NEAL, THE MILLER
A SON OF LIBERTY
I THE PROJECT
II THE ESCAPE
III IN BOSTON
IV ON THE PASCATAQUA
V STEPHEN KIDDER
"I fear you are undertaking
too much, Neal. When a fellow lacks two
years of his majority--"
"You forget that I have been my own master more than a year. Father
gave me my time before he died, and that in the presence of Governor
"Why before him rather than 'Squire White?"
"I don't know. My good friend Andrew McCleary attended to the business
for me, and to-day I may make contracts as legally
as two years hence."
"Even with that advantage
I do not see how it will be possible for you
to build a grist-mill; or, if you should succeed in getting so far with
the project, how you can procure
the machinery. It is such an
undertaking as Andrew McCleary himself would not venture."
"Yet he has promised me every assistance
in his power."
"And how much may that be? He has no friends at court who can--"
"Neither does he wish for one there, Stephen Kidder. He is a man who
has the welfare
of the colonists too much at heart to seek for friends
near the throne."
"It is there he will need them if he hopes to benefit New Hampshire."
"Perhaps not. The time is coming when it behooves each of us to observe
well the law regarding
"You mean the statute
which declares that 'every male from sixteen to
sixty must have ready for use one musket
and bayonet, a knapsack,
cartridge-box, one pound of powder, twenty bullets and twelve flints?'"
"There is none other that I know of."
"Then I shall not be a law-breaker, for I am provided in due form. But
what has that to do with your mill? I think you will find it difficult
to buy the stamped paper necessary for the lawful
making of your
contracts unless you dispose
of your outfit
for war or hunting, which
is the best to be found in Portsmouth."
"That I shall never do, even if I fail in getting the mill. Do you
know, Stephen, that I was admitted to the ranks of the Sons of Liberty
"The honours are being heaped high on the head of the would-be miller
of the Pascataqua," Kidder replied, with a laugh. "Do you expect the
Sons of Liberty will do away with the necessity for stamped paper?"
"Who shall say? Much can--"
Walter Neal did not conclude the sentence, for at that instant
passed, and a signal, so slight as not to be observed by his companion,
was given by one of the new-comers, causing the young man to hasten
away without so much as a word in explanation
of his sudden departure,
while Stephen Kidder stood gazing after him in blank amazement.
The two friends whose conversation was so suddenly interrupted were
natives of the town of Portsmouth, in the Province of New Hampshire;
and, had either had occasion to set down the date of this accidental
meeting, it would have been written, October 26th, 1765.
As has been suggested, Walter Neal's ambition
was to erect a grist-mill
a certain distance up the Pascataqua River, where was great need of
one, since land in that portion
of the province
was being rapidly
settled; and, although without capital, he believed it might be
possible for him to accomplish his desires.
He was favourably
known to the merchants of Portsmouth, and thanks to
the efforts of his friend, Andrew McCleary,--ten years his
senior,--several tradesmen had intimated that perhaps they might
advance sufficient money to start the enterprise
in a limited
Neal had inherited a small amount
of property from his father; but,
like many of the farmers in the New World, he was sadly hampered by the
lack of ready money. During several weeks prior to this accidental
meeting with Stephen Kidder, he had been forced to temporarily
in regard to the mill, that he might try to raise
sufficient money with which to pay the annual
tax, already more than
burdensome, upon his small estate.
As Neal hastened after the two men who had given him the signal to
follow them, the most engrossing thought in his mind was as to how the
amount of four pounds and seven shillings in cash could be raised
without a sacrifice of the cattle from the home farm.
Ephraim Foulsham had partially
agreed to advance the sum if he could be
secured by a chattel-mortgage, and when Neal overtook
those in advance
he was speculating upon the possibility
of getting the amount
should be issued against him.
That which he heard, however, speedily
drove all thoughts of a personal
nature from his mind. "Master McCleary would be pleased to see you, and
quickly," one of the men said, in a low tone, when the three were where
there was no other to overhear
"Is it important I should go at once?"
"Yes; unless you would break the oath you took last night."
Neal waited to ask no more questions. Ten minutes later he was at
Samuel Leavitt's store, where he knew McCleary would be found at this
time of the day.
Before Neal could speak, his friend walked quickly out of the building
toward the shore of the harbour, giving the would-be mill-owner an
expressive look, which plainly
told that he was to follow.
Not until McCleary was at a point where no one could approach him
without being seen did he halt, and then Neal was by his side.
must be sent to Boston at once," the elder man said, in a
low tone. "It is not generally known that you have been admitted to our
you are the one to go."
"When shall I start?"
"At once; there is no time to be lost. Will you ride my horse?"
"My Own will serve me better; suspicions might be aroused if I should
be seen on yours."
"Very true; I had not thought of that. You are to make all speed, and
go direct to Master Revere's. Say to him that George Messerve, who has
been appointed distributor of the tax stamps for New Hampshire, will
arrive in Boston shortly, if, indeed, he is not already there. Tell
Master Revere that the feeling in our section grows stronger against
this last imposition every day, until there is danger lest the excesses
which marked the 26th of August in Boston may be repeated
here. He will
understand what it is we want him to do."
"Shall I have time--"
"You will not have time for delay. Start at once, and as you perform
this mission, so will you be benefiting yourself in the project
"It does not require I should know that in order to be faithful
trust imposed upon me. I was about to ask if I should have time to
attend to raising the amount
of my taxes, for I have twice been warned
that they are due."
"I will see to it that you do not suffer by the delay. Go at once, and
let nothing detain
you; we expect the message will be delivered early
to-morrow morning." Neal's home lay two miles west of Portsmouth, and
to attend to the business for which he had visited the
town, he hastened toward it at a rapid pace. His mind was easy in
regard to the payment
of the taxes, for McCleary would keep every
promise made, and when he returned it should be possible to make the
necessary arrangements with Ephraim Foulsham within twenty-four hours.
When he arrived in view of the log-house which his father had built
twenty years previous, Walter understood that something out of the
ordinary course of events had happened. The doors of the barn were
open, and his mother stood in front of the building, as if in deepest
distress. A portion
of the rail-fence which enclosed the buildings was
torn down, and the cart that had been left by the side of the road was
no longer to be seen.
"You could not borrow the money?" his mother said, interrogatively,
while he was yet some distance away.
"I haven't had an opportunity to see Master Foulsham. What has
"The worst, my son, that could befall
us at this time. The officers
have attached the cattle and the horse. Even if you can borrow money,
the costs of the action will eat up all we had to live on this coming
"The horse gone!" Walter exclaimed, as if in bewilderment.
"We could better spare him just now than the cattle, because of the
work yet to be done."
Neal was not at that moment thinking of the farm duties, nor yet of the
mill, which was more distant in the future than before, but only of the
fact that it was necessary he should be in Boston on the following
Hurriedly he explained to his mother why it was he must leave home, and
added in conclusion,--
"Master McCleary has promised that I shall not suffer because of the
delay in paying the tax, and I am certain he will keep faith with me."
"And do you intend to leave home now?"
"I must; there are those who depend upon me, and they shall not be
"I am afraid, Walter, you are pursuing the wrong course. It is best
that wiser and older heads than yours should be concerned
struggle which must come, if the people resist
this new tax."
"Father would have done as I am doing; and, since I am to fill his
place, it is fit I should do what I can."
"But how will you reach Boston without a horse or money?"
Walter hesitated. By returning to Portsmouth he could get the animal
which McCleary had proposed he should ride, and yet to do so would
delay him greatly, in addition
to the possibility
of arousing suspicion
against his friend.
By leaving the main road six miles farther on, and striking
tract of wooded
country, the distance could be reduced materially; but
even then there would remain at least fifty miles to be traversed.
"I can walk to Salem," he said, at length; "and there, William Cotton
will provide me with a horse."
"It is a desperate
journey, and dangerous, if some should learn why you
had undertaken it. I--"
"You would not bid me stay, mother, but rather urge me forward. I have
no time to lose."
"You will at least wait until I can put up some food."
"Yes; it will be necessary to eat, I suppose. Bread and cheese
enough, and even that must be got together quickly."
Mrs. Neal made no attempt to dissuade her son from his purpose. That
which he had said concerning
his father had been sufficient to silence
her on the score of danger; and, when the small store of provisions
were wrapped in a stout piece of cloth and placed in the pocket of his
coat, she kissed him, but did not dare trust her voice to speak.
With a stout hickory
stick as a walking-cane, Walter set out, and there
was sufficient in his mind to provide ample food for thought during the
first two hours of the journey. He was not at all certain that, now
that the cost of making an attachment
of his property was to be added
to the amount
of his tax, Ephraim Foulsham would be willing
the money; and, even if the sum could be raised in such a manner, it
was so much increased that he could not hope to see the wished-for mill
until another season at the earliest.
At the end of the second hour he had accomplished
at least nine miles
of the distance, and could well afford to indulge
in a brief halt while
partaking of his food.
"Nine miles from home means eleven from Portsmouth," he said aloud, as
if the sound of his own voice gave him encouragement. "By this path
Salem cannot be more than twenty-four miles away, and I must make it in
five hours in order to reach Boston by sunrise. It can be done if I do
not allow myself too much time in which to rest my legs, and-"
He ceased speaking
very suddenly, for at that instant, as if they had
descended from the clouds, two horsemen stood before him.
The moss-covered path had deadened the sound of the animals' approach
as they came up from the rear.
Walter recognized both the new-comers. The foremost
was Samuel Haines,
a man who had made an unsuccessful
attempt to get the appointment to
distribute stamped paper in New Hampshire, and the other James Albert,
a half-breed Indian, who was well known in Portsmouth as a quarrelsome
fellow, ready to take part in any business, however disreputable, so
long as he was provided with an ample supply of rum.
Walter nodded familiarly to Haines, but paid no attention to the Indian.
"Wait a moment, Master Neal," the former said, gravely, as Walter
attempted to pass him. "Where are you going that you cannot stop for a
"On business which admits of no delay."
"Do you expect to walk from here to Boston before daylight?"
"Who said I was going to Boston?"
"Perhaps I guessed as much."
"Then kindly guess that I can't wait here simply for the pleasure of
talking with Master Haines."
"I shan't try to do that, my rebellious
friend. When Jim gets ready--"
Walter half turned to see what part the Indian was to play in this
interview, and as he did so the fellow's arms were around him,
pinioning his own to his side.
"What is the meaning of this?" he cried, angrily, as he tried in vain
"It means, Master Neal, that I wish to see the message you carry," and
Haines, dismounting, hastily
searched the prisoner's pockets.
"You have found yourself mistaken
as sadly as when you believed the
king would give you the dirty work of selling stamped paper," Walter
said, with a laugh, noting the look of disappointment
on Haines's face
when he failed to find any document.
"You have been intrusted to deliver the message by word of mouth, and
it will serve my purpose as well if I prevent you from calling
seditious Revere. Here, Jim, tie him to a tree with this," and Haines
drew from his saddle-bags a piece of stout rope.
It was in vain Walter struggled; taken at a disadvantage
as he had
been, he was powerless, and in a few moments was bound securely
tree, while his captors threw themselves on the ground in front of him,
as if to make a long stay.
"If you repeat what you were told to say to Revere, I will see to it
that you are made more comfortable," Haines said, after a long pause.
"And what then?"
"We shall make certain you don't return to Portsmouth for two or three
days, that is all."
"If I have a message to deliver, I will keep it to myself, instead of
intrusting it to you," Walter said, grimly; but his mind was sorely
troubled, for he realized that if he should be delayed here no more
than four hours the information he was to give might arrive too late.
advantage [əd´vɑ:ntidʒ] n.优势；利益 (初中英语单词)project [prə´dʒekt, ´prɔdʒekt] v.设计；投掷 n.计划 (初中英语单词)procure [prə´kjuə] v.获得；完(达)成；实现 (初中英语单词)assistance [ə´sistəns] n.协作；援助；帮助 (初中英语单词)welfare [´welfeə] n.福利(事业) (初中英语单词)dispose [di´spəuz] v.处置；安排；布置 (初中英语单词)sentence [´sentəns] n.判决 vt.宣判；处刑 (初中英语单词)instant [´instənt] a.立即的 n.紧迫；瞬间 (初中英语单词)explanation [,eksplə´neiʃən] n.解释；说明；辩解 (初中英语单词)province [´prɔvins] n.省；领域；范围 (初中英语单词)ambition [æm´biʃən] n.雄心，野心；企图 (初中英语单词)portion [´pɔ:ʃən] n.嫁妆；命运 vt.分配 (初中英语单词)enterprise [´entəpraiz] n.企业；雄心；胆识 (初中英语单词)amount [ə´maunt] n.总数；数量 v.合计 (初中英语单词)scheming [´ski:miŋ] a.计划的；诡计多端 (初中英语单词)annual [´ænjuəl] a.每年的 n.年刊 (初中英语单词)possibility [,pɔsə´biliti] n.可能(性)；希望；前途 (初中英语单词)plainly [´pleinli] ad.平坦地；简单地 (初中英语单词)messenger [´mesindʒə] n.使者；送信人 (初中英语单词)therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] ad.&conj.因此；所以 (初中英语单词)shortly [´ʃɔ:tli] ad.立刻，马上；不久 (初中英语单词)mission [´miʃən] n.代表团；使馆vt.派遣 (初中英语单词)faithful [´feiθfəl] a.忠实的；可靠的 (初中英语单词)waiting [´weitiŋ] n.等候；伺候 (初中英语单词)payment [´peimənt] n.支付；报酬；报偿 (初中英语单词)previous [´pri:viəs] a.先，前，以前的 (初中英语单词)resist [ri´zist] v.抵抗；对抗；抵制 (初中英语单词)addition [ə´diʃən] n.加；加法；附加物 (初中英语单词)striking [´straikiŋ] a.显著的，明显的 (初中英语单词)desperate [´despərit] a.拼死的；绝望的 (初中英语单词)cheese [tʃi:z] n.干酪，乳酪 (初中英语单词)willing [´wiliŋ] a.情愿的，乐意的 (初中英语单词)indian [´indiən] a.印度的 n.印度人 (初中英语单词)gravely [´greivli] ad.庄重地，严肃地 (初中英语单词)release [ri´li:s] vt&n.释放；放松；赦免 (初中英语单词)hastily [´heistili] ad.急速地；草率地 (初中英语单词)disappointment [,disə´pɔintmənt] n.失望；挫折 (初中英语单词)undertaking [,ʌndə´teikiŋ] n.任务；事业；计划 (高中英语单词)regarding [ri´gɑ:diŋ] prep.关于 (高中英语单词)outfit [´aut,fit] n.装备 vt.供给；装备 (高中英语单词)limited [´limitid] a.有限(制)的 (高中英语单词)execution [,eksi´kju:ʃən] n.执行；演奏；表演 (高中英语单词)repeated [ri´pi:tid] a.反复的；重复的 (高中英语单词)detain [di´tein] vt.留住；拘留 (高中英语单词)befall [bi´fɔ:l] v.降临；发表(于) (高中英语单词)concerned [kən´sə:nd] a.有关的；担心的 (高中英语单词)concerning [kən´sə:niŋ] prep.关于 (高中英语单词)indulge [in´dʌldʒ] v.(使)沉迷；沉溺；放任 (高中英语单词)encouragement [in´kʌridʒmənt] n.鼓励；赞助；引诱 (高中英语单词)sunrise [´sʌnraiz] n.日出，黎明 (高中英语单词)foremost [´fɔ:məust] a.最重要的；最先的 (高中英语单词)angrily [´æŋgrili] ad.生气地；愤怒地 (高中英语单词)mistaken [mis´teikən] mistake的过去分词 (高中英语单词)disadvantage [,disəd´vɑ:ntidʒ] n.不利(条件)；损失 (高中英语单词)grimly [´grimli] ad.严厉地；坚强地 (高中英语单词)statute [´stætʃu:t] n.法令；章程；规定 (英语四级单词)musket [´mʌskit] n.滑膛枪 (英语四级单词)bayonet [´beiənit] n.刺刀 vt.用刺刀刺 (英语四级单词)lawful [´lɔ:fəl] a.合法的，守法的 (英语四级单词)favourably [´feivərəbli] ad.善意地 (英语四级单词)temporarily [´tempərərili] ad.暂时地 (英语四级单词)partially [´pɑ:ʃəli] ad.部分地；局部地 (英语四级单词)overtook [,əuvə´tuk] overtake的过去式 (英语四级单词)speedily [´spi:dili] ad.迅速地 (英语四级单词)overhear [,əuvə´hiə] vt.偶然听到；偷听 (英语四级单词)wooded [´wudid] a.多树林的 (英语四级单词)materially [mə´tiəriəli] ad.物质上；有形地 (英语四级单词)attachment [ə´tætʃmənt] n.附着；附件；爱慕 (英语四级单词)accomplished [ə´kʌmpliʃt] a.完成了的；熟练的 (英语四级单词)unsuccessful [,ʌnsək´sesful] a.不成功的，失败的 (英语四级单词)legally [´li:gəli] ad.合法地 (英语六级单词)hunting [´hʌntiŋ] n.打猎 (英语六级单词)revere [ri´viə] vt.尊敬；敬畏 (英语六级单词)august [ɔ:´gʌst] a.尊严的；威严的 (英语六级单词)hickory [´hikəri] n.山核桃(属) (英语六级单词)erection [i´rekʃən] n.直立，建立；建筑物 (英语六级单词)speaking [´spi:kiŋ] n.说话 a.发言的 (英语六级单词)rebellious [ri´beljəs] a.造反的；反叛的 (英语六级单词)calling [´kɔ:liŋ] n.点名；职业；欲望 (英语六级单词)powerless [´pauələs] a.软弱的；无资源的 (英语六级单词)securely [si´kjuəli] ad.安全地；无疑地 (英语六级单词)