I looked at the man. He was tall and well built. His clothing was of good quality, with fine lace and ruffles; his sword a trusty blade, set in a hilt, studded with red stones. On his face there was a haughty look, yet withal, a trace of sadness. He gazed sharply at me, seeming about to put a question, but the Governor was beckoning him, and he passed me without a word, scowling darkly, into the chamber of His Excellency. Then I went out.
There came a time, afterward, when I wished with all my heart, that our swords had come into use, that day; a time when I would have given much to have seen him dead before me. But there was another way.
I felt within my jacket to see if my papers were safe, for on them, now, depended my good fortune. I had come to Boston town without friends, and almost on a forlorn hope, for England was no longer a safe place for me, 11with a relentless enemy following close on my heels at every step. My mission had succeeded better than I had dared to hope, and I was leaving now, carrying with me a captain’s commission, duly signed and sealed by His Excellency. I also had a letter of introduction to one, Samuel Willis, a tavern keeper at Salem.
Of the things which had come to pass before I found myself in Boston town, in the year of grace 1692, I will relate none for the present. At any rate here I was, Captain Edward Amherst, in age not yet a score and a half, in stature say a bit over six feet; in weight--but there, you will doubtless have more than enough of me ere I have finished.
Sufficient to say that I was a soldier by trade, and one of fortune, by necessity, and that I sought service in their Majesties’ American Colonies. I had left London eight weeks ago, bearing letters to Governor Phips, from old comrades in arms, some of whom had sailed the seas with him. Arriving in Boston I had put up at the inn, and had sought an audience with His Excellency, which interview was just over, with the ending I have described.
When I was ushered into the presence of Sir William I explained in few words why I came, and what I wanted. He extended his hand for my letters, and, when he had them, he gave me no more heed for a time, but read the missives. I watched his face as he scanned the pages, the while he kept up a running fire of comments.
12“Ha! Tyler Anderson,” he said, “I know him well. He has a steady hand, and can use a cutlass famously. Sir Arthur Kent, too; a sly rascal with the women. Bob Frenchard; he never could get enough of fighting. John Powell; little Nat Edwards, also. Why, man, you might have all Boston as far as I am concerned, with these letters. You are very welcome, Captain. Now what can I do for you?”