The squire, though taken aback, demanded: “And I suppose ye have the money ready to douse on pay day?”
Hennion sniggered. “Yer won’t be hard, thet I know, squire. I reckon yer’ll go easy on me.”
“If ye think I’m going to spare ye on account of Phil ye are mightily out. I’ll foreclose the moment each falls due, that I warn ye.”
“Haow kin yer foreclose whin theer ain’t no courts?”
“Pish!” snapped the creditor. “’T is purely temporary; within a twelve-month there’ll be law enough. Think ye England is sleeping?”
“We’ll see, we’ll see,” retorted Hennion. “In the meantime, squire, I hope yer won’t wont because I don’t pay interest. Times is thet onsettled thet yer kain’t sell craps naw nothin,’ an’ ready money ’s pretty hard ter come by.”
“Not I,” rejoined the squire. “’T will enable me to foreclose all the quicker.”
“When theer ’s courts ter foreclose,” replied Hennion, grinning suggestively. With this parting shot, he left the house and rode away.
On the same day this interview occurred, another took place in the Craigie House in Cambridge, then occupied as the headquarters of General Washington. The commander-in-chief was sitting in his room, busily engaged in writing, when an orderly entered and announced that a man who claimed to have important business, which he refused to communicate except to the general, desired word with him. The stranger was promptly ushered in, and stood revealed as a fairly tall, well-shaped young fellow, clad in coarse clothing, with a well-made wig of much better quality, which fitted him so ill as to suggest that it was never made for his head.
“I understand your Excellency is in dire need of powder,” he said as he saluted.
A stern look came upon Washington’s face. “Who are you, and how heard you that?” he demanded.
“My name is John Brereton. How I heard of your want was in a manner that needs not to be told, as—”
“Tell you shall,” exclaimed Washington, warmly. “The fact was known to none but the general officers and to the powder committee, and if there has been unguarded or unfaithful speech it shall be traced to its source.”
“Your Excellency wrote a letter to the committee of Middlesex County in Jersey?”
“The committee refused to part with the powder.”
Washington rose. “Have they no public spirit, no consideration of our desperate plight?” he exclaimed.
“But your Excellency, though the committee would not part with the powder, some lads of spirit would not see you want for it, and—and by united effort we succeeded in getting and bringing to Cambridge twenty half-barrels of powder, which is now outside, subject to your orders.”
With an exclamation mingling disbelief and hope, the commander sprang to the window. A glance took in the two carts loaded with kegs, and he turned, his face lighted with emotion.