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.
12Ha! 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?”
Much,” I answered, surprised and pleased at his welcome; and then I told him what I desired; a soldier’s chance to mend his fortunes.
How would a Captain’s commission, on this side of the water, suit you?” he asked, when I had finished. You tell me that was your rank before.”
I would desire nothing better,” I said warmly.
It is yours, then,” was the reply, and he drew out a parchment, partially covered with writing.
You probably have heard of the activity of the French and Indian enemy on our borders,” said the Governor, while he prepared a quill. We are about to proceed against them. You have come at a time when certain currents are like to drift you just where you want to go; into the thick of the fight.” Then he opened his ink horn.
I listened for a while to the scratching of his quill. It was some time before he had finished, and, looking up he handed a folded parchment across the table to me.