By riding slowly along the shore-line, he soon found a spot where the grass was luxuriant, which was hidden I from view of those on the road by a heavy growth of trees, and here he resolved Master Cotton’s horse should be left to take care of itself. It was not probable the tired animal would stray very far from where food could be had in such abundance, and Walter made no other preparation for the halt than to secrete the saddle and bridle in the thicket.
Returning to the landing-stage of the ferry-boat, he waited impatiently for some signs of life on the water-front.
During fully half an hour he was forced to remain in idleness, while he mentally reproached himself for not having taken the longest road, and thereby arrived in Boston without being forced to depend upon a boat to conclude the journey.
More than once was he tempted to take possession of one of the small craft hauled up on the shore without the formality of asking the owner’s permission, but the thought that he had already put himself in a position to be charged with theft deterred him from such a lawless proceeding.
Then, just as the day was beginning to break, a boat filled with sailors rowed up to the landing. All the occupants save one disembarked without paying any attention to the idle boy who was watching them intently, and the little craft was being pushed off, when Walter cried,-
If you are going back to Boston I will gladly work the oars to pay for my passage.”
“Can you row?”
“As well as you.”
“Then come aboard, and let me see how quickly you can pull to the other shore.”
The young messenger did not require a second invitation. He gave the boat a vigorous push with his foot as he clambered over the bow, and the man in charge had no reason to complain of his skill at the oars.
“If you want work, you should buy a boat and ply your trade as a waterman,” the sailor. said, when the short voyage had come to an end, and Walter leaped ashore, impatient to conclude the mission with which he had been intrusted.
“I want work that will pay,” he said, halting for an instant; “but I don’t intend to find it as a boatman. Can you tell me where Master Paul Revere lives?”
“Do you mean the lieutenant,-him as has set up for a goldsmith? "
“The very one.”
“And you count on goin’ into a shop, instead of pullin’ boats, eh? I’ll wager you’re a sailor who has given his captain the slip.”
“I have never been beyond the sight of land, neither do I care to work in a shop; but I have business which admits of no delay, and if you will give me the information I shall be very grateful.”
“Do you know where North Square is?”
“I have never been in Boston before.”
“Then inquire of the first one you see. It is not far.”
Walter waited to hear no more, but ran swiftly on in the direction he supposed North Square might lay, and a kindly fortune guided his footsteps, for when he had an opportunity to ask the desired question, he was within a few paces of his destination.