The Hidden Children HTML version
Chapter 2. Poundridge
We now approached the door of the manor house, where we named ourselves to the
sentry, who presently fetched an officer of Minute Men, who looked us over somewhat
"You wish to see Major Lockwood?" he asked.
"Yes," said Boyd, "and you may say to him that we are come from headquarters express
to speak with him on private business."
"From whom in Albany do you come, sir?"
"Well, sir, if you must have it, from General Clinton," returned Boyd in a lower voice.
"But we would not wish it gossipped aloud."
The man seemed to be perplexed, but he went away again, leaving us standing in the
crowded hall where officers, ladies of the family, and black servants were continually
passing and repassing.
Very soon a door opened on our left, and we caught a glimpse of a handsome room full
of officers and civilians, where maps were scattered in confusion over tables, chairs, and
even on the floor. An officer in buff and blue came out of the room, glanced keenly at us,
made a slight though courteous inclination, but instead of coming forward to greet us
turned into another room on the right, which was a parlour.
Then the minute officer returned, directed us where to place our rifles, insisted firmly that
we also leave under his care our war axes and the pistol which Boyd carried, and then
ushered us into the parlour. And it occurred to me that the gentleman on whose head the
British had set a price was very considerably inclined toward prudence.
Now this same gentleman, Major Lockwood, who had been seated behind a table when
we entered the parlour, rose and received us most blandly, although I noted that he kept
the table between himself and us, and also that the table drawer was open, where I could
have sworn that the papers so carelessly heaped about covered a brace of pistols.
For to this sorry pass the Westchester folk had come, that they trusted no stranger, nor
were like to for many a weary day to come. Nor could I blame this gentleman with a
heavy price on his head, and, as I heard later, already the object of numerous and violent
attempts in which, at times, entire regiments had been employed to take him.