Rhode Island August 20, 1778
Rebecca rolled her eyes at the sound of her older sister’s high-pitched laughter. The girl was not only entranced by the British officers they had been forced to dine with on account of their father, but the way that she hung off of every word that the men uttered was nothing short of ridiculous.
Two redcoats separated themselves from the others, walking toward the stables. Rebecca feigned a sudden interest in the time. She stood and curtsied to the young king’s puppets who chose to sit with her on the patio in solitude, rather than stand with the boisterous young men and her sister.
“Please excuse me, gentlemen,” she said in her syrupy sweet tone. “I must go for my routine walk about the grounds before I retire for the evening.”
All three of the young men stood. “If you must,” said the tallest one with a bashful smile.
Rebecca returned it.
She did her best to walk in the composed way that her mother did, but all that she wanted to do was stop by the stable door and listen to the conversation that was going on between two of her country’s enemies. She relaxed when she finally rounded the corner of the stable. She stood next to the window, listening for their voices. Their British accents were not as courteous and gallant as they had been over dinner.
“The militia is crawling all over Rhode Island,” came the deeper voice that she recognized to be Brendan’s. “There’s going to be another battle any day now.”
“Indeed,” agreed his friend, Adam. “I will savour the day that I will be able to slit the throats of those dastardly dogs. What happened to fighting in civilized battles?”
“Well, this place is full of farmers and other simpletons. It makes sense to me that they would hide in the shadows, shooting at our men from afar.”
It grew quiet, save Rebecca’s pounding heart.
“By the way, what you do you think of Mr. Lyons’ daughters? Both of them are quite lovely, are they not?” asked Adam.
“We did not come here to discuss girls.”
“Aw. You’re no fun, old boy.”
“We should return to the house and tell the other lads that we should return to the fort.”
“As you wish.”
Rebecca exhaled at the sound of their retreating footsteps. A battle on her homeland’s soil. So much blood would be shed on both sides, and the British were still very strong in comparison to the patriots. They might occupy Rhode Island in a matter of days if the Colonial Army and the militia did not band together and formulate more intelligent strategies. That reality made her feel so helpless.
“Well, well, well.”
Rebecca jumped at the sound of Brendan’s voice. She covered her mouth. He regarded her with a smirk.
“You ought to leave spying to those older and wiser than you, my love.”
She blushed and looked away.
“Really, Brendan. Spying? I would never betray my family, nor King George and his army. Honour is what I will live and die for.”
“But your honour does not lie in your loyalty to England. I knew something was different about you from the moment that we met.”
She swallowed hard. “You are incorrect, Sir.”
Brendan took a step closer to her with his sable eyes staring at her so intently that she thought they might ignite.
“I have seen your writings and books on spying at your seemingly innocent little writing desk, Rebecca. I will only warn you once. If you continue to dabble in this treachery, you may find that the last thing you wear around your neck will be the rope at the gallows, rather than those pearls that your daddy bought for you.”