernon. “They all believe that I have not spoken the That afternoon, a good wind sprang up. The truth, because you, forsooth, did not tell it.” sailors set the sails, and we bore down the coast;
“But Mr. Travers is a young man,” he insisted but the wind freshening constantly, the ship was with a smile, and as I looked at his face I knew headed out to sea, and before long we lost sight that he was not lying, though it seemed impossi- of land again. ble to believe.
That night a great storm came up, and we were “Are you sure?" I asked anxiously, for here blown out of our course, so that it was near a was another source of trouble for me.
week before we made the rendezvous off New “Oh, yes, I am quite sure,” he answered, "and, York. In that time, I became quite friendly with to speak plainly, Mistress Beatrice, it did seem a the younger officers, and was made much of trifle strange to me that you should be going out among them. Mr. Vernon, in particular, seemed to him, though I never doubted
word.” to have taken a liking to me, and it was from “But he has a father?” I pleaded.
him I learned what took place on the Good Will “Nay, his father died a year or so ago, leaving after we saw her in the Thames. It seemed that only John Travers, the son, who has just come of when Lord Howe's great fleet was preparing, the age," replied Mr. Vernon, and from that I saw Good Will had been sent to London to refit, and how the mistake had happened.
that there had been general instructions to detain Aunt Prudence had thought she had written to all American vessels, but no special word about old Mr. Travers, knowing nothing of a son, and, the Bouncing Betsey. the names being alike, the young man had an- Captain Timmons had fooled them all comswered, never realizing that she was unaware of pletely, except Bedford, who was the officer with his father's death. Here was a further compli- the trumpet. He had insisted upon stopping us,
ABOARD THE FLAG-SHIP
but the others, certain that any vessel that mani- of him and thought it best not to intrude my fested such enthusiasm over one of His Majesty's presence. He, however, had not forgotten me, ships must be honest, had laughed at the idea that and occasionally, usually at some pert sally of she was an American. Moreover, they were anx- mine which had brought peals of laughter from ious to get to London without delay, for they the young officers, he would look down the table knew that they were soon to sail again, and and frown; but, as a rule, the gentlemen at the grudged the time necessary to investigate us. head did not trouble about us at the foot, so I was
Once in London, however, the news of what teased and spoiled by turns by the gay young we were reached them as soon as they came to fellows, who were glad enough to have something. anchor, and so chagrined was the admiralty that to amuse them. we had gotten clear, that the man who had then Dinner was a very serious and ceremonious been in command of the Good Will had been dis- affair on board the Good Will, the officers all apmissed from the service, and Sir John put in his pearing in full dress and standing at attention place.
until Sir John took his seat, so that it was indeed They all seemed to think that this was a great imposing; and I put on my best fallals, feeling pother to make over the escape of a trading ves- very grown-up and important. It was, of course, sel; but it had become evident that she carried proper for me to leave the table with the sweets, something of great importance, for the Good and I would make my courtesy to those near me, Will was provisioned with all speed, and sent off many of whom would rise at my going and salute to capture her at any. cost. They had guessed me most gravely, although this I liked not, for it that the Betsey would not sail to her accustomed always brought Sir John's scowl. port, and this was borne out by the reports of two ships that had sighted us (for the Good Will
CHAPTER XII had halted every vessel she met to get news of us). So they had followed, scarce more than a day behind, but we had had good luck until the All this time, you may be sure, there was hardly wind failed, and then the capture was certain. a moment when the question how to regain my “We should have boarded you that afternoon," precious book of Maxims was not in my mind. said Mr. Vernon, "but 't is ever our witless way The more I heard, the more certain I became of to wait until the morrow, so we put it off, think- the value of the paper hidden therein, and the ing we had you safe caught, and gave your Cap- more needful it became that I should recover it. tain Timmons a chance to do,” he shrugged- I appreciated that if the English had gone to "I know not what !
such trouble to get it as to send a ship of the line "Sir John, I fancy, was none too pleased to after the Bouncing Betsey, then surely it must find his prize sunk and its crew dispersed, be equally important to the colonies. Everything whether drowned or not makes little odds. So, that Mr. Vernon told me confirmed this, and, young lady," he ended, "you are all he has to moreover, I was sensible enough to know that Sir show for his trouble, and he is like to make you John would not have paid so much attention to out something of importance to justify himself." me unless he believed that in some way I was get
This, you may be sure, was far from pleasing ting the better of him in a grave matter. news to me, and Mr. Vernon, although he en- But, on second thought, I was not getting the couraged me to be brave and hope for the best, better of him by any means; for, although he felt near certain that, in the end, I would be sent knew it not, the paper was in his possession, and back to England, unless, by some chance or other, at any time might be discovered. Also, I dared they found what they were looking for, in which not put too much stress upon its recovery, nor case they might let me off, as having no further continue making demands for it; that would only interest.
serve to excite suspicion, and they might go to Of Sir John I saw very little. He was too the length of cutting the book apart to find out great a man, or at least so thought himself, to be why I was so anxious to have it back. I spoke of at all intimate with his inferiors aboard the ship, it to Mr. Vernon once or twice, explaining that and contented himself with staying in his own I had had it all my life, and treasured it on that quarters, only coming up occasionally to pace the account. He cautioned me to be patient, exquarter-deck, scowling at everything.
pressing the belief that sooner or later it would At dinner, however, he always sat at the head be returned; but he was by no means certain. of the long table, and I, placed among the "You and that book are all they have to show younger officers, at the foot, tried not to attract for an eight weeks' chase across the ocean," he his attention, for I knew I had made an enemy said; "and be sure they 'll make the most of it.”