And eleven there was killed
Of this said party,
Before they quit the field.’
“And I think there are a hundred other verses, which I will spare you; not that I forget them, for the soldiers sang them over and over, and I had nothing better to do than to lie awake and listen.
“So that is all.
I hear my messenger moving about below; I am
to drop this letter down to him, as all are asleep, and to
open the big door might wake them.
* * * * *
“It was not my
rifleman, only the sentry. They keep double
watch since the news came about Schell. “Good-bye. I am
thinking of you.
make my compliments and adieux to Sir
rifleman is here; he is whistling like a
whippoorwill. I must say good-bye. I am mad to go with him.
Do not forget me!
“My memories are
so keen, so pitilessly real, I can scarce
endure them, yet cling to them the more desperately.
“I did not mean to write this—truly I did not! But here, in the dusk, I can see your face just as it looked when you said good-bye!—so close that I could take it in my arms despite my vows and yours!
“Help me to reason; for even God cannot, or will not, help me; knowing, perhaps, the dreadful after-life He has doomed me to for all eternity. If it is true that marriages are made in heaven, where was mine made? Can you answer? I cannot. (The whimper of the whippoorwill again!) Dearest, good-bye. Where my body lies matters nothing so that you hold my soul a little while. Yet, even of that they must rob you one day. Oh, if even in dying there is no happiness, where, where does it abide? Three places only have I heard of: the world, heaven, and hell. God forgive me, but I think the last could cover all.
“Say that you love me! Say it to the forest, to the wind. Perhaps my soul, which follows you, may hear if you only say it. (Once more the ghost-call of the whippoorwill!) Dear lad, good-bye!”
Day after day our little scout of four traversed the roads and forests of the Kingsland district, warning the people at the outlying settlements and farms that the county militia-call was out, and that safety lay only in conveying their families to the forts and responding to the summons of authority without delay.
Many obeyed; some rash or stubborn settlers prepared to defend their homes. A few made no response, doubtless sympathizing with their Tory friends who had fled to join McDonald or Sir John Johnson in the North.