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man, what more can you obtain from this slave? Captain Wharton, you perceive the unfortunate impression against you. Have you other testimony to adduce ?"
To Henry there now remained but little hope ; his confidence in his security was fast ebbing, but with an indefinite expectation of assistance from the loveliness of his sister, he fixed an earnest gaze on the pallid features of Frances. She arose, and with a tottering step moved towards the judges; the paleness of her cheek continued but for a moment, and gave place to a flush of fire, and with a light, but firm tread, she stood before them. Raising her hand to her polished forehead, Frances threw aside her exuberant locks, and displayed a beauty and innocence to their view that was unrivalled. The president shrouded his eyes for a moment, as if the wildly-expressive eye and speaking countenance recalled the image of another. The movement was transient, and recovering himself proudly, he said, with an earnestness that betrayed his secret wishes—“To you, then, your brother communicated his intention of paying your family a secret visit?"
“No!-no!" said Frances, pressing her hand on her brain, as if to recollect her thoughts; "he told me nothing- we knew not of the visit until he arrived; but can it be necessary to explain to gallant men, that a child would incur hazard to meet his only parent, and that in times like these, and in a situation like ours ? "
“ But was this the first time? Did he never even
talk of doing so before ?" inquired the Colonel, leaning towards her with paternal interest.
Certainly—certainly,” cried Frances, catching the expression of his own benevolent countenance. “ This is but the fourth of his visits.”
"I knew it !” exclaimed the veteran, rubbing his hands with delight; "an adventurous warmhearted son. I warrant me, gentlemen, a fiery soldier in the field. In what disguises did he come?"
“In none, for none were then necessary; the royal troops covered the country, and gave him safe passage."
“And was this the first of his visits out of the uniform of his regiment?" asked the Colonel, in a suppressed voice, avoiding the penetrating looks of his companions.
"Oh! the very first," exclaimed the eager girl ; “his first offence, I do assure you, if offence it be."
“ But you wrote him you urged the visit? surely, young lady, you wished to see your brother ?” added the impatient Colonel.
"That we wished it, and prayed for it, oh! how fervently we prayed for it, is true; but to have held communion with the royal army would have endangered our father, and we dared not."
“Did he leave the house until taken, or had he intercourse with any out of your own dwelling ?”
“With none—not one, excepting our neighbour, the pedlar Birch.”
“With whom?” exclaimed the Colonel, turning pale, and shrinking as from the sting of an adder.
Dunwoodie groaned aloud, and striking his head
with his hand, cried in piercing tones, "He is lost!” and rushed from the apartment.
"But Harvey Birch !" repeated Frances, gazing wildly at the door by which her lover had disappeared.
Harvey Birch !" echoed all the judges. The two immoveable members of the court exchanged significant looks, and threw many an inquisitive glance at their prisoner.
"To you, gentlemen, it can be no new intelligence to hear that Harvey Birch is suspected of favouring the royal cause," said Henry, again advancing before the judges; “for he has already been condemned by your tribunals to the fate that I now see awaits myself. I will, therefore, explain, that it was by his assistance that I procured the disguise, and passed your pickets; but to my dying moment, and with my dying breath, I will avow, that my intentions were as pure as the innocent being before you."
"Captain Wharton," said the president, solemnly, "the enemies of American liberty have made mighty and subtle efforts to overthrow our power. A more dangerous man, for his means and education, is not ranked among our foes, than this pedlar of West Chester. He is a spy-artful, delusive, and penetrating, beyond the abilities of any of his class. Sir Henry could not do better than to associate him with the officer in his next attempt. He would have saved him André. Indeed, young man, this is a connexion that may prove fatal to you.” The honest indignation that beamed on the countenance of the aged warrior as he spoke, was met by a satisfied look of perfect conviction on the part of his comrades.
“I have ruined him !" cried Frances, clasping her hands in terror; “ do you desert us? Then he is lost indeed."
“Forbear !—lovely innocent-forbear!” cried the Colonel, with strong emotion; "you injure none, but distress us all.”
“ Is it then such a crime to possess natural affection?" said Frances, wildly; "would Washington —the noble, upright, impartial Washington, judge so harshly? Delay but till Washington can hear his tale."
"It is impossible,” said the president, covering his eyes, as if to hide her beauty from his view.
"Impossible! Oh! but for a week suspend your judgment. On my knees I entreat you, as you will expect mercy yourself, where no human power can avail you, give him but a day."
"It is impossible," repeated the Colonel, in a voice that was nearly choked; "our orders are peremptory, and too long delay has been given already.” He turned from the kneeling suppliant, but could not, or would not, extricate the hand that she grasped with frenzied fervour.
“Remand your prisoner,” said one of the judges to the officer who was in charge of Henry. “Colonel Singleton, shall we withdraw ?"
Singleton ! Singleton !” echoed Frances; “ then you are a father, and know how to pity a father's woes; you cannot, will not, wound a heart that is now nearly crushed. Hear me, Colonel Singleton, as God will listen to your dying prayers, hear me, and spare my brother."
“Remove her," said the Colonel, gently endeavouring to extricate his hand ; but there were none who appeared disposed to obey. Frances eagerly strove to read the expression of his averted face, and resisted all his efforts to retire.
“ Colonel Singleton! how lately was your own son in suffering and in danger ? under the roof of my father he was cherished-under my father's roof he found shelter and protection. Oh! suppose that son, the pride of your age, the solace and protector of your orphan children, and then pronounce my brother guilty if you dare."
"What right has Heath to make an executioner of me?" exclaimed the veteran fiercely, rising with a face flushed like fire, and every vein and artery swollen with suppressed emotion. “But I forget myself; come, gentleman, let us mount; our painful duty must be done.”
“Mount not! go not!” shrieked Frances; you tear a son from his parent? a brother from his sister, so coldly? Is this the cause I have so ardently loved ? Are these the men I have been taught to reverence? But you relent, you do hear me; you will pity and forgive."
"Lead on, gentlemen," said the Colonel, motioning towards the door, and erecting himself into an air of military grandeur, in the vain hope of quieting his feelings.
"Lead not on, but hear me," cried Frances,