After a silence, Hays said: "The old Lockwood Manor House stands on the south side of the village of Poundridge. It is the headquarters and rendezvous of Sheldon's Horse. The Major is there." "Poundridge lies to the east of Bedford?" "Yes, sir, about five miles." "Where is the map, Loskiel?" Again I drew it from my hunting shirt; we examined it, and Hays pointed out the two routes.
Then, sir, if you but ask him, he will tell you very plainly that none of his four-footed comrades in the barn have carried a single vidette on their backs even as far as Poundridge village, let alone Mile-Square." I could scarcely avoid smiling. "Do you then, for one, believe that Colonel Tarleton will venture abroad on such a night?"
I swear to you that I stand here unsullied and unstained under this untainted sky which the same God made who fashioned me. I have known shame and grief and terror; I have lain cold and ill and sleepless; I have wandered roofless, hunted, threatened, mocked, beset by men and vice. Soldiers have used me roughly you yourself saw, there at the Poundridge barracks!
Fortune, too, hung to our stirrup leathers as we trotted into Poundridge, for, among a throng of village folk who stood gazing at the smoking ashes of the Lockwood house, we saw our Siwanois standing, tall, impassive, wrapped in his blanket. And late that afternoon we rode out of the half-ruined village, northward.
But of Yndaia I learned nothing, until the Sagamore informed me that Yndaia lay near Catharines-town. And, learning you were of the army, and that the army was bound thither, I followed you." "Why did you not tell me this at Poundridge? You should have camped with us," I said. "Because of my fear of men except red men. And I had already quite enough of your Lieutenant Boyd."
So, with a careless glance aloft, I pursued my errand, strolling hither and thither through the pleasant streets and lanes of old Poundridge, always approaching any groups of soldiers that I saw because I thought it likely that the wench might haunt her kind.
"I do not know if it is," I said, dazed. "Then it is the truth." "Why do you say that, Mayaro?" "I know it, now. I suspected it when your eyes first fell on the Ghost-bear rearing on my breast. I thought I knew you, there at Major Lockwood's house in Poundridge. It was your name, Loskiel, and your knowledge of your red brothers, that stirred my suspicions.
"So you see, Euan, that the half naked little gypsy of Poundridge camp comes not entirely shameless to her husband after all. Oh, my own soldier, hasten hasten! Every day I hear drums in Albany streets and run out to see; every evening I sit with my mother on the stoop and watch the river redden in the sunset. Over the sandy plains of pines comes blowing the wind of the Western wilderness.
We charged instantly, and the enemy ran for it, our troopers raising the view halloo in their turn and whipping out their sabres. And all the way back to the Stamford road we ran them, and so excited became our dragoons that we could scarce hold them when we came in sight once more of the British main body now reforming under the rolling smoke of Poundridge village, which they had set on fire.
He pushed his horse straight up to the closed door, continuing to examine the dismantled sign which hung motionless, there being no wind stirring. "This should be Hays's Tavern," he said, "unless they lied to us at Ossining. Can you make anything of the sign, Mr. Loskiel?" "Nothing, sir. But we are on the highway to Poundridge, for behind us lies the North Castle Church road.