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It is impossible to do you justice now, but I fearlessly intrust you with this certificate; should we never meet again, it may be serviceable to your children.”
“ Children !” exclaimed the pedler : “can I give to a family the infamy of my name!”
The officer gazed at the strong emotion he exhibited with pain, and he made a slight movement towards the gold ; but it was arrested by the expression of his companion's face. Harvey saw the intention, and shook his head, as he continued more mildly,
“ It is, indeed, a treasure that your excellency gives me: it is safe, too. There are men living who could say that
at my life was nothing to me, compared to your secrets. The paper that I told you was lost I swallowed when taken last by the Virginians. It was the only time I ever deceived your excellency, and it shall be the last; yes, this is indeed a treasure to me; perhaps,” he continued, with a melancholy smile, “it may be known after my death who was my friend ; but if it should not, there are none to grieve for me.'
“Remember,” said the officer, with strong emotion, " that in me you will always have a secret friend; but openly I cannot know you."
“I know it, I know it," said Birch ; “I knew it when I took the service. 'T is probably the last time that I shall ever see your excellency. May God pour down his choicest blessings on your head !” He paused, and moved towards the door. The officer followed him with eyes that expressed deep interest. Once more the pedler turned, and seemed to gaze on the placid but commanding features of the general with regret and reverence, and then, bowing low, ho withdrew.
The armies of America and France were led by their illustrious commander against the enemy under Cornwallis, and terminated a campaign in triumph that had commenced in difficulties. Great Britain soon after became disgusted with the war; and the independence of the States was acknowledged.
As years rolled by, it became a subject of pride among the different actors in the war, and their descendants, to boast of their efforts in the cause which had confessedly heaped so many blessings upon
their country; but the name of Harvey Birch died away among the multitude of agents who were thought to have labored in secret against the rights of their countrymen. His image, however, was often present to the mind of the powerful chief who alone knew his true character ; and several times did he cause secret inquiries to be made into the other's fate, one of which only resulted in any success. By this he learned that a pedler of a different name, but similar appearance, was toiling through the new settlements that were springing up in every direction, and that he was struggling with the advance of years and apparent poverty.
TALES OF A WAYSIDE INN,
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
(Published by arrangement with Messrs. Houghton, Osgood f. Co.)
These are but eight out of the twenty-two tales told at the Wayside Inn. “I am not only willing, but shall be delighted,” writes Mr. Longfellow,' to have you use any of my writings in the way you propose.”
TALES OF A WAYSIDE INN.
THE WAYSIDE INN.
ONE Autumn night, in Sudbury town,
As ancient is this hostelry
A region of repose it seems,