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his contemplations, and a beaming smile went over his face, and a flush of delighted satisfaction spread to his throbbing temples, as his eye glanced perchance on that little gem that sparkled in the sunlight, and thence over the fields tbat lay before him. He saw, here and there, the blue smoke of the husbandman's home, as it curled into the clear morning air! and at times he rode gently by the rude yeoman himself, as he went on his quick and silent way from house to house, casting his inquiring eyes for an instant on traveller and horse, and seeming to say, whoever rode in that direction passed not unread or unremembered. But the hour of alarm had passed by the hazard was over-there was no room for longer apprehension.
At this moment the destiny of the adventurer was sealed. His dream of enchantment was broken-his best, last, bright bope was blasted for ever!
It was on the borders of Tarrytown, while day was yet early, that he descried before him three persons loitering beneath the huge trees that overhung the roadside. Their appearance was sudden, and startled him from his pleasing security. As he drew near, a single glance convinced him that they were awaiting his approach ; and movements on their part manifested the excitement of uncominon and unexpected attention. There was no possibility of passing unquestioned, and his immediate determination was to dispel suspicion, by riding up to meet and salute them, with bold and gay demeanor. That they were armed, was now beyond question. The rapid glistening of steel, as they shifted their positions while watching his approach, and the peculiar air of preparation among them, gave token of men who had the means of challenging every stranger with effect, and who had every disposition to challenge. Their object was now apparent; for, as our traveller reined up and addressed the party with a degree of hilarity and unconcern, his fine countenance brightening with benevolence, and in a tone of eager animation, bade God bless them,' his bridle was seized, and a polished rifle glittered at his side. It was a moment of terrible trial. The brave and fearless might blench under it. As it was, that brave and fearless spirit lost its mastery. In the confusion of the moment, its self-command was betrayed-and a few words placed it beyond the hope of recovery. "Pray God, my friends,' said he hastily, stooping among them, pray God, you are of our party!! We are from below,' was the immediate answer, as they gathered closer round him— And so am I,' followed on the echo of the words, and fixed the fate of the speaker for ever! It was too late ; he saw his error: but he saw it, as does the the rider, who, having trusted to the goodness and generous speed of his animal, in a dark and dangerous way, beset with enemies, surdenly finds himself, unexpectedly, in the midst of his foes, unarmed and unprepared, from the very rapidity which he hoped might have insured his escape. A cold smile passed over the faces round him, as they exchanged glances; and, as pale as death, he obeyed the order to dismount and surrender himself to the custody of his captors. The hope of liberty, however, was not so to be given up. There is a spirit in man which grasps at possibilities, when certainty, with all its golden promises, has vanished, and the chance of life is left to struggle with some solitary and doubtful event. If we cannot appeal with success to the generosity and sympathies of our fellow men, in extreinities, we sometimes hope to bend them to our purposes, and even to bring them to a forgetfulness of duty, by applying ourselves to their interests and their passions. This is the exertion of despair ; it is the trial which despera
tion makes, to steal in by some foul and secret entrance, when every attempt at the citadel by the nobler avenues of the heart has been turned back with indignation.
There was but one resource, therefore, which fortune seemed to have left within the power of our traveller; and, like a 'soul in bale,' he felt himself called to the despairing effort which it inspired. He would tempt their avarice.
He then announced himself as an officer of distinction--an adjutant general in the British service, intrusted with business of high import, and urged the necessity of his immediate departure for New York-his detention was pregnant with difficulties, and his arrival anxiously awaited in the capital. This disclosure was accompanied with all the eloquent expression which he could throw into his manner, and, as he ended, he drew from his side a watch of splendid workmanship and material, and held it broad in his hand before his attentive listeners. They gazed on it coldly, as they leaned upon their bright rifles. Put me to horse, instantly,' said he, and this shall be yours; nay, more,' continued he with vehemence, as he observed them shake their heads, in disdain at his offers, this, and this,' drawing handfuls of gold from his pockets ; even this and ten times the amount_shall be yours, only let me once more put spurs to my horse; nay, answer me, take it with the promise of my country for thousands more : you cannot hesitate.' But they did hesitate ; they did more-they stood firm. The trinket and the gold still lay in the outspread hands of the prisoner, untouched and hardly looked upon. The eyes of his guards were glancing upon each other: there was no need of words, where there was so much of more than Castilian integrity. Put up your gold,' said one of those soldiers ; it may find a better market; we have no want of it here: you have taken from our country half the joys it would purchase ; and, as for luxuries, we have none: put up your gold-and keep your watch, for your high company over the water-we kept time by the sun.'
Astonished and confounded, again he held forth the heap of coin. The mass glittered in the sunshine, but it could not dazzle the plain undaunted soldiers who surrounded him. But ye shall live to your hearts' contentye shall have fortunes and honors with us-.ye shall have every thing you wish for: only put me to that good black charger, and bid me God speed. Do you hold back? Why, can ye hesitate ? . It is in vain,' said he who had last spoken, with a wave of his hand. "Look ye, sir ! this ground we stand on here, is our country : we must not betray it. That you should want to escape from us, is well enough; but you have mistaken your men; and, as for fortunes and honors, our honor must be 10 remajn honest soldiers and we are willing to go along with the fortunes of our land. You will please to follow.'
• This good black horse must come within the bars,' said one of the party, as he led the animal forward, and commanded his rider once more to pass in. He was accordingly conducted so far within the thicket, that the presence of the soldiers, as well as all their movements, were screened from observation. The unfortunate prisoner remained silent and passive in the hands of his captors, and while they exchanged their short and halfsuppressed sentiments in his hearing, preparatory to their search, and during the operation, their gay and reckless inuendoes struck upon his mind with a sense of pain and anguish that was almost insupportable. It was a feeling allied to that which a spirit of extreme sensibility endures when subjected to the harsh, rude trials of a world that laughs at and mocks it, alike in its hours of fine elevation and harrowing depression-like that by which high feeling is tortured when it comes in contact with the cold, paralysing severitics of life, in the shape of unrelenting duty, which knows nothing of sympathy, and mere force, which despises the thought of a sensitive mind or a suffering heart.
• This looks like playing our cards to some effect,' said one of the party to his companions, as the hopeless gentleman stood waiting the orders of his enemies. Yes,' said the other; it looks like to turn out a fortunate game enough, though our comrade who stood sentry must have the honor of winning it. But I told ye,' continued he, laying his hand on the shoulder of the other, it was best to keep one rifle upright, for fear of what might ride within its range.' Nay,' said the third, who had not yet spoken, “if you think this has anything to do with the matter of the cards, I say it counts one most capitally; and, if our good dame's morning inilk and an early hour send such prisoners to our care, I should say, our scouts are more profitable than all the battles we are like to fight. So, sir, with your leave, I will divest you of this garment.'
• It was a surrender without conditions-our right to plunder is unqnes. tionable,' said the other; but discovery comes hard, I think.' This trump settles the game!' cried the first, as he ended the scarch, and held up a package of letters, which he had drawn from the silk stocking of the unfortunate captive.
Now then, you have all,' said he, as he folded his arms calmly before those he addressed, and looked on them with a steady eye, but a blenched cheek, “all, as God is true--the treason is out. Now lead forward.
During the conversation that had passed between the soldiers, our young prisoner had stood in a state of complete subjection before them, apparently lost equally to his misfortune and himself; and it was not till the discovery of the secreted papers, and the consequent exclamation, that he was sufficiently recalled to himself to pass particular attention upon the liberties taken with his person. So completely was lie overwhelmed by the misery of his sudden fate, that he remained insensible to events, the bare consideration of which, a few moments before, would have carried to his mind confusion and alarm. To describe the sensations that hurried through his bosom, the recollections that rushed over him, and the fearful, terrible anticipations that rose up in those troubled moments; to describe the abandonment of feeling with which he stood there—the pale, helpless being of crushed hopes and ruined life, is more than can be told, or, if told, car never be conceived of.
The search had been satisfactory and severe. The generous, brave demeanor of the young captive impressed his foes with a respect and regard that insensibly glided into compassion, as they gazed on him, When he found himself in their custody, without hope of escape, or prospect of averting his destiny, his manner became that of an ardent mind, reduced to complete surrender under the failure of every honorable resource. Insult, therefore, was as far as injury from the hearts and lips of those who detained him ; and if, in the performance and prosecution of their duty, their lauguage manifested an exhilaration with their good fortune, every word addressed to the subject of their interest was uttered in kindness, and the firm but respectful tone of generous and high-minded enemies.
Having accomplished their object, the prisoner was led out, and ordered to mount his horse. He was permitted to ride a short distance ahead of his keepers. Slowly and despondingly he passed on. His head dropped on his breast, and deep and stirring thoughts were busy in his rankling and agitated bosom. With fixed eyes and a heaving heart, he rode forward and poudered upon his fate. It was written in letters of blood before him. He thought of his present condition: there was no retreat. He thought upon the future: there was no relief in the dark picture of his coming days. Few they were to be ; and he felt they would be but few. There was no hope of lengthening them out beyond the common period of a felon's probation. Possibility fled before the discovery of his person and his title, and the black blank of life spread out before him with a terror next to that of annihilation. As be rode, the big cold sweat streamed down his pallid face, exhibiting terrible proof of a tried but still a proud spirit. As he faintingly wiped it from his brow, the deep working of his imagination would drive it again to his countenance, in large drops, to tell how much he suffered, and how fearfully he looked forward. The lone abstraction of the unfortunate prisoner was not broken in upon by his guard ; and it was a striking mark of the unqualified respect which true greatness, and fair honor, whether in prosperity or trouble, is invariably sure to inspire, to see this young, gallant, but hopeless personage, left to the unobstructed indulgence of his solitary reflections, at such an instant, when his capture was of the utmost moment, and his escape from his guard would have been of disastrous consequence to the cause and country which they had so faithfully and so fortunately served..
The prisoner himself spake not a word. He merely took the short and simple directions of the scouts, and bent his slow, sad steps towards the outpost, where he was told he was to be surrendered to the commander of their parties. On receiving this information, bis recollection seemed to return, and an expression of momentary satisfaction seemed to brighten his face; but it instantly subsided, and he only begged them to hasten forward, and deliver him, as soon as might be, to his fatewhile the mild, conciliating air with which he received directions, and submitted his few requests, together with the dignified and martial bearing which distinguished him, when roused from his searching and desolating thoughts to his immediate situation, impressed his brave companions still more favorably as to his rank and importance in the service to which he was attached.
As he was mounted, and his guard on foot, their progress was naturally slow. To him it was tedious, and seemed to be interminable. In addition to this evil, it became necessary to take a desolate and unfrequented path, to reach their position undiscovered and unsuspected; and as they wound their wild and solitary way among the low hills, and through the still untrodden woods, the low voices of his guard, now rising to the tone of confidential security, and now sinking to a precautionary whisper, convinced him, that the charge, as well as the disposition of his person, was matter of high moment among them. The dry leaves rustled round him, as his horse trode through the tangled way, and now they showered about him from the sighing and changing trees,
Falling like Hope's fair blossoms to the earth. The party now issued into clear ground; and, from the movements of his guards, who suddenly advanced from behind him to his side, and the free and unsuppressed tones in which they conferred together, our prisoner deemed that they were in the vicinity of the post, where he was to be surrendered. Nor was he mistaken; for, in a few moments, one of the scouts went rapidly forward, as they were ascending a small mound, and disappeared below the brow of the bill. As they rose, he again
joined them; and they were now in full view of the position to which they were hastening. Urging forward with all the speed they could command, they soon entered the lines with their prisoner. He was immediately dismounted, and quietly conducted into the presence of the general ofticer. He entered with the firm step of a soldier, and bis changed, though still collected countenance alone inanifested signs of disquiet. It was not possible for such a spirit to conceal such powerful feelings. The story, however, was soon told by his captors; he had been taken as a spy, and as such he now stood before their superior, to abide his decision and disposal. This said, he was left alone with the commander of the post.
It was at this moment, that the recollection of his companion in treachery, and the thought of his inevitable fate, should he remain unapprized of his arrest, rushed upon the prisoner. He must be saved! and it must be a desperate effort to rescue him. It is enough to say, that, by unequalled artifice, operating with the singular security of his ulisuspecting enemy, he succeeded; and that upon full and unhesitating contes sion made, at last, before the leader of the scouting parties, the same confession, together with the circumstances of his capture, were laid before the commander-in-chief, and the unfortunate Englishman was ordered into strict custody, to await his destiny under the stern rules of war. Left to himself, his ardent and sensitive mind concentrated itself upon his forlorn condition. In the utter silence of his imprisonment fancy went to and fro, arrayed in all her tender and terrific colors. Home, friends, and honor,- suspense, death, and ignominy, passed in palpable personification before him, until his soul heaved like the troubled deep, when the storm is on it in power, and the light of heaven is withdrawn forever.
In this peopled solitude, this fearless stillness, we shall leave him, till the voice of martial justice call him to his last trial. We return to him whom our prisoner might well regard as the author of his fate, and who was now waiting the issue of his treasonous purposes, in the strong poste which he had already devoted as the first sacrifice to bis unrelenting spirit. It was nearly night. The day had set goldenly; and its last beams blazed on the summits that soared round the fortress, and faintly tinged the tall staff from which floated the beautiful ensign of liberty, with its stars and bands. The waters blushed in the calm reflection of the glowing hills, while, in the deep shadow of the highlands, they lay dark as futurity. On that midnight shadow the louring eye of the commander rested; his spirit found something congenial in the murky silence and frowning blackness that centered there. The mild beauties of that scene-the kindling glories of the hills and waters had no charms for a heart like his. It was lost to the charities of life-how could it find delight in the kindness of nature? It was abandoned to the gloomy rer. eries of revenge-what could it not find in that dim deep shadow to revel in?
The triumph was now almost at hand; there was but one step more, and it was done. The perfidy was then developed, the crince then rose to the importance of completion. His heaving bosom felt still a small void, but it was fast filling up; and he gloried as he thought how soon
T'he head and front of his offending would be unveiled to his confused and astonished country. At such a fervid moment he rose, flushed and agitated, from his seat, and strode