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In the fall of 1780, defeats in the south and a stagnant situation around British-held New York had put the future of the American cause in doubt. When Benedict Arnold defected to the British, George Washington feared that some of his other generals might follow. He decided to send a secret agent into New York and bring Arnold back for trial. This book, based upon historical fact, is the story of Sergeant John Champe and his attempt to carry out his seemingly hopeless mission
Arnold burst into the bedroom. "The game is up," he said.
Peggy Arnold sat up in bed. "What do you mean?"
"They have captured John Andre."
"He was captured by some militiamen and is now in custody at North Castle. They don’t know what to make of him as yet, but the papers he carried are to be sent to General Washington. They might be on their way here now."
"But that is terrible! General Washington will be here at any moment." Peggy cast a terrified look at the bedroom door, as if she expected to see Washington come bursting through it.
"I must leave immediately," Arnold said.
"Leave? Where will you go?"
"The Vulture still stands in the river. I will have my boatmen row me out to it. I will give them some story..."
"Tell them that you must parlay with the British under a flag of truce."
Arnold considered this. "Yes--they probably will believe it. They are not the brightest of men."
He crossed to a chest that stood near the window. From the chest he took two pistols, which Peggy knew he always kept loaded, and a small purse. He thrust the pistols in his belt and the purse in his pocket.
"But what am I to do?" Peggy cried out. "What am I to tell them?"
"Pretend that you know nothing of the matter. They will do nothing to you. Return to your family in Philadelphia. I will send for you when I can."
She sprang from her bed and flung herself upon him, clinging to him like a drowning woman in a storm. "Don’t leave me!"
"I must," said Arnold, "or risk a hangman’s rope." He disengaged himself from her grasp and held her at arm’s length. "Have courage, woman," he said. "The game is near played out. Have courage for a bit longer."
There was a knock on the door. David Frank’s muffled voice came to them. "General, a dragoon has just arrived to say that His Excellency, General Washington, is at hand."
"No more time," Arnold said.
Peggy fell back onto the bed. Arnold strode to the door and pulled it open. David Franks stood on the other side, a startled look on his face and a basket of peaches on his arm.
Arnold rushed past Franks, pushing him roughly out of the way. Franks staggered back. Peaches spilled from the basket and rolled across the hallway floor.
Arnold shouted over his shoulder, "Tell His Excellency that I am going across to West Point to prepare a proper reception for him."
There was an uneven clatter of boots on the stairs as Benedict Arnold hurriedly descended.
Arnold’s horse waited near the barn, saddled and ready, as he had ordered moments after speaking with Lieutenant Allen. Favoring his wounded leg, Arnold mounted.
As he turned the corner of the barn and reached the road, he found his way blocked by four mounted dragoons, The four horsemen moved toward him. Arnold gripped the reins in his left hand and moved his right toward the butt of one of his pistols.
But the leader of the dragoons had a smile on his face, and raised his hand in salute. He was a major. Arnold thought he recognized the man but couldn’t recall his name.
"Good morning, General Arnold," said the major. "Have you been informed that General Washington is on his way? He is just minutes behind us on the road."
"Yes, major, I have been so informed, but I have a pressing matter to attend to at West Point. It will not wait, I fear. You must give His Excellency my regrets and tell him that I shall return in an hour’s time."
The Major looked puzzled, but saluted again and said, "Yes, sir. I will tell him, sir."
"Good. You and your men may stable your horses in the barn yonder. Breakfast is on the table."
"We shall be thankful of breakfast, sir," the major said with a grin, "especially one prepared by the famous Mrs. Martin."
Arnold made no reply, but spurred his horse past the dragoons, rode across the road, and in a moment disappeared over the small hill at the other side.
"He’s in one devil of a hurry," commented one of the dragoons.
The Offering is Bill Calabrese’s seventh published book since he retired seven years ago from the information services field. All seven have been published by Wings ePress. Bill promises to pick the pace in the next few years. He presently has five novels at various stages of completion. He vows to keep on writing until Somebody in Authority tells him to stop. In his spare time, he produces a regular column, titled “Just Faith, a Hunger for Justice”, for the quarterly magazine From the Heart published by his church Sacred Heart of Southbury, Connecticut. He lives in Southbury with his wife, Roberta, and their Tortoiseshell cat, Scheherazade.
Like a story to chill, to tantalize, and to make you look over your shoulder at least twice during your reading of it? Then you’ve come to the right place! William J Calabrese takes us back to those tales that chill, with the expertise of a connoisseur of Weird Tales.
So sit back, get comfortable, and be ready to be unnerved in the way we should be--when atmosphere and imagination packs enough of a wallop to leave you with goose bumps, and things that go bump in the night have you wondering exactly what is out there! -- Angela Verdenius, Heart of the Forsaken
This collection of smartly written vignettes slyly seduces the reader into other realms made believable by this crafty storyteller. Told with perfect timing and ironic humor, TALES FROM SOMEPLACE ELSE is not to be missed by those who enjoy intelligent and unique horror. -- Rayne Forrest, The Skies of Mahdis, When the Night Comes
Bill Calabrese introduces his readers to many strange and ghostly lives in this fantastic collection of eerie stories. From android runaways to apparitions with an appetite for love, Tales From Someplace Else grabs its readers and refuses to let them leave.-- Stephen Gambuti, Center Moon: Stone of Cordova
“I must say that The Amazing Adventures of Nicholas Noodle is fantastic! It is very adventurous and different from many other books that I have read. Some of the characters that Nicholas meets are odd but friendly and others are gruesome and mean. There were many cliff hanging moments where I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. This book was really exciting and fun to read because there is a lot of action and adventure!” --John James Brindisi, Age 10, Middlebrook School, Trumbull CT
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 270
Paper Weight (lb): 11.4
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