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The Young Continentals at Lexington

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
The smart little roan mare drew up at the gate of the Cooper place, and Ben Cooper leaned over and lifted the latch with the loop of his riding-whip. The gate was still creaking open when the lad noticed old Stephen Comegies stumping along the road on his gouty legs, and leaning heavily upon a stout oaken staff. “Good-morning, Mr. Comegies,” saluted Ben, cheerily. But old Stephen seemed not to hear; his eyes were fixed upon the road, and his lips were muttering; from the way his gnarled hand clutched the staff, it would have fared badly with those who had excited his anger had they been in reach of its iron-shod foot. “A fine morning, Mr. Comegies,” said Ben Cooper. This time he was heard. The old man paused—leaned upon the staff and regarded the boy from under his shaggy gray brows. “A fine morning,” repeated he. “No! That it is not. I see nothing fine in it. But,” and his voice rose a pitch higher, “I see a great deal of bad in it. I see a great store of ill being laid up, for future days to take care of.” A slow smile stole over Ben Cooper’s round, good-natured face. The whole of Germantown called old Stephen “Grumpy Comegies” and Ben had listened to him frequently before. “It’s fine weather anyway,” insisted Ben. “The harvests are almost ready; the shooting is going to be good; the rabbits and birds are growing fat and plenty. What more can any one want?” “If they had any understanding,” replied old Stephen, “they might feel sorry that these colonies are being swept by a flood of ingratitude to an honest king.” Ben’s mouth puckered into a whistle of surprise; for Stephen Comegies was a man of authority and weight in the community, and it seemed odd that he should begin a political discussion with a boy of sixteen years upon the open road. However, the matter was explained the next moment, when Ben heard his father’s voice and saw him rise up from a bench inside the gate where he had been sitting with a book.