“But this is to go to New York,” cried Betty, with unconscious irony; “and as we can neither of us go alone, why could not my father arrange for one of us to accompany Mrs. Seymour, who leaves shortly to be near her brother for the winter? Did you not tell me, Sally, that she was going to New York?”
“Yes,” answered Sally Tracy, “she has been making all manner of preparations, for, as you know, her brother is imprisoned in the city; and since her acceptance of the pleasure coach from the Mayor of New York (which he presented her with when he was released from Litchfield gaol), she has been pining to go to him. And, beside, she travels in her coach as far as possible; and my mother said last night that General Washington was to send her safe-conduct through our lines to the city.”
“We must first consult your father,” said Miss Euphemia gravely, much upset by the suggestion of making up her mind to do anything in haste, for she was a very deliberate person, and despised hurried decisions. “I will find him as soon as he has finished the dispatches, and, moreover, this letter to him from Gulian may have directions. I incline to think that you, Betty, will be the one to go. Pamela can scarce bear the journey in this weather,” and gathering her papers carefully in her hand, Miss Euphemia left the room, and the girls gazed blankly at each other with startled eyes and throbbing hearts.
WHAT FOLLOWED A LETTER
“It was all decided last night,” said Betty, tucking her little feet carefully under her gown and clasping her knees with her hands to keep them warm, as she sat in Moppet’s chair, which stood close by the fire, where a log burned and crackled in the big chimney—a most unusual luxury for those days, and granted only to Moppet’s youth and slight delicacy of constitution. “Father found the pass from General Washington among his dispatches brought by the courier; and as it includes Mrs. Seymour’s maid, he arranged with her that I go instead, as Mrs. Seymour kindly says she can procure another attendant in New York. I can scarce believe it possible, Sally. Oh, fancy my having to live in a city occupied by the British!”
“Ah,” sighed Miss Moppet, pressing her head against Betty’s knee, and a spark of interest lighting up her doleful little face, “if only some of them be like my good”—
“Oh, some of the Tories may be passably amusing,” said Betty hastily, giving Moppet a warning glance, as she checked the words on the child’s lips by a soft touch of her hand. “I doubt not that Gulian, my brother-in-law, has fine qualities, else Clarissa had not been so fond of him as to leave us all and go so far from us. But I trust that even Gulian may not see fit to talk loyalist to me; my naughty tongue would get me into trouble straightway.”
“You must learn to control your tongue, Betty,” said Moppet primly, with a roguish twinkle of her eyes upward. “Miss Bidwell says mine is an unruly member, and told me a most dire tale of a little girl whose mother for punishment pricked her tongue with a hot bodkin.”