Lads! Lads! Where be ye?
WASHINGTON (calling in answer). Here, Carey, here. (To the others.) That’s he, now. Well, Carey, what luck?
CAREY (entering from background). Any luck but pot luck. Missed both times. No grouse for us. I almost wish I’d raided some frontiersman’s cabin.
[Sits at fire.
WASHINGTON. “Get what you can get honestly.” (Passes him the bacon.) “Use what you get frugally.” That was an old saying I learned from my copybook, and even in the wilderness it seems to hold true.
(as they sit about fire, eating).
What’s to be done when this meal is finished?
Naught that I know of. I can do no more till I receive further orders
from Colonel Fairfax.
TALBOT. Well, then, we’ve a half-holiday. ’Tis the first idle time we’ve had in three weeks. Up before dawn, and to bed before star-rise! I tell you it makes the hours spin fast. How shall we pass our leisure?
I’m going back for those grouse.
I’ve seen the bronze of a wild turkey’s wing.
GENN (smacking his lips). I’d like to have that same turkey wing here before the fire! (Rises.) I’m with you, Talbot, for whatever a sportsman’s luck may bring. And you, Washington?
I’d best wait here to see if a message comes from Colonel Fairfax. If
in one hour the message does not come, I’ll join you.
(ready to start).
Well, then, Talbot.
[The three lads start.
I wish you luck! May you flush a grouse at every ten yards!
[Lads laugh, and exeunt, background. Washington looks after them a moment, and then takes surveying paper from his pocket.
Now for my wilderness chart!
[Pores over it. From the distance comes the sound of a frontiersman’s ax, which he is too absorbed to notice. Red Rowan enters from the right, a wild, picturesque young figure in a scarlet cloak.
(to himself, as he bends over his chart).
’Tis not so easy as Little Hunting Creek!
Nothing is easy in the wilderness!
WASHINGTON (starting up, gazing at her, and then brushing his hand across his eyes). I thought I was studying before the fire; but instead I’ve been dreaming . . . dreaming!
RED ROWAN (shaking her head). No dream! Only a woodsman’s daughter. You can hear my father yonder, felling oaks. I saw the glimmer of your fire and came.
(with a boyish courtesy and shyness).
Will you—will you not be seated?
(seated on bearskin, looking at fire).
Folks call me Red Rowan.
My name is Washington. George Washington.