University of Virginia Library


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“Good sir, good sir, you are deceived; it is no man at all!”

At any other juncture, Mr. Linwood would have
been restless and unappeasable under the privation
of Isabella's society; but now, in his interest
and sympathy in Herbert's affairs, and in his fondness
for Lady Anne, he found full employment for
his thoughts and feelings. Lady Anne persisted
in considering herself Herbert's betrothed; and in
spite of her aunt, who, as her niece affirmed, had
become insupportably cross and teasing, she persevered
in spending all her evenings with the Linwoods.
The charm that love imparts to those who
are connected with the object of a concentrated
affection, was attached to Herbert's father and
mother. Lady Anne felt the most tender anxieties
for her lover; but, sustained by the buoyancy of
youth, and a most cheerful and sanguine disposition,
she was uniformly bright and animated. Her
sparkling eye and dimpled cheek were happiness
to Mr. Linwood; the old love cheerfulness as the
dim eye delights in brilliant colours.

Mrs. Archer, who was always, in Mr. Linwood's
estimation, the next best to Isabella, devoted her
evenings to him. She saw, or fancied she saw,


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that Bessie's countenance expressed a pleased consciousness
of Isabella's presence; at any rate, she
knew that there was another countenance always
lighted up by it. Accordingly, she repaired every
evening to Mr. Linwood, and played rubber after
rubber, performing her tiresome duty with such zest
and zeal, that Mr. Linwood pronounced her a comfortable
partner and respectable antagonist—“a
deal more than he could say for any other woman.”

While the surface of this little society remained
as usual, there was a strong under-current at work.
Herbert, after his explanation with Lady Anne,
was resolved to leave no effort unmade to effect
his escape from durance, and put himself in the
way of those brighter hours that youth and health
whispered might come. His first step was taken
the morning after his parting with Lady Anne.
He enclosed the permit for his visits at home, sent
to him by Sir Henry Clinton, to that gentleman,
with an acknowledgment of his kindness, but without
assigning any reason for declining to avail
himself of it farther. He was careful not to involve
his honour by any pretences in relation to
that obligation; it was off his hands, and he thanked
Heaven he was now free to use whatever stratagem
would avail him. He feigned illness. He
knew Rose would be sent to inquire after him;
and he also knew that, when told he was ill, she
would, by force or favour, obtain access to him.
Fortunately, she was admitted without hesitation;


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for Cunningham, conscious of the bad odour he
was in on account of his ill-treatment of the American
prisoners, deemed it his best policy to inflict
no gratuitous hardship on the son of Mr. Linwood.
Rose, once admitted, became first counsellor and
coadjutor; and with the aid of the young ladies at
home, a project was contrived, of which this noble
creature was to be the main executer. Herbert's
illness, of course, continued unabated; and Rose
repeated her visits daily, and made her last, as she
hoped, the evening succeeding Eliot's escape.
“Lock me in,” she said to the turnkey, “and
leave me a quarter of an hour or so. I want to
coax Mr. Herbert to take a biscuit; he'd die on
your dum stuff.” Rose had, in fact, brought to
Linwood, daily, more substantial rations than biscuit,
and thus enabled him to gratify his appetite
without endangering his reputation as an invalid.
He was in bed when Rose entered, and out of it
the moment the turnkey closed the door—“Oh,
Rose, God bless you! Is all arranged?” he asked.

“Every thing, Mr. Herbert, snug as a bug in a
rug. The young ladies came with me to Mrs.
Lizzy's, and she is to be at Smith's house with
them precisely at seven. It is now half past six.
Mrs. Lizzy's boat, with the muffled oars, that's got
off many a prisoner before you, is now waiting for

“And are my sister and Lady Anne going to
Smith's house without any male attendant?”


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“Dear, yes! they are wrapped in cloaks—nobody
will known them; and Mrs. Lizzy is as good
a guard as horse, foot, and dragoon; there's not a
thimbleful of danger, Mr. Herbert, and they fear
none, bless their hearts! To be sure, Miss Belle
is no great of a soldier in common, and Lady Anne
will scream like all natur' at a mouse; but love is
a great help to courage in young parsons.”

While Rose was making these communications,
to which Herbert eagerly listened, she was doffing
an extra set of linsey-woolsey garments, and transferring
them to her young master, who somewhat delayed
their adjustment, by putting his feet first into
the “cursed petticoat,” as he profanely termed it.
That most respectable feminine article arranged to
Rose's satisfaction, she put over it a shortgown, and
a checked handkerchief over all. “Now for the
beauties,” she said, drawing from her pocket a
wig and mask, and holding them up in either hand,
“Miss Belle made one, and Lady Anne t'other.”

The mask, if it might be so called, was well
coloured, and bore a tolerable likeness to Rose.
Linwood was enchanted. “Which,” he exclaimed,
“which did Lady Anne make, Rose?”

“The mask.”

Linwood seized it, kissed it, and exclaimed,
“Admirably, admirably done!”

“It was not half the trouble the wig was,” said

“Oh, that is capital too, Rose.”


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“But you don't carry on so about it. Land's
sake! However, I suppose you love Miss Belle as
well, only it an't a kind of love that breeds antics.”

“True, Rose; you may be sure I shall never
love anybody better than I do my sister.”

Rose was satisfied, and proceeded to tie on the
mask, and adjust the fleecy locks. “It's a main
pity,” she said, “to cover your pretty shining hair
with what looks like nigger's wool, as they call it.”

“Not a bit—not a bit, Rose. I know some wool
that covers a far better head than mine—more
capable, more discerning; and God never created
a nobler heart than beats under one black skin.”

“Pooh! Mr. Herbert.” Rose's pooh was a disclaimer;
but as she put it in, she brushed a tear
from her eye; then tying a mobcap and black silk
bonnet over the wig, and throwing over his shoulders
her short blue broadcloth cloak, and hiding his
white hands in her mittens, she laughed exultingly,
declaring she “should not herself know him from
herself.” “Now you're readied,” she said, “settle
down as you walk—be prudent, Mr. Herbert—look
before you leap. Don't answer them dum fellows,
when you go out, a word more than yes or no—I
never do. Do your endeavours, and the Lord will
help you. He helps them as helps themselves—
hark! there comes the fellow.”

Before the turnkey opened the door she was in
bed, her head enveloped in the bedclothes; and
Herbert stood, her basket on his arm, apparently


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waiting. No suspicion was excited, nor questions
asked. They went out, and the door was relocked.
Rose raised her head to listen to their receding
footsteps. The footsteps ceased, and she heard
Cunningham's (the provost-marshal's) voice, “Well,
wench,” he said, addressing, as she knew, her counterfeit,
“how goes it with your young master?”

“Now the Lord o' mercy help him!” she exclaimed;
“he used to mimic Jupe—if he only can me.”

She did not hear Herbert's reply; but she heard
Cunningham say, as if responding to it—“Poorlier,
hey? I've got something here that will bring back his
stomach—respects to your master—mind, wench.”
Again she heard Herbert's footsteps recede, and
Cunningham enter her cell, and shut and lock the

Cunningham's name was a terror to the whigs,
and to all that cared for them. The man's excessive
cruelty and meanness may be inferred from
the extravagant allegations current at the time; that
he was in the habit of putting the American prisoners
of war to death, in order to sequester the
rations allowed them. He had recently reason for
apprehensions that an inquiry would be instituted
into his conduct by the commander-in-chief, who
certainly did not authorize unnecessary cruelties,
if he neglected to take cognizance of them.

Rose's head was well muffled in the bedclothes,
when Cunningham, coming up to the bed, said, “How
goes it, Mr. Linwood; bile uppermost yet? Come,


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lift up your head, and speak, man—can't you give
an answer to a civil word? Come, come, I'm not
Tom nor Sam, to be put off this way—next thing
you'll bolt, and I shall have it to answer for; but
they sha'n't say I did not do the good Samaritan by
you. You won't eat—you won't hear to the doctor
—the d—l is in you, man; why don't you rise
up? Here's a dose you must take, any how—it's
what they give in all cases, calomel and jalap—
come, man, if fair means won't do, foul must.”
The patient continued obstinate, and Cunningham
set down the dose, which was mixed in a huge
coffee-bowl, beside a basket of vials, containing
sundry nauseous medicines, designed for the poor
prisoners, as if bad food were not poison and torture
enough for them. A contest began, in which
Cunningham had reason to be astonished at the
strength of the invalid. In the scramble, Rose's
head was disengaged from the bedclothes; the
truth was revealed, and she sprang on him like a
tiger on its prey. The cowardly wretch shrunk
back, and drew a knife, crying out, “You d—d
nigger!” Rose wrested it from him, and her spirit
disdaining the assassin's weapon, she thrust it into
the wall, exclaiming—“Now we're even!”

He sprung towards the door—she pulled him
back, threw him down, put her knee on his breast,
and by the time he had made one ineffectual struggle,
and once bellowed for help, she had added
laudanum, castor-oil, and ipecacuanha to the calomel


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and jalap; and holding his nose between the thumb
and finger of one hand, she presented the overflowing
bowl to his lips with the other. When
she had convinced him of her potentiality, by
making him gulp down one swallow, she mercifully
withdrew the draught, saying, “If you offer
to move one inch, or make a sound, I'll pour it
down your throat to the last drop.” She then released
him from her grasp, and while he was panting
and shuddering, she turned her back, muttering
something of stringing him up in her clothes.
The “clothes,” which she quickly disengaged from
their natural office, proved to be her garters. As
she stretched them out, trying their strength, “My
own spinning, twisting, and knitting,” said she;
“they'll bear the weight of twenty such slim pieces
as you.”

“Are you going to hang me?” gasped out Cunningham.

“Hang you? Yes; but not harm you, if you're
quiet, mind. But I'd choke you twice over to give
Mr. Herbert time: so mind and keep your breath
to cool your porridge.” She then turned him over,
bound his hands behind him with one garter, and
made a slip-noose with the other, while he, like a
reptile in the talons of a vulture, crawled and
squirmed with a hopeless resistance. “There's
no use,” said Rose; “you're but a baby in my
hands—it's the strong heart makes the strong arm.”
She then set him upright on Herbert's bed, put


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the noose around his neck, and made the other end
fast to an iron hook in the wall. This was just
achieved, when a hurried footstep was heard, followed
by a clattering at the door, and a call for “Master
Cunningham!—Master Cunningham!” Rose
placed her foot against the foot of the bedstead;
Cunningham understood the menace, and suppressed
the cry on his lips. The calls were reiterated.
Cunningham cast one glance at Rose; her foot was
fixed, her lips compressed, and her eyes glaring with
a resolution stern as fate. Cunningham felt that the
alternative was silence or death, and his face convulsed
between the impulse to respond and the effort
to keep quiet. The knocking and screaming
were repeated; and then finding them ineffectual,
the person went off to seek his master elsewhere.
Other sounds now roused Rose's generous spirit,
and tempted her to inflict the vengeance so well
deserved; but hers was not the mind to be swayed
by opportunity—“convenience snug.”

The apartment adjoining Linwood's was spacious,
and crammed with American prisoners.
There was a communicating door between them,
through which could be distinctly heard any sound
or movement louder than usual. Loring, in his
customary evening round, had entered this apartment.
Loring was Cunningham's coadjutor, and
is described by Ethan Allen, who had himself notable
experience in that prison, as “the most mean-spirited,
cowardly, deceitful, and destructive animal


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in God's creation.” Rose heard Loring command
the prisoners to get to their beds, in his customary
phrase (we retrench a portion of its vulgarity and
profanity): “Kennel, d—n ye—kennel, ye sons
of Belial!”

At this brutal address to persons whom Rose
honoured as a Catholic honours the saints, her
blood boiled within her. She hastily withdrew
her foot from the bedpost, and strided to the extremity
of the narrow apartment; then turning
and stretching her arm towards Cunningham, she
said, with an energy that made his blood curdle,
“It is not for me to 'venge them, but God
will. Their children shall be lords in the land,
and sound out their fathers' names with ringing of
bells and firing of cannon, when you, and Loring,
and all such car'on, have died and rotted like dogs,
as ye are.”

The sounds in the adjoining apartment after
a while subsided, and with them Rose's ire. She
seated herself to await the latest hour when she
could retire from the prison, and elude the suspicion
of the sentinel, the only person whose vigilance
she had to encounter.

The footsteps had ceased from the passages, and
sleep seemed, like rain, to have fallen on the just
and the unjust—the keepers and their prisoners.
Cunningham, seeing Rose preparing to take her
departure, begged her, in the most abject manner,
before she went, to release him from his frightful


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“No, no,” she obstinately replied to his supplications,
“ye shall hang in iffigy, to be seen
and scorned by your own people; but one marcy
I'll do you; if you'll hold your tongue, I'll not let
out, while the war lasts—while the war lasts, remember,
that you were strung up there by a `d—n
nigger'—a nigger woman!

It appeared that Cunningham was glad to accept
this very small mercy, by the report that afterward
prevailed, that he had only escaped a fitting
end through the forbearance of Mr. Herbert Linwood.

Rose passed unmolested through the passage
and the outer door, which, being locked on the
inside, and the key in the wards, opposed no obstacle
to her retreat. The sentinel in the yard
saw and recognised her; but not being the same
who was on guard when the first Dromeo passed,
he merely inferred that Rose had been permitted to
remain longer than usual; and kindly opening the
gate, he responded civilly to her civil “good-night.”

Rose went home, not however to enjoy the quiet
sleep which should have followed so good a piece
of work as she had achieved, but to suffer, and see
others suffer, the most distressful apprehensions.