The Yankee Tea-party eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about The Yankee Tea-party.

“One dark stormy night in autumn, Lee was lying awake at midnight.  All at once the door was gently opened, and a figure moved silently into the room.  It was too dark to observe its motions narrowly, but he could see that it stooped towards one of the sleepers, who immediately rose.  Next it approached and touched him on the shoulder.  Lee immediately started up.  The figure then allowed a slight gleam from a dark lantern to pass over his face, and as it did so whispered, impatiently, ’Not the man—­but come!’ It then occurred to Lee that it was the opportunity he desired.  The unknown whispered to him to keep his place till another man was called; but just at that moment something disturbed him, and making a signal to Lee to follow, he moved silently out of the room.  They found the door of the house unbarred, and a small part of the fence removed, where they passed out without molestation.  The sentry had retired to a shelter, where he thought he could guard his post without suffering from the rain; but Lee saw his conductors put themselves in preparation to silence him if he should happen to address them.  Just without the fence appeared a stooping figure, wrapped in a red cloak, and supporting itself with a large stick, which Lee at once perceived could be no other than the old fruit-woman.  But the most profound silence was observed:  a man came out from a thicket at a little distance and joined them, and the whole party moved onward by the guidance of the old woman.  At first they frequently stopped to listen, but having heard the sentinel cry, ‘All’s well!’ they seemed reassured, and moved with more confidence than before.

“They soon came to her cottage.  A table was spread with some coarse provisions upon it, and a large jug, which one of the soldiers was about to seize, when the man who conducted them withheld him.  ‘No,’ said he, ‘we must first proceed to business.’

“The conductor, a middle-aged, harsh-looking man, was here about to require all present, before he could conduct them farther, to swear upon the Scriptures not to make the least attempt at escape, and never to reveal the circumstances or agents in the proceeding, whatever might befal them.  But before they had time to take the oath, their practised ears detected the sound of the alarm-gun; and the conductor, directing the party to follow him in close order, immediately left the house, taking with him a dark lantern.  Lee’s reflections were not now the most agreeable.  If he were to be compelled to accompany his party to the British lines in New York, he would be detected and hanged as a spy; and he saw that the conductor had prepared arms for them, which they were to use in taking the life of any one who should attempt to escape.  They went on with great despatch, but not without difficulty.  Lee might now have deserted, in this hurry and alarm; but he had made no discovery, and he could not bear to confess that he had not nerve enough to carry him through.  They went on, and

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The Yankee Tea-party from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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