kept close in the wood, leaving the ground entirely to their opponents.
Though, as we have said, rather a frequent visitor at "The Oaks," the present ride of Major Proctor in that quarter had its usual stimulus dashed somewhat by the sense of the business which occasioned it. Its discharge was a matter of no little annoyance to the Englishman, who was not less sensitive and generous than brave. It was for the purpose of imparting to Colonel Walton, in person, the contents of that not yet notorious proclamation of Sir Henry Clinton, with which he demanded the performance of military duty from the persons who had been paroled; and by means of which, on departing from the province, he planted the seeds of that revolting patriotism which finally overthrew the authority he fondly imagined himself to have successfully re-established.
Colonel Walton received his guests with his accustomed urbanity: was alone when he received them; and the eyes of Proctor looked round the apartment inquiringly, but in vain, as if he desired another presence. His host understood the glance perfectly, for he had not been blind to the frequent evidences of attachment which his visitor had shown towards his daughter; but he took no heed of it; and, with a lofty reserve of manner, which greatly added to the awkwardness of the commission which the Englishman came to execute, he simply confined himself to the occasional remark—such only as was perfectly unavoidable with one with whom politeness was habitual, and the predominant feeling at variance with it, the result of a calm and carefully regulated principle. It was only with a steady resolution, at last, that Proctor was enabled to bring his conversation into any thing like consistency and order. He commenced, despairing of any better opening, with the immediate matter which he had in hand.
"Colonel Walton does not now visit Dorchester so frequently as usual, nor does he often travel so far as the city. May I ask if he has heard any late intelligence of moment."
Walton looked inquiringly at his guest, as if to gather from his features something of that intelligence which his words seemed to presage. But the expression was unsatisfactory—perhaps that of care—so Walton thought, and it gave him a hope of some