"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

Wentworth himself."

"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 our arms."

"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

last night?"

"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 two men

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 way.

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 abandon

his scheming 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 that day,

lest execution 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 the conversation.

"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.

"A messenger 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

association, therefore 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 of the


"It does not require I should know that in order to be faithful to the

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

without waiting 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 in the

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 across a

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 will be

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 to advance

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

under erection 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

short converse?"

"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

to release himself.

"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 on that

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 to a

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] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.优势;利益   (初中英语单词)
  • project [prə´dʒekt, ´prɔdʒekt] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.设计;投掷 n.计划   (初中英语单词)
  • procure [prə´kjuə] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.获得;完(达)成;实现   (初中英语单词)
  • assistance [ə´sistəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.协作;援助;帮助   (初中英语单词)
  • welfare [´welfeə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.福利(事业)   (初中英语单词)
  • dispose [di´spəuz] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.处置;安排;布置   (初中英语单词)
  • sentence [´sentəns] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.判决 vt.宣判;处刑   (初中英语单词)
  • instant [´instənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.立即的 n.紧迫;瞬间   (初中英语单词)
  • explanation [,eksplə´neiʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.解释;说明;辩解   (初中英语单词)
  • province [´prɔvins] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.省;领域;范围   (初中英语单词)
  • ambition [æm´biʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.雄心,野心;企图   (初中英语单词)
  • portion [´pɔ:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.嫁妆;命运 vt.分配   (初中英语单词)
  • enterprise [´entəpraiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.企业;雄心;胆识   (初中英语单词)
  • amount [ə´maunt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.总数;数量 v.合计   (初中英语单词)
  • scheming [´ski:miŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.计划的;诡计多端   (初中英语单词)
  • annual [´ænjuəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.每年的 n.年刊   (初中英语单词)
  • possibility [,pɔsə´biliti] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.可能(性);希望;前途   (初中英语单词)
  • plainly [´pleinli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.平坦地;简单地   (初中英语单词)
  • messenger [´mesindʒə] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.使者;送信人   (初中英语单词)
  • therefore [´ðeəfɔ:] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.&conj.因此;所以   (初中英语单词)
  • shortly [´ʃɔ:tli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.立刻,马上;不久   (初中英语单词)
  • mission [´miʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.代表团;使馆vt.派遣   (初中英语单词)
  • faithful [´feiθfəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.忠实的;可靠的   (初中英语单词)
  • waiting [´weitiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.等候;伺候   (初中英语单词)
  • payment [´peimənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.支付;报酬;报偿   (初中英语单词)
  • previous [´pri:viəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.先,前,以前的   (初中英语单词)
  • resist [ri´zist] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.抵抗;对抗;抵制   (初中英语单词)
  • addition [ə´diʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.加;加法;附加物   (初中英语单词)
  • striking [´straikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.显著的,明显的   (初中英语单词)
  • desperate [´despərit] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.拼死的;绝望的   (初中英语单词)
  • cheese [tʃi:z] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.干酪,乳酪   (初中英语单词)
  • willing [´wiliŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.情愿的,乐意的   (初中英语单词)
  • indian [´indiən] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.印度的 n.印度人   (初中英语单词)
  • gravely [´greivli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.庄重地,严肃地   (初中英语单词)
  • release [ri´li:s] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt&n.释放;放松;赦免   (初中英语单词)
  • hastily [´heistili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.急速地;草率地   (初中英语单词)
  • disappointment [,disə´pɔintmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.失望;挫折   (初中英语单词)
  • undertaking [,ʌndə´teikiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.任务;事业;计划   (高中英语单词)
  • regarding [ri´gɑ:diŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.关于   (高中英语单词)
  • outfit [´aut,fit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.装备 vt.供给;装备   (高中英语单词)
  • limited [´limitid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有限(制)的   (高中英语单词)
  • execution [,eksi´kju:ʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.执行;演奏;表演   (高中英语单词)
  • repeated [ri´pi:tid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.反复的;重复的   (高中英语单词)
  • detain [di´tein] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.留住;拘留   (高中英语单词)
  • befall [bi´fɔ:l] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.降临;发表(于)   (高中英语单词)
  • concerned [kən´sə:nd] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.有关的;担心的   (高中英语单词)
  • concerning [kən´sə:niŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  prep.关于   (高中英语单词)
  • indulge [in´dʌldʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  v.(使)沉迷;沉溺;放任   (高中英语单词)
  • encouragement [in´kʌridʒmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.鼓励;赞助;引诱   (高中英语单词)
  • sunrise [´sʌnraiz] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.日出,黎明   (高中英语单词)
  • foremost [´fɔ:məust] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.最重要的;最先的   (高中英语单词)
  • angrily [´æŋgrili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.生气地;愤怒地   (高中英语单词)
  • mistaken [mis´teikən] 移动到这儿单词发声  mistake的过去分词   (高中英语单词)
  • disadvantage [,disəd´vɑ:ntidʒ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.不利(条件);损失   (高中英语单词)
  • grimly [´grimli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.严厉地;坚强地   (高中英语单词)
  • statute [´stætʃu:t] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.法令;章程;规定   (英语四级单词)
  • musket [´mʌskit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.滑膛枪   (英语四级单词)
  • bayonet [´beiənit] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.刺刀 vt.用刺刀刺   (英语四级单词)
  • lawful [´lɔ:fəl] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.合法的,守法的   (英语四级单词)
  • favourably [´feivərəbli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.善意地   (英语四级单词)
  • temporarily [´tempərərili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.暂时地   (英语四级单词)
  • partially [´pɑ:ʃəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.部分地;局部地   (英语四级单词)
  • overtook [,əuvə´tuk] 移动到这儿单词发声  overtake的过去式   (英语四级单词)
  • speedily [´spi:dili] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.迅速地   (英语四级单词)
  • overhear [,əuvə´hiə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.偶然听到;偷听   (英语四级单词)
  • wooded [´wudid] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.多树林的   (英语四级单词)
  • materially [mə´tiəriəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.物质上;有形地   (英语四级单词)
  • attachment [ə´tætʃmənt] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.附着;附件;爱慕   (英语四级单词)
  • accomplished [ə´kʌmpliʃt] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.完成了的;熟练的   (英语四级单词)
  • unsuccessful [,ʌnsək´sesful] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.不成功的,失败的   (英语四级单词)
  • legally [´li:gəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.合法地   (英语六级单词)
  • hunting [´hʌntiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.打猎   (英语六级单词)
  • revere [ri´viə] 移动到这儿单词发声  vt.尊敬;敬畏   (英语六级单词)
  • august [ɔ:´gʌst] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.尊严的;威严的   (英语六级单词)
  • hickory [´hikəri] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.山核桃(属)   (英语六级单词)
  • erection [i´rekʃən] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.直立,建立;建筑物   (英语六级单词)
  • speaking [´spi:kiŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.说话 a.发言的   (英语六级单词)
  • rebellious [ri´beljəs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.造反的;反叛的   (英语六级单词)
  • calling [´kɔ:liŋ] 移动到这儿单词发声  n.点名;职业;欲望   (英语六级单词)
  • powerless [´pauələs] 移动到这儿单词发声  a.软弱的;无资源的   (英语六级单词)
  • securely [si´kjuəli] 移动到这儿单词发声  ad.安全地;无疑地   (英语六级单词)

  • 上传人 欢乐鱼 分享于 2017-06-26 17:59:08
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