Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Scenes about Paul Revere

"God Protect Us"

             Walking rapidly across Hanover Street, Paul Revere turned inward at Joseph Warren's residence, the messenger that had summoned him at 10 p.m. lagging far behind. Expecting a summons that afternoon, Revere was somewhat surprised that it had arrived at this late hour. But General Gage would not have wanted to begin the transport sooner, even though a crossing in the dark would be nearly as conspicuous. Anyone witnessing the massing of troops at the bottom of the Common and the hurried preparations of officers billeted in private homes would recognize a major undertaking was in the doing.

     “Paul, they've begun.” Grasping Revere’s right arm, Warren directed the silversmith into his study. Rejecting chairs, each stood.

     “You must go again to warn our friends.” Warren placed his hands atop the closest high-back chair. “And the town militias!”

     “I'm ready.”

     “You should know … as a precaution … that I have sent a rider across the Neck.” Eyebrows arched, Warren studied Revere’s face. “I did so a half hour ago. He may pass the guard, but we cannot be certain.”

     “Who?”

     “William Dawes.” Warren read Revere's perplexed expression. “Billy Dawes, the young cordwainer. Last September he helped remove the four brass cannon from the gun house.”

     “I do know him. He’s young.”

     “Twenty-three. Courageous, a play actor of sorts. More to our advantage is the soldiers at the Gate don’t know him. Nor does anybody else, save the officer he knocked to the street recently for insulting his wife.” Warren smiled, guardedly.

     Revere had devised a way to have his message carried into the country should he be seized crossing the River. Not entirely satisfied, Warren had initiated his own plan, couched to Revere as cautionary. The good doctor had not wanted to do him injury. He was not offended. Dawes’s participation mattered to him not one straw. What mattered was that Warren, trusting his own considerable lights, had acted. It was yet another example of why his leadership was widely esteemed.

     “How are you to proceed?” the doctor asked, satisfied apparently that he had not offended.

     “Exactly as we had decided. I should reach Charlestown past 11 p.m. if I evade the Somerset. Whether I do or not, the lanterns will alert Colonel Conant.” He stopped, a sudden upsurge of emotion affecting his ability to speak. “And you?” he fairly whispered.

     “I will stay here awhile.” Warren averted Revere’s eyes. His fingertips brushed twice the top of the chair in front of him. “Useful information may yet be forthcoming.” He returned Revere's stare. “If the General had wanted to arrest me, Paul, I would have been at the Province House days before! Seated comfortably, I should imagine, sipping his Madeira!” His eyes sparkled.

     “Then I will see you …”

     “In a day or two. Be assured!” He gazed across the room, at the silk drapery, the mantelpiece figurines, the latticed window. He touched briefly the bridge of his nose. “God protect you,” he said, offering Revere a sudden, strained smile.

     “God protect us all.”