“Let me have my worsted jacket, and my flannel wrapper (indeed, I do believe they are too small for me; can I find others in New York, Betty?), and this pretty hood of Pamela’s. Betty, Betty, do you think Miss Bidwell could cut this one smaller for me? May I just run down and ask? I will return at once.”
“Yes,” said Betty, intent upon counting a heap of stockings; “please fetch me a pair of scissors when you come up again.”
Off flew Moppet, marking her progress down the garret stairs by various exclamations as she dropped the jacket and tripped on the wrapper, but, finally reached the bottom in safety, Betty went on overlooking the chest; there were many articles to select from, and a red skirt of Moppet’s which did not appear to be forthcoming. She ran her hand down to the very bottom of the chest, and feeling some garment made of smooth cloth with a gleam of red in it, dragged it forth and held it up to the light. As she did so, her hand struck something hard and round.
“What have I found?” thought Betty, but the next moment she saw that what she held was an officer’s dark blue riding-cape fastened with brass buttons, on each of which was engraved a crown, and the cape was lined with British scarlet.
“What have you got there?” said Moppet’s voice, as she appeared at her side. “Why, ’tis Captain Yorke’s cape that he muffled me in the day I fell into Great Pond—Oh, Betty, Betty, what is amiss?”
Down on her knees fell Betty. She buried her face in the cape’s folds, and tears rolled down her cheeks as she tried to say, “It is nothing, nothing, I am tired—I am—Oh, Geoffrey, Geoffrey, I think my heart is breaking.”
Miss Moppet opened her eyes to their widest; then slowly and deliberately she grasped the situation in “high Roman fashion.”
“Betty Wolcott, do I live to see you weep over a scarlet coat!”
No answer; indeed, Betty scarcely heard the words. The flood-gates were let loose and the agony of days and months must have its way.
“Betty!” this time the voice of reproving patriotism quavered somewhat. “I do believe you are worse than Pamela.” But Betty sobbed on,—sobs that fairly racked her slender body.
“Well, I don’t care what anybody says,”—and Moppet flung the Whig cause to the wind as she cast herself down beside Betty,—“he’s dear and handsome and brave; whether he be British or Yankee, I love him, and so do you, naughty, naughty Betty!”
And with her head on Miss Moppet’s sympathizing shoulder, and Miss Moppet’s loving arms clasped around her neck, Betty Wolcott whispered her confession and was comforted.
A KNOT OF ROSE-COLORED RIBBON
The sun rose bright and clear over the Bay of New York. It had been a somewhat gray dawn, but the fog and mist had gradually rolled away, and the day bid fair to be one of those which Indian summer occasionally gives in our northern climate. All around Fort George and the Battery the British troops were making ready for departure; the ships for their transportation to England lay out in the bay, for this was the 25th of November in the year of our Lord 1783.