Their trail bore no further signs of Harpe and his followers.
“I’ll bet ye a pint o’ powder an’ a fish hook they was p’intin’ south,” said Solomon.
They reached the Indian school about noon. A kindly old Mohawk squaw who worked there was sent back in the trail to find the maiden. In a few minutes the squaw came in with her. Solomon left money with the good master and promised to send more.
When the travelers went on that afternoon the Little White Birch stood by the door looking down the road at them.
“She has a coat o’ red on her skin, but the heart o’ the white man,” said Solomon.
In a moment Jack heard him muttering, “It’s a damn wicked thing to do—which there ain’t no mistake.”
They had come to wagon roads improving as they approached towns and villages, in the first of which they began selling the drove. When they reached Boston, nearly a week later, they had only the two horses which they rode.
The trial had just begun. Being ardent Whigs, their testimony made an impression. Jack’s letter to his father says that Mr. Adams complimented them when they left the stand.
There is an old letter of Solomon Binkus which briefly describes the journey. He speaks of the “pompy” men who examined them. “They grinned at me all the time an’ the ol’ big wig Jedge in the womern’s dress got mad if I tried to crack a joke,” he wrote in his letter. “He looked like he had paid too much fer his whistle an’ thought I had sold it to him. Thought he were goin’ to box my ears. John Addums is erbout as sharp as a razor. Took a likin’ to Jack an’ me. I tol’ him he were smart ’nough to be a trapper.”
The two came back in the saddle and reached Albany late in October.
THE JOURNEY TO PHILADELPHIA
The New York Mercury of November 4, 1770, contains this item:
“John Irons, Jr., and Solomon Binkus, the famous scout, arrived Wednesday morning on the schooner Ariel from Albany. Mr. Binkus is on his way to Alexandria, Virginia, where he is to meet Major Washington and accompany him to the Great Kanawha River in the Far West.”
Solomon was soon to meet an officer with whom he was to find the amplest scope for his talents. Jack was on his way to Philadelphia. They had found the ship crowded and Jack and two other boys “pigged together”—in the expressive phrase of that time—on the cabin floor, through the two nights of their journey. Jack minded not the hardness of the floor, but there was much drinking and arguing and expounding of the common law in the forward end of the cabin, which often interrupted his slumbers.
He was overawed by the length and number of the crowded streets of New York and by “the great height” of many of its buildings. The grandeur of Broadway and the fashionable folk who frequented it was the subject of a long letter which he indited to his mother from The City Tavern.