The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776.
to him the important secret, obtaining his promise not to jeopardize her safety by telling from whom he had obtained it.  Captain M’Lean, with all speed, informed the commander-in-chief of his danger, who, of course, took every necessary step to baffle the contemplated enterprize, and to show the enemy that he was prepared to receive them.  Lydia returned home with her flour, secretly watched the movements of the British, and saw them depart.  Her anxiety during their absence was excessive, nor was it lessened when, on their return, the adjutant-general, summoning her to his apartment and locking the door with an air of mystery, demanded ’Whether any of the family were up on the night that he had received company at her house?’ She told him, that, without an exception, they had all retired at eight o’clock.  ’You, I know, Lydia, were asleep, for I knocked at your door three times before you heard me, yet, although I am at a loss to conceive who gave the information of our intended attack to General Washington, it is certain we were betrayed; for, on arriving near his encampment, we found his cannon mounted, his troops under arms, and at every point so perfectly prepared to receive us, that we were compelled, like fools, to make a retrograde movement, without inflicting on our enemy any manner of injury whatever.’”

“Ha! ha! a neat stratagem, and a patriotic woman,” exclaimed young Harmar.

“Talking of the services of the women during the war,” said Higgins, “reminds me of Molly Macauly, or Sergeant Macauly, as we knew her while in the army.  She was a Pennsylvanian, and was so enthusiastic in her patriotism, that she donned a man’s dress, and joined the army, when she became a sergeant, and fought bravely in several battles and skirmishes.  Nobody suspected that she was not what she seemed to be; for she was tall, stout, and rough-looking, and associated with men very freely.  Molly had a custom of swinging her sabre over her head, and hurraing for Mad Anthony, as she called General Wayne.  She was wounded at Brandywine, and, her sex being discovered, returned home.”

“She was not the only woman in disguise in the army,” said old Harmar.  “There was Elizabeth Canning, who was at Fort Washington, and, when her husband was killed, took his place at the gun, loading, priming, and firing with good effect, till she was wounded in the breast by a grape-shot.  While our army lay at Valley Forge, several Pennsylvania women were detected in disguise, enduring all kinds of want, and with less murmuring than the men themselves.  Oh, yes! the women were all right in those days, however they may have degenerated since.”

“Come, no slander on the women of the present day,” said Mrs. Harmar.  “I’ve no doubt, take them all in all; they will not suffer in comparison with those of any age.”

“Bravo!  Mrs. Harmar,” exclaimed Wilson.

“Women, now, are ready enough with disguises,” remarked young Harmar.

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The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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