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HOME > Short Stories > With Rogers on the Frontier > CHAPTER X TO BOSTON TOWN
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Instinctively the highwaymen turned their heads to see what Major Rogers meant, and as they did the latter, hissing through his clenched teeth:

"Now then, Seth. Shoot the scoundrels!" whipped out his pistol and fired, Seth doing likewise so promptly that the two reports sounded almost like one.

With a groan and a cry of agony the two wretches, mortally wounded, fell to the ground, dropping the lantern, which, of course, was at once extinguished, leaving everything in darkness.

Vastly relieved at this sudden and surprising change in the situation, the driver was about to whip up his horses and make off when the stern voice of the Major rang out:

"Hold there! Don't start until I bid you!"

The man dropped the whip and reined in the horses.

"Jump out, Seth, and find the lantern," was the Major's next order, which Seth made haste to execute.

The lantern was found and relit, and then the Major proceeded to examine the fallen men.

They were both dead already, the Rangers' aim, in spite of the imperfect light and quickness of action, having been unerring, and as the Major regarded them with an expression, curiously blended, of triumph and pity, he said grimly:

"You poor fools! You've got your deserts, but you should have known better than to try and rob me."

The emphasis he put upon the last word was not lost upon his fellow-passengers, who looked at one another sheepishly, for they now felt thoroughly ashamed of their cowardice, and they hastened to cover their confusion by volubly expressing their gratitude to the Major for his gallant conduct.

"Recover your purses and watches, gentlemen," was his only response, however, and when that had been done, and the bodies of the two ill-starred highwaymen had been decently disposed of at the side of the road to await the action of the authorities, who would be informed in due course, the coach resumed its journey.

After they had settled down again in their seats Seth got a chance to ask the question which had been on his lips:

"Whom did you mean, sir, when you said: 'There they are! They're just in time!' and pointed behind the robbers?"

Major Rogers chuckled complacently.

"Whom do you think I meant? Why nobody, of course. It was just a ruse to fool the rascals and get them to turn their heads so that we could fire first. And how easily they were taken in!" and he chuckled again at the success of his scheme.

Seth's admiration for his commander was vastly increased by this fresh proof of his courage and resourcefulness, and as for the other passengers, they professed that he was a perfect hero, and that no words of praise were too strong for what he had done.

At last the tiresome journey came to an end, and as the coach lumbered through the tortuous streets of Boston Seth's heart beat high with expectation. He was now in the big city, and the days before him could not fail to be full of novelty and interest.

They put up at a comfortable tavern where the Major was well known, and the best accommodation the house afforded was placed at his disposal. It was a very ordinary establishment, and in no wise resembled a modern hotel; but to Seth's untravelled eyes it seemed quite grand and the substantial fare that burdened the tables sumptuous indeed.

The morning after their arrival Major Rogers said:

"I have certain business to attend to that will take me the best part of the day and you will have to look after yourself. You'd better go out and see the town, but mind where you go, and don't get lost. I'll be back by supper-time."

"All right, sir," responded Seth cheerily, much pleased at the idea of being left to his own devices. "I'll take good care of myself."

After the Major, attired in his best uniform, had set out, Seth inquired the way to the waterside, for he was first of all anxious to see the shipping.

He found the wharves crowded with shipping, and was immensely interested in the bustle and noise as the sailors, with many a shout and song, toiled away at loading or unloading the cargoes. It was all new to him, and he did not hesitate to ask many questions of the weather-beaten men, some of whom answered him civilly enough, while others were decidedly gruff, and others still, rightly judging that he was a country lad, tried to run rigs on him.

But Seth was too shrewd to be fooled very far. He understood pretty well when he was being answered correctly, and he picked up a good deal of information as he strolled about in an apparently aimless way.

One of the largest ships which hailed from England was discharging a cargo of general goods bewildering in variety, and as Seth talked with one of the sailors he was thinking to himself:

"How I'd like to go across the ocean to England and see everything there! It must be a wonderful place. I wonder will I ever have the chance."

The possibility of his realizing his desire seemed remote enough, but that fact did not trouble him, and he made a mental resolution to get over to the Mother Land some day, however distant it might be.

His pleasant meditations were at this point interrupted by cries of pain and terror, coming from a boy who was evidently being cruelly treated, and instinctively he hastened to see what was the matter.

On the other side of a great pile of casks he found a hulking fellow of the wharf-rat genus ill-using a small boy who was vainly endeavoring to escape from his clutches.

Instantly his ire was aroused, and without taking thought of the consequences, but simply obeying the chivalrous impulse to rescue the little victim from the ruffian, he sprang forward, and, seizing the latter by the shoulders, flung him upon his back, at the same time saying to the released boy:

"Run now! I'll not let the brute follow you!"

The little chap at first obeyed, but had not gone many yards ere he stopped and looked back, being anxious to see how it fared with his timely rescuer.

The wharf rat had been so taken by surprise and thrown so hard that for a moment he lay prostrate and breathless, but the next moment he was up, and with a foul oath hurled himself upon Seth, who had stood his ground so as to protect the flight of the boy.

So far as size and weight went the ruffian had decidedly the best of it, and if Seth had permitted him to get at close grips and fight in his own rough and tumble fashion, it certainly might have gone hard with him.

But he had more sense than to do that. He rightly judged hi............
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