Monday, March 31, 2014

Scenes about Paul Revere

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,” Revere said, affably. “Go on.”
     “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, Revere 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!”
     “Tell me what you came to tell me.” Revere smiled.
     “Well, thank you, Mr. Revere. I’ll be doin’ that, right off. Somethin’ important, too.”
     “What?”
     “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? Revere reacted. “Go on.”
     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 Holland, Mister Revere! Everyone knows y’be a High Son o’ Liberty! D-d’y’be thinkin’ I be a spy?!”
     Revere laughed, heartily. Twice he thumped the counter. “No, no. Not for a second!” he exclaimed, his eyes tearing. “I … apologize. I do apologize. Forgive my … Please understand, … it was your expression! I’m entirely at fault.”
     The horse tender’s stupefied look persisted.
     “Be assured,” Revere 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!”
     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, Revere continued. “I must absolutely caution you!”
     “Sir?” Lines creased the man’s broad forehead.
     Revere whispered. “Do not say anything about this to another soul. We do not want the redcoats knowing what we know that they believe we don’t know, do we?” Revere’s smile became a grin.
     “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.”