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seemed casually to inquire what conversation had passed between the witness and his comrade, upon the route home, after their escape ;—the man hesitated. He raised his voice, knit his brow, and desired instantly a report of their whole conversation along the hill-road, whatever it was. The Hessian now gave answers, which were also committed to writing.
“ Let him withdraw, and bring up the other-still keeping them apart,” resumed General K
The second Hessian appeared in the evidence-chair. His general statement of the attack corroborated that of the first; but his account of the specific details, already described by his comrade, was a new story altogether. And when asked to recollect and repeat their discourse on the road homewards, he made it consist of topics, which did not remotely resemble, even in matter, those sworn to by his friend.
“Let them come face to face,” was the General's next command. Accordingly, they confronted each other; heard read the extraordinary clashings of their separate testimony, and were called on to reconcile them, if they could. The men were silent.
“ Has the prisoner, Mr. Lane, any questions to propose to the witnesses ?” asked General K
Henry said he would prefer to have them ask questions of one another, at his dictation. This was agreed to; and he proceeded Auently, in their own tongue.
“ The man whose sword-arm is disabled, shall say to
his comrade, ‘Hans, bad work you have done for me, and I for you, all about a silly girl.”
The Hessians started at these words, - exchanged glances, -- then looked consciously around, -- and then bent their eyes on the table.
“If he does not speak, shall I give him the answer Hans gave him?” continued Henry.
“ Do so, prisoner.”
“ Listen, then, Hans.—- Ay, Quinton; but blame your own greediness of the girl's smiles, by the side of an old friend.'”
Again the Hessians shewed agitation.
“I continue, sir, speaking for Hans and Quinton, alternately.”
Still the General assented.
««« Well, Hans, here we ride back to head-quarters, without a smile of hers to boast of, between us.'”
"Ay; and in a plight we must account for, too, Quinton.'”
«« « Oh! the rebels have surprised us.'”
“ Der deyvil! good! — but the girl may prate, unless her mouth is stopped.'”
“And I think I've stopped it, Hans; or, no matter; she was one of the ambuscade-half wild Irishmen, half wild Irishwomen ;-so, let her tell her story ;—who will believe it?'”
“ And such is the conversation,” resumed Henry Lane, speaking for himself, “ which I overheard between these two men, upon the hill-road from Killane, early this morning."
In answer to questions from General K—-, he ended by describing his proceedings, after the Hessians passed him, down to the moment at which he left the farmhouse.
“ Place them at the bar,” said the General ; “ and now we form our court-martial.”
The Hessians were formally arraigned, and the contradictions of their own testimony, coupled with Henry Lane's story, were taken as evidence against them.
“I have yet another witness," resumed General K--, glancing at his aid-de-camp. The young officer withdrew, and speedily returned, ushering to the table a litter, borne by soldiers, on which lay the wounded milk-maid. Her cruel assaulters stared in stupid terror upon her reclining form. The surgeon stood beside her, as, in feeble and hoarse accents, she deposed to the following facts:
While employed in milking her cows, two troopers, “with beard on their lips," stopped at the stile of the pasture field, looking towards her; it was “just the grey of the morning.” Presently, they dismounted, and separately crossed the stile; one walking fast before the other, and both speaking loudly and angrily in “a fur'n speech.” She screamed, attempted to run, and fell, from terror. Nearly at the same moment they broke into open quarrel, drew their swords, and cut at each other. She fainted ;
on regaining her senses, she saw them standing, exhausted and bleeding. In a frenzy, she called out the names of her friends, and spoke as if many people were speeding to help her; the troopers looked around ; again interchanged words, in a more friendly tone ; came close to her ; desired her to cease screaming ; finally, beat her about the head, and stabbed her in the neck; and further she could tell nothing.
“The prisoner, Lane, has had opportunity to arrange this improbable story with the cunning girl,” said Mr. Kirk.
“ Impossible,” answered the surgeon ; “ when I reached the poor creature, she was unable to utter a word; and she must have been still more unable to do so before my arrival.”
“ She does not identify the men,” resumed the sheriff.
“The men confess their guilt,” said the aid-de-camp, who stood near them.
“Let them die before the sun sets, notwithstanding,” said General K- , “and release Mr. Lane.”
“Come home, Hal.,” cried young Gordon, grasping Henry Lane's hand.
“ How is Bessie ?” asked the liberated prisoner, on their way through the streets.
“In good hopes, since your return with old K- ; and her father still able to congratulate you upon your escape from The LAST OF THE STORM."
THE MIRROR IN THE DESERTED
BY MRS. HEMANS.
O dim, forsaken Mirror!
How many a stately throng
Of the wine-cup and the song!
The bright wine hath been quaffed,
That lightly here hath laughed.
Thou of the silent Hall!
Is this too vanished all ?