Friday, April 11, 2014

Scenes about Paul Revere
 
"Then May I Accompany You?"
 
     Anticipating better fare at Wright Tavern than Reverend Clarke’s bread and cheese, Revere and Dawes proceeded along the Old Concord road.
     “You or me?” Dawes asked, his close-set eyes, long nose, and grinning mouth presenting a comical look, the rooftop of the house they now approached visible beyond a copse of trees.
     “You.”
     Revere watched Billy Dawes rap on the front door; he heard Dawes shout the alarm to a person at an upstairs window. Much better to share this work, he thought. It made the night seem less perilous. Definitely less lonely. His esteemed friend in Boston would be worrying about them. Here they were, working well together, each beforehand having worked well separately.
     “How far d'you think the redcoats have gotten?” Dawes asked, having returned to the road.
     “What time is it?”
     Dawes removed his watch from his coat pocket. He studied the hands in the moonlight. “'Bout 1:15 a.m.”
     “I would say, … Menotomy.”
     They resumed riding.
     The stillness of the night played upon Revere’s sensibilities. He thought, A blessed tranquility swaddles the land. Weary toiler, rest your head, all is safe. He and Dawes violated that dictum.
     As did another. Dawes heard first the cantering horse.
    “The patrol?”
     “It’s one horse. But be ready.”
     Horse and rider appeared in the bright moonlight. Seeing Revere and Dawes hunched in their saddles, the rider slowed his horse to a walk. He stopped ten feet away.
     “Good evening, gentlemen,” he declared, “or should I say good morning, for it is surely that.”
     Revere nodded. The man was cordial.
     “I’m Doctor Samuel Prescott. On my way home from my fiancée’s house. Which explains my presence at this hour.” The young man beamed. “And you, gentlemen, if I may be permitted to ask?”
     Grinning, Dawes gave his name.
     Transferring his smile, the doctor regarded Revere.
     The silversmith answered. Prescott’s quick change of expression amused him.
     “I am honored, sir! Indeed, … fortunate! I too am a son of liberty! Though admittedly not … Concord is astir because of you! Of the message you so recently delivered.” Prescott leaned forward. “That I should speak to the man who …” Grinning still, he shook his head. “My betrothed, when she hears me speak, will deem me a prevaricator. Would that I have you hiding behind the door!”
     They laughed. The young doctor was engaging, likable.
     “I’m on my way to Concord, sir,” Doctor Prescott stated. “Are you traveling in that direction?”
     “We’re carrying another message, doctor.” Revere paused. Prescott’s responsive face sobered. Revere lengthened the pause. “The regulars are out.”
     “They might be an hour behind us,” Dawes added quickly. The cordwainer repositioned his large, flapped hat.
     Prescott stared. They watched him swallow, grimace. “I wonder why I’m surprised at this.”
     Wanting the conversation to end but exercising patience, Revere stared at the dark tops of two pines.
     “Then may I accompany you, actually assist you? I’m well known here, as a doctor and a patriot.” Prescott looked down the road, looked back at Revere. “I believe that my words would bring special emphasis to your message.”
     Three express riders, to do the job of one. Amused, Revere thought again of his doctor friend. Joseph would want to know everything about this fine young man. “By all means, doctor,” he said, knowing Prescott’s request wanted immediate acceptance. “We welcome your company. But I must warn you. Our work entails risk.” He paused, to elicit a more intense reaction. “Somewhere ahead of us we may yet encounter a British patrol. You accompany us … at your peril.”
     Irises centered, Prescott nodded.