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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 128 pages of information about The Old Bell of Independence; Or, Philadelphia in 1776.

“’Thank you, Anne—­I’ll keep it carefully.  But you must not bear malice now, Anne; you must forgive even the Hessians,’ said Charles.

“‘What, them Hessians, the bloody thieves?’ and the old woman’s eyes lighted up, and she almost arose in her bed with astonishment, as she asked the question.

’Yes; even them:  you are about to need forgiveness as much as they—­they were your enemies and persecutors, whom you are especially enjoined to pardon, as you would expect to be pardoned.’

’So it is, Mr. Charles; you say the truth,—­poor ignorant, sinful mortal that I am!  Well, then, I do—­I hope I do—­forgive ’em; I’ll try—­the bloody creeters.’

“There; will that do for a story, Thomas Jefferson?” asked the old grandfather, when he had concluded.  The old man had a straight-forward, natural way of telling a story that showed he had practised it frequently.  The boy seemed much gratified by the horrible narration.  Mrs. Harmar said she was interested, but didn’t like it much; her husband remarked, however, that it would make a thrilling sketch.

“I suppose that Nathaniel Collins was very much the same sort of a Quaker as General Green,” said Morton.  “They were peaceable men, as long as peace and quiet were not inconsistent with self-defence.  To be peaceable when a foe is wasting your fields and slaughtering your brethren, is cowardly and against nature.”

“That’s truth,” replied Higgins.  “We must look upon a merciless invader in the same light as upon a cruel beast, whom it is saving life to slay.”

“Fagan was well punished for his outrages,” remarked Wilson.

“It was the only way for the inhabitants to ensure their safety,” said Smith.

THE TORY’S CONVERSION.

“By the bye,” said Mr. Morton, “some events have just recurred to my mind, which interested me very much when I first heard of them, and which I think may strike you as being wonderful.  I knew of many strange and unaccountable things that happened during the Revolution, but the conversion of Gil Lester from toryism capped the climax.”

“Enlighten us upon the subject, by all means,” remarked Mr. Jackson Harmar.

“Yes, that was a strange affair, Morton; tell ’em about it,” added Higgins.

“There’s a little love stuff mixed up with the story,” said Morton, “but you will have to excuse that.  I obtained the incidents from Lester himself, and I know he was always true to his word, whether that was right or wrong.  Gilbert Lester, Vincent Murray, and their ladye-loves, lived up here in Pennsylvania, in the neighborhood of the Lehigh.  One night a harvest ball was given at the house of farmer Williams.  Vincent Murray and Mary Williams, the farmer’s daughter, joined in the festivities, and, becoming tired of dancing in a hot room, they went out to walk along the banks of the Lehigh, and, of course, to talk over love matters.

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