Page images

over him that she drew him toward her? He arrived in New York early in January, 1755, and shortly after his arrival, called on Mr. Robinson to inquire about Mr. Saturfield and family.

“George Saturfield ?” said Mr. Robinson. “Yes, I know him, Captain Stevens. He but recently came from England.” .

“ Has he a daughter?”.

“He has, Miss Anne, and a lovely girl she is, I assure you. She will be at our ball given in honor of General Braddock, who arrives in our city in a few days, on his way to take charge of the army in Virginia. Will you come?”

“I will, Mr. Robinson; but has not Mr. Saturfield been in America before?”

“I believe he has. I think he was once in Virginia."

“ He must be the same.”

“Come to the Braddock ball and meet the general. By the way, did you not serve under Colonel Washington in the Ohio campaign, captain?”

“I did; but I supposed the war was over. Both the British and French authorities have agreed to leave the Ohio valley as it was before the war. Newcastle has given assurances that defence only is intended, and that the general peace shall not be broken.”

“ Zounds! captain, do you believe there is any truth in it? They will be at it with might and main ere long, I'll warrant; but come to the Braddock ball; renew your acquaintance with the pretty daughter of Saturfield and form the acquaintance of the general.”

“I will.”

Noah was only too anxious to attend the ball; not, however, because he cared much for the acquaintance of General Braddock. He thought only of the beautiful maiden, who had so strangely impressed him six years ago, so he yet felt in his soul the warmth of those soft brown eyes.

Noah did not have to wait until the ball to meet Anne Saturfield. He was strolling along the banks of the Hudson one day, when he heard a shriek, accompanied by a yell of terror. Then came a snort of frightened steeds, jingling of bells, the grinding of runners on the snow, and a pair of fiery steeds, drawing a sleigh in which two ladies were sitting, came running toward him.

The negro driver still clung to the reins, though he had lost control of the horses. Noah at a few quick bounds placed himself directly in front of the flying steeds. His sudden appearance checked the runaways for an instant. They hesitated whether to leap over him or retreat. That instant of hesitation was improved by Noah. Leaping forward, he seized the bits and held them. The negro driver rolled off his seat uttering a terrified


“Good lawd! good lawd, save dis niggah !".

After a few moments of excitement and wild confusion, the horses were subdued; but the negro ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. One of the ladies now spoke her thanks, and Noah started at the sound of her voice. It was Anne Saturfield.

In a few moments, he found himself on the seat, driving the thoroughly subdued horses to the house of Mr. Saturfield. He saw the ladies to the house and was invited to renew their acquaintance. Never was one more happy than Noah at this time.

The evening for the Braddock ball came, and the Robinson home was all light and splendor. Sweetest strains of music floated out through the casement, and the passers by paused to gaze through the windows at the gayly dressed ladies and gentlemen. Fashionable people in powdered wigs were seen gliding about the apartment. Coaches and sleighs were coming and unloading their human freight.

Noah Stevens was among the early arrivals, awaiting with breathless anxiety the appearance of Miss Saturfield. People so fashionable as the Saturfields were of course late. While waiting, he heard the loud jingle of sleigh bells, and a sleigh drawn by four horses dashed up.

“She has come,” thought Noah.

The parlor and drawing-rooms presented a lively scene at this moment. They glowed with light and splendor, and uniforms glittered in the lamplight. The musicians filled the air with harmonious strains. The door was suddenly opened and the master of ceremonies, a tall, straight young fellow in white knee breeches and scarlet coat with powdered wig, announced:

“ General Braddock !"

At this instant, a short, stout man in uniform, with chapeau on his head and a sword which almost reached the floor, stumbled over a rug and fell sprawling into the room. There was a flutter of excitement. The young ladies tittered and giggled. Mrs. Robinson and the older ladies were horrified at the awkward entrance of so great a man as General Braddock, while her sister Mary Philipse could not restrain her merriment.

Mr. Robinson sprang forward to assist the gentleman to rise. He was uninjured by his accident, though his chapeau had fallen off, and with it his powdered wig, exposing a large, bald head.

“Never mind me, sir. Egad! I am all right. Zounds! that fool don't understand politeness, or he would have caught me!"

He was a stout man, smooth shaven and so low in stature that the tails of his military coat almost touched the floor.

“I am sorry, general, that this happened,” began Mr. Robinson.

“General !” roared the new-comer, mopping his florid face with his handkerchief. “Zounds! but dub me a general, and I will tumble in head first every day in the week.”

Are you not General Braddock?”

No, sir! I am Major Bridges !" roared the officer, in a voice something less powerful than a lion's. “I am only a member of the general's staff, come to announce his arrival,” and the attitude which Major Bridges struck was eccentric and comic.

“I am glad to meet you, Major Bridges, and I hope the general will favor us with his presence as soon as convenient.”.

“Egad! you will find him quite a ladies' man and—zounds! but here he comes himself.”

General Braddock, accompanied by another staff officer entered, and was introduced to the guests by Mr. Robinson.

“Well, major, did you announce our arrival ?” asked the general.

“That I did, General, and in a striking manner, too,” answered Major Bridges.

When Braddock was told how the major tumbled

« PreviousContinue »