Johnny Tremain Chapter 9, The Scarlet Deluge
That fall, Paul Revere organizes a spy system where thirty artisans take charge of apprentices, friends, and friends of friends, making up a network of eyes to scrutinize every movement of the British troops. These artisans meet secretly at the Green Dragon, an inn owned by the Masons. Johnny is to watch over the Tenth Regiment stationed at the Afric Queen. He is also to keep an eye on Dove. One day, Lydia, the laundress at the Afric Queen, gives Johnny torn pieces of letters written by Lieutenant Stranger addressed to Miss Lavinia Lyte. From the letters, Johnny finds out that Lieutenant Stranger will be going to Portsmouth to protect a storehouse of powder and ball. Johnny tells Paul Revere, who rides horseback to seize this opportunity by warning the colonists. Johnny later hears that American forces ransacked the storehouse before British reinforcements could arrive.
Dove makes a habit of coming over to the Boston Observer office to hang out with the boys. Dove has no friends--Yankee boys hate him because he works for the British; the British mistreat him for being incompetent. So even as he brags about being pro-British, it only takes some brandy to get him to reveal his true emotions. He admits that he is tired of being picked on by the British, and that Rab and Johnny are the best friends he has ever had. Before being induced to sleep by the alcohol, he lets the boys know that Colonel Smith wants his war-horse saddled by four-thirty. As Dove is asleep, Johnny has to do the job for him. When Lieutenant Stranger sees Johnny with the horse, he takes the boy for a lesson in jumping. Johnny is puzzled because when they are riding, Lieutenant Stranger treats him like an equal, but any other time, he plays the part of the superior British officer.
One day, while Johnny is leading Goblin past the Common, a British officer stops him and confiscates the Boston Observer. He orders thirty lashes for Johnny. Johnny sees the familiar face of Mr. Pumpkin, the British part-time worker at the Lyte's stable, who mouths the word "spurs." So Johnny digs his spurs into Goblin and the horse runs off in fear. It finally stops at the Lyte's residence where Johnny encounters Mr. Pumpkin. He confides to Johnny that many of the British are Whigs and that his dream is to live in America as a farmer. Johnny promises Mr. Pumpkin some farmer's clothes and a way to escape to the countryside in exchange for his musket. They make the deal.
Johnny gives the musket to Rab as a gift. Finally, Rab has his coveted weapon. All over, men are casting their own bullets from scarce lead. They even ground their own gunpowder. By April, tension is high. Word has it that mild General Gage will be replaced by three tougher generals. As Johnny is leading Colonel Smith's horses through the Common (this is Dove's job), he sees a firing squad. He notices that the deserter they are about to shoot is Mr. Pumpkin. Shots ring out and Johnny wonders if he can ever face a firing squad. For the first time in his life, Johnny doubts his courage. Does Rab have these fears? Johnny wonders.