To commemorate Patriots Day April 19, I will be posting every second day a total of ten scenes featuring Paul Revere from my novel Crossing the River.
"In the Midst of Redcoats"
“Mr. Revere, beggin’ yer pardon. With yer say so, I be havin’ a word with you, private-like?”
The silversmith looked across the length of his shop. Nobody else was present.
He detected horse odor. “You may speak.”
“M'name's John Ballard. I be a hostler at a stable near the Province House.”
“In the midst of redcoats,”
said, affably. “Go on.” Revere
“Yes sir, I be in the middle a them. That’s a fact.” He glanced at the counter separating them, at
Revere’s hands, at the
silversmith’s chest, but not at,
noticed, his face. “Figurin’ if I cozy up t’them redcoats, y’see, an’ …
pretendin’ I be fer the Crown, …” He shrugged his shoulders. “I be makin' a livin',
y’know. But I be findin' out certain things that gets let slipped.” His face
broke into a happy grin. “As true as the gospel I be a son o’ liberty in me
heart; I'd not t’be comin' here if that twasn't the gospel truth!” Revere
“Tell me what you came to tell me.”
“Well, thank you, Mr. Revere. I’ll be doin’ that, right off. Somethin’ important, too.”
“Well, it’s what me friend told me which I’ll be tellin’ you.”
“Fine. Tell me.”
“Well, he says t’me this afternoon -- he be a groom at the Province House, y’know -- he says … he overheard this morning some officers talkin' and braggin'.” Ballard rapped four fingers on the counter. “They be seein' how their horses be saddled, y’know, and enjoyin' their talk, y’see, and one of them said that tomorrow … there’s goin’ t’be hell t’pay!'”
Mouth taut, eyelids retracted, Ballard waited.
“Yes? What else?” I’m supposed to be alarmed by this?
reacted. “Go on.” Revere
The hostler blinked. His gaze dropped to the counter. He touched it. “Well, that’s … that’s all. I figure it be me duty to pass it along, what he heard!”
“You were right to have done so.”
Ballard nodded, guardedly smiled.
“What puzzles me, however, is … I must ask you this. Why did you come to me?!”
The hostler’s smile vanished. He gaped. “Heavens to
, Mister Revere! Everyone knows y’be a High Son o’ Holland ! D-d’y’be thinkin’
I be a spy?!” Liberty
The horse tender’s stupefied look persisted.
said, trying not to laugh. “You’re definitely not a spy! You are … quite the opposite! You’re the third person today that has brought me
the same information. Which, mind
you, is important, because it confirms what the others have said! Be certain I
will pass this information along!” Revere
Ballard’s face blushed. “I thank you, sir.”
“No. All thanks belong to you, a true patriot! But, ….” Wanting, despite his apologies, a final amusement,
continued. “I must absolutely caution
“Sir?” Lines creased the man’s broad forehead.
“No, sir, we don't,” Ballard, blinking rapidly, answered.
“John Ballard is your name?”
“I’tis, Mister Revere.”
“I will make certain to mention it to my friends.”