Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/74

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to himself. 'I was about to leave this wretched old creature to starve or beg. Take this, good Mistress Dudley,' he added, putting a purse into her hands. 'King George's head on these golden guineas is sterling yet, and will continue so, I warrant you, even should the rebels crown John Hancock their king. That purse will buy a better shelter than the Province House can now afford.'

'While the burthen of life remains upon me, I will have no other shelter than this roof,' persisted Esther Dudley, striking her staff upon the floor, with a gesture that expressed immovable resolve. 'And when your Excellency returns in triumph, I will totter into the porch to welcome you.'

'My poor old friend!' answered the British General,—and all his manly and martial pride could no longer restrain a gush of bitter tears. 'This is an evil hour for you and me. The province which the King intrusted to my charge is lost. I go hence in misfortune—perchance in disgrace—to return no more. And you, whose present being is incorporated with the past—who have seen Governor after Governor, in stately pageantry, ascend these steps whose whole life has been an observance of majestic ceremonies, and a worship of the King—how will you endure the change? Come with us! Bid farewell to a land that has shaken off its allegiance, and live still under a Royal government, at Halifax.'

'Never, never!' said the pertinacious old dame. 'Here will I abide; and King George shall still have one true subject in his disloyal province.'

'Beshrew the old fool!' muttered Sir William Howe,