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THE -REPUBLIC: SUNDAY. MARCH 8. 1903.
t g TranctiJbffide f I
In Which I "Whet My Father' Sword.
Tho summer day was all but spent 'when
SUchard Jennifer, riding express, brought
toe Captain Falconnet's challenge.
Twas a dayfall to be marked with a white
fetone. even in our Carolina calendar. The
Bun, reaching down to the mountain-girt
horizon in the west, filled all tho upper air
with the glory of Its departing, and the
litgheT leaf plumes of the (Treat maples be
Xoro my cabin door wrought lustrous pat
'tems in elided green upon a xenlth back
ground of turquoise shot with crimson, like
tho flgurings of some rich old tapestries I
tad once seen in my Field Marshal's castle
Ah the Mark of Moravia.
Beyond the maples a brook tinkled and
flashed over the stones on its way to the
cear-by Catawba: and its peaceful brawling.
.nd the evensong of a pair of clear-throated
.warblers poised on the topmost twbrs of
tone of tho trees, should have been sweet
ftjnusio in tho ears of a returned exile. But
SStan that matchless bride's-month evening of
Vlalnty sunset arabesques and brook and
bird songs I was in little humor for rejoic
ing. Tho road made for the river lower down
nd followed its windings up the. valley: but
Jennifer cams by the Indian trace through
the forest. I can see him now as he rode
beneath the maples, bending to the saddle
horn whero the branches hung lowest: a
Sretty figure of a handsome young provin
laL clad in fashions three years behind
Xhoso I had seen in London the winter last
past. He rode gentlemanwise. In small
slothes of rough gray woolen and with
stout leggings over his hose; but he wore
fc s cocked hat atilt like a trooper's, and
Xhe sword on his thigh was a 'good service
blade and no mere hilt and scabbard for
phow such as our courtier macaronis were
iust then beginning to affect.
Now I had known this handsome young
fcter when he was but a little lad; had
i kaught him how to bend the Indian bow and
V 'loose the reed-shaft arrow In those happier
Uays before the tyrant Governor Tryon
turned hangman and tile battle of the Great
lalamance had left me fatherless. More
lover, I had drunk a cup of wine with him
Wt the Mecklenburg Arms no longer ago
Jthan yesterweek this to a renewal of our
isarly friendship. Hence. I must needa be
Womewhat taken aback when he drew 'rein
it my door-stone, doffed his hat with a
sweeping bow worthy & courtier of the great
Xouls. and said, after the best manner of
,Eir Charles Grandison:
"I have tho honor of addressing Captain
jTohn Ireton. sometime of his Majesty's
Boyal Scots Blues and late of her Apostollo
Majesty's Twenty-ninth Regiment of Hus
araT" It was but an euphulsm.of the time, this
formal preamble, declaring that his errand
fciad to do with the preliminaries of a pri
Ivate quarrel between gentlemen. t Tet I
Jpould scarce restrain a smile. For these
jopcropptngs of courtier etiquette have ever
eemea to march wit mlndngly with the
free stride of our western backwoods. None
he less, you are to suppose that I made
sJhlft to match his bow in some fashion, and
to say: "At your service, ear."
Whereupon he bowed again, clapped hat
to head and tendered me a sealed packet.
'From" sir Francis FaleonneC Knight
Bachelor of Beaumaris, volunteer Captain
In his Majesty's German Legion," he an
nounced, with stern dignity.
Having no second to refer him to. I broke
die seal of thA rjtrfnl mv1f ntn. m.
Piraiy had seen fit to come thus far on the
jway to his end In some gentlemanly man
ner, it was not for me to find difficulties '
among the formalities. In good truth, I
was overjoyed to be thus assured that he
jwould fight me fair; that he would not com
pel me to kill him as one kills a wild beast
at bay. For certainly I should have killed
hhn In any event: so much I had promised
xny poor Dick Coverdale on that dismal
November morning when he had choked out
Sis life In my arms, the victim first of this
man's treachery, and, at the last, of his
word. So. as I say, I was nothing loath,
and yet I would not seem too eager.
"I might say that I have no unsettled
quarrel with Captain Falconnet." I de
murred, when I had read the challenge.
"He spoke slightingly of a lady, and I did
"Tour answer. Captain Iretonl" quoth my
youngster, curtly. "I am not empowered
to give or take In the matter of accommo
dations." "Not so fast. If you please," I rejoined.
"T hare -no wish to disappoint your princi
pal, or his master, the devil. Let it be to
morrow morning at sunrise In the oak grove
which was once my father's wood field, each
man with his own blade. And I give you
xair warning. Master Jennifer: I shall kill
jour bullyragging Captain of light horse as
I would a vermin of any other breed."
At this Jennifer flung himself from his
saddle with a great laugh.
"If you can." he qualified. "But enough
5LIf??.!.'by J0" ,eaTa slri' J m near
tarnished, and as dry as King David's bot
tle In the smoke. Will you give me bite
JUKI enp before I mount and ride again'
TU a long gallop back to town on an
empty stomach and with a gullet as dry
as Mr. Gilbert Stair's wit."
Here was my fresh-hearted Dick Jennifer
!". hne' tma Urwle to bestir
SSnTJ ?Ja b0?0T" ot "W Pr forest
rastnets a well as I might.
Luckily, ay haphazard larder was not
rt'ZSFSi? ther W-ere w Nt
of cold deer's meat and come cakes ot
2kT " t?ere vaa a p ot swcet
wine, home-pressed from the berries of the
tadlan scuppernong, to wash them down.
And afterward, though the evening was no
mors than mountain-breeze cool, we had a
handful of fire on the hearth for the cheer
of it while we smoked our reed-stemmed
It was over the pipes that Jennifer unbur
dened himself of the gossip of tho day In
JHavyou heard the newest? But I know
you haven't, since the post-riders came only
this morning. The war has shifted from
the north In good earnest at last, and we
are like to have a taste of the carryings
the Jerseymen have had since 75. My Lord
Comwallls Is come as far as Camden, they
say; and Colonel Tarleton has crossed the
"SoT Then Mr. Rutherford is like to have
his work cut out for him. I take It."
Jennifer eyed me curiously. "Grlf Ruth
erford Is a stout Indian fighter; no "West
Carolinian will gainsay that. But he Is
never the man to match Cornwallls. "We'll
have help from the north."
"Do KalbT" I suggested.
Again the curious eyeshot. "Nay, John
Ireton, you need not fear me,, though I am
just now this redcoat Captain's next friend.
"Ton know more about the Baron de
Kalb's doings than anybody else in Mecklen
burg." "IT "Why should I know!"
you know a deal-or else the gossips lie
"They do lie If they connect me with the
Boron de Kalb. or with any othsr of the
patriot side. What are they sayingT"
TThat you come straight from the Bar
on's .camp In Virginia to see what you can
'A spy, eht Tis cut out of whoIecloth,
Dick, my lad. Pre never took the oath on
either side." "
He looked vastly disappointed. "But you
trill, --Jack? Surely; you have not to think
twice In such a causer
"As between King and Congress, you
rneanT "TIs no quarrel of mine."
"Now God save us, John Ireton P he burst
eut in a fine farvor of youthful enthusiasm
that mad him all the handsomer. "I had
never thought to hear your father's son say
"And -nhy not, pray? The King's minion,
Tryon, hanged my father and gave his
estato to his minion's minion. Gilbert Stair.
So. in rplte of your declaration and your
confiscations and jour laws against alien
landholders I come back to find myself
still the son of the outlawed Koger Ireton.
and this same Gilbert Stair firmly lodged
In my father'.? seat."
Jennifer shrugged In his turn. i
"Gilbert Stair for syeet Madge's sake
I'm loath to say it Gilbert Stair blows
hot or cold as the wind sets fair
or stormy. And I will say this for
him; no other Tryon legatee of lb -n all has
steered so fine a course through t.'iese last
five upsetting years. How he trims so skil
fully no man know s. A short month since,
he had General Rutherford and Colonel
Sumter as guests at Appleby Hundred; now
It Ii Sir FrancU Falconnet and the British
light-horse officers who are honored. But
let him rest; the cause of independence 13
bigger than any man, or any man's private
quarrel, friend John; and I had hoped "
I laid a hand on his knee "Spare your
self, Dick. My business in Queensborough
was to leam how best I might reach Mr.
For a moment he sat, pipe in air, staring
at me as if to make sure that he had heard
aright Then he dipt my hand and wrung
it, babbling out some boyish brava that I
made haste to put an end to.
"Softly, my lad," I said, "'tis no great
thing the Congress will gain by my ad
hesion. But you, Richard; how comes it
that I find you taking your ease at Jennifer
House and hobnobbing with his Majesty's
officers when the causa ou love is still in
such desperate straits?'
He blushed like a girl at that, and for a
little space only puffed the harder at his
"I did go out with tho Minute Men in 'TC.
If you must know, and smelt powder at
Moore's Creek. When my time was done
I would have 'listed again; but Just at that
my father died and the Jennifer acres were
.like to go to the dogs. lacking oversight.
So I came home and and "
He stopped In some embarrassment, and I
thought to help him on.
"Nay, out with it, Dick. If I am not thy
father, I am near old enough to stand in
his stead. "Twas more than husbandry that
rusted the sword in its scabbard, I'll be
"Xou are right. Jack; 'twas both more
and less." he confessed, shamefacedly.
"'Twas this same Margery Stair. As I
have said, her father blows hot or cold as
the wind sets, but not she. She is the
fiercest little Tory in the two Carolinas, bar
none. When I had got Jennifer in order
and began to talk of 'listing again, she
flew Into a pretty rage and stamped ner
foot and all but swore that Dick Jennifer
In buff nnd blue should never lock upon her
face again with her good will."
I had a glimpse of Jennifer the lover as
he spoke, and the sight went fcomev. liat on
the way toward casting out the deil of
sullen rage that had possessed me since
first I had set returning foot iu this my
native homeland. "Twas a life lacking
naught ot hardness, but much of human
mellowing, that lay behind the home-ccm-lng;
and my one sweet friend in all that
barren life was dead. What wonder, then.
If I set this frank-faeed Richard in the
other Richard's stead, wishing him all the
happiness that poor Dick Coverdale had
missed? I needed little: woula' neud still
less, 1 thought, before the war should endi
and through this loe-match my lost estate
would come at length to Richard Jennifer.
It was a meliorating thought, and while it
held I could be lesj revengeful.
"Dost lo-ve her, Dick?" I asked.
"Aye, and have ever since she was In
pinafores and I a hobbledehoy In Master
"So long? I thought Mr. Stair was a later
comer In Mecklenburs."
"He came eight jears ago, as one of
Tryon's underlings. Madge was even then
motherless: the same little willful prat-a-pace
she has ever been. I would jou knew
her. Jack. 'Twould make this shiftiness of
mine teem less the thing it is-"
"So you have stayed at home a-courtlng
while others fought to give jou ltlsure."
eald 1. thinking to rally him. But he took
It harder than I meant.
'"Tls Just that. Jack: and I am fair
ashamed. While the fighting kept to the
North It did not grind so keen; but now,
with the redcoats at cur doors, ana the
Tories sacking and burning in every settlj
ment, 'tis enough to flay an honest man
alive. God-a-mercy, Jack! I'll go; I've got
to go, or die of shame!"
He sat silent after that, and as there
seemed nothing that a curt old campaigner
could say at such a pass, I bore him com
pany. By and by he harked back to the matter
of bis errand, making some apology for his
coming to me as the Baronet's second:
" 'Twas none of my free offering, you may
be sure," he added. "But it so Happened
that Captain Falconnet once did me a like
turn. I had chanced to run afoul of that
Captain of Hessian pigs, Lauswoulter, at
cards, and Falconnet stood my friend
though now I bethink me. he did seem over
anxious that one or the other of us should
"As how?" I inquired.
"When Lauswoulter slipped and I might
have spitted him. and didn't, Falconnet was
for having us make tho duel a ou trance.
But that's beside the mark. Having served
me then, he makes the point that I shall
nerve him now."
Tls a common courtesy, and you could
not well refuse. I Jove you none the less
for paying your debts; even to such a vil
lain as this volunteer Captain."
"True, 'tis a debt, as you say; but I like
little enough the manner of Its paying. How
came you to quarrel with him. Jack?"
Now even so blunt a soldier as I have
ever been may have some prickings of deli
cacy where tho truth might breed gossip
gonslp about a tale which I had said should
die with Richard Coverdale and be buried
In his grave. So I evaded the question,
clumsily enough, as has ever been my hap
In fencing with words.
"The cause was not wanting. If any ask,
you may say he trod upon my foot in pass
ing." Jennifer laughed.
"And for that you struck him? Heavens,
man! you hold your life carelessly. Do you
happen to know that this volunteer Captain
of light horse Is accounted the best blade In
"Who should know that better than "
I was fairly on the brink of betraying the
true cause of quarrel, but drew rein In time.
"I care not if he were the best In the army.
I have crossed steel before and with a gbod
swordsman now and then."
"Anan?" said Jennifer, as one. who makes
no doubt. And then: "But this toe-pinching
story Is but a dry crust to offer a friend.
Tou spoke of a lady; who was she? Or
was that only another way of telling me
to mind my own affairs?"
"Oh. as to that, the lady was real enough,
and Falconnet did grossly asperse her. But
I know not who she Is, nor aught aboutner,
save that she is sweet and fair and good to
"And you say you do not know her? Let
me see her through your eyes and. mayhap
I can name her for you."
"That I cannot. Mr. iPeale's best skill
would "be none too great for the painting
of any picture that should do her Justice.
But she Is small, with the airs and graces
of a lady of the quality; also, she has witch
ing blue eyes, and hair that has the glint of
summer sunshine in It. Also, she sits a
horse as if bred to the saddle."
To my amazement. Jennifer leaped
with an oath and flung his pipe Into the fire.
"Curse him!" he cried. "And he dared
lay a foul tongue to her, you say? Tell me
what he said! I have a good right to
I shook my head. "Nay. Richard: I may
not repeat It to you, since you are the man's
second. Truly, there Is more than this at
the back of our quarrel; but of Itself It was
enough, and more than enough. Inasmuch
as the lady had Just done him the honor to
"His words bis very words. Jack, it you
"No; the quarrel Is mine."
"L God! It Is not yours!" ha stormed,
raging back and forth before the fire.
"What Is Margery Stair to you. Jack Ire
ton?" I smiled, beginning now to Fee some peep
hole in this millstone of mystery.
"Margery Stair? She Is no more than a
namo to me. I do assure you; the daughter
of the man who sits In my father's seat at
"But you are going to fight for her!" he
"Am I? I pledge you my word I did not
know It. But in any case I should fight
Sir Francis Falconnet; aye, and do my best
to kill him, too. Sit you down and fill an
other pipe. Whatever the quarrel, it is
"Mayhap: but it is mine, too." he broke
in, angrily. "At all events, I'll see this
King's volunteer well hanged before I sec
ond him In such a cause."
"That as yoa choose. But you are bound
In honor, are you not?"
As you have guessed, I was Coverdale's
next friend and second in this affair, and
but for the upsetting news of the Tryon
tyranny In Carolina news which reached
me on the very day of the meeting I should
there and then have called the slayer to his
How my father, who, Presbyterian and
Ireton though he was, had always been of
the King's side, came to espouse the cause
of the "Regulators," as they called them
selves. I know not. In my youthful memo
ries of him he figures as the feudal lord of
ifSirFrnncia Falconnet, you are
his own domain, more absolute than many
of the petty klngUnga I came afterwards
to know In the German marches. But this,
too, I remember; that while his rule at Ap
pleby Hundred was stern and despotlo
enougn. ne was every reaoy to lend a will'
what men say of the tyrant Tryon's tax
gatherers and law-court robbers be so more
than half truth, there was need for any
honest gentleman to oppose them.
What that opposition came to in '71 Is now
a tale twice told. Taken In arms against
the Governor's authority, and with an es
tate well worth receiving, my father had
little Justice and less mercy accorded him.
With many others he was outlawed; his es
tates were declared forfeit; and a few days
later he, with Benjamin MerriU and four
more captivated at the Alamance, was giv
en some farce of a trial and hanged.
When the news of this came to me you
may well suppose that I had no heart to
continue In the service of the King who
could sanction and reward such villainies as
these of the butcher William Tryon. So I
threw up my Lieutenant's commission in
the Blues, took ship for the Continent, and,
after wearing some half dozen different uni
forms In Germany, was lucky enough to
come at length to serviceable blows under
my old Held Marshal on tho Turkish
To you of a younger generation, born In
the day of swift mai coaches and well-kept
post roads, the slowness with which our
laggard news traveled in the elder time
must.needs seem past belief. It was early
In the year 79 before I began to hear more
than vague camp-fire tales of the struggle
going on between the colonies abd the moth
er country; .and from that to setting foot
once more upon the soil of my native Caro
lina was still another year.
What I found upon landing at New Berne
and saw while riding a Jog trot thence to
the' Catawba was a Province rent and torn
by partisan warfare. -Though I came not
once upon the partisans themselves In all
that long faring, there wen tramnled 'fields
and pillaged" houses enough to serve as mile
stones; and In my native Meckimburg a
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mine full charged, with slow-match well
alight for its firing.
Charleston had fallen, and Colonel Tarle
ton's outposts were already widespread on
tho upper waters of the Broad and tho
Catawba. Thus It was that the first sight
which greeted my eyes when I rode into
Queensborough was tho familiar trappings
of my old service, and I was mode to know
that in splto of Mr. Jefferson's boldly writ
ten Declaration of Independence, and that
earlier casting of the King's yoke by the
patriotic Mecklenburgers themselves, my
boyhood home was for the moment by
swerd-right a part of his Majesty's
Province of North Carolina.
You are not to suppose that these things
moved me greatly. As yet I was chiefly
concerned with my own affair and anxious
to learn at first hands the cost to me of
my father's connection with the Regulators.
Touching "thlsi i was not long kept in ig
norance. Of all the vast demesne ot Apple
by Hundred there was no roof to shelter
the son of the outlawed Roger Ireton save
that of this poor hunting lodge in the
mighty forest of the Catawba, overlooked,
with the few runaway blacks Inhabiting it.
In the intaklng of an estate so large that I
think not even my father knew all tho
metes and bounds of It
I shall not soon forget the Interview with
the lawyer, in which I was told tho inhos
pitable truth. Nor shall I forget his trucu
lent leer when he hinted that I had best
be gone out of these parts, since It was not
yet too late to bring down the sentence of
outlawry from the father to the son.
It was well for him that I knew not at
the time that he was Gilbert Stair's factor.
For I was mad enough to have throttled
him where he sat at his writing table,
matching his long fingers and smirking at
mo with his evil smile. But of this man
more in his time and place. His name was
Owen Pengarvln. 1 would have you remem
For a week and a day I lingered on at
Queensborough. for what I knew not, save
that all the world seemed suddenly to have
grown stale and profitless and my life a
thing of small account. One day I would
be minded to go back to my old Field Mar-
a blackguard P' I said, and then I took
Bhal and the keeping of the Turkish bor
der; the next I would ride over some part of
my stolen heritage and swear a great oath
to bide till I should come to my own again.
And on these alternating dava the storm
ot black rage filled my horizons and I be-
. ft! to dr'lv. on any .rock or
hoal in this uncharted sea of wrath.
On one of these gallops farthest afield I
chanced upon the bridle path that led to our
old hunting lodge In the forest depths.
Tracing the path to its end among the ma
ples I found tho cabin, so lightly touched by
time that the mere sight of it carried me
swiftly back to those happy days when my
father and I hid stalked the white-tailed
deer In the hill glades beyond, with this loe
bullt cabin for'a res' camp. I spurred up
under the low-hanging trees. The door
stood wide, and a thin wreath of blue smoke
curled upward from the mouth of the
Then and there I had my first welcome
home. Old black Darius old when I had
last seen him at Appleby Hundred, and a
very grandslre of ancients now was one
of the runaways who made the for-
"No." He filled a fresh pipe, lighted It
with a coal from the hearth and puffed
away In silence for a time. When ho spoke
again it was not as Falconnet's next friend.
"What j'ou have told me puts a new face
on the matter. Jack. Sir Francis may find
him another second where he can. If he
has aught to say. I shall tell him plain he
lied to me about the quarrel, as he XL Now
who is there to see fair play on your side,
At tho question an overwhelming sense
of ray own sorry case grappled me. Fif
teen years before. I had left Appleby Hun
dred and my native province as well be
friended as the son of Roger Ireton was
sure to be. Alid now
"Dick, my lad, I am like to fight alone,"
He swore again at that; and here, lest I
should draw my loyal Richard, as he was
not, let me say.once for all. that his oaths
were out the oj usmngs or a warm and
bitter, and never.
as I believe, backed by surely rancor or
"That you shall not. Jack." he asserted,
stoutly. "I must be a-gallop now to tell this
King's Captain to look elsewhere for his
next friend: but to-morrow morning I'll
meet vou In the road between this and the
Stair outlands. and we'll fare on together."
After this ha would brook no more delay,
and wflen Tomas had fetched his horse I
saw him mount and ride away under the
low-hanging maples watched him fairly
out of sight In the green and gold twilight
of the great forest before turning back to
my lonely hearth and Its somber reminders.
I stirred the dvlng embers, throwing on a
pine knot for better light. Then I took
down my father's sword from its deer-horn
brackets over the chimney-piece and set
myself to fine Its edge and point with a bit
of Scotch whlnstone. It was a good Matte,
a true old Andrea Ferara got in battle In
the Seventeenth Century by one ot the
I whetted it well and carefully. It was not
that I feared my enemy's strength of wrist
or tricks of fence, but fighting had been my
trade, and he is but a poor craftsman who
looks not well to see that his tools aro in
order against their time of using.
"Which Knits Up Some Broken Ends.
It was in the autumn of tho year ', as I
was coming of ago. that my father made
ready to send mo to England. Himself a
conscience exllo from Episcopal Virginia
una a uescenaant or those Nottingham Ire
tons whose best-known son fought stoutly
against church and King under Oliver
Cromwell, he was jet willing to humor my
bent and to use the Interest of my mother's
familj- to enter mo In the King's service.
Accordingly, I took ship at Norfolk for
"home," as we called it In those days;
and, after a stormy passage and overmuch
waiting as my cousins' guest In Lincoln
shire, had mj' pair of colorn in the Scots
Blues, lately home from garrison duty In
Of the life in barracks of a young ensign
with little wit and less wisdom, and with
more guineas in his purse than was good
for him, the less said the btter. But of
two strides to front him fairly.
this you may like to Snow that, what with
a good father's example, and some small
heritage of Puritan decency come down to
me from the sound-hearted old Roundhead
stock, I won out of that devil's sponglng
house, an army In the time of peace, with
somewhat less to my score than others
had to theirs.
It was In this barrack life that I came to
know Richard Coverdale and his evil gen
ius, the man Francis Falconnet. Coverdale
was an ensign in my own regiment, arid
we were sworn friends from the first. His
was a clean soul and a brave; and It was
to him that I owed escape from many of
the grosser chargings on that score above
As for Falconnet, he was even then a
ruffler and a bully, though he was not of
tho army. He was a younger son. and at
that time there were two lives between him
and the baronetcy; but with a mother's
bequeathings to purchase Idleness and to
gild his iniquities, he was a fair example
of the Jeunesse doree of that England; a
libertine, a gamester, a rakehell; brave as
the tiger is brave, and to the full as piti
less. He was a boon companion if the of
ficers' mess; and for a time and purpose
posed as Coverdale's friend, and mine.
Since I would not tell my poor Dick's
story to Richard Jennifer, I may not set
It -down in cold words here for ycu. It was
the age-old tragic comedy of a false friend's
treachery and a woman's weakness; a duel.
anc uie wrong man siain. And you may
know this; that Falconnet's most merciful
role In it was the part he played on chill
Ncvember morning when ho put Richard
Coverdale to the wall and ran him through,
est lodge a refuge. Ho had been my father's
hodv-servant, and, notwithstanding nil th
years that lay between, he knew me at once.
Thereupon, as you woum guess, I came
Immediately into some small portion of my
kingdom. Though Darius was the patriarch,
the other blacks were also fugitives from
Appleby Hundred; and for the son of Roger
Ireton there was instant vassalage and loyal
service. But best of all, on my first-evening
before the handful ot Are In the great
fireplace, Darius brought me a package
swathed in manj- wrappings of Indian
tanned deerskin. It contained mj- father's
suord. and. more precious than this, a mes
sage from the dead. My father's farewell I
was written upon a leaf torn from his Jour
nal, and was but a hasty scrawl. I here
My Pon I knaw not If this will ever come Into
your harul. but it and tnv sword shall be left
in trim with the faithful Dariue We have made
our Ill-UmM cast for liberty and it na failed.
and to-morrow I and five others are to die at
the robe's end. I bequeath you my sword 'tis
all the tyrant hath left me to aevlie and my
blessing to (co with It when you. or another Ire
ton, shall one more bare the true old blade In
the sacred cause of liberty. Thy father,
You may be sure I conned these few brave
words till I had them well by heart: and
later, when my voice was surer and my
eyes Ie.s dim. I summoned Darius and bade
him tell me all he knew. And it was thus
I learned what I have here set down ot my
The next day. all indecision gone, I rode
to Queensborough to ascertain. If so I
might, how best to throw the weight of
the good old Andrea Into the patriot scale,
meaning to push on thence to Charlotte
when I had got the bearings of the nearest
'Twas none so easy to learn what I needed
to know: though, now I sought for infor
mation, a curious thing or two developed.
One was that this light-horse outpost In our
hamlet was far In advance of the army of
invasion so far that It was dangersomely
Isolated, and bej'ond support. Another was
the air of secrecy maintained, and tho hold
ing of tho troop in Instant readiness for
fight or flight.
Why this little handful of British regu
lars should stick and hang so far from
Lord Cornwallis's main, which was then
well down upon the Wateree. I could not
guess. But for the secrecy and vigilance
there were good reasons and sufficient. The
patriot militia had been called out, and was
embodying under General Rutherford but a
few miles distant near Charlotte.
I had this information in guarded whis
pers from mine host of the tavern, and
was but a moment free of the tap
room, when I first saw Margery
Stair and so drank of the cup of trembling
madness In Its lees. She was riding, un
masked, down the high road, not on a
pillion as most women rode In that day,
but upon her own mount with a black
groom two lengths In the rear. I can pic
ture her for -ou no better than I could for
Richard Jennifer; but this I know, that
even this first sight of her moved me
strangely, though the witching beauty of
her face and the proudness ot it were more
a challenge than a beckoning..
A blade's length at my right where I was
standing In front of the tavern, three red
coat officers lounged at ease; and to one of
them my lady tossed a nod of recognition,
hair laughing, half defiant- I turned quick
ly to look at the favored one. He stood
with his back to me; a man of about my
own bigness, heavy-built and wU-mU3cled;
He wore a bob wig, as did many of the
troop officers, but his uniform was tailor
fine and the hand with which he was re
settling his hat was bejeweled overmuch
bejeweled. to my taste.
Something half familiar In the figure of
him made me look again. In the act he
turned, and then I saw his face-saw and
recognized it, though nine years lay be
tween this and my last seeing oi n across
the body of Richard Coverdale.
"So!" thought I. "My time has come at
last." And while I was yet turning over
in my mind how best to bait him. the lady
pasted out of earshot, and I heard him say
to the two. his comrades, that foul thing
which I would not repeat to Jennifer; a
vile boast with which I may not soil my
page here for jou.
'"Oh. come, fcir Frank! that's too bad!"
cried the jounger of the twain; and then I
took two strides to rront him fairly.
"Sir Francis Falconnet, you axe a foul
lipped blackguard!" I said; and, lest that
should not be enough, 1 smote him in the
face, so that he fell like an ox In the
In Which 31 Enemy scores First.
True to his promise, Richard Jennifer met
m in the cool gray blrthlight of the new
day at a turn In the rier road not above a
mile or two irum the rendezvous, and thence
we Jogged on together.
After the greetings, which, as you may
like to know, were grateiul enough on my
part, I would fain inquire how the baronet
had taken his second's defectum; but of this
Jennifer would say HUic. lie had broken
witu nis pimclpal, wnatner in anger or not
1 coulo. only ,suesa; uim unc uf j; Kiconnet'
brother omceia, mat juuuger of uie twain
wuo had eried shame mi me Baronet's 11
boast, was to serve in ills stead.
It was such a dayuawu as 1 have some
times seen in tno Curpatmans; cool and
clear, but with Uiai s-rteci uey wetness
In uie loAer air wnlcn Mamies the uver
mgnt couweos iroin Uie biaiu. aim Is Doth
niial and drinK to une ti,u ureatnes It.
Vn uiu icit tuts ruuu a uvurnuu uy tue
bordering iorest, aud wners the Branches
drooped lowest we briunnd the fragrance
from the wila-grape bloom In passing. On
the right the river, late in noofl, eddied
soitly; nd sounds other than u murmur
ing of the waters, the matlh sungs ot the
buds, and Uie aust-mumed hoot-seats at
our norses there were none, jreace, d.ep
and abiding, was the key-note ot nature's
inurniug hymn; ami In all tats sylvan by
way mere was naugnt remuidlul of the
11m co internecine wurfare aflame in all the
countryside, borne rouga lorgisg of uus
uiougnt I hammered out lor Jeonutr as
we rode along, and his laugn was not de
void of bitterness.
"Old Mower ."Nature ruffles her feathers
little enough for any teapot tempest ot
ours," he said. "But speaking of the cruel
ties, we provincial savages, as my Lord
CornwalllB calls us. have no monopoly. The
post-riders from the South bring blood
curdling stories of Colonel Tarleton's do
ings. 'Tls said ha overtook some ot Mr.
Lincoln's re-enforcements came too late.
They gave battle but faintheartedly, being
all unready for an enemy, and presently
threw down their arms and begged for
quarter begged and were cut down as they
"Faugh!" said L "That is but hangman's
work. And yet in London I heard that this
same Colonel Tarleton was with Lord Howe
In Philadelphia and was made much of by
Jennifer's laugh was neither mirthful nor
" 'Tls a weakness of the sex." he scoffed.
"The women have a fondness for a man
with a dash of the brute In him."
I laughed also, but without bitterness.
"You say it feelingly. Do you speak by
"Aye. that I do. Now here Is my lady
Madge preaching peace and all manner of
patience to me In one breath, and upholding
In the next this Baronet Captain, who,
though I would have seconded him at a
pinch, is but a pattern of his brutal
I put two and two together.
"So Falconnet Is on terms at Appleby
Hundred. Is he?"
"Ob. surely. Gilbert Stair keep open
house for any and all ot the winning band,
as I told you."
The thought of this unspoiled young
maiden having aught to do with such a
thrice-accursed despoller. ot women mada
my blood boll afrph: and In the heat of it
I et my secret slip, or rather some small
part of it,
"Sir Francis had ever a sure hand with
the women." I said: and then I could hate
bitten my masterless tongue.
"So?" queried Jennifer. "Then this Is not
your first knowing of him?"
"No." So much I said and no more.
We rode on in silence for a little space,
and then my youthllng must needs break
out again In fresh beseeching?.
"Tell me what you know- of him. and
what it was he said of Madge." ho en
treated. "You can't deny me now. Jack."
"I can and shall. It matter not to j-ou
or to any what he is or has been."
"Because, as God gives me strength and
skill. I shall presently run him through, and
so his account will be squared once for all
with nil men and all women, as well."
"God speed j-ou," quoth mj- loyal nib-. I
knew not j-our quarrel with him was so
"It is to the death."
"So it seems. In that case, if by any
accident he "
I divined what ho would say and broke in
"Nay, Dick; if he thrusts me out, you
must not take up my quarrel. I know not
where j-ou learned to twirl the steel, or
how, but you may be sure ho would spit
you like a trussed fowl In the first bout. I
have seen him kill a man who was reckoned
the best short sword In my old regiment of
"Content yourself," said mj- voung Hot
spur, grandlj. "If you spare him ho shall
answer to me for that thing he said of
Madge Stair: this though I know not what
It was he said."
I smiled at his fuming ardor, and glan
cing at the pair of pistols hanging from his'
saddle-bow, asked If he could shoot.
"Then make him challenge you and
choose your own weapons. 'Tis
your only hope, and poor enough
at that, I fear. I have heard he can clip a
guinea at ten paces."
From that "we fell silent again, being but
a little way from the rendezvous, and so
continued until, at a sudden turn In the
road, we came In sight of a rude barricade
of felled trees barring the way. Jennifer
saw It first and pulled up short, loosing his
pistols In their cases as he drew rein. ,i
"'Ware the wood!" he said sharply, and'
none too soon, tor even as he spoke the
glade at our left filled as by magic with,a
motley troop deploying Into the road as to
"Now, who are these?" I asked; "friends
"Foes who will hang you in your own
halter strap; Jan How-art's Tories the same
that burned the W estootts in their cabin a
fortnight since. Will your horse take that
barricade, think your
"Aye standing. If need be."
"Then at them. In God's name. Charge!"
It needed but tho word and we were In
the thick of it. I remembered my old field
marshal's maxim. Von Felnden umringht.
lit die Zelt zu zerschmettern; and truly, be
ing so plentifully outnumbered, we did
strike both first and hard.
A una of ragged horsemen strum? Itself
awkwardly across the road to guard the
flimsy barricade, and at this we charged,
stirrup to stirrup. In the dash there was a
scattering volley from the wood, answered,
Instantly by the beUowlngs of Jennifer
great pistols; and then we cams to the
It was my first fleshing of the good old
Andrea, and a better balanced" blade I had
never swung In hand-to-hand mellay. As
we closed with the halt, dozen defenders of
the barrier, Jennifer reined aside to give rajs
room to play to right and left, and 'In tha
midst of It went nigh to death because he
held his hand to watch a cut and double
thrust of mine. i
"Over with you!'! I shouted, pricking tha
man who would have mowed him down with
a great scj-tha handled as a sword. 5
Our horses took the barrier In a flylnt
leap, straining themselves for the race be
yond. When we had pulled them down to
a foot pace we were safely out of rifle shot
and there was space to count the cost. !"
Copyright. IMS, by Bawen-MerrUl Co.
There was no cost Trorth counting, it
saddlehorn bullet-shattered for me. and tha
back of Jennifer's sword hand scored light-..
if across oy anoiner oi tne random missileaH
buuuaicu up vui nuujMiuiBs. xiu& wnippea. WP
vwfc am ci-uici cu mJ3k ftuuui Lao scorea t
hand, while I glanced back to see It onir
Tory cared to follow. r
"Lord, Jack! X.owe you one to keep and
one to pay back," quoth my youngster,
warmly. "I never saw a swordsman tfU
"Mere tricks, Dick, my lad; I have had
fifteen years In which to learn them. And
these were but country yokels armed with
farming tools. The two with swords had
little wit to use them."
"Oh. come!" said he. "I know a
pretty bit of swordplay when I see
it. If we come whole out of
this adventure with the baronet you shall
teach me some of these 'mere tricks' of
I promised, glancing back toward the
dust-veiled barrier In tho distance.
"Dick, you passed this way an hour ago; '
was that breastwork in the road then?"
"Not a stick of it."
"Then we maydare say our volunteer
Captain fights unwillingly."
"How so?" he demanded, being much too
straightforward himself to suspect duplicity
" 'Tls plain enough. This was a trap meant1
to stop or delay us. and I'll wager high ltj
was tho baronet who set and baited it. It
would please him well to be able to say'
what our failure to come would give him
warrant for. Let us gallop a bit, lest we ba
late and so play into his hand."
Jennifer smiled grimly and gave his horsa"
the rein. "I think you'd charge the fall ot
man to him it that would give you better
leave to kill him. I'd hate to own you for
my enemy, John Ireton."
For all our swift speeding we were yet &
little late at the rendezvous under thetall
oaks. When we came on the ground the
baronet was walking up and down arm to
arm with his second, a broad-shouldered
young Briton, fair of skin and ruddv nf
It Falconnet had set the Tory trap ton
us he veiled his disappointment at Its fail
ure. His face, dark and Inscrutable as It
always was, was made more sinister by
the plasters knitting up his broken cheek,
but I was right glad to make sure that my
blow had spared his eyes. Richly as ho de
served his fate, I thought It would be III to.
think on afterward that I had had him at
a disadvantage of my own making. t
There was little time wasted in the pre-?
llminarles. When Falconnet saw us he
dropped his second's arm and began to
make ready. I gave my sword to Jennifer
and the seconds went apart together. There
was some measuring and balancing of
weapons, and then Richard came back;
"The Baronet's sword is a good inch
longer than yours in the blade, and is some
what heavier. Tybee has brought a pair of
French short swords, which he offers. Will
you change your terms?"
"No; I am content to fight with my ownr
Jennifer nodded. "So I told him." And
then: "There was no surgeon to be had in
town. Doctor Carew having gone with ,tha
Minute Men to Join Mr. Rutherford. Tybsa'
says 'tls scarce In accordance with the later"'
rulings to fight without one." -c
"To the devil with their hairsplittings'
said 1. "Let us have done with them and
be at it"
CTO BE CONTINUED.)
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