Lillian Roy.

The Little Washingtons' Travels

скачать книгу бесплатно

The mayor had very thoughtfully ordered the whistles on the bay to blow, and many scows and other craft tied up for the night, showed lights or blew whistles. Just as the coat began tearing, a powerful searchlight, called the Sperry light, shot across the bay, and when George fell, a great chorus of steam-whistles started their warning signals to ferryboats and other ships that were still passing back and forth.

George felt himself going down, down into the water, but it was not as cold as he feared it might be. He soon bobbed up on the surface, and no sooner had his head appeared in the great flashing pathway of light shed on the bay, than a submarine shot past and a long arm lifted him out of the water and dragged him into the hold.

Down went the submarine, and George rubbed the salt water from his eyes to find himself a prisoner of some fierce-looking German pirates.

They taunted him at first, but when the captain came in from his private den, they were silenced.

"Who are you?" demanded the captain.

"I am George Washington, commander-in-chief of the American forces!" proudly replied George.

"Yah! Such a fine prize ve never hoped to get in New York vaters. Frents, ve sail home mit him to once, and present him to our Kaiser!" gloated the captain, rubbing his hands together.

Immediately the men in the submarine went to work, and George felt the undersea craft fairly flying through the water. But they left him alone, never dreaming that he was a brave and determined fighter. When no one was looking, George crept over to the opening where the torpedoes were shoved in and launched. He had a desperate idea.

He managed to swing a torpedo about and slide it in the tube. Then he managed in some marvelous manner, to close the door of the tube, first seating himself astride the torpedo. He pulled with all his might on a cord that hung inside the tube, and simultaneously with the opening of the steel plate in front of the torpedo, the swift missile shot forth from the submarine.

George had no idea where it might strike, but he clung like a leech to the slippery sides, as it flew through the green waters. So swiftly did it fly that George never had a good look at the shark that swam up eager to eat him.

Suddenly something deflected the torpedo, and it rose up on the surface and skimmed over the top of the waves. Straight on for Brooklyn Heights the awful explosive went, and all George could see was General Howe giving the sign to hang Nathan Hale to a telegraph pole, when the torpedo struck and blew all of Long Island into the air. George rose with it, and while he tried to catch his breath, the great American eagle flew over his head and stretched out a claw. He was firmly held in this clutch, and carried dangling over the East River and right up to the cupola of City Hall, where the eagle had built a nest, all unknown to the citizens.

George was just about to pat the eagle on the head, when the patriotic mayor climbed to the cupola and thanked the eagle for his services.

Then he turned to George:

"I knew such a great general as Washington could not be carried a prisoner to the Kaiser. I have kept our great American eagle roosting in this cupola for just such emergencies. I knew there were Black Hands and dangerous spies in the city, but I never dreamed they would dare to make off with our Washington! All of the loyal and patriotic American citizens of this city agreed with me, that New York needed the eagle here to keep trouble away, but who could tell to what lengths these bad men would go? – even so far as to kidnap our great and true Washington. Now that we have saved the city from the grasp of the enemy, who would have destroyed it utterly, I wish you would make a speech to the crowds waiting below in the park."

George consented, and as he stood on the edge of the cupola, holding the mayor's hand on one side, and leaning gracefully on the American eagle as it stood beside him on the other side, the throngs of people cheered and cheered for the great general who blew up the British army on Long Island.

Just as George cleared his throat to address his countrymen something terrible happened, and George found himself rolling on the floor of the hotel parlor, where he had fallen from the couch.

He sat up and rubbed his eyes and stared around to see if the patriotic mayor was safe and sound, and what had become of the American eagle, when the elders came into the room, laughing and talking.

"Why, George! You out of bed?" cried Mrs. Parke.

"Bed! Why, I haven't had a second's time to think of bed! Ever since those two masked rascals, who were enemies of the mayor, grabbed me, I've been in so much trouble that the American eagle had to save me!" exclaimed George, getting up from the floor and limping over to replace the Woolworth souvenir on the table.

"What are you all laughing at, anyway?" cried George testily, as he limped into his room, wishing he had had time to speak that fine speech he had ready.


The next morning the ladies and children left New York for Philadelphia, the home of the Davises. On the journey there Mrs. Parke was begged for a story of the time when Washington fought so hard to protect the city they were bound for.

"After leaving Brunswick, New Jersey, when Cornwallis appeared there, Washington retreated, leaving twelve hundred men to protect Princeton, and, with the rest of the army, proceeded to Trenton, on the Delaware. He collected and guarded all the boats on the river for seventy miles either side of Philadelphia, then sending the sick over to the latter city, he followed with baggage and equipment. Leaving the thousand men at Princeton to keep up the appearance of resistance to the English army, he was about to move his main army, when he heard that Cornwallis was planning to cut off his retreat across the Delaware. Hastily calling the men from Princeton, he began a quick retreat, and managed to get all his men across the river and hold the boats on the Philadelphia side, about the time the British army reached the river on the Jersey side.

"As no boats were to be had, the enemy could not cross, so the American army had a rest on the Pennsylvania side. It was during this retreat from New Jersey that Washington heard of the capture of Lee, at a tavern near Baskingridge, where he had been sleeping some distance from his men.

"When the British found they were cut off from pursuit of the American army, they fell to enjoying themselves in New Jersey, while waiting for the ice to freeze solid on the river to enable them to cross to Philadelphia.

"But the Hessians indulged in such open cruelty that many of the inhabitants changed from the proffered friendship to bitter enmity.

"On receiving news of the different cantonments and numbers of the British troops, Washington decided to make a bold effort to check their progress.

"He formed his men into three divisions, purposing to attack the Hessians, 1,500 strong, where they were posted at Trenton; but in trying to cross the Delaware, one division, under Cadwallader, failed because of the tides and the piled-up ice on the Jersey bank.

"The second division was to cross at Trenton Ferry, but this also failed on account of the ice. The third, under command of Washington himself, consisting of about 2,400 men, accomplished the passage with great difficulty.

"Had not the obstacles and weather prevented the other two divisions from joining Washington in this fight, the result of this masterly stroke would have been to sweep the British from their holds on the Delaware, and thus establish a firm foothold in New Jersey. As it was, Washington had to forbear a final battle, and remain satisfied with having won a partial victory. He re-crossed the river with his prisoners, six pieces of artillery, 1,000 stand of arms, and valuable military stores.

"This victory revived the spirits of the army, and every spark of patriotism in the land was burning brightly, when Washington again crossed the Delaware with 5,000 men to recover as much as possible of the territory overrun by the British.

"Cornwallis was on the point of sailing for England, thinking the campaign ended for the winter season, when he was compelled to resume command of his forces.

"Battle between the two armies raged all day, and at dark the British, confident of victory the following morning, desisted.

"During the night Washington silently decamped, leaving fire burning and sentinels advanced, while small parties guarded the forts. By circuitous route, the Americans approached Princeton, where an engagement with the British took place at daybreak.

"When the Americans drove headlong on, the British took refuge in the college, but later surrendered to the Americans.

"On the coming of daylight, Cornwallis discovered the flight of the American army, and soon afterward heard firing from the direction of Princeton. He immediately understood the wise tactics of the American commander, and fearing for the safety of Brunswick, where valuable magazines were collected, he advanced toward that place, and was close upon the rear of the American army before they could leave Princeton.

"Now Washington found himself in a perilous position. His men were exhausted from lack of food and rest for two days and nights; he was pursued by the enemy, very superior in forces, well clothed, fed and rested, who would overtake him before he could fulfil his plan to take Brunswick. Under these circumstances he abandoned the project, and took the road leading up the country to Pluckimin, breaking down the bridges over Millstone Creek and other streams, and otherwise creating obstacles to the pursuit of the enemy; but Cornwallis hastened to Brunswick, where he found all plans had been perfected for the removal of the stores and defence of the place.

"But now came the retribution for the British, who had afflicted the Jerseymen on previous trips and stays. The people hung upon the steps of the retiring army and wreaked vengeance on the men whenever opportunity offered itself.

"Washington fell back on Morristown, in the hills of New Jersey, difficult of access, and from this point, where his winter quarters were made, he overran different sections of Jersey, and by judicious movements, wrested from the British most of their conquests in the state. Thus terminated the eventful campaign of 1776.

"The success of Washington in the Jerseys permitted Congress to meet again in Philadelphia in February, where they determined to interest foreign countries in their fight for Liberty.

"Franklin and Lee were sent to Paris to enlist the help and sympathies of France, and thus it was that the valiant Marquis de Lafayette was destined to shed glory over the Land of Liberty. In the spring, he reached America and joined Washington's army, with the rank of major-general.

"Another illustrious name that braced the muster-roll of the American warriors that year, was that of the gallant Count Pulaski, the courageous Pole.

"In August, after many encounters with the British at other places, Washington moved his army. They marched through Philadelphia down Front Street, and up Chestnut Street, proceeding by way of Chester to Wilmington. From that time on, for two weeks, Washington thoroughly reconnoitered the country round about between Philadelphia and the Chesapeake.

"General Howe landed his British forces a few days' march from Philadelphia, where he expected to gain the right of the American army.

"After many engagements, the British army being very superior in numbers and equipment, Washington was gradually forced to retreat, and Howe took possession of Philadelphia."

Mrs. Parke suddenly concluded the story to the surprise of the audience, and George instantly said: "That isn't half of the story. You skipped a lot about the British before they could get in Philadelphia, and you never said a word about the headquarters at Brandywine, or the Battle of Brandywine!"

"Well, as you know it so well, why don't you tell it to us?" suggested Mrs. Parke.

"I don't want to. We'd rather hear you tell it," replied George anxiously.

"But I'm tired of telling it. Let Martha tell it."

"Oh, I only know about Chew's House and Red Bank and some other places in New Jersey that year," protested Martha.

"I know all about Valley Forge, and the dreadful time our army had that winter," remarked Jack.

"Well, I thought it was time to ring for some light refreshments, as we will be in Philadelphia in less than half an hour, and it will be past luncheon time when we arrive," hinted Mrs. Parke, who had other motives for not continuing the story of Philadelphia.

To this new arrangement the children immediately agreed, and the wars were forgotten in the far more interesting present campaign on luncheon.

The small tables were brought in and opened before the travellers, to the great delight of George and Martha, who had never lunched this way before, although Jack and Anne had spoken of it, when they travelled from Philadelphia to Washington.

"I think we will each have a cup of consomm?," said Mrs. Parke, reading from the small menu card.

"That's plain soup!" scorned George.

"I don't want it – do you?" asked Martha, appealing to Anne and Jack.

"We'd rather have something nicer," replied they.

Mrs. Parke ignored these side murmurs and continued ordering.

"Then you can bring us some cold beef, bread and butter, cheese and crackers, and milk for the children. We ladies will have a cup of tea."

"Yas'sam!" replied the polite waiter, leaving the car.

"But what are we going to eat? You never give us cheese at home!" cried Martha in dismay.

"You can have the consomm?, crackers and milk. If you care to have a bit of cold beef, you may," replied Mrs. Parke.

"But you didn't order any pie, or cake, or ice cream!" remonstrated George, almost speechless with surprise.

"No, because they only have a buffet lunch, I find. They haven't any hot dishes, or desserts other than the kind ready-made by companies. As you know, I never care to have you eat pies or ice cream made in factories."

That luncheon, so eagerly looked forward to when suggested, was a dreadful failure! Only soup and plain crackers and milk that one could get at home any time for the asking!

Arriving in Philadelphia, Mrs. Davis remarked as she noted the disappointed look of the children:

"I know where there is a fine soda-fountain near here, and they serve the best ice cream!" said she.

"Oh, let's!" sighed Martha.

And Mrs. Parke, knowing opposition to be futile, followed after the eager group as they hurried to the corner drug store.

A taxicab soon took them to the Davises' house, where the children were engaged all afternoon, in visiting the entire house and trying out the toys in the playroom.

As the two ladies sat in the upstairs sitting-room, Mrs. Davis said: "Do tell me what caused you to suddenly change your mind about including the story of Washington's campaign in and about Philadelphia?"

"Why, I remembered that, with a story so fresh in their minds, they might try to play it out on the Philadelphians. If you or I should happen to go shopping, or be invited out to tea, we might return to find Washington's army charging on Chestnut Street, or retreating to the police-station!" Mrs. Parke laughingly answered her.

"It will not need refreshed memories to bring about such battles. They are apt to open an active campaign without notice, at any time or place," laughed Mrs. Davis.

"Still, I think it wiser to save Philadelphia's war troubles until we are safe back home on the estate," said Mrs. Parke.

Soon after this conversation, the ladies heard laughter and the patter of feet upstairs in the large playroom, and felt sure the four cousins were playing as other children did, with dolls and trains of cars, and rocking-horses and other numerous toys.

But the uproar grew so loud that finally the two mothers went up to see what was going on.

As usual, George was commander-in-chief of the army and Jack was Howe. Martha was Lafayette and Anne was Cornwallis. The dolls, tin soldiers, stuffed animals, and everything in the imitation of any living thing were arrayed in two lines, facing each other. George was furiously riding a rocking-horse, while waving a tin sword wildly about his head. Howe stood on the window-seat issuing orders to his side. Lafayette and Cornwallis stood back of their lines, shooting peas at the helpless armies. For every tin soldier or saw-dust doll shot down, a great whoop of cheer came from the victorious side. When two victims, one on each side, fell at the same time, the yells were deafening.

So enthused were the warriors that they failed to note the door opening a wee bit, so the ladies withdrew again, happy to find the children playing quietly (?) in the house.


"Children, have you planned to do anything this morning?" asked Mrs. Davis, at breakfast the following morning after their arrival.

"What did you expect to do?" countered George.

"Oh, nothing much, but it looks so much like rain, and the Scotch mist is so heavy and cold, I thought you children could play upstairs this morning while aunty and I do some shopping downtown. We will be home for lunch and take you to a matinee if you will be good," promised Mrs. Davis.

"Cross your heart?" demanded Jack, for matinees were rare treats, as Mrs. Davis thought children were better off at wholesome play in the fresh air, than sitting in a crowded theatre watching make-believe scenes on the stage.

"Yes, I'll take you to Barnum's Circus, showing this week in Philadelphia."

"Oh, goody! goody! We'll be good, all right!" cried George.

"Indeed we will. If it clears off some we might play basket-ball out in the backyard, that's all," promised Anne.

So the ladies started downtown with assurances that the four cousins would be models of virtue and good behavior until noon when they would look for their reward.

Soon after they left, the mist lifted and the air grew warmer and pleasant.

"It's kind of stuffy in the house, isn't it?" said Jack, after a heated bout with George, where both wore boxing gloves, and the girls were umpires.

"Yes, let's go out and cool off," agreed George, mopping his face.

"We can play out in the backyard, you know," suggested Anne.

"I'm so warm I don't want to play ball, but let's go out anyway," said George.

So the four ran downstairs and out of the rear hall-door to the piazza that had steps leading down to the square of grass that was used for drying clothes. Back of this plot was a small garden that was cultivated in the summer, but was now chiefly used for a basket-ball ground.

The wash was out, so the grass-plot was impossible for the children, and they skirted the laundry and reached the barren garden.

"What's on the other side of your high fence?" asked George, eyeing the six-foot boards that had nice cross-pieces at convenient distance from the ground to the top.

"Nothing, only a big vacant lot. Father says the owners have had trouble over the title to it for so many years, that now they couldn't improve it even if they had the money left to do it on," said Jack.

"And every kind of youngster from down in those tenements comes up in that lot to play," added Anne, with disgust.

Voices were now heard on the other side of the fence and George looked at his companions.

"Guess I'll climb up and sit on top and watch 'em."

"So'll I! That won't do any harm, I guess," said Jack.

Anne and Martha watched their brothers climb up, and then following, they all sat on the smooth round top of the fence.

Some boys from the tenements were about to have a game of baseball. At first, they failed to see the four spectators sitting on the fence. When they did, however, their remarks were not flattering.

"Ha! See the sports up on the bleachers!" cried one.

"Come down and we'll show you how we bat!" called another, and at this his friends all jeered.

Jack wrinkled his nose and stuck his tongue in his cheek, making a wry face at the last speaker.

That led to more remarks from the diamond, and more faces from all four perched on the fence; finally, at a taunting sneer from one of the team on the diamond, Jack replied angrily.

Over at one side of this large vacant area was a depression that generally held muddy water from past rain storms. It seldom filtered into the earth, and the sun not reaching that side of the property, failed to dry it up. Hence, the younger children from the tenements played in this large puddle, sailing boats, or throwing stones to watch the splash.

As Jack retorted, one of the boys standing near the puddle, stooped and flung a handful of dripping mud at the fence. It struck low, but George instantly shouted:

"Don't you do that again! It's against the law to throw things in city limits!"

"Ha! Lot you know about law! Why, sissy, we're a law by ourselves!" laughed one of the boys, going over to pick up a handful of the ooze.

The rest of the gang instantly followed their leader, and before the four on the fence could imagine what would follow, the air was filled with flying mud-balls. Some struck the fence, some flew over and spattered the clean white clothes, and some struck the four defiant citizens on the fence, although they ducked and dodged many of the missiles.

скачать книгу бесплатно

страницы: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7