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The Loyalist by James Francis Barrett

A Story of the American Revolution


FOREWORD

Historical facts constitute the background of this story. Its hero and its heroine are, of course, fictitious; but the deportment of General Arnold, the Shippen family, the several military and civic personages throughout the story is described, for the most part, accurately and in conformity with the sober truths of history. Pains have been taken to depict the various historical episodes which enter into the story—such as the attempted formation of the Regiment of Roman Catholic Volunteers, the court-martial of Major General Arnold, the Military Mass on the occasion of the anniversary of American Independence—with as much fidelity to truth as possible. The anti-Catholic sentences, employed in the reprimand of Captain Meagher, are anachronisms; they are identical, however, with utterances made in the later life of Benedict Arnold. The influence of Peggy Shippen upon her husband is vouched for by eminent authority.

Due appreciation and sincere gratitude must be expressed to those authors from whom much information has been taken,—to John Gilmary Shea, in his “History of the Catholic Church in the United States”; to Martin I. J. Griffin's “Catholics and the American Revolution”; to F. J. Stimson's excellent work, “Memoirs of Benedict Arnold”; to John Fiske's “American Revolution,” and to the many other works which have freely been made use of in the course of this writing. Cordial thanks are also due to those who have generously assisted by suggestions and criticisms, and especially to those who have devoted their valuable moments to the revision of the proof sheets.
                     J. F. B.

THE LOYALIST

PART ONE

CHAPTER I

“Please continue, Peggy. You were telling me who were there and what they wore. Oh, dear! I am so sorry mother would not give me leave to go. Was it all too gay?”

“It was wonderful!” was the deliberate reply. “We might have danced till now had not Washington planned that sudden attack. We had to leave then,—that was early this morning,—and I spent the day abed.”

It was now well into the evening and the two girls had been seated for the longest time, it seemed, on the small sofa which flanked the east wall of the parlor. The dusk, which had begun to grow thick and fast when Marjorie had come to visit Peggy, was now quite absorbed into darkness; still the girls had not lighted the candles, choosing to remain in the dark until the story of the wonderful experience of the preceding day had been entirely related.

The grand pageant and mock tournament, the celebrated Mischienza, arranged in honor of General Howe, who had resigned his office as Commander-in-chief of His Majesty's forces in America to return to England, there to defend himself against his enemies in person, as General Burgoyne was now doing from his seat in Parliament, was an event long to be remembered not alone from the extravagance of its display, but from the peculiar prominence it afforded the foremost families of the city, particularly that of the Shippens.

Edward Shippen was a gentleman of rank, of character, of fortune, a member of one of the oldest and most respected families in the city of Philadelphia, whose ancestor, of the same name, had been Mayor of the city nigh an hundred years before. He belonged to the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and while he took no active interest on either side during the years of the war, still he was generally regarded as one of the sympathizers of the Crown. Because of the social eminence which the family enjoyed and the brilliance and genial hospitality which distinguished their affairs, the Shippens were considered the undisputed leaders of the social set of Philadelphia. The three lovely Misses Shippen were the belles of the more aristocratic class. They were toasted frequently by the gay English officers during the days of the British occupation, for their father's house was often the rendezvous of the titled celebrities of the day.

“And was your Captain there, too?” continued Marjorie, referring, of course, to Captain Monstresor, the engineer of the undertaking, an erstwhile admirer of Mistress Peggy.

“You must know, my dear, that he arranged the spectacle. I saw little of him until the dance. In truth, he seemed more popular than General Howe himself.”

Marjorie sat up.

“Tell me! Did the tournament begin the program?”

“No!” replied Peggy. “The military procession of boats and barges with Lords Howe and Rawdon, General Howe and General Clinton, opened the event in the late morning, sailing up the river to the Wharton House, the scene of the tournament.”

Marjorie nodded.

“The noise of the guns was deafening. When the flotilla arrived at Walnut Grove, which was lined with troops and bedecked brilliantly with flags and bunting, the pageant opened.”

“Where were you in the meantime?” asked Marjorie, careful to lose no detail.

“We were seated in the pavilions,—seven ladies in each,—clothed in Turkish garments, each wearing in her turban the favor to be bestowed on her victorious knight.”

“And who was your knight?”

“The Honorable Captain Cathcart,” quickly replied Peggy, her eyes beaming with a smile of evident satisfaction and proud joy.

“Lord Cathcart, whom I met here?”

“The same,” answered Peggy. “He was the leader of the 'Knights of the Blended Rose.'”

“What an odd name!” she exclaimed.

“I know it. They were named after their device. They were dressed in white and red silk, mounted on gray horses and attended by esquires. They were preceded by a herald who bore their device, two roses intertwined above the motto, 'We droop when separated.' My knight rode at the head, attended by two British Officers, and his two esquires, the one bearing his lance, the other his shield emblazoned with his device—Cupid astride a lion—over the motto, Surrounded by love.'”

“You little Tory,” interrupted Marjorie. “I shall tell General Washington that you are disloyal and have lent your sympathy to a British Officer.”

“I care little. The Yankees are without refinement——”

“Don't you dare say that,” snapped Marjorie, her whole being animated with sudden anger. “It is untrue and you know it. They are patriots and——”

“Forgive me, dear,” murmured Peggy, laying her hand on the arm of her irate friend. “I said that only in jest. I shan't continue if you are vexed.”

There was silence.

“Please! I am not angry,” Marjorie pleaded. “Do continue.”

“I forget my story now. What did I tell? There was so much that I am confused.”

“The Knights of the Rose!” suggested Marjorie.

“Oh, yes! Well, this body of knights made the circuit of the square and then saluted their ladies. On a sudden, a herald advanced with a flourish of trumpets and announced that the ladies of the Blended Rose excelled in wit, beauty, grace, charm and accomplishments those of the whole world and challenged a denial by deeds of arms. Whereupon a counter sound of trumpets was heard from afar and another herald galloped before a body of knights in black and orange silk with the device—a wreath of flowers surrounding a burning heart—over the motto, 'Love and Glory.' These were the Knights of the Burning Mountain, who came to dispute the claim of the Knights of the Blended Rose.”

“It must have been gorgeous!” exclaimed Marjorie, clasping her hands before her.

“Indeed it was. Well, after several preliminaries, the encounter took place, the knights receiving their lances together with their shields from their esquires, whereupon they saluted and encountered at full speed, shivering their spears against the shield of their adversaries. They next encountered and discharged their pistols and then fought with swords. Again the two chiefs of the warring factions, Captain Cathcart of the Blended Rose and Captain Watson of the Burning Mountain, met in mid field to try their arms as champions of their respective parties. They parried and thrust with true knightly valor until Major Grayson, as marshal of the field, intervened at the critical moment, declaring the ladies of both parties to be fully satisfied with the proofs of love and the feats of valor displayed by their knights. He then commanded the combatants to desist. Thus ended the tournament.”

“How wonderful!” sighed Marjorie. “I would I had been present. And your knight was the hero?”

“Of course,” replied Peggy with a smile. “I am sure that he would have worsted Captain Watson, had not the Major stepped in. But the banquet was splendid.”

“And Captain Cathcart!” reminded Marjorie, with a slight manifestation of instinctive envy.

“Why! He attended me, of course,” was the proud response. “Each knight escorted his lady through the triumphal arches erected in honor of the Generals who were present, along the long avenue lined on both sides with the troops and the colors of the army. At the third arch, which was dedicated to General Howe and which bore on its top a huge flying figure of Fame, we entered the great Hall. There refreshments were served and the dancing began. It continued until midnight. The windows were then thrown open and we witnessed the wonderful display of fireworks. And then the supper!

“Gorgeous, of course!” exclaimed Marjorie.

“Gorgeous, indeed!” Peggy repeated—“a great room, with fifty or more pier glasses, draped with green silk and hundreds of varieties of flowers of as many hues and shades. An hundred branches of lights, thousands of tapers, four hundred and thirty covers, and there must have been more than twelve hundred dishes. The attendants were twenty-four black slaves garbed oriental fashion with silver collars and bracelets. And then we danced and danced until dawn, when we were interrupted by the sound of distant cannon.”

“And then your knights were called to real war,” remarked Marjorie.

“For the moment all thought this to be part of the program, the signal for another great spectacle. Suddenly everything broke into confusion. The officers rushed to their commands. The rest of us betook ourselves as best we could. We came home and went to bed, tired in every bone. Mother is sorry that I attended, for she thought it too gay. But I would not have lost it for the world.”

And perhaps her mother was right. For Peggy was but eighteen, the youngest of the Shippen family. The other girls were somewhat older, yet the three were considered the most beautiful débutantes of the city, the youngest, if in anything, the more renowned for grace and manner. Her face was of that plumpness to give it charm, delicate in contour, rich with the freshness of the bloom of youth. Her carriage betrayed breeding and dignity. And all was sweetened by a magnetism and vivacity that charmed all who came within her influence. Still her attitude was the more prepossessing than permanent.

Like her father, she was a Quaker in many of her observances. To that creed she adhered with a rigorous determination. She had so often manifested her political sympathies, which were intensified to an irrational degree as appeared from passionate disclosures, that her father was led to observe that she was more a Tory at heart than General Howe himself.

Her companion, Marjorie Allison, was about her own age, but as intensely American as she was English. Her parents had always lived in Philadelphia, as their parents had before them, coming originally from the Mother country to which they were now opposed in martial strife. The thrill of patriotism for the cause of the infant republic, which throbbed violently within her breast, had been inspired to enthusiasm more by the intense antipathy for the Church of England than for the government itself. This antipathy was kept alive and invigorated by the doleful memory of the privations and adversities endured by her ancestors from the agents of this same government because of their Catholic worship and their heroic efforts to follow their religious convictions.

The sympathies of the Allisons were undivided. They were notorious Whigs, ardent champions of the rights which the new government so strongly asserted, and which they had pledged themselves stoutly to defend; ardent champions of the eternal principles on which the new republic was built. The psychology of the Allisons' allegiance did not differ from that of innumerable other families. Usually, strange to relate, society, while constantly moving forward with eager speed, is just as constantly looking backward with tender regrets. But no regrets were here. Religious persecution leaves no tender memories in its trail. Dissatisfaction with the past is seldom rendered more memorable than by the fanatic attempt to separate the soul from its God.

Marjorie and Peggy had been friends from girlhood. They understood each other very well. Each knew and appreciated the other's peculiarities, her virtues and her foibles, her political propensities and religious convictions. They never discussed their religious differences. They avoided such a clash out of respect for each other's convictions. Not so, however, in matters relating to the form of government. Marjorie was a Whig, an ardent champion of the rights of the Colonists, while her more aristocratic friend was Tory in her sentiments, moderate, it is true, but nevertheless at times much inclined to the extreme. Notwithstanding these differences, their friendship had been constant and they had always shared their joys and sorrows.

The days of the British occupation of the city had been glorious ones for Peggy and her sisters. The love of display and finery which was characteristic of them was satiated by the brilliance and the gayety of the winter season during which the titled British Officers were fêted and entertained extravagantly. None outshone the Shippens in the magnificence of their entertainments. Their house was ever open in hospitality, and more than once it had been whispered about that their resources had reached the point of exhaustion.

At these functions Marjorie found herself a welcome guest. For Peggy took care that her little friend was never overlooked, even if on one occasion a pang of regret sent her to bed with copious tears when the favor for the evening had been bestowed upon her fair guest. Marjorie, however, maintained a mature composure and a marked concern, as was her wont, throughout it all, and Peggy again reassured herself that her misgivings were without foundation. For Marjorie disliked the titled gentry. They were without exception hostile to the faith to which she so steadfastly adhered. She bore with them merely for the pleasure which she derived from the coterie made brilliant by their participation.

And so the winter passed, giving way to lovely, spring, whose gentle zephyrs dispelled the cold, the ice and the snow that had sent the British into the ballrooms for protection, and had afflicted and distressed the patriots at Valley Forge. With the advent of favorable weather, operations began anew; the hopes and the courage of the colonists were now exalted to the highest pitch. The disasters of Long Island and Fort Washington had been offset by the victory at Saratoga. While the British had taken and held the important cities of New York and Philadelphia as well as the town of Newport, still they had lost an army and had gained nothing but the ground on which they were encamped.

Now, at the beginning of the fourth period of the war, the joyful news was heralded far and wide that the government of France had formally acknowledged the independence of the United States and that help was on the way to assist the Colonists in their struggle. At the same time the conciliatory measures of Lord North in Parliament gave indication to the patriots that the British Government was weakening. The joy of the Whigs knew no bounds, and Marjorie was beside herself as she related the glad tidings over and over again. The fourth epoch of the war augured well for the success of the cause.

II

In all the Colonies there was at this stage of the war no city more important than Philadelphia. Whatever there was among the Colonists of wealth, of comfort, of social refinement, of culture and of courtly manners was here centered. Even the houses were more imposing than elsewhere throughout the country. They were usually well constructed of stone or brick with either thatched or slated roofs. They were supplied with barns bursting with the opulence of the fields. The countryside round about was teeming with fatness. Indeed, in all the colonies no other place was so replete with affluence and comfort.

Nor was it without its gentry, cultured and dignified. Its inhabitants were, for the most part, made up of members of old Quaker families and others faithful to the Church of England and devoted to the political principles of the Mother country,—the proud possessors of wealth and the exemplars of the most dignified deportment. Already were its fair sex renowned abroad as well as at home for their “beauty, grace and intelligence.” They moved with all the gayety and charm of court ladies. The wealth and luxury of a capital city were there; for even in the infancy of the republic, Philadelphia had attained a distinction, unique and preëminent. What was more natural, then, than that their allegiance should be divided; the so-called fashionable set adhering to the crown; the common townsfolk, the majority of whom were refugees from an obnoxious autocracy, zealously espousing the colonists' cause, and the middle class, who were comprised of those families holding a more or less neutral position in the war, and who were willing to preserve their estates and possessions, remaining undecided, and in their manner maintaining good offices with both sides throughout the strife.

The British Army took possession of the city, after its victorious encounter on the Brandywine, on the twenty-sixth of September, 1777. Sir William Howe selected for his headquarters the finest house in the city, the mansion which was once the home of Governor Richard Penn, grandson of William Penn. Here General Howe and his staff of officers passed a gay winter. They were much more interested in the amusements, the gayeties, the dissipations carried on in this old Quaker City than in any efforts to capture the army of General Washington.

The infatuate populace, indifferent to the progress of the Revolution, unaffected for the most part by the righteousness of the cause of the Colonists, became enamored of the brilliance and the fashion and the display of the English nobility. They cordially welcomed General Howe and his young officers, electing them the leaders and the favorites in all the social gayeties and amusements of the season. Such was the luxury and dissipation of the British in the city, at dinner parties, cock-fights, amateur theatrical performances, that Dr. Franklin was led to remark in Paris that General Howe had not taken Philadelphia as much as Philadelphia had taken General Howe.

The general plan of campaign for the year 1777 did not include the capture of Philadelphia. Howe had been ordered to march from New York, which he had taken the preceding August, to the vicinity of Albany. There he was to join forces with the army from Canada under General Burgoyne, which was to penetrate northern New York. Why he elected to march against Philadelphia and be obliged to retrace his steps in order to reach Burgoyne was unknown at the time. The total collapse of Burgoyne's expedition at Saratoga and the menace of the American Army under General Washington obliged him to alter his plan and to remain in the vicinity of Philadelphia, which city he made his headquarters for the winter.

In the meantime the army of General Washington, which had been continually harassing the English forces, went into winter quarters in close proximity, at Valley Forge, a bare twenty miles distant, northwest of the city. Here the little army of the Colonists menaced the position of the British while enduring with heroic fortitude the severities of the winter season. Shoeless and shivering, the soldiers prepared these winter quarters of cold huts, rudely constructed; themselves overcoated in torn blankets, with stuffed straw in their boots for want of stockings. Their food was as scarce as their clothing and at one time more than two thousand men were reported unfit for duty because barefoot and otherwise naked. Many a night the men were compelled to remain seated by the fire for want of blankets. Day by day the supply of fuel diminished, and the neighborhood became more destitute of trees and timber.

The morale of the troops seemed to feed on misfortune; but their hopes and courage were suddenly intensified when the news of the Alliance with France reverberated throughout the camp to the booming of cannon and the shouts of the whole army. There was no respite, however. While the enemy was living in luxury and comfort in the gay city, the Continentals under the patience of Washington, and the military genius of Von Steuben, were being rounded into a toughened and well drilled fighting machine, strong in organization and bold in spirit, a worthy match for the rapid and accurate movements for which the better equipped British army was becoming famous.

That Sir William Howe found it easier to loiter in Philadelphia than to play a strategic game against Washington in the depths of an American winter, was due no less to the want of decision which characterized all of his actions than to the stupid mismanagement with which the campaign of 1777 was directed. The British had gained the two most important American cities, New York and Philadelphia, but the entire American army was still in the field. The acquisition of territory was of no military importance while the forces of the enemy remained intact and well organized. Moreover, Burgoyne was left to his fate and at Saratoga an army was lost.

Nor was any advantage to be derived from the possession of the American capital. Washington's position at Valley Forge had held the British in check all winter. And whatever of work the Congress was required to do could as well be done at York as at Philadelphia. As a basis for military operation the city was without value, for it was difficult to defend and hard to supply with foodstuffs. But it was rich, extravagant, fashionable, a “place of crucifying expenses,” and its fine houses, good pavements, and regular arrangement of streets, impressed Howe as the most fitting place for the British Army to establish winter quarters. And so they sat down to wait for spring.

III

“We shall never forget the splendor of it all; it was wonderful!” exclaimed Peggy with a deep sigh.

“A farewell party!” said Marjorie. “Undoubtedly the gallant Britishers outdid themselves. Howe leaves soon, does he not?”

“Yes. Next week.”

“Which means that the period of entertaining is about to come to an end.”

“I suppose. But wasn't the winter glorious? I shall never forget it.”

A smile covered her face, dotting her cheeks with two tiny dimples. She held her hands together over her knees while she sat quite motionless, her eyes looking out into the darkness of the room.

Presently she bethought herself.

“Let us light the tapers!” she announced, jumping up from the sofa.

“It is late,” Marjorie remarked, as she, too, prepared to arise. “I must leave for home.”

“Stay! It is still early. Soon we shall be obliged to settle into quietude. Dark days are before us.”

“Why!” Marjorie exclaimed. “I should think that the future augurs well. I do wish the soldiers would evacuate the city.”

“When General Howe leaves, all may as well leave with him.”

“When does he leave, did you say?” impatiently asked her true American friend.

“Next week, I understand. The great Mischienza, you know, was arranged in his honor as a farewell celebration.”

“General Clinton, I presume, will succeed. He seems the most logical choice.”

“Yes. He already has been appointed to the supreme command.”

“I hope he decides to evacuate.”

“I do not know. Perhaps,” was the sole response.

But it already had been decided. Upon the departure of General Howe, instructions were forwarded from the ministry to Sir Henry Clinton, the new Commander-in-chief, to evacuate the city at once. The imminent arrival of the French fleet, together with the increasing menace of the Continental Army at Valley Forge, constituted a grave peril to the isolated army of the British. Hence it was determined that the capital city must be abandoned.

Clinton intended to transfer his army to New York by water in order that the bulk of his forces might be concentrated for the spring campaign. On account of the vast number of Tories who, apprehensive of their personal effects, had begged to be transferred with him, he was obliged to forego his original intention of sailing by water in favor of a march overland. Accordingly on the morning of June 18, 1778, the rear-guard of the British marched out of the city and on that same afternoon the American advance entered and took possession with Major General Benedict Arnold, the hero of Saratoga, as Military Governor.

The joy of the Whig populace knew no bounds. No longer would the shadows of dark despair and abandoned hope hang like a pall over the capital city. No longer would the stately residences of the Tory element be thrown open for the diversion and the junket of the titled gentry. No more would the soldiery of an hostile army loiter about the street corners or while away the hours at the Taverns or at the Coffee Houses. The Congress was about to return. The city would again become the political as well as the civic center of American affairs. The people would be ruled by a governor of their own accord and sympathy. Philadelphia was to enter into its own.

CHAPTER II

I

“It won't do, I tell you. And the sooner he realizes this the more satisfactory will it become for all concerned.”

“Sh-h-h,” answered Mrs. Allison in a seemingly heedless manner. She was seated by the side window in her old rocker, intent only on her three needles and the ball of black yarn. “Judge not, that you may not be judged!” she reminded him.

“He is too imprudent. Only today he contemptuously dismissed the Colonel and the secretary; later he requested them to dine with him. We don't like it, I tell you.”

As a matter of fact, there was no more staunch defender or constant advocate of the cause of the Colonists than Matthew Allison himself; and when the proclamation of the new Military Governor ordering the closing of the shops and the suspension of business in general until the question of ownership was established, had been issued, he was among the first of the citizens to comply with it. True, his sole source of income had been temporarily suspended. But what matter? It meant order and prevented the wares from falling into the hands of the enemy. His small shop had enabled himself together with his wife and daughter to eke out a comfortable existence. Their cozy home while unmistakably plain and unadorned with the finer appointments indicative of opulence, nevertheless was not without charm and cheeriness. It was delightful in simplicity and neat arrangement.

Allison had welcomed the entry of General Arnold into the city as a hero coming into his own, but he was not slow in perceiving that the temperament of the man rendered him an unhappy choice for the performance of the onerous duties which the successful administration of the office required. Readily and with genuine satisfaction did he yield to the initial mandate of the Governor; but when the scent of luxury from this same Governor's house, the finest mansion in the city and the identical one lately occupied by the British commander, was diffused throughout the city causing murmurs of criticism and dissension, Matthew Allison forgot for the moment his oath of fealty and gave expression to pain and dissatisfaction.

“Why allow yourself to be disturbed at his manner of living?” asked his wife, picking up the conversation at the point where he had left it.

“And you and I and the vast majority of us sacrificing our all. Why they tell me that his quarters abound in luxury to a degree never excelled by Howe himself.”

“Well!” was the simple reply.

“And the Massachusetts Regiment has been appointed his guard of honor; and that two armed soldiers have been stationed at the doorposts.”

Allison spoke with evident passion, the ardor of which pervaded his entire being.

“And yet I dare say you would be the first to disapprove of the other extreme,” admonished Mrs. Allison in her soft and gentle way. “Under martial law you know, there must be no relaxation of discipline, notwithstanding the fact that the Americans once more control the city.”

“Laxity or no laxity, it is extravagant for him to be housed in the finest mansion in the city with a retinue of servants and attendants only excelled by Sir William Howe; to be surrounded by a military guard of selective choice; to maintain a coach and four with footmen and servants, all equipped with livery of the most exclusive design; to live in the greatest splendor, notwithstanding the avowed republican simplicity of the country as well as the distressed condition of our affairs and finances. Who is paying for this extravagance? We, of course. We are being taxed and supertaxed for this profligate waste while our shops are closed to all future trade. These are not alone my opinions; they are the expressions of the men about town. This was the sole topic of conversation today at the Coffee House.”

For where else would the news of the day be found if not on the street corners or at the Coffee House? This latter institution, like its London prototype, was the chief organ through which the public opinion of the metropolis continually asserted itself. Its convenience lay in its adaptability for the making of appointments at any hour of the day, or for the passing of an evening socially for a very small charge. It had its characters who became as famous as the institution itself, its orators to whose eloquence the crowd listened with admiration, its medical men who might be consulted on any malady merely for the asking, its poets and humorists who in winter occupied the chairs of learning nearest the stove and in summer held the choice places on the balcony, and who discoursed fables and politics with renewed embellishment upon the advent of every newcomer. The atmosphere always reeked with the fumes of tobacco. Nowhere else was smoking more constant than at the Coffee House. And why any one would leave his own home and fireside to sit amid such eternal fog, was a mystery to every good housewife. But every man of the upper or the middle class went daily to the Coffee House to learn and discuss the news of the day.

“I suppose Jim Cadwalader waxed warm today on the subject and gave you inspiration,” submitted Mrs. Allison. “Why do you not suspend your judgment for a while until you learn more about the Governor,—at any rate give him the benefit of a doubt until you have some facts,” mildly replied Mrs. Allison with that gentle manner and meekness of temper which was characteristic of her.

“Facts!” said he, “I am telling you that these are facts. The Colonel saw this, I tell you, for he dined with him. And I want to tell you this,” he announced pointing towards her, “he hates the Catholics and is strongly opposed to any alliance with a Catholic country.”

“Never mind, my dear. We cannot suffer for that.”

“I know, but it may concern us sooner or later. Our fathers endured severe tortures at the hands of a bigoted Government, and if the new republic gives promise of such unhappy tidings, we may as well leave the earth.”

“I would not take any undue alarm,” quietly answered Mrs. Allison as her deft fingers sped on with the knitting. “General Washington is broad-minded enough to appreciate our loyalty and our spirit of self-sacrifice. And besides the new French Alliance will prevent any of the intolerance which made itself manifest in the person of King George. With a Catholic ally, the government cannot very well denounce the Catholics as you will discover from the repealing of several of the laws which rendered life more or less obnoxious in some of the colonies. And I think, too, that we have given more than our share to the cause. With so much to our credit, no public official, whatever his natural inclination, can afford to visit his bigotry on us. I would not worry about General Arnold. He will not molest us, I am sure.”

“I don't think that he pleases me anyway.”

“And why?” she paused to ask. “Because he maintains too expensive a livery, or has surrounded himself by too many attendants?”

“No. I dislike the man. I do not like his traits.”

“It is unkind of you to say that. Who enjoys a greater reputation for skill or bravery or personal courage than he? What would have become of Gates, or our army, or the French Alliance were he not at Saratoga, and there too without a command, you must remember.”

“I know all that, but he is too blunt, too headstrong, too proud, too——”

Marjorie's figure at the door interrupted him.

II

Although Mistress Allison was not twenty, she maintained the composure of a married woman, sedate and reserved like the matrons of this period. Her dress was neat and well chosen, a chintz cotton gown, of a very pretty blue stamp, blue silk quilt and a spotted figured apron. The vivacity of her manner and the winsomeness of her behavior were prepossessing, and she was beautiful to look upon: her complexion as dazzling white as snow in sunshine; except her cheeks, which were a bright red; and her lips, of a still deeper crimson. Her small oval face was surmounted by a wealth of dark brown hair, craped up with two rolls on each side and topped with a small cap of beautiful gauze and rich lace,—a style most becoming to a girl of her age. Health, activity, decision were written full upon her, whether in the small foot which planted itself on the ground, firm but flexible, or in the bearing of her body, agile or lofty.

She was the only child of Mr. Allison and a much admired member of the city's middle class. And while it is true that a certain equality in class and social refinement was an attribute of the American people which found great favor in the eyes of the older world inhabitants, it is equally true that this equality was more seeming than real. This was due to a great extent to the distinction established by the wealth and the liberties enjoyed by the various classes of people. It was said, and not without a semblance of truth, that the inhabitants of Philadelphia were rated according to their fortunes. The first class was known as the carriage folk, who proclaimed, almost without exception, their pretended descent from the ancient English families by their coats of arms imprinted upon their carriage doors. The second class was composed of the merchants, lawyers, and business men of the city; and the third class, were those who exercised the mechanical arts. These felt their social inferiority and never hoped for any association with the upper classes. The Allisons were of the middle rank, and were looked upon as its most respected members.

Plain, simple-living folk, they made no pretense to display. Neither did they affect aristocracy. Their manner of living was as comfortable as their modest means would allow. It was a common habit for the people of this class to indulge in luxury far beyond their resources and no small amount of this love of ostentation was attributed to the daughters of the families. In this respect Marjorie offended not in the least. Whether assisting her father in the shop during the busy hours, or presiding at the Coffee House, or helping her mother with the affairs of the household, she was equally at home. Neither the brilliance of the social function, nor the pleasures of the dance roused unusual desires in her. Indeed she seldom participated in such entertainments, unless on the invitation and in company with the Shippen family with whom she was on the most intimate terms of friendship. The gay winter season of the British occupation of the city produced no change in her manner or attire. The dazzling spectacle of the Mischienza found her secluded in her home, more from her own desire than from her pretended deference to the wishes of her mother.

Her happiness was in her homelife. This was the center of her affection as well as of her tenderest solicitude. Here she busied herself daily, either in the care of the house, and the preparation of the meals, which were by no means sumptuous owing to the scarcity of all foodstuffs, or at the wheel where she made shirtings and the sheetings for the army. A touch of her hand here and there, to this chair, slightly out of place, to this cup or that plate in the china-chest, to the miniature on the wall, leaning slightly to one side, or the whisk of her sweeping-brush through the silver-sand on the floor, transformed a disorderly aspect into one of neatness and taste. It was here that she spent her days, enduring their unvarying monotony, with sweet and unbroken contentment.

As she hurriedly entered the house, she arrested the attention of her father and put a period to the conversation.

“Oh, Father, have you heard?”

“What news now, child!”

“Washington has engaged the British.”

“And how fared?”

“They were compelled to withdraw.”

“Thank God.”

“Where, Marjorie, did you come by this good news?” inquired the mother.

“At the State House. A courier arrived from Monmouth with the tidings,” answered Marjorie, still nervous to narrate the story, and forgetting to remove her hat.

“When did this happen?” asked her father, impatiently.

“It seems that General Washington started in pursuit of Clinton as soon as he had evacuated the city. He had decided that an attack must be made as soon as possible. When the British reached Allentown, they found the American army gaining the front and so they turned towards Monmouth. Near the Court House the British were outflanked and the Americans gained the superior ground and so the battle was won. Then General Lee ordered a retreat.”

“A retreat?” exploded Mr. Allison. “What for?”

“I do not know, but that was the report. Lee retreated when Washington arrived on the scene,” continued Marjorie.

“And then?”

“He rallied the troops to another front and began the attack anew, driving the British back a considerable distance. Nightfall ended the battle, and when day broke, Clinton had withdrawn.”

“And Lee ordered a retreat!” exclaimed Mr. Allison. “A damned poltroon!”

“All say the same. The crowd was furious upon hearing the message, although some thought it too incredible. The joy of victory, however, made them forget the disgraceful part.”

“My faith in him has never faltered,” quietly observed Mrs. Allison, as she prepared to resume the knitting from which she had ceased on the sudden entry of Marjorie.

“And his pretended friends must now croak forth his praises,” rejoined her husband.

“There were shouts and cheers,” continued Marjorie, “as the news was being announced. Each newcomer would add another detail to the story with beaming delight. All said that the retreat from the city and the defeat of the British augured a speedy termination of the war. The country is wholly united again under General Washington.”

“And what will become of Lee?” asked the father.

“The traitor!” snapped Marjorie. “They ought to court-martial him. The crowd greeted his name with hisses when the details began to impress themselves upon them. I dare say, he has few friends in the city tonight, expect perhaps among the Tories. He is a disgrace to the uniform he wears.”

“Undoubtedly, the losses were heavy.”

“No one seemed to know. The minor details of the engagement are still unknown. They will come later. The consoling feature is that the enemy were compelled to withdraw, which would indicate that they were worsted. The remnants, I suppose, will concentrate at New York. There will occur the next great battle.”

“God grant that it will soon be over,” exclaimed Mrs. Allison.

“And now, daughter, have you more news?” asked her father.

“Oh, yes! General Arnold is going to give a ball at the City Tavern on the Fourth of July to the officers of the French Army. It will be under the auspices of the American officers of Washington's command and in honor of the loyal ladies who had withheld from the Mischienza. And I have been invited to attend.”

“I should think that we have had enough of social life here during the past winter,” quietly announced the father.

“Well,” replied Marjorie, “this affair is to exclude all who participated in the English Army festivities. Only Americans will be present.”

“How did you come by this report?” asked her mother.

“Peggy Shippen. I stopped there for a short time. They told me of the proposed invitation and that I was included.”

“How came they by the news?”

“I suppose General Arnold told them.”

“Is he acquainted with them? I wonder——”

“Yes. They were presented to him, and he has already honored them with his visit.”

“I don't like this,” said Mr. Allison, “and you can be assured that there will be little restriction as to the company who will comprise this assemblage. The Governor will take sides with the wealthy, be their sympathies what they may. Well, if he establish the precedent, I dare say, none will be so determined as to oppose him. Do you wish to go, daughter?”

“I think I might enjoy it. The French soldiers are so gallant, I might find much pleasure there.”

“Very well, you shall attend,” said her father.

III

And so it was decided that Marjorie would be present at the Governor's Ball. As custom did not require mothers to accompany their daughters to such functions, but allowed them to go unattended, Mrs. Allison preferred to remain at home. To what splendor and gayety the affair would lend itself was a matter of much speculation. This was the Governor's first event, and no one was aware of his prowess on the ballroom floor.

Once the list of invitations had become public, it was understood quite generally that no distinction was made between those that had, and those that had not, attended the Mischienza. Whether the number would be surprisingly small, or whether the affair would fail of success without the Mischienza ladies, could not be foretold. Indeed such speculations were idle, since no discrimination had been made. There were a number of young French Officers in the town and one or two of General Washington's aides had remained because of the pressure of immediate business after the British evacuation. These of course would attend. All the other available young men belonged to the families who had held a more or less neutral position in the war, and who had not offered their services to the patriots nor yielded allegiance to the foe. As these neutrals were among the most prominent people of the city, their presence would, of course, be altogether desirable.

Marjorie was invited through the efforts of Peggy Shippen, who had proposed her name to His Excellency on the occasion of his visit to her house. She would be included in their party and would be assigned a partner befitting her company. Because of the prominence of the Shippens, it was thought that the gallant young French Officers, would be assigned to them. Marjorie rejoiced at this although the Shippen girls evinced no such sentiment. Whether it was because the French alliance was distasteful to them or because their Tory leanings took precedence, they preferred other guests for partners. But as the matter was to be decided by lot, their likings were not consulted.

Ere long the city was agog with speculation respecting the coming ball. The battle of Monmouth was accorded a second place. The disdain of the middle class, who had been embittered against such demonstrations by the profligacy displayed during the days of the British occupation, soon began to make itself felt. That it was the first official or formal function of the new republic mattered little. A precedent was about to be established. There was to be a continuation of the shameful extravagance which they had been compelled to witness during the winter and which they feared they would be forced to maintain for another protracted period. Living was high, extremely high, and the value of the paper currency had depreciated to almost nothing. Indeed it was said that a certain barber in the town had papered his entire shop with the bills and that a dog had been led up and down the streets, smeared with tar, and adorned cap-a-pie with paper money. To feed and clothe the army was expense enough without being compelled to pay for the splendors of a military ball. Small wonder that the coming event aroused no ordinary speculation.

Nevertheless preparations went on with growing vigor and magnificence, and not the least interested was Marjorie. The event was now awaited with painful anxiety. Even the war for a moment was relegated to a place of minor import.

CHAPTER III

I

An imposing spectacle greeted Marjorie's eyes as she made her way in company with the Shippen girls into the ballroom of the City Tavern. The hall was superb, of a charming style of architecture, well furnished and lighted, and brilliantly decorated with a profusion of American and French flags arranged in festoons and trianguloids and drapings throughout its entire length and breadth, its atmosphere vocal with the strains of martial music. Everywhere were women dressed with elegance and taste. The Tory ladies, gowned in the height of fashion, were to Marjorie a revelation at once amazing and impressive.

On a raised dais sat the Governor in his great chair. He was clothed in the regulation buff and blue uniform of a Major General of the Continental Army. On his shoulders he wore the epaulets and about his waist the sword knots General Washington had presented to him the preceding May. He bore also upon his person the most eloquent of martial trophies, for his leg, wounded at Quebec and Saratoga, rested heavily on a small cushion before him.

Marjorie who saw him for the first time, was attracted at once by his manly bearing and splendid physique. His frame was large, his shoulders broad, his body inclined to be fleshy. His very presence, however, was magnetic, still his manner was plain and without affectation. He looked the picture of dignity and power as he received the guests in their turn and greeted each with a pointed and pleasant remark.

“Isn't he a handsome figure?” whispered Peggy to Marjorie as they made their way slowly to the dais.

Marjorie acquiesced in the judgment. He was still young, hardly more than thirty-five, his weather-beaten face darkened to bronze from exposure. His features were large and clean cut with the power of decision written full upon them. A firm and forcible chin, with heavy lines playing about his mouth; eyes, large and black, that seemed to take toll of everything that transpired about them, suggested a man of extravagant energy, of violent and determined tenacity in the face of opposition. No one could look upon his imposing figure without calling to mind his martial achievements—the exploits of Canada, of the Mohawk, of Bemis Heights.

“So this is your little friend,” said he to Peggy, eyeing Marjorie as she made her presentation courtesy. He was now standing, though resting heavily on his cane with his left hand.

“Mistress Allison, this privilege is a happy one. I understand that you are a violent little patriot.” He smiled as he gently took her hand.

“I am very pleased, Your Excellency. This is an occasion of rare delight to me.”

“And are you so intensely loyal? Your friends love you for your devotion, although I sometimes think that they miss General Howe,” and he smiled in the direction of Peggy as he turned to her with this remark.

“You know, General,” Peggy was always ready with an artful reply, “I told you that I was neither the one nor the other; and that I wore black and white at the Mischienza, the colors now worn by our American soldiers in their cockades in token of the French and American Alliance.”

“So you did. I had almost forgotten.”

“And that there were some American gentlemen present, as well, although aged non-combatants,” she continued with a subtle smile.

“For which reason,” he responded, “you would, I suppose, have it assume a less exclusive appearance.”

“Oh, no! I do not mean that. It was after all a very private affair, arranged solely in honor of General Howe.”

“Were some of these young ladies at the Mischienza? And who were they that rewarded the gallant knights?” he asked.

“Well, the Chew girls, and my sisters, and Miss Franks. There was Miss White, and Miss Craig,” she repeated the list one after the other as her eyes searched the company assembled in the hall. “And that girl in the corner, Miss Bond, and beyond her, her sister: then there was Miss Smith. Miss Bond I am told is engaged to one of your best Generals, Mr. John Robinson.”

“We are accustomed to call Mr. Robinson, General Robinson in the army,” he ventured with a smile.

She blushed slightly. “We call him Mr. Robinson in society, or sometimes Jack.”

“And who might have been your gallant knight? May I ask?”

“The Honorable Captain Cathcart,” was her proud reply.

“And who has the good fortune to be your knight for this occasion?” he questioned, seeking in their hands the billet of the evening.

“We do not know,” Marjorie murmured. “We have not as yet met the Master of Ceremonies.”

He looked about him, in search evidently of some one. “Colonel Wilkinson!” he called to a distinguished looking officer on his right, “have these fair ladies been assigned to partners?”

The Colonel advanced and presented them with their billets, which were numbered and which bore the name of the partner that was to accompany them during the entire evening. Peggy opened hers and found the name of Colonel Jean Boudinot, a young French Officer. Marjorie saw written upon hers a name unknown to her, “Captain Stephen Meagher, aide-de-camp.”

“Captain Meagher!” exclaimed the Governor. “He is one of General Washington's aides, detailed for the present in the city. Do you know him?”

“No,” replied Marjorie timidly, “I do not, I am sorry to say. I have never had the privilege of meeting him.”

“There he is now,” said he, indicating with a gesture of the eyes a tall young officer who stood with his back toward them.

Marjorie looked in the direction indicated. A becomingly tall and erect figure, clad in a long blue coat met her gaze. Further scrutiny disclosed the details of a square cut coat, with skirts hooked back displaying a buff lining, and with lappets, cuff-linings and standing capes of like color. His bearing was overmastering as he stood at perfect ease, his hand resting gently on a small sword hanging at his side; his right wrist showed a delicate lace ruffle as he gestured to and fro in his conversation. As he slightly turned in her direction, she saw that he wore his hair drawn back from the face, with a gentle roll on each side, well powdered and tied in a cue behind. His features were pleasant to look upon, not large but finely chiseled and marked with expression. Marjorie thought what a handsome figure he made as he stood in earnest conversation, dominating the little group who surrounded him and followed his every move with interest and attention.

“Let me call him,” suggested the Governor to Marjorie who at that moment stood with her eyes fixed on the Captain. “I am sure he will be pleased to learn the identity of his fair partner,” he added facetiously.

“Oh! do,” agreed Peggy. “It would afford pleasure to all of us to meet him.”

The General whispered a word to an attendant who immediately set off in the direction of the unconcerned Captain. As the latter received the message he turned, looked in the direction of the dais and gazed steadily at the Governor and his company. His eyes met Marjorie's and she was sure that he saw her alone. The thought thrilled her through and through. He excused himself from the company of his circle, and as he directed his footsteps towards her, she noted his neat and close fitting buff waistcoat, and his immaculate linen revealing itself at the throat and ruffled wrists. Nor did she fail to observe that he wore a buff cockade on his left breast and gilt epaulets upon his shoulders.

“Captain Meagher,” announced General Arnold. “I have the honor of presenting you to your partner for the evening, Mistress Allison.”

Marjorie courtesied gracefully to his courtly acknowledgment.

“And the Misses Shippen, the belles of the Mischienza!”

Stephen bowed profoundly.

“I was just remarking, Captain, that General Washington has honored you with a special mission, and that you have run away from your duties tonight to mingle with the social life of the city.”

“Or rather, Your Excellency, to acquaint myself with their society,” Stephen replied good-naturedly.

“Then you do not relax, even for an evening,” inquired Peggy, with a coquettish turn of the head.

“It is the duty of a soldier never to relax.” Stephen's reply was more naïve than usual.

“And yet one's hours are shortened by pleasure and action,” continued Peggy.

“As a recreation it is far sweeter than as a business. It soon exhausts us, however, and it is the greatest incentive to evil.”

“But you dance?” interrupted the General.

“Oh, yes! Your Excellency,” replied Stephen, “after a fashion.”

“Well, your partner is longing for the music. Come, let ye assemble.”

And as the dance was announced, the first one being dedicated to “The Success of the Campaign,” Stephen and Marjorie moved off and took their places. Peggy and her sisters were soon attended and followed. They were soon lost in the swirl of excitement among the throng.

II

“And you live alone with your father and mother?”

Marjorie and her partner were sitting in a distant corner whither they had wandered at the conclusion of the dance. Stephen began to find himself taking an unusual interest in this girl and was inquiring concernedly about her home life.

“Yes, Father's time is much consumed with his attention to the shop. Mother and I find plenty to occupy us about the house. Then I relieve Father at times, and so divide my hours between them,” quietly answered Marjorie.

“You have not as yet told me your name,” Stephen reminded her.

“Marjorie,” was the timid reply.

“Marjorie!” Then, taking advantage of her averted look, he stole secret glances at her small round face, her lips, firmly set but curving upwards, her rose-pink cheeks. Presently, his eye rested on her finger-ring, a cameo with what looked like an ectypal miniature of the “Ecce Homo.” Was this girl of his faith?

“Marjorie Allison,” he repeated again. “Do you know that sounds like a Catholic name?”

“It is,” Marjorie replied proudly. “Our family have been Catholics for generations.”

“Mine have, too,” Stephen gladly volunteered the information. “Irish Catholics with a history behind them.”

“Is your home here?” asked Marjorie.

“Here in this country, yes,” admitted her escort. “But I live in New York and it was there I volunteered at the outbreak of the war, and saw my first service in the New York campaign.”

“And are your parents there, too?” inquired the girl.

And then he told her that his father and mother and only sister lived there and that when the war broke out he determined to enlist in company with a number of his friends, the younger men of the neighborhood. How he took part in the campaign about New York and his “contribution to our defeat,” as he styled it. Of the severe winter at Valley Forge and his appointment by Washington to his staff. She listened with keen interest but remained silent until the end.

“And now you are in the city on detailed duty?”

“Yes. Work of a private nature for the Commander-in-chief.”

“It must be a source of satisfaction to be responsive to duty,” observed Marjorie.

“It is God's medicine to detach us from the things of this world. For, after all has been said and done, it is love alone which elevates one's service above the domain of abject slavery. In such a manner do the commands of heaven afford the richest consolations to the soul.”

“And still, a certain routine must manifest itself at times.”

“Not when the habit is turned to pleasure.”

“You are a philosopher, then?”

“No. Just a mere observer of men and their destinies.”

“Have you included the duration of the war in your legitimate conclusions?”

“It is not over yet, and it will not terminate, I think, without an improvement in the present condition of affairs. The proposed help from France must become a reality of no ordinary proportion, else the discordant factions will achieve dire results. Tell me,” he said, suddenly changing the topic of conversation, “were you in attendance at the Mischienza?”

“No, I did not care to attend.”

“I would I had been present.”

“You would have been expelled in your present capacity.”

“Ah, yes! But I would have affected a disguise.”

“You would expect to obtain important information?” She fingered her gown of pink satin as she spoke, oblivious of everything save the interest of the conversation.

“I might possibly have stumbled across some items of value.”

“None were there save the British Officers and their Tory friends, you know.”

“A still greater reason for my desire to be present. And why did you not dance attendance?” This question was frank.

“Do you really want to know my sole reason?” She looked at him somewhat suspicious, somewhat reliant, awaiting her womanly instinct to reveal to her the rectitude of her judgment.

“I should not have asked, otherwise,” Stephen gravely replied.

“Well, it was for the simple reason that my soul would burn within me if I permitted myself to indulge in such extravagance and gayety the while our own poor boys were bleeding to death at Valley Forge.”

Stephen grasped her hand and pressed it warmly. “You are a true patriot,” was all he could say.

Whether it was his emotion for the cause of his country or the supreme satisfaction afforded him by the knowledge that this girl was loyal to the cause, Stephen did not know, nor did he try to discover. He knew that he was thrilled with genuine gratification and that he was joyously happy over the thought which now relieved his mind. Somehow or other he earnestly desired to find this girl an ardent patriot, yet he had dared not ask her too bluntly. From the moment she had entered the hall in company with the other girls, he had singled her alone in the midst of the company. And, when the summons came to him from the Governor, he had seen her standing at the side of the dais, and her alone. Little did he suspect, however, that she bore his billet, nor did he presume to wish for the pleasure of her exclusive company for the evening.

She danced with grace and was wholly without affectation. How sweet she looked; pink gown, pink flowers, pink ribbon, pink cheeks! How interesting her conversation, yet so reserved and dignified! But she lived in the city and the city he knew teemed with Loyalists. Was she one of these! He dared not ask her. To have her so declare herself enraptured him. She was one of his own after all.

Moreover she was one with him in religious belief—that was a distinct comfort. Catholics were not numerous, and to preserve the faith was no slight struggle. He was thoroughly conversant with the state of affairs in the province of New York where Catholics could not, because of the iniquitous law and the prescribed oath of office, become naturalized as citizens of the state. He knew how New Jersey had excluded Roman Catholics from office, and how North and South Carolina had adopted the same iniquitous measure. Pennsylvania was one of the few colonies wherein all penal laws directed against the Catholics had been absolutely swept away. To meet with a member of his own persecuted Church, especially one so engaging and so interesting as Marjorie, was a source of keen joy and an unlooked-for happiness.

“You will not deny me the pleasure of paying my respects to your father and mother?” Stephen asked.

She murmured something as he let go her hand. Stephen thought she had said, “I had hoped that you would come.”

“Tomorrow?” he ventured.

“I shall be pleased to have you sup with us,” she smiled as she made the soft reply.

“Tomorrow then it shall be.”

They rose to take their part in the next dance.

III

As the evening wore on Peggy, wearied of the dance, sought a secluded corner of the great room to compose herself. She had been disappointed in her lottery, for she detested the thought of being a favor for a French officer and had taken care to so express herself at home long before. She could not rejoice at Marjorie's good fortune as she thought it, and found little of interest and less of pleasure in the evening's doings.

She was aroused from her solitude and made radiant on the instant at sight of the Military Governor, limping his way across the hall in her direction. He had seen her seated alone, and his heart urged him to her side. With the lowest bow of which he was then capable, he sought the pleasure of her company. Her color heightened, she smiled graciously with her gray-blue eyes, and accepted his hand. He led the way to the banquet room and thence to the balcony, where they might hear the music and view the dancing, for his lameness made dancing impossible.

“I hesitate to condemn a young lady to a prison seat, when the stately minuet sends a summons,” he said as he led her to a chair a little to one side of the balcony.

“You should have thought of that before you made us cast lots,” she replied quickly. “I was wearying of the rounds of pleasure.”

“Is the company, then, all too gay?”

“No, rather extravagant.”

“You insisted on the Mischienza ladies being present.”

“And can you not distinguish them? Do they not appear to better advantage than the others? Their gowns are superior, they give evidence of more usage in society, their head-dress is higher and of the latest fashion.”

“And their hearts, their hopes, their sympathies! Where are they?”

“You know where mine lay,” she adroitly replied.

“True, you did wear a French cockade,” he laughed.

“Please do not call it 'French.' I scorn all things 'French.'”

“They are our allies now, you must know.”

“For which I am most sorry. I expect no mercy from that scheming Papist country,” she replied bitterly.

“But they have lent us much money at a time when our paper currency is practically worthless, and the assistance of their fleet is now momentarily expected,” the General went on to explain.

“And to what purpose? Lord North has proposed to meet our demands most liberally and with our constitutional liberties secured, I fail to see why further strife is necessary.”

“But our independence is not yet secure.”

“It was secure after your brilliant victory at Saratoga. With the collapse of Burgoyne, England saw that further campaigning in a country so far removed from home was disastrous. It only remained to formulate some mutual agreement. We have triumphed. Why not be magnanimous? Why subject the country to a terrible strain for years for a result neither adequate nor secure?”

She talked rapidly, passionately. It was evident from the manner of her address that the subject was no new one to her.

“You can be court-martialed for treason?” he remarked with a slight smile playing about the heavy lines of his mouth.

“Is it treason to talk of the welfare of the country? I look upon the alliance with this Catholic and despotic power as more of an act of treason than the total surrender of our armies to King George. To lose our independence is one thing; but to subject our fair land to the tyranny of the Pope and his emissary, the King of France, is a total collapse. Our hopes lie in England alone.”

The Governor was struck by this strange reasoning. Why had this mere child dared to express the very thoughts which were of late intruding themselves upon his mind, but which he dared not permit to cross the seal of his lips? She was correct, he thought, in her reasoning, but bold in her denunciation. No one else had dared to address such sentiments to him. And now he was confronted with a young lady of quick wit and ready repartee who spoke passionately the identical reflections of his more mature mind. Clearly her reasoning was not without some consistency and method.

“I am afraid that you are a little Tory.” He could not allow this girl to think that she had impressed him in the least.

“Because I am frank in the expression of my views?” She turned and with arched eyebrows surveyed him. “Pardon me, if you will, but I would have taken no such liberty with any other person. You gave me that privilege when you forbade my alluding to your former brilliant exploits.”

“But I did not want you to become a Tory.”

He spoke with emphasis.

“I am not a Tory I tell you.”

“But you are not a Whig?”

“What, an ordinary shop maid!”

“They are true patriots.”

“But of no social standing.”

“Tell me why all the Mischienza ladies courtesied to me after so courtly a fashion,” he asked.

“They like it. It is part of their life. You must know that nothing pleases a woman of fashion more than to bow and courtesy before every person of royalty, and to count those who precede her out of a room.”

“Surely, Margaret, you are no such menial?” He compressed his lips as he glanced at her sharply. He had never before called her by her first name nor presumed to take this liberty. It was more a slip of the tongue than an act of deliberate choice, yet he would not have recalled the word. His concern lay in her manner of action.

“And why not a menial?” Evidently she took no notice of his presumption, or at least pretended not to do so. “Piety is by no means the only motive which brings women to church. Position in life is precisely what one makes it.”

“Does social prestige appeal to you then?”

“I love it.” She did not talk to him directly for her attention was being centered upon the activities on the floor. “I think that a woman who can dress with taste and distinction possesses riches above all computation. See Mrs. Reed, there. How I envy her!”

“The wife of the President of the Council?” he asked apprehensively, bending forward in the direction of the floor.

“The same. She enjoys a position of social eminence. How I hate her for it.” She tapped the floor with her foot as she spoke.

“You mean that you dislike her less than you envy her position?”

Just then her young squire came up and she gave him her hand for a minuet, excusing herself to the Governor as graciously as possible.

Scarcely had she disappeared when he began to muse. What a fitting companion she would make for a man of his rank and dignity! That she was socially ambitious and obsessed with a passion for display he well knew. She was not yet twenty but the disparity in their ages,—he was about thirty-seven and a widower with three sons,—would be offset by the disparity of their stations. No one in the city kept a finer stable of horses nor gave more costly dinners than he. Everybody treated him with deference, for no one presumed to question his social preëminence. The Whigs admired him as their dashing and perhaps their most successful General. The Tories liked him because of his aristocratic display and his position in regard to the Declaration of Independence. Why not make her his bride?

She possessed physical charms and graces in a singular degree. She dressed with taste; her wardrobe was of the finest. Aristocratic in her bearing, she would be well fitted to assume the position of the first lady of the town. Peggy, moreover, possessed a will of her own. This was revealed to him more than once during their few meetings, and if proof had been wanting, the lack was now abundantly supplied. She would make an ideal wife, and he resolved to enter the lists against all suitors.

Her mind was more mature than her years, he thought. This he gleaned from her animated discussion of the alliance. And there was, after all, more than an ounce of wisdom in her point of view. Mischief brewed in the proposed help from a despotic power. His own signal victory ended the war if only the Colonists would enter into negotiations or give an attentive ear to the liberal proposals of Lord North. The people did not desire complete independence and he, for one, had never fully endorsed the Declaration. Her point of view was right. Better to accept the overtures of our kinsmen than to cast our lot with that Catholic and despotic power.

His musings were arrested by the arrival of an aide, who announced that he was needed at headquarters. He arose at once to obey.

CHAPTER IV

I

Stephen awoke late the next morning. As he lay with eyes closed, half asleep, half awake, the image of his partner of the evening sweetly drifted into his dreamy brain, and called up a wealth of associations on which he continued to dwell with rare pleasure. But the ominous suggestion that her heart could not possibly be free, that perhaps some gay officer, or brilliant member of Howe's staff, or a gallant French official, many of whom had now infested the town, was a favored contestant in the field, filled his mind with the thoughts of dread possibilities, and chased away the golden vision that was taking shape. He sat upright and, pulling aside the curtains of the little window that flanked his bed, he peered into the garden behind the house. The birds were singing, but not with the volume or rapture which is their wont in the early morning. The sun was high in the heavens and flung its reflecting rays from the trees and foliage; whence he concluded that the morning was already far advanced and that it was well past the hour for him to be astir.

And what a day it was! One of those rare July days when the tints of the earth and the hues of the sky though varied in color, seem to blend in one beautiful and harmonious whole. The cypress and the myrtle, emblems of deeds of virtue and renown, had already donned their summer dress. The many flowers bowed gently under the weight of the flitful butterfly, or the industrious bee, or tossed to and fro lightly in the arms of the morning breeze. Overhead maples, resplendent in their fabric of soft and delicate green, arched themselves like fine-spun cobwebs, through which filigree the sun projected his rays at irregular and frequent intervals, lending only an occasional patch of sunlight here and there to the more exposed portions of the garden.

But nature had no power to drive Marjorie's image from his mind. Try as he would, he could not distract his attention to the many problems which ordinarily would have engaged thoughts. What mattered it to him that the French fleet was momentarily expected, or that the Continental Congress was again meeting in the city, or that he had met with certain suspicious looking individuals during the course of the day! There was yet one who looked peculiarly suspicious and who was enveloped, as far as his knowledge was concerned, in a veil of mystery of the strangest depth. She, indeed, was a flower too fair to blush unseen or unattached. His own unworthiness confounded him.

Nevertheless he was determined to call on her that very day, in response to her generous invitation of last night, and in accordance too with the custom of the time. He would there, perchance, learn more of her, of her home, of her life, of her friends. But would he excite in her the interest she was exciting in him? The thought of his possible remoteness from her, pained him and made his heart sink. The noblest characters experience strange sensations of desolation and wretchedness at the thought of disapproval and rejection. Esteem, the testimony of our neighbor's appreciation, the approval of those worth while, these are the things for which we yearn with fondest hopes. To know that we have done well is satisfaction, but to know that our efforts and our work are valued by others is one of the noblest of pleasures. Stephen longed to know how he stood in the lady's esteem, and so her little world was his universe.

Dispatching the day's business as best he could, the expectant knight set out to storm the castle of his lady. Eager as he was, he did not fail to note the imposing majesty of the great trees which lined each side of the wide road and arched themselves into a perfect canopy overhead. An air of abundance pervaded the whole scene and made him quite oblivious of the extreme warmth of the afternoon.

Ere long the little white house of her describing rose before him. He had seen it many times in other days, but now it was invested with a new and absorbing interest. There it stood, plain yet stately, with a great pointed and shingled roof, its front and side walls unbroken save for a gentle projection supported by two uniform Doric pillars which served as a sort of a portal before the main entrance. Numerous windows with small panes of glass, and with trim green shutters thrown full open revealing neatly arranged curtains, glinted and glistened in the beams of the afternoon sun. The nearer of the two great chimneys which ran up the sides, like two great buttresses of an old English abbey, gave indications of generous and well-fed fireplaces recessed in the walls of the inner rooms. The lawns and walks were uncommonly well kept, and the whole atmosphere of the little home was one of comfort and simplicity and neatness, suggesting the sweet and serene happiness reigning within.

Stephen closed the gate behind him. A moment later he had seized the brass knocker and delivered three moderate blows.

II

“Captain Meagher!” gasped a soft voice. “I am so pleased you have come.”

“Mistress Allison, the pleasure is indeed mine, I assure you,” replied Stephen as he grasped her hand, releasing it with a gentle pressure.

She led the way into the narrow hall.

“Mother!” she addressed a sweetly smiling middle-aged woman who now stood at her side, “I have the honor of presenting to you, Captain Meagher, of the staff of General Washington, my partner of last evening.” And she betrayed a sense of pride in that bit of history.

Stephen took the matron's hand, for among the Americans the custom prevailed of shaking hands, albeit the French visitors of the time maintained that it was a “comic custom.” Stephen thought it democratic, and in keeping with the spirit of the country.

The parlor opened immediately to the right and thither Stephen was conducted without further ceremony. Mr. Allison would be in shortly; he was as yet busied with the trade at the shop. The old clock at the corner of the room, with its quaint figure of Time adorning the top, and its slowly moving pendulum, proclaimed the hour of five, the hour when the duties of the day came to a close and social life began. The old fireplace, black in this season of desuetude, but brilliant in its huge brass andirons like two pilasters of gold, caught the eye at the extreme end of the room, while in the corner near the window a round mahogany tea-table, stood upright like an expanded fan or palm leaf.

Stephen seated himself in a great chair that lay to one side of the room.

“I had the good fortune of being your daughter's partner for the evening, and I am happy to be enabled to pay my respects to you.” Stephen addressed Mrs. Allison who was nearer to him on his left.

“Marjorie told me, Captain, of your extreme kindness to her. We appreciate it very much. Did she conduct herself becomingly? She is a stranger to such brilliant affairs.”

“Splendidly!” answered Stephen. “And she danced charmingly,” and he slyly looked at her as he spoke and thought he detected a faint blush.

“I did not attend on account of its extravagance,” remarked Mrs. Allison. “I had duties at home, and Marjorie was well attended.”

“Indeed!” pronounced Marjorie.

“It was magnificent, to be sure,” went on Stephen, “but it will excite no uncertain comment. Republican simplicity last night was lost from sight.”

“Which I scarce approve of,” declared Marjorie.

“You did not suit your action to your thought,” smiled her mother.

“True,” replied the girl, “yet I told you that I was anxious to attend simply to behold the novelty of it all. Now that it is over, I disapprove of the splendor and extravagance especially in these times of need.”

“Yes,” volunteered Stephen, “she did voice similar sentiments to me last evening. Nevertheless she is not alone in her criticism. The Gazette today publishes a leading article excoriating the Military Governor for his use of the teams, which he had commanded under pretense of revictualing of the army, for the transportation of his private effects to and from the City Tavern. It spells dissatisfaction at best.”

“There has been dissatisfaction from the first day on which he took up residence at the Slate Roof House,” said Mrs. Allison.

The figure of Mr. Allison appeared in the room to the rear. Stephen made haste to stand to greet him, expressing his extreme pleasure.

It was a great day for a tradesman when an officer of the Continental Army supped at his table. The house was in a mild uproar since Marjorie announced the coming distinction on her return from the ball. From the kitchen chimney went up a pillar of smoke. Mrs. Allison and two of her neighbors who were proud to lend assistance on such an important occasion could be seen passing in and out continually. A large roast lay simmering and burnished in the pan diffusing savory and provoking fumes throughout the house. And it was with distinct pride that Mrs. Allison announced to the company that they might take their places about the festive board.

The discourse bore on various matters, prominence being given to politics and the affairs of the army. Mr. Allison took care to ask no question that might give rise to embarrassment on the part of Stephen. The complaints of the tradesmen, the charges of the Whigs, the murmurings of the Tories and the annoying articles in the morning Gazette, all, were touched upon in the course of the meal. Stephen volunteered the information that Conway and Gates were in hiding and that Clinton was driven to New York where Washington was watching his every move, like a hawk, from the heights of Morristown.

“General Washington holds General Arnold in the highest esteem,” remarked Mr. Allison.

“As the bravest general in the Continental Army,” quietly replied Stephen.

“He would make a poor statesman,” went on the host.

“He is a soldier first and last.”

“Should a soldier be wanting in tact and diplomacy?”

“A good soldier should possess both.”

“Then General Arnold is not a good soldier,” declared Mr. Allison.

“A criticism he hardly deserves,” was the simple reply.

“You saw the Gazette?”

“Yes. I read that article to which you undoubtedly refer.”

“And you agree with it?”

“No. I do not.”

“I am sorry about it all. Yet I am inclined to hold the Governor responsible to a great extent. He would be an aristocrat, and it is the society of such that he covets.”

“Perhaps jealousy might inspire criticism. Envy, you know, is the antagonist of the fortunate.”

“But it is not his deeds alone that cause the unrest among our citizens. It is not what he does but what he says. It helps matters not in the least to express dissatisfaction with the manner of conducting the war, neither by criticizing the enactments of the Congress, nor vehemently opposing the new foreign alliance. This does not sound well from the lips of one of our foremost leaders and we do not like it.”

“I was not aware that he voiced any opposition to the furtherance of the alliance with France,” declared Stephen.

“He might not have spoken in formal protest, but he has spoken in an informal manner times without number,” replied Mr. Allison.

“I am sorry to hear that. I did not expect such from General Arnold,” muttered Stephen.

Marjorie had as yet taken no part in the conversation. She was interested and alive, however, to every word, anxious, if possible, to learn Stephen's attitude in respect to the common talk. She took delight in his defense of his General, notwithstanding the overwhelming evidence against him and was proud of the trait of loyalty her guest disclosed in the face of her father's opposition.

Mrs. Allison and Marjorie participated in the conversation when the topics bore, for the most part, on current events, uninteresting to Mr. Allison, who munched in silence until some incomplete sentence called for a remark or two from him by way of a conclusion. Stephen's animated interest in the more common topics of the day led Mrs. Allison and Marjorie to the conclusion that he was a more practical and a more versatile man than the head of their own house.

All in all he made a profound impression on the family, and when the repast was finished and the table had been cleared, they sat over the fruit and the nuts, before retiring to the living room for the evening.

III

“You are not in the habit of frequenting brilliant functions?” Stephen asked of Marjorie when they were quite alone. It was customary for the older folks to retire from the company of the younger set shortly after the dinner grace had been said. Of course grace had to be said; Mr. Allison would permit no bread to be broken at his house without first imploring benedictions from Heaven, and, when the formalities of the meal had been concluded, of returning thanks for the good things enjoyed.

“I never have attended before,” answered Marjorie, smoothing out a side of her apron with her hand.

“You are quite friendly with the Shippen family, I understand.”

“Oh, yes! For several years we have been united. I am invited to all their functions. Still I am not fond of society.”

“And you spend your time alone?” Stephen was persistent in his questions as he sat opposite to her and studied her expression.

“Between here and the store, and perhaps with Peggy. That is about all for I seldom visit. I am hopelessly old-fashioned in some things, mother tells me, and I suppose you will say the same if I tell you more,” and she looked at him slyly, with her head half-raised, her lips parted somewhat in a quizzical smile.

“Not at all! You are what I rather hoped to find you, although I did not dare to give expression to it. You can, possibly, be of some assistance to me.”

“Gladly would I perform any service, however humble, for the cause of our country,” Marjorie sat upright, all attention at the thought.

“You remember I told you that I was detailed in the city on special work,” Stephen went on.

“I do.”

“Well, it is a special work but it also is a very indefinite work. There is a movement afoot, but of its nature, and purpose, I at this moment am entirely ignorant. I am here to discover clews.”

“And have you no material to work on except that? It is very vague, to say the least.”

“That and suspicion. Howe found the city a nest of Tories; but he also found it swarmed with patriots, whose enthusiasm, and vigor, and patience, and determination must have impressed him profoundly, and portended disaster for the British cause. With the morale of the people so high, and renewed hope and confidence swelling their bosoms, a complete military victory must have appeared hopeless to the British General. What was left? Dissension, or rebellion, or treason, or anything that will play havoc with the united determination of the Colonists.”

She breathed heavily as she rested her chin on her hand absorbed in the vision that he was calling up.

“Arnold's victory at Saratoga has convinced Britain that the war over here cannot be won,” he continued. “Already has Lord North thrown a bomb into the ranks of the proud Tories by his liberal proposals. Of course they will be entirely rejected by us and the war will continue until complete independence is acknowledged. True, we had no such idea in mind when we entered this conflict, but now we are convinced that victory is on our side and that a free and independent form of government is the most suitable for us. We have enunciated certain principles which are possible of realization only under a democratic form of government, where the people rule and where the rulers are responsible to the people. Such a system is possible only in a great republic, and that is what England must now recognize. Otherwise the war must go on.”

“Have our aims taken such definite form. I know——”

“No! They have not,” interrupted Stephen, “they have not and that is where trouble is to be expected. Such is the state of mind, however, of many of the more experienced leaders, but their opinion will lose weight. It is because all are not united in this, that there is room for treason under the motive of misguided patriotism. And it is to scent every possible form of that disloyalty that I have been sent here; sent to the very place where the Tories most abound and where such a plot is most liable to take root.”

“And you expect me to be of assistance to you?” asked Marjorie, proud of the confidence which she so readily gained.

“I expect much. But perhaps nothing will eventuate. I can rely on you, however. For the present, naught is to be done. When the time comes, I shall tell you.”

“But what can I do? I am but a mere girl.”

“Did I think you to be ordinary, I might not have asked you,” quickly exchanged Stephen.

Marjorie dropped her head and began studying the stitches in her gown. But only for a second, for she as quickly raised her head and asked:

“Wherein, then, can I be of service to you?”

“Listen!” He brought his chair to a point nearly opposite hers. She was seated on the settee, yet he made no attempt to share it with her.

“You are friendly with the Shippen family,” he went on. “Now, do not misinterpret me. I shall require no betrayal of confidence. But it is generally known that the Shippens are Tories, not avowedly so, yet in heart and in thought. It is also generally known that their house was the center of society during the days of the British occupation, at which all manner of men assembled. The walls of that house, could they but speak, would be able to relate many momentous conversations held over the teacups, or in quiet corners. The family themselves must know many things which might be invaluable to us.”

“And you want me to learn that for you?” inquired Marjorie in alarm as the horrible thought forced itself upon her.

“I want you to do nothing of the kind,” quickly answered Stephen. “Far be it from me to require you to barter your benevolence. I should deplore any such method as most dishonorable and unworthy of the noble cause in which we are engaged. No! I ask this, simply, that through you I might be permitted the honor of visiting the home of Miss Shippen and that by being acquainted with the family I might acquire a general entrée to the Tory social circle. In this way I might effect my purpose and perchance stumble across information of vital importance. Thus can you be of great assistance to me.”

“I shall be delighted to do this, and I shall tell you more—perhaps you may ask me to do something more noble—sometime——” She hesitated to express the wish which was father to her thought.

“Sometime I expect you to be of real service to me and to our country—sometime——”

Marjorie did not answer. She knew what she would like to say, but dared not. Why should he unfold his mission to her at this, almost their first meeting? And why should he expect her to be of such assistance to him, to him, first, and then to the country? And then, why should she feel so responsive, so ready to spend herself, her energy, her whole being at the mere suggestion of this young man, whom until last evening, she had never thought to exist. She felt that she was as wax in the hands of this soldier; she knew it and enjoyed it and only awaited the moment when his seal would come down upon her and stamp her more to his liking. She was slightly younger than he, and happily his contrary in nearly all respects. He was fair, she was dark; his eyes were blue, hers brown; he was lusty and showed promise of broadness, she was slender.

Twice she opened her mouth as if to speak to him, and each time she dropped again her head in reflective silence. She did not talk to this young man as she might to any number of her more intimate acquaintances. Even the very silence was magnetic. Further utterance would dispel the charm. That she would enlist in his service she knew as well as she knew her own existence, but that he should arouse so keen an interest in her, so buoyant an attitude, so secure an assurance, amazed her and filled her with awe. She had never before experienced quite the same sensation that now dismayed her nor had any one ever brought home to her her worth as did this young soldier. Yes she would help him, but in what way?

And so they sat and considered and talked. They soon forgot to talk about His Excellency, or the Army, or the Shippens. Neither did they resolve the doubts that might have been entertained concerning the manner of men who frequented the home of Peggy and her sisters; nor the Alliance which had just been established, nor the vital signification of the event. They just talked over a field of affairs none of which bore any special relation to any one save their own selves. At length the old clock felt constrained to speak up and frown at them for their unusual delay and their profligate waste of tallow and dips.

Stephen rose at once. Marjorie saw him to the door, where she gave him her hand in parting.

“We have indeed been honored this day, Captain, and I trust that the near future will see a return of the same. I am entirely at your service,” whispered Marjorie, wondering why the words did not come to her more readily.

“On the contrary, Miss Allison, it is I who have been privileged. My humble respects to your parents. Adieu!”

He bowed gracefully, wheeled, and went out the door.

CHAPTER V

I

The Corner of Market and Front Streets was brisk with life and activity at twelve, the change hour, every day. Here assembled the merchants of the city, members of the upper class who cared enough about the rest of the world to make an inquiry into its progress; men of leisure about town whose vocation in life was to do nothing and who had the entire day in which to do it. All conditions, all varieties of character joined the ranks. Soldiers, restless from the monotony of army life and desirous of the license usually associated with leave of absence; civilians eager in the pursuit of truth or of scandal; patriots impatient with the yoke of foreign rule; Tories exasperated with the turn of the war and its accompanying privations;—all gathered together at the Old London Coffee House day after day.

It stood, an imposing three-storied, square structure, with a great wing extending far in the rear. Its huge roof, fashioned for all the world after a truncated pyramid with immense gables projecting from its sides, gave every indication of having sheltered many a guest from the snows and rains of winter. A great chimney ran up the side and continually belched forth smoke and sparks, volumes of them, during the days and nights of the cold winter season. A portico of no particular style of architecture ran around two sides of the ancient building and afforded a meeting place for the majority of the guests. It was furnished with many chairs, faithfully tenanted when the season was propitious.

Thither Stephen and Mr. Allison were directing their steps more than a week after they had last met at the home of the latter. It was by the merest chance they encountered. Stephen was seeking a healthful reaction from a vigorous walk through the less-frequented part of the city; Mr. Allison was making his daily visit to the Coffee House. Stephen had often heard of the tavern, but had never been there. Still he was resolved to seek an introduction to its clientèle at the first propitious moment. That moment had now come.

Upon entering, their attention was at once arrested by the animated discussion in progress at a table in the nearest corner of the room. An officer of the Governor's Guard, in full regimentals, booted and spurred, in company with a gentleman, finely dressed, was talking loudly to Jim Cadwalader, who was seated before them holding a half-opened newspaper in his hand. It was plain to be seen that the soldier was somewhat under the influence of liquor, yet one could not call him intoxicated.

“Gi' me that an' I'll show y',” exclaimed the soldier as he grabbed the paper from Cadwalader's hand.

“Y' were told,” he went on to read from it, “that it was t' avoid the 'stabl'shment 'r count'nancin',” he half mumbled the words, “of Pop'ry; an that Pop'ry was 'stabl'shed in Canada (where 't was only tol'rated). And is not Pop'ry now as much 'stabl'shed by law in your state 's any other rel'gion?” “Just what I was sayin',” he interpolated. “So that your Gov'nor and all your rulers may be Papists, and you may have a Mass-House in ev'ry corner o' your country (as some places already 'xper'ence).”

“There!” he snarled as he threw back the paper. “Isn't that what I wuz tryin' t' tell y'.”

“You can't tell me nothin', Forrest,” retorted Jim.

“Course I can't. Nobody kin. Y' know 't all.”

“I can mind my own bus'ness.”

“There y' are agin,” shouted Forrest, “y' know 't all, ye do.”

“Don't say that again,” Jim flared back at him. “I'll—I'll—I'll——. Don't say it again, that's all.”

“'Cause y' know 'ts true.”

“It's a lie,” Jim interrupted him. “Ye know it's a lie. But I don't 'spect much of ye, 'r of the Gov'nor either. None of ye 'll ever be Papists.”

“Now you're talkin' sens'ble; first sens'ble thing you've said t'day. No Papists here if we kin help it.”

Stephen and Mr. Allison, keenly interested in this remark, moved nearer to the table. Cadwalader was well known to Mr. Allison. The others were total strangers.

“What's he goin' t' do about the help from France? Refuse it 'cause it's from a Catholic country?” asked Jim.

“He don't like it and never did.”

“Is he fool 'nough t' think we can win this war without help?”

“He won it once.”

“When?”

“Saratoga.”

“That's his story. We didn't have it won and it won't be won without troops and with somethin' besides shin-plasters.” He turned sideways, crossed one leg over the other and began to drum upon the table.

“We must hev help,” he went on. “We must hev it and it must come from France 'r Spain.”

“They y' are agin,” repeated Forrest, “as if one wuzn't as much under th' Pope as th' other.”

“Forrest!” he turned toward him and shook his finger at him in a menacing sort of way. “Don't say that agin. Mind what I tell ye. Don't say it again—that's all. When I'm mad, I'm not myself.”

“Is that so? I s'pose I'm wrong agin, an' you're right. Tell me this. What did yer fool leg'slature in Vi'ginya do th' other day?”

“I don't know,” murmured Jim. “What did they do?”

“There y' are agin. I thought y' knew it all. Think y' know ev'rythin' an' y' know nothin'. Passed a resolution fur a Papist priest, didn't they?”

“And why?” pronounced Jim, flushed with anger, his lower lip quivering with emotion. “'Cause he did more fur his country, than you or I'll ever do. Father Gibault! And if it wazn't fur him, Colonel Clark'd never hev op'nd th' Northwest.”

“That's just what I say. The Papists'll soon own the whole damn country.”

Stephen and Mr. Allison moved as if to join the discussion, which had at this juncture become loud enough to lose the character of intimacy. Jim was well known to the guests of the house. The man who was known as Forrest, was, it was plain from his uniform, a Colonel in the army. The other man was a stranger. Much younger than his companion, tall, manly, clad in a suit of black, with his hair in full dress, well-powdered and gathered behind in a large silken bag, he gave every appearance of culture and refinement. He wore a black cocked hat, whose edges were adorned with a black feather about an inch in depth, his knees as well as his shoes adorned with silver buckles.

“If they did own th' country,” was Jim's grave reply, “we'd hev a healthier place to live in than we now hev.”

“An' whose doin' it?” shouted Forrest. “The Papists.”

“Thou liest!” interrupted Mr. Allison, intruding himself into their midst, “a confounded lie. Remember, the Catholics have given their all to this war—their goods, their money, their sons.”

“Heigh-ho! who're you?” asked the soldier. “What d' you know 'bout the army? Hardly 'nough 'f them to go aroun'.”

“A malicious untruth. Why, half the rebel army itself is reported to have come from Ireland.”

“How do you know?”

“From the testimony of General Robertson in the House of Lords. And if these soldiers are Irishmen, you can wager they're Catholics. And why should we pass laws 'gainst these crowds of Irish Papists and convicts who are yearly poured upon us, unless they were Catholic convicts fleeing from the laws of persecution?”

“What ails ye, Forrest,” rejoined Jim, “can't be cured.”

“Take care 'f yourself,” angrily retorted the Colonel, “an' I'll take care o' myself.”

“If ye did, and yer likes did the same, we'd git along better and the war'd be over. I s'pose ye know that yer friend Jay lost Canada to us.”

“What if he did. Wazn't he right?”

And then he explained to him.

II

Canada had been surrendered to England by France in a clause of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, with a stipulation, however, that the people of the territory in question would be permitted the free use of the French language, the prescriptions of the French code of laws, and the practice of the Catholic religion.

South of this region and west of the English colonies between the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers, stretched a vast expanse of territory known as the Northwest Territory, where dwelt a large population without laws, with no organized form of government save the mere caprices of petty military tyrants, placed over them by the various seaboard colonies who severally laid claim to the district. At the request of the people of Canada it was voted by the English Parliament to reannex the territory northwest of the Ohio to Canada and to permit the settlers to share in the rights and privileges of the Canadian province. This was effected by the Quebec Act in 1774.

It was truly a remarkable concession. The inhabitants of this vast stretch of territory were freed for all time from the tyranny of military despots, their lands and churches secured to them and their priests given a legal title to their tithes. It was the freest exercise of the Catholic religion under the laws of the English Government.

But what a storm of abuse and protestation was raised by the fanatical portion of the Protestant population! The newspapers of the day abounded with articles, with songs and squibs against the King and His Parliament. The mother country witnessed no less virulent a campaign than the colonies themselves. “We may live to see our churches,” writes one writer to the Pennsylvania Packet, “converted into mass-houses, and our lands plundered of tithes for the support of a Popish clergy. The Inquisition may erect her standard in Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia may yet experience the carnage of St. Bartholomew's day.” Processions were formed about the country and in some places the bust of George III, adorned with miter, beads and a pectoral cross, was carried in triumphal march.

The forms of protest found their way ultimately into the halls of the First American Congress which convened in Philadelphia in 1774. The recent legislation was enumerated among the wrongs done the colonies by the mother country. Feeling became so bitter that an address was issued by the Congress on the fifth of September, 1774, “to the people of Great Britain” saying: “We think the Legislature of Great Britain is not authorized by the Constitution to establish a religion, fraught with sanguinary and impious tenets, or to erect an arbitrary form of government in any quarter of the globe.” “By another act the Dominion of Canada is to be extended, modeled and governed, as that being disunited from us, detached from our interests by civil as well as religious prejudices, that by their numbers daily swelling with Catholic emigrants from Europe, and by their devotion to administration so friendly to their religion, they might become formidable to us, and on occasion be fit instruments in the hands of power to reduce the ancient free Protestant colonies to the same state of slavery with themselves.” Little did they think that the breach they were attempting to heal was widened by their procedure. The author of the address was John Jay, a lawyer from New York, with whom Papaphobia was a mania.

Nor did the failure of this method of diplomacy become apparent until several years later. The measure of appreciation and the expression of sentiment of the Canadian people in regard to this ill-timed and unchristian address, conceived in a fit of passion and by no means representative of the sentiments of the saner portion of the population, took expression at a more critical time. When, in 1776, the members of the same Congress, viewing with alarm the magnitude of the struggle upon which they had entered and to whose success they had pledged their honor, their fortunes and their lives, sought to enlist the resources of their neighbors in Canada, they met with a sudden and calamitous disappointment. To effect an alliance with the border brethren, three commissioners were appointed—Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Father John Carroll, a Jesuit priest, was invited by the Congress to accompany the party.

Arriving in Canada, it soon became evident to the committee, that their mission was to be unproductive of results. The government did not take kindly to them, nor would the Bishop of Quebec and his clergy trust the vague expressions of the United Colonies, whose statute books, they pointed out, still bore the most bitter and unchristian sentiments against all priests and adherents of the ancient church. Bigotry had apparently defeated their purpose. How it had done this was still quite obscure, until it was discovered that the British Government had taken John Jay's address, translated it into French and spread it broadcast throughout Canada. “Behold the spirit of the Colonists,” it went on to remind the people, “and if you join forces with them, they will turn on you and extirpate your religion, in the same manner as they did in the Catholic colony of Maryland.”

The effect is historical. The commissioners were compelled to return; the brave Montgomery was killed before the walls of the city; Canada was lost to the Colonies and forever forfeited as an integral part of the United States; all of which was due to the narrowness and intolerance of those who in the supreme hour could not refrain from the fanaticism of bigotry.

It must be said, however, out of justice to the colonists that they did not persist in their spirit of antagonism towards the Catholics. The commencement of the struggle against the common foe, together with the sympathetic and magnanimous concurrence of the Catholics with the patriots in all things, soon changed their prejudice in favor of a more united and vigorous effort in behalf of their joint claims. The despised Papists now became ardent and impetuous patriots. The leaders in the great struggle soon began to reflect an added luster to the nation that gave them birth and to the Church which taught them devotion to their land. The rank and file began to swarm with men of the Catholic faith, so many, indeed, that their great Archbishop, John Carroll, could write of them that “their blood flowed as freely (in proportion to their numbers) to cement the fabric of independence, as that of any of their fellow citizens. They concurred with perhaps greater unanimity than any other body of men in recommending and promoting that government from whose influence America anticipates all the blessings of justice, peace, plenty, good order, and civil and religious liberty.”

Only among the few was the spirit of intolerance still rampant, and among these might be numbered Colonel Forrest.

III

“See now who's t' blame, don't ye? The likes o' ye an' that poltroon, Jay, up there in New York. See who started this affair, don't ye?”

“That's what you say. Egad, I could say all that an' save half the breath. I've got my 'pinion, though, and that'll do fur me.”

“Ye're so narrow, Forrest, ye've only one side.”

“Is that so? Well, so is the Governor.”

“Is that his opinion, too?” impatiently asked Mr. Allison.

“What?”

“Does he view matters in that light?”

“Did I say he did.”

“Yes.”

There was no further response.

Stephen had, by this time, become thoroughly exasperated with this man, and was about to eject him forcibly from the room. His better judgment, however, bade him restrain himself. A tilt in a public drinking house would only noise his name abroad and perhaps give rise to much unpleasantness.

“How can a man consistently be subject to any civil ruler when he already has pledged his allegiance, both in soul and in body, to another potentate?”

This from the man in black, the fourth member of the party, who heretofore had maintained an impartial and respectful silence, not so much from choice perhaps as through necessity. His name proved to be John Anderson.

“You mean an alien?” Stephen inquired.

“If you are pleased so to term it. The Pope is a temporal lord, you understand, and as such is due allegiance from every one of his subjects.”

And then Stephen took pains to explain, clearly and concisely, the great difference between the two authorities—the civil and the religious. The Prince of Peace had said, “Render unto Cæesar the things that are Cæesar's, and to God the things that are God's,” which declaration admitted of an interpretation at once comprehensive and exclusive. He explained how the Catholic found himself a member of two distinct and perfect societies, each independent and absolute within its own sphere, the one deriving its charter from the natural law, the other directly from God. He then pointed out how these societies lived in perfect harmony, although armed with two swords, the one spiritual, the other temporal, weapons which were intended never to clash but to fight side by side for the promotion of man's happiness, temporal and eternal.

“But it is inconceivable how a clash can be avoided,” Mr. Anderson reminded him.

“Not when it is remembered that each authority is independent of the other. The Church has no power over civil legislation in matters purely secular, nor has the state a right to interfere in ecclesiastical legislation, in matters purely spiritual, nor over spiritual persons considered strictly as such. In every Catholic country the King, as well as the humblest peasant, is subject to the laws of his country in secular matters, and to the laws of his church in matters spiritual.”

“Yet at the same time he cannot fail to recognize that the one is superior to the other.”

“Only in so far as the spiritual order is superior to the secular.”

“Not in temporal affairs as well?”

“Not in the least. Only in the recognition of the fact that the salvation of the soul is of more importance than the welfare of the body. In this is the mission of the state considered inferior to that of the Church.”

“If this be true, how can a Catholic pay allegiance to a society which he believes to be a subordinate one?”

“He does not consider it subordinate. It is supreme within its own sphere. Theoretically it is subordinate in this: that the care of the soul comes first; then that of the body. The state is the greatest institution in matters secular, and in this respect superior to the Church. The Church makes no pretense of infallibility in statesmanship. Hence, a Catholic who is true to his Church and her teachings makes the best citizen.”

“Why?”

“Because, to him, patriotism is inculcated by religion. Throughout his whole life his soul has been nurtured by his Church on a twofold pabulum,—love of God and love of country.”

“The Catholic Church expressly teaches that? I thought——”

“Exactly,” agreed Stephen, interrupting him. “The Catholic has been taught that the civil authority, to which he owes and pays allegiance, is something divine; for him it is the authority of God vested in His creatures and he gives ear to its voice and yields to it a sweet and humble submission as befits a child of God, doing His Will in all things. For he recognizes therein the sound of the Divine Voice.”

“I see.”

“He remembers the teaching of his Church, derived from the words of St. Paul writing on this subject to the citizens of Rome, 'Let every man be subject to higher powers, for there is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God,' and the letter of St. Peter, the first Pope, 'Be ye subject, therefore, to every human creature for God's sake; whether it be to the king as excelling; or to governors as sent by him—for so is the will of God.'”

“You must have been reading the Bible,” interrupted Mr. Allison with a smile.

“I have,” answered Stephen, as he continued with little or no attention to the interruption.

“The Catholic obeys the voice of his rightly constituted authority because he feels that he is obeying the voice of his God, and when he yields obedience to the law of his land, he feels that he is yielding obedience to God Himself. His ruler is the mouthpiece of God; the Constitution of his state a most sacred thing because it is the embodiment of the authority of God and he would rather die than commit any untoward or unlawful deed which might undermine or destroy it, precisely because it is from God.”

There was no response. All had listened with attention to Stephen as he emphasized point after point. All, save Colonel Forrest, who wore a sardonic smile throughout it all.

“You should 've talked like that on Guy Fawkes' Day,” he muttered, “if you wanted t' hev some fun. We'd hev some hot tar fur you.”

“Thank God!” replied Stephen. “We shall witness no more such outbreaks of fanaticism. They have long enough disgraced our country. They are, I trust, forever ended.”

“The Pope Day Celebration ended?” asked Anderson in surprise.

“I hope so. Since General Washington issued the order soon after taking command of the army, abolishing the celebration, the practice has never been resumed.”

“Wash'ton thinks he owns th' country,” mumbled Forrest in a half articulate manner. “Likes th' Papists, he does. No more Pope Day! Cath'lic gen'rals! French al-lies! P'rhaps 'll send fur th' Pope next. Give 'm 'is house, p'rhaps. Give 'im th' whole coun'ry. No damn good to us, he ain't. No damn good——”

The next moment Stephen was upon him with his hands about his throat, his face flaming with rage and passion.

“You hound! No more of that; or your treason will end forever.”

He shook his head violently, tightening his fingers about his throat. As he did, Forrest writhing in the chair under his attack, began to fumble with his hand at his hip as if instinctively seeking something there. Stephen's eyes followed the movement, even while he, too, relaxed his hold to seize with his free hand the arm of his adversary. Only for a moment, however; for he immediately felt himself seized from behind by the shoulders and dragged backwards from his man and completely overpowered.

The man who was known as Anderson took charge of the Colonel, helping him to his feet, and without further words led him to one side of the room, talking softly but deliberately to him as he did so.

A moment later they had passed through the door and vanished down the street in the direction of the Square.

CHAPTER VI

I

The morrow was one of those rare days when all nature seems to invite one to go forth and enjoy the good things within her keeping. The sunrise was menacing; unless the wind shifted before noon it would be uncomfortably warm. Still, the air was bracing and fragrant with the soft perfume distilled by the pines.

Stephen felt in tune with nature as he made his early morning toilet. He gazed the while into the garden from his widely opened window, and responded instinctively to the call of the countryside. The disagreeable episode of the preceding day had left unpleasant recollections in his mind which disconcerted him not a little during his waking hours, the time when the stream of consciousness begins to flow with an unrestrained rapidity, starting with the more impressive memories of the night before. He did not repent his action; he might have repeated the performance under similar circumstances, yet he chided himself for his lack of reserve and composure and his great want of respect to a superior officer.

He was early mounted and on his way, striking off in the direction of the Germantown Road. He had left word with his landlady of his intended destination, with the added remark that he would be back in a short time, a couple of hours at the most, and that he would attend to the business of the day upon his return. What that might amount to he had no idea at all, being preoccupied entirely with what he had to do in the immediate present, for he made it a point never to permit the more serious affairs of life to intrude upon his moments of relaxation.

He was a pleasant figure to look upon; smooth-faced and athletic, well mounted and dressed with great preciseness. On his well shaped hands he wore leathern gauntlets; he was in his uniform of buff and blue; beneath his coat he had his steel-buckled belt with his holster and pistol in it; he wore his cocked hat with a buff cockade affixed, the insignia of his rank in the service.

The road lay in the direction of Marjorie's house. Perhaps he chose to ride along this way in order that he might be obliged to pass her door, and then again, perhaps, that was but of secondary import. This was no time for analysis, and so he refused to study his motives. He did know that he had not seen her for a long time, the longest time it seemed, and that he had had no word from her since their last meeting, save the intelligence received from her father yesterday in response to his repeated inquiries concerning her welfare and that of her mother.

“Let us turn up here, Dolly, old girl.” He leaned forward a little to pat the mare's neck affectionately as he spoke; while at the same time he pulled the right rein slightly, turning her head in the direction indicated. “And, if we are fortunate, we shall catch a glimpse of her.”

Dolly raised her ears very erect and opened full her nostrils as if to catch some possible scent of her, of whom he spoke. She pierced the distance with her eyes, but saw no one and so settled herself into an easy canter, for she knew it to be more to her rider's advantage to proceed at a slowing pace until they had passed the house in question.

“You are an intelligent old girl, Dolly, but I must not let you too far into the secrets of my mind. Still, you have shared my delights and woes alike and have been my one faithful friend. Why should I not tell you?”

And yet they had been friends for no great length of time. It was at Valley Forge they had met, shortly after Stephen's appointment to General Washington's staff. As an aide he was required to be mounted and it was by a piece of good fortune that he had been allowed to choose from several the chestnut mare that now bore him. He had given her the best of care and affection and she reciprocated in as intelligent a manner as she knew how.

“You have served well, but I feel that there is much greater work before us, much greater than our quest of the present.”

They were nearing the house. For some reason or other, Dolly whinnied as he spoke, probably in acquiescence to his thought, probably in recognition of the presence of her rival. She might have seen, had she cared to turn her head, a trim, lithe form passing to the rear of the house. Stephen took pains to see her, however, and, as she turned her head, doffed his hat in salute. The next moment Dolly felt the reins tighten, and, whether she desired it or not, found her head turned in that direction. Her rider was soon dismounted and was leading her to the side of the road.

“You are early astir, Mistress Marjorie. I had anticipated no such pleasure this morning.”

“It is indeed mutual,” replied Marjorie, smiling as she offered him her hand. “How came you so early? No new turn of events, I hope!”

“Not in the least. I desired a few hours in the saddle before the heat of the day set in, and my guardian angel must have directed me along this path.”

Dolly raised both her ears and turned towards him, while she noisily brought her hoof down upon the sod.

“What a rascal!” she thought to herself.

The girl dropped her eyes demurely and then asked hurriedly:

“There are no new developments?”

“None that I know of.”

“Nothing came of the trouble at the Inn?”

“Then you know?”

“All. Father told me.”

“He should not have told you.”

“It was my doing. I gave him no peace until I had learned all.”

Dolly grew weary of this pleasantry and wandered away to gladden her lips on the choice morsels of the tender grass.

“I deeply regret my indiscretion, though it was for his sake.”

“You mean——?”

“His Excellency.”

“I might have done likewise, were I able. Colonel Forrest is most disagreeable.”

“He was not wholly culpable and so I forgave his insulting remarks against us, but I forgot myself entirely when General Washington's name was besmirched.”

“I fear further trouble,” she sighed.

“From him?”

She nodded her head.

“Nonsense! There will be naught said about the whole affair and it will end where it began. Forrest is no fool.”

“I have other news for you, Captain,” announced Marjorie, her eyes beaming at the prospect.

“And how long have you been preserving it for me?” asked Stephen.

“But a few days.”

“And you made no attempt to see me?”

“Had I not met you now, I would have done so this day,” answered Marjorie.

“You would have written?”

“Perhaps.”

“It is my forfeiture to your reserve.”

“And made gallantly.”

“Come now! What had you to tell?”

“This. Peggy desires the honor of your company. You will receive the invitation in a day or two. Just an informal affair, yet I sensed the possibility of your pleasure.”

“You did right. I am pleased as I am honored, but neither so much as I am elated at the hopes for the future. Of course, I shall accept, but you will have to promise to denote my path for me in the tangled maze of society, in whose company I am as yet merely a novice.”

“Lud! I ne'er heard one so illiberal of his graces.”

“Nor one more candid,” Stephen rejoined as quickly. If he were good at repartee he had met with one who was equally as apt.

“You know the Governor will be in attendance,” she declared in a matter-of-fact manner.

“How should I know that? Is it unusual for him to frequent the company of the gay?”

“Not of late, the more especially where the presence of Peggy is concerned,” added the little tale-bearer with a keen though reckless wit.

“And why Peggy?” He was innocent enough in his question.

“Have you not heard of His Excellency's courting? Mr. Shippen has already made public the rumor that a certain great General is laying close siege to the heart of Peggy. And I have Peggy's own word for it.”

“To Peggy?” He asked with evident surprise. “Why, she but halves his age, and he is already a widower.”

“With three sons,” Marjorie gayly added. “No matter. Peggy will meet the disparity of ages by the disparity of stations. She has avowed to me that no one dares to question the social preëminence of the Military Governor, nor the fact that he is the most dashing and perhaps most successful general of the Continental Army. Position in life is of prime importance to her.”

“Is that so? I had not so judged her,” was the comment.

“She admits that herself, and makes no secret of it before any one. Did you not observe her sullen silence at the Ball upon learning of the identity of her inferior partner? And that she sat out the major portion of the dance in company with the Military Governor?”

“It escaped my attention, for I was too deeply concerned with another matter which distracted me for the entire evening,” he answered with a smile.

She pretended to take no notice, however, and continued.

“Well, he has been calling regularly since that evening, and this quiet and informal function has been arranged primarily in his honor, although it will not be announced as such. You will go?” she asked.

“I shall be pleased to accept her invitation. May I accompany you?”

“Thank you. I almost hoped you would say that. Men folks are so sadly wanting in intuition.”

“Friday, then? Adieu! The pleasure that awaits me is immeasurable.”

“Until Friday.”

She extended to him her hand, which he pressed. A moment later he was mounted.

“My kindest to your mother. She will understand.” Dolly broke into a gallop.

II

Marjorie stood at the gate post until he was quite lost from view around the turn of the road. He did not look back, yet she thought that he might have. She slowly turned and as slowly began to walk towards the house, there to resume the duties which had suffered a pleasant interruption.

Meanwhile, she tried to analyze this young man. He was rather deep, of few words on any given subject, but wholly non-communicative as regards himself. He perhaps was possessed of more intuition than his manner would reveal, although he gave every appearance of arriving at his conclusions by the sheer force of logic. His words and deeds never betrayed his whole mind, of that she was certain, yet he could assert himself rather forcibly when put to the test, as in the painful incident at the Coffee House. He would never suffer from soul-paralysis, thought she, for want of decision or resolution, for both were written full upon him.

That she was strangely attracted to him she knew very well, but why and how she was unable to discover. This was but their third meeting, yet she felt as if she had known him all her life, so frank, so unreserved, so open, so secure did she feel in his presence. It seemed the most natural thing in the world for her to have waved her hand in salute to him that morning as he passed; she did it with the same unconcern as if she had known him all her life. She felt it within her, that was all, and could give no other possible interpretation to her action.

There was something prepossessing about him. Perhaps it was his faculty for doing the unexpected. Most women desire to meet a man who is possessed of a distinctive individuality, who lends continual interest to them by his departure from the trite and commonplace. What Stephen might say or do was an entirely unknown quantity until it had actually taken place, and this attracted her on the instant, whether she was conscious of it or not. His manner, too, was affable, and gave him an air at once pleasing and good-natured. He never flattered, yet said most agreeable things, putting one perfectly at ease and inspiring sympathy and courage. He bore himself well; erect, manly, dignified, without ostentation or display. His seriousness, his evenness, his gravity, his constancy and his decision stamped him with a certain authority, a man of marked personality and character.

So she mused as she entered the door, her thoughts in a lofty hegira to the far off land of make believe—her better self striving to marshal them to the cold realities of duty that lay before her. She had been cleaning the little addition at the rear of the dwelling proper, used as a kitchen, and her work took her into the yard. Dolly's whinny had caused her to turn her head, and the next moment cares and responsibilities and all else were forgotten. Now she wondered what she had been about! Seizing a cloth she began to dust industriously. The crash of one of the dishes on the kitchen floor brought her to her senses. Her mother heard the noise from the adjoining room.

“What ails thee, child? Hast thou lost thy reason?”

“I believe so, mommy. I must have been thinking of other things.” And she stooped to gather the fragments.

“Was it Captain Meagher? I saw you two at the gate.”

A guilty smile stole over the corners of her mouth.

“He was passing while I was in the yard, and he stopped only to wish me the greetings of the day. I was right glad that he did, for I had an opportunity of extending to him the invitation from Peggy.”

“He will go, I suppose?” she queried, knowing well what the answer might be. She did not spare the time to stop for conversation, but continued with her duties.

“He is quite pleased. And, mommy, he will call for me.”

“Be careful, now, to break no more dishes.”

“Lud! I have not lost my head yet. That was purely an accident which will not happen again.”

“That poor unfortunate Spangler made a better defense.”

“He deserved what he got. So did Lieutenant Lyons and the other officers of the Ranger who deserted to the enemy. But my sympathies go out to the old man who kept the gates under the city. These court-martials are becoming too common and I don't like them.”

“That is the horrible side of war, my dear. And until our people learn the value of patriotism, the need of abolishing all foreign ties and strongly adhering to the land that has offered them a home and a living, the necessity of these dreadful measures will never cease.”

“A little power is a dangerous weapon to thrust into a man's hand, unless he be great enough to wield it.”

“Now you are going to say that General Arnold is to blame for these tragedies.”

“No, I am not. But I do think that a great deal more of clemency could be exercised. Many of those poor tradesmen who were convicted and sentenced to be hanged could have been pardoned with equal security.”

“That is the law, my dear, and the law is God's will. Leave all to Him.”

Mrs. Allison was one of those good souls who saw no harm in the vilest of creatures; faults were hidden by her veil of sympathy. When distressing reverses or abject despair visited any one, Mrs. Allison's affability and indescribable tenderness smoothed over the troubled situation and brought forth a gleam of gladness. Quiet, kindly, magnanimous, tolerant, she could touch hearts to the depths in a manner both winning and lasting. Whether the fault entailed a punishment undeserved or inevitable, her feeling of pity was excited. She always sympathized without accusing or probing the source of the evil. She stretched forth a helping hand merely to aid. No nature, however hard, could be impervious to the sympathy and the sweetness of her affectionate disposition.

Motherly was the quality written full upon Mrs. Allison's face. Her thoughts, her schemes, her purposes, her ambitions of life, were all colored by this maternal attribute. In her daily homage and obeisance to God, Whom she worshiped with the most childlike faith and simplicity; in the execution of the manifold duties of her home, Marjorie was to her ever a treasure of great price. She was sustained in her aims and purposes by an enduring power of will,—a power clothed with the soft, warm, living flesh of a kindly heart.

Her marriage with Matthew Allison had been happy, a happiness intensified and concretely embodied in Marjorie, the only child vouchsafed to them by the Creator. How often, at the time when the deepening shadows moved their way across the dimming landscape, announcing to the work worn world the close of another day, would she sit for a brief while in silence and take complacence in the object of her hopes and aspirations! It was Marjorie for whom she lived and toiled and purposed. And it was Marjorie who embodied the sum-total of her fancies and ambitions and aspirations, and translated them into definite forms and realities.

III

A beautiful landscape unrolled itself before Stephen as he leisurely rode along the Germantown road. The midsummer sun was now high in the heavens, with just a little stir in the air to temper its warmth and oppressiveness. Fragments of clouds, which seemed to have torn themselves loose from some great heap massed beyond the ridge of low hills to the westward, drifted lazily across the waste of blue sky, wholly unconcerned as to their ultimate lot or destination. Breaths of sweet odor, from freshly cut hay or the hidden foliage bounding the road, were wafted along in the embraces of the gentle breeze. Away to the left and before him, as his horse cantered along, swelled the countryside in gentle undulations of green and brown, disfigured now and again by irregular patches of field and orchard yielding to cultivation; while to the side a stone wall humped itself along the winding road into the distance, its uniformity of contour broken here and there by a trellis work of yellow jasmine or crimson rambler, alternately reflecting lights and shadows from the passing clouds and sunshine. It was a day when all nature was in perfect tune, its harmony sweetly blending with the notes of gladness that throbbed in Stephen's heart. Yet he was scarce aware of it all, so completely absorbed was he in the confusion of his own thought.

Stephen had a very clear idea of what he was to do in the immediate present, but he had no idea at all of what was to be done in the immediate future. First of all he would attend Mistress Marjorie at this informal affair, where, perhaps, he might learn more about the Military Governor. He half surmised that His Excellency was not kindly disposed towards Catholics in general, although he could not remember any concrete case in particular to substantiate his claim. Still he knew that he was avowedly opposed to the French Alliance, as were many illustrious citizens; and he presumed his feelings were due in part at least to the fact that France was a recognized Catholic country. There was a negative argument, too: no Catholic name was ever found among his appointments. These were but surmises, not evidence upon which to base even a suspicion. Nevertheless, they were worthy of some consideration until a conclusion of a more definite nature was warranted.

That the Governor was becoming decidedly more unpopular every day and that this unpopularity was quite consequential, more consequential if anything than preconceived,—for it cannot be gainsaid that many had frowned upon his appointment from the very beginning,—Meagher knew very well. Unfavorable comparisons already had been drawn between the gayety of life under a free country and that of a colonial government. The fact that Arnold possessed the finest stable of horses in the city, and entertained at the most costly of dinners, at a time when the manner of living was extremely frugal, not so much from choice as from necessity, and at a time when the value of the Continental currency had depreciated to almost nothing, occasioned a host of acrid criticisms not only in the minds of the displeased populace, but also in the less friendly columns of the daily press.

Censures of the harshest nature were continually uttered against the Governor's conduct of the affairs of the city government together with his earlier order closing the shops. Now, the use that he began to make of the government wagons in moving the stores excited further complaints of a more public nature, the more so that no particular distinction was being made as to whether the stores belonged to the Whigs or the offending Tories. It was no idle gossip that he curried favor with the upper Tory class of the city, now particular mention was made of his infatuation with the daughter of Edward Shippen. It was whispered, too, that the misuse of his authority in the grant of safe passes to and from New York had led to the present act of the Congress in recalling all passes. Stephen knew all this and he logically surmised more; so he longed for the opportunity to study intimately this man now occupying the highest military post in the city and the state.

For the present he would return home and bide his time until Friday evening when he would have the happiness of escorting Marjorie to the home of Peggy Shippen.

“I wonder, Dolly, old girl, if I can make myself bold enough to call her 'Marjorie.' 'Marjorie,' Margaret,'“ he repeated them over to himself. “I don't know which is the prettier. She would be a pearl among women, and she is, isn't she, Dolly?”

He would ask her at any rate. He would be her partner for the evening, would dance with her, and would sit by her side. Peggy would be there, too, and the General. He would observe them closely, and perchance, converse with them. Colonel Forrest and the General's active aide-de-camp, Major Franks, a Philadelphian, and a Jew would also be present. Altogether the evening promised to be interesting as well as happy.

He was musing in this manner when he heard the hoof beats of a horse, heavily ridden, gaining upon him in the rear. He drew up and half turned instinctively at the strange yet familiar sound. Suddenly there hove into view at the bend of the road an officer of the Continental Army, in full uniform, booted and spurred, whose appearance caused him to turn full about to await him. It was not long before he recognized the familiar figure of the aide, Major Franks, and he lifted his arm to salute.

“Captain Meagher, I have orders for your arrest.”

“Sir?” answered Stephen in alarm.

“On charges preferred by Colonel Forrest. You are to come with me at once.”

An embarrassing silence ensued.

Stephen then saluted, and handed over his side arms. He wheeled his horse and set off in the direction indicated, his thoughts in a turmoil.

The Major fell in at the rear.

CHAPTER VII

I

     “For still my mem'ry lingers on the scenes
       And pleasures of the days beyond recall.”

Peggy's voice, timid, soft though pretty, died away into an enraptured silence which seemed to endure for the longest while before the room burst into a generous measure of applause. She was very well accompanied on the clavichord by Miss Rutteledge and on the harp by Monsieur Ottow, Secretary to the French Minister. The evening had been delightful; the assembly brilliant in quality, and unaffectedly congenial and diverting. The music had contributed much to the pleasures of the function, for the Shippens' was one of the few homes in the city where such a resource was at all possible.

“Major! Major Franks! What do you think of my little girl? Do you think 'twould be well for her to cultivate such a voice?”

Mrs. Shippen turned sideways. There was gratification, genuine, complacent gratification, visible in every line of her smiling face.

“Splendid! Splendid! Of course. Madame, she sings very prettily,” replied the Major, gathering himself from the state of partial repose into which he had fallen.

He sat up.

“And do you know, Major,” went on the fond mother, “she never had a tutor, except some of our dear friends who made this their home during the winter.”

“You mean the British?”

“Of course they did not make so free with everybody in the city, with only a few, you know. It was for General Howe himself that Margaret first made bold enough to sing.”

“She does very well, I am sure,” was the reply.

The little group again lapsed into silence as Peggy responded with an encore, this selection being a patriotic air of a lighter vein. The Major again lapsed into an easy attitude, but Mrs. Shippen was visibly intent upon every motion of the singer and followed her every syllable.

“How much does music contribute to one's pleasure!” she remarked when the conversation began to stir.

“It is charming,” Mr. Anderson observed.

“And do you know that we inherited that clavichord? It is one of the oldest in the country.”

“It appears to be of rare design,” remarked Mr. Anderson, as his eyes pierced the distance in a steady observance of it.

“It belonged to Mr. Shippen's father,” she boasted. “This house, you know, was the home of Edward Shippen, who was Mayor of the city over an hundred years ago. It was then, if I do say it, the most pretentious home in the city. My husband was for disposing of it and removing to less fashionable quarters, but I would not hear of it. Never!”

Major Franks surveyed the great room deliberately.

“'Twould make a fine castle!” he commented as he half turned and crossed one knee over the other. He felt that this would be his last visit if he continued to take any less interest, yet even that apparently caused him no great concern.

And yet, a great house it was, the quondam residence of Edward Shippen, the progenitor of the present family, a former Mayor of the city, who had fled thither from Boston where he had suffered persecution at the hands of the Puritans who could not allow him to be a Quaker. It stood on an eminence outside the city. It was well surrounded, with its great orchard, its summer house, its garden smiling with roses, and lilies; bordered by rows of yellow pines shading the rear, with a spacious green lawn away to the front affording an unobstructed view of the city and the Delaware shore. It was a residence of pretentious design and at the time of its construction was easily the most sumptuous home in the city.

The Shippens had been the leaders of the fashionable set, not alone in days gone by, the days of colonial manners when diversions and enjoyments were indulged in as far as the austerities of the staid old Quaker code would allow; but also during the days of the present visitation of the British, when emulation in the entertainment of the visitors ran riot among the townsfolk. Small wonder that the present lord of the manor felt constrained to write to his father that he should be under the necessity of removing from this luxurious abode to Lancaster, “for the style of living my fashionable daughters have introduced into my family and their dress will I fear before long oblige me to change the scene.” Yet if the truth were told, the style of living inaugurated by the ambitious daughters was no less a heritage than a part of the discipline in which they had been reared.

If the sudden and forced departure of the dashing as well as the eligible British Officers from the city had totally upset the cherished social aspirations of the mother of the Shippen girls, the advent of the gallant and unmarried Military Governor had lifted them to a newer and much higher plane of endeavor. The termination of a matrimonial alliance with the second in command of the patriotic forces not less than the foremost in rank of the city gentry, would more than compensate for the loss of a possible British peerage. Theirs was a proud lineage to boast of and a mode of unfeigned comfort and display. And it took but the briefest possible time for the artful mother to discern that her clever and subtle devices were beginning to meet with some degree of success.

The present function was wholly her affair, and while it was announced as a purely informal gathering, the manner and the scheme of the decorations, the elegance and the care with which the women dressed, the order, the appointments, the refreshments, not to mention the distinguished French visitors, would permit no one to surmise that, even for a moment. Care had been taken to issue invitations to the representative members of the city's upper class, more especially to the newly arrived French Officers and their wives, as well as the commissioned members of the Continental Army. There were the Shippen girls, their persistent friend, Miss Chew, as well as Miss Franks, whose brother was now attached to the staff of General Arnold, and a dozen other young ladies, all attractive, and dressed in the prevailing elegance of fashion; the hair in an enormous coiffure, in imitation of the fashions of the French, with turbans of gauze and spangles and ropes of pearls, the low bodices with the bow in front, the wide sashes below. It was an altogether brilliant assembly, with the Military Governor the most brilliant of all.

“Tell me, Major,” asked Mrs. Shippen in measured and subdued language as she leaned forward in an apparently confidential manner, “does General Arnold visit often?”

“Oh, yes!” replied the Major at once, “he is very generous with his company.”

Her face fell somewhat.

“Now, isn't that strange? I was told that he made a practice of calling at no home outside of ours.”

He uncrossed his leg and shifted in his chair rather uneasily.

“Quite true.” He saw at once that he had made an unhappy remark. “But of course he makes no social calls, none whatsoever. You must know that the affairs of state require all of his time, for which duty he is obliged to visit many people on matters of pure business.”

“Oh!”

She appeared satisfied at this explanation.

“It seems as if we had known him all our lives. He feels so perfectly at home with us.”

“Exactly.”

“You have met him often with us, haven't you, Marjorie?”

“I first met him at the Military Ball through Peggy,” Marjorie replied naïvely.

“But you must have met him here. He has been here so often,” she insisted.

“Then I vow our General has felt the smite of your fair daughter's charms,” remarked Mr. Anderson.

Marjorie breathed a sigh of relief at the timely interruption.

“Do you really think so?” asked Mrs. Shippen, with no attempt to conceal her impatience.

“Unquestionably.

          'Smiles from reason flow,
     To brute denied, and are of love the food.'

So sang the bard, and so sing I of His Excellency.”

“But his age! He cannot now be thinking of matrimony.”

“Age, my dear Mrs. Shippen, is a matter of feeling, not of years. The greatest miracle of love is to eradicate all disparity. Before it age, rank, lineage, distinction dissolve like the slowly fading light of the sun at eventide. The General is bent on conquest; that I'll wager. What say you, Major? A five pound note?”

“Not I. 'Old men are twice children,' you know.”

“Well, if I do say it,” remarked Mrs. Shippen, “my daughter has had a splendid education and is as cultured a girl as there is in the city and would make a fitting helpmate for any man, no matter what his position in life may be.”

The orchestra began to fill the room with the strains of the minuet. Mr. Anderson arose and advanced towards Marjorie.

“May I have the pleasure of your company?” he said.

Marjorie arose and gave him her arm.

II

She tripped through the graces of the minuet in a mechanical sort of a fashion, her thoughts in a far off land of amazement and gloomy desolation. The unexpected and adverse stroke of fortune which had descended with hawk-like velocity upon Stephen had thoroughly disconcerted her. Try as she would, her imagination could not be brought under her control. There was one image that would not out, and that was Stephen's.

A short note from him gave the first inkling to her. He had been placed under arrest by order of Major-General Arnold on the charge of striking his superior officer, in violation of the Fifth Article, Second Section of the American Articles of War. The charge had been preferred on the evening previous to his arrest and bore the signature of Colonel Forrest, with whom, she called to mind, he had participated in the affray at the Inn.

Little would come of it. Of that she could rest assured. For if he chose to present his side of the case, cause might be found against the Colonel in the matter of disrespectful language against the Commander-in-chief. On that account the affair would very probably end where it had begun and his sword would once more be restored to him. Should the Colonel press the case, however, it would result in a court-martial, that being the usual tribunal before which such matters were tried.

For the present he was under arrest. He was not confined and no limits were assigned to him in the order of his arrest, yet he was deprived of his sword and therefore without power to exercise any military command pending his trial. Since it was considered indecorous in an officer under arrest to appear at public places, it would be impossible for him to accompany her to the home of the Shippens on Friday evening. This caused him the greater concern, yet his word of honor obliged him to await either the issue of his trial or his enlargement by the proper authority.

He bade her be of good cheer and asked a remembrance in her prayers, assuring her she would be ever present in his thoughts. Since he was allowed the use of his personal liberty, he would soon make use of a favorable opportunity to pay her a call. Until then, he could tell her no more, save the desire to have her attend the party and to enjoy herself to the utmost.

From the moment of her receipt of this letter, she had rehearsed the incidents therein narrated over and over again. Go where she would her thought followed her as instinctively as the homeward trail of the bee. Reflection possessed her and she was lost in the intricate maze of the world of fancy.

To follow mere instinct does not beseem a man, yet for woman this faculty is the height of reason and will be trusted by her to the very end. Marjorie's instinct told her that all would not be well with Stephen, notwithstanding his place of honor on the staff of the Commander-in-chief, to whom he might readily appeal should the occasion require. The charge was of minor consequence, and could under ordinary circumstances be dismissed; but it would not be dismissed. He would be tried, found guilty, and sentenced. A consummation too horrible for thought!

She could not enjoy herself at Peggy's function, that she knew. But she must attend, if for no other reason than for appearance. The strange regard for this officer, which she had discovered to be growing daily in intensity and depth, had been brought to definite realization by the sudden crisis in Stephen's fortunes. The sudden revelation of this truth from which she was wont to recoil with petulant diffidence alarmed her not a little. She must not allow herself to be perturbed over this incident, and no one, not even her mother, must ever be permitted to detect the slightest concern on her part.

“You seem unusually preoccupied this evening, Mistress Allison,” remarked Mr. Anderson as he led her to one side of the room at the conclusion of the dance.

Marjorie started. She could feel herself coloring into a deep scarlet, which endured the more as she strove desperately to retain her natural composure.

“I? Why? No! Did I appear absent-minded?”

“As if sojourning in some far off land.”

She thought for a moment.

“We all inhabit dream countries.”

“True. We do. And there is no swifter vehicle to that fair land than an inattentive companion.”

“You mean——”

“That I am entirely at fault for allowing you to wander there.”

“You are unkind to yourself to say that.”

“I vow I mean it.”

They neared the settee into which he gallantly assisted her. She made room for him by drawing back the folds of her gown.

“Have you ever had a miniature made?” he asked of her.

“Never. I scarce gave it a thought,” she replied nonchalantly.

“In that gown, you would make a perfect picture.”

“Couldst thou paint it?” she asked quickly with the attitude of one who has proposed an impossible question.

“Aye, and willingly, would I,” he smartly replied.

“I should love to see it. I should scarce know mine own face.”

She regarded the subject with ridicule, observing as she spoke the end of the sash with which her fingers had been fumbling.

“You shall see it as it is with no artful flattery to disfigure it. May I bring it in person? The post-rider's bag is too unworthy a messenger.”

“Lud! I shall be unable to restrain my curiosity and await the carrier.”

“Then I shall be the carrier.”

“Nothing would afford me more pleasure.”

Neither of the two spoke for a moment.

She wondered if she were imprudent. While she had not known this man before this evening, still she knew of him as the one who took part in the disturbance at the Coffee House.

He seemed unusually attentive to her, although not unpleasantly so, and innocently enough the question presented itself to her as to the import of his motives. He had sought no information nor did he disclose any concerning himself, for at no time did their conversation arise to any plane above the commonplace. Yet she was willing to see him again and to discover, if possible, the true state of his mind.

Stephen, she knew, would approve of her action; not only because of the personal satisfaction which might be derived therefrom, but also because of the possibilities which such a meeting might unfold. That Anderson was prompted by some ulterior motive and that he was not attracted so much by her charms as by the desire of seeking some advantage, she was keen enough to sense. Just what this quest might lead to could not be fathomed, yet it presented at all hazards a situation worthy of more than a passing notice.

She mistrusted General Arnold, a mere opinion it was true, for she possessed no evidence to warrant even a suspicion, yet something about the man created within her heart a great want of confidence and reliance. He was supremely overbearing and unusually sensitive. This, together with his vaulting ambition and love of display,—traits which even the merest novice could not fail to observe,—might render him capable of the most brilliant achievements, such as his exploits before the walls of Quebec and on the field of Saratoga, or of unwise and wholly irresponsible actions, of some of which, although of minor consequence, he had been guilty during the past few months. He disliked her form of religious worship, and she strongly suspected this was the reason he so openly opposed the alliance with the French. She regarded this prejudice as a sad misfortune in a man of authority. His judgments were liable to be clouded and unfair.

She knew Peggy like a book and she could easily imagine the influence such a girl could exert, as a wife, on a man so constituted. Peggy's social ambition and her marked passion for display and domination, traits no less apparent in her than in her mother, would lead her to view the overtures of her impetuous suitor with favor, notwithstanding the fact that he was almost double her own age. As his wife she would attain a social prestige. She was a Tory at heart, and he evidenced at sundry times the same inclinations. She was a Quaker, while he belonged to the religion of His Majesty, the King; nevertheless, both agreed in this, that the miserable Papists were an ambitious and crafty lot, who were bent on obtaining an early and complete mastery over this country. The pair were well mated in many respects, thought Marjorie, the disparity in their ages was all that would render the match at all irregular, although Peggy's more resolute will and intense ambition would make her the dominant member of the alliance. Little as the General suspected it, Marjorie thought, he was slowly, though surely, being encircled in the web which Peggy and her artful mother were industriously spinning about him.

III

Marjorie and Anderson sat conversing long and earnestly. Several dances were announced and engaged in, with little or no manifest attention on their part, so engrossed were they in the matter of more serious import. At length they deserted their vantage ground for the more open and crowded room, pausing before Peggy and the General, who were sheltered near the entrance.

“Heigho, John!” exclaimed His Excellency upon their approach, “what strange absconding is this? Have a care, my boy, lest you have to answer to Captain Meagher.”

Marjorie felt the gaze of the group full upon her. She flushed a little.

“Little or no danger, nor cause alleged,” she laughed.

“Captain Meagher!” recollected Anderson, “does he excel?”

“I scarce know,” replied Marjorie. “I have met him not over thrice in my life.”

“Once is quite sufficient,” said the General. “First impressions often endure. But stay. Draw your chairs. I was only saying that I may be required to leave here shortly.”

“You have been transferred?” asked Marjorie.

“No! But I have written to Washington begging for a command in the navy. My wounds are in a fair way and less painful than usual, though there is little prospect of my being able to be in the field for a considerable time.”

They sat down as requested, opposite Peggy and the General.

“But, General, have you not taken us into your consideration?” asked Anderson.

“I have, yet the criticism is becoming unendurable. Of course you have heard that matters have already become strained between the civil government and myself. Only last week my head aide-de-camp sent for a barber who was attached to a neighboring regiment, using as a messenger the orderly whom I had stationed at the door. For this trifling order there has been aroused a hornet's nest.”

“Wherein lay the fault?” asked Marjorie.

“In this. It appears from a letter which I have already received from the father of the sergeant (Matlack is his name, to be exact) that the boy was hurt by the order itself and the manner of it, and as a freeman would not submit to such an indignity as to summon a barber for the aide of a commanding officer. We have a proud, stubborn people to rule, who are no more fitted for self-government than the Irish——”

He stopped short.

Marjorie bit her lip. “I wish, General, you would withdraw your comparison. It is painful to me.”

“I am sorry, Mistress Allison. As a matter of fact I hardly knew what I had said. I do withdraw it.”

“Thank you so much.”

Then he went on.

“These Americans are not only ungrateful, but stupidly arrogant. What comparison can be drawn between this dullard, Matlack, whose feelings as a citizen were hurt by an order of an aide-de-camp, and I, when I was obliged to serve a whole campaign under the command of a gentleman who was not known as a soldier until I had been some time a brigadier. My feelings had to be sacrificed to the interest of my country. Does not the fool know that I became a soldier and bear the marks upon me, to vindicate the rights of citizens?”

He talked rapidly, yet impassionately. It was plain, however, that he was seriously annoyed over the turn of events, on which subject he conversed with his whole being. He made gestures with violence. His face became livid. His attitude was menacing.

“On my arrival here, my very first act was condemned. It became my duty, because of sealed orders from the Commander-in-chief, who enclosed a resolution adopted by Congress, to close the shops. From the day, censure was directed against me. I was not the instigator of it. Yet I was all to blame.”

He sat up with his hands on his knees, looking fiercely into the next room.

“I would not feel so bitter, your Excellency,” volunteered Anderson. “Military orders, however necessary, always seem oppressive to civilians and shopkeepers.”

“I have labored well for the cause, and my reward has been this. I took Ticonderoga, although Allen got the credit for it. I would have taken Canada, if Congress had not blundered. I saved Lake Champlain with my flotilla,—a fleet that lived to no better purpose nor died more gloriously,—and for this I got no promotion, nor did I expect one. I won at Ridgefield and received a Major-Generalship, only to find myself outranked by five others. At Saratoga I was without a command, yet I succeeded in defeating an army. For that service I was accused of being drunk by the general in command, who, for his service, received a gold medal with a vote of thanks from Congress, while I—well, the people gave me their applause; Congress gave me a horse, but what I prize more than all,—these sword knots,” he took hold of them as he spoke, “a personal offering from the Commander-in-chief. I gave my all. I received a few empty honors and the ingratitude of a jealous people.”

He paused.

“General,” began Marjorie, “you know the people still worship you and they do want you for their popular leader.”

“I know differently,” he snapped back. “I have already petitioned Congress for a grant of land in western New York, where I intend to lead the kind of life led by my friend Schuyler in Livingston, or the Van Renssalaers and other country gentlemen. My ambition now is to be a good citizen, for I intend never to draw a sword on the American side.”

He again grew silent.

Whether he was sincere in his remarks, and his manner of expression seemingly revealed no other disposition of mind, or was swayed simply by some unfounded antipathy which caused the image of his aversion to become a sort of hallucination, Marjorie could not decide. She knew him to be impulsive and irrepressible, a man who, because of his deficiency in breadth, scope of intelligence, and strong moral convictions, invariably formed his opinions in public matter on his personal feelings. He was a man of moods, admirably suited withal for a command in the field where bluntness and abruptness of manner could cause him to rise to an emergency, but wholly unfitted for this reason for a diplomatic office where the utmost delicacy of tact and nicety of decision are habitually required.

She knew, moreover, that he ever bore a fierce grudge towards Congress for the slights which it had put upon him, and that this intense feeling, together with his indomitable self-will, had brought him into conflict with the established civil authority. He was Military Governor of the city and adjacent countryside, yet there existed an Executive Council of Pennsylvania for the care of the state, and the line of demarcation between the two powers never had been clearly drawn. Accordingly there soon arose many occasions for dispute, which a more even-tempered man would have had the foresight to avoid. His point of view was narrow, not only in affairs civil and political, but it must be said, in social and religious as well. Of all commanders, he was the most unsuited for the task.

Furthermore she knew that he was becoming decidedly more unpopular each day, not only because of the extravagance in his manner of living, but also because of his too frequent association with the Tory element of the city. While the British had held the city many of the more aristocratic inhabitants had given them active aid and encouragement, much to the displeasure of the more loyal though less important lower class. Consequently when the days of the evacuation had come and the city had settled down once again to its former style of living, many of the Tory element were compelled to leave town while those who had remained behind were practically proscribed. Small wonder was it that indignation ran riot when the first Military Governor openly cast his lot with the enemies of the cause and consorted with them freely and frequently.

It was entirely possible that he would abide by his decision to resign all public office and retire to private life, notwithstanding the fact that he already had at this same moment despatched a letter to General Washington requesting a command in the navy. But she read him differently and found herself surprised to learn of his intended withdrawal, for his very nature seemed to indicate that he would fight his cause to the bitter end, and that end one of personal satisfaction and revenge.

Several of the guests prepared to depart. The little group disbanded as Peggy made her way to their side.

Marjorie and John Anderson lost each other for the first time in the mêlée which ensued.

IV

“Perhaps I ought to return,” Marjorie muttered to herself, now that she was quite alone. “I am sure that he dropped something.”

And she began to retrace her steps.

She felt positive that she saw General Arnold accidentally dislodge what appeared to be a folded note from his belt when he took hold of the sword knots in the course of his conversation. Very likely it was a report of some nature, which had been hurriedly thrust into his belt during some more preoccupied moment. At any rate it might be safer in her hands than to be left to some less interested person. She would investigate at any rate and resolve her doubts.

Sure enough, there it was. Just behind the armchair in which he had been seated but a few moments before. None of the others had observed it, she thought, for she alone was in a position, a little to his left, to notice it, when it had become loosed.

She picked it up and regarded it carelessly, nervously, peering the while into the great room beyond to discover, if possible, an eye-witness to her secret. From its appearance it was no more than a friendly communication written on conventional letter paper. It was unsealed, or rather the seal had been broken and from the wrinkled condition of the paper gave evidence of not a little handling. It belonged to Peggy. There was no doubt about that, for there was her name in heavy bold script on the outside.

She balanced it in her hand, weighing, at the same time, within her mind, one or two possibilities. She might read it and then, if the matter required it, return it immediately to His Excellency with an explanation. Yet it would smack of dishonor to read the private correspondence of another without a sufficiently grave reason. It belonged to Peggy, who, in all probability, had been acquainting the General with its contents as Mr. Anderson and herself intruded upon the scene. She therefore resolved to return it unread.

Hastily folding it, she stuck it into her bodice, and made her way into the room where she became lost among the guests. There would be time enough when the formalities of the departure were over, when Peggy was less occupied, to hand it her. She would wait at any rate until later in the evening.

CHAPTER VIII

I

But she did not return the paper. For with the commotion of the guests in the several orders of their going, a serious business of felicitation and devoir was demanded alongside of which all other matters only served as distractions. Consequently, the note once placed within her bodice, all thought of it vanished for the remainder of the evening.

Only when she had returned home that night, fatigued and almost disgusted with the perfunctory performances of the evening, did she discover it, and then not until she was about to remove the garment within whose folds it lay concealed. It fell to the ground; she stooped to pick it up.

“Oh, dear! I quite forgot it. I must attend to it the first thing in the morning.”

And she placed it on the dresser where it could not escape her eye. Then she retired.

But she did not sleep. There she lay wide awake tossing nervously to and fro. She tried to close her eyes only to find them wandering about the room in the obscure dimness, focusing themselves now on the old mahogany dresser, now on the little prie-Dieu against the inner wall with the small ivory crucifix outlined faintly above it, now on the chintz hangings that covered the window. She could hear her heart, pounding its great weight of bitterness against the pillow; and as she listened she thought of Stephen's arrest and of its thousand and one horrible consequences. She tried to congratulate herself on her sweet serenity and the serenity only mocked her and anticipation loomed as fiercely as before.

The next she knew was a quiet awakening, as if her mother's hand had been put gently on her arm. Outside ten thousand light leaves shivered gently and the birds were calling to one another in melodious tones. This was her first glimpse of the day and it sent her suddenly to her knees.

Stephen came late that afternoon. He had not been expected; yet she was happy because he came. She had done little that day; had not left the house, nor dressed for the occasion. The note was where she had left it, and all reference to it buried with her thoughts of the evening.

“I cannot yet tell how it has been decided. They went into executive session at once.”

“But,... Surely,... They could not find you guilty?”

“Oh, well.”

“Please.... Won't you tell me?”

“There is little to tell. It was very brief.”

He could not become enthusiastic.

“Then you were put to trial?” she asked with an apprehension uncertain in quality.

“Yes.”

“Go on. Tell me.”

He was silent. He desired to withhold nothing from her, yet he could not find the words he wanted.

“What happened?” She was persistent.

“Well.... I don't know.... I soured on the whole proceeding. The court-martial met, the Regimental Court Martial, with three members. This was permissible. They began, reading the charge as preferred by Colonel Forrest, which was to the effect that I had been guilty of striking my superior officer, Colonel Forrest, by attempting to choke him. To this was added the accusation of abusive, threatening language as well as a threat of murder. I, of course, pleaded not guilty; nor did I prepare any defense. The affair was so trivial that I was surprised that it ever had been brought to trial.”

“How long did the proceedings last?”

“They were very brief. Several witnesses were examined, the chief one being Mr. Anderson.”

“I know him,” remarked Marjorie.

“You know him?”

“I met him last evening at Shippens'.”

“Did he say aught about me?”

“Not a word.”

“Well, he appeared against me. After a few more preliminary questions I was put on the stand in my own defense. I told briefly the circumstances which led to the incident (I would not call it an assault, for I continually maintained it to be of a trivial nature and worthy only of an explanation). I told how the Colonel had used certain derogatory remarks against the faith that I believed and practiced, which occasioned a violent argument. This, I think, was the great mistake I made, for it appeared to make an unfavorable impression upon the Court. In this respect they were unquestionably on the side of Forrest. Then I related the remark incident to my action, and announced that I would repeat the deed under similar circumstances were the same disrespectful language directed against the Commander-in-chief. This, I fear, made little impression either since I was already attached to the staff of General Washington. And a jealous rival general was about to decide my guilt. That ended it. I was excused and the Court adjourned.”

He paused.

“For these reasons I have serious misgivings as to my fate.”

“What can happen to you?”

“I do not know. It may result in a suspension, and it may result in a verdict of 'not guilty.'”

“Will you know very soon?”

“I shall be summoned before them.”

Neither spoke for a time.

“Do you know,” observed Marjorie, “I greatly mistrust General Arnold and I fear that he already has decided against you.”

“What causes you to say that?”

“Well ... I don't know ... I just think it. While listening to him last evening I drew that impression.”

“Did he say anything against us?”

“He is enraged at Congress and he has long felt persecuted and insulted by the people. He desires a command in the navy and has already written Washington to that effect; and again he would petition Congress for a grant of land in New York where he would retire to private life, for he vows he never will again draw sword on the American side.”

“Did he say this?” asked Stephen.

“He did.”

“Do you think that he was sincere?”

“I really do. He talked with all the earnestness of a man of conviction. Somehow or other I greatly mistrust him. And he is extremely bigoted.”

“I rather suspect this, although I have had no proofs of it. If he is, it will out very soon.”

“And you may be assured, too, that he will have an able adjutant in Peggy. She is his counterpart in every particular.”

He looked at her as she spoke, and was amazed by the excitement in her face. She talked excitedly; her eyes, those large vivacious brown eyes that looked out of her pretty oval face, were alight, and her face had gone pale.

“I was interested in them last evening and with the apparent zeal displayed by Peggy's mother in favor of the match. I would not be surprised to hear of an announcement from that source at any time.”

“Has it reached that stage?”

“Most assuredly! I decided that they already are on terms of intimacy where secrets now obtain a common value.”

“You think that?”

“Well.... I do.... Yes. I know, for instance that he had a letter in his possession which was addressed to her, which letter had its origin in New York.”

“How came he by it?”

“She must have given it to him. I have it now.”

“You have it?”

He sat up very much surprised.

“Where did you get it?”

“I found it.”

“Did you read it?”

“No.”

She smiled at him, and at his great perplexity over the apparent mystery.

And then she told him of the little party; of herself and Mr. Anderson, and their intrusion upon General Arnold and Peggy; of their conversation and the falling of the note; of her subsequent return for it together with the placing of it within her bodice and the state of temporary oblivion into which the incident finally had lapsed.

“You have that letter now?” he asked with no attempt to conceal his anxiety.

“Yes. Upstairs.”

“May I see it? Really I would not ask this did I not think it quite important.”

“Very well.”

She left to fetch it.

“Who is this man, Anderson?” Stephen asked upon her return. “Do you know him?”

“No. But he is very engaging. He was my partner during the evening.”

She did not deem it wise to tell him everything, at least not at this time.

“How long have you known him?” he inquired impatiently.

She smiled sweetly at him.

“Since last night,” was the brief response.

“Where did he come from?”

“I scarce know. You yourself mentioned his name for the first time to me. I was greatly surprised when presented to him last night.”

“Did he come with General Arnold's party, or is he a friend of Peggy's?”

“I don't think Peggy knew him before, although she may have met him with some of the officers before last evening. I should imagine from what you already know that he is acquainted with the Governor's party and through them received an invitation to be present.

“Did he say aught of himself?”

“Scarcely a thing. He has not been a resident of the city for any length of time, but where he originated, or what he purposes, I did not learn. I rather like him. He is well-mannered, refined and richly talented.”

“I sensed immediately that he was endowed with engaging personal qualities, and gifted with more than ordinary abilities,” Stephen commented. “I have yet to learn his history, which is one of my duties, notwithstanding the unfortunate state of affairs which has lately come to pass.”

He stopped and took the letter which she held out to him. He opened it and read it carefully. Then he deliberately read it again.

“You say no one knows of this?”

“I am quite sure. Certainly no one saw me find it, although I am not certain that I alone saw it fall.”

“You are sure that it was in the Governor's possession?”

“Quite. I saw it distinctly in his belt. I saw it fall to the ground when he caught hold of the sword knots.”

He leaned forward and reflected for a moment with his eyes intent on the note which he held opened before him. Suddenly he sat back in his chair and looked straight at her.

“Marjorie,” he said, “you promised to be of whatever assistance you could. Do you recall that promise?”

“Very well.”

“Will you lend your assistance to me now?”

She hesitated, wondering to what extent the demand might be made.

“Are you unwilling?” he asked, for he perceived her timid misgiving.

“No. What is it you want me to do?”

“Simply this. Let me have this note.”

She deliberated.

“Would not that be unfair to Peggy?”

She feared that her sense of justice was being violated.

“She does not know that you have it.”

“But I mean to tell her.”

“Please!... Well!... Well!... Need you do that immediately? Could you not let me have it for a few days? I shall return it to you. You can then take it to her.”

“You will let no one see it?”

“Absolutely!”

“Very well. And you will return it to me?”

“I promise.”

And so it was agreed that Stephen should take the letter with him, which he promised to return together with the earliest news of the result of his court-martial.

He stood up.

II

Stephen came out the little white gate closing it very deliberately behind him and immediately set off at a brisk pace down the street. Every fiber within him thrilled with energy. The road was dusty and hot, and his pace grew very strenuous and fervent. There was no breeze; there was no sound of wheels; all was quiet as the bells tolled out the hour of six. Nevertheless he trudged along with great haste without once stopping until he had reached the door of his lodgings.

He turned the key and entered, closing the door behind him and taking the greatest of care to see that it was properly bolted. Flinging his hat into a chair as he passed, he went immediately to the table which served as his desk. While he pulled himself close to it, he reached into his pocket for the letter. He opened it before him and read it. Then he sat back and read it again; this time aloud:

Co. 13

                     Headquarters, New York.
                     15 July, 1778.

Madame:—I am happy to have this opportunity to once again express my humble respects to you and to assure you that yourself together with your generous and hospitable friends are causing us much concern separated as we are by the duress of a merciless war. We lead a monotonous life, for outside of the regularities of army life, there is little to entertain us. Our hearts are torn with pangs of regret as we recall the golden days of the Mischienza.

I would I could be of some service to you here, that you may understand that my protestations of zeal made on former occasions were not without some degree of sincerity. Let me add, too, that your many friends here present unite with me in these same sentiments of unaffected and genuine devotion.

I beg you to present my best respects to your sisters, to the Misses Chew, and to Mrs. Shippen and Mrs. Chew.

I have the honor to be with the greatest regard, Madame, your most obedient and most humble servant.

                     W. CATHCART.

Miss Peggy Shippen, Philadelphia.

His face was working oddly, as if with mingled perplexity and pleasure; and he caught his lip in his teeth, as his manner was. What was this innocent note? Could it be so simple as it appeared? Vague possibilities passed through his mind.

The longer he gazed at it the more simple it became, so that he was on the point of folding it and replacing it in his pocket, sadly disconcerted at its insignificance. He had hoped that he might have stumbled across something of real value, not only some secret information concerning the designs of the enemy, but also some evidence of an incriminating nature against his own acquaintances in the city.

Suddenly he thought he saw certain letters dotted over, not entirely perceptible, yet quite discernible. He turned the paper over. The reverse was perfectly clear. He held it to the light but nothing appeared through.

“By Jove!” he exclaimed softly.

He looked closely again. Sure enough there were faint markings on several of the letters. The “H” was marked. So with the “V” in “have,” and the “A” and the “L.” Snatching a pencil and a sheet of paper he made a list of the letters so marked.

                     HVANLADERIIGAERODIRCUTN

This meant nothing. That was apparent; nor could he make sense out of any combination of letters. He knew that there were certain codes whereby the two progressions, arithmetical and geometric were employed in their composition, but this seemingly answered to none of them. He went over the list again, comparing them with the marked letters as found in the note. Yes, they were identical. He had copied them faithfully.

He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.

“So this was sent to Peggy from New York,” he muttered to himself. “I strongly suspected that she was in communication with her British friends, although I never came in contact with the slightest evidence. This certainly proves it.”

He held the letter at a distance from him, attentively surveying it.

“And General Arnold has been interested, too. Very likely, Marjorie's hypothesis is the true one. They had been reading the note when the newcomers arrived on the scene and the General stuck it in his belt until their greetings had been ended. Neither of them now know of its whereabouts; that much is certain.”

He stood up suddenly and strode about the room, his hands clasped behind him. Going to the window, he peered out through the small panes of glass of the uncurtained upper half. There burned the light across the dusk—a patch of jeweled color in the far off western sky. Yet it awakened no emotion at all.

His mind was engaged in the most intricate process of thought. He deduced a hundred conclusions and rejected them with equal promptitude. He greatly admired General Arnold as the bravest leader in the line, whose courage, whose heroism, whose fearlessness had brought him signal successes. There was no more popular soldier in the army, nor one more capable of more effective service. To have his career clogged or goaded by a woman, who when she either loves or hates will dare anything, would be a dreadful calamity. Yet it seemed as if he had surrendered his better self.

This man Anderson puzzled him. Personally he was disposed to dislike him, that being the logical effect of his relations with him. At the Coffee House, where he had met him, and where he had suffered his better judgment to become dormant, it was this man who had brought him to the pitch of irritation by means of a religious argument, while at the trial it was the same Anderson who appeared as an excellent witness and who by his clever, deliberate and self-possessed manner, made a strong point for the Colonel in the minds of the court.

What was his origin? That he might never know, for of all subjects, this was the most artfully avoided. In the capacity of a civilian he was engaged in no fixed occupation so far as could be learned, and it was commonly known that he was a frequent visitor at the Governor's mansion. That he did not belong to the service, he knew very well, unless the man was affecting a disguise; this, however, he thought highly improbable. The French Alliance had been further confirmed by the arrival of the fleet, which brought many strangers to the city. Now as he thought of it, he had a certain manner about him somewhat characteristic of the French people, and it was entirely possible that he might have disembarked with the French visitors. He was a mystery anyhow.

“Strange I should stumble across this chap,” he mumbled to himself.

III

He awoke with a start.

Just what the hour was, he could not know, for it was intensely dark. He reckoned that it could not be long after midnight, for it seemed as if he had scarcely fallen asleep. But there was a wonderful burst of light to his mind, a complete clarity of thought into which often those do awake who have fallen asleep in a state of great mental conflict. He opened his eyes and, as it were, beheld all that he was about to do; there was also a very vivid memory of his experience of the evening.

He arose hurriedly and struck a light. He seized the letter in search of the momentous something that had dawned upon him with wonderful intensity.

“Company Thirteen,” he remarked with deliberate emphasis. “That must be the key.”

And seizing a paper he wrote the order of letters which he had copied from the note a few hours before.

                     HVANLADERIIG

He stopped at the thirteenth, and began a second line immediately under the line he had just written.

                     AERODIRCUTN

It inserted perfectly when read up and down beginning with the letter “H”. He completed the sentence.

                     HAVE ARNOLD AID RECRUITING

He could not believe his eyes. What did it all mean? What regiment was this? Why should this be sent from a British officer to Peggy Shippen? There were mixed considerations here.

There was a satisfaction, a very great satisfaction, in the knowledge that he was not entirely mistaken in his suspicions concerning Peggy. She was in communication with the British and perhaps had been for some time. This fact in itself was perfectly plain. The proof of it lay in his hand. Whether or not His Excellency was involved in the nefarious work was another question quite. The mere fact of the note being in his possession signified nothing, or if anything, no more than a coincidence. He might have read the note and, at the same time, have been entirely ignorant of the cipher, or he might have received this hidden information from the lips of Peggy herself, who undoubtedly had deciphered it at once.

Yet what was the meaning of it all? There was no new call for volunteers, although, Heaven knows, there was an urgent need for them, the more especially after the severe winter at Valley Forge. Recruits had become exceedingly scarce, many of whom were already deserting to the British army at the rate of over a hundred a month while those who remained were without food or clothing. And when they were paid, they could buy, only with the greatest difficulty, a single bushel of wheat from the fruits of their four month's labor. And did it prove to be true that a new army was about to be recruited, why should the enemy manifest so much interest? The new set of difficulties into which he was now involved were more intricate than ever before.

He extinguished the light and went to bed.

The next day a number of copies of the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury of the issue of July 13, 1778, found their way into the city. They were found to contain the following advertisement:

                For the encouragement of all
                    Gentlemen Volunteers,
       Who are willing to serve in his Majesty's Regt. of
                 Roman Catholic Volunteers,

                     Commanded by

                   Lieut.—Col. Commandant,

                     ALFRED CLIFTON

       During the present wanton and unnatural Rebellion,
                     AND NO LONGER,
                   The sum of FOUR POUNDS,
            will be given above the usual Bounty,
                    A suit of NEW CLOTHES,
   And every other necessary to complete a Gentleman soldier.

Those who are willing to show their attachment to their King and country by engaging in the above regiment, will call at Captain M'Kennon, at No. 51, in Cherry-street, near the Ship Yards, NEW YORK, or at Major John Lynch, encamped at Yellow-Hook, where they will receive present pay and good quarters.

N. B.—Any person bringing a well-bodied loyal subject to either of the above places, shall receive ONE GUINEA for his trouble.

                     God Save the King.

CHAPTER IX

I

It was not until the following Wednesday night that John Anderson was ready to pay his respects to Mistress Marjorie.

He had worked on the miniature since Saturday, and had regarded his finished product with eminent satisfaction. He had drawn her as she appeared to him on the night of the reception in the pose which he had best remembered her during the interval when she sat out the dance with him; her head turned partly towards him, revealing her small oval face surmounted by a wealth of brown hair, powdered to a gray; her small nose with just a suggestion of a dilatation lending to the face an expression of strength that the rest of the countenance only gave color to; the mouth, firmly set, its lines curving upward, as it should be, to harmonize with her disposition; the eyes, a soft brown, full of candor and sincerity, delicately shadowed by slender and arched eyebrows on a smooth forehead.

Marjorie could not conceal her enthusiasm as he handed it to her. Unable to restrain her curiosity, she arose hurriedly and went to the window to benefit by the less obscure light.

“Is—am I as pretty as that?” she exclaimed from her vantage point, without lifting her eyes from the portrait.

“Only more so,” responded Anderson. “My memory poorly served me.”

“Lud!” she remarked, holding it at arms length from her, “'Tis vastly flattering. I scarce recognize myself.”

She returned to her chair.

“I swear on my honor, that it fails to do you full justice.”

She continued to study it, paying but little heed to his remark. It was a water-colored portrait done on ivory of the most delicate workmanship and design, set in a fine gold case, delicately engraved, the whole presenting an appearance of beauty, richly colored. She turned it over and saw the letters J.A.M.A. interlaced over the triplet:

    “Hours fly; flowers die;
    New days, new ways,
    Pass by. Love stays.”

“It is very pretty,” was her only comment.

“Hast no one told thee how well thou might appear in a ball gown?”

“I ne'er gave thought to such.”

“Nor what an impression thou wouldst make at court?”

“Hast thou seen court beauties?”

She resolved to learn more about him.

“Aye! Oft have I been in their company.”

“At St. James?”

“No. Much as I would have been pleased to. I know only Versailles.”

So she thought he must be a French nobleman, who like Lafayette had incurred the royal displeasure by running away from court to fit out a vessel at his own expense in the hope of furthering the cause of the Colonists. The great impulse given to the hopes of the disheartened population by the chivalrous exploit of the latter, the sensation produced both by his departure from Europe and by his appearance in this country, might behold a glorious repetition in the person of this unknown visitor.

Her interest accordingly grew apace.

“It was magnanimous of His Majesty to take our cause to his heart. We can never fail in our gratitude.”

“It is only natural for man to resist oppression. It has been written that it is only the meek who should possess the land.”

“An ideal which is often badly shattered by the selfish ambitions and perverse passions of godless men.”

“You are a Catholic?” he asked suddenly.

“I am proud of it.”

“And your fellow patriots are of the same form of worship?”

“A goodly proportion of them.”

“How many might you assume?”

“I scarce know. We have no method of compiling our numbers, not even our total population.”

“Surely there must be a great percentage, if one considers the influx from France and England, not to mention Ireland, whence many fled from persecution.”

“I once heard Father Farmer say that there must be over seven thousand Catholics in Pennsylvania, while Maryland has about fifteen thousand. Whatever there remain are much scattered, except of course New York with its thousand.”

“I never dreamt they were so numerous! So great is the spirit of intolerance, that the wonder is that a single Catholic would remain in the Colonies.”

“I know it. Formerly Maryland and Pennsylvania were the two only colonies where Catholics were allowed to reside, and even there were excluded from any civil or military office. And the time has not yet arrived for complete religious freedom, though the arrival of the French fleet with its Catholic army and Catholic chaplains will make a favorable impression upon our less enlightened oppressors.”

“It seems strange that you should throw in your lot with a people who prove so intolerant.”

“Father Farmer, our pastor, says that no influence must ever be used except for the national cause, for we must be quickened by the hope of better days. He pleads with his people to remain faithful and promises the undivided sympathy of his fellow priests with their kinsmen in the struggle. For these reasons I hardly think that many Catholics will desert our cause.”

“Yet you must know that it was England that bestowed the most liberal grants to the inhabitants of the Northwest territory.”

“You mean the Quebec Act?” she asked.

“Yes. And you know that Canada would be allied with you, heart and soul, were it not for the intolerant spirit of your fellow colonists.”

“Perhaps it would.”

“Now, would it not be better——”

“Do you mean to suggest to me that we turn traitor?” she interrupted, turning full upon him, her eyes flashing with intense feeling.

“No ... pardon ... I meant no offense.... The fact is I was only remarking on the sad plight of our co-religionists.”

“I fail to perceive how ill we fare. Our compatriots render us honor, and as Father Farmer says, 'we may cherish the hope of better days, which are inevitable.' You must know that one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence is a Catholic; and that the army and navy boast of a considerable quota.”

“We are not ungenerous of our service, it seems.”

“Rather are we proud of our efforts. We are proud of the fact that there has been found among us not one false to his country. We point with pride to him who was privileged to first read the Declaration of Independence to the public. We are proud of the composition of Washington's 'Life Guard'; and we are proud of our mutual friend, whom, perhaps, you know,” and she glanced at him with a merry twinkle, “Captain Meagher, Washington's aide-de-camp.”

And so they talked. Marjorie became completely absorbed in her subject, once her religion became the topic, and she almost forgot her game in regard to her visitor. She desired to appear to the best advantage, however, for which purpose she talked freely, in the hope of extracting from him some information concerning himself and his intents. Still, however, there was another extreme which, though apparently less dangerous, she must be careful to avoid. The imaginations of men are in a great measure under the control of their feelings and it was absolutely necessary for her to refrain from imparting too much information lest it might deflect from its purpose the very object she was seeking to obtain.

There was a subtle influence about him, an adroitness of speech, a precision of movement which, unless sufficiently safeguarded against, was insidious. He had the most wonderful way of getting one's confidence, not only by reason of his genial and affable disposition, but also by his apparent and deliberate sincerity. And while it was true that she had determined upon a method which was originally intended to redound to her own advantage, she soon learned that she was playing with a boomerang which soon put her upon the defensive against the very strategy which she had herself directly planned.

He was not sincere in his protestations of admiration; that she perceived immediately. But she was resolved to let him think that she believed him in order that she might discover his true intents and purposes. Her knowledge of human nature was sufficient to enable her to conclude that one cannot unite the incompatible elements of truth and deception, the discernment of reality and the enjoyment of fiction for any great length of time. The reality is bound to appear.

For this reason she was not disposed to dismiss him at once but rather to allow him to call and see her frequently, if need be, until she had been thoroughly satisfied as to his true character. Nevertheless she sensed, at this very moment, that she was playing with a skillful adversary, one thoroughly versed in the game of diplomacy, against whom she would be called upon to employ every manner of weapon at her command. She realized the weight of the foe, and thought she understood his tactics. So she accepted the challenge.

“You are interested in Captain Meagher?” he asked serenely.

There was a pause. Marjorie looked slightly perturbed.

“Well,” she confessed, “there is this much about him. I chanced to know the details of the offense with which he has been charged and I am naturally interested to learn the result of his trial.”

“He may be found guilty,” he quietly announced.

“Why do you say that?”

“The evidence was wholly against him.”

“And there was no testimony to the effect that Colonel Forrest was somewhat intoxicated, or that he spoke disparaging words against the Captain's co-religionists, or that he attacked the character of the Commander-in-chief?”

“There was to some extent, but it did not seem to make any impression.”

“I presume that you know the reason.”

Her eyes gleamed a little.

“Why?”

There was a pause.

“The verdict has not been given. I shall be pleased to inform you of it at the earliest opportunity.”

“Thank you. I shall be delighted. But let's not talk about it any more,” she added. “Let's leave it.”

Mr. Anderson smiled.

II

It was perhaps an hour after dawn that Stephen awoke for about the third or fourth time that night; for the conflict still surged within him and would give him no peace. And, as he lay there, awake in an instant, staring into the brightness of the morn, once more weighing the mysterious disclosures of the evening, swayed by the desire for action at one moment, overcome with sadness at the next, the thought of the impending verdict of his trial occurred at him and made him rise very hurriedly.

He was an early arrival at Headquarters. There had been several matters disposed of during the preceding day and the verdicts would be announced together. The room where the court was being held was already stirring with commotion; his judge-advocate was there, as was Colonel Forrest, Mr. Anderson, several members of the General's staff, and Mr. Allison, who had sought entry to learn the decision. Suddenly a dull solemn silence settled over all as the members of the court filed slowly into the room.

They took their places with their usual dignity, and began to dispose of the several cases in their turn. When that of Captain Meagher was reached Stephen was ordered to appear before the court to hear his sentence.

He took his place before them with perfect calmness. He observed that not one of them ventured to meet his eye as he awaited their utterance.

They found that he was not justified in making the attack upon a superior officer, notwithstanding the alleged cause for provocation, and that he was imprudent in his action, yet because of his good character, as testified to by his superior officers, because of the mitigating circumstances which had been brought to light by the testimony of the witnesses during the course of the trial and because the act had been committed without malice or criminal intent, he was found not guilty of any violation of the Articles of War, but imprudent in his action, for which cause he had been sentenced to receive a reprimand from the Military Governor.

Stephen spoke not a word to any one as he made his way back to his seat. Why could they not have given him a clear verdict? Either he was guilty or he was not guilty. He could not be misled by the sugary phrases in which the vote of censure had been couched. The court had been against him from the start.

At any rate, he thought, the reprimand would be only a matter of form. Its execution lay wholly with him who was to administer it. The court could not, by law, indicate its severity, nor its lenity, nor indeed add anything in regard to its execution, save to direct that it should be administered by the commander who convened the court. And while it was undoubtedly the general intention of the court-martial to impose a mild punishment, yet the quality of the reprimand was left entirely to the discretion of the authority commissioned to utter it.

When Stephen appeared before the Military Governor at the termination of the business of the day, he was seized with a great fury, one of those angers which, for a while, poison the air without obscuring the mind. There was an unkind look on the face of the Governor, which he did not like and which indicated to him that all would not be pleasant. He bowed his head in answer to his name.

“Captain Meagher,” the Governor began. “You have been found guilty by the Regimental Court-Martial of an action which was highly imprudent. You have been led perhaps by an infatuate zeal in behalf of those, whom you term your co-religionists, to the committal of an offense upon the person of your superior officer. It is because of this fact that I find it my sad duty to reprimand you severely for your misguided ardor and to admonish you, together with the other members of your sect, of whom an unfair representation is already found in the halls of our Congress and in the ranks of our forces, lest similar outbreaks occur again. Did you but know that this eye only lately saw the members of that same Congress at Mass for the soul of a Roman Catholic in purgatory, and participating in the rites of a Church against whose anti-Christian corruptions your pious ancestors would have witnessed with their blood? The army must not witness similar outbreaks of religious zeal in the future.”

He finished. Stephen left the room without a word, turned on his heel and made his way down the street.

III

Nature is a great restorer when she pours into the gaping wounds of the jaded system the oil and wine of repose. Divine grace administers the same narcotic to the soul crushed by torture and anguish. It is then that tears are dried, and that afflictions and crosses become sweet.

Desolation, a very lonely desolation, and a deep sense of helplessness filled the soul of Stephen as he retraced his steps from the court room. His life seemed a great burden to him, his hopes swallowed up in his bereavement. If he could but remove his mind from his travail of disappointments and bitterness, if his soul could only soar aloft in prayer to the realms of bliss and repose, he might endure this bitter humiliation. He felt the great need of prayer, humble, submissive prayer. Oh! If he could only pray!

He was invisibly directed into the little doorway of St. Joseph's. His feeling was like that of the storm tossed mariner as he securely steers for the beacon light. The church was nearly empty, save for a bare half-dozen people who occupied seats at various intervals. They were alone in their contemplation, as Catholics are wont to be, before their God, without beads or prayer-book, intent only upon the Divine Person concealed within the tabernacle walls, and announced by the flickering red flame in the little lamp before the altar. Here he felt himself removed from the world and its affairs, as if enclosed in a strange parenthesis, set off from all other considerations. And straightway, his soul was carried off into a calm, pure, lofty region of consolation and repose.

To the human soul, prayer is like the beams of light which seem to connect sun and earth. It raises the soul aloft and transports it to another and a better world. There basking in the light of the divine presence it is strengthened to meet the impending conflict. Nothing escapes the all-seeing eye of God. He only waits for the prayer of his children eager to grant their requests. Nothing is denied to faith and love. Neither can measure be set to the divine bounty.

“Miserere mei, Deus; secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.”—“Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy great mercy.”

Stephen buried his face in his hands, in an agony of conflict.

The tone of the Military Governor's reprimand had left no room for speculation as to his true intents and purposes. Whatever rebuke had been administered to him was intended for the Catholic population, otherwise there was no earthly reason for holding up to reprobation the conduct of the body governing the republic. The mere fact that the Governor despised the Congress was an unworthy as well as an insufficient motive for the base attack.

The humiliated soldier felt incapable of bearing the insult without murmuring, yet he chose to accept it with perfect resignation and submission. For a time he had fought against it. But in the church he felt seized by an invisible force. On a sudden this invisible tension seemed to dissolve like a gray mist, hovering over a lake, and began to give place to a solemn and tender sweetness.

“Miserere mei Deus.”

He sought refuge in the arms of God, crying aloud to Him for His mercy. He would give his soul up to prayer and commit his troubled spirit into the hands of his intercessors before the throne of Heaven.

“Accept my punishments for the soul who is about to be released.”

To the souls in Purgatory, then, he poured forth the bitterness of his heart, offering in their behalf through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, the cross which had been imposed upon him. The injustice of his trial which he knew, or thought he knew, had been tempered by the spirit of intolerance, was brought home to him now in full vigor by the severity of his reprimand. He did not deserve it, no—he could not force himself to believe that he did. Still he accepted it generously though painfully, in behalf of the sufferings of his friends.

He besought them to pray for him, that he might the more worthily endure his cross. He prayed for his tormentors that they might be not held culpable for their error. He entrusted himself entirely into the hands of his departed ones and renewed with a greater fervor his act of consecration.

“I beseech Thee, O my God, to accept and confirm this offering for Thy honor and the salvation of my soul. Amen.”

He arose from his pew, made a genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament, pronouncing as he did, “My Lord and My God,” crossed himself with the holy water, and left the church.

IV

In the meantime an event of rare importance had occurred in the garden of the Shippen home. There, in the recesses of the tulips sheltered behind the clustering hydrangeas, Peggy accepted the fervent suit of the Military Governor and gave him her promise to become his bride. A few days later the world was informed of the betrothal and nodded its head in astonishment, and opening its lips, sought relief in many words.

The wheels of destiny began to turn.

PART TWO

CHAPTER I

I

It was a hot October day.

A torrid wave generated somewhere in the far west, and aided by the prevailing trade winds had swept relentlessly across the country, reaching the city at a most unusual time. It had not come unheralded, however, for the sun of yesterday had gone down a blazing red, illuminating the sky like rays from a mighty furnace, and tinging the evening landscape with the reddish and purplish hues of an Indian summer. And what a blanket of humidity accompanied it! Like a cloak it settled down upon the land, making breathing laborious and driving every living creature out of doors.

Jim Cadwalader and his wife sat on the lawn, if the patch of brown grass to the side of their little house could be termed a lawn, and awaited the close of the day. Three huge elms, motionless in the still sunshine and, like all motionless things, adding to the stillness, afforded a canopy against the burning rays of the sun. What mattered it that the cool shaded air was infested with mosquitoes and house-flies or that the coarse grass was uneven and unkempt, from the low mounds which ran all over it or, from the profusion of leaves which had here and there fluttered down from the great trees. For it must be confessed that neither Jim nor his wife had found the time for the proper care of the premises, or if perchance, they had found the time the inclination itself had been wanting.

“Sumthins got t' turn up in sum way 'r other b'fore long. I ain't seen the sight o' work here in nigh two year.”

“Guess you won't see it fur a while,” responded the wife, from her straight-backed chair, her arms folded, her body erect.

“Like as not a man 'd starve t' death in these here times, with nuthin' t' do.”

Jim sat with his elbows resting upon his yellow buckskin breeches, his rough stubby fingers interlocked, his small fiery eyes piercing the distance beyond the fields.

“If this business o' war was through with, things 'd git right agin.”

“But it ain't goin' t' be over, let me tell you that.”

They became silent.

Sad as was their plight, it was no sadder than the plight of many of their class. The horrors of a protracted war had visited with equal severity the dwelling places of the rich and the poor. It was not a question of the provision of the sinews of war; tax had been enacted of all classes alike. But it did seem as if the angel of poverty had tarried the longer at the doorposts of the less opulent and had, in proportion to their indigence, inflicted the greater suffering and privation. Figuratively speaking, this was the state of affairs with Jim's house.

Everything that could stimulate, and everything that could gratify the propensities of a middle-aged couple, the blessings of health, the daily round of occupation, the joys of life and the hopes of at length obtaining possession of a little home, all these and the contentment of living, had at once been swept away from Jim Cadwalader and his wife by the calamities of war. They had lived as many had lived who have no different excuse to plead for their penury. The wages of their day's labor had been their sole means of support, and when this source of income had vanished, nothing was left. In the low and dingy rooms which they called their home there were no articles of adornment and many necessary for use were wanting. Sand sprinkled on the floor did duty as a carpet. There was no glass upon their table; no china on the cupboard; no prints on the wall. Matches were a treasure and coal was never seen. Over a fire of broken boxes and barrels, lighted with sparks from the flint, was cooked a rude meal to be served in pewter dishes. Fresh meat was rarely tasted—at most but once a week, and then paid for at a higher price than their scanty means could justly allow.

“The way things 're goin' a pair o' boots 'll soon cost a man 'most six hundr' dollars. I heard a man say who 's good at figurin' out these things, that it now takes forty dollar bills t' make a dollar o' coin. We can't stand that much longer.”

“Unless a great blow is struck soon,” observed Nancy.

“But it won't be struck. Washington's watchin' Clinton from Morristown. The Americans are now on the offensive an' Clinton 's busy holdin' New York. The French 're here an' who knows but they may do somethin'. 'Twas too bad they missed Howe's army when it left here.”

“Were they here?”

“They were at the capes when the chase was over. Lord Howe's ships had gone.”

Again there was silence.

“I guess Washington can't do much without an army. He has only a handful an' I heard that the volunteers won't stay. Three thousan' o' them left t' other day. Can't win a war that way. If they'd only listen to Barry they'd have a navy now, an' if they want to catch Clinton in New York they'll need a navy.”

“Is the Captain home?”

“I saw him t' other day. He is goin' t' Boston t' command the Raleigh, a thirty-two gunner. But one's no good. He needs a fleet.”

“Thank God! The French have come. Peace is here now.”

“It's money we need more'n soldiers. We can git an army right here if we could only pay 'em. No one 'll fight fur nuthin'. They're starvin' as much as us.”

The fact that the hopes of this American couple had suffered a partial collapse, must be attributed rather to the internal state of affairs than to the military situation. While it is true that no great military objective had been gained as a result of the three years of fighting, yet the odds at the present moment were decidedly on the American side. Still the country was without anything fit to be called a general government. The Articles of Confederation, which were intended to establish a league of friendship between the thirteen states, had not yet been adopted. The Continental Congress, continuing to decline in reputation and capacity, provoked a feeling of utter weariness and intense depression. The energies and resources of the people were without organization.

Resources they had. There was also a vigorous and an animated spirit of patriotism, but there were no means of concentrating and utilizing these assets. It was the general administrative paralysis rather than any real poverty that tried the souls of the colonists. They heartily approved of the war; Washington now held a higher place in their hearts than he had ever held before; peace seemed a certainty the longer the war endured. But they were weary of the struggle and handicapped by the internal condition of affairs.

Jim and his wife typified the members of the poorer class, the class upon whom the war had descended with all its horror and cruelty and desolation. Whatever scanty possessions they had, cows, corn, wheat or flour, had been seized by the foraging parties of the opposing forces, while their horse and wagon had been impressed into the service of the British, at the time of the evacuation of the city, to cart away the stores and provisions. A means of occupation had been denied Jim during the period of stagnation and what mere existence could now be eked out depended solely in the tillage of the land upon which he dwelled. Nevertheless the Cadwaladers maintained their outward cheer and apparent optimism throughout it all but still they yearned inwardly for the day when strife would be no more.

“I can't see as t' how we're goin' to git off eny better when this here whole thin's over. We're fightin' fur independence, but the peopul don't want to change their guver'ment; Washington 'll be king when this is over.”

Jim was ruminating aloud, stripping with his thumb nail the bark from a small branch which he had picked from the ground.

“'Twas the Quebec Act th' done it. It was supposed to reëstablish Popery in Canada, and did by right. But th' Americans, and mostly those in New England who are the worst kind of Dissenters and Whigs got skeered because they thought the Church o' England or the Church o' Rome 'd be the next thing established in the Colonies. That's what brought on the war.”

“We all don't believe that. Some do; but I don't.”

“You don't?” he asked, without lifting his eyes to look at her. “Well you kin. Wasn't the first thing they did up in New England to rush t' Canada t' capture the country or else t' form an alliance with it? And didn't our own Arnold try t' git revenge on it fur not sidin' in with him by plunderin' th' homes of th' peopul up there and sendin' the goods back to Ticonderoga?”

She made no reply, but continued to peer into the distance.

“And didn't our Congress send a petition to King George t' have 'm repeal the limits o' Quebec and to the peopul t' tell 'm the English Guver'ment 'is not authorized to establish a religion fraught with sanguary 'r impius tenets'? I know 'cause I read it.”

“It makes no diff'rence now. It's over.”

“Well it shows the kind o' peopul here. They're so afreed o' the Pope.”

She waved her hand in a manner of greeting.

“Who's that?” asked Jim.

“Marjorie.”

He turned sideways looking over his shoulder.

Then he stood up.

II

That there was more than a grain of truth in the assertion of Jim Cadwalader that the war for Independence had, like the great rivers of the country, many sources, cannot be gainsaid. There were oppressive tax laws as well as restrictions on popular rights. There were odious navigation acts together with a host of iniquitous, tyrannical measures which were destined to arouse the ire of any people however loyal. But there were religious prejudices which were likewise a moving cause of the revolt, a moving force upon the minds of the people at large. And these were utilized and systematized most effectively by the active malcontents and leaders of the strife.

The vast majority of the population of the Colonies were Dissenters, subjects of the crown who disagreed with it in matters of religious belief and who had emigrated thither to secure a haven where they might worship their God according to the dictates of their own conscience rather than at the dictates of a body politic. The Puritans had sought refuge in Massachusetts and Connecticut where the white spires of their meeting houses, projecting above the angles of the New England hills, became indicative of Congregationalism. Roger Williams and the Baptists found a harbor in Rhode Island. William Penn brought the Quaker colony to Pennsylvania. Captain Thomas Webb lent active measures to the establishment of Methodism in New York and in Maryland, while the colony of Virginia afforded protection to the adherents of the Established Church. The country was in the main Protestant, save for the vestiges of Catholicity left by the Franciscan and Jesuit Missionary Fathers, who penetrated the boundless wastes in an heroic endeavor to plant the seeds of their faith in the rich and fertile soil of the new and unexplored continent.

Consequently with the passage of the Quebec Act in 1774 a wave of indignation and passionate apprehension swept the country from the American Patriots of Boston to the English settlements on the west. That large and influential members of the Protestant religion were being assailed and threatened with oppression and that the fear of Popery, recently reëstablished in Canada, became an incentive for armed resistance, proved to be motives of great concern. They even reminded King George of these calamities and emphatically declared themselves Protestants, faithful to the principles of 1688, faithful to the ideals of the “Glorious Revolution” against James II, faithful to the House of Hanover, then seated on the throne.

“Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic Church?” asked John Adams of Thomas Jefferson. This simple question embodied in concrete form the apprehensions of the country at large, whose inhabitants had now become firmly convinced that King George, in granting the Quebec Bill, had become a traitor, had broken his coronation oath, was a Papist at heart, and was scheming to submit this country to the unconstitutional power of the English monarch. It was not so much a contest between peoples as a conflict of principles, political and religious, the latter of which contributed the active force that brought on the revolt and gave it power.

III

Strange to relate, there came a decided reversal of position after the formation of the French Alliance. No longer was the Catholic religion simply tolerated; it was openly professed, and, owing in a great measure to the unwearied labors of the Dominican and Franciscan friars, made the utmost progress among all ranks of people. The fault of the Catholic population was anything but disloyalty, it was found, and their manner of life, their absolute sincerity in their religious convictions, their generous and altruistic interest in matters of concern to the public good, proved irrefutable arguments against the calumnies and vilifications of earlier days. The Constitutions adopted by the several states and the laws passed to regulate the new governments show that the principles of religious freedom and equality had made progress during the war and were to be incorporated as vital factors in the shaping of the destinies of the new nation.

The supreme importance of the French Alliance at this juncture cannot be overestimated. Coming, as it did, at a time when the depression of the people had reached the lowest ebb, when the remnant of the army of the Americans was enduring the severities of the winter season at Valley Forge, when the enemy was in possession of the fairest part of the country together with the two most important cities, when Congress could not pay its bills, nor meet the national debt which alone exceeded forty million dollars,—when the medium of exchange would not circulate because of its worthlessness, when private debts could not be collected and when credit was generally prostrated, the Alliance proved a benefit of incalculable value to the struggling nation, not only in the enormous resources which it supplied to the army but in the general morale of the people which it made buoyant.

The capture of Burgoyne and the announcement that Lord North was about to bring in conciliatory measures furnished convincing proof to France that the American Alliance was worth having. A treaty was drawn up by virtue of which the Americans solemnly agreed, in consideration of armed support to be furnished by France, never to entertain proposals of peace with Great Britain until their independence should be acknowledged, and never to conclude a treaty of peace except with the concurrence of their new ally.

Large sums of money were at once furnished the American Congress. A strong force of trained soldiers was sent to act under Washington's command. A powerful fleet was soon to set sail for American waters and the French forces at home were directed to cripple the military power of England and to lock up and neutralize much British energy which would otherwise be directed against the Americans. Small wonder that a new era began to dawn for the Colonists!

When we remember the anti-Catholic spirit of the first years of the Revolution and consider the freedom of action which came to the Catholics as a consequence of the French Alliance, another and a striking phase of its influence is revealed. The Catholic priests hitherto seen in the colonies had been barely tolerated in the limited districts where they labored. Now came Catholic chaplains of foreign embassies; army and navy chaplains celebrating mass with pomp on the men-of-war and in the camps and cities. The French chaplains were brought in contact with all classes of the people in all parts of the country and the masses said in the French lines were attended by many who had never before witnessed a Catholic ceremony. Even Rhode Island, with a French fleet in her waters, blotted from her statute-book a law against Catholics.

IV

“What have we here, Marjorie?” asked Jim as he walked part of the way to meet her.

“Just a few ribs of pork. I thought that you might like them.”

She gave Jim the basket and walked over to Mrs. Cadwalader and kissed her.

“Heaven bless you, Marjorie,” exclaimed Nancy as she took hold of the girl's hands and held them.

“Oh, thank you! But it is nothing, I assure you.”

“You kin bet it is,” announced Jim as he removed from the basket a long side of pork. “Look 't that, Nancy.” And he held it up for her observation.

Marjorie had been accustomed to render some relief to Jim and his wife since the time when reverses had first visited them. Her good nature, as well as her consideration of the long friendship which had existed between the two families, had prompted her to this service. Jim would never be in want through any fault of hers, yet she was discreet enough never to proffer any avowed financial assistance. The mode she employed was that of an occasional visit in which she never failed to bring some choice morsel for the table.

“How's the dad?” asked Jim.

“Extremely well, thank you. He has been talking all day on the failure of the French to take Newport.”

“What's that?” asked Jim, thoroughly excited. “Has there been news in town?”

“Haven't you heard? The fleet made an attack.”

“Where? What about it?”

“They tried to enter New York to destroy the British, but it was found, I think, that they were too large for the harbor. So they sailed to Newport to attack the garrison there.”

“Yeh?”

“General Sullivan operated on the land, and the French troops were about to disembark to assist him. But then Lord Howe arrived with his fleet and Count d'Estaing straightway put out to sea to engage him.”

“And thrashed 'm——”

“No,” replied Marjorie. “A great storm came up and each had to save himself. From the reports Father gave, General Sullivan has been left alone on the island and may be fortunate if he is enabled to withdraw in safety.”

“What ails that Count!” exclaimed Jim thoroughly aroused. “I don't think he's much good.”

“Now don't git excited,” interrupted Nancy. “That's you all th' time. Just wait a bit.”

“Just when we want 'im he leaves us. That's no good.”

“Any more news, girl?”

“No. Everything is quiet except for the news we received about the regiment of Catholic volunteers that is being recruited in New York.”

“In New York? Clinton is there.”

“I know it. This is a British regiment.”

“I see. Tryin' t' imitate 'The Congress' Own?”

“So it seems.”

“And do they think they will git many Cath'lics, or that there 're enough o' them here?”

“I do not know,” answered Marjorie. “But some handbills have appeared in the city which came from New York.”

“And they want the Cath'lics? What pay are they goin' t' give?”

“Four pounds.”

“That's a lot o' money nowadays.”

“That is all I know about it. I can't think what success they will have. We are sure of some loyalists, however.”

“I guess I'll hev to git down town t' see what's goin' on. Things were quiet fur so long that I stayed pretty well t' home here. What does yur father think?”

“He is angry, of course. But he has said little.”

“I never saw anything like it. What'll come next?”

He folded his arms and crossed his knee.

An hour later she stood at the gate taking her leave of Jim and Nancy at the termination of a short but pleasant visit.

“Keep a stout heart,” she was saying to Jim, “for better days are coming.”

“I know 't, girl. Washington won't fail.”

“He is coming here shortly.”

“To Philadelphia?” asked Nancy.

“Yes. So he instructed Captain Meagher.”

“I hope he removes Arnold.”

“Hardly. He is a sincere friend to him. He wishes to see Congress.”

“Has he been summon'd?”

“No! Captain Meagher intimated to me that a letter had been sent to His Excellency from the former chaplain of Congress, the Rev. Mr. Duche, complaining that the most respectable characters had withdrawn and were being succeeded by a great majority of illiberal and violent men. He cited the fact that Maryland had sent the Catholic Charles Carroll of Carrollton instead of the Protestant Tilghman.”

“Who is this Duche?”

“I do not know. But he has since fled to the British. He warmly counseled the abandonment of Independence.”

“If that's his style, he's no good. Will we see the Gin'ral?”

“Perhaps. Then again he may come and go secretly.”

“God help the man,” breathed Nancy.

CHAPTER II

I

“Simply a written statement. A public utterance from you denouncing the Catholics would prove of incalculable value to us.”

John Anderson had been for an hour or more in the company of the Military Governor. Seemingly great progress had been made in the recruiting of the regiment, much of which had, of necessity, been effected in a secret manner, for now the city was under the domination of the Continental forces. Anderson had made the most of his time and was in a fair way to report progress for the past month.

“Don't be a fool, Anderson. You know that it would be the height of folly for me to make any such statement. I can do no more than I am doing. How many have you?”

“Nearly an hundred.”

“There are several miserable Papists in Congress. If they could be prevailed upon to resign, it would create a considerable impression upon the minds of the people.”

“I did see Carroll.”

“How did he receive you?”

“He replied to me that he had entered zealously into the Revolution to obtain religious as well as civil liberty, and he hoped that God would grant that this religious liberty would be preserved in these states to the end of time.”

“Confound him! We cannot reach him, I suppose.”

“So it appears. He is intensely patriotic.”

“You have an hundred, you say? All common folk, I venture. We should have several influential men.”

“But they cannot be reached. I know well the need of a person of influence, which thought urged me to ask such a statement from you.”

He looked at him savagely.

“Do you think I'm a fool?”

“'The fool knows more in his own house than a wise man does in another's.' I merely suggest, that is all.”

“My answer is,—absolutely, No!”

There was silence.

“I know that Roman Catholic influence is beginning to reveal itself in the army. Washington is well disposed toward them and they are good soldiers. Time was when they were less conspicuous; but nowadays every fool legislature is throwing public offices open to them and soon France will exercise the same control over these states as she now wields across the seas.”

“Would you be in league with France?” asked Anderson with a wavering tremor in his voice.

“God knows how I detest it! But I have sworn to defend the cause of my country and I call this shattered limb to witness how well I have spent myself in her behalf. I once entertained the hope that our efforts would be crowned with success, nevertheless I must confess that the more protracted grows the struggle, the more the conviction is forced upon me that our cause is mistaken, if not entirely wrong, and destined to perish miserably. Still, I shall not countenance open rebellion. I could not.”

“You will continue to advise me. I am little acquainted with the city, you know, and it would be difficult for me to avoid dangerous risks.”

Arnold thought for a minute, his features overcast by a scowl which closed his eyes to the merest chinks.

“I shall do no more than I have already done. I cannot permit myself to be entangled. There is too much at stake.”

He was playing a dangerous game, inspirited by no genuine love for country but by feelings of wounded pride. He was urged on, not through any fears of personal safety but through misguided intimidations of a foreign alliance; not because of any genuine desire to aid or abet the cause of the enemy but to cast suspicion upon a certain unit within his own ranks. To be deprived of active duty in the field was to his warm and impulsive nature an ignominious calamity. To learn subsequently of the appointment of Gates to the second in command, the one general whom he despised and hated, was more than his irritable temperament could stand. The American cause now appeared hopeless to him, nevertheless he entertained no thought of deserting it. He had performed his duty in its behalf, as his wounded limb often reminded him, and it was only fitting that he, who alone had destroyed a whole army of the enemy, should be rewarded with due consideration. Congress had ever been unfriendly to him and he had resented their action, or their failure to take proper action, most bitterly. Throughout it all his personal feelings had guided to a large extent his faculty of judgment, and for that reason he viewed with mistrust and suspicion every intent and purpose, however noble or exalted.

He had been violently opposed to the alliance with France from the start. It was notorious that he abhorred Catholics and all things Catholic. To take sides with a Catholic and despotic power which had been a deadly foe to the colonists ten or twenty years before, during the days of the French and Indian wars, was to his mind a measure at once unpatriotic and indiscreet. In this also, he had been actuated by his personal feelings more than by the study of the times. For he loathed Popery and the thousand and one machinations and atrocities which he was accustomed to link with the name.

The idea of forming a regiment of Catholic soldiers interested him not in the numerical strength which might be afforded the enemy but in the defection which would be caused to the American side. His scheme lay in the hope that the Catholic members of Congress would be tempted to resign. In that event he would obtain evident satisfaction not alone in the weakness to which the governing body would be exposed but also in the ill repute to which American Catholics and their protestations of loyalty would fall.

Arnold deep down in his own heart knew that his motives were not unmixed. He could not accuse himself of being outrageously mercenary, yet he was ashamed to be forced to acknowledge even to himself that the desire of gain was present to his mind. His debts were enormous. He entertained in a manner and after a style far in excess of his modest allowance. His dinners were the most sumptuous in the town; his stable the finest; his dress the richest. And no wonder that his play, his table, his balls, his concerts, his banquets had soon exhausted his fortune. Congress owed him money, his speculations proved unfortunate, his privateering ventures met with disaster. With debts accumulating and creditors giving him no peace he turned to the gap which he saw opening before him. This was an opportunity not to be despised.

“About that little matter—how soon might I be favored?” the Governor asked, rising from his chair and limping with his cane across the room.

“You refer to the matter of reimbursements?” Anderson asked nonchalantly.

“I do.”

He gazed from the window with his back turned to his visitor.

“I shall draw an order for you at once.”

“You shall do nothing of the kind.”

He looked fiercely at him.

“You are playing a clever game, are you not? But you have to cope now with a clever adversary.”

He walked deliberately before him, and continued:

“Anderson,” he said, “I want to tell you I know who you are and for what purpose you have been sent here. I know too by whom you have been sent. I knew it before you were here twenty-four hours and I want to tell you now before we continue that we may as well understand each other in a thorough manner. If you desire my assistance you must pay me well for it. And it must be in legal tender.”

“Of course—but—but—the truth is that I am in no way prepared to make any offer now. I can communicate with you in a few days, or a week.”

“Don't come here. You must not be seen here again. Send it to me or better still meet me.”

“Can you trust the Shippens?”

“Absolutely.”

“Why not there?”

“You mean to confer with me there?”

“If it is safe, as you say, where would be more suitable?”

“True. But I must have some money as soon as possible. The nation is bankrupt and my pay is long overdue. I cannot, however, persuade the creditors any longer. I must have money.”

“You shall have it. At Shippen's then.”

He rose and walked directly to the door.

“Next week.”

He shut the door after him and hurried along the corridor. As he turned he came face to face with a countenance entirely familiar to him but momentarily lost to his consciousness by its sudden and unexpected appearance. In a second, however, he had recovered himself.

“Captain! I am pleased indeed.”

He put out his hand.

Stephen thought for a moment. Then he grasped it.

“Mr. Anderson. What good fortune is this?”

“Complimentary. Simply paying my respects for kindness rendered.”

“Have a care lest your zeal overwhelm you.”

Anderson colored at the allusion.

“Thank you. I shall exercise all moderation.”

Stephen watched him as he moved away, deliberating hurriedly on the advisability of starting after him. Whatever his mission or his purpose, he would not learn in this house certainly, nor from him nor from Arnold for that matter. If he was intent on securing information concerning this man he must do it in a surreptitious manner. There was no other method of dealing with him, he thought, and in view of such circumstances he deemed it perfectly legitimate to follow him at a safe distance.

The more he thought over it the more readily did he resolve to take action to the end that he might see more of him. Whatever mischief was afoot, and he had no more than a mere suspicion that there was mischief afoot, must reveal itself sooner or later. His object in all probability had already been accomplished, nevertheless his errand, if he was engaged on an errand, might be disclosed. He would follow him if for no other purpose than to learn of his destination.

Second Street was now astir with a lively procession. There, every day when business was over, when the bank was closed, when the exchange was deserted, crowds of seekers came to enjoy the air and to display their rich garments. There might be found the gentlemen of fashion and of means, with their great three-cornered cocked hats, resting majestically upon their profusely powdered hair done up in cues, their light colored coats, with their diminutive capes and long backs, their striped stockings, pointed shoes, and lead-laden cuffs, paying homage to the fair ladies of the town. These, too, were gorgeous in their brocades and taffetas, luxuriantly displayed over cumbrous hoops, tower-built hats, adorned with tall feathers, high wooden heels and fine satin petticoats. It was an imposing picture to behold these gayly dressed damsels gravely return the salutations of their gallant admirers and courtesy almost to the ground before them.

Stephen searched deliberately for his man throughout the length of the crowded thoroughfare, standing the while on the topmost step of the Governor's Mansion—that great old-fashioned structure resembling in many details a fortification, with its two wings like bastions extending to the rear, its spacious yard enclosed with a high wall and ornamented with two great rows of lofty pine trees. It was the most stately house within the confines of the city and, with Christ Church, helped to make Second Street one of the aristocratic thoroughfares of the town.

It was with difficulty that Stephen discerned Anderson walking briskly in the direction of Market Street. He set off immediately, taking care to keep at a safe distance behind him. He met several acquaintances, to whom he doffed his hat and returned their afternoon greeting, while he pursued his quest with lively interest and attention. Market Street was reached, and here he was obliged to pause near a shop window lest he might overtake Anderson, who had halted to exchange pleasantries with a young and attractive couple. On they went again deliberately and persistently until at length it began to dawn upon Stephen that they were headed for the Germantown road, and for Allison's house.

What strange relation was arising between Marjorie and that man? Anderson was paying marked attention to her, he began to muse to himself, too much attention perhaps, for one whose whole existence was clouded with a veil of mystery. Undoubtedly he was meeting with some encouragement, if not reciprocation (perish the thought!), for he was persistent in his attention. Yet this man was not without charm. There was something fascinating about him which even Stephen must confess was compelling. What if she had been captivated by him, by his engaging personal qualities, by his prepossessing appearance, by his habit of gentle speech, by his dignity and his ease of manner! His irritation was justifiable.

There was little doubt now as to Anderson's destination. Plainly he was bent on one purpose. The more he walked, the more evident this became. Stephen would be assured, however, and pursued his way until he had seen with his own eyes his man turn into Allison's house. And not until then did he halt. Turning deliberately he began to retrace his steps.

II

“This looks like the kind of book. Has it the 'Largo'?”

Anderson sat on the music-stool before the clavichord turning over the pages of a volume that rested on the rack.

“Perhaps. I scarce think I know what it is. I have never heard it.”

Marjorie was nearby. She had been musing over the keys, letting her fingers wander where they would, when he had called. He would not disturb her for all the world, nevertheless he did yield to her entreaties to take her place on the stool.

“You have never heard Handel? The 'Largo' or the greatest of all oratorios, his 'Messiah'?”

“Never!”

He did not reply to this. Instead he broke into the opening chords, the sweetly solemn, majestic harmony of the 'Largo'. He played it entirely from memory, very slowly, very softly at first, until the measured notes, swelling into volume, filled the room in a loud arpeggio.

“That is beautiful,” she exclaimed with enthusiasm, “I should have said 'exquisite'. May I learn it?”

“Surely there must be a copy in the city. I shall consider it a favor to procure one for you.”

“I should be delighted, I am sure.”

He played it again. She regarded him from above. It was astonishing to note the perfect ease and grace with which he performed. The erect carriage, the fine cut of the head, the delicately carved features became the objects of her attention in their inverse order, and the richly endowed talents, with which he was so signally accomplished, furnished objects of special consideration to her reflective soul. He was exceedingly fascinating and a dangerous object to pit against the heart of any woman. Still Marjorie was shrewd enough to peer beneath his superficial qualities, allowing herself to become absorbed in a penetrating study of the man, his character, his peculiarities;—so absorbed, in fact, that the door behind her opened and closed without attracting her attention.

“I must obtain that copy,” she announced as she turned towards her chair.

“Why, Father!” she exclaimed. “When did you come? Mr. Anderson, Father. You already know him.”

“Well met, my boy. You are somewhat of a musician. I was listening.”

“Just enough for my own amusement,” laughed the younger man. “I know a few notes.”

“Be not quick to believe him, Father. He plays beautifully.”

Mr. Allison sat down.

“Accomplishments are useful ornaments. Nowadays a man succeeds best who can best impress. People want to see one's gifts.”

“The greatest of talents often lie buried. Prosperity thrives on pretense.”

“True. I'm beginning to think that way myself, the way things 're going.”

“With the war?” he asked.

“With everything. I think Congress will fail to realize its boasts, and Arnold is a huge pretender, and——”

“He has lost favor with the people.”

“Lost it? He never had it from the day he arrived. People do not like that sort of thing.”

Anderson watched him intently and Marjorie watched Anderson.

“He may resign for a command in the army. I have heard it said that he dislikes his office.”

“Would to God he did! Or else go over to the other side.”

Anderson's head turned—the least little fraction—so that Marjorie could see the flash light up his eyes.

“He could not desert the cause now without becoming a traitor.”

A pause followed.

“Men of lofty patriotism often disagree in the manner of political action. We have many Loyalists among us.”

“Yet they are not patriots.”

“No! They are not, viewed from our standpoint. But every colony has a different motive in the war. Now that some have obtained their rights, they are satisfied with the situation. I don't know but that we would be as well off if the present state of affairs were allowed to stand.”

“What do the Catholics of the Colonies think?”

This was a bold question, yet he ventured to ask it.

“We would fare as well with England as with some of our own,” answered Marjorie decisively.

Anderson looked at her for a minute.

“Never!” replied Mr. Allison with emphasis.

“See how Canada fared,” insisted Marjorie.

“Tush!”

Anderson listened attentively. Here was a division of opinion within the same family; the father intensely loyal, the daughter somewhat inclined to analysis. A new light was thrown upon her from this very instant which afforded him a very evident satisfaction, a very definite and conscious enjoyment as well. To have discovered this mind of apparent candor and unaffected breadth was of supreme import to him at this critical moment. And he felt assured that he had met with a character of more than ordinary self-determination which might, if tuned properly, display a capacity for prodigious possibilities, for in human nature he well knew the chord of self-interest to be ever responsive to adequate and opportune appeal.

Marjorie might unconsciously prove advantageous to him. It was essential for the maturing of his plans to obtain Catholic coöperation. She was a devout adherent and had been, insofar as he had been able to discover, an ardent Whig. True, he had but few occasions to study her, nevertheless today had furnished him with an inkling which gave her greater breadth in his eyes than he was before conscious of. The remark just made might indicate that she favored foreign rule in the interest of religious toleration, yet such a declaration was by no means decisive. Still he would labor to this end in the hope that she might ultimately see her way clear to coöperate with him in his designs.

“We are losing vast numbers through the Alliance,” volunteered Anderson.

“I suppose so,” admitted Mr. Allison. “Many of the colonists cannot endure the thought of begging assistance from a great Roman Catholic power. They fear, perhaps, that France will use the opportunity to inflict on us the worst form of colonialism and destroy the Protestant religion.”

“But it isn't the Protestants who are deserting,” persisted Anderson. “The Catholics are not unmindful of the hostile spirit displayed by the colonists in the early days. They, too, are casting different lots.”

“Not we. Every one of us is a Whig. Some have faltered, but we do not want them.”

“And yet the reports from New York seem to indicate that the recruiting there is meeting with success.”

“The Catholic regiment? I'll wager that it never will exist except on paper. There are no Tories, no falterers, no final deserters among the American Catholics.”

“What efforts are being made in Philadelphia?” asked Marjorie.

“None—that I know of,” was the grave reply. “I did hear, however, that an opportunity would be given those who are desirous of enlisting in New York.”

Marjorie sat and watched him.

“I heard Father Farmer was invited to become its chaplain,” observed Mr. Allison.

“Did he?”

“He did not. He told me himself that he wrote a kind letter with a stern refusal.”

And so they talked; talked into the best part of an hour, now of the city's activities, now of the Governor, now of the success of the campaign, until Anderson felt that he had long overstayed his leave.

“I am sorry to leave your company.” Then to Marjorie, “At Shippen's tomorrow?”

“Yes. Will you come for me? If you won't I daresay I shall meet you there.”

“Of course I shall come. Please await me.”

III

That there was a state of pure sensation and of gay existence for Marjorie in the presence of this man, she knew very well; and while she felt that she did not care for him, nevertheless she was conscious of a certain subtle influence about him which she was powerless to define. It has been said that not all who know their mind know their own heart; for the heart often perceives and reasons in a manner wholly peculiar to itself. Marjorie was aware of this and the utmost effort was required of her to respond solely to the less alluring promptings of her firm will.

She would allow him to see her again that she might learn more about him and his strange origin. Stephen had suggested to her the merest suspicion concerning him. There was the possibility that the germ of this suspicion might develop,—and in her very presence. The contingency was certainly equal to the adventure.

It was not required that she pay a formal call on Peggy. Already had that been done, immediately after the announcement of the engagement, when she had come to offer congratulations to the prospective bride upon her enviable and happy fortune. The note, which again had come into her possession upon Stephen's return of it, whose contents were still unknown to her, she had restored to Peggy, together with a full explanation of its loss and its subsequent discovery. One phase of its history, however, she had purposely overlooked. It might have proved embarrassing for her to relate how it chanced to fall into the hands of Stephen. And inasmuch as he had made no comment upon its return, she was satisfied that the incident was unworthy of the mention.

Anderson called promptly on the hour and found her waiting. They left the house at once and by mutual agreement walked the entire distance. This was preferable, for there was no apparent haste to reach their destination, and for the present no greater desire throbbed within them than the company of their own selves. For they talked continually of themselves and for that reason could never weary of each other's company.

The country about them was superb. The fields stood straight in green and gold on every side of the silvery road. Beside them as they passed, great trees reared themselves aloft from the greensward, which divided the road from the footpath, and rustled in the breeze, allowing the afternoon sunshine to reveal itself in patches and glimpses; and the air between was a sea of subdued light, resonant with the liquid notes of the robin and the whistle of the quail, intruders upon the uniform tranquillity of the hot Sunday afternoon.

“Does it not strike you that there are but few persons with whom it is possible to converse seriously?”

“Seriously?” asked Marjorie. “What do you call seriously?”

“In an intelligent manner, together with perfect ease and attention.”

“I suppose that this is true on account of the great want of sincerity among men.”

“That, as well as the impatient desire we possess of intruding our own thoughts upon our hearer with little or no desire of listening to those which he himself may want to express.”

“We are sincere with no one but ourselves, don't you think? The mere fact of the entrance of a second person means that we must try to impress him. You have said that prosperity thrives on pretense.”

“And I repeat it. But with friends all guile and dissimulation ceases. We often praise the merits of our neighbor in the hope that he in turn will praise us. Only a few have the humility and the whole-hearted simplicity to listen well and to answer well. Sincerity to my mind is often a snare to gain the confidence of others.”

There was depth to his reasoning, Marjorie thought, which was riddle-like as well. It was amazing to her how well he could talk on any given topic, naturally, easily, seriously, as the case might be. He never seemed to assume the mastery of any conversation, nor to talk with an air of authority on any subject, for he was alive to all topics and entered into them with the same apparent cleverness and animated interest.

He stopped suddenly and exerted a gentle though firm pressure on her arm, obliging her to halt her steps. Surprised, she turned and looked at him.

“What is it?” she asked.

There was no response. Instead, she looked in the direction of his gaze. Then she saw.

A large black snake lay in graceful curves across their path several rods ahead. Its head was somewhat elevated and rigid. Before it fluttered a small chickadee in a sort of strange, though powerless fascination, its wings partly open in a trembling manner, its chirp noisy and incessant, its movement rapid and nervous, as it partly advanced, partly retreated before its enchanter. Nearer and nearer it came, with a great scurrying of the feet and wings, towards the motionless head of the serpent. Until Anderson, picking a stone from the roadside, threw a well-aimed shot which bounded over the head of the snake, causing it to turn immediately and crawl into the recesses of the deep underbrush of the adjoining field. The bird, freed from the source of its sinister charm, flew out of sight into safety.

“Thank God!” Marjorie breathed. “I was greatly frightened.”

“Nothing would have saved that bird,” was the reply. “It already was powerless.”

Marjorie did not answer to this, but became very quiet and pensive. They walked on in silence.

Nearing the home of Peggy, they beheld General Arnold seated before them on the spacious veranda in the company of his betrothed. Here was intrusion with a vengeance, Marjorie thought, but the beaming face and the welcoming expression soon dispelled her fears.

“Miss Shippen,” Anderson said, as he advanced immediately toward her to seize her hand, “allow me to offer my tender though tardy congratulations. It was with the greatest joy that I listened to the happy announcement.”

“You are most kind, Mr. Anderson, and I thank you for it,” was the soft response.

“And you, General,” said Marjorie. “Let me congratulate you upon your excellent choice.”

“Rather upon my good fortune,” the Governor replied with a generous smile.

Peggy blushed at the compliment.

“How long before we may be enabled to offer similar greetings to you?” he asked of Mr. Anderson, who was assisting Marjorie into a chair by the side of Peggy.

“Oh! Love rules his own kingdom and I am an alien.”

He drew himself near to the Governor and the conversation turned naturally and generally to the delicious evening. The very atmosphere thrilled with romance.

CHAPTER III

I

Stephen was sitting in his room, his feet crossed on a foot-rest before him, his eyes gazing into the side street that opened full before his window. He had been reading a number of dispatches and letters piled in a small heap in his lap; but little by little had laid them down again to allow his mind to run into reflection and study. And so he sat and smoked.

It seemed incredible that events of prime importance were transpiring in the city and that the crisis was so soon upon him. For nearly three months he had been accumulating, methodically and deliberately, a chain of incriminating evidence around the Military Governor and John Anderson, still he was utterly unaware of its amazing scope and magnitude. Perfidy was at work all around him and he was powerless to interfere; for the intrigue had yet to reach that point where conviction could be assured. Nevertheless, he continued to advance step by step with the events, and sensed keenly the while, the tension which was beginning to exist but which he could not very well point out.

He had kept himself fully informed of the progress of affairs in New York, where the recruiting was being accomplished in an undisguised manner. The real facts, however, were being adroitly concealed from the bulk of the populace. Information of a surprising nature had been forwarded to him from time to time in the form of dispatches and letters, all of which now lay before him, while a certain Sergeant Griffin had already been detailed by him to carry out the more hazardous work of espionage in the city of the enemy. The latter was in a fair way to report now on the progress of the work and had returned to Philadelphia for this very purpose.

Irish Catholics had been found in the British Army at New York, but they had been impressed into the service. Sergeant Griffin had spoken to many deserters who avowed that they had been brought to the colonies against their own will, declaring that they had been “compelled to go on board the transports where they were chained down to the ring-bolts and fed with bread and water; several of whom suffered this torture before they could be made to yield and sign the papers of enlistment.” In confirmation of this declaration, he had in his lap a letter written to General Washington by Arthur Lee, June 15, 1777, which read: “Every man of a regiment raised in Ireland last year had to be shipped off tied and bound, and most certainly they will desert more than any troops whatsoever.” To corroborate this claim he had obtained several clippings, advertisements that had appeared in the New York newspapers, offering rewards for the apprehension of Irish soldiers who had deserted to the rebels.

The same methods he learned were now being employed in the recruiting of the Catholic regiment. Blackmail had been resorted to with splendid results. In several instances enormous debts had been liquidated in favor of the recruits. Even commissions in the army of His Majesty had been offered as a bounty. There was success, if the few hundred faces in the ranks could be reckoned as a fair catch, yet the methods of recruiting did not begin to justify the fewness of the numbers.

Just how this idea had taken root, he was at a loss to discover. Certainly not from the disloyalty manifested by the Catholic population during the war. The exploits of the famous “Congress' Own” Regiments might, he thought, have contributed much to the enemy's scheme. It was commonly known that two regiments of Catholics from Canada, raised in that northern province during the winter of 1775-76, had done valiant service against the British. A great number of the Canadian population had welcomed the patriots under Generals Schuyler, Montgomery and Arnold upon their attempted invasion of the country, and had given much assistance towards the success of their operations. Inasmuch as many had sought enlistment in the ranks as volunteers, an opportunity was furnished them by an act of Congress on January 20, 1776, authorizing the formation of two Canadian regiments of soldiers to be known as “Congress' Own.” The First was organized by Colonel James Livingston; the Second by Colonel Moses Hazen. Both of these regiments continued in active service for the duration of the war, and both obtained a vote of thanks from the American Congress upon its termination.

Herein, then, must lay the germ of the project of the British Regiment of Roman Catholic Volunteers.

He sat and considered.

“You tell me, then,” he said quietly, “that this is the state of affairs in New York.”

“Yes, sir,” replied the soldier.

There was a further silence.

II

The progress of the work in the city of Philadelphia had been less evident to him. Certain it was that Anderson was directing his undivided attention to the furtherance of the plan, for which task he had been admirably endowed by Nature. That Arnold, too, was greatly interested in the success of the plot, he already suspected, but in this he had no more than a suspicion, for he could not discover the least incriminating objective evidence against him. There were several whose names had been associated with the work; yet these, too, had revealed nothing, when confronted with a direct question. And whatever influence he might have had, whatever lurking suspicions he might have accumulated from the contributory details, these when simmered down amounted to little or nothing. The plan had not progressed to the extent required. There was nothing to do but to await further developments.

This man Anderson was ingenuous. The most striking characteristic about him, that towards which and in support of which every energy and every talent had been schooled and bent, was an intrepid courage. A vast and complicated scheme of ambition possessed his whole soul, yet his disposition and address generally appeared soft and humane, especially when no political object was at stake.

During the four or five months spent in the city, he had made a host of friends among all classes of people. His agreeable manner and his fluency of speech at once gained for him the confidence even of the most phlegmatic. No man was endowed with more engaging qualities for the work, if it may be assumed that he was engaged solely in the recruiting of a Tory Regiment from among the supporters of the Whigs. Everything seemed to declare that he was associated with the work. And because he was associated with it, it progressed.

The names of several who had yielded allegiance to the opposite side were in the hands of Stephen. The Major of the new regiment was a Catholic, John Lynch. So were Lieutenant Eck, Lieutenant Kane, and Quartermaster Nowland. These were at present in New York, whither they had journeyed soon after the British occupation of the city. Of the hundred-odd volunteers, who were supposed to constitute the company, little could be learned because of the veil of secrecy which had from the very beginning enshrouded the whole movement.

Pressure had been brought to bear on several, it was discovered, with the result that there was no alternative left them but to sign the papers of enlistment. In this Anderson had been materially aided by the Military Governor's intimate knowledge of the fortunes and prospects of the bulk of the citizenry. To imply this, however, was one thing; to prove it quite another. For whatever strength the accusation might bear in his own mind, he could not forget that it was still a mere suspicion, which must be endorsed by investigation if the people were to be convinced. And Stephen was unprepared to offer the results of his investigation to a populace which was too indolent and hasty to investigate them as facts and to discriminate nicely between the shades of guilt. Anderson was loved and admired by his countrymen and more especially by his countrywomen. Everything, it seemed, would be forgiven his youth, rank and genius.

Even Marjorie had been captivated by him, it appeared. The relationship which was beginning to thrive between them he disliked, and some day he would make that known to her. How attentive he had been to her was easily recognizable, but to what degree she returned this attention was another matter. What she thought of this stranger and to what extent he had impressed her, he longed to know, for it was weeks since he had laid eyes on her; and the last two attempts made by him to see her had found her in the company of Anderson, once at Shippen's, and again on a ride through the country. True, he himself had been absent from town for a brief time, immediately after his court-martial, when he returned to headquarters to file a report with his Commander-in-chief, and the few moments spent with her upon his return was the last visit. Undoubtedly he was a stranger to her now; she was absorbed with the other man.

Still Stephen wished that he might see her. An insatiable longing filled his whole soul, like the eternal cravings of the heart for communion with the Infinite. There was certain situations where a man or woman must confide in some person to obtain advice or sympathy, or simply to unload the soul, and there was no one more becoming to Stephen than this girl. She understood him and could alleviate by her sole presence, not through any gift properly made, but by that which radiated from her alone, the great weight which threatened to overwhelm his whole being. Simply to converse with her might constitute the prophecy of a benign existence.

He determined to see her that very evening.

III

“Marjorie,” said Stephen, “of course you've a perfect right to do exactly as you like. But, you know, you did ask my opinion; didn't you?”

“I did,” said Marjorie, frowning. “But I disagree with you. And I think you do him a grave injustice.”

She had been seated in a large comfortable chair in the middle of the side yard when he entered. A ball of black yarn which, with the aid of two great needles, she was industriously engaged in converting into an article of wearing apparel, lay by her side. Indeed, so engrossed was she, that he had opened and closed the gate before her attention was aroused. She rose immediately, laying her knitting upon the chair, and advanced to meet him.

“I haven't seen you in ages. Where have you been?”

He looked at her.

“Rather let me ask that question,” was his query by way of reply. “Already twice have I failed to find you.”

They walked together to the chairs; she to her own, he to a smaller one that stood over against them.

“That you called once, I know. Mother informed me.”

“You were similarly engaged on both occasions.”

He brought his chair near to her.

“With Mr. Anderson?”

She smiled straight in his face.

“Of course.”

He, too, smiled.

“Well!” then after a pause, “do you object?”

He did not answer. His fingers drummed nervously on the arm of his chair and he looked far up the road.

“You do not like him?” she asked quickly.

“It would be impossible for me to now tell you. As a matter of fact, I myself have been unable to form a definite opinion. I may let you know later. Not now.”

A deep sigh escaped her.

“I should imagine you could read a man at first sight,” she exclaimed.

“I never allowed myself that presumption. Men are best discovered at intervals. They are most natural when off their guard. Habit may restrain vice, and passion obscures virtue. I prefer to let them alone.”

She bit her lip, as her manner was, and continued to observe him. How serious he was! The buoyant, tender, blithesome disposition which characterized his former self, had yielded to a temper of saturnine complexion, a mien of grave and thoughtful composure. He was analytic and she began to feel herself a simple compound in the hands of an expert chemist.

“I am sorry to have caused you a disappointment.”

“Please, let me assure you there is no need of an apology.”

“And you were not disappointed?”

A smile began to play about the corners of her small mouth. She tried to be humorous.

“Perhaps. But not to the extent of requiring an apology.”

“You might have joined us.”

“You know better than that.”

“I mean it. Peggy would have been pleased to have you.”

“Did she say so?”

“No. But I know that she would.”

“Alas!” He raised his arm in a slight gesture.

She was knitting now, talking as she did. She paused to raise her eyes.

“I think you dislike Peggy,” she said with evident emphasis.

“Why?”

“I scarce know. My instinct, I suppose.”

“I distrust her, if that is what you mean?”

“Have you had reason?”

“I cannot answer you now, for which I am very sorry. You will find my reasoning correct at some future time, I hope.”

“Do you approve of my friendship with her?”

She did not raise her eyes this time, but allowed them to remain fixed upon the needles.

“It is not mine to decide. You are mistress of your own destinies.”

Her face grew a shade paler, and the look in her eyes deepened.

“I simply asked your advice, that was all.”

The words hit so hard that he drew his breath. He realized that he had been brusque and through his soul there poured a kind of anger first, then wounded pride, then a sense of crushing pain.

“I regret having said that,” he tried to explain to her. “But I cannot tell you what is in my mind. Since you do ask me, I fear Peggy greatly, but I would not say that your friendship with her should cease. Not at present, anyhow.”

“Well, did you approve of my going there with Mr. Anderson?”

“With him? No.”

“Can you tell me the reason?”

And then he explained briefly to her of his reasons for disliking this man and of the veil of suspicion and of mystery with which he was surrounded. He did not think him a suitable companion for her, and wished for her own good that she would see no more of him.

There was no reply to his observations. On the contrary Marjorie lapsed into a meditative silence which seemed to grow deeper and deeper as the moments passed. Stephen watched her until the suspense became almost beyond endurance, wondering what thoughts were coursing through her mind.

At length he broke the silence with the words recorded at the beginning of the chapter; and Marjorie answered him quietly and deliberately.

She continued with her knitting.

IV

A great melancholy fell upon him, if it were indeed possible for him to become more dispirited, against which he was powerless to contend. There was revealed to him on the instant a seeming predilection on the part of Marjorie for this man, Anderson. The longer they conversed, the deeper did that conviction grow. This made him careless and petulant. Now a feeling of deep regret stole over him because he had been so unsympathetic. In presence of her feeling of grief and disappointment, his pity was aroused.

“I deeply regret the pain I have caused you,” he said to her quietly and kindly. “It was altogether rude of me.”

She bit her lip violently, tremulously, in an effort to restrain the flood of emotion which surged within, which threatened to burst forth with the pronunciation of the merest syllable.

She did not reply, but fumbled with the knitted portion of her garment, running its edges through her fingers.

“I had no intention of speaking of him as I did,” he went on. “I would not, did you not ask me.”

“I am not offended.”

“Your composure reveals to me that you have been hurt.”

“I did not mean that you should know it.”

“Very likely. But you could not disguise the fact. I shall give you the assurance, however, that the subject shall not be a topic for discussion by us again. He must not be mentioned.”

“Please! I—I——”

“It was solely for yourself that I was concerned. Believe me when I say this. Insofar as I myself am concerned, I am wholly disinterested. I thought you desired to know and I told you as much as it was possible for me to tell. You must ask me no more.”

“He has not revealed this side of his character to me and I have been in his company on several occasions. Always has he been kind, gentlemanly, sincere, upright.”

Her eyes were centered full upon him, those large brown eyes that seemed to contain her whole being. Whether she was gay or sad, jocose or sober, enthusiastic or despondent, the nature of her feelings could be communicated solely by her eyes. She need not speak; they spoke for her.

“You are right in believing every man virtuous until he has proved himself otherwise,” he replied. “There should be one weight and one measure. But I regulate my intercourse with men by the opposite standard. I distrust every man until he has proved himself worthy, and it was that principle which guided me, undoubtedly, in my application of it to you.”

“Do you consider that upright?”

“Do not misunderstand me. I do not form a rash judgment of every person I meet. As a matter of fact I arrive at no judgment at all. I defer judgment until after the investigation, and I beware of him until this investigation has been completed.”

“You are then obliged to live in a world of suspicion.”

“No. Rather in a world of security. How often has the knave paraded under the banner of innocence! The greatest thieves wear golden chains.”

“I could not live after such manner.”

She became impatient.

“Were you thrown into daily relation with the world you would soon learn the art of discrimination. The trusty sentinel lives a life of suspicion.”

At length a truce was silently proclaimed. Composure reigned. The unpleasant episode had to all appearances been obliterated from their minds. There was even a touch of that old humor dancing in her eyes.

“Some one has said,” she observed, “that 'suspicion is the poison of friendship.'”

“And a Latin proverb runs, 'Be on such terms with your friend as if you knew he may one day become your enemy.' Friendship, I realize, is precious and gained only after long days of probation. The tough fibers of the heart constitute its essence, not the soft texture of favors and dreams. We do not possess the friends we imagine, for the world is self-centered.”

“Have you no friends?”

Now she smiled for the second time, but it was only a smile of humor about the corners of her mouth.

“Only those before whom I may be sincere.”

He was serious, inclined to analysis, one might say.

“Can you expect to find sincerity in others without yourself being sincere?”

“No. But my friend possesses my other soul. I think aloud before him. It does not matter. I reveal my heart to him, share my joys, unburden my grief. There is a simplicity and a wholesomeness about it all. We are mutually sincere.”

“Your test is severe.”

“But its fruits imperishable.”

“I cannot adopt your method,” was the deliberate reply as she began to gather together her ball and needles.

“Let's leave it at that.”

And they left it.

V

Long after he had gone she sat there until it was well into the evening, until the stars began to blink and nod and wrap themselves in the great cloak of the night, as they kept a silent vigil over the subdued silence which had settled down upon the vast earth and herself.

The longer she sat and considered, the more melancholy did she become. Stephen was displeased with her conduct and made no effort to conceal it, inflicting only the greater wound by his ambiguous and incisive remarks. His apparent unconcern and indifference of manner frightened her, and she saw, or she thought she saw a sudden deprivation of that esteem with which she was vain enough to presuppose he was wont to regard her. And yet he was mistaken, greatly mistaken. Furthermore, he was unfair to himself and unjust to her in the misinterpretation of her behavior. His displeasure pained her beyond endurance.

In her relations with John Anderson, she had been genuinely sincere both with herself and with Stephen. The latter had asked her to help him; and this she was trying to do in her own way. That there was something suspicious about Anderson, she knew; but whether the cause lay in his manner of action or in the possession of documentary evidence, she could not so much as conjecture. What more apt method could be employed than to associate with him in the hope that at some time or other important information might be imparted to her? She did not intend to play the part of the spy; still if that was the rôle in which she hoped to find Anderson, she was ready to assume a similar rôle for the very purpose of outwitting him and defeating him on his own ground. If Stephen would only trust her. Oh, dear! And she wrung her hands in abject despair.

Little by little her experiences of the summer just past came before her with a vividness which her experience with Stephen served only to intensify. First, there was the night of the Governor's Ball. He had come into her life there, filling a vacancy not realized before. Hitherto, she had been quite content in the company of almost any one, and especially with those of the sterner sex. But with the advent of this dashing young officer she began to experience a set of new sensations. The incompleteness of her life was brought before her.

He seemed to perfect her being, sharing her pleasures, lessening her woes, consoling her heart. Still, there was one office that he had failed to perform; he was not obsequious. Not that he was ever wanting in attention and deferential courtesy, or that he ever failed to betray a warmth of feeling or a generous devotion; but his manner was prosaic, thoroughly practical both in action and in expression. He spoke his thoughts directly and forcibly. He was never enthusiastic, never demonstrative, never warm or impulsive, but definite, well-ordered, positive. It was quite true that he was capable of bestowing service to the point of heroism when the occasion required, but such a quality was not spontaneous, because his heart, while intensely sympathetic, appeared cold and absolutely opposed to any sort of outburst. He was too prudent, too wise, too thoughtful, it seemed, acting only when sure of his ground, turning aside from all obstacles liable to irritate or confuse him.

Then John Anderson came and initiated her into a newer world. He appeared to worship her, and tried to make her feel his devotion in his every act. He was gallant, dignified, charming, lavishing attention upon her to the point of prodigality. He said things which were pleasant to hear, and equally as pleasant to remember. What girl would not be attracted by such engaging personal qualities; but Marjorie decided that he was too much of the Prince Charming whose gentle arts proved to be his sole weapons for the major encounters of life.

Hence she was not fascinated by his soft accomplishments. He interested her, but she readily perceived that there was not in him that real depth which she had found in Stephen. True, he made her feel more like a superior being than as a mere equal; he yielded ever to her slightest whim, and did not discomfort her with weighty arguments. But her acumen was such that she was enabled to penetrate the gloss and appraise the man at his true value. The years spent at her mother's knee, the numberless hours in her father's shop where she came in contact with many men, her own temperament, prudent by nature, enabled her to perceive at a glance the contrast between a man of great and noble heart clothed in severe garments, and the charlatan garbed in the bright finery of festal dress.

And now the boomerang against which she was defending herself struck her from a most unexpected angle. That Stephen should misunderstand her motives was preposterous; yet there was no other inference to be drawn from the tone of his conversation during the few distressful minutes of his last visit. In all probability, he had gone away laboring under the hateful impression that she was untrue, that she had permitted her heart to be taken captive by the first knight errant who had entered the lists. And what was more, the subject would never again be alluded to. He had promised that; and she knew that he was absolute in his determinations. His groundless displeasure disconcerted her greatly.

Whether it became her to take the initiative in the healing of the breach which she felt growing wide between them, or simply to await the development of the course of action she had chosen to pursue, now became a problem to her perplexed mind. So much depended upon the view he would take of the whole situation that it was necessary for him to understand from the very beginning. She would write him. But, no! That might be premature. She would wait and tell him, so great was her assurance that all would be well. She would tell him of her great and impassionate desire to be of assistance to him; she would put into words her analysis of this man's character, this man about whom he himself had first cast the veil of suspicion; she would relate her experience with him. She smiled to herself as she contemplated how pleased he would be once the frown of bewilderment had disappeared from his countenance.

“Marjorie! Dost know the hour is late?”

“Yes, Mother! I am coming directly.”

It was late, though she scarce knew it. Gathering her things, she brought the chairs into the house.

CHAPTER IV

I

Week after week sped by, summer ripened into fall, and fall faded into winter. All was monotony: the bleak winter season, the shorter days, the longer evenings, the city settling down into a period of seclusion and social inaction. There would be little of gayety this year. No foreign visitors would be entertained by the townsfolk. There would be no Mischienza to look forward to. It would be a lonely winter for the fashionable element, with no solemn functions, with no weekly dancing assemblies, with no amateur theatricals to rehearse. Indeed were it not for the approaching marriage of Peggy Shippen to the Military Governor, Philadelphia would languish for want of zest and excitement.

The wedding took place at the home of the bride on Fourth Street. The élite of the city, for the most part Tories, were in attendance. Mrs. Anne Willing Morris, Mrs. Bingham—all the leaders were there. So were Marjorie, John Anderson, Stephen, the Chews and Miss Franks from New York. The reception was brilliant, eclipsing anything of its kind in the history of the social life of the city, for Mrs. Shippen had vowed that the affair would establish her definitely and for all time the leader of the fashionable set of the town.

The center of attraction was of course Peggy; and she carried herself well, enduring the trying ordeal with grace and composure. And if one were to judge by the number and the quality of the gifts which loaded down one whole room, or by the throng which filled the house to overflowing, or by the motley crowd which surged without, impatient for one last look at the bride as she stepped into the splendid coach, a more popular couple was never united in matrimony. It was a great day for all concerned, and none was more happy nor more radiant than Peggy as she sat back in the coach and looked into the face of her husband and sighed with that contentment and complacency which one experiences in the possession of a priceless gem.

Their homecoming, after the brief honeymoon, was delightful. No longer would they live in the great slate roof house on Second Street at the corner of Norris Alley, but in the more elegant old country seat in Fairmount, on the Schuylkill,—Mount Pleasant. Since Arnold had purchased this great estate and settled it immediately upon his bride, subject of course to the mortgage, its furnishings and its appointments were of her own choice and taste.

It rose majestically before them on a bluff overlooking the river, a courtly pile of colonial Georgian architecture whose balustraded and hipped roof seemed to rear itself above the neighboring woodland, so as to command a magnificent broad view of the Schuylkill River and valley for miles around.

“There! See, General! Isn't it heavenly?”

She could not conceal her joy. Arnold looked and smiled graciously with evident satisfaction at the quiet homelike aspect of the place.

Peggy was on the stone landing almost as soon as she emerged from the coach,—eager to peep inside, anxious to sit at last in her own home. Although she had already seen all that there was to see, and had spent many days previous to the marriage in arranging and planning the interior so as to have all in readiness for their return on this day, still she seemed to manifest a newer and a livelier joy, so pleasant and so perfect did all appeal.

“Oh, General! Isn't this just delicious?” And she threw her arms around his neck to give him a generous hug.

“Are you happy now?” he questioned.

“Perfectly. Come let us sit and enjoy it.”

She went to the big chair and began to rock energetically; but only for a minute, for she spied in the corner of the room the great sofa, and with a sudden movement threw herself on that. She was like a small boy with a host of toys about him, anxious to play with all at the same time, and trying to give to each the same undivided attention. The massive candelabra on the table attracted her, so she turned her attention to that, fixing one of its candles as she neared it. Finally, a small water color of her father, which hung on the wall a little to one side, appealed to her as needing adjustment. She paused to regard the profile as she straightened it.

The General observed her from the large chair into which he had flung himself to rest after the journey, following her with his eyes as she flitted about the great drawing-room. For the moment there was no object in that space to determine the angle of his vision, save Peggy, no other objective reality to convey any trace of an image to his imagination but that of his wife. She was the center, the sum-total of all his thoughts, the vivid and appreciable good that regulated his emotions, that controlled his impulses. And the confident assurance that she was happy, reflected from her very countenance, emphasized by her every gesture as she hurried here and there about the room in joyous contemplation of the divers objects that delighted her fancy, reanimated him with a rapture of ecstasy which he thought for the moment impossible to corporeal beings. The mere pleasure of beholding her supremely happy was for him a source of whole-souled bliss, illimitable and ineffable.

“Would you care to dine now?” she asked of him as she approached his chair and leaned for support on its arms. “I'll ask Cynthia to make ready.”

“Yes, if you will. That last stage of the trip was exhausting.”

And so these two with all the world in their possession, in each other's company, partook of their first meal together in their own dining-room, in their own private home.

II

“'Thou hast it now,—king, Cawdor, Glamis, all——'“ remarked Arnold to his wife as they made their way from the dining-room into the spacious hallway that ran through the house.

“Yet it was not foully played,” replied Peggy. “The tourney was fair.”

“I had thought of losing you.”

“Did you but read my heart aright at our first meeting, you might have consoled yourself otherwise.”

“It was the fear of my letter; the apprehension of its producing a contrary effect that furnished my misgiving. I trembled over the consent of your parents.”

“Dost know, too, that my mother favored the match from the start? In truth she gave me every encouragement, perhaps awakened my soul to the flame.”

“No matter. We are in the morning of our bliss; its sun is about to remain fixed. Wish for a cloudless sky.”

They were now in the great drawing-room which ran the full depth of the building, with windows looking both east and west. In the middle of the great side wall lodged a full-throated fireplace above which rose imposingly an elaborately wrought overmantel, whose central panel was devoid of any ornamentation. The door frames with their heavily molded pediments, the cornices, pilasters, doortrims and woodwork rich in elaboration of detail were all distinctive Georgian, tempered, however, with much dignified restraint and consummate good taste.

“We can thank the privateer for this. Still it was a fair profit and wisely expended, wiser to my mind than the methods of Robert Morris. At any rate it is the more satisfactory.”

“He has made excellent profits.”

“Nevertheless, he has lost as many as an hundred and fifty vessels. These have affected his earnings greatly. Were he not so generous to an ungrateful people, a great part of his loss might now have been retrieved.”

“I have heard it said, too, that he alone has provided the sinews of the revolt,” said Peggy.

“Unquestionably. On one occasion, at a time of great want, I remember one of his vessels arrived with a cargo of stores and clothing, whose whole contents were given to Washington without any remuneration whatsoever. And you, yourself, remember that during the winter at Valley Forge, just about the time Howe was evacuating the city, when there were no cartridges in the army but those in the men's boxes, it was he who rose to the emergency by giving all the lead ballast of his favorite privateer. He has made money, but he has lost a vast amount. I made money, too, just before I bought this house. And I have lost money.”

“And have been cheated of more.”

“Yes. Cheated. More generosity from my people! I paid the sailors their share of the prize money of the British sloop that they as members of the crew had captured, that is, with the help of two other privateers which came to their assistance. The court allowed the claims of the rival vessels but denied mine. I had counted upon that money but found myself suddenly deprived of it. Now they are charging me with having illegally bought up the lawsuit.”

He was seated now and lay back in his chair with his disabled limb propped upon a stool before him.

“They continue to say horrid things about you. I wish you were done with them,” Peggy remarked.

He removed his finely powdered periwig and ran his heavy fingers through his dark hair.

“I treat such aspersions with the contempt their pettiness deserves. I am still Military Governor of Philadelphia and as such am beholden to no one save Washington. The people have given me nothing and I have nothing to return save bitter memories.”

“I wish we were away from here!” she sighed.

“Margaret!” He never called her Peggy. He disliked it. “Are you not happy in this home which I have provided for you?”

His eyes opened full.

“It isn't that,” she replied, “I am afraid of Reed.”

“Reed? He is powerless. He is president of the City Council which under English law is, in time of peace, the superior governing body of the people. But this is war, and he must take second place. I despise him.”

Peggy looked up inquiringly.

“Suppose that the worst should happen?” she said.

“But—how—what can happen?” he repeated.

“Some great calamity.”

“How—what do you mean?” he asked.

“If you should be removed, say, or transferred to some less important post?”

A thought flashed into his mind.

“Further humiliated?”

“Yes. What then?”

“Why,—I don't know. I had thought of no possible contingency. I wished for a command in the Navy and wrote to Washington to that effect; but nothing came of it. I suppose my increasing interest in domestic affairs in the city, as well as my attentions to you, caused me to discontinue the application. Then again, I thought I was fitted for the kind of life led by my friend Schuyler in New York and had hoped to obtain a grant of land in the West where I might lead a retired life as a good citizen.”

“I would die in such a place. The Indians would massacre us. Imagine me hunting buffalo in Ohio!”

Her face wore a sardonic smile. It was plain to be seen that she was in a flippant mood.

“Have you given the matter a thought? Tell me,” he questioned.

“No! I could not begin to think.”

“Are you not happy?”

“Happiness springs not from a large fortune, and is often obtained when often unexpected. It is neither within us nor without us and only evident to us by the deliverance from evil.”

He glanced sharply. There was fire in his eye.

“I know of what you are thinking. You are disturbed by these persistent rumors about me.”

She gave a little laugh, a chuckle, in a hopeless manner.

“Yes, I am. Go on.” She answered mechanically and fell back in her chair.

“You need not be disturbed. They are groundless, I tell you. Simply engendered by spite. And I blame partly the Papist Whigs. Damn 'em.”

“It isn't that alone.”

“That is some of it. The origin of the hostility to me was the closing of the shops for a week under an order direct from Washington himself, and a resolution of the Congress. Yet I was blamed. The next incident pounced upon by them was my use of the government wagons in moving stores. As you know I had this done to revictual and supply the army. But I permitted the empty wagons to bring back stores from the direction of New York and was charged with being in communication with the enemy.”

“Which would be more praiseworthy.”

He paid no attention to her remark but continued:

“I was honest in supposing the goods to be bonafide household goods belonging to non-combatants. As a matter of fact some of the decorations at our wedding were obtained in this manner. What followed? A public complaint.”

“I know.”

“Then that scheming interloper Matlack! You know of him?”

“I think so.”

“You've heard of his father, of course!”

“No.”

“The Secretary to Reed, the President of the Council? Timothy Matlack? His social aspirations were somewhat curtailed by my interest in public affairs. He has borne me in mind and evidently intends my ruin.”

“In that he differs not from many other so-called friends.”

“I did all in my power to soothe his ruffled feelings in a long, considerate letter in answer to his note of grievance. Only later I learned that it was his son whose haughty nature had been offended.”

“You were no party to the offense. In fact you knew naught of it until the episode had been concluded.”

“True, but Franks had taken part in it, and Franks was my head aide-de-camp. It was trivial. He wanted a barber and sent young Matlack who was doing sentry duty at the door to fetch one. Naturally I defended his action in my letter of reply.”

“I tell you, they do not want you here. Can't you sense that? Else these charges would never have been uttered. They are mere pretexts. They are weary of you and desire your resignation.”

She talked rapidly, violently. Her face assumed a stern expression.

He did not reply but peered into the distance.

“The 'American Fabius', I suppose, is still watching General Clinton,” Peggy continued.

“He has thrown a cordon about him at New York. With a sufficient force he might take him.”

“Never! The Americans never were a match for His Majesty's well-trained troops. The longer the struggle endures the sooner this will be learned.”

“Time is with us, dear. The mother country knows this.”

She looked at him. It was astonishing to her that he could be so transparent and so unaware of it. Really he was not clever.

“Why do you say that?” she asked. “Every day our lot grows worse. The troops perish from misery; they are badly armed; scarcely clothed; they need bread and many of them are without arms. Our lands lie fallow. The education of a generation has been neglected, a loss that can never be repaired. Our youths have been dragged by the thousands from their occupations and harvested by the war; and those who return have lost their vigor or have been mutilated for life.”

“You are partly right,” he mused. “America lost the opportunity for reconciliation immediately after my victory at Saratoga. Since then, as you say, the land has become a waste of widows, beggars and orphans. Then came the French Alliance, a sacrifice of the great interests, as well as the religion of this country to the biased views of a proud, ancient, crafty and priest-ridden nation. I always thought this a defensive war until the French joined in the combination. Now I look with disfavor upon this peril to our dominion, this enemy of our faith.”

Peggy became interested immediately. She sat straight up in her chair.

“You never spoke these thoughts to me before!” she exclaimed.

“I feared it. You are a Tory, at least at heart. And I knew that you would only encourage me in my manner of thought. God knows, I am unable to decide between my perplexities.”

“You know how General Monk decided?”

“My God! He was a traitor!”

“He restored Charles,” insisted Peggy.

“And sold his soul.”

“For the Duchy of Albemarle.”

“Good God! girl, don't talk thoughts like that, I—I——He has endured universal execration. It was an act of perfidy.” He scowled fiercely. He was in a rage.

Peggy smiled. She did not press the subject, but allowed it to drop.

“My! How dark it has become!” she exclaimed.

She struck a light and touched the wicks of the candles.

III

Dizzy was the eminence to which General Arnold and his girl bride ascended! On a sudden they found themselves on the highest pinnacle—the one of military fame—with Gates, Lee, Wayne, Greene and many other distinguished generals at their feet, the other of social prestige the observed of all observers! For a time Arnold's caprices had been looked upon as only the flash and outbreak of that fiery mind which had directed his military genius. He attacked religion; yet in religious circles his name was mentioned with fondness. He lampooned Congress; yet he was condoned by the Whigs.

Then came the reaction. Society flew into a rage with its idol. He had been worshiped with an irrational idolatry. He was censured with an irrational fury. In the first place the position in which he was placed as Military Governor required the exercise of the utmost patience and tact. Neither of these qualities did he possess. The order to close the shops caused discontent. People became incensed at the sight of a dictator interfering with their private life. There was thrust upon them in his person the very type that they were striving to expel. His manner of action suddenly became obnoxious.

What was merely criticism in respect to his public life, became a violent passion respecting the affairs of his private life. There were many rumors of his intercourse with the Tory element. Brilliant functions were arranged, it was said, with the sole view of gaining their friendship and good will. He spent the major portion of his free time in their company, nay more, he had taken to wife the most notorious of their number. Small wonder was it that his sentiments on the question of the war were undergoing a marked alteration. The thirst of the political Whigs for vengeance was insatiable.

Then he had repaired to a mansion, the most elegant seat in Pennsylvania, where he entertained in a style and after a manner far in excess of his means. A coach and four he maintained with the greatest ostentation. His livery and appointments were extravagant and wholly unbecoming an officer of a country so poor and struggling. He drove to town in the company of his wife and paid every attention to the aristocratic leaders of the city. He disdained the lot of the common citizen. Even his head aide-de-camp had submitted a free man to the indignity of fetching a barber to shave him, an act countenanced by the General himself in a letter of reply to the boy's father.

His entertainments were frequent, altogether too frequent for the conservative instincts of the community. Upon the arrival of the French Ambassador M. Gerard, a grand banquet was tendered him, after which he was entertained with his entire suite for several days at Mount Pleasant. Foreigners were seldom absent from the mansion and members of Congress, the relatives of his wife, the titled gentry of Europe were treated with marked and lavish attention. The visit of General Washington was an event memorable for its display and magnificence, the ball alone at the City Tavern entailing a vast expenditure. With Madeira selling at eight hundred pounds a pipe and other things in proportion to the depreciation of the paper currency, the wonder was often expressed as to the source of so much munificence.

It was known that General Arnold was not a man of wealth. Whatever fortune he had amassed had been obtained mainly through the profits accrued from his privateering ventures. The great estate which he now possessed, had been bought only a few months previous to his marriage out of the profits of one of his vessels, just then returning to port. He was continually in debt, and ruin was imminent. Yet he was living at the rate of five thousand pounds a year. Whence then came the funds?

He had married a Tory wife, and presently it was discovered that among his bosom friends, his table companions, were to be found the enemies of America. Rumors began to whisper with nods and shrugs and shakings of the head that his wife was imparting profitable information to the enemy, and betimes the question was raised as to who was profiting most. What was more natural than that she who had been the toasted and lauded favorite of the British Officers when they were in possession of the city, should now be in communication with them in far-away New York! The seeds of suspicion and ill-will were sedulously sown—and the yield was bound to be luxuriant.

So the days rolled into weeks, and the weeks clustered into months, and the months fell into the procession of the seasons, and in the meantime, Arnold and his wife passed their time in conjugal felicity and regal splendor. Their affection was constant, tender and uninterrupted; and this alone afforded him consolation and happiness; for his countrymen were in a bad mood with him. His wife, his home, his estate now defined the extent of his ambition. The world had turned against him.

CHAPTER V

I

A busier man in the city of Philadelphia during the winter and spring season of '78 than John Anderson, would have been hard to find. For weeks he had applied himself with relentless energy to the work before him; for months he had deprived himself of the customary rounds of pleasure in the interests of the seemingly gigantic task allotted to him; until at length, for the first time, he was enabled to appreciate to some degree the results of his toil. It was now past Easter-tide and the moments were hurrying faster and faster in their haste towards the culmination of the conspiracy that was forming little by little in the heart of the community like an abscess in the body of a sick man.

Progress had been made at New York although it was acknowledged that the recruiting there had fallen far short of all expectations. Still it was a much simpler matter to effect the formation of such a regiment where the work could be carried on openly and under the protection of General Clinton; and where no sympathizer of the colonists, however loyal, would dare to enter a formal protest against the proceedings. It is quite true that Catholics were divided there as elsewhere; for not every one lent his spontaneous, complete, and energetic adhesion to the cause of American independence. And who would dare condemn their restraint; when the memory of the intolerable and bitter practices of the early patriots was recalled? They could not forget; and what was more, many did not want to forget.

It was found impossible to gather in the city, now held by the enemy, a thousand or more men sufficient to compose a regiment. Hence it was necessary to draw from the neighboring colonies. Anderson had come to Philadelphia with this object in view and, as an aid to his work, had established himself immediately in the graces of the military authorities. Quietly, privately, secretly, he pursued his quest, seeking out likely individuals whom he impressed into the service of His Majesty with not so much as a scruple as to means, fair or foul. Blackmail he employed freely and the pressure of unpaid debts reaped for him a harvest of names.

The currency was then worthless and the cost of living enormous. He was the odd individual who could boast of being free from debt, and the common jail and the stocks in the market place at Second and High Streets were tireless in meting out their punishments to the delinquent debtors. Anderson took royal advantage of this state of affairs, either by resolving the debt in favor of an enlistment in the company or by effecting a threatened punishment on the part of the creditor unless his wishes were complied with. Many recruits who otherwise would have rejected flatly the base proposition, were secured by such means.

At length he had registered about an hundred names, drawn from all classes of the city. The services of Father Farmer had been sought as chaplain, but this worthy servant of God gently but firmly declined because of the weight of age and “several other reasons.” Colonel Clifton was still in charge of the regiment but the other officers were to be Roman Catholics and appointed by the colonels. A meeting for the purpose of organization would be held in the Provincial Hall in the course of a few weeks. Then the company would be shipped as soon as possible to New York for incorporation in the regiment there.

Anderson found General Arnold a ready and effective instrument in the perfection of the plot. Not only had the latter supplied him with all manner of information, but his authority had been employed on more than one occasion in the matter of impressment. Whatever motives actuated the General were ascribed by Anderson solely to his profound dislike of Catholics and all things Catholic. A further incentive to the success of the project was furnished by the issuance of a pass by the Military Governor enabling a vessel to leave the port of Philadelphia, where it had been tied up, for New York, for the purpose of transporting to that city the members of the recruited company. This was, of course, a violation of the military code, but the affair was done so secretly that it was known only to Anderson and the Governor. The remote preparations were now completed. All was in readiness for the meeting of the so-called volunteers.

Meanwhile, Marjorie had continued to be an object of interest to the busy Anderson, and he had paid attention to her with a marked gallantry. Through the late winter and early spring he had been a frequent visitor at her home and had often escorted her in public to the theater and dancing assemblies. He flattered himself that her confidence had early been gained and much information helpful to his scheme had been obtained. He had played his part well, although on one occasion, he had almost revealed himself; nevertheless he was completely satisfied that she not for a moment suspected the real purpose of his designs.

Now he felt obliged to hold one more conference with the Military Governor, for it was required that he know definitely the time set for the vessel's departure. That was the sole obstacle to his plans, for the date of the assembly depended upon the day of the sailing of the transport. Arnold would know of its readiness; its clearance was then a matter of personal convenience.

And so, this fine afternoon in early May, he resolved to direct his steps in the direction of Mount Pleasant where he would complete his plans. It was a long walk but less attention would be aroused by his going afoot, and so he started early. Little did he suspect, however, that his every move was being observed and that a pair of eyes had pursued him to the very park, watching him even as he ascended the great stone steps of the mansion.

He lifted the brass knocker and gave two or three slight taps, and even as he did so the blue eyes continued to observe him.

II

The dining-hall at Mount Pleasant was such as was befitting the noble proportions of the mansion. It adjoined the hall in opposition to the great drawing-room, its eastern side terminating in an ell extension from the hall proper where a wide easy staircase with a balustrade of gracefully turned spindles ascended to the second floor. It was lighted, not only by the fire that burned in the reredos at the northern wall, but also by eight cresset-lamps and as many candles set in huge silver candelabra on the center table.

Anderson was hungry from his long walk and ate well. A great roast goose reposing in a huge silver platter was brought in by the servants and set before them. There were vegetables of every sort, jellies, sweetmeats, floating islands, and a dessert of fruits, raisins and almonds. Madeira was drunk freely by all without any apparent disadvantage.

“And how were all at home?” asked Peggy when they were seated. The conversation was on general topics—for the servants were coming in and out with the food.

“I saw only your sister when I called with Marjorie. Mr. Shippen was away and Mrs. Shippen had a cold, a very slight one I believe.”

“She is susceptible to asthmatic attacks,” observed the General.

“Quite!” replied Anderson.

“She bears up remarkably. I think she has never missed a function.”

“Her will-power alone,” replied Peggy. “She can surmount obstacles; she has never lost an opportunity.”

They lapsed into silence, occupying themselves with the delicious repast. Sometimes they talked of this, that and the other quite freely and easily—of the society news, of the presence of Miss Franks at the wedding, of the splendor of it all. Indeed, there was nothing to indicate more than a company of old-time friends.

“I am ready to take my charges along with me,” announced Anderson at length.

“Hush! Not so loud,” cautioned Arnold. “Later,—in the park, we shall treat of that.”

Then the servants came again and removed the dishes. After another goblet of Madeira they left the table, going immediately out of doors, for it was now dusk.

“I can do no more with the recruiting. I have in round numbers, an hundred,” Anderson began when they had been seated in the cypress walk. The moon was not yet half way to the zenith and lay a dull copper color in the eastern sky, partially eclipsed by the chimney of the great house. A solemn silence, terrifying and rife with mysterious sensations, seemed to pervade the place. It was a setting well fitted to shroud deep and dark designs. No one would dare to venture near.

“You have done well. Egad! I know of none who could have done better.”

“Yet it was no easy task, I assure you. They thrill with the very spirit of rebellion. Cadwalader will never forgive me, and will haunt me when he dies.”

“You got him?” Arnold asked.

“I did. But I had to take proceedings against him which portended the stocks. I promised him a wheelbarrow to be pushed every day in the resolution of his debt. Only when I had the jailer at hand did he reconsider. The debt has been paid, and he has already signed.”

“I am glad you got him. He's a Papist, isn't he?” inquired Peggy.

“He is, and a staunch one at that,” replied her husband.

“Let's get down to business,” interrupted Anderson. “How soon may your vessel sail?”

“This week, or the early part of next,” replied Arnold. “I drew the pass three weeks ago. With the time for clearance and sailing allowed, she should be ready now. You had better make an allowance of a week.”

“How about the crew?”

“They can be depended upon. They are beholden to her owner. Have no fears concerning them.”

“How soon may she clear?”

He was persistent in this.

“In a few days. Tomorrow if pressed.”

“I want to get through with this business as soon as I can and get out of this town. It may get too hot for me. If I had that meeting off my mind and the men on board bound for New York I would enjoy greater repose.”

“I thought you were never apprehensive,” remarked Peggy. “With your composure and gallantry the world would judge that cares set lightly upon your head.”

“Happy is he who can abandon everything with which his conscience is burdened. I have enjoyed no peace of soul for years and I see an untimely end.”

“Be not so melancholy,” observed Arnold. “My boy, the future and the world lie before you.”

“Like a yawning abyss,” was the grave reply.

“Oh! spare us your terrible verdicts,” cried Peggy with a smile.

“I believe that I should have crushed with my scorn the philosopher who first uttered this terrible but profoundly true thought,” said Anderson. “'Prudence is the first thing to forsake the wretched!'”

“Have you been imprudent?” she asked.

“I did find a charm in my escapades. At first I tingled with fear, but I gradually laid aside that cloak of suspicion which guards safety, and stalked about naked. A despicable contempt arises from an unreserved intimacy. We grow bolder with our efforts.”

“What is success?” asked Peggy.

Their mood was heavy; their tone morose. A sadness had settled upon them like the blanket of the night. Only the moon climbing into the heavens radiated glory.

“Come! Away with those dismal topics!” exclaimed the General. “This is the time for rejoicing.”

“Can you rejoice?” inquired the visitor.

“I, too, should be happy, but I fear, alas, I am not. My people give me no peace.”

“Why not render your country a lasting service?”

“How?”

“By performing a heroic deed that will once for all put an end to this unseemly conflict.”

“Never! I have been shattered twice for my efforts. I am done with active field duty.”

“I do not think of that,” Anderson assured him.

“Of what, then?”

“You know that the mother country had already offered conciliation. The colonies shall have an American Parliament composed of two chambers; all the members to be Americans by birth, and those of the upper chamber to have the same title, the same rank, as those of the House of Lords in England.”

“What? A Marquis of Pennsylvania, a Duke of Massachusetts Bay?” he laughed aloud at this.

“No less fitting than the Duke of Albemarle.”

“Why do you mention him?” Arnold inquired immediately. A thought flashed before his mind. Had Peggy and this man conversed on that point?

“He simply came into my mind. Why?”

“Oh! Nothing. Continue.”

“As I was saying, all laws, and especially tax laws, shall be the work of this legislature, with the signature of the Viceroy. They shall enjoy in every relation the advantage of the best government. They shall, if necessary, be supported by all the naval and military force of England, without being exposed to the dangers or subjected to the taxes from which such a military state is inseparable.”

“But how? What can I do that I have not already done?”

“You have the courage, you have the ingenuity to render that important service. Why allow your countrymen to shed more blood when the enemy is willing to grant all you are fighting for? You can save them from anarchy. You can save them from the factions of Congress.”

“God knows how ardently I desire such a consummation,” breathed the Governor.

“I am confident that he would perform any act, however heroic or signal, to benefit the cause of his country,” remarked Peggy with deliberate emphasis.

“Name it. What shall I do?” he asked.

“Act the part of General Monk in history,” announced Anderson.

Arnold recoiled. He could not believe his ears. Then the awful truth dawned upon him.

“Is this your work?” he turned to Peggy fiercely.

“On my honor, I never thought of it.” His wife was frightened at his sudden change of manner.

There was silence. The trio sat in thought, one awaiting the other to speak the first word.

“Never,” blurted Arnold. “Never, so long as I wear this uniform.”

“And yet the world resounds with his praises, for he performed a disinterested and humane act.”

“A treacherous and cowardly act!”

“Listen, I shall confide in you. If you would but exert your influence in favor of an amicable adjustment of the difficulties between the colonies and the mother country, you might command ten thousand guineas and the best post in the service of the government.”

“Would that mean a peerage?” asked Peggy suddenly.

“Assuredly,” was the reply.

She stood up and strutted in a pompous and stately manner before them; then she turned and courtesied before her husband.

“Your Grace, the carriage waits without. The Duchess is already in waiting,” she announced with a sweeping gesture.

He scowled at her but did not answer.

“Clive saved the British Empire in India and you can save the colonies,” insisted Anderson.

“Would not a proud position at court, the comfortable income of a royal estate, the possession of a peerage on home soil more than reward a man as was the case with General Monk?” challenged Peggy, with a flash of sudden anger.

“And leave my country in its hour of need,” he finished the sentence for her.

“Your country!” she taunted. “What has your country done for you? The empty honors you have gained were wrung from her. The battle scars you bear with you were treated with ingratitude. You were deprived of your due honors of command. Even now you are attacked and hounded from every angle. Your country! Pooh! A scornful mistress!”

She sat down and folded her arms, looking fiercely into the dark.

It is strange how human nature could be touched by so small affairs. The war of continents meant very little to her imagination. Certainly the parallel was not perfect; but it seemed to her to fit.

He looked around slowly.

“You took me for what I am,” he said to her. “I gave you prestige, wealth, happiness. But I have promised my life to my country if she requires it and I shall never withdraw that promise while I live. Better the grave of the meanest citizen than the mausoleum of a traitor.”

“But think of your country!” insisted Anderson.

“Anderson,” was the reply, “I know the needs of the country and I know deeply my own grievances. Suppose I yield to your suggestions and Britain fails,”—he paused as if to measure the consequences. “I shall be doomed. I shall be called a bigot. My children will hate me.”

He seemed to waver. His earlier enthusiasm apparently diminished before their attack.

“But,” continued Anderson, “with your aid Britain cannot fail. And remember how England rewards those who render her great and signal services. Look at the majestic column at Blenheim Palace reared to the memory of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough. Contrast with it what Peggy has just said, the ingratitude, the injustice, the meanness, with which Congress has treated you.”

“Must the end justify the means?” he mused. “Can you continue to urge me to duplicate the treachery of Churchill, who can never be forgiven for his treason? Whatever else he may have achieved, you must remember he was first and last a traitor.”

“He was doubly a traitor, if you are pleased to so stigmatize him. He first betrayed his benefactor, James, to ally himself with the Prince of Orange; and then, on the pretext of remorse, broke faith with William; acted the part of a spy in his court and camp; offered to corrupt his troops and lead them over to James; and still all was forgotten in the real service which he rendered to his country, and his name has gone into history——”

He was interrupted by a sharp sound, as if some one had stepped upon a branch or a twig, causing it to snap beneath his feet. On the instant, Anderson was upon his feet, his hand feeling instinctively for his pistol.

“We are betrayed,” he whispered. “There is a spy here.”

All had arisen in silence and were peering into the blackness of the night whence the sound apparently came. Anderson thought he saw a figure emerge from behind a tree far off in the distance and he immediately gave chase, opening fire as he did so. Several times he fired into the dark space before him, for it was bristling with shade, notwithstanding the obscure light of the moon. As he covered the wide area between him and the river, the lithe form of a man emerged from the wooded area and disappeared down the incline which led to the water. Nearing the bank he heard distinctly the splash of the body and he fired again into the spot whence the noise arose. The waters were still in commotion when he reached them, but there was no one to be found; nothing save the gentle undulation of the surface as it closed over its burden, and gradually became placid under the soft stillness of the night. After several minutes of intense vigilance, he slowly retraced his steps.

III

“The river has swallowed him,” he exclaimed as he neared Arnold and Peggy, who were standing quite motionless at the side of the settees.

“Who was it?” the General asked eagerly.

“I did not see him. He disappeared into the river. I heard the splash of his dive and fired several times in its direction, but saw no one.”

“Did he swim it?”

“No! I would have seen him. The water was unruffled except for the disturbance caused by his dive. The poor devil must have sunk to the bottom. Perhaps one of my shots took effect.”

“I don't like this,” muttered Arnold. “I would not have that conversation overheard for the crown of England. An enemy was near. I hope to God he is in the bottom of the river.”

“Still, I may have hit him. I was no more than fifty yards away.”

“I shall have the bed dragged in the morning. I could not rest without finding him. His identity must be learned.”

Leaving the settees, they set off in the direction of the house, entering by the rear door. The servants were already in alarm over the shooting and were standing in a group behind the threshold motionless with awe. Peggy paused to assure them of their safety, narrating briefly the cause of the disturbance, together with the probable fate of the spy. She rejoined her husband and his guest in the drawing-room.

“I wonder who the intruder was?” Arnold muttered. There was a look of worry and anxiety on his face. His fingers nervously locked and interlocked, and the next moment grasped his chin and rubbed his cheek. He put his foot upon the stool and took it down again. Then he sat forward in his chair.

“Reed is behind this,” he ejaculated. “You will find out that I am right. Reed has done this, or has sent one of his lieutenants. Damn him! He has hounded me.”

“I may have been tracked. Perhaps it was I who was sought. My late movements might have created suspicion, and it is possible that I was shadowed here.”

“No, Anderson. No! It was not you they were seeking. It is I, I tell you. Reed has been watching me like a sharpshooter from the day I arrived. He has been the author of the rumors which you have heard about town, and he would risk his life to be enabled to establish a serious charge against me. I am sure of it. Reed is behind this; Reed and the City Council.”

“It was a nimble form——”

“Did you say you thought you hit him?” he asked nervously, seeking some source of comfort and assurance.

“As I live, I hit him,” Anderson promised him. “Else I would have discovered him in the act of swimming. He is in the bottom of the river.”

“That's good, damn him. Oh! If it were but Reed himself! He haunts me.”

“He would not haunt you did you but remove yourself from here,” volunteered Peggy.

“I know it. I know it,” he repeated. “But how can I?”

“I suggested one avenue to you,” proposed Anderson.

“Which?”

He awaited the answer.

“Via England.”

His face glared with a livid red. He brought his fist high above his head.

“By heavens!” he roared. “I won't hear that again. I won't listen to it, I tell you. I'm afraid to do it. I cannot do it. I cannot.”

He shook his head as he slowly repeated the words.

“Pardon me,” Anderson pleaded, “I intended no harm. I apologize most sincerely for my impertinence. It will not happen again, I assure you.”

“That will do. Drop it at that.”

“The vessel will be ready next week? The meeting, then, can take place a week from Thursday.”

“Undoubtedly.”

“You will assure me of your interest?”

He was on the point of going. Though he had conquered, still, he did not know that he had conquered. He believed, as he turned and faced his friend for the last time in Mount Pleasant, that his mind was fully made up and that he had decided for all time in favor of the cause, at the sacrifice of himself.

“I shall do what I can,” Arnold whispered, “but no more.”

He parted from them at the threshold.

CHAPTER VI

I

“I have always contended, Griff, that a bigot and a patriot are incompatible,” remarked Stephen as he sat on the side of his bed, and looked across the room and out into the sunlit street beyond.

“Is that something you have just discovered?” answered Sergeant Griffin without taking his eyes from the newspaper before him. He was seated by the window, musing the morning news, his curved pipe hanging idle from his mouth, from which incipient clouds of smoke lazily issued and as lazily climbed upward and vanished through the open casement into threads of nothingness.

“No,” was the reply, “but I have come to the conclusion that the philosophy of religious prejudice cannot be harmonized with true patriotism. They stand against each other as night and day. The one necessarily excludes the other.”

“Do you know, Captain,” the sergeant reasoned, pointing towards Stephen with the stem of his pipe, “a hard shell and a fool are somewhat alike; one won't reason; the other can't.”

“I guess you're right,” Stephen laughed. “But love of country and love of one's neighbor should be synonymous. This I have found by actual experience to be almost a truism.”

He was idling about the room gathering wearing apparel from the closets and drawers, pausing for a moment to feel a pile of wet clothing that lay across the back of a straight chair.

“You must have fallen overboard last night,” observed the sergeant.

“I didn't fall, Griff; I jumped.”

“And let me tell you, Griff,” Stephen continued, “Arnold has become one of the most dangerous men in the whole American Army.”

He was dressing quietly.

“And you discovered that, too?”

“I am certain of it, now.”

“That is more like it. I don't suppose you ever had any doubts about it. Now you have the facts, eh?”

“I have some of them; not all. But I have enough to court-martial him.”

“And you got them last night?”

“I did.”

“And got wet, too?”

“I almost got killed,” was the grave response.

“How?”

“Anderson shot at me.”

“Was he with you, also?”

“No. After me.”

“Come, let us hear it. Where were you?”

“At Mount Pleasant.”

“With Arnold and Anderson?”

“Yes. But they did not know it. I shadowed Anderson to the house and lay concealed in the park. In the evening they came into the park, that is, Arnold and Peggy and Anderson.”

“And they discovered you?”

“I think they did not. I was unfortunate enough to break a branch beneath my foot. They heard it. Of course, I was obliged to leave hurriedly, but Anderson must have seen me running. The distance was too great to allow him to recognize me. Then, again, I was not in uniform.”

“And he shot at you, I suppose.”

“He did, but the shots went wide. I decided the river was the safest course, so I headed for that and dived in. I believe I was fortunate in attempting to swim under water; this I did as long as I could hold my breath. When I arose, I allowed myself to float close to the shore along with the current until I had moved far down the river. After that I lost all sight of him.”

He was now dressed in his military uniform and looked little exhausted from his experience of the night before, notwithstanding the fact that he had enjoyed but a few hours' sleep. Still, it was past the hour of ten, and he could tell from the appearance of the street that the sun was already high in the heavens. He went to the window and looked out at the citizens hurrying to and fro about their several errands. From an open window directly across the way resounded the familiar strain of “Yankee Doodle” drawn from a violin by a poor but extremely ambitious musician. He stood for a minute to listen.

“There are a few of them in the colonies,” he remarked.

“I would there were one less,” was the reply.

Stephen turned from the window.

“We have some work ahead of us, Griff,” he said after a long pause. “The plot is about to sizzle. Are you ready?” he asked.

“Of course. When do you want me?”

“I cannot tell you now. I have learned that the work of recruiting is about finished and that the organization will take place some time next week. The company will leave the following day for New York on a vessel for which Arnold has already issued a pass.”

“Arnold?”

“Yes, Arnold,” he repeated. “He has been in this scheme from the start. Remember that note I told you about? I have watched him carefully since then, awaiting just such a move. I can have him court-martialed for this.”

“For this pass?”

“Certainly. That is a violation of Section Eighteen of the Fifth Article of War.”

The sergeant whistled.

“And I am going to this meeting.”

“You are going?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

“That I do not know. But I shall find a way. They have forced Jim Cadwalader into the company.”

“Jim?”

“Yes. I learned that last night. Today I mean to see Jim to learn the particulars. After that we shall be in a position to decide further. You will be here when I return?”

“Yes. I shall stay here.”

“I won't go until late this afternoon. Until then keep your eye open.”

“Yes, sir,” he replied, saluting.

II

When Stephen had presented himself that afternoon at Jim Cadwalader's modest home, he had almost persuaded himself that all would not be well. That the members of the Catholic regiment, whom Anderson boasted had totaled nearly an hundred, could so easily be dissuaded from their original purpose, he thought highly improbable. He was well aware that some of his co-religionists had been subject to British official or personal influence; that other some were vehemently opposed to the many outrages which had been committed and condoned in the name of Liberty; that others still were not unmindful of the spirit of hostility displayed by the Colonists during the early days, and had now refused for that reason to take sides with their intolerant neighbors in their struggle for Independence. Hence it was quite true that many Catholics were loyal to the mother country, more loyal, in fact, than they were to the principles of American Independence and the land of their birth. These, he feared, might have composed the bulk of the recruits and these might be the less easily dissuaded. On the other hand, he was satisfied that many who were unwilling to barter their allegiance had been constrained to yield. If the complexion of the regiment was of the latter variety, all would be well. His misgivings were not without foundation.

He knocked upon the small white door of Jim's house and inquired of Mrs. Cadwalader if he might see her husband. Jim was at the door even as he spoke, and grasped his hand warmly, exchanging the greetings of the day. He then led him to the chairs under the great tree.

“I want to see you on a matter of great importance,” Stephen said with no further delay. “Tell me about Mr. Anderson.”

“I guess ther' ain't much t' tell,” Jim replied.

“You have held conference with him?”

“'Twas him thet held it; not me.”

“About the Regiment?”

“Aye!”

“Have you signed your name?”

“I hed t'.”

He was all in a fever, for his manner and his hesitation indicated it.

“When do they meet?”

“Thursda' next.”

“Are you sure?”

“Anderson hisself jest told me.”

“He has been here already?”

“Ye-eh, this aft'rnoon.”

He looked down upon the ground, considering.

“Where do they meet?”

“Th' basement o' th' Baptist Church.”

“Tell me, Jim,” Stephen asked quietly. “Why did you enlist in that company?”

“I hed t', I told ye.”

“Were you compelled to?”

“I was.”

And then he told him of the number of debts which beset him, and the starvation which was beginning to prick him. He told of the first visit of Anderson and his offer of four pounds to every volunteer in the new regiment of Catholic soldiers. He declared that he had refused absolutely to take part in any disloyal act, however great might be the reward, and had said that he preferred to starve until the colonists had obtained their rights. He then told of Anderson's second visit, during which he offered to relieve him of all financial obligations on condition that he would sign with him; which offer he again refused. And finally he related how he was threatened with imprisonment for his indebtedness, and was actually served with the papers of arrest and confinement in the stocks unless his signature was given, and how he was at length obliged to yield and sign over the allegiance.

Stephen listened intently throughout it all, oddly studying the face of his companion, reading into his very soul as he spoke. He was satisfied now with Cadwalader's story.

“Jim,” he said at length. “You do not want to join this regiment?”

“No, sir!” he exclaimed aloud. “Not a bit uv it.”

“If I promise to assist you to escape from this man, will you lend me your help?”

“Will I? Enythin' y' ask, sir.”

His eyes brightened with manifest ardor.

“I want to go to that meeting, and I want you to let me take your place.”

“Sure, y' ken.”

“And I want to borrow your clothes.”

“I ain't got much,” observed Jim, extending his hands and looking down at his clothing, “but what I hev, is yours.”

“And I want you to be in the vicinity of the building to join in any agitation which may result against Mr. Anderson.”

“I'll do thet, too.”

“Of course, if we fail it may go hard with us. A crowd is an uncertain element to deal with, you realize. But it is our only chance. Will you take it?”

“O' course, I'll take it. I'll do enythin' y' say, enythin'.”

“And Jim! You know of many so-called members of that company who have been impressed in a manner similar to yours and who, very likely, are of the same state of mind as you.”

“I know meny, sir.”

“Very good! Can you not move among them and acquaint them secretly with what I have just told you? Secure their coöperation for me so that, when the moment comes, I may depend upon them for support. Urge them, too, to join in whatever demonstration may be made against the project.”

“I'll do thet, sir, and y' may depend 'n me fur it.”

“You say Thursday night? Keep me informed of any further developments. At any rate, I shall see you before then. Remember, however,” he cautioned, “what I have just confided to you must be kept with the utmost secrecy.”

He raised his hand high above his head and stood up.

“I hope t' God I die——”

“Never mind swearing,” interrupted Stephen, pulling him back again into his chair. “Simply be on your guard, that is all.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You are right to come back,” he said; “you should have persevered in your resistance.”

“I couldn't help it, could I? I was made t'.”

“We become vigorous under persecution,” answered Stephen.

“I'm sorry.”

“Well then—tell me. Do you know aught of this Mr. Anderson?”

He stared at him with a questioning look. He was completely bewildered.

“Thet I don't. Why? What—what could I know?”

“I mean do you know who he is?”

He sat up.

“Why, I never thought o' him. He seem'd c'rrect 'nough, I thought. Marj'rie brought 'im here, I think.”

Stephen set his teeth.

“Marjorie?” he repeated. “Are you sure of that?”

“I am, sir.”

“When was this?”

“It's a good time now. I jest can't r'member.”

“Did she know of his purpose?”

He paused as if he would say more, but dared not.

“Thet I can't say. If I r'member c'rrectly she kept herself wid th' old lady.”

“How often did she accompany him?”

“Just thet once.”

“You mean she simply made you acquainted with him?”

“Yes, sir.”

A light began to glimmer in Stephen's mind, and gradually the truth began to dawn upon him.

“In her presence, I presume, the conversation was more or less general. He alluded to the scheme which was uppermost in his mind only secretly with you?”

“Thet wuz all, sir.”

He knew well enough now what his friend meant, though nothing of the details, and from the uncertainty and the apprehension of his manner he judged that there was much of which he was still in the dark. Anderson had come to Jim with the girl to secure an advantageous introduction; after that he had no immediate need of her company. He was of the opinion that she was entirely ignorant of the man's character and motives, although she was unwittingly an important instrument in his hands. Stephen longed to reveal the truth of the situation to her, but dared not; at any rate, thought he, not until the proper time came. Then she would be enabled to appreciate for herself the trend of the whole affair.

“Can I ask ye,” inquired Jim in a voice that indicated timidity, “will this affair—I mean, d'ye s'ppse this thing 'll bring us t' eny harm, 'r thet they'll be a disorder?”

Stephen's eyes danced with excitement.

“Do they observe the courtesies of the law? If it comes to the worst, yes,—there will be a scene and the grandest scene in which a villain ever participated.”

Marjorie entering through the gate posts immediately commanded their attention.

III

“I should be happy to be permitted to accompany you home,” Stephen whispered to her at a moment when they chanced to be alone.

“I should be happy to have you,” was the soft response.

“You look well,” she said to him after they had made their adieus to the Cadwaladers and begun their walk together down the street.

Her eyes twinkled, and a pretty smile stole across her face.

“I am as tired as I can be. I have endured some trying experiences.”

“Can you not leave here and take a rest? I fear that you will overtax yourself.”

He turned and looked seriously at her.

“Honestly?” he asked.

“Yes. I mean it. Do you know that I have allowed no day to pass without praying for you?”

“To know that, and to hear you say it is worth a series of adventures. But, really, I could not think of leaving here now; not for another fortnight at least. The moments are too critical.”

“Are you still engaged in that pressing business?”

“Yes.”

“For your success in that I have also prayed.”

She was constant after all, he thought. Still he wondered if she could be sincere in her protestations, and at the same time remain true to Anderson. For he really believed that she had been deceived by his apparent infatuation.

“I suppose you know that Jim has been ensnared?” he asked suddenly.

“Jim? No.... I,——What has happened?”

She was genuinely surprised.

“He has enlisted in the regiment.”

“Has he forsworn?”

“Not yet. But he has signed the papers of enlistment.”

“I am sorry, very sorry.” Then after a pause: “It was I who brought Anderson to Jim's house, you know.”

“Yes. I know.”

“But I must confess that I did not know the nature of his errand. I, myself, was seeking an advantage.”

“No matter. It may eventually redound to our credit.”

“I regret exceedingly of having been the occasion of Jim's misfortune.”

Her eyes were cast down, her head bent forward as she walked in what one might characterize a meditative mood.

“I, too, am sorry. But there are others.”

“Many?”

“That I do not know. Later I shall tell you.”

“And why not now?”

“I cannot.”

It was a troublesome situation in which the two found themselves. Here were two souls who loved each other greatly, yet without being able to arrive at a mutual understanding on the subject. They were separated by a filmy veil. The girl, naturally frank and unreserved, was intimidated by the restrained and melancholy mien of her companion. Yet she felt constrained to speak lest deception might be charged against her. Stephen, troubled in his own mind over the supposed unfavorable condition of affairs, skeptical of the affections of his erstwhile confidante, felt, too, a like necessity to be open and explain all.

So they walked for a time, he thinking, and she waiting for him to speak.

“For two reasons I cannot tell you,” he went on. “First, the nature of the work is so obscure and so incomplete that I could give you no logical nor concise account of what I am doing. As a matter of fact, I, myself, am still wandering in a sort of maze. The other reason is that I have taken the greatest care to say no word in any way derogatory to the character of Mr. Anderson.”

“You wouldn't do that.”

“That's just it. I should not want to be the cause of your forming an opinion one way or the other concerning him. I would much prefer you to discover and to decide for yourself.”

“That is charity.”

“Perhaps!”

“And tact.”

She peeped at him, her lips parted in a merry smile. Evidently she was in a flippant mood.

“It would be most unfair to him were I to establish a prejudice in your mind against him.”

“Yet you have already disapproved of my friendship with him.”

“I have, as I already have told you.”

“Yet you have never told me the reason,” she reminded him.

“I cannot.”

He shook his head.

For he would not wound her feelings for the world; and still it pained him to be compelled to leave her in a state bordering on perplexity, not to say bewilderment, as a result of his strange silence. A delicate subject requires a deft hand, and he sensed only too keenly his impotency in this respect. He, therefore, thought it best to avoid as much as possible any attempts at explanation, at least for the present.

Furthermore, he was entirely ignorant of her opinion of Anderson. Of course, he would have given worlds to know this. But there seemed no reasonable hope that that craving would be satisfied. He was persuaded that the man had made a most favorable impression upon her, and if that were true, he knew that it were fruitless to continue further, for impressions once made are not easily obliterated. Poor girl! he thought. She had seen only his best side; just that amount of good in a bad man that makes him dangerous,—just that amount of interest which often makes the cleverest person of a dullard.

Hence she was still an enigma. As far as he was concerned, however, there had been little or no variation in his attachment to her. She was ever the same interesting, lovely, tender, noble being; complete in her own virtues, indispensable to his own happiness. Perhaps he had been mistaken in his analysis of her; but no,—very likely she did care for the other man, or at any rate was beginning to find herself in that unfortunate state—fortunate, indeed, for Anderson, but unfortunate for him.

For this reason, more than for any other, he had desisted from saying anything that might have lessened Anderson in her regard. It would be most unfair to interfere with her freedom of choice. When the facts of the case were revealed in all their fullness, he felt certain that she would repent of her infatuation, if he might be permitted to so term her condition. It seemed best to him to await developments before further pressing his suit.

“Stephen,” she said at length. “What are you thinking of me?”

“I—Why?—That is a sudden question. Do you mean complimentary or critical?”

“I mean this. Have you misjudged my relations with John Anderson?”

“I have thought in my mind——” he began, and stopped.

Marjorie started. The voice was quiet enough but significant in tone.

“Please tell me,” she pleaded. “I must know.”

“Well, I have thought that you have been unusually attentive to him.”

“Yes.”

“And that, perhaps, you do care for him,—just a little.”

There! It was out. She had guessed aright.

“I thought as much,” she said quietly.

“Then why did you ask me?”

“Listen,” she began. “Do you recall the night you asked me to be of some service to you?”

“Perfectly.”

“I have thought over that subject long and often. I wondered wherein that service could lie. During the night of Peggy's affair it dawned upon me that this stranger to whom I was presented, might be more artful than honest. I decided to form his acquaintance so that I might learn his identity, together with his mission in the city. I cherished the ambition of drawing certain information from him; and this I felt could be accomplished only by an assumed intimacy with him.”

Stephen stopped suddenly. His whole person was tense and magnetic as he stared at her.

“Marjorie!” he exclaimed. “Do you mean it?”

“Truly. I read his character from the first. His critical attitude displeased me. But I had to pretend. I had to.”

“Please! Please forgive me.” He turned and seized suddenly both her hands. “I thought,—I thought,—I cannot say it. Won't you forgive me?”

Her eyes dropped. She freed her hands.

“Then I tricked you as well,” she exclaimed with a laugh.

“And you mean it? I am made very happy today, happier than words can express. What loyalty! You have been helping me all the time and I never knew it. Why did you not tell me this before?”

“You never gave me leave. I wanted to talk to you so much, and you seemed to forbid me.... I prayed for an opportunity, and none came.”

“I am very sorry.”

“Anderson interested me only in this,—he came into our society for a very definite purpose, the nature of which I was most desirous of learning. I know now that he is not of our faith, although he pretends to be. He is not of French extraction, yet he would lead one to assume that he was. He is a British officer and actively engaged in the service of the enemy. At present the recruiting of the proposed regiment of Catholic Volunteers for service with the enemy is his immediate work. He hopes to find many displeased and disloyal members of our kind. Them he would incorporate into a company of deserters.”

“You have learned that from him?”

“Aye! And more. General Arnold has been initiated into the scheme. I do not know what to think except that he has yielded to some influence. His antipathy toward us would require none, nevertheless I feel that some undue pressure has been brought to bear upon him.”

“Anderson?” he asked.

“I do not know. At any rate he will bear watching. I think he is about to ask for a more important command.”

Stephen then told her of his adventures, relating to her wholly and candidly the details of his suspicions, together with his plan for the future. Throughout it all she listened with attention, so much interested that she was scarce aware that they were crossing the wide road before her own home. Her eyes had been about her everywhere as they walked, yet they had failed to perceive anything.

“Won't you come in?” she asked. “You are almost a stranger here now.”

“I would like to more than I can tell you; but truly I have business before me which is pressing. Pardon me just once more, please.”

“Mother would be pleased to see you, you know,” she insisted.

“I should like, indeed, to see your mother. I shall stop to see her, just to inquire for her.”

“Will you come when this terrible business is completed?”

“Gladly. Let us say,—next week. Perhaps you might be pleased to come canoeing with me for the space of an afternoon?”

“I should be delighted. Next week?”

“Yes. Next week. I shall let you know.”

“Here is mother, now.”

He went in and shook her hand, inquiring diligently concerning her.

IV

As Stephen walked away from the home of his beloved, ruminating over the strange disclosures of the day and how satisfactory and gratifying they were to him, his state of mind was such that he was eager for the completion of the more serious business that was impending so that he might return to her who had flooded his soul with new and sudden delight. Never was he more buoyant or cheerful. He was cheerful, notwithstanding his remorse.

For he did chide himself over his absurd stupidity. He should have known her better than to have entertained, for even a passing moment, a thought of her inconstancy, and that he should have so misjudged her,—her whom he himself would have selected from among his host of acquaintances as the one best fitted for the office assumed,—disturbed him not a little. His own unworthiness filled him with shame. Why did he question her?

And yet he would have given his own life to make her happy, he who was quietly allowing her to vanish out of it. He tried to explain his fallacy. First of all, the trend of circumstances was decidedly against him. There was his arrest and subsequent trial, days when he had longed to be at her side to pursue the advantages already gained. Then there were the days of his absence from town, the long solid weeks spent in trailing Anderson, and in meeting those who had been approached by him in the matter of the recruiting. It was well nigh impossible, during this time, to seize a moment for pleasure, precious moments during which Anderson, as he thought, had been making favorable progress both with his suit and with his sinister work. If Marjorie had forgotten him quite, Stephen knew that he alone was responsible. Him she had seen but seldom; Anderson was ever at her side. No girl should be put to this test. It was too exacting.

Despite his appreciation of these facts, his soul had been seized with a very great anguish over the thought of his lost prize; and if he had failed to conceal his feelings in her presence, it was due to the fact that his sensitive nature was not equal to the strain imposed upon it. Who can imagine the great joy that now filled his heart to overflowing as a result of his conversation today, when he learned from her own lips that throughout it all she had been steadfast and true to him alone? His great regard for her was increased immeasurably. Her character had been put to the test, and she had emerged more beautiful, more radiant, more steadfast than before.

This new analysis led him to a very clear decision. First of all he would defeat the cunning Anderson at his own game; then he would rescue his countrymen from their unfortunate and precarious condition; and, finally, he would return to Marjorie to claim his reward. Altogether he had spent an advantageous and a delightful afternoon. He was ready to enter the meeting house with renewed energy.

CHAPTER VII

I

The hall was very ordinary within. Small in proportion to its great high ceiling, bleak in its white-washed walls and scantily covered floor, oppressive from its damp, stifling air and poor ventilation, it gave every indication of the state of disuse into which it had fallen. It was no more than an anteroom to the vestry of the church, though quite detached from it, yet one could almost feel through the stout south wall the impenetrable weight of darkness which had settled down within the great building beyond. The gloomy shadows had penetrated here, too, for although the antechamber contained a half dozen windows, they were shuttered and barred against every hue of twilight from the outside. The very atmosphere was indicative of the sinister nature of the business at hand.

To the front of the room a small platform stood surmounted by a table, surrounded by chairs. Several men occupied these, interested in a conversation, somewhat subdued in its tone and manner. The chairs, settees, and benches throughout the rest of the room, were being filled by the so-called volunteers, who entered and took their places with an air of wonder and indecision. Already two-thirds of the seats were taken, and every face turned and re-turned to the door at every footfall.

The small door to the side was, of course, barred; but, in response to the slightest knock, it was opened by an attendant, assigned for that purpose. Names were asked and the cards of admission were collected with a certain formality before the aspirant gained admittance. There was no introduction, no hurry, no excitement.

“What's your name?” the man at the door was heard to say to one who already had tapped for admittance.

“Cadwalader,” was the reply. “James Cadwalader.”

“Got your card?”

There was no response, only the production of a small white card.

A strong, athletic individual, clad in a checked shirt and a red flannel jacket, a leathern apron, and a pair of yellow buckskin breeches, entered and stood for a moment looking about the hall. His eyes fell upon the group gathered around the table at the forward end of the room. Two of them he recognized, Colonel Clifton and John Anderson, the latter with his back to the audience. There were many familiar faces in the chairs throughout the room, some of whom had expected him, and accordingly gave him a slight recognition. Slowly, and in a manifestly indifferent manner, he made his way to the front of the chairs where he seated himself, and listened sharply to the little group conversing upon the platform until he had satisfied himself that there was nothing of importance under discussion.

The room was filling rapidly. It was one of those mixed assemblies wherein one could discern many states of mind written upon the faces of those present. Some wore the appearance of contentment and composure; some laughed and talked in a purely disinterested and indifferent manner; others looked the picture of unrest and dissatisfaction, and wore a scowl of disappointment and defeat. These latter Stephen recognized at once and hurriedly made an estimate of their number. Together with the neutral representation he seemed satisfied with the majority.

The most remarkable feature of all was the silence. Not a voice was raised above a whisper. The man at the door at the side of the hall, the little group away to the front of the hall, peeping at the audience and talking in subdued tones, the people in the chairs, those at the back of the hall,—all seemed to hold their tongues to a whisper for interest and a kind of fear. Drama was in the air.

The guard at the door advanced to the front of the hall to announce to Mr. Anderson that the full quota was present. Whereupon the latter arose from his chair and swept with his gaze the entire room, which the dim light of the torches only partly revealed. Satisfied with his scrutiny, he turned and again conferred with his associates who nodded their heads in acceptance of his suggestion. They sat back in their chairs while he came to the center of the platform and awaited the cessation of the hum which was now becoming audible.

“Let me begin by taking further assurance of your number,” he said, “for which purpose I shall call the roll of names to which I respectfully ask you to respond.”

Then followed the reading of the roll-call to which each man at the mention of his name signified his presence in the room. Stephen's heart fluttered as he replied boldly to the name of “James Cadwalader.”

There were eight names to which no reply was given. These very likely would come later, or perhaps they had reconsidered their action and had decided not to come at all. Those present numbered eighty-six, Stephen learned from the count.

“I shall take this opportunity of distributing among you the papers of enlistment that you may read the terms of agreement, and these I shall ask you to sign at the close of this meeting.”

As Anderson finished this sentence, he passed to several aids, a bundle of papers which they promptly dealt out to the members of the proposed company.

Then Mr. Anderson began.

II

“You have assembled this evening, my dear friends and co-religionists, to translate into definite action the convictions by which you have been impelled to undertake this important business. Our presence means that we are ready to put into deeds the inspirations which have always dominated our minds. It means that we are about to make a final thrust for our religious convictions, and to prove that we are worthy descendants of the men who established in this land freedom of religious worship, and bequeathed it to us as a priceless heritage.”

This Anderson is a clever fellow, thought Stephen, and a fluent talker. Already his eloquence had brought quiet to the room and caused those who were fumbling with the papers to let them fall motionless in their laps. But what a knave! Here he was deliberately playing upon the sympathies of his audience in the rôle of a Catholic.

“We have signified our intention of taking this momentous step, because we are of the undivided opinion that our rights have been attained. We have accomplished our purpose and we have now no cause for martial strife. No longer do grounds of contention between us and the mother country exist. Our bill of rights has been read abroad and honored, and overtures of conciliation have already been made. The object for which we linked our forces with the rebel standard, the happiness, the supreme happiness of our country, has been gained. We no longer desire open warfare.

“The idea of an American Parliament, with its members of American birth, is a welcome one. It is a fitting, a worthy ambition. We are confident that we are capable, at this juncture, of enacting our own laws and of giving them the proper sanction. We are capable of raising our own taxes. We are worthy of conducting our own commerce in every part of the civilized globe as free citizens of the British Empire. And we are convinced that we should enjoy for this purpose the blessings of good government, not necessarily self-government, and that we should be sustained by all the power requisite to uphold it, as befits free and independent children bonded together in a concert of purpose.

“This we desire. But we seek also that freedom in matters of religious worship without which no nation can attain to any degree of greatness. Under a government conducted solely and independently by the colonists we know that such a consummation would be impossible. I need not remind you of the deplorable state of affairs which obtained previous to the opening of hostilities. I need not recall to your minds the anti-Catholic declarations of the Continental Congresses. I need not recall to you the machinations of John Jay, or the manifest antipathy of the Adamses, or the Hamiltons, or the Paines. I need not recall to you how the vaunted defenders of American liberties and freedom expressed their supreme detestation of Catholics and all things Catholic, and how they were determined that the nightmare of Popery would never hold sway over these free and independent colonies as it does even now in Canada. I need not recall how the colonies, with the sole exception of this colony of Pennsylvania, debarred the free and legitimate exercise of your religion within their bounds, and restricted its public ceremonies; how you were restricted by oaths required by law, even here in Pennsylvania, which you could not take had you been so successful as to be chosen to office. I need not remind you of these truths. You already know them. It would be idle to repeat them.”

“This man is exceedingly dangerous,” muttered Stephen, “and exceedingly well-informed.” He jotted down several notes on the reverse of his paper.

“We have been displeased with the conduct of the war, immeasurably so. And we have lost all faith in the good will of our fellow-colonists, in matters religious as well as in matters political. They have refused to treat with the ministers of conciliation. We are about to join our forces to those of the mother country in order that we may render our own poverty-stricken land an everlasting service. We are destined to take our places among a band of true and genuine patriots, who have, above all things else, the welfare of their own land at heart, and we are about to commit ourselves to this course, together with our fortunes and our lives. Since our people are blinded by the avarice and the prejudice of their leaders, we shall take into our own hands the decision and the fortunes of this war, trusting that our cause may be heard at the bar of history when strict judgment shall be meted out. We have broken with our people in the hope that the dawn of better days may break through the clouds that now overshadow us.”

He paused, for a moment to study the temper of his audience. There was no sound, and so he continued.

“It is the glory of the British soldier that he is the defender, not the destroyer, of the civil and the religious rights of the people. Witness the tolerant care of your mother country in the bestowal of religious liberties to the inhabitants of our once oppressed neighbor, Canada. The Quebec Act was the greatest concession ever granted in the history of the British Parliament, and it secured for the Canadians the freedom of that worship so dear and so precious to them. So great was the tolerance granted to the Catholics of the North, that your fellow-colonists flew to arms lest a similar concession be made here. It was the last straw that broke the bonds of unity. For, henceforth, it was decreed that only a complete and independent separation from the British Parliament could secure to the people the practice of the Protestant faith.

“Now we come to the real purpose of this organization. We are about to pledge ourselves to the restoration of our faith through the ultimate triumph of the British arms. Nobody outside of America believes that she can ever make good her claims of independence. No one has ever taken seriously her attempt at self-government. France, alone, actuated by that ancient hatred for England, inspired by the lust of conquest and the greed of spoliation, has sent her ships to our aid. But has she furnished the Colonies with a superior force of arms? Has she rendered herself liable for any indebtedness? Your mother country alone has made this benign offer to you, and it is to her alone that you can look and be assured of any reconciliation and peace.

“Victory, once assured, will establish peace and everlasting happiness. Victory, now made possible only by the force of arms, will assure us toleration in religious matters. And why not? This fratricidal strife should not occasion any personal hatred. England is not our foe, but our mother in arms against whom we have conceived an unjust grievance. Let us lay aside our guns for the olive. Since our fellow-citizens will not accept just terms of conciliation let us compel them to do so by the strength of our arms.

“Tomorrow we embark for New York at the place of landing indicated on the papers of enlistment. There we shall be incorporated into a regiment of a thousand men. The recruiting there has met with unlooked-for success. Colonel Clifton reports that the ranks already are filled. Your admission alone is required, and the ship, which will bear you down the waters of the Susquehanna tomorrow, will carry a message of cheer to them who have already entrusted themselves, their destinies, their all to the realization of our common hope.

“You will now take the oath of allegiance to the government of His Majesty, which I shall administer to you in a body. Tomorrow at the hour of eight I shall meet you at the pier of embarkation. I shall be glad to accompany you to reveal to you my interest in your behalf. Only with a united front can we hope for success and to this purpose we have dedicated our lives and our fortunes. I shall ask you to rise to a man, with your right arm upraised, to take the oath of allegiance to your king.”

III

The spell that held them broke, and the bustle began. A mumble filled the room, followed by moments of animated discussion. Neighbor spoke to neighbor in terms of approval or plied him with questions menacing and entreating. Anderson maintained his composure to allow them to settle again into a period of quietude before the administration of the oath. At length Stephen arose as if to question, and was given permission to speak by the chairman, Mr. Anderson.

“What immunity does His Majesty's Government guarantee to us after the war?”

“The usual guarantee will of course be made,” Anderson replied.

“Does that mean that we shall be reëstablished in the good-will of our fellow-citizens?” Stephen again inquired.

“Unquestionably. When the colonists see the immense benefits which they have acquired, they will readily condone all wrongs.”

Intense interest was already manifest throughout the room. Faces were eagerly bent forward lest a word be lost.

“Such considerations, however, are irrelevant to our purpose,” dismissed Anderson with a wave of the hand.

“But it is of vital consequence to us. We must return to our people to live with them, and we cannot live in an atmosphere of hatred. Who knows that our lives may not be placed in jeopardy! My question deals with this. Will any provision be made against such a contingency?”

“It is too early to discuss the final settlement, but you have my assurance that suitable protection will be given.”

“Your assurance?” repeated Stephen. “What amount of assurance may you offer to us, you who admittedly are one of ourselves?”

“I consider that an impertinent question, sir, and in no way connected with the business before us.”

“It is of vital concern to us, I should say; and I for one am desirous of knowing more about this affair before yielding my consent.”

“You have signed your papers of enlistment already, I believe. There is no further course then for you to pursue.”

There was a rustle among the seats. Some had begun to realize their fate; some had realized it from the start but were powerless to prevent it. Two or three faces turned a shade paler, and they became profoundly silent. The others, too, held their tongues to await the result of the controversy. For here was a matter of vital concern to all. Up to now very few deserters, especially among the Catholics, had been discovered among the American forces. They had heard of an individual or two surrendering himself to the enemy, or of whole families going over to the other side in order to retain their possessions and lands. But a mutiny was another matter altogether. What if they failed and the Colonists gained their independence!

“I suppose we are powerless,” admitted Stephen in a low tone of voice as he watched the effect of his words on the gathering. “We are confronted,” he continued, “with the dilemma of estrangement no matter what side gains.”

“England can't lose,” interrupted Colonel Clifton, who heretofore had been seated, an attentive observer. “And with victory comes the establishment of the will of the conqueror. Care will be taken that there shall be adequate reparation.”

“Very good!” answered Stephen. “Now together with that privilege of immunity, can we be assured of the extension of the Quebec Act? Has England so decreed?”

“Not yet,” Anderson admitted, “but that extension, or one equal to it, will be made one of the conditions of peace.”

“We are sure of that, then?”

“Well, we are not sure, but it is only logical to infer such a condescension will be made.”

“I don't agree with you, I am sorry to say, for the English Parliament may be of another mind when peace and victory have been established.”

“You are interrupting the meeting. Please let us continue with our business,” Anderson sharply reproved him.

“I speak for my fellow-citizens here,” said Stephen as he turned toward them with an appealing gesture, “and I maintain that it is our privilege to know certain matters before we transfer our allegiance.”

It was now plain to the company that Anderson was worried. His white thin lips were firmly compressed as the wrath in his heart blazed within him. He was aghast at the blow. It had come from a quarter wholly unexpected. That this fellow in these shabby clothes should be gifted with a freedom of speech such as to confound him when he thought his plans realized to the letter, was astounding. Why, he might sway the minds of the entire assembly! Better to silence him at once, or better still banish him from the hall than to cope with the possibility of losing the entire multitude.

“You have interrupted this meeting more than I care to have you, sir. If you will kindly allow me to proceed with the business before the house I shall consider it a favor.”

“I ask my fellow-citizens here,” shouted Stephen by way of reply, “if you or any man possesses the right to deprive us of free speech, especially at a time as momentous as this. I ask you, my friends, if I may continue?”

“Yes!... Go on!... We will hear you!...” were the several acclamations from the throng.

Anderson heard it with perceptible confusion. He fumbled nervously with his fingers, wholly ignorant of what to say.

“Let me ask, then,” said Stephen, “if the idea of independence is wholly exclusive of religious toleration. Why are we, a mere handful of men, about to pledge ourselves to the accomplishment by force of arms what already is accomplished in our very midst? Freedom of religious worship is already assured. The several actions of the colonial governing bodies lend us that assurance. England can do no more for us than already has been done; and what has been done by the Colonies will be guaranteed by the elective body of the people in the days of independence. I am fearful of the hazards that will accompany this enlistment. Give me leave to address you on this topic that you may understand my troubled state of mind. I appeal to you. Give me leave to talk.”

Whether it was the spontaneous sound issuing from the ranks of those already initiated into the secret, or whether a chord already attuned in the hearts and minds of the entire assembly, had been marvelously struck by him, there was a reverberation of approval throughout the room in answer to Stephen's plea. So unanimous was the demonstration that Anderson took alarm. The air of democracy was revealing itself in their instinctive enthusiasm. And while nothing might result from Stephen's rambling remarks, still it would afford them consolation that their side of the question had been aired. To a man they voiced their approval of the privilege which had been begged.

“Aye!... Speech!... Take the floor!”

CHAPTER VIII

I

“I have no desire to make a speech,” Stephen began, “but I have asked for this privilege of addressing you because we are moving through critical times and because there are serious decisions to be made this evening, which it is neither right nor possible for us to make without a full consideration of the state of affairs. I have devoted much serious thought to this subject. I have labored to arrive at a just conclusion, and it is in that spirit that I would speak. I feel, too, that I have an inalienable right as a free-born citizen to express my views freely and publicly, as befits a loyal adherent of the principles which we are now defending with our blood. And first among those principles is that which guarantees representation in all matters that are of vital concern to us.”

He had not left his chair but continued to talk from his place beside it, turning, however, somewhat in the direction of his audience. Silence reigned throughout the room and every face was turned full upon him.

“I, too, had accepted the terms of enlistment on the plea of the acquisition of our rights, so admirably exposed to us by our good friend, Mr. Anderson. As I pondered the matter, however, I seriously questioned whether this were the proper time for the employment of such methods. What assurance have we,—if indeed assurance be needed,—that this is not another trick of the enemy? Bear with me, please, while I unfold to you my thoughts.

“Our leader and our guide in these matters, Mr. Anderson, has made known to us that this business of recruiting has been a great success. But did he tell us of the sinister methods which often had been resorted to, of the many threats which had been exercised over a great number of us, of the debts which had been relieved, of the intimidation which had been employed? He declared with manifest satisfaction that the recruiting in the city of New York had been marvelous in its results, yet he did not explain to our satisfaction the reason which impelled the leaders of this revolt to seek members from the neighboring cities to help swell the ranks; nor did he tell of the means which had been made use of to secure that marvelous number in the city, of all cities, where such recruiting would be most successful because of the present British occupation of the territory. Furthermore, he failed to tell us that he himself is not a Catholic, or that his true name is not Anderson, or of his history previous to his appearance in this city. Neither did he tell us that Lieutenant-Colonel Clifton, while a Philadelphia Catholic, is a British subject, having accepted British allegiance on the capture of the city a year ago last September. There were many items of importance which were not revealed to us. Shall I continue? I have an abundance of facts to disclose to you, if you give me leave.”

So favorable had been the impression produced by the speech of Anderson that Stephen felt apprehensive lest his own criticism and contradiction would not be accepted as true. And so he paused to learn if possible the nature of his reception.

“Yes!... We want to hear them!... Tell us more!...”

There was a wild outburst of approval, followed by a generous handclapping. In the confusion, Stephen observed Anderson together with Colonel Clifton leave their places on the platform and take seats on the side of the room.

“It is quite true that we have no quarrel with the English people. We have no quarrel with their king or the framers of their laws. It is equally true that the governments of Great Britain and the United Colonies have become involved in a military struggle, a struggle to the death; nevertheless we would be the last to imply that there exists any essential antagonism of interests or purposes between the two peoples. We are not engaged in a contest between Englishmen and Americans, but between two antagonistic principles of government, each of which has its advocates and its opponents among us who sit here, among those who live with us in our own country, among those who reside in far-off England. The contest is a political contest, the ancient contest between the Whig and the Tory principles of government, the contest of Chatham and North, and Richmond, Rockingham and Burke transferred to this side of the Atlantic. The political liberty to which we have dedicated ourselves is no product of our imaginations; our forefathers of the seventeenth century brought it to our shores and now we naturally refuse to surrender it. It is the principle for which we are contending,—the principles that these United Colonies are and of a right ought to be free and independent states; and in all matters else we are loyal foster children of His Majesty the King, as loyal and as interested a people in the welfare of the mother country as the most devoted subject of the crown residing in the city of London.

“War was inevitable. This has been known for some time; but there has been no lack of cordiality between the people of the United Kingdom and the people of the United Colonies. We are opposed to certain principles of statecraft, to the principle of taxation without representation, to the same degree as are the Whigs of our mother country. We cherish the warmest sentiments of love and admiration for the English people and we are ready to become their brothers in arms at any future date for the defense of those very ideals which we are now trying to establish,—the blessings of democracy; but we abominate autocracy and will have none of it. In this regard we may be said to have disinfected our anger, but never to have diluted it.”

The Tory element moved about in their seats, and Stephen suspected for a moment that he was being treated with an air of disdain. He shifted his point of view suddenly.

“To say that the Catholic people of this country are dissatisfied with the conduct of the war is begging the question, and brands them with a stigma which they wholly undeserve. We admit for the sake of argument that our early cousins may have proved themselves somewhat intolerant, and, perhaps, rendered conditions of life disagreeable to us; still gold must be tried by the fire. We grow vigorous under storms of persecution. And while it is true that the American Congress of 1774 protested against the legislature of Great Britain establishing a 'religion fraught with impious tenets,' yet it is equally true that the Congress of 1776 resolved to protect 'all foreigners in the free exercise of their respective religions.' The past has been buried by this; the future lies before us.

“We do not grieve on that account. Rather are we proud of our adhesion to the cause of independence, and you, yourselves, are no less proud of your own efforts in this regard. The Commander-in-chief is warmly disposed towards the Catholic element, not alone in the army, but among the citizenry. His own bodyguard is composed of men, more than thirty of whom bear Catholic names. One of his aides, Colonel Fitzgerald, is a Catholic. His Captain and Commander of the Navy, nominated and appointed by himself, is a Catholic, John Barry. We are appreciative of the services of our General, and we are ready to render ourselves worthy of the esteem and the respect in which we are held by him, as was evidenced by his abolition of the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day, so detestable to us.

“I repeat this to impress upon you that this is not the time for religious controversy or for nicely calculating the scope and the extent of our service. The temper of the times requires unity of action and definition of purpose. Our people respect us. Whatever restrictions were lodged against us in the past have been broken down now before the battering ram of public opinion. The guarantees for the future given by our own brethren, that we shall be permitted the free and unrestricted exercise of our religious observances as well as the right to worship God according to the dictates of our own consciences, are of more endurable texture than the flimsy promises of the enemy. Our noble and generous ally, France, already has procured for us that respect and recognition so indispensable to our safety and, contrary to the opinion already expressed here tonight, has sent us six thousand men, the first installment of an army of at least twelve thousand trained soldiers, destined to be put directly under General Washington's command. Together with these she has already furnished Congress with large sums of money to enable us to carry on the war. The dawn of a brighter day is now breaking over the horizon and in the east the sun of justice and of toleration and of liberty may be seen breaking through the low-hung clouds of oppression, prejudice and tyranny which have so long obscured it. In our history there has been no coward, no Tory, no traitor of our faith. We are still Loyalists; but of different type. That precious and historic document of July 4, 1776, definitely and for all time absolved us from all allegiance to the British Crown. By nature, then, we have become citizens of a new government, a government instituted by and subject to the peoples of these free and independent states. Henceforth, Loyalty assumes a newer and most lasting significance;—it has suddenly become for us synonymous with the best and dearest interests of our country.”

He paused.

II

The sigh throughout the room was distinctly audible as he ended his paragraph with a rhetorical pause. He caught the sound on the instant and understood its meaning as the orator, holding his audience in breathless intensity, allows them to drop suddenly that he may appreciate his control of their feelings. Their pent-up energies give way to an abrupt relaxation followed by a slight scuffling of the body or an intermittent cough. From these unconscious indications, Stephen knew that he had held their interest and he did not intend that they should be allowed to compose themselves quite, until he had finished. He began at once on the evidence of the plot.

“The members of this proposed company before whom I have the privilege of speaking, have been the victims of a gigantic plot, a plot that found its origin in the headquarters of the British army at New York City. It was to advance the plan that John Anderson came to Philadelphia. He had carried on communication with the enemy almost without interruption. Because the work of recruiting in the city of the enemy was a failure, it was decreed that the city of Philadelphia, as the most Tory of the American cities, be called upon for the requisite number. Of the progress here, you already know. Of the multifarious means employed, you yourselves can bear excellent witness. Of the ultimate success of the venture you are now about to decide.

“The Military Governor, General Arnold, was early initiated into the scheme. For a long time he has borne a fierce grudge against Congress, and he hoped that the several Catholic members of the body might be induced to forsake the American cause. They sought Father Farmer, our good pastor, as chaplain of the regiment, but he refused with mingled delicacy and tact. Indeed, were it not for the hostile state of the public mind, a campaign of violence would have been resorted to; but Arnold felt the pulse of dislike throbbing in the heart of the community and very wisely refrained from increasing its fervor. All possible aid was furnished by him, however, in a secret manner. His counsel was generously given. Many of your names were supplied by him together with an estimate of your financial standing, your worth in the community, your political tendencies, the strength of your religious convictions. And what a comparatively simple matter it was for one thus equipped to accomplish so marvelous and so satisfactory results!

“I repeat, then, General Arnold is strongly prejudiced against us. It is an open secret that Catholic soldiers have fared ill at his hands. Tories and Jews compose his retinue, but no Catholics. I am not critical in this respect for I observe that he is enjoying but a personal privilege. But I allude to this fact at this moment to assure you that this scheme of forming a regiment of Roman Catholic Volunteers is directed solely to subvert the good relations already existing between us and our brethren in arms. The promises made bore no hope of fulfillment. The guarantees of immunity deserve no consideration. The Quebec Act, and for this I might say in passing that we are duly grateful, was never to be extended. In view of these observations, I ask you: are you willing to continue with this nefarious business? Are you?”

“No!” was the interruption. The outburst was riotous. “Arrest the traitor!... I move we adjourn!...”

Stephen held out his hands in supplication to beseech them to hear him further.

“Please, gentlemen! Just one more word,” he pleaded.

They stood still and listened.

“Has it occurred to you, let me ask, that the vessel which has been engaged to transport you to the city of New York is named the Isis, a sloop well known to sea-faring men of this city? She is owned by Philadelphia citizens and manned by a local crew. Does not this strike you as remarkably strange and significant,—that a vessel of this character should clear this port and enter the port of the enemy without flying the enemy's flag? Think of it, gentlemen! An American vessel with an American crew employed by the enemy, and chartered to aid and abet the enemy's cause!”

They resumed their seats to give their undivided attention to this new topic of interest. Some sat alert, only partly on the chair; some sat forward with their chins resting in the palms of their hands. So absorbed were all in astonishment and amazement, that no other thought gave them any concern save that of the vessel. The side door had opened and closed, yet no one seemed to notice the occurrence. Even Stephen had failed to observe it.

“As a matter of fact,” he continued, “the ship has not been chartered by the enemy. She is about to clear this port and enter the port of the enemy by virtue of a pass issued through General Arnold.... Please, just a moment, until I conclude,” he exclaimed, holding out his hand with a restraining gesture. “This matter has heretofore been a close secret, but it is necessary now that the truth should be known. To issue a pass for such an errand is a violation of the American Articles of War and for this offense I now formally charge Major-General Benedict Arnold with treason.”

“The traitor!... Court-martial him!...” shouted several voices.

“I charge him with being unfaithful to his trust. He had made use of our wagons to transport the property of the enemy at a time when the lines of communication of the enemy were no farther distant than Egg Harbor. He has allowed many of our people to enter and leave the lines of the enemy. He has illegally concerned himself over the profits of a privateer. He has imposed, or at any rate has given his sanction to the imposition of menial offices upon the sons of freedom who are now serving in the militia, as was the case with young Matlack, which you will remember. And he has of late improperly granted a pass for a vessel to clear for the port of the enemy. I desire to make these charges publicly in order that you may know that my criticisms are not without foundation. I have in view your welfare alone.”

“Aye!... We believe you!... Let us adjourn!”

“Let me ask Mr. Anderson one or two questions. If they can be answered to your satisfaction we shall accept his overtures. On the other hand let us dispense once and for all with this nefarious business and frustrate this insidious conspiracy so that we may renew our energies for the task before us which alone matters—the task of overcoming the enemy.

“First! Who has financed the organization, equipment, transportation of this regiment of Roman Catholic Volunteers?

“Second: From what source or sources originated the various methods of blackmail?

“Third: Who first suggested the coöperation of General Arnold?

“Fourth: What pressure was brought to bear in the obtaining of the passport for the vessel to clear port?”

III

But there was no Anderson to give answer. It was found that he, together with Colonel Clifton and several members of the party, had disappeared from the room. No one had remembered seeing them take their departure, yet it was observed that they had left the platform in the course of Stephen's speech to take seats on the further side of the hall, near to the door. This might have opened and closed several times during Stephen's speech, and, more especially, at the time when they had crowded the aisles near the close of the address, and little or no attention would have been paid to it. Very likely Anderson had taken advantage of such an opportunity to make an escape.

It was a very different room now. What had been a state of remarkable quiet with every man in his seat, with the conversation hardly above the tone of a whisper, with the uniform tranquillity disturbed solely by the remarks of the two speakers, was now giving way to a precipitous uproar which approached a riot. Men surged about one another and about Stephen in an endeavor to learn the details of the plot. Groups separated themselves from other equally detached groups, all absorbed, however, in the same topic. Voices, formerly hushed, now became vociferous. The walls reverberated with the tumultuous confusion.

“What dupes!” one was remarking to his neighbor. “How easily were we led by his smooth talk!”

“We were misguided in our motives of allegiance. We might have sensed a trick of the enemy,” was the reply.

“Let us win the war, first,” shouted a third.

“Aye! Freedom first; then religious liberty.”

“Who is he?” another asked. “It cannot be Cadwalader.”

“No,” answered the neighbor. “This was prearranged. He borrowed Cadwalader's card to come here.”

“I always told you Arnold was no good,” sounded a great voice. “He'd sell us to the devil if he could get paid for it. I suppose he'll go to New York sure.”

“Let him. Wish he was out of here.”

“Say!” one asked Stephen rather abruptly. “How did you get all this straight?”

“I interested myself the moment the scheme took root. I assured myself that all was not as it should be and I took pains to verify my suspicions,” was the grave reply.

“I know, but how did ye get 'em?”

“By following every move this Anderson made. I tracked him even to Mount Pleasant.”

“And got beforehand with Arnold?”

“I overheard the major portion of the conversation.”

“Pardon me,” asked another individual, neater in appearance than the majority, and evidently of more education, “but have I not seen you before?”

“Perhaps you have,” laughed Stephen.

“Where?”

“I could not begin to imagine.”

“Where do you live? In town?”

“For the present, yes.”

“Who are you?”

“Can't you see? Just one of you?”

“Never saw you in those clothes before. If I am not greatly mistaken you are the one who came to the Coffee House one day with Matt. Allison.”

“Yes,” admitted Stephen, “I am the same.”

“How did you come by those clothes?”

“Borrowed them.”

“In disguise, eh?”

“It was necessary to simulate a disguise. Otherwise I could never have gained admission here. I learned that Jim Cadwalader had been impressed into the company and I arranged to come in his place.”

“Oh!”

“You took a mighty big risk.”

“It was required. But I knew that there was but one way of playing this game and that was to defeat them openly by their own tactics. I had to depend, of course, upon the temper of the proposed members. All might be lost or won at one throw of the dice. I worded my remarks to that effect, and I won.”

“What did you say your name was?”

“I did not say what it was,” Stephen exchanged in good-natured repartee, “but since you ask, it is Meagher.”

“Captain Meagher?”

Stephen smiled.

It must have been fully half-past nine when the meeting broke up; and that was at the departure of Stephen. He had lingered long enough to assure himself that the company was of a mind far different from that which had engaged them upon their arrival. They were now to go forth wiser men. But they knew that the people of the city could be moved quickly to indignation—as quickly, indeed, as they could be moved to favor. And how were they to explain their conduct? They resolved to lay the story with all its details before the very table of public opinion and allow that tribunal to discriminate between the shades of guilt.

Anderson, of course, had fled. That in itself was a confession and a point in their favor. It was plain to their minds that they had been victimized by the clever machinations of this man. If there had been any lack of unity of opinion concerning the righteousness of the project before, there was no divided opinion now. They knew what they were about to do, and they made all possible haste to put their thought into execution.

The ancient antipathy against the Military Governor was only intensified the more. Rumor would confirm the charges that would be published against him, of that they would take proper care. It was enough that they had been deluded by Anderson, but to be mere pawns in the hands of Arnold was more than they could stand. Too long had he been tolerated with his Tory wife and her manner of living, and now was an opportunity. Their path of duty was outlined before them.

Thoroughly satisfied with his evening's work, Stephen turned down the street whistling softly to himself.

CHAPTER IX

I

“Come!” said Stephen in response to the soft knock upon his door panel. “Just a minute.”

He arose from his knees from the side of his bed. It was his custom to pray in this posture both morning and night; in the morning to thank his Lord for having brought him safely through the night and to offer Him all his prayers and works and sufferings of the day. At night to implore pardon for his shortcomings of the day and to commend himself into the hands of his Creator. This morning, however, the noise of heavy footsteps on the stairway had caused him to abbreviate somewhat his devotional exercise.

“Come in!” he repeated as he slipped back the bolt and opened the door. “Oh! Good morning! You're out early. How are you?”

He shook the hands of his early morning visitors warmly.

“Fine morning!” replied Mr. Allison. “Sorry to have disturbed you, but Jim was around early and desired to see you.”

“Sure! No disturbance at all, I assure you. I was on the point of leaving for breakfast.”

“Go right ahead. Please don't delay on our account. We can wait. Go ahead,” expostulated Mr. Allison.

“We want'd t' be sure an' git ye, thet wuz all,” remarked Jim. “Eat first. We'll be here when y' git back.”

“Sit down and make yourselves comfortable,” and he arranged several chairs about the room. “I overslept, I fear. Last night taxed me.”

“You did justice to yourself and to us last night. The splendid result was your reward.”

They were seated, Jim by the window, Mr. Allison at Stephen's desk. The disorder of early morning was apparent in the room, the furniture disarranged and all manner of clothing, bed covering, wearing apparel, towels, piled or thrown carelessly about. No one seemed to mind it, however, for no one paused to rearrange it.

“It wuz a big night. Tell us how did ye git along with 'em?” asked Jim.

“Much better than I had anticipated,” Stephen replied. “I thought that Anderson's talk had won them entirely, but when I asked for the floor, I saw at once that many were with me. Had you instructed them?” This question was directed towards Jim.

“I did. I saw a doz'n at least. You know they had no use fur th' thing and were glad o' th' chance. I made a big secret out o' it, and they watch'd fur my ol' clothes.”

“I thought I felt their glances. They stuck true, you may be assured. I knew, too, that I possessed a reserve blow in the affair of the Isis. The mention of Arnold's name inflamed them.”

“I am sorry to have missed that,” Mr. Allison said.

“How did they avoid you?” Stephen asked.

“I don't know. I was never approached although I had been acquainted with the rumors of the thing right along. I suppose they figured that I would threaten them with exposure. They knew where I stood; and then again they knew that they could threaten me with no debts. For some reason or other they thought best to avoid me.”

“I guess we killed it for good.”

“Kill'd it?” exclaimed Jim. “It's deader 'n a six-day corpse. An' there's great talk goin' on t'day on all th' corners. We're right wid th' peepul y' kin bet, and they thought best to avoid me.”

“Have you noticed any agitation?”

“There has been a little disturbance,” Mr. Allison admitted, “but no violence. It has been talk more than anything. Many are wondering who you are and how you obtained your information. Others are considerably taken back by the unveiling of Anderson. The greatest of respect is being shown to us on the street, and congratulations are being offered to us from all sides.”

“I am glad the sentiment has changed. It now looks like the dawn of a better day. We should be spurred on, however, to greater endeavor in the manifestation of our loyalty, especially among the minority Tory element.”

Outside, the street was beginning to feel the impulse of life. Over across, the buildings shone with the brightness of the morning sun which was reflected mildly from the glassy windows. There was a silent composure about it all, with no sound save the footfalls of the passing horse or the rattle of the business wagon. Somewhere across the street the man with the violin continued his fiddling.

“Does that keep up all day?”

“Almost! It is amusing to hear Griff swearing at him. The humorous part of it is that he plays but one tune, 'Yankee Doodle.'”

“Can't ye steal it some night?” asked Jim, “an' bust it over 's head.”

“I don't care,” laughed Stephen, “he doesn't bother me.”

The door opened and shut. Sergeant Griffin entered, saluted Stephen and took the hands of the visitors.

“Well, what do you think of the boy?”

“I alwa's said he wuz a good boy.”

“The fun hasn't begun yet,” announced the Sergeant. “I have just learned that the City Council has met, and is about to issue formal charges against General Arnold.”

Stephen whistled.

“They are glad of this opportunity,” he announced quietly.

“Reed never took kindly to him, not from the first day,” declared Mr. Allison.

“Well, if Reed gits after 'm he'll make the fur fly. He's a bad man when he gits goin'.”

“Did you say they had met?” Stephen inquired.

“I understand they have. The affair of last night is being talked of freely on the street. And they are talking about you, most of all, and wonder if you had been sent by Washington to uncover this. One thing is certain: Arnold is in disgrace and the sooner he gets out of here the better it will be for him.”

“The General likes 'im and p'rhaps 'll give 'im a transf'r.”

“By the way!” interrupted Mr. Allison. “My girl wants to see you.”

“See me?” Stephen quickly repeated, pointing to himself.

“She told me on leaving to tell you.”

“Very well. Is it urgent?”

“No. I guess not. She didn't say it as if it were.”

“Tell her for me, I shall go as soon as I can.”

“What's th' next thin' t' do?” asked Jim.

“Matters will take care of themselves for awhile,” Stephen replied. “Anderson, I suppose, has left town together with Clifton and the others. If the City Council has met to publish charges against Arnold, there is nothing to do but await the result of these. The people, I presume, are of one mind now and if they are not they will soon be converted once the news of last night's affair has reached their ears.”

“Are you going to remain here?” asked Mr. Allison.

“I am going to take some breakfast, first; then I shall busy myself with a report. I may be busy for several days away from the city. In the meantime I would advise that the whole affair be aired as much as possible. There is nothing like supplying the public mind with food. Meet me, Jim, at the Coffee House; or are you coming with me?”

“Guess I'll go. This man wants t' eat.”

II

The City Council did meet, as rumor announced to Sergeant Griffin, and immediately published charges against David Franks, the father of the aide-de-camp of the Military Governor, charging him with being in correspondence with his brother in London, who was holding the office of Commissary for British prisoners. He was ordered to be placed under immediate arrest. At the same time formal charges, partly of a military nature, partly of a civil, were preferred against the Military Governor. Copies of indictment were laid before Congress and before the Governors of the states, who were asked to communicate them to their respective legislatures.

The press became wildly excited. Great headlines announced the startling news to the amazement of the country. For, it must be remembered, Philadelphia was the center of government and colonial life, and the eyes of the infant nation were turned continually in its direction. General Arnold's name soon became a subject for conversation on every side.

None took the news more to heart than the General himself, as he sat in his great drawing-room with a copy of the evening news sheet before him. Being of an imaginative, impulsive nature it was natural for him to worry, but tonight there was the added feature of the revelation of his guilt. Reed had pursued him relentlessly, and the public announcement of his participation in the attempted formation of this detestable regiment only furnished the President of the Council with the opening he had so long desired. He re-read the charges preferred against him, his name across the front in big bold type. In substance they were as follows:

First: That the Military Governor had issued a pass for a vessel employed by the enemy, to come into port without the knowledge of the State authorities or of the Commander-in-chief.

Second: That upon taking possession of the city he had closed the shops and stores, preventing the public from purchasing, while at the same time, “as was believed,” he had made considerable purchases for his own benefit.

Third: That he imposed menial offices upon the militia when called into service.

Fourth: That in a dispute over the capture of a prize brought in by a state privateer he had purchased the suit at a low and inadequate price.

Fifth: That he had devoted the wagons of the state to transporting the private property of Tories.

Sixth: That, contrary to law, he had given a pass to an unworthy person to go within the enemy's lines.

Seventh: That the Council had been met with a disrespectful refusal when they asked him to explain the subject-matter of the Fifth charge.

Eighth: That the patriotic authorities, both civil and military, were treated coldly and neglectfully, in a manner entirely different from his line of conduct towards the adherents of the king.

A further account of the Council meeting was then given wherein it was stated that a motion had been made to suspend General Arnold from all command during the time the inquiry was being made into these accusations, but it had been voted down. Congress was asked, the story went on, to decide on the value of these charges and to refer them to the proper tribunal, the necessary amount of evidence being promised at the proper time.

“The fools!” he muttered. “They think that these can hold water.”

He continued to read, and holding the paper at a distance from him, gazed at it.

“What a shame! Every paper in the country will have this story before the week is out. I'm disgraced.”

He fell back in his chair with his head propped up by his elbow. In his other hand, thrown across the arm of the chair, was held the paper. His brows were contracted, his eyes closed, his face flushed in indication of the tumult that surged within him. His mind was engaged in a long process of thought which began with his memories of his early campaigns and traced themselves down to the events of the present moment. There was no decision, no constancy of resolution, no determination; just worry, and apprehension, and solicitude, and the loud, rapid beatings of his temple against his hand.

“Suspend me! I'll forestall them, damn 'em. I'll resign first.”

He wondered where Anderson had gone or what fortune he had met with. The morning brought the first report of the disruption of the meeting and of the unknown person who had single-handed accomplished it. There must be a traitor somewhere, for no one save Anderson and himself had been initiated into the secret. Margaret knew, of course, but she could be trusted. Perhaps after all the man had escaped that night. Perhaps it was this very person who had created the furore at the meeting. Who was he? How did he get in? Why were proper steps not taken to safeguard the room against all possibilities of this nature? Bah! Anderson had bungled the thing from the start. He was a boy sent on a man's errand.

The regiment was defunct. To speculate further on that subject would be futile. It never had existed, as far as he could see, except on paper, and there it remained, a mere potentiality. The single-handed disruption of it proved how utterly deprived it was of cohesion and organization. That one man, alone and in disguise, could have acquainted himself thoroughly with the whole proceeding, could have found his way with no attempt at interference into the meeting place, and with a few well-chosen words could have moved an entire audience to espouse the very contrary of their original purpose, indicated the stability and the temper of the assembly. To coerce men is a useless endeavor. Even the Almighty finds it well not to interfere with man's power of choice. They might be led or enticed or cajoled; but to force them, or intimidate them, or overwhelm them, is an idle and unavailing adventure.

Anderson had failed miserably and his conspiracy had perished with him. Not a prominent Catholic had been reached in the first place; not a member of the poorest class would now leave the city. The affair with its awful disclosures only added strength to their position, for whatever aspersions might have been cast upon their loyalty in the event of the successful deportation of the company, were now turned like a boomerang against the very ones who had engineered the scheme. The community would respect the Catholics more for the future. They were to profit by his undoing. They would be valued for the test that their patriotism had stood.

There was another consideration, however, which wore a graver complexion and tormented him beyond endurance. This was the solicitude for his own safety. The people had hated him for years and had proceeded to invent stories about him which might justify its anger. It had been a satisfaction for him to reflect that, for the most part, these stories had not been the causes, but rather the effects of public indignation. But what answer could he make now, what apology could he offer for this late transaction, this conspiracy at once so evident and palpable? As far as the question of his guilt was concerned there would be little conjecture about that. Ten or twenty accounts of the venture, inconsistent with one another and with themselves, would be circulated simultaneously. Of that he had no doubt. People would neither know nor care about the evidence. It was enough that he had been implicated.

He would ask for a court-martial. That, of course. Through no other tribunal could a just and a satisfactory decision be reached, and it was paramount that another verdict besides that pronounced by public opinion be obtained. Unquestionably, he would be acquitted. His past service, his influence, his character would prove themselves determining factors during his trial. Fully one-half of the charges were ridiculous and would be thrown out of court as incontestable, and of the remainder only one would find him technically culpable. Still it were better for a court to decide upon these matters, and to that end he decided to request a general court-martial.

III

“You have removed your uniform?” Peggy asked in surprise as she beheld him entering the doorway of the drawing-room.

“Yes,” was the solemn reply. “I am no longer a confederate of France.”

He limped slowly across the room, leaning on his cane. He had laid aside his buff and blue uniform, with the epaulets and sword knots, and was clad in a suit of silken black. His hose and shoes were of the same color, against which his blouse, cuffs and periwig were emphasized, a pale white.

“But you are still a Major-General,” she corrected.

“I was; but am no longer. I have resigned.”

She started at the announcement. Obviously she had not anticipated this move.

“You have resigned? When?”

“I wrote the letter a short time ago. I precluded their designs.”

He sat in his great chair, and, reaching for his stool, placed his foot upon it.

“But ... I ... I don't understand.”

“I do perfectly. I shall be tried by court-martial, of course; they have moved already to suspend me pending the course of my trial. I want to anticipate any such possibility, that is all.”

“But you will be reinstated?”

“I don't know,—nor care,” he added.

“And what about us, our home, our life here,” she asked with a marked concern.

“Oh! That will go on. This is your house, remember, if it comes to the worst; you are mistress here. This is your home.”

“If it comes to the worst? To what?”

“Well, if I should be found guilty ... and ... sentenced.”

“I should not stay here a minute,” she cried, stamping her foot. “Not one minute after the trial! In this town? With that element? Not for an hour!”

“Well!” he exclaimed, making a gesture with both hands, together with a slight shrug of the shoulders.

“Where is Anderson?” she asked quickly.

“In New York, I presume, ere this. I have not seen him.”

“Fled?”

“The only proper thing. It's a great wonder to me that he escaped at all. I should have expected him torn to pieces by that mob.”

“A bungled piece of business. I imagined that he was assured of success. A sorry spectacle to allow them to slip from his grasp so easily.”

“Margaret, you do not understand a mob. They are as fickle as a weather-cock. The least attraction sways them.”

“Who did it? Have you yet learned?”

“No. A bedraggled loafer, gifted with more talk than occupation. He was acquainted with the whole scheme from beginning to end, and worked upon their feelings with evidences of treason. The sudden mention of my name in connection with the plot threw cold water on the whole business. They were on their feet in an instant.”

“You are quite popular,” was the taunt.

“Evidently. The pass inspired them. It would defeat any purpose, and Anderson must have sensed it and taken his hurried departure. No one has since heard or seen aught of him.”

“He was a fool to drag you into this, and you were as great a fool to allow it.”

“Margaret, don't chide me in that manner. I did what I thought best. But I'm through now with these cursed Catholics and with France.”

“You are a free man now,” she murmured.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that this court-martial relieves you of any further obligation to the colonies,” was the answer.

“But I may still be Second in command.”

She paused to regard him. Did he continue to cherish ambitions of this nature; or was he attempting to jest with her?

“You seem to forget Gates and the Congress,” she said with manifest derision.

“No. In spite of them.”

She lost all patience.

“Listen! Don't flatter yourself any longer. Your cause is hopeless, as hopeless as the cause for which the stupid colonists are contending. You are now free to put an end to this strife. Go over to the enemy and persuade Washington and the leaders of the revolt to discuss terms.”

“Impossible!”

“What is impossible? Simply announce your defection; accept the terms of His Majesty's government; and invite Adams, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton and Washington to meet you. There is the assurance of all save complete independence.”

“I shall wait.”

“For what? The court-martial will be against you from the start. Mark my words. You will be found guilty, if not actually, at least technically. They are determined upon revenge and they are going to have it. You saw the paper?”

“I did.”

“You read the list of charges?”

He did not answer. He had sunk into his chair and his hands were clasped before him. He was engaged in a detailed series of thought.

“How many of them were artificial? Except for the first, that about the pass, none are worth the reading, and the first never can be proved. They have no evidence apart from the fanatical ravings of a drunken Catholic. But wait! You shall be adjudged guilty in the end. See if I am not correct.”

“I have the right to question the composition of the court!”

“What matter! You know the people detest you. They have hated you from the moment you set foot in this city. Every issue of the paper found some new grievance against you. And when you married me the bomb was exploded. You yourself know that it was the mere fact of your participation in this scheme that quelled it. They loathe you, I tell you. They hate you.”

Silence reigned in the room as she finished. His eyes were closed and he gave every appearance of having fallen into a deep sleep. His mind was keenly alert, however, and digested every word she uttered. At length he arose from his composure and limped to the window at the further end of the room.

“I shall ask for a new command,” he said quietly, “and we shall be removed for all time from this accursed place. I shall do service again.”

“Better to await developments. Attend to your trial first. Plan for the future later.”

“I shall obey the wishes of the people.”

“The people! A motley collection of fools! They have eyes and ears but no more. They know everything and can do nothing.”

“I don't know what to do. I....”

“I told you what to do,” she interrupted his thought and finished it for him. “I told you to join Anderson. I told you to go to New York and make overtures to General Clinton. That's what you should do. Seek respect and power and honor for your old age.”

“That I shall not do. Washington loves me and my people will not desert me to my enemies. The court-martial is the thing.”

“As you say. But remember my prophecy.”

He turned and again sought his chair. She arose to assist him into it.

“I wonder who that fellow could be! He knew it all.”

“Did you not hear?”

“No. I have seen no one who could report to me. The details were missing.”

“Did you ever stop to think of the spy in the garden?”

“I did.”

“That was the man, I am sure. You know his body has not been found, and if I am not mistaken, it was present at that meeting hall.”

“We shall learn of his identity. We shall learn.”

“Too late! Too late!”

He again dozed off while she watched him. For several minutes they sat in this manner until she stole out of the room and left him alone. Soon he was wrapped in the arms of a gentle slumber. Some time later she aroused him.

CHAPTER X

I

A fortnight later there came to the Allison home a messenger from Stephen in the person of Sergeant Griffin. He appeared at the doorway just as the shroud of eventide was being enfolded about the landscape, changing its hues of green and gray to the more somber ones of blue or purple; just at the time when the indoor view of things is about to be made apparent only by the artificial beams of the tallow and dip.

“Hail!” he said; “I have business with Matthew Allison.”

“From Stephen?” Marjorie asked with evident interest.

He shook his head.

“The trial——”

“Oh!” exclaimed Marjorie. Plainly she was relieved at the nature of the message. Then she turned.

“Father!” she called.

“I am coming directly,” cried Mr. Allison from the rear.

She had clear forgotten to invite the sergeant into the room, so absorbed was she in the nature of the business at hand. Expectancy breeds cowardice. When great issues are at stake every act wears an awful meaning. For this reason she stood transfixed at the threshold, before this unexpected arrival, whom she associated with the image of Stephen. With the sudden and delightful lessening of her anxiety, however, she bethought herself.

“Won't you come in? It was stupid of me not to have asked you before.”

The sergeant acted promptly. Marjorie followed at a little distance, but had no sooner entered the room herself than her father came through the other door.

“What news? Arnold?”

“Found guilty,” was the response.

“The court-martial has come to an end?” asked the girl.

“Yes, Miss. And he has been found guilty,” he repeated.

“I thought so,” muttered Mr. Allison.

They were seated now in the parlor, the two men at opposite ends of the table, the girl at the side of the room.

“They met at Morristown?” asked Mr. Allison.

“Yes. At Norris' Tavern. Major-General Howe was chairman of the court. Only four charges were pressed for trial: the matter of the pass; the affair of the wagons; the shops; and the imposition upon the militia.”

“And Arnold?”

“He managed his own trial, and conducted his own cross-examination. He made an imposing spectacle as he limped before the court. The sword knots of Washington were about his waist and he took pains to allude to them several times during the defense. It was astonishing to hear his remarkable flow of language and his display of knowledge of military law. He created a wonderful impression.”

“He was found guilty, you say?” interposed Mr. Allison.

“Technically guilty of one charge and imprudent in another,” was the deliberate reply.

“And sentenced?”

“To receive a reprimand from the Commander-in-chief.”

Mr. Allison assented by a move of his head.

“How did he take it?” he then asked. “I cannot imagine his proud nature to yield readily to rebuke.”

The visitor thought for a moment.

“His face was ashen pale; there was a haggard look upon it; the eyes were marked with deep circles and his step faltered as he turned on his heel and, without a word, made his way from the court room.”

“Were you present at the trial?” Marjorie inquired.

“Yes, Miss Allison.”

“Was Stephen?”

“No.” The sergeant answered mildly, smiling as he did so.

Marjorie smiled, too.

“Tell me,” Mr. Allison asked. “Was the evidence conclusive?”

“The Isis occupied the court to some length. It was contended that General Arnold had issued the pass with evil intent. The affair of the regiment was referred to in connection with this, but no great stress was brought to bear upon it because of the fear of arousing a possible prejudice in the minds of the court. That fact was introduced solely as a motive.”

Allison shook his head again.

“It was proved,” the sergeant continued, “that the Isis was a Philadelphia schooner, manned by Philadelphia men, and engaged in the coastwise trade. The pass itself was introduced as an exhibit, to support the contention that the General, while Military Governor, had given military permission for the vessel to leave the harbor of Philadelphia for the port of New York, then in possession of the enemy.”

“That was proved?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Was the Regiment alluded to?”

“Yes. But at no great length.”

“And the pass?”

“It was there. The Regiment was the motive for the pass. The affair of the recruiting was scarcely mentioned.”

There was an abrupt silence.

“What was the next charge?” Mr. Allison asked.

“That of the wagons.”

“Yes.”

“The prosecution made a strong point. Jesse Jordan was introduced. Testimony was given by him to the effect that he himself had drawn back a train of twelve wagons loaded with stores from Egg Harbor.”

“Where?”

“Egg Harbor. Where the traffic between the British Army and the Tories of the city was carried on.”

“Was this sustained?”

“The General denied most of the accusation, but he was found imprudent in his actions. In regard to the other two charges, that of the shops and that of the militia, absolute acquittal was decided. The verdict was announced the following morning and the sentence was published immediately after adjournment.”

“He was sentenced to be reprimanded, you tell me?”

“Yes. By General Washington.”

“That will break Arnold's heart. He will never endure it.”

“Others were obliged to endure it,” sounded a soft voice.

“Yes, I know,” replied the father of the girl. “But you do not know General Arnold. Undoubtedly the city has the news.”

“Yes,” said the sergeant. “I have told several. All know it ere this.”

II

And what subject could possibly afford more of concern or consequence to the city folk than the court-martial of General Arnold! Those of the upper class, because of their intimate association with the man; those of the middle class, interested more or less in the great significance attached to the event itself and the influence it would exert upon the future; those of the lower class because of their supreme contempt for the erstwhile Military Governor and the biased manner of his administration, all, without exception, found themselves manifesting an uncommon interest in the progress and the issue of the trial.

It was commonly known that General Arnold had requested a court-martial; but it was not so commonly understood that the matter of his guilt, especially his collusion with the Catholic Regiment and the matter of its transportation, was so intricate or profound. Stephen's speech at the meeting house had given the public the first inkling of the Governor's complicity in the affair; still this offense had been condoned by the many, as usually happens with the crimes of great men who occupy stations of honor, whose misdemeanors are often enshrouded and borne away into oblivion beneath the veil of expediency and interest of the common weal. A court-martial would indeed take place; but its verdict would be one of absolute acquittal.

To hold court at some neutral post was just. No charge of unfairness could then be lodged. Nor could the personnel of the court be regarded as hostile to the accused, for the latter had already raised an objection to its composition which had been sustained and heeded. The charges were dealt with fairly, only four of the eight counts in the original indictment being allowed to come within the jurisdiction of a military tribunal. Even the General was permitted to conduct his own trial and every courtesy and attention was granted him.

Only two charges bore any evidence of guilt. The pass was issued with deliberate intent. That was proved by the testimony of several witnesses as well as by the introduction of the pass itself. Arnold defended himself on the ground that there were no authorities in the city of New York to be offended by the entrance of the vessel, and also the fact that since the Commander-in-chief had lodged no complaint over the alleged offense to his dignity, it was logical to infer that His Excellency took no offense at the order. In regard to the charge of misuse of the government wagons, it was revealed that traffic had been carried on between Egg Harbor and the city of Philadelphia, and that full loads had been delivered to several private families of the city. Arnold denied any knowledge of the destination of these wagons, although he was aware that they were being used.

His defense, it was learned, consisted of a long plea, in which he rehearsed in detail the leading events of his life. He was fond of alluding to his past and entertained no diffidence whatsoever in regard to his own abilities. He hoped thereby to impress the court and to intimidate them.

The charges he denounced as false, malicious, and scandalous, inspired solely by motives of animosity and revenge. He was not accustomed to carry on a warfare with women, he told the court, nor did he ever bask in the sunshine of any one's favor. Honorable acquittal of all the charges brought against him was pleasantly expected by him and he looked forward to the day when he might share again with his fellow-soldiers the glory and the dangers of the war.

But he was not acquitted, and the verdict of the court came no less as a surprise to the people of the city and of the nation than to the General himself. The following morning they met to pronounce the verdict and they found that on the first charge Major General Arnold had exceeded his rights in giving permission for a vessel to leave port without the knowledge of the City Authorities or of the Commander-in-chief; and as such he was found to have violated technically Article Five, Section Eighteen of the American Articles of War. The second and third charges were dismissed, but he was found to have been imprudent in his temporary use of the wagons. Because of his guilt on these two counts he was sentenced to receive a reprimand from His Excellency, the Commander-in-chief.

He left the court room without a word.

III

“It is precisely what I fear most,” Mr. Allison said. “If he curried less the favor of the public, little or naught would come of it, and the reprimand would end the case. But you know Arnold is a conceited man; one who carries his head high. Better to deprive him of life itself than to apply vinegar and gall to his parched lips.”

“His return will be hard,” Sergeant Griffin observed. He, too, knew the character of the man.

“I doubt if he will return. He has resigned, you know, and may dislike the sight of the city which witnessed his misfortune. Still this is his home and a man's heart is in his home regardless of its environment.”

“Do not forget Peggy,” Marjorie reminded them. “I know she will never consent to live in the city. I know it. Dear me! The shame of it all would confuse her.”

“She might become accustomed to it,” replied her father. “All school themselves to the mutations of life.”

“Not Peggy. I know her. She will not forgive. Why, I recall quite vividly the violence of her temper and the terror of her wrath. Her own aunt, with whom she was staying for a brief space, took occasion to reprove her for a slight indiscretion. Peggy resented the correction fiercely, and leaving the house at once vowed she never would set foot into it again. That was seven years ago. She has, to my knowledge, never violated that pledge.”

Her father shook his head.

“I see it all quite clearly,” continued Marjorie. “The General will resent the wrong; Peggy will nurture a fierce indignation. Whatever thoughts of revenge will come to his mind she will ably promote. Have a care to her; her wrath will know no mitigation.”

“He never expected the verdict,” the sergeant remarked.

“How did he appear?” asked Mr. Allison.

“Splendid. As he entered the court he laughed and jested with several officers with all the self-possession of one of the eye-witnesses. Flashes of the old-time energy and courage were manifest at intervals. There was jubilation displayed on his every feature.”

“He was jocose, you say?”

“Extremely so.”

“Was this before the trial?”

“Yes. As he entered the Tavern.”

“Was Peggy with him?”

“No, indeed. It was not permissible for her to enter. She awaited him outside.”

“And yet he maintained his composure throughout.”

“He seemed to take delight in relating the resolutions of Congress, its thanks, its gifts, for the many campaigns and the brilliant services rendered his country. His promotions, his horse, his sword, his epaulets and sword-knots, all were recounted and recited enthusiastically.”

Mr. Allison looked at Marjorie and smiled.

“Only once did he lose his self-possession. Near the end of his plea he forgot himself and called his accusers a lot of 'women.' This produced a smile throughout the court room; then he regained his composure.”

He paused.

“That was all?” asked Mr. Allison.

“I think so. The court adjourned for the day. On the following morning the verdict was announced. I came here direct.”

When he had finished he sat quite still. It was approaching a late hour and he saw that he had overstayed his leave. Still the gravity of the occasion required it.

It was these thoughts regarding the future, far more than any great poignancy of grief respecting General Arnold and his present misfortune, that affected this small group. It seemed to them that the events which had of late happened were not without grave and serious consequence. General Arnold was a man of prominence and renown. To lead such a figure to the bar of justice and to examine and determine there in a definite manner his guilt before the whole world was a solemn piece of business. It meant that the new republic was fearless in its denunciation of wrong; that it was intent upon the exercise of those precepts of justice and equity which were written into the bill of rights, the violation of which by a foreign power had constituted originally a set of true grievances; and that it was actuated by a solemn resolution never to permit within its own borders the commission of any of those wrongs which it had staked its life and consecrated its purpose as a nation to destroy. General Arnold was a big man, generous in service to his country, honored as one of its foremost sons, but he was no bigger than the institution he was helping to rear. The chastisement inflicted upon him was a reflection upon the state; but it also was a medication for its own internal disorders.

The fact that the ruling powers of the city were bitterly opposed to the Military Governor was not wholly indicative of the pulse of the people. General Arnold was ever regarded with the highest esteem by the members of the army. A successful leader, a brave soldier, a genial comrade, he was easily the most beloved general after General Washington. With the citizen body of Philadelphia he was on fairly good terms,—popular during the early days of his administration, although somewhat offensive of late because of his indiscretion and impetuosity. Still he was not without his following, and whereas he had made himself odious to a great number of people by his manner of life and of command, there were a greater number of people who were ready to condone his faults out of regard for his brilliant services in the past.

His enemies gloated over his misfortune. Everybody believed that, and it was commonly understood that General Arnold believed it, too. But would he overcome his enemies by retrieving the past and put to shame their vulgar enthusiasm by rising to heights of newer and greater glory? Or would he yield to the more natural propensities of retaliation or despair? A man is no greater than the least of his virtues; but he who has acquired self-control has founded a virtuous inheritance.

With thoughts of this nature were the trio occupied. For several minutes no one spoke. Mr. Allison leaned against the table, his right arm extended along its side, playing with a bodkin that lay within reach; the sergeant sat in silence, watching the face of his entertainer; while Marjorie lolled in her great chair, her eyes downcast, heavy, like two great weights. At length Sergeant Griffin made as if to go. Marjorie arose at once to bid him adieu.

“You said you came direct?” she reminded him.

“Yes, Miss Allison.”

“You saw——” she hesitated, but quickly added, “Captain Meagher?”

She would have said “Stephen” but bethought herself.

“No, Miss. Not since the trial.”

“He was not present?”

“No. He is with His Excellency. Several days ago I saw him and he bade me come here with the report of the finding.”

“That was all?”

“Yes, Miss.”

“Thank you. We can never repay your kindness.”

“Its performance was my greatest delight.”

“Thank you. Good night!”

She withdrew into the hall.

CHAPTER XI

I

More sin is attributed to the ruling passion of a man than to the forbidden pleasures of the world, or the violent assaults of the Evil One. Under its domination and tyranny the soul suffers shipwreck and destruction on the rocks of despair and final impenitence. It frequently lies buried beneath the most imperturbable countenance, manifesting itself only at times, often on the occasion of some unusual joy or sadness. It responds to one antidote; but the antidote requires a man of coarse fiber for its self-administration.

In this respect General Arnold was not a strong man. If he had acted upon himself wholly from without, as if he were not himself, and had cultivated a spirit of humility and abnegation of self, together with a considerateness and softness of manner towards those at whose hands he had suffered, he would have stifled his pangs of wounded pride and self-love, and emerged a victor over himself in the contest. He might have recognized his own imperfections to a tolerable degree which would have disinclined him to censoriousness, not to say rashness. By maintaining an evenness of temper and equality of spirits during the days of his sore affliction, he might have reconsidered his decisions of haste and ultimate disaster, and be led to the achievement of newer and nobler triumphs.

But he did not. Instead he gave way at once to a violence of anger which was insurmountable. There was engendered within him feelings of revenge of the most acrid nature. His self-love had been humiliated and crushed before the eyes of a garrulous world. His vanity and his prestige had been ground in the dust. There was no consideration save the determination for an immediate and effectual revenge.

“Don't worry, my dear,” Peggy had whispered to him on the way home. “Try not to think of it.”

“Think of it?... God! I'll show them. They'll pay for this.”

Apart from that he had not spoken to her during the entire journey. Morose, sullen, brutal, he had nursed his anger until his countenance fairly burned from the tension within. He slammed the door with violence; he tore the epaulets from his shoulders and threw them beyond the bed; he ripped his coat and kicked it across the floor. No! He would not eat. He wanted to be alone. Alone with himself, alone with his wrath, alone with his designs for revenge.

“The cowards! And I trusted them.”

He could not understand his guilt. There was no guilt, only the insatiable lust on the part of his enemies for vengeance. The execution came first, then the trial. There was no accusation; he had been condemned from the start. The public, at whose hands he had long suffered, who reviled and oppressed him with equal vehemence, who had elevated him to the topmost niche of glory, and as promptly crumbled the column beneath his feet and allowed him to crash to the ground, now gloated over their ruined and heartbroken victim with outrageous jubilation. They were on destruction bent, and he the victim of their stupid spite.

If he could not understand his culpability, neither could he apprehend fully and vividly the meaning of his sentence. To be reprimanded by the Commander-in-chief! Better to be found guilty by the court and inflicted with the usual military discipline. His great sense of pride could not, would not suffer him to be thus humiliated at the hands of him from whom he had previously been rewarded with so many favors, and in whom he had lodged his most complete esteem and veneration. He could not endure it, that was all; and what was more he would not.

He decided to leave the city forever. Then the howl of contumely could not pursue him; it would grow faint with the distance. He was no longer Military Governor, and never would he reassume that thankless burden. He would retire to private life far removed from the savage envy of these aspiring charlatans. Unhappy memories and wretched degradation would close his unhappy days and shroud his name with an unmerited and unjust obloquy.

His wife had been correct in her prognostications. The court, like the public mind, which it only feebly reflected, had been prejudiced against him from the start. The disgust which he entertained of the French Alliance was only intensified the more by the recent proceedings of Congress, and perhaps he might listen more attentively now to her persuasions to go over to the British side. He would be indemnified, of course; but it was revenge he was seeking, on which account he would not become an ordinary deserter. He had been accustomed to playing heroic rôles, and he would not become a mere villain now at this important juncture. This blundering Congress would be overwhelmed by the part he would play in his new career, and he would carry back in triumph his country to its old allegiance.

Gradually his anger resolved itself into vindictive machination, which grew in intensity as it occupied him the more. He might obtain the command of the right wing of the American army, and at one stroke accomplish what George Monk had achieved for Charles the Second. It was not so heinous a crime to change sides in a civil war, and history has been known to reward the memory of those who performed such daring and desperate exploits. His country will have benefited by his signal effort, and his enemies routed at the same time in the shame of their own confusion. He would open negotiations with Sir Henry Clinton over an assumed name to test the value of his proposals.

“They'll pay me before I am through. I shall endure in history, with the Dukes of Albemarle and Marlborough.”

As he mused over the condition of affairs and the possibilities of the situation, he wandered into the great room, where he saw two letters lying on the center table. Picking them up, he saw that one was addressed to Mrs. Arnold, the other to himself. He tore open his letter and read the signature. It bore the name of John Anderson.

II

The writer went on to say that he had arrived in safety in the city of New York, after a hurried and forced departure from Philadelphia. The meeting was terminated in a tumult because of the deliberate and fortunate appeal of an awkward mountebank, who was possessed with a fund of information which was fed to the crowd both skillfully and methodically; and by the successful coupling of the name of General Arnold with the proposed plot, had overwhelmed the minds of the assembly completely.

He revealed the fact that the members of the court had already bound themselves in honor to prefer charges against General Arnold in order that the powerful Commonwealth of Pennsylvania might be placated. He did not know the result of the trial, but predicted that there would be but one verdict and that utterly regardless of the evidence.

“Hm!” muttered Arnold to himself.

The British Government, he added, was already in communication with the American Generals, with the exception of Washington, and was desirous of opening correspondence with General Arnold. Every one knew that he was the bravest and the most deserving of the American leaders and should be the Second in Command of the rebel forces. The British knew, too, of the indignities which had been heaped upon him by an unappreciative and suspicious people, and they recommended that some heroic deed be performed by him in the hope of bringing this unnecessary and bloody contest to a close.

Seven thousand pounds would be offered at once, together with an equal command, in the army of His Majesty, and with a peerage in the realm. In return he would be asked to exert his influence in favor of an amicable adjustment of the difficulties between the colonies and the mother country. General Clinton was ready to begin negotiations after the advice and under the conditions proposed by General Arnold, which might be interchanged by means of a correspondence maintained with a certain ambiguity.

“Egad!” He set his lips; then he turned to the beginning of the paragraph. The offer was interesting.

Anderson then went on to relate what already had been suggested to him during the night of their conversation in the park at his magnificent home, the exigencies of the country, the opportunity for a master stroke at the hands of a courageous man, who would unite His Majesty's people under a common banner, and who might command thereby the highest honors of life.

He reminded him that it was possible to obtain a command of the right wing of the American Army, a post only commensurate with his ability, which command might be turned against the rebel forces in the hope that an immediate end might be made of the fratricidal war. There would be no humiliating peace terms. There would be no indemnities, no reprisals, no annexations nor disavowals. The principles for which the colonists contended would be granted, with the sole exception of complete independence. They would have their own Parliament; they would be responsible for their own laws, their own taxes, their own trade. It would be a consummation devoutly desired by both parties, and the highest reward and honor awaited the American General who bound himself to the effectual realization of these views.

“Announce your defection, return to the royal cause, agree to the terms which His Majesty's peace commissioners will make, and earn the everlasting gratitude of your countrymen, like Monk and Churchill.”

So the letter concluded with the humble respects and obediences of John Anderson. Arnold did not fold it, but continued to stare at it for several minutes, as if trying to decide upon some definite course of action in regard to it. At length he arose and limped to the desk, and, drawing out from its small drawer several sheets of paper, began his reply.

But he did not conclude it. Hearing footfalls in the hallway, he hastily folded the several papers, Anderson's letter included, and stuck them into his breast pocket. He sat motionless, with the pen poised in his hand, as Peggy entered.

III

“You here?” she asked.

He did not reply, nor make any movement.

“Another resignation? or applying for a new command?”

He now turned full about and faced her.

“No. I was just thinking.”

“Of what?”

She stood before him, her arms akimbo.

“Of many things. First of all we must leave here.”

“When?”

“I don't know.”

“Well then, where?”

“To New York.”

“Do you mean it?”

Now she sat down, pulling a chair near to him in order that she might converse the more readily.

“I am thinking of writing for a new command in the army.”

He thought best not to tell her of his original purpose in writing, nor of the letter which he had received from Anderson. Whatever foul schemes he may have concocted, he did not desire to acquaint her with their full nature. Enough for her to know that he intended to defect without her being a party to the plot.

“Did I interrupt you? Pardon me!” she made as if to go.

“Stay. That can wait. You were right. They were against me.”

“I felt it all the time. You know yourself how they despise you.”

“But I never thought——”

“What?” was the interruption. “You never thought? You did, but you were not man enough to realize it. Reed would stop at nothing, and if the colonists gain complete independence, the Catholic population will give you no peace. That you already know. You have persecuted them.”

“What are they? A bare twenty or twenty-five thousand out of a population of, let us say, three million.”

“No matter. They will grow strong after the war. Unfortunately they have stuck true to the cause.”

“Bah! I despise them. It is the others, the Congress, Lincoln, Gates, Lee, Wayne. They will acquire the honors. Washington will be king.”

“And you?”

“I'm going to change my post.”

She smiled complacently, and folded her arms.

“Under Washington?”

She knew better, but she made no attempt to conceal her feigned simplicity.

He looked at her without comment.

Whether he shrunk from unfolding to her the sickening details of his despicable plan, or whether he judged it sufficient for her to know only the foul beginnings of his treason without being initiated into its wretched consummation; whether it was due to any of these reasons or simply to plain indifference or perhaps to both, he became unusually silent on this subject from this moment onward. It was enough for her to realize that he had been shabbily treated by the Congress and by the people, that he had long considered the American cause hopeless and had abandoned his interest in it on account of the recent alliance with the government of France. In her eyes he thought it would be heroic for him to resign his command, and even to defect to the side of the enemy on these grounds,—on the strength of steadfastly adhering to his ancient principles. He knew well that she had counseled such a step and was enthusiastic in urging its completion, nevertheless he sensed that the enormity and the depravity of his base design was too revolting, too shocking, for even her ears. He would not even acquaint her with Anderson's letter nor with the purpose he had of concurring with the proposition it contained.

“Did you receive a letter from Anderson?” she asked suddenly.

“Yes. He wrote to inform me that he had escaped in safety and is now in New York.”

“No more?”

“No. He did comment on the frustration of the plot, and expressed a desire to learn the identity of the disturber.”

“You will tell him?”

“Later. Not now.”

There was a pause.

“Do you intend to take active part in the coming campaigns? You know your leg will prevent you from leading a strenuous life in the field. Why not ask for some other post, or retire to private life? I want to get out of this city.”

“I am about to write for a new command. I have one friend left in the person of His Excellency, and he will not leave me 'naked to mine enemies,' as the great Wolsey once said.”

“But he is to reprimand you,” she reminded him.

“No matter. That is his duty. I blame the people and the court which was enslaved to them for my humiliation. They shall pay for it, however.”

“Let us leave together. Announce your desire of joining arms with the British and let us set out at once for New York. Mr. Anderson will take care of the details. You know his address?”

“Yes.”

“You have fought the war alone; end it alone. Settle your claims with the government and let us sell our house.”

“Our house? This is yours, Margaret, and, by God, they shall not deprive you of it. No! We will not sell our house. This is yours for life, and our children's.”

“Well, we can rent it for the present. For, if you go, I am going, too.”

“Very well. We shall see what the future holds out for us. Give me that stool.”

He pointed to the small chair over against her. She arose at once and set it before him. He placed his foot upon it.

“When I think of what I have done for them and then compare their gratitude. Congress must owe me at least six or seven thousand pounds, not to mention my life's blood which never can be replaced. I have been a fool, a fool who does not know his own mind.”

“Didn't I predict what the outcome would be? I felt this from the moment Anderson left. And what were you charged with? A technical violation of the code of war. There was no actual guilt nor any evidence in support of the charge. Were the least shadow of a fault in evidence, you may be assured that it would have been readily found. You were innocent of the charge. But you were technically guilty that they might plead excuse for their hate.”

“I know it, girl ... I know it ... I see it all now. I tried hard to disbelieve it.” He seemed sad, as he muttered his reply and slowly shook his head.

He was still for a moment and then sat suddenly upright.

“But by the living God!” It was surprising how quickly he could pass from mood to mood. Now the old-time fire gleamed in his eyes. Now the unrestrained, impetuous, passionate General, the intrepid, fearless leader of Quebec, Ridgefield, Saratoga, revealed himself with all his old-time energy and determination of purpose.

“By the living God!” he repeated with his hand high in the air, his fist clenched, “They shall pay me double for every humiliation, for every calumny, for every insult I have had to endure. They sought cause against me; they shall find it.”

“Hush! My dear,” cautioned Peggy, “not so loud. The servants will overhear you.”

“The world shall overhear me before another month. Revenge knows no limit and is a sweet consolation to a brave man. I shall shame this profligate Congress, and overwhelm my enemies with no mean accomplishment, but with an achievement worthy of my dignity and power. They shall pay me. Ha! they shall; by God! They shall.”

Peggy arose at his violent outbreak, fearing lest she might antagonize him the more. It was useless to talk further, for he was enraged to a point beyond all endurance. She would leave him alone, hoping that he would recover his normal state again.

She walked to the window as if to look out. Then she turned and vanished through the doorway into the hall.

IV

Several days later a courier rode up to the door and summoned General Arnold before him, into whose care he delivered a letter from the Headquarters of the Commander-in-chief. Strangely excited, the General failed to perceive the identity of the messenger as he saluted and made the usual brief inquiries. Only after the courier was well down the road did the memory of his strangely familiar face recur to him. But he was too preoccupied with the document to give him any more attention. Breaking the seal he scanned the introductory addresses and read his reprimand from his Commander-in-chief, a reprimand couched in the tenderest language, a duty performed with the rarest delicacy and tact.

“Our profession is the chastest of all,” it read. “Even the shadow of a fault tarnishes the luster of our finest achievements. The least inadvertence may rob us of the public favor so hard to be acquired. I reprimand you for having forgotten that, in proportion as you have rendered yourself formidable to our enemies, you should have been guarded and temperate in your deportment towards your fellow citizens. Exhibit anew those noble qualities which have placed you on the list of our most valued commanders. I myself will furnish you, as far as it may be in my power, with opportunities of regaining the esteem of your country.”

Slipping it again into its envelope, he slammed the door.

PART THREE

CHAPTER I

I

In one of those wide indentations along the eastern shore of the Schuylkill River, there opens out in tranquil seclusion a spacious cove. The waters wander here to rest, it seems, before resuming their voluminous descent to the Delaware and the sea. Trees and saplings wrapped about with close-clinging vines hang far over the water's edge like so many silent sentinels on guard before the spot, their luxuriant foliage weighing their bending twigs almost to the surface. Green lily-pads and long ribboned water grass border the water's curve, and toss gently in the wind ripples as they glide inwards with just murmur enough to lull one to quiet and repose.

Into this scene, placid, clear, though of a deep and dark green under the overhanging leaves, stole a small canoe with motion enough scarcely to ruffle the top of the water. A paddle noiselessly dipped into the undisturbed surface and as noiselessly emerged again, leaving behind only a series of miniature eddies where the waters had closed after their penetration. A small white hand, hanging lazily over the forward side of the tiny craft, played in the soft, limpid water, and made a furrow along the side of the boat that glistened like so many strings of sparkling jewels.

“So you are going away again tomorrow?” Marjorie was saying as she continued to dabble in the water.

She lay partly reclining in the bow of the canoe, her back supported by a pillow. A meditative silence enshrouded her as she lay listless, unconcerned to all appearances, as to her whereabouts or destination. The while she thought, the more steadily she gazed at the waters as she splashed them gently and playfully. Like a caress the silence of the place descended upon her, and brought home to her the full import of her loneliness.

“In view of what you have disclosed to me, I think it only my duty,” Stephen replied as he lazily stroked the paddle.

Again there was silence.

“I wish you weren't going,” she finally murmured.

He looked straight at her, holding his arm motionless for the space of a moment.

“It is good of you to say that,” was the measured reply. “This has been a most delightful day, and I have enjoyed this glimpse of you very much.”

Raising her eyes she thanked him with a look.

“You must remember that it has been due to no fault of mine that I have seen so little of you,” he continued.

“Nor mine,” came back the whisper.

“True,” he said. “Events have moved so rapidly during the past month that I was enabled to keep abreast of them only with the greatest difficulty.”

“I daresay we all are proud of your achievement.”

“God has been good to us. I must thank you, too.”

“Me?” She grinned with contempt. “I am sure when the truth is known that I shall be found more an instrument of evil than of good.”

“I wish you would not say that.”

“I cannot say otherwise, for I know it to be true.”

“Do not depreciate your efforts. They have been invaluable to me. Remember, it was you who greatly confirmed my suspicions of Anderson. I did acquire some facts myself; but it was due to the information which you imparted to me that I was enabled to join together several ambiguous clews.”

“Really?”

“And you must remember that it was through your coöperation that my attention was first drawn to General Arnold.”

“You suspected him before our conversation. You, yourself, heard it from his own lips in the garden.”

“Yes, I did. But the note!”

“What note?”

“The note you gave me to read.”

“Peggy's letter which I found at her house?”

“The same. Have I never told you?”

“Never!” was the slow response. “You know you returned it to me without comment.”

He was puzzled. For he wondered how he had failed to acquaint her with so important an item.

“When you allowed me to take that letter you furnished me with my first clew.”

She aroused herself and looked seriously at him.

“I?... Why.... I never read it. What did it contain? I had supposed it to be a personal letter.”

“And so it was,—apparently. It proved to be a letter from one of Peggy's New York friends.”

“A Mischienza friend, undoubtedly.”

“Yes, Captain Cathcart. But it contained more. There was a cipher message.”

“In cipher?” Then after a moment. “Did she know of it?”

“I am inclined to think that she did. Otherwise it would not have been directed to her.”

This was news indeed. No longer did she recline against the seat of the canoe, but raised herself upright.

“How did you ever discover it?”

“My first reading of the note filled me with suspicion. Its tone was too impersonal. When I asked for it, I was impelled by the sole desire to study it the more carefully at my own leisure. That night I found certain markings over some of the letters. These I jotted down and rearranged until I had found the hidden message.”

She gazed at him in wonder.

“It was directed to her, I presume, because of her friendship with the Military Governor; and carried the suggestion that His Excellency be interested in the proposed formation of the Regiment. From that moment my energies were directed to one sole end. I watched Arnold and those whom he was wont to entertain. Eventually the trail narrowed down to Peggy and Anderson.”

She drew a deep breath, but said nothing.

“The night I played the spy in the park my theory was confirmed.”

“Yes, you told me of that incident. It was not far from here.”

She turned to search the distance behind her.

“No. Just down the shore behind his great house.” He pointed with his finger in the direction of Mount Pleasant.

“And Peggy was a party to the conspiracy!” she exclaimed with an audible sigh.

“She exercised her influence over Arnold from the start. She and Anderson were in perfect accord.”

“I am sorry. She has disappointed me greatly.”

“She has a very pretty manner and a most winsome expression; but she is extremely subtle and fully accomplished in all manner of artifice. She was far too clever for your frank simplicity.”

“I never suspected her for an instant.”

“It was she who set the trap for Arnold; it was she who made it possible for Anderson to rise to the heights of favor and influence; it was she who encouraged her husband in his misuse of authority; and I venture to say, it was she who rendered effective the degree of friendship which began to exist between yourself and this gentleman.”

Marjorie blushed at the irony.

They were drifting above the cove in the slowest manner. Only occasionally did he dip the paddle into the water to change the course of the little craft, or to push it ahead a little into the more shaded places. Marjorie did not assist in this, for he desired her to sit in the bow facing him, while he, himself, essayed the task of paddler. There was little of exertion, however, for the two had no other object in view than the company of their own selves. And so they drifted aimlessly about the stream.

“Yes, I think that I ought to leave tomorrow for White Plains to confer with His Excellency.”

“I should be the last to hinder you in the performance of duty. By all means, go.”

“Of course it may be no more than a suspicion, but if you are sure of what Anderson said, then I think that the matter should be brought to the attention of the Commander-in-chief.”

“Of course, you understand that Mr. Anderson told me nothing definite. But he did hint that General Arnold should be placed in command of a more responsible post in the American army; and that steps should be taken to have him promoted to the Second in Command.”

Stephen thought for a minute.

“That sounds innocent enough. But you must remember that events have come to light in the past fortnight which for months had lain concealed in the minds of these two men. Who knows but what this was included in their nefarious scheme. I am uneasy about it all, and must see the chief.”

“But you will come back?”

“At once unless prevented by a detail to a new field. I am subject at all times to the will of my leader.”

Her face fell.

II

The solemn stillness, the almost noiseless motion of the boat, the livid shades surrounding the place, all contributed to the mood of pensiveness and meditation which was rapidly stealing upon them. The very silence of the cove was infectious. Marjorie felt it almost immediately, and relaxed without a murmur.

A stream of thoughts began to course in continuous procession through her mind, awakening there whatever latent images lay buried in her memory, and fashioning new ideas and seemingly possible situations from her experiences of the past year. Now she suddenly discovered her former interest quickened to a violent degree. She was living over again the memories of the happy hours of other days.

Certainly Stephen was as constant as ever. To her discerning eye his manner of action conveyed no other impression. But he was the same enigma, however, as far as the communication of thought was concerned, and she knew no more of his pleasures and desires than she did of the inspirations of his soul.

It was the first time in months she had seen and taken delight in his own old self. Never had he been so attentive quite as John Anderson, nor so profuse in his protestations, nor so ready with his apologies. And what was more she did not expect him to be. But he was more sincere when it came to a question of unfolding one's own convictions, more engaging where will-power, propriety, performance of duty, were concerned. He alone possessed the rule to which all, in her own mind, were obliged to conform. And so she was compelled to admire him.

These fond memories suffered an interruption by a vision of the extreme disquietude produced upon Stephen by her unfortunate acquaintanceship with Mr. Anderson. And yet she had been profoundly sincere with herself. Never had she conveyed the impression to any man that she had given him a second sobering thought. Her home constituted for her a chief delight, her home, her devoted mother, her fond father. Peggy had been her sole companion previous to her marriage with the Governor; and whatever men she had met with were they who composed the gay assemblies at which her friend was the pretty hostess and she the invited guest. As far as Anderson was concerned, and Stephen, for that matter, she doubted if she had been in the company of either more than a dozen times in the course of her life. Certainly not enough to know either of them intimately.

Of the two men who had effected the most complete entrée into her society, Stephen had, unquestionably, impressed her the more favorably. For a time he seemed too far removed from her; and she failed to experience that sense of proportion between them so necessary for mutual regard. Perhaps it was due to this negation, or perhaps it was owing to her modest reserve, or perhaps to both, that whatever familiar intercourse, sympathy or affinity ought to have existed was naturally excluded. True friendship requires a certain equality, or at least a feeling of proportion between those whom it would bind together. And this she felt had not prevailed.

She did not pause to consider the correctness or the incorrectness of her inference. It was quite enough for her to know that this spirit of inequality existed. In his presence, however, she felt at perfect ease, wholly oblivious of everything save her own happiness, as she could now bear witness to, but alone with her thoughts the horrible imagining forced itself upon her and served to widen perceptibly the gulf between them. Reflection disconcerted her.

Happily, her enterprise respecting Anderson and his nefarious scheme had terminated successfully. Happily, too, Stephen's misconstruction of the affair had been corrected. No longer would he doubt her. Their fortunes had approached the crisis. It came. Anderson had fled town; Arnold and Peggy were removed from their lives perhaps for ever. Stephen was with her now and she experienced a sense of happiness beyond all human estimation. She would she could read his mind to learn there his own feelings. Was he, too, conscious of the same delights? A reciprocal feeling was alone necessary to complete the measure of her joy. But he was as non-communicative as ever, totally absorbed in this terrible business that obsessed him. Her riddle, she feared, would remain unanswered. Patriotism, it seemed, was more pressing than love.

The canoe had drifted nearer to the shore. At Stephen's suggestion she aroused herself from her lethargy and alighted on the bank. He soon followed, drawing the canoe on to the shore a little to prevent its wandering away. Marjorie walked through the grass, stooping to pick here and there a little flower which lay smiling at her feet. Stephen stood to one side and looked after her.

III

“Stephen,” she asked, as she returned to him and stood for a moment smiling straight at him, “will you tell me something?”

“Anything you ask,” he assured her. “What do you wish to know?”

But she did not inquire further. Her eyes were fixed in earnest attention upon the flowers which she began to arrange into a little bouquet.

“Are you still vexed with me?”

There! It was out. She looked at him coquettishly.

“Marjorie!” he exclaimed. “What ever caused you to say that?”

“I scarce know,” she replied. “I suppose I just thought so, that was all.”

“Would I be here now?” He tried to assure her with a tone of sincerity. “One need not hear a man speak to learn his mind.”

“Yes. But I thought——”

He seized hold of her hand.

“Come,” he said. “Won't you sit down while I tell you?”

She accepted his offer and allowed herself to be assisted.

“You thought that I was displeased with you on account of John Anderson,” he remarked as he took his place by her side. “Am I correct?”

She did not answer.

“And you thought, perhaps, that I scorned you?”

“Oh, no! Not that! I did not think that ... I ... I....”

“Well, then, that I lost all interest in you?”

She thought for a second. Then she smiled as if she dared not say what was in her mind.

“Listen. I shall tell you. I did not reprove you with so much as a fault. I know well that it is next to impossible to be in the frequent presence of an individual without experiencing at some time some emotion. He becomes continually repugnant, or else exceedingly fascinating. The sentiments of the heart never stand still.”

“Yes, I know,—but....”

“I did think that you had been fascinated. I concluded that you had been charmed by John Anderson's manner. Because I had no desire of losing your good will, I did ask you to avoid him, but at the same time, I did not feel free enough to cast aspersions upon his character and so change your good opinion of him. The outcome I never doubted, much as I was disturbed over the whole affair. I felt that eventually you would learn for yourself.”

“But why did you not believe in me? I tried to give you every assurance that I was loyal....”

“The fault lay in my enforced absence from you, and in the nature of the circumstances which combined against you. I knew Anderson; but I was unaware of your own thought or purpose. My business led me on one occasion to your home where I found you ready to entertain him. The several other times in which I found you together caused me to think that you, too, had been impressed by him.”

Marjorie sat silent. She was pondering deeply the while he spoke and attempted to understand the emotions that had fought in his heart. She knew very well that he was sincere in his confession, and that she had been the victim of circumstances; still she thanked God that the truth had been revealed to him.

“Sometimes I feel as if I had been simply a tool in his hands, and that I had been worsted in the encounter.”

“You have had no reason to think that. You perhaps unconsciously gave him some information concerning the members of our faith, their number, their lot, their ambitions,—but you must remember, too, that he had given some valuable information to you in return. The man may have been sincere with you from the beginning.”

“No! I think neither of us were sincere. The memory of it all is painful; and I regret exceedingly of having had to play the part of the coquette.”

A great silence stole upon them. He looked out over the river at the wavelets dancing gleefully in the sunlight, as they ran downstream with the current as if anxious to outstrip it to the sea. She grew tired of the little flowers and looked about to gather others. Presently she bethought herself and took from her bodice what appeared to be a golden locket. Stephen, attracted by her emotion, saw the trinket at once, its bright yellow frame glistening in the sun.

“Have you ever seen this?” she asked as she looked at it intently.

He extended his hand in anticipation. She gave it to him.

“Beautiful!” he exclaimed. “How long have you had this?”

“About a year,” she replied nonchalantly, and clasped her hands about her knees.

He leaned forward and continued to study it for the longest time. He held it near to him and then at arm's length. Then he looked at her.

“It is beautiful,” he repeated. “It is a wonderful likeness, and yet I should say that it does not half express the winsomeness of your countenance.” He smiled generously at her blushes as he returned it to her.

“It was given me by John Anderson,” she declared.

“It is a treasure. And it is richly set.”

“He painted it himself and brought it to me after that night at Peggy's.”

“I always said that he possessed extraordinary talents. I should keep that as a commemoration of your daring enterprise.”

“Never. I purpose to destroy all memory of him.”

“You have lost nothing, and have gained what books cannot unfold. Observation and experience are the prime educators.”

“But exceedingly severe.”

“Come,” said Stephen. “Let us not allude to him again. It grieves you. He has passed from your life forever.”

“Forever!” she repeated.

And as if by a mighty effort she drew back her arm and flung the miniature far from her in the direction of the river. On a sudden there was a splash, a gulp of the waters, and a little commotion as they hurriedly came together and folded over their prey.

“Marjorie!” he shouted making an attempt to restrain her. It was too late.

“What have you done?” he asked.

She displayed her empty hands and laughed.

“Forever!” she repeated, opening her arms with a telling gesture. “I never should have accepted it, but I was strangely fascinated by it, I suppose.”

For the moment neither spoke; he felt as if he could not speak; and she looked like a child, her cheeks aglow with the exertion, and her eyes alight with merriment. Stephen looked intently at her and as she perceived his look, a very curious change came across her face. He saw it at once, although he did not think of it until afterwards.

“Marjorie,” he said as he moved nearer to her and slipped his arm very gently about her. “You must have known for the longest time, from my actions, from my incessant attentions, from my words, the extent of my feeling for you. It were idle of me to attempt to give expression to it. It cannot be explained. It must be perceived; and you, undoubtedly, have perceived it.”

There was no response. She remained passive, her eyes on the ground, scarcely realizing what he was saying.

“I think you know what I am going to say. I am very fond of you. But you must have felt more; some hidden voice must have whispered often to you that I love you.”

He drew her to him and raised both her hands to his lips.

She remonstrated.

“Stephen!” she said.

He drew back sadly. She became silent, her head lowered, her eyes downcast, intent upon the hands in her lap. With her fingers she rubbed away the caress. She was thinking rapidly, yet her face betrayed no visible emotion, whether of joy, or surprise, or resentment. Only her cheek danced with a ray of sunshine, a stolen reflection from the joyous waves.

“Marjorie,” he said gently, “please forgive me. I meant no harm.”

She made a little movement as if to speak.

“I had to tell you,” he continued. “I thought you understood.”

She buried her face in her hands; her frame shook violently. Stephen was confused a little; for he thought that she had taken offense. He attempted to reassure her.

“Marjorie. Please.... I give you my word I shall never mention this subject again. I am sorry, very sorry.”

She dried her eyes and looked at her handkerchief. Then she stood up.

“Come, let us go,” he said after he had assisted her.

They walked together towards the boat.

CHAPTER II

I

It has been said with more truth than poetic fancy that the descent to Avernus is easy. It may be said, too, with equal assurance, that once General Arnold had committed himself to treachery and perfidy, his story becomes sickening, and in the judgment of his countrymen, devoid of no element of horror whether in its foul beginnings or in its wretched end. Once his mind had been definitely committed to the treacherous purpose, which loomed like a beacon light before him in the shaping of his destiny, his descent to the depths of degradation was rapid and fatal. The court-martial, together with its subsequent reprimand, had been accepted by him with the greatest animosity. From that hour his thirst for vengeance knew no restraint. One thing alone was necessary to his evil plans: he must secure an important command in the Continental Army.

Some time before he had asked for a change of post, or at least for a grant of land with permission to retire to private life, but this was under the inspiration of a motive of an entirely different nature. Now he had specifically asked for a command in the army, adding that his leg was quite healed and that he was fit physically for field duty. In entering this demand, he was actuated by a different motive—the motive of George Monk, the Duke of Albemarle, the Commander-in-chief of the forces of three kingdoms.

It is true that Washington had been devoted to him and remained faithful to him until the very end. To reprimand his favorite General was a painful duty. But it was performed with delicate and genuine tenderness. His Excellency had promised to do whatever lay within his power to enable his beloved General to recover the esteem of his fellow-men and he was glad to furnish him with every opportunity of effecting real and lasting service. He wrote him at once offering him leave of absence. Congress then ordered “That the sum of $25,000 be advanced to Major General Arnold on account of his pay.” Finally a general order was issued by the Commander-in-chief himself appointing General Arnold Commander of the Right Wing of the American Army. The restoration so long awaited was at length achieved.

Arnold at once began to make preparations for his departure from the city. His privateering ventures had been cleared up, but with profits barely sufficient to meet his debts. Mount Pleasant, his sole possession, had already been settled on his wife. His tenure of office had been ended some time before, and whatever documents were destined for preservation had been put in order pending the arrival of his successor.

The plan for his defection had been evolved by him with elaborate detail. Never had the time been more opportune for the execution of a piece of business so nefarious. The country was without what could be called a stable form of government. It was deprived of any recognized means of exchange because of the total depreciation of the Continental currency. The British had obtained possession of the great city of New York and were threatening to overrun the country south of the Susquehanna. Newport was menaced and the entire British fleet was prepared to move up the Hudson where, at West Point, one poorly equipped garrison interposed between them and the forces of General Carleton, which were coming down from Canada. Washington was attempting to defend Philadelphia and watch Clinton closely from the heights of Morristown, while he threatened the position of the enemy in New York from West Point. In all the American Commander had no more than four thousand men, many of whom were raw recruits, mere boys, whose services had been procured for nine months for fifteen hundred dollars each. Georgia and the Carolinas were entirely reduced and it was only a question of time before the junction of the two armies might be effected.

Clinton was to attack West Point at once, in order to break down the one barrier which stood between his own army and the Canadian. Learning, however, of the rapid progress of events on the American side and more especially of the proposed defection of General Arnold, he suddenly changed his plan. He determined to attack Washington as soon as Arnold had been placed in command of the right wing of the main army. The latter was to suffer the attack to be made, but at the psychological moment he was to desert his Commander-in-chief in the field, and so effect the total destruction of the entire force.

This was the plan which was being turned over in his mind as he sat on this June afternoon in the great room of his mansion. He was again clad in his American uniform and looked the warrior of old in his blue and buff and gold. Care had marked his countenance with her heavy hand, however, and had left deep furrows across his forehead and down the sides of his mouth. His eyes, too, had lost their old-time flash and vivacity, his movements were more sluggish, his step more halting. The trials of the past year had left their visible tracings on him.

He sat and stroked his chin, and deliberated. In his hand he held a letter, a letter without date or address or salutation. It had been brought to him that day by messenger from the city. He understood it perfectly.

He looked at it again.

“Knyphausen is in New Jersey,” it read, “but, understanding Arnold is about to command the American Army in the field, Clinton will attack Washington at once. The bearer may be trusted.

                     “ANDERSON.”

II

“It is either Westminster Abbey for me or the gallows,” he remarked to his wife that evening when they were quite alone.

“You have no apprehensions, I hope.”

“There's many a slip——” he quoted.

“Come! Be an optimist. You have set your heart on it. So be brave.”

“I have never lacked courage. At Saratoga while that scapegoat Gates sulked in his tent, I burst from the camp on my big brown horse and rode like a madman to the head of Larned's brigade, my old command, and we took the hill. Fear? I never knew what the word meant. Dashing back to the center, I galloped up and down before the line. We charged twice, and the enemy broke and fled. Then I turned to the left and ordered West and Livingston with Morgan's corps to make a general assault along the line. Here we took the key to the enemy's position and there was nothing for them to do but to retreat. At the same instant one bullet killed my good brown horse under me and another entered my leg. But the battle had been won.”

“Never mind, my dear, the world yet lies before you.”

“I won the war for them, damn 'em, in a single battle, and single-handed. Lord North knew it. The Rockingham Whigs, with Burke as their leader, knew it and were ready to concede independence, having been convinced that conciliation was no longer practicable or possible. Richmond urged the impossibility of final conquest, and even Gibbon agreed that the American colonies had been lost. I accomplished all that, I tell you, and I received—what?—a dead horse and a wounded leg.”

There was a flash of the old-time general, but only a flash. It was evident that he was tiring easily. His old-time stamina had abandoned him.

“Why do you so excite yourself?” Peggy cautioned him. “The veins are bulging out on your forehead.”

“When I think of it, it galls me. But I shall have my revenge,” he gloated maliciously. “Clinton is going to attack Washington as soon as I have taken over my command. I shall outrival Albemarle yet.”

“We may as well prepare to leave, then.”

“There is no need of your immediate departure. You are not supposed to be acquainted with my designs. You must remain here. Later you can join me.”

“But you are going at once?”

“Yes, I shall leave very soon now. Let me see.” He paused to think. “It is over a week now since I was appointed. The appointment was to take effect immediately. I should report for duty at once.”

“And I shall meet you——”

“In New York, very probably. It is too early yet to arrange for that. You will know where I am stationed and can remain here until I send for you.”

While they were still engaged in conversation, a sound became very audible as of a horseman ascending the driveway. A summons at the door announced a courier from the Commander-in-chief to Major General Arnold. The latter presented himself and received a packet on which had been stamped the seal of official business. He took the document and withdrew.

It proved to be an order from His Excellency transferring the command of Major General Arnold on account of physical disability, which would not permit of service in the field, from the right wing of the American Army to Commander of the fortress at West Point. He was ordered to report for duty as soon as circumstances would permit and was again assured of His Excellency's highest respect and good wishes.

He handed the letter to Peggy without a word. He sat in deep meditation while she hastily scanned the contents.

“Tricked again,” was her sole comment.

He did not answer.

“This looks suspicious. Do you think he knows?”

“No one knows.”

“What will you do now? This upsets all your plans.”

“I do not know. I shall accept, of course. Later, not now, we can decide.”

“This means that I am going too.”

“I suppose so. I shall have my headquarters there, and while they may not be as commodious as Mount Pleasant, still I would rather have you with me. We shall arrange for our departure accordingly.”

“You will, of course, inform Anderson of the change?”

“He will hear of it. The news of the appointment will travel fast enough you may be sure. Very likely Knyphausen will now be recalled from New Jersey.”

“So perishes your dream of a duchy!” she exclaimed.

“No. West Point is the most important post on the American side. It is the connecting link between New England and the rest of the colonies. It was the prize which Johnny Burgoyne was prevented from obtaining by me. It commands the Hudson River and opens the way to upper New York and Canada. It is the most strategic position in America, stored with immense quantities of ammunition and believed to be impregnable. Without doubt it is the most critical point in the American line.”

“Bah! You need an army. Albemarle had an army. Marlborough had an army. Of what use is a fortress with a large force still in the field? It's the army that counts, I tell you. Territory, forts, cities mean nothing. It's the size of the army that wins the war.”

“I know it, but what can I do?”

He conceded the point.

“Insist on your former post,” she advised.

He thought awhile and began to whistle softly to himself as he tapped his finger tips one against the other.

“Listen,” she continued. “There is some reason for this transfer at the eleventh hour. Are you dense enough not to see it? Some one has reached Washington's ear and whispered a secret. Else that order would never have been written.”

“Washington believes only what is true. Always has he trusted and defended me from the vilifications of my enemies, knowing that these reports only emanated from jealous and unscrupulous hearts. My leg has caused this change of command; I know it.”

She looked at him in scorn. She could not believe he could be so simple.

“Your leg! What has your leg to do with it? Once you are astride your horse you are safe. And don't you think for one minute that Clinton is a fool. He does not want you. I dare say if the truth were known, he has no respect for you either. It is your command which is of value to him, and the more authority you can master, the more valuable you become. Then you can dictate your own terms instead of bargaining them away.”

“It would realize nothing to attempt a protest. A soldier asks no questions. Whatever I may be, I am still a soldier.”

“As you will.”

She shrugged her shoulders, and folded her arms.

“West Point it is,” she observed, “but General Clinton may reconsider his proposition. I would not be too sure.”

“I am sure he will be satisfied with West Point. With that post he might easily end the war. Anderson will write me soon again. I tell you I can dictate to them now. You shall have your peerage after all.”

“I am not so sure.”

“Have it your own way. I know what I am about and I know where I stand. At first it was a question only of my personal desertion. The betrayal of an army was a later development. But I could not become a deserter on a small scale. I have been accustomed all my life to playing signal rôles. If I am to sell myself at all, it shall be at the highest price together with the greatest prize. I have only one regret, and that is that I am obliged to take advantage of the confidence and respect of Washington to render this at all possible.”

“Don't let your heart become softened by tender condolences at this stage. Your mind has been set; don't swerve.”

He looked at her and wondered how she could remain so imperturbable. Ordinarily she burned with compassion at the sight of misery and affliction. He could not understand for the life of him, how stoically she maintained her composure throughout this ordeal. Plainly her heart was set on one ambition. She would be a duchess.

But she did not know that he had maintained a continual correspondence with Sir Henry Clinton, or that West Point had long since been decided upon, as a possible contingency. Much she did know, but most of the details had been concealed from her. Not that he did not trust her, but he wished her to be no party to his nefarious work.

And so he was not surprised that she expressed a genuine disappointment over his change of command. In fact he had been prepared for a more manifest display of disapproval. Perhaps it was due to the fact that she was at length to accompany him which caused her to be more benign in her appreciation of the transfer. For he knew that she detested the city and longed for the day when she might be far removed from it forever.

“You will, of course, make ready to leave Mount Pleasant?” he asked of her.

“Assuredly. I shall acquaint mother and father with the prospect this evening. They do not want me to leave. But I am determined.”

“They should be here. It is not early.”

“The ride is long. They will come.”

III

The last night spent by the Arnolds and the Shippen family at Mount Pleasant was a happy one. The entire family was in attendance and the Arnold silver was lavishly displayed for the occasion. American viands cooked and served in the prevailing American fashion were offered at table—hearty, simple food in great plenty washed down by quantities of Madeira and sherry and other imported beverages.

Toasts and healths were freely drunk. After the more customary ones to the “Success of the War,” to the “Success of General Washington,” to the “Nation” there came the usual healths to the host and the hostess, and more especially to the “Appointment of General Arnold.” The ceremonies were interspersed with serious and animated conversation on the political situation and the chances of the army in the field. Throughout the entire meal a marked simplicity, a purity of manner, and frank cordiality was manifest, all indicative of the charming and unaffected homelife of the Americans.

“Miss Franks would have been pleased to be with us,” announced the General as the company awaited another service.

“Could you believe it, General,” said Mrs. Shippen, “not once have we heard from that girl since she moved to New York,” and she set her lips firmly. “That is so unlike her; I cannot understand it.”

“But you know, Mother,” explained Peggy, “that the mail cannot be depended upon.”

“I know, my dear, but I think that she could send a line, if it were only a line, by messenger if she thought enough of us. You know it was at our house that she met the friends with whom she is now engaged.”

“Our mail system is deplorable,” Mr. Shippen remarked. “Only yesterday I received a letter which apparently had been sent months ago.”

“I can understand that very readily,” Arnold rejoined. “Often letters are entrusted to travelers. At times these men deposit a letter at some inn at the cross-roads for the next traveler who is bound for the same place as the epistle. It often happens that such a missive remains for months upon a mantelpiece awaiting a favorable opportunity. Then again sheer neglect may be responsible for an unusual delay. I myself have experience of that.”

This explanation seemed to satisfy Mrs. Shippen for she dropped the subject immediately. The mode of travel then occasioned a critical comment from her until she finally asked when they intended to leave for West Point.

“Very likely I shall leave before the week is out,” replied Arnold. “It is most important that I assume command at once. We shall prepare to depart tomorrow.”

They talked far into the night, the men smoking while the ladies retired to the great drawing-room. Peggy played and sang, and took her mother aside at intervals for conference upon little matters which required advice. At a late hour, after taking affectionate leaves, the families parted. Peggy and her husband now abandoned themselves to their destiny—to glorious triumph or to utter ruin.

They closed the door upon their kinsfolk and faced the situation. Westminster Abbey or the gallows loomed before them.

IV

Late that same evening, alone before his desk, General Arnold penned the following ambiguous letter to John Anderson. West Point it was. That was settled. Still it was necessary that General Clinton be appraised immediately of the change of command together with some inkling of the military value of the new post. The business was such that he dared not employ his true name; and so he assumed a title, referring to himself throughout the note in the third person. The meaning of the message, he knew, would be readily interpreted.

Sir:—On the 24th of last month I received a note from you without date, in answer to mine; also a letter from your house in answer to mine, with a note from B. of the 30th of June, with an extract of a letter from Mr. J. Osborn. I have paid particular attention to the contents of the several letters. Had they arrived earlier, you should have had my answer sooner. A variety of circumstances has prevented my writing you before. I expect to do it very fully in a few days, and to procure you an interview with Mr. M—e, when you will be able to settle your commercial plan, I hope, in a manner agreeable to all parties. Mr. M—e assures me that he is still of opinion that his first proposal is by no means unreasonable, and makes no doubt, that, when he has a conference with you, you will close with it. He expects when you meet you will be fully authorized from your House and that the risks and profits of the co-partnership may be fully and clearly understood.

A speculation might at this time be easily made to some advantage with ready money, but there is not the quantity of goods at market which your partner seems to suppose, and the number of speculators below, I think, will be against your making an immediate purchase. I apprehend goods will be in greater plenty and much cheaper in the course of the season; both dry and wet are much wanted and in demand at this juncture. Some quantities are expected in this part of the country soon.

Mr. M—e flatters himself that in the course of ten days he will have the pleasure of seeing you. He requests me to advise you that he has ordered a draught on you in favor of our mutual friend, S—y for 1300, which you will charge on account of the tobacco.

  I am, in behalf of Mr. M—e and Co., Sir,
        Your most obedient, humble servant,
                     Gustavus.

To Mr. John Anderson, Merchant,
         New York.

CHAPTER III

I

In the meantime, Marjorie was tossing restlessly, nervously in her bed, enduring hours of disconsolate remorse and lonely desolation. She could not sleep. She cried her eyes wet with tears, and wiped them dry again with her handkerchief; then stared up at the black ceiling, or gazed out through the small window at the faint glow in the world beyond. Her girlish heart, lay heavy within her, distended almost to the breaking-point with grief, a grief which had sent her early to bed to seek solitude and consolation; that solitude which alone brings relief to a heart freighted with sorrow and woe. Now that Stephen had gone, she had time to think over the meaning of it all, and she began to experience the renewed agony of those terrible moments by the water's edge. It was so awful, so frightful that her tender frame seemed to yield beneath its load, she simply had to give way to the tears.

She could not sleep, and she knew it. Scrambling out of her bed and wrapping a mantle about her, she sat beside the window and peered into the night. There was not a breeze to break the solemn silence, not a sound to distract her from her reverie. Two black and uncanny pine trees stood like armed guards near by the corner of the house to challenge the interloper from disturbing her meditation. Overhead the stars blinked and glistened through the treetops in their lace of foliage and delicate branches, and resembled for all the world an hundred diamonds set in a band of filigree work. The moon had not yet risen, and all the world seemed to be in abject despair, bristling in horrid shapes and sights,—a fit dwelling-place for Marjorie and her grief-stricken heart.

Stephen had gone away that afternoon, perhaps never to return. For this she could not reproach him, for she allowed that she had given him every reason to feel offended. But she had hurt him, and very likely hurt him to the quick. She knew his sensitive nature and she feared the consequence. It was that thought more than the real contrition over her fault which had overwhelmed her. Her return for his many acts of kindness had been one of austere repulsion.

Now she felt acutely the bitterness of it all. That she had afforded him some encouragement, that she had coöperated in the first place to make the setting of it all quite perfect, that she had lent him her assurance that she was amicably disposed towards him, and that her action in regard to the miniature, while apparently innocent enough, was fraught with significance for Stephen in view of his intimate connections with the events of the past two years, that after all perhaps she had been entirely unreasonable throughout it all; these were the thoughts which excited, both in the truth of their reality and in the knowledge of the hopes they had alternately raised and blasted in Stephen, the bitter sorrow which was the cause of her mingled pain and regret.

What would he think of her now? What could he think? Plainly he must consider her a cold, austere being, devoid of all feeling and appreciation. He had given her the best that was in him and had made bold enough to appraise her of it. Sincerity was manifest in his every gesture and word, and yet she had made him feel as if his protestations had been repugnant to her. She knew his nature, his extreme diffidence in matters of this kind, his power of resolution, and she feared that once having tried and failed, he was lost to her forever.

And yet she knew that she grieved not for herself but for him. Her stern refusal had only caused him the greater pain. Stephen would, perhaps, misunderstand as he had misunderstood her in the past and it was the thought of the vast discomfiture she had occasioned in him that stung her with sorrow.

Her warm, generous heart now chided her for her apparent indifference. There was no other name for it. What could he deduce from her behavior except that she was a cold, ungrateful, irresolute creature who did not know her own mind or the promptings of her own heart! She had flung him from her smarting and wounded, after he had summoned his entire strength to whisper to her what she would have given worlds to hear, but which had only confounded and startled her by its suddenness.

And yet she loved him. She knew it and kept repeating it over and over again to her own self. No one before or since had struck so responsive a chord from her heart strings. There had been no other ideal to which she had shaped the pictures of her mind. Stephen was her paragon of excellence and to him the faculties of her soul had turned of their own mood and temper unknown even to the workings of her intellectual consciousness, like the natural inclination of the heliotrope before the rays of the rising sun.

Laying her head in the crook of her elbow she sobbed bitterly.

The thought that he was gone from her life brought inconsolable remorse. She knew him, knew the intimate structure of his soul, and she knew that a deep repentance would seize hold of him on account of his rash presumption. He would be true to his word: he would not breathe the subject again. Nay, more, he would ever permit her to disappear from his life as gradually as she had entered into it. This was unendurable but the consciousness that she had caused this bitter rupture was beyond all endurance still.

She lifted her head and stared into the black depths of the night. All was still except the shrill pipings of the frogs as they sounded their dissonant notes to one another in the far-off Schuylkill meadows. They, too, were filled with thoughts of love, Marjorie thought, which they had made bold enough to publish in their own discordant way, and they seemed to take eminent delight in having the whole world aware of the fact that it, too, might rejoice with them.

If it were true that she loved him, it were equally true that he ought to be apprised of it. There could be no love without a mutual understanding, for to love alone would be admiration and entirely one-sided. Let her unfold her soul to him in order that he might take joy for his portion ere his ardor had cooled into mere civility. For if it were licit to love, it were more licit to express it and this expression should be reciprocal.

She would tell him before it were too late. Her silence at the very moment when she should have acted was unfortunate. Perhaps his affection had been killed by the blow and her protestations would be falling upon barren soil. No matter! She would write and unfold her heart to him, and tell him that she really and truly cared for him more than any one else in the world, and she would beg him to return that she might whisper in his ear those very words she had been softly repeating to herself. Full repentance would take possession of her soul, and her heart would rush unrestrained to the object of its love, telling him that she was with him always, thinking of him, praying for him, and waiting for him. She would write him at once.

II

But she did not mail the letter. Hidden carefully in her room, it lay all the next day. Unworthy post-chaise to bear so precious a manuscript! She would journey herself to its destination to safeguard it, were it at all possible. A thousand and one misgivings haunted her concerning the safety of its arrival,—Stephen might have been transferred to some distant point, the letter itself might possibly fall into awkward hands, it might lay for months in the post bag, or fall into a dark corner of some obscure tavern, the roads were infested with robbers,—horrible thoughts, too horrible to record.

She did not know just how long it had taken her to compose it. The end of the candle had burned quite out during the process, and she lay deliberating over its contents and wondering just what else might be added. Twice she was on the point of arising to assure herself on the style of her confession, but each time she changed her mind, deciding to yield to her earlier thought. The darkness seemed to envelop her in fancy, and when she again opened her eyes the darkness had disappeared before the light. It was morning and she arose for the day.

Hour by hour she waited to tell her mother. It was only right that she should know, and she proposed to tell her all, even the very episode on the river bank. She needed counsel, especially during these lonely moments, and she felt that she could obtain it only by unfolding her heart unreservedly. Mother would know; in fact, she must have suspected the gravity of the affair. But how would she begin it? She longed for an opening, but no opening presented itself.

The meaning of his addresses she saw, or she thought she saw. Stephen loved her; his words were very effective. Indeed, he had made no mention of marriage, nevertheless she sensed that his ulterior purpose had been revealed to her fully. Perhaps it was this consummation which caused her heart to stand suddenly still; perhaps it was the vision of the new life which was opening before her. She would have to go away with him as his wife, away from her home, away from her beloved father and mother. The summers would come and go and she would be far distant from her own, in far-off New York, perhaps, or some other city better adapted for the career of a young man of ability. They might live in Philadelphia, near to her home, yet not in it. That would be preferable, yet the future could lend her no assurance. She would be his for life, and with him would be obliged to begin a new manner of living.

Such thoughts as these occupied her for the greater part of the day, and before she was really aware of it, her father had come home for the evening. She could not tell both at once; better to tell them in turn. It would be more confidential and better to her liking. Once the secret was common between them, it was easy to discuss it together, and so she decided that she would put it off until the morrow. Then she would tell mother, and let her mother talk it over with her father. Both then would advise her.

“Next week is going to see the greatest event in the history of the Church in America,” Marjorie heard her father remark as he placed his hat upon the rack behind the door.

“What is it now?” inquired her mother who chanced to be in the sitting-room when he entered.

“The Congress is going to Mass.”

“The Congress?” she exclaimed. “Praised be God!”

“What news, father?” asked Marjorie, hurrying into the room.

“The Congress, the President and the prominent men of the nation have been invited to take part in the solemn Te Deum next Sunday. It is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.”

“Isn't that remarkable?”

“It is remarkable,” he repeated. “The French Ambassador has issued the invitations and all have signified their intentions of being present. Here is one of them.” Taking from his pocket a folded paper, he handed it to Marjorie. She opened it at once and read aloud,

“Mr. Matthew Allison:—You are invited by the Minister Plenipotentiary of France to attend the Te Deum, which will be chanted on Sunday, the 4th of this month, at noon, in the new Catholic Chapel, to celebrate the anniversary of the Independence of the United States of America.

“Philadelphia, the Second of July. M. Gerard.”

“The Congress going to Mass!” said his wife, apparently unable to comprehend fully the meaning of it all.

“The more one thinks of it the more strange it becomes. They branded Charles the First a Papist because he permitted his queen, who was born and bred a Catholic, to attend Holy Mass. Now we have our newly-formed government not alone countenancing Popery, but actually participating in a supposedly pagan and idolatrous form of worship.”

“This marks the end of religious prejudice in this country,” observed Marjorie. “At length all men are in all things equal, equal in the sight of God and man. Don't you think our leaders must realize this and are taking steps to prepare the minds of the people accordingly?”

“Yes,” he replied, “and I don't know but what it is only right. We all go to the market together, trade our goods together, rub elbows together, clear the land together, fight together. Why shouldn't we live together in peace? Intolerance and bigotry are dead and buried. We have laid the foundations of the greatest country in the world.”

“Thank God for that!” breathed Mrs. Allison.

“We are respected above all calculation,” Mr. Allison continued. “Our Loyalty now is unquestioned.”

“We may thank God for that, too.”

“And Captain Meagher!” added Marjorie.

Her eyes beamed.

“Yes, you are right, girl,” said her father. “We can thank Captain Meagher. The frustration and the exposure of that plot has increased our reputation an hundredfold. Heretofore, the Catholic population had been regarded as an insignificant element, but when the ambitions of the enemy to secure their coöperation were discovered, the value of the Catholics to the country suddenly rose.”

“Our unity must have created a lasting impression,” Marjorie remarked.

“Not alone our unity, but our loyalty as well. The government has learned that we have been ever true to the land of our birth, ever loyal to the country of our adoption. It has thoughtfully considered the value of our sacrifices, and has carefully estimated our contribution to the cause of freedom. When the charter of liberty assumes a more definite form our rights will specifically be determined. Of that I am reasonably certain. The enemy failed to allure us from our country in its time of need; our country will not abandon us in our time of need.”

“Stephen did it,” announced Marjorie.

“Stephen helped to do it,” replied her father.

III

That same evening, during a stolen moment while her mother was busied with the turning of the buckwheat cakes, Marjorie crept to her father's knee and folded her arms over it.

“Daddy!” she looked up at him from her seated posture on the floor. “What would you say to a very eligible young man who had told you that he was very fond of you?”

“What would I say?” asked the father in surprise.

“Yes. What would you?”

“I would not say anything. I would have him examined.”

“No, Daddy. This is serious,” and she pushed his knee from her as she spoke.

“I am serious. If a man told me that he was very fond of me, I would question his sanity.”

She laughed.

“You know what I mean. I mean if you were a girl and——”

“But I am not a girl.”

“Well, if you were?”

“If I was what?”

“You know what I mean quite well. Would you hate him at first?”

“I hope not. I should want to strangle him, but I wouldn't hate him.”

“And you would strangle him? For what?”

“For daring.”

“Daring what?”

“You know.”

He smiled.

“Oh, dear! Won't you listen to me? Tell me what to do.”

“I could not tell you. You have not told me what has happened.”

“I asked you what you would say to an attractive soldier who had told you that he loved you.”

“Yes. And I told you that if he had told that to me, I would ask what ailed him.”

“Oh, Daddy, you are too funny tonight. I can't reason with you.”

She sat back on her heels and pouted.

He smiled and roused himself upright and put his arm around her and drew her to him.

“There! There! I know what you mean, daughter. It means that I shall have no say in the matter.”

“Why?”

“You will do it all.”

“No. I shall never leave you.”

“Yes, you will. You will be happier. But why didn't Stephen ask me about it?”

“How did you know it was Stephen?” she looked at him in astonishment.

“Well enough.”

“But how?” she repeated.

“I knew it all the time and your mother and I have been prepared for this occasion.”

“But who told you?” Her eyes opened full and round in genuine wonder. Here was one surprise after the other.

“There was no need of any one telling me. I have been watching the pair of you, and sensed what the outcome would be some little while ago.”

“But, Daddy. How should you know?”

He laughed outright.

“There! There! We are satisfied quite, I can assure you. I know what you are about to say; and your mother knows it too.”

“But I have not yet told her. I meant to tell her today but did not. Then I thought of telling you and of whispering the whole story to her after we were upstairs.”

She was serious, very serious, absorbed for the most part in her story although her mind was clouded with amazement at the want of surprise which was manifested. Her innocent mind apparently was unable for the time being to fathom the intricacies of this plot which seemed to be laid bare to every one concerned save her own self.

“Of course you will tell her, but you will find that she will consent to the proposal.”

“What proposal?”

“Why, I suppose the proposal of your coming marriage.”

“But!... But!... Daddy!... I never said anything about marriage.”

“You did start to tell me that Stephen told you he was very fond of you?”

“Yes.”

“And you told him the same.”

“No, I didn't.”

“But you will tell him.”

A hush followed. She looked askance at him from the corner of her eye.

“And so after you two have told one another as much as that you may as well decide upon the date.”

“But ... I ... I am not sure that I want to marry him.”

“Well, that is your privilege, you know.”

“And.... And ... perhaps he will never ask me again.”

“Just wait a bit.”

“And would you marry him?”

“I told you that I would not. I already have one wife....”

“Oh! You make me lose all patience,” she cried rising from the floor and leaving him. “I shall confide in mother.”

“Remember,” he cautioned her in a somewhat serious strain. “Do not ask her to marry him.”

She was gone.

The following day a letter was dispatched to the Headquarters at Morristown, New Jersey. In the meantime a very large doubt began to take form in the mind of one little girl concerning the manner of its reception. A thousand and one impossible situations were conceived, but there seemed nothing to do; he must now do it all. The possibility loomed ghost-like before her: he might never return. The wound which she had caused still smarted and ached. He might never return. Her eyes wandered and strayed among the multitude of objects before them; her lips had forgotten their usual smile. He might fail to receive her note and if he did he might disdain to acknowledge it. But no! He would not do that. There was naught else to do but wait. Oh! if the moments would only hurry!

CHAPTER IV

I

It was a great day for Philadelphia when the Continental Congress went to Mass. It was Independence Day, too, but this was of lesser importance in the estimation of the people, especially of the Catholic portion of them. Fully a quarter before the hour, the bell began to sound and the streets became like so many avenues of commerce with people standing in doorways, or leaning from their windows, or hurrying with feverish haste in the direction of the New Chapel of St. Mary's, the parish church of the city. There a number of them congregated in twos or threes to await the procession of notables, who would soon approach with great solemnity and dignity from the opposite corner of the street.

The celebration came about in this manner:

It was the desire of M. Gerard, the Minister Plenipotentiary of France, to commemorate the anniversary day of the Independence of the United States in a religious manner. Arrangements already had been made to hold Divine worship earlier in the morning at Christ Church, at which the guests of honor were invited to be present. At twelve o'clock the congregation would march to the Church of St. Mary, where a military Mass and a solemn Te Deum would be sung. The Reverend Seraphin Bandol, chaplain to the French Embassy, would celebrate the Mass and deliver a sermon appropriate to the occasion.

It had been fondly expected that the event would assume an international tone. Events had been moving with extraordinary rapidity towards the establishment of the Roman Catholic religion in the graces of the government, and this celebration might demonstrate the patriotic motives of the Catholic body beyond the shadow of a doubt. That a Congress, which of late had condemned in the strongest terms the practices of the Roman Catholic religion, could change in sentiment and action in so short a time, would be an unequivocal proof of the countenance and good will which the Catholic religion was beginning to acquire. At any rate the example set by the governing body of the new republic attending Mass in a Roman Catholic edifice, offering up their devout orisons in the language, service and worship of Rome, would be a memorable one, an augury of the new spirit of religious freedom which later would be breathed into the Constitution of these same States by these same men.

Precisely at ten minutes before the hour they came, walking in pairs, headed by John Hancock, the President of the Continental Congress, and His Excellency M. Gerard, the French Ambassador. Immediately after the Congress, marched the Supreme Executive Council of Philadelphia with Joseph Reed at its head. Then came the French Embassy, resplendent in its dress of blue and gold. Prominent civilians, military officers, men of repute in city and nation, followed slowly along the crowded thoroughfare and as slowly made their way into the small edifice. General Washington was not present, having been prevented by duty in the field.

Within, the little church murmured with low talking. Ordinarily, the congregation would have been absorbed in silent contemplation before the Presence of the Divine One, but the impressiveness of the occasion made the people depart from their usual fervor. The little church was only partly filled when the great procession arrived and every head instinctively turned in the direction of the entrance at the sound of their many footsteps. As they marched down the aisle every breath was held; then as they began to file into the pews reserved for them, the subdued murmur began again.

Marjorie and her father sat to the rear of the church in the company of the early arrivals. In fact the entire Allison family occupied the same pew, pressed, indeed, for room on account of the multitude which crowded its way into the church and into the small aisles. Round about them on every side sat the congregation, some of whom were already familiar to them, the majority of whom, however, were total strangers. From their appearance and demeanor it was not difficult to conclude, Marjorie thought, that more than one-half of them were non-Catholic.

The inside of the church was adorned in splendid array with the emblems of France and the United States. In the sanctuary, on each side of the altar, stood two large flags of the allied nations, while across the choir gallery in the rear of the church, there stretched in festoons, the colors of the infant republic superimposed in the middle by a shield bearing the likeness of Louis XVI. On the altar bloomed a variety of cut flowers, arranged in an artistic and fanciful manner on the steps of the reredos amidst a great profusion of white unlighted candles. The three highest candlesticks on each side had been lighted, and the little tongues of living flame were leaping from them joyfully. Over the tabernacle a large crucifix raised aloft, while just before the door of the tabernacle rested the chalice with its white veil, arranged in the form of a truncated triangle, shielding it from view.

For several minutes after the honorable body had been seated there was a confusion of feet and forms as the members of the congregation surged into the church. The pews filled quickly, and the more tardy and less fortunate individuals sought places along the aisles and along the rear. Overhead the small organ gasped and panted the strains of a martial air, the uneven throbbing of its bellows emphasizing the fatigue and exhaustion of its faithful operator.

“Is that the French Ambassador?” whispered Marjorie to her father.

“With the brocade and lace. Yes. Next to him is Mr. Hancock, President of the Congress.”

She looked and saw the noble head and dignified bearing of the statesman. He sat very erect and majestic, presenting an appearance of taste and refinement in his suit of silken black.

“There is Mr. Adams, John Adams, with the great powdered periwig. The tall thin man seated at his right is Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration. He is, without doubt, the scholar of the Congress.”

Marjorie followed his whispering with evident interest. Never had she been in the company of such notable men.

“Who is that? See! He is turning sideways.”

“Livingston. Robert Livingston. Then the great Robert Morris, whose financial aid made possible the continuance of the war. His personal sacrifice for the cause of independence will never be computed. He is Washington's best friend.”

She peered through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the famous financier.

“Do not overlook our staunch Catholic member of the Congress, Charles Carroll. Lest he might be mistaken for any other man of the same name he made bold to affix after his name on the Declaration of Independence, 'of Carrollton.' A representative Catholic and a true patriot!”

She recalled this, having seen the name of “Charles Carroll of Carrollton” on the printed copy of the Declaration.

Mr. Allison again nudged his daughter with his elbow to attract her attention.

“Can you see that elderly man with the sharp-pointed features over across?” he asked.

She looked in the direction indicated but did not seem to be able to locate him.

“The second pew, third man from the aisle.”

“Yes! Yes!” she exclaimed.

“That is Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, the author of the resolution 'That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.' That paved the way for the drawing up of the Declaration.”

The makers of history were before her, and her eyes danced at their sober and grave demeanor. Here sat the Congress, not all of it, but a goodly portion of it, which had voted unanimously in favor of complete separation from the mother country. Here were those very men who had risked their all, their fortunes, their homes, their lives for their country's cause. Here they now assembled, visibly burdened with the cares and the apprehensions of the past few years, still uncertain of the future, but steadfastly determined to endure to the bitter end, either to hang together or to rise to glorious triumphs together. And here they sat or knelt in the temple of God to rededicate their fortunes to Him, to accept from His hands the effects of His judgments, but at the same time to implore Him to look with favor upon their efforts and to render possible of realization those desires which were uppermost in their hearts. Marjorie thought that they could not, they must not fail, they, who were animated by such sincere devotion and by such sentiments of genuine piety.

“Mr. Franklin isn't here?” she whispered.

“No,” he softly answered. “I think he has not returned from France. He was there, you know, when the Alliance was concluded. Lafayette only joined Washington last month. Did you know that he brought with him a commission from the French King to General Washington, appointing him Lieutenant-General in the French army and Vice-Admiral of its navy?”

“No. I did not hear of it.”

“I suppose Franklin is still over there. He would be here, although he himself is an atheist. He believes in no form of religious worship. I should not say that he is an atheist for he does believe in One God, but that is about all.”

The murmur about the little church began to die away. Still the surging at the door continued until it seemed as if the small building would burst its sides with its great burden.

The tinkle of a little bell sounding from the door leading from the sanctuary announced that the Mass was about to begin. On the instant the congregation rose and remained standing until Father Bandol, preceded by the altar boys, had reached the foot of the altar and made the genuflection.

II

High up in the gallery the choir broke into the strains of the “Kyrie” of the Mass, while the priest in a profound bow before the altar made his confession of sins. Marjorie took out her prayer-book and began to follow the Mass, meditating upon the mysteries of Our Lord's life as commemorated in the Holy Sacrifice.

Ascending the altar, the priest passed at once to the right hand side where lay the Mass-Book, from which he read the Introit. He returned to the center and chanted in soft clear tones the “Gloria in Excelsis,” the hymn of praise which the angels sang for the first time on Christmas night when Christ, the Lord, was born. This was taken up immediately by the choir. Meanwhile the congregation were seated during the singing of this hymn of praise to the Most High.

The prayers of the Mass, prayers for our rulers, prayers for peace were sung by the celebrant, the people kneeling in an attitude of prayer while their priest interceded to God in their behalf. Having finished the prayers for the people a Lesson from one of St. Paul's Epistles was read, after which the priest passed to the left side of the altar to sing a passage from the Gospel. The people now stood to profess their belief in the faith and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Marjorie and her father and mother recollected themselves quite during these solemn moments and no syllable of communication passed between them, all assisting at the service with prayer-books or beads, following every movement of the priest intelligently and with devotion.

The congregation were permitted to sit while the celebrant of the Mass offered the materials for the sacrifice, unleavened bread and the pure juice of the grape, to Almighty God, to adore Him above all other things, to thank Him for all the graces and blessings bestowed by Him on mankind, to satisfy His justice for the sins of man and to implore Him for whatever favors He might deign to bestow.

Soon the voice of Father Bandol resounded through the church with the opening tones of the Preface of the Mass, the responses to which were made by the members of the choir. Slowly and solemnly he chanted the notes of praise, ending with the “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts.” A sound from the bell gave the warning that the awful moment was about to arrive, the moment when the ambassador of Christ would exercise the power communicated to him from Jesus Himself through the Twelve and their successors, the power of changing the substance of bread and wine into the substance of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

The people bent forward in an attitude of humble adoration. Marjorie buried her face in her hands on the top of the forward pew, pouring out her heart in praise and thanksgiving to her God and Master. In profound reverence she remained while the priest pronounced the mystical words “Hoc est enim corpus meum” over the species and effected the mystery of mysteries, the translation of Christ's Mystical Body to the elements of the earth, in the transubstantiation of the Mass. Now Her Lord was present before her; now the Divinity of His Person was but a few feet away, clothed, not in flesh and blood, but under the appearances of bread and wine; now Her Creator was with her, lying on the white corporal of the altar and she poured forth her soul to Him in accents of adoration and supplication.

“O my God!” she breathed. “I adore Thee through Jesus; I beg pardon through Jesus; I thank Thee through Jesus; I humbly ask every blessing and grace through Jesus. May I lead a holy life and die a good death. My Jesus! mercy! My Jesus! mercy! My Jesus! mercy!”

The prayers for the dead were read and the Pater Noster was chanted. A signal from the bell announced that the priest's communion was about to take place and that the distribution of the Sacred Body would be made to as many as desired to partake of it. It was Sunday and the majority of the Catholics present had been in attendance at an earlier Mass, on which account there were no communicants at this later one. The closing ceremonies were concluded with the reading of the Gospel of St. John, when Father Bandol turned towards the congregation to begin his address. Every member present sat upright in his seat and awaited the message which was about to fall from the lips of the priest.

III

“My dear brethren,” he said, “we are assembled to celebrate the anniversary of that day which Providence had marked, in His eternal decrees, to become the epoch of liberty and independence to the thirteen United States of America.”

There was a silence throughout the church which was breathless. Every eye was focused on the vested form before the altar.

“That Being whose almighty hand holds all existence beneath its dominion undoubtedly produces in the depths of His wisdom those great events which astonish the world and of which the most presumptuous, though instrumental in accomplishing them, dare not attribute to themselves the merit. But the finger of God is still more peculiarly evidenced in that happy, that glorious revolution which calls forth this day's festivity. He hath struck the oppressors of a free people—free and peaceful, with the spirit of delusion which renders the wicked artificers of their own proper misfortunes.

“Permit me, my dear brethren, citizens of the United States, to address you on this occasion. It is that God, that all powerful God, who hath directed your steps; who, when you were without arms fought for you the sword of justice; who, when you were in adversity, poured into your hearts the spirit of courage, of wisdom, and fortitude, and who hath, at length, raised up for your support a youthful sovereign whose virtues bless and adorn a sensible, a fruitful and a generous nation.”

The French Ambassador bowed his head in profound acquiescence.

“This nation hath blended her interest with your interest and her sentiments with yours. She participates in all your joys, and this day unites her voice to yours at the foot of the altars of the eternal God to celebrate that glorious revolution which has placed the sons of America among the free and independent nations of the earth.

“We have nothing now to apprehend but the anger of Heaven, or that the measure of our guilt should exceed His mercy. Let us then prostrate ourselves at the feet of the immortal God, who holds the fate of empires in His hands, and raises them up at His pleasure, or breaks them down to dust. Let us conjure Him to enlighten our enemies, and to dispose their hearts to enjoy that tranquillity and happiness which the Revolution we now celebrate has established for a great part of the human race. Let us implore Him to conduct us by that way which His Providence has marked out for arriving at so desirable an end. Let us offer unto Him hearts imbued with sentiments of respect, consecrated by religion, humanity and patriotism. Never is the august ministry of His altars more acceptable to His Divine Majesty than when it lays at His feet homages, offerings and vows, so pure, so worthy the common offerings of mankind.

“God will not regret our joy, for He is the author of it; nor will He forget our prayers, for they ask but the fulfillment of the decrees He has manifested. Filled with this spirit, let us, in concert with one another, raise our hearts to the Eternal; let us implore His infinite mercy to be pleased to inspire the rulers of both nations with the wisdom and force necessary to perfect what He hath begun. Let us, in a word, unite our voices to beseech Him to dispense His blessings upon the counsels and the arms of the allies and that we may soon enjoy the sweets of a peace which will soon cement the Union and establish the prosperity of the two empires.”

The same religious silence prevailed; indeed there sat many in the same immovable posture. But it was evident that the words were being received with pleasure and satisfaction. Signs of approval appeared on every face.

“It is with this view,” the priest concluded, “that we shall cause that canticle to be chanted, which the custom of the Catholic Church hath consecrated, to be at once a testimonial of public joy, a thanksgiving for benefits received from heaven, and a prayer for the continuance of its mercies.”

IV

He had done. As he stepped to the floor of the sanctuary and took his stand before the center of the altar a pronounced disturbance, accompanied by much coughing, made itself manifest. This was followed by a great rumble as the entire congregation rose to its feet to await the intonation of the Te Deum.

Pleasant and sweet rose Father Bandol's voice above the rustling in the opening notes of that most majestic of all hymns of praise:

“Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.”

And immediately the vast throng took up the melody and there reverberated throughout the church, escaping through the open doors and windows, across the streets and over the roof-tops, up to the topmost regions of the heavens, to the very gates of heaven itself, the strains of the Ambrosian hymn of thanksgiving and praise which the members of the American Congress sang to the God of Nations and of Battles in the little chapel of St. Mary's on the anniversary day of the signing of the greatest exposition of a freeman's rights ever penned by the hand of man.

CHAPTER V

I

The wayfarer on this July afternoon in the fifth year of American Independence might have passed on the main thoroughfare leading into the city of Philadelphia from the townships of Bristol and Trenton, a young and powerfully built officer astride a spirited chestnut mare. The countryside, through which he was journeying, stretched for miles around in peaceful solitude, teeming and delightful with that leafy and rich green livery which we are accustomed to associate with the idea of abundance. Overhead the sky was clear, from which the sun blazed down great billows of heat that hovered over the landscape, giving vigor and enthusiasm to the various forms of vegetable life, but at the same time causing the animal world to drowse and languish in discomfort.

It was plain to be seen that the horseman was an officer of the Continental Army. His mount, young and well groomed, gave every indication of a long ride, its nostrils dilated, its mouth moist with foam, its sides streaky with strings of sweat. Haste was desired, it was apparent, although in the more exposed portions of the roadway the mare was allowed to walk, her rider affectionately patting her neck or coaxing her along with an encouraging remark.

“Look, Dolly! There is some soft, tender grass to cool your lips. We shall take some.”

And he turned the mare to the side of the road and allowed her to nibble at the greensward.

Soon they were again on their way, she munching the while on the last mouthful, now walking, now impatiently breaking into a canter; Stephen, holding her in check with his hand, looked far ahead at the roofs of the city beyond. Through his mind there passed in review the incidents of the day, the memory of his business just concluded, the speculation of the future of the army, the contemplation of his reception by Marjorie.

He had been away for more than a month. During that time he was engaged in business of the gravest nature. Many hours had been spent in the company of the Commander-in-chief before whom he had laid an account of his varied activities in the city. The proposed plan for the formation of the regiment of Roman Catholic Volunteers, with all its ramifications and side issues, together with an account of his own adventures in its respect, was reported faithfully and accurately to his superior. The person of John Anderson, his suspicions concerning him, the strangely formed friendship of the spy with the Military Governor, were indicated with only that amount of reserve necessary to distinguish a moral from an absolute certitude. Events had moved with great rapidity, yet he felt assured that the real crisis was only now impending, for which reason he desired to return to the city so as to be ready for any service which might be required.

“Go along, girl. We want to reach home by noon.”

Dolly heeded him and began to canter.

Washington had not taken kindly to his suggestion for the recall of General Arnold's command; in fact he had treated the proposal with a scorn worthy of his strong sense and dauntless courage. It was plain to be seen that His Excellency had placed much reliance and confidence in his favorite officer. It was impossible to create so much as a suspicion in the mind of him, who had been compelled to endure irksome suppression at the hands of a cabalistic and jealous military party, and who, for that very reason, took a magnanimous view of the plight of one beset with similar persecutions. General Arnold was in his eyes a brave and fearless leader, but one unfortunately annoyed and tormented by the machinations of an ungrateful and intolerant populace.

And so when it came to pass that the one General, whom he had admired and trusted, applied for an active command in the field, General Washington cordially granted the request. If the wounded limb would permit it, there was no doubt in the mind of His Excellency that General Arnold would prove the most heroic and able officer along the line. Lincoln was gone, having been forced to surrender with his entire army at Charleston only six weeks before. Green was engaged with the army in the Carolinas; Gates was a coward; Lee, a traitor. In the important operations which were soon to take place with the main army in the vicinity of New York, Arnold was the leader best qualified for the task. Washington took extreme delight in appointing him to the command of the Right Wing of his own army and the Second in Command of the Continental forces.

It was with genuine reluctance that he consented to listen to the strange story as unfolded by his aide-de-camp, Captain Meagher. That General Arnold should openly countenance rebellion was preposterous; to become a party to it was incredible. Yet the veracity of his aide was unquestionable, and the wealth of evidence which he had presented left little room for doubt. Still Washington's faith was unshaken. He felt assured that his favorite General would redeem himself when the proper time came. And every encouragement for this redemption would be afforded him.

West Point was open. He would recall the order appointing him to the command of the army and make him commander of the fortification there. The exigencies of the times required a man of rare ability and genius at this post. Should there prove to be a shadow of truth in the allegations of his aide, the change of command would simplify the situation from whatever viewpoint it might be regarded. The country might be preserved, and Arnold's ambition at the same time given another opportunity.

Stephen ruminated over these events as he rode leisurely along. A genuine satisfaction was derived from the knowledge that his chief's confidence in him was still unshaken. He felt that he had effected a change of post for the man whom, above all other men, Washington most admired and respected; nevertheless he felt that at the same time he was only executing a service which would ultimately prove to be of incalculable value to the army and the nation. Arnold troubled him, but in command of a fortress he would occasion infinitely less worry and apprehension than in a responsible position in the field.

Marjorie delighted him. At Morristown he had found her letter; and his plans for the immediate present underwent a decided alteration. He had been ordered to make the journey to Hartford in attendance upon General Washington, who had already completed arrangements with Count Rochambeau and Admiral Ternay of the French navy for a conference there in reference to the proposed naval operations of the combined fleets. With the letter in his hand he had sought and obtained a further leave of absence from his Commander-in-chief in order that his own campaign for the winning of the lady of his heart might be brought to a quick and decisive termination.

He had left the city, not hurt nor wounded as she had supposed, but somewhat disappointed at the manner of her expression. Her apparent coolness and unconcern he had ascribed rather to her extreme diffidence and shyness than to want of appreciation or sincerity. That she truly cared for him, he knew full well; that he would eventually win her to him was a faltering conviction. But, now, there was no further doubt. She had written him pages into which she had poured out her heart in generous and unmistakable accents, and which he had read and re-read with growing delight.

Washington could not refuse his request. He made no attempt to conceal the nature of his mission and obtained not alone His Excellency's gracious permission but his sincere wishes for success as well. With a heart buoyant with joy and anticipation he spurred on his mare and pushed her to her worth in the direction of the city and the object of his quest.

II

He rode into the city well aware that the first news to reach him would be that of the exodus of the Arnolds.

“You came straight through town, I suppose?”

“Yes,” replied Stephen.

“And came here direct?” continued Mr. Allison.

“I quartered my mare, first. I thought immediately of the Inn as the place to gather the news. So I hastened hither.”

“There's been heaps doin',” Jim remarked casually.

“Never saw such excitement since the day of the regiment,” observed the keeper of the Inn, a well-mannered and well-educated gentleman, above middle age, who held the enviable position of inn-keeper and lawyer alike. Every inn-keeper of this age commanded much of respect in the community, for it was he who received the money of the people, and money commanded the necessities of life—a good bed, good things to eat, attentive servants; but Mr. Smith, the keeper of the Old London Coffee House, was the most respectable inn-keeper in the city, the proud possessor of a very pretty library and an excellent table where cleanliness and decency vied with dignity and self-respect.

“Arnold, you know, has left the city,” volunteered Mr. Allison.

“Yes, I have surmised,” was the reply.

“Gone, an' all belongin' to 'im.”

“And closed his mansion?” Stephen inquired.

“Tight. Mrs. Arnold went with him. They left yesterday.”

“But I thought——”

“To the army? I understand he had been appointed to field duty under Washington. Second in Command, they say. But that has been changed. He has gone to West Point.”

Stephen did not answer.

“It seems,” went on Mr. Allison, “that he has been seeking a change of post for several months. His leg still bothers him, however, and very likely prevented him from doing active duty in the field. On that account, it has been said, he was given charge of the fortress. It is an important post, nevertheless, and carries with it a certain amount of distinction.”

“Hope he gits along better with 'em up there 'n he did here,” remarked Jim. “He won't hev the s'ciety folks t' bother 'im now.”

“When did he leave?”

“No one knows. There was no demonstration of any kind. It differed much from the farewell of General Howe. Arnold left in disgrace, it would seem,” said the Inn-keeper, as he moved away to give his attention to other business.

“And Peggy gone, too?” Stephen was genuinely surprised at this, for he rather expected that she would remain with her mother.

“I am sure that the majority of our people are greatly pleased at the change,” said Mr. Allison. “I never saw one sink to such depths of contempt. He came to the city as Military Governor in a blaze of triumph, the most celebrated soldier in the army, whose rise to popular esteem was only accelerated by the knowledge of the harsh treatment received by him at the hands of Congress after the battle of Saratoga. He was the idol alike of soldiers and civilians. Their hearts were his without the asking. That was two years ago. Today he left the city in the fullness of his years, in secret, after so many plaudits, in obloquy, after so much honor.”

“It is a sad commentary on human nature,” Stephen observed. “Yet in all things else I blame the woman. 'Cherchez la femme.'”

The room already was reeky from the clouds of tobacco smoke streaming upwards from the pipes of the several guests who were lounging in small groups about the room. There were several parties in as many corners, each wholly unconcerned about the other. The conversation of our trio was therefore private insofar as any privacy can be expected in an inn. Only the boisterous individual made himself heard, and then only to the displeasure of the others.

Leaving the two at the Inn, Stephen bade them adieu and directed his journey in the direction of Second Street. Hastening his steps he soon reached the Germantown road, and as he turned the bend perceived the familiar outline of the Allison home. Little did he suspect, however, that the curtains of one of the upper windows concealed a lithe form and that his swift gait was being interpreted with a world of meaning. He laid his hand on the gate, and even then Marjorie had opened the door to meet him.

III

“First of all,” she said, “how long may you remain? Will you dine with us, or what?”

“I shall be most pleased. I have several days. His Excellency has gone to Hartford to engage in conference. It was intended that I should accompany the staff. I begged leave, however, to return to Philadelphia.”

They were seated on the sofa in the distant corner of the parlor. They were quite alone now for the first time, the mother having asked to be excused after many minutes with the announcement that since he would be pleased to remain, the supper must needs be prepared. No, Marjorie need not help her. She might entertain Captain Meagher.

“It's glorious to see you again,” he said, sitting down beside her after Mrs. Allison had departed from the room.

“I am glad you have come,” she replied softly, rubbing her hand across her apron as if to arrange it neatly.

“But you knew that I would come, didn't you?”

“I thought so.”

“And yet I greatly feared that it would not be possible. Preparations are being made for the final campaign, and it is expected that the French will be asked to play an important part.”

“It was very generous of His Excellency to grant you leave.”

He began to smile.

“Could you guess how I obtained it?” he asked.

She turned to regard him.

“What have you done?” she asked soberly.

“Showed him your letter.”

“Stephen!” she gasped as she drew back.

Neither spoke. He continued to smile at her apparent concern, while she stared at him.

“Do you mean it?” she asked; then quickly—“or are you teasing?”

“I did. I showed the letter to him, and asked if I might return to you.”

“He read it?”

“There! There! I am joking. He did not read it, but I did have it in my hand, and I told him about you and that I was going back to take you with me.”

Satisfied, she allowed herself to assume a more relaxed composure.

“You are going to destroy it, aren't you?”

He took it from his pocket and looked at it. She, too, glanced at it, and then at him.

“May I keep it? I treasure every word of it, you know.”

“Did you but know how it was composed, you might ridicule me.”

“I suppose you closed yourself behind some great veil to shut out the world from your view. Your mind toiled with thought until you were resolved upon the heroic. There was no scheme nor formula; your quill ran on and on in obedience to the flood of ideas which inspired it.”

She lapsed into meditation; but she recovered herself immediately.

“No,” she shook her head slowly though steadily. “At midnight with the aid of a little candle which burned itself out quite before the end.”

He looked up sharply.

“That night?”

She nodded.

He put his arms around her and drew her close. She made no resistance, but allowed herself to fall into his embrace.

“Marjorie!” he whispered.

She yielded both her hands to his grasp and felt them compressed within it.

“You were not hurt at my seeming indiscretion?”

“I told you in my letter that I was not.”

“Then you do love me?”

She drew back a little as if to glance at him.

“You know that I do,” was the soft, reassuring answer.

“Won't you let me hear you say it?” he pleaded.

Reaching out, she put both arms about him and offered her lips to his, whispering at the same time only what he was destined to hear.

Presently the old clock began to strike the hour of five.

CHAPTER VI

I

“Father! Father! Where are you? Arnold has betrayed! He has betrayed his country!”

Breathless, Marjorie rushed into the hallway, leaving the door ajar behind her. It was late in the afternoon of a September day. The air was soft and hazy, tempered with just the chill of evening that comes at this time of the year before sundown.

More than two months had passed, months crowded with happiness which had filled her life with fancy. Her engagement to Captain Meagher had been announced, quietly and simply; their marriage was to take place in the fall. Day after day sped by and hid themselves in the records of time until the event, anxiously awaited, yet equally dreaded, was but a bare month distant. It would be a quiet affair after all, with no ostentation or display; but that would in no wise prevent her from looking her prettiest.

And so on this September afternoon while she was visiting the shops for the purpose of discovering whatever tempting and choice bits of ware they might have to offer, she thought she heard the blast of a trumpet from the direction of the balcony of the old Governor's Mansion. Attracted by the sound, which recalled to her mind a former occasion when the news of the battle of Monmouth was brought to the city by courier and announced to the public, she quickened her steps in the direction of the venerable building. True, a man was addressing the people who had congregated beneath the balcony. Straining every faculty she caught the awful news.

Straightway she sped homewards, running as often as her panting breath would allow. She did not wait to open the door, but seemed to burst through it.

“What was that, child?” her father asked quickly as he met her in the dining-room.

“Arnold ... Arnold ...” she repeated, waiting to catch her breath.

“Has betrayed, you say?”

“West Point.”

“My God! We are lost.”

He threw his hands heavenwards and started across the floor.

“What is it, Marjorie?” asked the mother, who now stood in the passageway, a corner of her apron held in both hands, a look of wonder and suspicion full upon her.

“No, Father!” the girl replied, apparently heedless of her mother's presence, “West Point is saved. Arnold has gone.”

“Let him go. But West Point is still ours? Thank God! He is with the British, I suppose?”

“So they say. The plot was discovered in the nick of time. His accomplice was captured and the papers found upon him.”

“When did this happen?”

“Only a few days ago. The courier was dispatched at once to the members of Congress. The message was delivered today.”

“And General Arnold tried to sell West Point to the British?” commented Mrs. Allison, who had listened as long as possible to the disconnected story. “A scoundrel of a man.”

“Three Americans arrested a suspicious man in the neighborhood of Tarrytown. Upon searching him they discovered some papers in the handwriting of Arnold containing descriptions of the fortress. They took him for a spy.”

“I thought as much,” said Mrs. Allison. “Didn't I tell you that Arnold would do something like that? I knew it. I knew it.”

“Thank God he is not one of us,” was Mr. Allison's grave reply. “His act would only serve to fan into fury the dormant flames of Pope Day.”

“This is an act of vengeance,” Marjorie reflected. “He never forgot his court-martial, and evidently sought his country's ruin in revenge. Adversities he could contend with; humiliation he could not endure.”

The little group presented a varied scene. The girl, young, tender, was plainly animated with a strong undercurrent of excitement which thrilled her entire frame, flushing her cheeks and sparkling in her eyes. Her tender years, her inexperience with the world, her guileless mind and frank open manner had not yet prepared her for the enormity of the crime which had of a sudden been flashed full upon her. For the moment realization had given way to wonder. She sensed only the magnitude of the tragedy without its atrocious and more insidious details. On the other hand there was the father, composed and imperturbable, to whom the disclosure of this scheme of the blackest treason was but another chapter added to the year of disasters which was just coming to a close. His more astute mind, schooled by long experience with the world and its artifices, had taught him to view the transit of events with a certain philosophy, a sort of pragmatic philosophy, with reference to the causes and the results of events and how they bore on the practical utility of all concerned; and finally the mother, who in her devout and pious way, saw only the Holy Will of God working in all things for His own praise and glory.

“And they found the dispatches in his own writing?” the father asked deliberately.

“In his stockings, beneath the soles of his feet.”

Again there was silence.

“He is a prisoner?”

“Of course. He was arrested for a spy. They say he is an Adjutant in the British army. He was in full disguise.”

“Hm!”

Mr. Allison set his lips.

“I think,” continued Marjorie, “that it was the effect of a stroke of good fortune. He was taken by three men who were lying in wait for robbers. Otherwise he might have continued his journey in safety and the plot would have succeeded.”

“Thank God and His Blessed Mother!” breathed Mrs. Allison as she clasped her hands together before her in an attitude of prayer.

“And Arnold?” methodically asked Mr. Allison.

“He escaped to the British lines. I do not know how, but it seems that he has departed. The one important item, which pleased and interested the people, was the capture of the spy and the frustration of the plot.”

The father left the chair and began to pace the room, his hands behind him.

“It is a bad blow. Too bad! Too bad!” he repeated. “I do not like it, for it will destroy the courage and confidence of our people. Arnold was the idol of the army, and I fear that his defection will create a great change of heart.”

“The army will be better off without him,” said Mrs. Allison.

“I agree with you,” was the reply. “But the people may decide in a different manner. There is reason for worry.”

“What was the effect of Lee's attempted treason?” spoke up Marjorie. “The people loathe him, and he will die an outcast.”

“There is no punishment too severe for Lee. He has been from the start nothing but a selfish adventurer. But the cases are not parallel. Lee was never popular with the army. Arnold, you must remember, was the most successful leader in the field and the officer most prized by the Commander-in-chief.”

“Nevertheless he will sink as fast as he climbed, I think. The country must not tolerate a traitor.”

“Must not! But will not the circumstance alter the case? I say that unless the proofs of Arnold's treason are irrefutable, the people will be slow to believe. I don't like it. I don't.”

There was some logic in his argument which began to impress Marjorie. Arnold could exercise a tremendous amount of influence over the army. Whether the strings of loyalty which had united their hearts with his would be now snapped by his act of perfidy was the mooted question. As a matter of fact a spirit of mutiny already was beginning to make itself manifest. The soldiers of Pennsylvania who were encamped on the heights of Morristown marched out of camp the following January and set out for Philadelphia. They were rebuked by Washington, who sent a letter by General Wayne, whereupon they returned to their posts. Later in the same month another mutiny occurred among the New Jersey troops, but this, too, was quickly suppressed. Just how much responsibility for these uprisings might be traced to the treason of Arnold can not be estimated. There is no question, however, that his act was not wholly unproductive of its psychological effects.

“I feel so sorry for Peggy,” Marjorie sighed.

“The young wife has a sore burden thrown upon her. A sorry day it was when she met him,” was Mrs. Allison's comment.

“Strange, I never suspected Peggy for a moment,” Marjorie said. “I had been raised with her and thought we knew each other. I am sorry, very sorry.”

“We do not know how much she is concerned with this,” announced Mr. Allison, “but her ambition knew no restraint or limitation. She has her peerage now.”

“And her husband?”

“The grave of a traitor, the sole immortality of degraded ambition, religious prejudice, treason and infamy.”

“God help him!” exclaimed Mrs. Allison.

II

In July, 1780, General Arnold had been placed in command of West Point; two months later he was safe on board the British sloop-of-war, Vulture. He had attempted to betray his country; he received in exchange six thousand pounds sterling, together with a brigadiership in the British Army.

From the time he left Philadelphia until the morning of his flight he had kept up a continual correspondence with John Anderson. Information was at length conveyed to him that Sir Henry Clinton was in possession of advices that the American Commander-in-chief contemplated an advance on New York by way of King's Bridge. Clinton's scheme would allow the army of General Washington to move upon the city, having collected all his magazines at the fortification at West Point, but at a given moment Arnold was expected to surrender the fort and garrison and compel the army of Washington to retire immediately or else suffer capture in the field.

Still Arnold felt that everything was not quite settled between Sir Henry and himself, and wrote accordingly, advising that a written guarantee be forwarded or delivered in person to him by an officer of Sir Henry's staff of his own mensuration. He was informed by way of reply that the necessary meeting might be arranged, and that the emissary would be the Adjutant-General of the British Army.

Accordingly the British sloop Vulture moved up the river as far as Stony Point, bearing the Adjutant-General. Arnold had fixed on the house of Joshua Smith as the place for the meeting. On the night of the twenty-first of September, he sent a boat to the Vulture which brought the emissary shore. In a thick grove of cedars, in the shroud of the blackest night, Arnold waited the return of the rowboat, its oars muffled with sheepskins, its passenger on board. The latter sprang lightly to the shore, his large blue watchcoat and high boots alone visible. As he climbed the bank and approached the grove, he threw back his cloak and revealed the full British uniform of a general officer.

“Anderson?” Arnold exclaimed. “You?”

“No! André, Major André,” was the reply.

“Hm! I thought as much. I suspected you from the moment I met you in Philadelphia.”

“Come. Let us finish. I must return before daybreak.”

“Where is your disguise? I advised you to come in disguise.”

He understood the piercing glance.

“I have come thus under General Clinton's orders,” was the reply. “My safety lies in open uniform.”

“Let it go at that. Here! I have with me the plans of West Point, together with a full inventory of its armament and stores and a roster of its garrison.”

André took the papers and glanced at them as best he could by means of the lantern light.

“But I do not see here a written promise to surrender the fortress?”

“No! Nor, by Heaven, you shall not receive it,” Arnold snapped. “I have given my word. That is enough. I have already placed myself in your hands by these plans and inventories made in my own handwriting. This is all.... No more.”

“General Washington visits here on Saturday?”

“Yes.”

“The surrender must take place that night.”

Arnold looked fiercely at him. This was one matter which seemed intolerable. To betray his country was treason; to betray his sole friend and benefactor was unknown to him by any name in the English language. He refused absolutely. André insisted, and the discussion became violent.

Neither became aware of the dawn which was about to break through the thicket of fir-trees which bounded the opposite bank of the Hudson. Still the details had not been arranged; the matter of Arnold's reward was still unsettled. There had been various promises of compensation, maintenance of military rank, a peerage or a viceroyalty in one of the colonies, but André was empowered to offer no more than compensation and military rank. With the dawning light, the boatmen became alarmed and refused to take André back to his ship, with the result that the two conspirators were obliged to pass the time until the next night in the house of Joshua Smith.

It so happened that the day brought to pass an unforeseen accident. Livingston, the Colonel of “Congress' Own,” in command of the batteries on the opposite side of the river at Verplanck's Point, opened fire upon the Vulture, compelling her to drop down the river. It was necessary, therefore, for Major André to proceed by land down the opposite shore until he had met with his vessel, and so late at night he departed, his uniform and coat exchanged for a disguise, the six papers in Arnold's handwriting crammed between his stockings and feet.

It also happened, by a strange irony of fate, that a party of American soldiers had set out that very morning to intercept a band of robbers who had infested the roadways of this neighborhood, and who had rendered the highways impassable because of their depredations. Near Tarrytown, three of this party confronted a passing traveler, and leveling their muskets at him, ordered him to halt. They were obeyed on the instant, and because of the suspicious manner of the stranger, a complete search of him was made. The set of papers was found in their hiding place, and he was placed under arrest, and sent to North Castle. There the papers were examined, and instead of being sent to General Arnold himself, were forwarded to His Excellency, who was known to be lodged at West Point. At the same time a complementary letter was sent to General Arnold, informing him of what had taken place.

He was at breakfast when the news was brought him. The letter was crumbled in his hand as he hastily arose from the table and rushed to Peggy's room where he acquainted her of his fate. She screamed and fainted. He stooped to kiss his sleeping child; then rushing from the house was soon mounted and on his way to the place where he knew a barge had been anchored. Jumping aboard he ordered the oarsmen to take him to the Vulture, eighteen miles down the river. Next morning he was safe within the enemy's lines at New York.

III

The minute details of the attempted plot had not filtered into Philadelphia when a demonstration had begun in celebration of its frustration. Spontaneously and exuberantly the citizens of the city gathered in the public square and for several hours the joy-making continued with unabated energy and enthusiasm. Like a flash it seemed that the full realization of what this news had meant broke like a rushing tide upon their consciousness. The country had been threatened; but the danger had been averted.

In a few hours the streets were mad with hundreds of people singing and shouting and marching in unrestrained glee. Bulletins had been posted in the public square acquainting the people of the great facts, yet this did not begin to equal the amount of news which had been relayed from mouth to mouth and grew in detail and magnitude as it went. Chains, trays, broken iron were dragged in rattling bundles up and down the streets amid the laughs and cheers of the mass of humanity that had swarmed upon the roadways and sidewalks.

Marjorie and her father were among the early arrivals on Market Street. Little by little items of information came to them as they alternately talked with their many acquaintances. Out of the many and varied accounts one or two points had stood out prominently—Arnold had attempted to surrender the fortress while Washington was lodged there in the hope that complete disaster would befall the American cause; he had completed negotiations with the British emissary; who was known as Major André, whom the people of Philadelphia associated with the person of John Anderson, a frequent visitor of the Arnolds during their stay in the city; the officer had been taken prisoner by the American forces and the papers found upon him; while Arnold and his wife had escaped to the British forces in the city of New York.

When the gayety seemed to have attained its climax, a procession began to wend its way through the howling crowd. There was no attempt at regular formation, the multitude trailing along in whatever order seemed most desirable to them. In the midst of the line of march, two gaunt figures towered aloft over the heads of the marchers, the one bearing a placard upon which was scrawled the name “Arnold the traitor,” the other, “André the spy.” These were carried with great acclaim several times around the city until the procession rested at the square, where amid cheers and huzzas they were publicly burned. This seemed to satisfy the crowd, for they gradually began to disperse. The hour was late and Marjorie and her father journeyed homewards, passing the watchman at the corner as he announced the hour, “Eleven o'clock and Arnold is burned.”

The state bordering on frenzy into which the mob had been cast was responsible, for the most part, for the violence of the celebration, nevertheless there stood many sober and composed individuals apart from the ranks who had looked on in silent acquiescence during the riotous proceedings. Arnold had fallen to the lowest ebb of infamy and contempt so that even his past services were entirely forgotten. There was no palliation. There were no extenuating circumstances. The enormity of his crime alone mattered. His name could not be mentioned without a shudder.

Mount Pleasant was not permitted to remain idle. It soon was seized by the city authorities and rented to Baron Steuben, the disciplinarian of the American Army and the author of its first Manual of Arms. The household furniture, too, had been removed and offered for sale at public auction, while the coach and four was bought by a trader at the Coffee House. Arnold's presence in the city was now no more than a memory—a memory, indeed, but a sad one.

“He would never escape the fury of that crowd,” Mr. Allison observed to his daughter as the two journeyed homewards.

“They would surely put him to death.”

“If they ever lay hands on him—they might perhaps cut off his wounded leg, but the rest of him they would burn.”

She considered.

“I can scarce believe it—it seems too awful.”

“Well! I never could see much good in a bigot. A man with a truly broad and charitable soul has no room in him for base designs. Arnold would crucify us if he could, yet we have lived to see him repudiated by his own.”

“It does seem after all that God takes care of His own. Even the sparrow does not fall to the ground.”

Plainly the spirit of the evening had awakened a serious vein of thought in the two. They could take no delight in a tragedy so intimately interwoven with pity and compassion. The fate of the two principal actors, the courageous Arnold and the ambitious André, erstwhile known as Anderson, could not fail to touch their hearts. Their lot was not enviable; but it was lamentable.

“And John Anderson, too,” said Marjorie, “I cannot believe it.”

“When the truth is known, I am of the opinion that he will be more pitied and less condemned. Arnold was the chief actor. André a mere pawn.”

“How brilliant he was! You remember his visits? The afternoon at the piano?”

“Yes. He was talented. But to what purpose?”

“I am sorry.”

And so were the many.

CHAPTER VII

I

“Stephen, wilt thou take Marjorie here present for thy lawful wife, according to the rite of our Holy Mother, the Church?”

Audibly and distinctly resounded the voice of Father Farmer throughout the little church as he read from the Roman Ritual the form of the sacrament of Matrimony.

“I will,” answered Stephen deliberately.

“Marjorie, wilt thou take Stephen here present for thy lawful husband, according to the rite of our Holy Mother, the Church?”

“I will,” was the soft response.

The two then joined their right hands and repeated one after the other the pledge by which they took each other for man and wife; Stephen first, then Marjorie.

“I, Stephen, take thee Marjorie for my lawful wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better; for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Solemnly and reverently the priest raised his right hand over them as he pronounced the blessing.

“Ego conjungo vos in matrimonium, in nomine Patris et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen.”

The ring having been blessed before them, Stephen placed it on Marjorie's finger saying the prescribed words, after which they awaited the prayers of the priest. Father Farmer turned to the altar and at once began the Nuptial Mass, according to the ceremony of the Catholic Church, and pronounced over them the Nuptial Blessing.

This made an end of the marriage ceremony.

It would be difficult to describe the feelings of Marjorie as she turned from the sanctuary and made her way down the aisle of the little church. Her hand lay on Stephen's arm, but it seemed to her as if she were hanging from it. She was happy; that, of course. But she thought, too, that she was extremely nervous, and the more she thought over herself, the more she felt that she appeared extremely self-conscious.

The church was quite filled with friends, yet she dared not look up to measure its capacity, but guarded her eyes with the strictest custody. The organ was playing an appropriate march which she tried to follow in her mind in order that she might thereby absorb the greater part of her attention. Stephen was with her, for she could feel him, although she was quite certain that she never laid an eye on him during the whole time. Her people were there, so were her many friends and acquaintances, and Stephen's relatives and friends as well, but these, too, were absent as far as her concentration of mind was concerned. Only one thought was uppermost in her mind and that was to leave the church as soon as possible, for she felt that every eye was focused upon her.

It had been intended that the affair should be charmingly simple, both on account of the sad and melancholy days through which the country was passing and the natural tendencies of the parties concerned to avoid all semblance of display. Their names had been published at three public masses; the Catholic Church required that. They had been married by Father Farmer with a nuptial high mass. The wedding breakfast would be served at the home of the bride. But the number of invited guests would be limited strictly to the members of the family and one or two intimate friends so as to include Jim Cadwalader and Sergeant Griffin. Furthermore there would be no honeymoon on account of the uncertainty which invariably had defined the duration of Stephen's stay in the city.

It was only when the little party, Marjorie and Stephen's sister, her maid of honor, and Stephen and Sergeant Griffin, his best man, had settled down into the coach, that Marjorie for the first time became composed. A great sigh of relief escaped from her as she sat back, her bouquet in her hand, and looked at the dispersing crowd. She could not tell yet whether she was happy or not; the excitement had not subsided enough to allow her to regain her self-possession and equanimity. Stephen was by her side. That was about all she knew,—or cared.

Stephen was in his characteristically reticent mood. Already had he observed that he would have endured another Valley Forge with greater pleasure than the ordeal of a wedding ceremony. Still he was nicely dressed for the occasion, wearing for the first time a new full dress uniform of buff and blue. The interested spectator might have discerned, too, that he wore for the first time a new insignia of rank; for he was now a Major of the Continental Army, having received that promotion, upon the recommendation of His Excellency, for distinguished service, together with a warm message of congratulation upon his approaching marriage. Nevertheless he was unmoved through it all, betraying but one concern, and that was administration to the most trivial wants of his blushing and timid bride.

It was the time of joy, of pure, unalloyed joy, yet he could not banish altogether from his mind the memories of the past two years, years crowded with events in his life and that of his beloved. There was, indeed, much to be thankful for, and notwithstanding his exceedingly great glee and the day of gladness which had dawned for him flooding his heart with exultation and complacent satisfaction, still a prayer of praise poured forth from his lips to the Giver of every best and perfect gift.

The American Revolution had unfolded a wonderful story, a story of anti-Catholicism, of persecution and prejudice which had resolved itself step by step into a state of complete freedom of action and religious liberty. The Church was at length free, free to gather her children into congregations where she might speak to them and instruct them without any fear. Now she was at liberty to fulfill her mission of winning souls to Christ. True, her children were widely scattered, a bare twenty-five thousand out of a population of about three millions, whose wants were administered to by no more than twenty-five priests. Yet out of this contemptible little body there emerged a people, honorable, respectable, and of such consequence as to deserve commendation from the First President for “the patriotic part which you took in the accomplishment of their Revolution and the establishment of your government,” as well as causing to be inserted in the Constitution of the new republic the clause that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the United States.” There was of course much to be desired; but the foundations had been laid, and the prospect for the future was auspicious.

And so they rode through the city streets joyfully, merrily, light-heartedly. Conversation, interspersed with laughter and jocularity, literally ran riot, so impatiently did each attempt to relate what was uppermost in his or her mind. The ceremony, the music, the procession, the multitude obtained their due amount of comment, until the arrival of the coach at the door of the Allison home put an end to the session.

II

“A health, ladies and gentlemen, to the bride. May she live long and never form the acquaintanceship of sorrow!”

Stephen's father had arisen from his chair and with his goblet held before him addressed the company.

It was drunk with evident pleasure. Then Mr. Allison arose.

“To Major Meagher, that his brilliant career be only the commencement of a life of extraordinary achievement!”

This was followed by a round of applause. Stephen smiled and bowed his head, but it was plain to be seen that his father's chest had expanded more than an appreciable trifle. Marjorie was happy and whispered a word to her newly formed sister-in-law who was seated by her side. It was a jolly group who had surrounded the table, all bent on doing honor to the happy couple, but none appeared more so than Jim Cadwalader and his wife, Nancy.

“I tell you,” said Jim, “they're a right fine pair.”

“I am afraid, Jim, you have not forgiven me quite for excluding you from that meeting,” Stephen suggested.

“I'm the proud'st man this side o' the river t' think I gave y' me clothes. Y'd never got on widout me.”

There was an outburst of laughter.

“You would have been captured, had you gone in there. I saved you.”

“Yes, an' the girl, there, did it. Don't ye furgit that, either. I'll tell on y',” replied Jim, nodding his head emphatically. “She got me caught.”

“Jim!” Marjorie exclaimed loudly.

“Now do not lay the blame on her,” Stephen cautioned with a smile. “You yourself were only too anxious to get there. You wanted to see yourself in a new uniform.”

“I did, then. I was terr'bly anxious t' see meself in a red suit, wasn't I?”

The company enjoyed this exchange of repartee and laughed continually. Jim ever enjoyed the distinction of being tormented by the members of whatever gathering he was in, yet it was never known when he was powerless of providing for himself.

And so they talked far into the morning. They sat in groups of twos and threes, long after the table had been cleared, while the willing helpers, the good neighbors, plied themselves industriously out in the kitchen with the cleaning of the dishes and the restoration of the house again to its proper order. Marjorie and her mother looked in through the doorway from time to time at the progress of the work, only to be banished as quickly by the cohort of willing toilers. For once in their lives the girl and her fond mother mingled entirely with the guests and took their full measure of enjoyment with the company.

As the guests departed one after the other, leaving behind them many benedictions and choice wishes for the bride and groom, the house settled down to its accustomed quietude and uniformity with the immediate family, Jim and his wife alone remaining. Jim, like every recognized master in his own household, sat with his one leg across the other, enjoying his tobacco, while his less aristocratic helpmate took care that the kitchen affairs were given their due amount of attention. With abatement of the excitement and commotion the members of the family betook themselves upon various journeys, the father to look at his fire so as to give it, if needed, a few generous pokes; the mother, to the kitchen to add a touch here and there to the arrangement of its utensils; Marjorie to her room in order that she might once more robe herself in her plainer and more habitual apparel. The festivities were at an end and the practical things of life again asserted their stern reality.

III

At length Stephen and Marjorie were alone, alone in their own little world of fancies and dreams. They were standing by the upstairs window looking out at the little fence where they had stood together more than two years before on the afternoon of his arrest. Stephen recalled his impressions of her then, yet she was more beautiful now, he thought. She had changed her gown of white for one of pink, and as she stood there, her lips a little parted in a tiny smile, her soft cheeks heightened in color, her bright eyes looking out into the memories of the past, she seemed for all the world to Stephen like an enchanted being.

“What are you thinking of, girlie?” he asked as he stood behind her, his arm about her waist.

There was no response.

“Tell me, won't you?” he pleaded.

She continued to gaze into the roadway.

“Aren't you happy?”

“Oh! Yes.... Yes.... I was never so happy. I ... I....”

“What is it? Please, tell me. I fear that you are disturbed over something.”

She did not answer but turned and seized the lapels of his coat with both her hands. Then she raised her face to his and looked straight into his eyes.

“I was thinking how much I have really cared for you without ever knowing it.”

“Is that all?” he laughed, as he folded his arms about her.

“And how unkind I have been to you all the while.”

“There! There! You must not say that again. Promise me you will not so much as think it.”

Again there was silence, but only for a moment.

“But I must have hurt you often. And to think that I never realized it.”

“You are happy now, aren't you?”

She looked up again with only love in her eyes.

“Stephen!” she whispered.

She was lost in his embrace and felt only his breath against her cheek.

The world lived in them.

THE END

Printed in U. S. A.

 
 
 

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