“May the Lord bless him!” exclaimed the Lady Moya devoutly.
But Aldrich, excited and eager, pulled out a roll of bills and shook them at the man.
“Do you want to earn ten dollars?” he demanded; “then chase yourself to the village and bring the constable.”
Lady Moya exclaimed bitterly, Lord Ivy swore, Kinney in despair uttered a dismal howl and dropped his head in his hands.
“It’s no use, Mr. Aldrich,” I said. Seated in the stern, the others had hidden me from the fisherman. Now I stood up and he saw me. I laid one hand on his, and pointed to the tin badge on his suspender.
“He is the village constable himself,” I explained. I turned to the lovely lady. “Lady Moya,” I said, “I want to introduce you to my father!” I pointed to the vine-covered cottage.
“That’s my home,” I said. I pointed to the sleeping town. “That,” I told her, “is the village of Fairport. Most of it belongs to father. You are all very welcome.”
The scout stood where three roads cut three green tunnels in the pine woods, and met at his feet. Above his head an aged sign-post pointed impartially to East Carver, South Carver, and Carver Centre, and left the choice to him.
The scout scowled and bit nervously at his gauntlet. The choice was difficult, and there was no one with whom he could take counsel. The three sun-shot roads lay empty, and the other scouts, who, with him, had left the main column at sunrise, he had ordered back. They were to report that on the right flank, so far, at least, as Middleboro, there was no sign of the enemy. What lay beyond, it now was his duty to discover. The three empty roads spread before him like a picture puzzle, smiling at his predicament. Whichever one he followed left two unguarded. Should he creep upon for choice Carver Centre, the enemy, masked by a mile of fir trees, might advance from Carver or South Carver, and obviously he could not follow three roads at the same time. He considered the better strategy would be to wait where he was, where the three roads met, and allow the enemy himself to disclose his position. To the scout this course was most distasteful. He assured himself that this was so because, while it were the safer course, it wasted time and lacked initiative. But in his heart he knew that was not the reason, and to his heart his head answered that when one’s country is at war, when fields and firesides are trampled by the iron heels of the invader, a scout should act not according to the dictates of his heart, but in the service of his native land. In the case of this particular patriot, the man and scout were at odds. As one of the Bicycle Squad of the Boston Corps of Cadets, the scout knew what, at this momentous crisis in her history, the commonwealth of Massachusetts demanded of him. It was that he sit tight and wait for the hated foreigners from New York City,