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Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete

Page: 150

"Some one was with you to-night-some of my men. Tell me that traitor's name and I'll spare your life and hang him before the whole army."

The prisoner turned pale and dropped his head. He would not violate his promise.

"You are a British spy, and I'll hang you at sunrise!" roared Putnam.

In vain the young man pleaded for time to appeal to Washington. He was not a spy, he insisted, and it would be found, perhaps too late, that a terrible mistake had been committed. His words were unheeded: he was led away and bound, and as the sun was rising on the next morning the sentence of courtmartial was executed upon him.

At noon Mary returned from the parsonage, her eyes dancing and her mouth dimpling with smiles. Going to Putnam, she said, with a dash of sauciness, "I have succeeded, general. I found a lad last night to take your message. I had to meet him alone, for he is a Tory; so he cannot enter this camp. The poor fellow had no idea that he was doing a service for the rebels, for he did not know what was in the letter, and I bound him not to tell who gave it to him. You see, I punished him for abiding by the king."

The general laughed and gazed at her admiringly.

"You're a brave girl," he said, "and I suppose you've come for your reward. Well, what is it to be?"

"I want a pass for Robert Lockwood. He is the royalist I spoke of, but he will not betray you, for he is not a soldier; and—his visits make me very happy."

"The spy you hanged this morning," whispered an aide in Putnam's ear. "Give her the pass and say nothing of what has happened."

The general started, changed color, and paused; then he signed the order with a dash, placed it in the girl's hand, gravely kissed her, watched her as she ran lightly from the house, and going to his bedroom closed the door and remained alone for an hour. From that time he never spoke of the affair, but when his troops were ordered away, soon after, he almost blenched as he gave good-by to Mary Marvin, and met her sad, reproachful look, though to his last day he never learned whether or no she had discovered Robert Lockwood's fate.





LOVE AND RUM

Back in the seventeenth century a number of Yankee traders arrived in Naugatuck to barter blankets, beads, buttons, Bibles, and brandy for skins, and there they met chief Toby and his daughter. Toby was not a pleasing person, but his daughter was well favored, and one of the traders told the chief that if he would allow the girl to go to Boston with him he would give to him—Toby—a quart of rum. Toby was willing enough. He would give a good deal for rum. But the daughter declined to be sold off in such a fashion unless—she coyly admitted—she could have half of the rum herself. Loth as he was to do so, Toby was brought to agree to this proposition, for he knew that rum was rare and good and girls were common and perverse, so the gentle forest lily took her mug of liquor and tossed it off. Now, it is not clear whether she wished to nerve herself for the deed that followed or whether the deed was a result of the tonic, but she made off from the paternal wigwam and was presently seen on the ledge of Squaw Rock, locally known also as High Rock, from which in another moment she had fallen. Toby had pursued her, and on finding her dead he vented a howl of grief and anger and flung the now empty rum-jug after her. A huge bowlder arose from the earth where it struck, and there it remains—a monument to the girl and a warning to Tobies.


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