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Friday, 10 January 2014

Another taster from the same pot

Afternoon friends.

Firstly many thanks for all the wonderful comments coming into Dead Men Lie central. It seems these chapters have been well received makes our hard work all the more enjoyable.

We have been busy here in the office organising the printing of the new version of the book, We have to have it all ready by the beginning of Feb so as to be sure of having the printed books ready for the June Book Launch in Rye. That is moving on a pace, the posters and flyers are now ordered, the invitations are printed awaiting posting.  These next few months are going to be busy busy busy, in fact the new fleeces, polo shirts and tee shirts are all ordered and we await their arrival with anticipation.  

 We have also just received another wonderful review. it arrived this morning via the web site and its pretty damn good. its from a Lady here in England and I have to say I am pleased she took the time to contact us. i will be posting this on the web site later

"Mr Procter, I have just finished your extraordinary book and felt compelled to write to you. I wanted to place my review on Amazon, but for some reason the site wouldn't allow me to upload it, hence the reason it has come to you direct. I began this book back in June while on holiday, for two weeks it went everywhere with me, each spare moment I devoured the lives of the residents of Stormouth. I had read three quarters of the book before I was forced to return to work and have only now, through ill health, had the chance to complete it. Wow what a story, what a fertile mind you must have, what descriptive prowess and character portrayal. I felt as if I knew every nook and cranny of the town. As for the residents they have become almost real to me. I swore at your when tragedy befell Abigail, I wanted to kill the priest myself  and wept at Nathaniel's demise. But you knew better, you toyed with us, the reader, led us down blind alleyways and built the suspense until revealing the truth right at the end in a series of chapters I especially liked. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone, in fact I am surprised it hasn't been snapped up by some publishing house already, it certainly deserves to be a number one bestseller. I look forward to further stories from you all the best."

Sue, S. UK      

 Thank you Sue comments like that make all the hard work worthwhile.

Lastly we have a new merchandising strategy. it will feature more and more in the lead up to the big day. it goes some thing like this

" I have a book but I don;t want to sell it.... I do have 100 chocolate bars on sale though and for each one bought you will receive a copy of Dead Men Lie free of charge."

 More soon, but for now I have a prequel to write.


Sunday, 5 January 2014

A small taster of what is to come....Enjoy.

Morning friends.

  As you may be aware Dead Men Lie has been in the body shop for some time, well it is now ready to be released. With that in mind I give you the first Three chapters to peruse. If certain words come through underlined, as if indicating spelling errors, pleas disregard, they are not they are simply differences between English and the American word processor. I trust they will not detract from your enjoyment, or to stop you sharing with your friends. This has taken a lot out of us, it is no mean feat to take a book off sale and re work it but we have and now we await your views.

          DEAD MEN LIE

                                             Copyright © 2012 David T Procter

The rights of David T Procter to be identified as the author of the work have been asserted and established by him in accordance with the copyright, design and patents Act 1988 all rights reserved. Apart from any use permitted under UK copyright law, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, photocopying or otherwise with prior permission in writing of the publisher, author or copyright holder.

This is a work of fiction therefore all characters in this publication are the product of the authors imagination. Any resemblance to any person either living or dead is purely coincidental and no disrespect or harm was ever envisaged. Though certain mention is made to historical groups, the necessary permissions, where needed, have been obtained. The author thanks those involved.    

                                                The Colonies
                                                January 1769
                                                                      Chapter One
                                            A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step          
                                            Lao-Tzu Chinese philosopher 604BC-531BC

Samuel Worthington rarely displayed emotions. Certainly not in public, but today he did. Cuffing a tear aside, he turned away, unable to witness any more of this abomination. Was it only he who found the hanging of a youth distasteful? Or did the crowd, who waited in sullen, silent anticipation, hope to witness, even at this late moment, some reprieve for the boy who was to die?
    Any such hope was dashed as the hangman slapped the mare’s rump. A gasp of anguish rose in protest as Jeremiah was unseated and dangled, twitching and thrashing as the noose tightened around his neck. The crowd voiced their anger as the youth fought against his imminent demise; they screamed their disapproval with accusations and threats at the hangman. Amidst all this noise and confusion only those nearest, heard the boys last muffled sob.
     Samuel could do nothing but whisper a silent prayer, he begged God to swiftly end his client’s pain and indignity. The act of legalised execution wasn’t pleasant, it was meant as a deterrent, the ultimate punishment. It could, however, be made easier by the skill of an experienced executioner which this fool wasn’t. He had placed the noose poorly, meaning Jeremiah swung back and forth in excruciating agony as he slowly choked to death, instead of the swiftness of a fractured neck. Such a spectacle could be exploited and enhanced if the felon was of note, Jeremiah though was a local well liked youth and the crowd disliked his treatment.
    Sensing their growing anger, the hangman moved forward, clasped the boy’s legs and added his weight, so as to speed his death. The hangman though, stopped, mid stride as a gasp of horror came from the crowd.      
    “Look at him, shite himself.” The words, testament to the youth’s, further degradation. “Cut him down you swine. Let him live.” The hangman stood motionless, apparently unconcerned by their comments or the vile stench that came from the contents of boy’s bowels which had involuntarily emptied.
    Forcing himself to watch, Samuel felt the bile rise in his throat. He wanted to retch but what good would that do? Like the rest he was helpless. Minutes dragged by, time in which, all he could do was wait as Jeremiah choked, time in which he sensed his client glaring at him through bulging accusing eyes which, Samuel though, seemed to plead for him, his lawyer to end his torment. Shamefully he looked away, he had done all he could he was unable to help the boy further, the seconds seemed like hours, and eternity or so it seemed until mercifully his client died, killed by the establishment who cared little for his pain. Jeremiah’s final journey, his last great adventure, had begun.
    “May God have mercy upon you and may you find eternal peace,” Samuel whispered. He felt annoyed, desperate and ashamed. Of all the hangings he had witnessed, none had affected him as this one had. Mindless fools. Wouldn’t recognise the truth if it bit them on their fat rumps. The hangman was a necessity; justice had to be seen to be done. The guilty had to pay for their indiscretions. However, this wasn’t justice. This vileness was nothing less than legalised murder.  The evidence had been substantial, everything pointed to his guilt, yet Jeremiah had remained reticent, withholding much until it was too late. The facts were plain, a soldier had been killed, three witnesses identified Jeremiah as the culprit. If true then death was the only punishment. Despite his best efforts the boy refused to speak, remaining sullenly silent, declining to refute the allegations. With no option and despite his best efforts, the court had passed sentence. Jeremiah Jones’s silence, had ultimately led to this travesty of justice. The Angel of Death had a new disciple. “Ignorant fools.” Samuel cursed. The experience left him drained, devoid of any good intentions towards his fellow man. Breathing deeply he turned his collar up as protection from the chill wind, and began his journey home.
    “Are you proud of your day’s work lawyer?” Samuel turned, and saw pure hatred in the face of the man before him. His accuser was tall, well built, scarred with tar spots and wore the coat of a rope maker. In his left hand he carried a wooden stave which Samuel knew such men used in their work. Rope making was an essential yet dirty and dangerous job, carried out on the long straight quays.
    “I answer not to you, sir, but to a higher authority,” Samuel replied. He saw animosity in the eyes of those who gathered around him. Hatred of what though, him, the verdict and punishment, or did their hatred go far deeper? The colonies were awash with rumour and disquiet, matters to which Samuel had so far managed to distance himself from. Was this, he wondered his first experience of civil unrest.  
    “Answer to God himself, won’t do no good nor make what append ere any less disgusting.” Tar-face spoke with a vileness Samuel had not witnessed before. These were people he knew, had lived among and for the most part, respected and was likewise respected back. Tar-face stood intimidatingly close and held the stave menacingly. Samuel wasn’t particularly brave, but he held his nerve and his head, and forced his way through the gathered masses. The underlying feeling of the townsfolk was, he was sure, that of anger and frustration. Men so infused were capable of making rash decisions, if their anger boiled over he wanted to be as far away from this place as possible. 
    “Scared to reply lawyer...well we are not! You wait; we will seek to redress this ignominy.” Tar-face taunted him, bravely; Samuel resisted the urge to look back and hurried on. He had expected some sort of reaction, but had assumed it would be released before sentence. Jones had acquired some sort of notoriety during his trial, a mirror of the plight many suffered from, not only in Boston but the colonies in general. Passions had been aroused, passions which had daily drawn crowds of excited women who stood outside the courtroom hoping to catch a glimpse, or to toss food to the youth. Voicing their feelings, the boy’s supporters had shouted his innocence. They expected justice, hoped their demands would convince those in power that Jones should be released and that the real culprits brought to justice. That was never going to happen, not without some confession from those involved. Far from England, those in authority had little time for ideals. Within Massachusetts, a small minority made the laws which were enforced rigorously by soldiers loyal to the crown. Soldiers whose word was accepted as fact no matter what the truth was. Was it, any wonder, the Judges had been unsympathetic, unwilling to amend their verdict?
    Worthington thought himself an excellent orator, a capable lawyer and master of discovering truth even when overshadowed by deception. He had in the past rescued victory from the very jaws of legal defeat. Yet he knew that this judgment would taint his name for years to come. It would affect his reputation and turn many from his door. These thoughts and many more made him begin to doubt his own abilities as he moved through the crowd.
Despite what they thought, he had done all that was humanly possible. Without testimony from Jones, he was confounded, befuddled and betwixt. He had tried, had sought clemency, but as the judge had said in his summing up.
    “Your client, sir, admits the charge. What is there to delay punishment?”
 Those words would haunt Samuel for years to come.      
     “Extenuating and mitigating circumstances must be accepted as a reason for clemency my Lord.” Samuel had pleaded as forcefully as possible, but without hearing the boys version of what happened, his guilt was unequivocal. Samuel’s best efforts were doomed to failure; the Judge had declared that soldiers, even drunken ones, were to be obeyed. The reasoning galled Worthington. The sentiment was illogical, even illegal, but he suspected ulterior motives were at work. Politics were involved and Boston was alive with such inconsistencies. The crux of the matter, the very point he had attempted to make was that politics were not more important than justice. His arguments had failed, so despite his reputation as a gallows thief, the hangman had claimed another victim and the crowd grew ever more resentful.  
    Shame! a womans voice shouted, instantly joined by others. Samuel flinched, expecting an attack upon his person. Tar-face, though, had moved away inciting unease among the crowd, directing their anger towards the hangman again as the enormity of what had occurred fed their anger.
    “Faking cullies, another voice added. This time their displeasure was reinforced with a barrage of ripe fruit which splattered among the assembled dignitaries. Sensing a growing anger and seeing the belligerence etched upon their faces, Samuel feared for what might occur, their emotions were running high and he sensed a change, which if left unchecked might turn deadly.
    “Horse turds,” Tar-face shouted. “Scared to take on those able to fight, these brave men instead choose children to persecute.” The mood was becoming ever more hostile. Very soon the town dignitaries would have to intervene. If they did Samuel knew what their response would be. Intrigued by the apparent inability to control the situation, Samuel saw the town alderman falter, saw him wipe a fevered brow and call out.   
    “Clear the square! Move them away.” Scared men were unpredictable but the bespattered Alderman had reacted in the only way he knew how. He had summoned the only force available to him, the army. It was the worst thing he could have done. Many Bostonians were openly hostile to the soldiers, reluctant to accept that the military were there to protect, not suppress them. Samuel knew that to antagonise them unduly could result in an abomination. Fear of rioting, civil unrest perhaps looting and murder made the Alderman act irrationally. Such fear, if not stopped, would see bloodshed and Jeremiahs death would be forgotten.
    “Make ready!” The young officer in charge of the soldiers was young, no more than a child himself, yet he was prepared to commit a heinous crime. “Present!” The situation was desperate; soldiers in ranks aimed loaded muskets at unarmed townsfolk. All that separated them from disaster was a single command. Worthington stood transfixed watching the scene unfolded before him. A scene, similar to the one he had read about in a broadsheet, weeks out of date, but which described in graphic detail, how soldiers had quelled a bread riot in a northern British town. By days end fifteen women, men and children lay dead in a town square. If he didn’t act, the same would befall his neighbours.
    Not again, not here, not today. Worthington prayed for sanity, fear though, was the precursor to evilness; it made men act without thought.
    “No!” he commanded stepping into their line of fire. “What you intend is wrong. Must force be the only solution? Are we not intelligent enough to put aside such things to come together and discuss our differences as intelligent beings? Can we not find alternatives to force and threats to achieve what we all desire, Peace?” His voice, though strong, hid a fear that made his legs quiver within his breeches. Twenty muskets remained aimed at him. The officer was torn as to what to do. He had his orders, lawfully issued, he was on the brink of greatness one man would not detract him from his duty. “Bad laws enforced by use of arms are an abomination in the face of God. I beg of you, think sir, take your men back to their billets and I will speak with these good people. No one desires to see a violation, nor do mothers wish to bury their children. There is no need for such ill feeling to occur, not today, not ever.”
    His words, though compelling, had, it seemed little effect. The muskets remained aimed and cocked, the officer drew his sword and Samuel gulped in trepidation, bloodshed, it seemed was not to be averted. Samuel desired nothing more than to run and hide. Fear of course was a reason but he also wished to live, to be able to speak of what occurred after the inevitable volley was fired. The silence was overpowering, sweat ran down his back, while the soldier directly to his front blinked and mouthed the word ‘sorry’. These were by all accounts the dregs of British society, guttersnipes and criminals, enlisted into the army rather than serve their sentence. Yet here was a man willing to accept what he was about to do was wrong. Ignoring the threat, the mob were incensed, they continued to shout abuse; death was but a heartbeat away. All that was required was one word of command and a volley of lead would rip into flesh and bone.   
    Thankfully that command never came. Common sense, in the shape of the Town Sergeant, prevailed. He spoke to the officer who paused, then commanded his men to stand down. A moment of panic had been averted, but feelings were so raised that such good fortune could not continue. 
    Barbarians,Samuel whispered. The British had not changed, nor most likely ever would. Twenty-odd years ago he had arrived with the hopes and dreams for a new life. But the old ways had followed and his world was changing again. Sighing deeply, Samuel realised that it wasn’t the place or the British but he himself that had changed. His dream had died along with his wife and, strangely, Jeremiah Jones. Disease had taken her while politics the other and that was proof of the pointlessness of it all. He saw it in the faces around him; fear and persecution were becoming commonplace and Samuel despised it.


                                                 Chapter Two

You are a man of many talents, Mr Worthington.” Drawn from his remorse Worthington turned to face the man who spoke. “A tragedy averted, the British humbled. A pity poor Jones could not be so fortunate. Some might express the opinion that he was much maligned treated, how shall I say… unfavourably.”
    Indeed!” The lawyer remained disturbed by his closeness to death. His demeanour and manners as yet unrestored to their normal polite disposition. “I fear; I do not share your erstwhile thoughts concerning my talents, sir. I failed my client and damned near got myself killed as well. Is that the talents of a sane man?” Worthington enquired as Elijah Forest, a merchant of repute fell in step alongside him.
    “I would disagree, sir. Moreover I would say you were both courageous and spoke with justification, as you did in court, your oratory was a wonder to behold.”
    “You sir, are a flatterer, your words best used at table among the ladies who seek such adulation.” Samuel’s heart still raced, his mood disturbed, yet it seemed Forest was determined to engage him in conversation. “Truth is I failed the boy when he needed my aid. His death could…no should have been avoided. His innocence was obvious to all but a fool.or so I believe.
    “I flatter not, but I do concur. I witnessed your persuasive closing statement. It was a veritable masterpiece of passion and common sense, if I may be so bold to say.
    Worthington turned and looked at the man in wonderment. Forest was known throughout the county as a wealthy and prominent merchant, whose presence and demure said more of the man than his fortune. Of aging years, he was not reserved in showing off what he had achieved; he was a philanthropic man who epitomised all this burgeoning country had to offer to those willing to grab the chance.
    You were present?” Worthington asked. “You saw the inequality.the way he was dealt with?” Samuel found it difficult to image any man less likely to attend a trial than Forest. Yet it was possible, the court had been packed, filled with tobacco smoke, so thick the judge had ordered them extinguished, and Forest was a prodigious smoker. If Forest had been there and had witnessed the same injustices, he was gratified. The boy deserved far better than I was able to give. The odds were against him, you saw the way the soldiers bandied together how they lied. Any right minded soul could see they had been schooled. Yet I could have broken them if only…”
    “They were a trifle orchestrated.” Forest stated, nodding politely to someone in the crowd.
    “Then perhaps you would lend your voice to my own, maybe the two of us might even now obtain justice. Too late to save the boy, but at least his name could be restored.” Samuel was prepared to seek aid from wherever he could find it in an attempt to expose the rot that existed within the colonies.  
    “Is this a worthy battleground, a suitable place to seek change? Or should you wait a better opportunity a time when you could do real good on a broader stage?”
    “You speak in riddles sir, I am a lawyer not a dandy, what care I for posturing and prevarication? My clients ask for nothing more than justice and we, I included, fail them at every turn. The hierarchy is rotten to the core. This land was supposed to be where men could find security, where through honest endevours they could succeed. Where common sense and salvation would prevail, yet it seems all we have done is to import the same mistakes that forced us to leave Britain.”
    “You are harsh upon yourself. I witnessed an honest, God-fearing soul destroyed through no fault of hisor yours for that matter.” The merchant added solemnly.
    You are too kind however we are both aware that Jones was convicted long before he stood in the dock. The trial was a travesty, a sham, a lie. Such matters make me ashamed of my profession and how justice is mocked. My defense was hamstrung, confounded at every turn. A child could see the lies that were told, yet not one person spoke out, not even my client and that was what hampered me despite my best efforts.” Worthington sighed and shook his head in sorrow. Forest had instigated an outpouring of frustration which once begun could not be stopped. “Soldiers are the scum of the earth, thieves, drunken rogues, liars, the dregs of society. Yet, because they wear the red uniform, they are accepted as reliable witnesses and given immunity from reproach or punishment by a distant King.”
    “Have a care sir, that King has ears everywhere.” Forest cautioned the lawyer when in truth, he wished to hear more.
    “I care not who hears. I said much the same in court and was not sanctioned. Nor do I care who hears that Jeremiah’s silence convicted him as much as any testimony. Why he did so still flummoxes me as I am flummoxed on many matters pertaining to this case. At least I praise God his mother was spared witnessing that abomination.” Worthington turned and pointed to where the boy still swayed on the rope.
    Indeed. Forest sensed that if he could direct the anger the solicitor harboured in the right manner it could be used to his advantage. All he needed to do was nudge Worthington a little further and his trap would be sprung. For the moment patience was required, in time the seed of doubt he had planted would spring forth as a new recruit or wither and die.    
    “Indeed…Jeremiah Jones was no more capable of committing that act
then I am of speaking to the King. Rot his cold black German heart! Worthington spat and grimaced at the very thought of being anywhere near the King of England. Forest grabbed his arm in caution as a squad of soldiers marched towards them.
    Be careful, my friend many would consider it to be in their best interests to pass your name to the Governor.” Forest warned, glancing left and right in alarm.                       
    Rot his heart as well, Forestas God is my witness I have lived by the word of the law; it has been my mistress for more years than I care to remember, yet today I curse its name.” Samuel paused and Forest saw the man physically shrink in stature, the lawyer sagged before looking at him again. “Not many know that my dear wife died alone while I was before the bench in Philadelphia. I was saving a woman from the same fate as Jones there. I won there because I tore the witnesses apart and discovered the truth yet here I lost because of lies and politics.”
    “Have you evidence for such accusations? For as you well know, to accuse without unequivocal evidence is a dangerous course to take…do you have such evidence?” Forest asked.
    What is the use of proof, when it can be ignored as it was in there?” Worthington stated angrily, pointing vaguely in the direction of the town courthouse where the trial had been held. That boy worked his fingers to the bone providing for his elderly mother and his siblings. His diligence was what convinced me to take his case. His silence though. My God, if only he had spoken out I could have acted. Instead, he says nothing until last evening when it was too late.
    “He spoke? Jones told you what occurred. Why then was it not presented?” Forest demanded. This was going far better than he could have imagined.
    “Do you think I did not try? I sent word and was ignored. The Judge had retired and sentence had been passed. Even so I did what I could. I sent a note to the Judge begging...begging for clemency but I was ignored.”
    “What then did Jones speak of?” Forest asked.
    “Tell the truth he spoke so eloquently I cried. He told me everything from beginning to end. How he had been protecting his mother from animals, drunken louts, soldiers who had been foisted upon them under this infernal Quartering Act. Men so vile, so nasty and evil he thought the devil himself lived with them. He was forced to watch as his mother was ill-treated, and assaulted,”
   “Did he not think to speak with the quartering sergeant, to appeal to have them removed?”
    “He did Forest, constantly, but was ignored. Seems that the army do not care what sort of men they foist upon our citizens. They must house and feed them, care for them and for what reward? One penny a month small reward for what is expected.”
    “It is. What then occurred to make Jones turn violent?”
    “A son’s worst nightmare my friend, it appears he returned home to find his siblings cowering beneath a table while his mother lay upon the floor battered and bleeding. Two of the soldiers stood above her, one had his belt held in his hand, the reason plain to imagine. Anger and shame made him snap, his temper flared and he attacked. Why only Corporal White was killed remains a mystery. He never enlightened me, nor as you know did he utter it in court. The question must be asked, how many others suffer in silence and verge on such behaviour?”      
    Too many I would guess. It is indeed a most disagreeable Act. The question I ask is why could you not get a stay of execution? Surely once the boy spoke there were grounds to have the sentence delayed, perhaps overturned.
    “My sentiments precisely, unfortunately I have no answer. My note stated what I had been told but I was denied a reply. Not even a common acknowledgement and without such a note Jeremiah’s fate was sealed. Despite my plea, the Judge believed the other soldiers, took their word as Gospel and sentence was passed. You were there, you heard what was said. ‘An acquittal would send a message to others who defied the word of the King.’ Worthington had found the words derisory then and still did.
    It would appear his mind was made up. No wonder you heard said at the time that the mother had marks about her body, yet they were dismissed as insignificant. Why?
    “A pity you did not sit in Judgement, for it would seem, you, were the only one paying heed of my defense. Worthington sniffed and wiped his nose on his kerchief. “The marks were important, but they were deemed of no consequence. I believe they were significant and should have been taken into account. Unlike the prosecutor, I do not believe she harmed herself for her bruises were distinct, consistent with the shape of a mans hand. My belief is that someone, more than likely this Corporal White, held her tightly while engaging in carnal lust. Be the act premeditated or accidental, like as not White killed the mother, and his friends compounded his lies with their own. I said as much in court and was rebuked, while they stated she was simply clumsy.”
    A clumsy cow, if memory serves, Forest added helpfully, and that she had made those marks herself while gathering water.
   Hummmph! The sound was derogatory, a guttural contempt from deep within the throat. “That was when I knew I was beat. It repulsed me to see the army closing ranks; protecting their own and sacrificing the boy. I would even dare to suggest that money changed hands. I suspect the jury was bought and that too repulsed me.                        
    “A respected man like yourself must have advised Jones to speak out why did he remain silent?” Forest asked. Worthington shook his head in mystified dismay.
    I cannot say. That was his choice and I had to respect his direction. Certainly we were hampered further when the mother inexplicably died in her sleep. Nor when Doctor Megaw said her death was some form of miasma. What would he know? Hes pickled more often than not, wouldnt know miasma from measles. Oh I know, the superstitious amongst our brethren think it comes in on the ships; The Devils Kiss they call it, but are we really to believe that?
    “We must. Megaw is a respected surgeon.” Forest stated pompously
    Respected by whom, the innkeepers?” Worthington’s anger was obvious. He needed to lay the blame at someone’s door and the doctor it seemed was as good as anyone. “She never died from some foul invisible air but at the hands of a killer. Her death occurred either where White left her, or later, when her injuries finished what White had begun. Jones knew or witnessed all of this, yet chose for reasons beyond our understanding to take the truth to his grave. Did he condemn himself, or was it fear that made him do what he did? Without one of the dead speaking, we will never know.”
    That is the end then, add Master Jones’s name to the ever increasing number of innocents indicted and convicted in the name of justice. Forest spoke sadly as he turned to walk away. The crowd was dispersing, the spectacle completed. Jones would hang for perhaps a week as an example to anyone who defied the King’s laws. Importantly Forest had information to pass on to those that mattered. Worthington had confirmed to being disillusioned, a respected man who might be ripe for plucking and a man Forest’s group desired.                            
    I could have saved him but he was scared you see, scared of them more than he was of death. Forest stopped, Worthington it seemed, was a man tormented by his failings, a man who had accusations and recriminations to make against those who had failed his client. If that was the case, then maybe the solicitor was closer to turning than he had envisaged.
    “Could you? I doubt that, not here, not in this climate of foulness. What can anyone do for him now?” Forest waited for Worthingtons reply, depending upon what was said, would confirm if Worthington was a disciple ready to be inducted, or simply a man who was frustrated with what had happened here and spoke out in anger at a case lost, not a radical who desired change.  
 Is there not? Suddenly, Worthington grabbed the merchants arm tightly.
Do you truly believe that? For if that is so why do we bother? Surely that
was why our forefathers came here. Were they not seeking a better life, free from persecution and tyranny, to build a life that will benefit those who follow us? Mark my words, if we do not force change, then more will perish before we see freedom. Worthingtons voice rose to such a level that Forest was forced to act. Taking hold of the solicitor he led him quickly towards an alleyway between a smithy and a laundry house. Insurrection was born in many a strange place but never had the merchant imagined such a humble beginning for their cause. Two men of wealth, standing and influence hid in the shadows and spoke of things that could land them upon the gibbet as sure as night followed day.
Once certain Forest cautioned Worthington,
    “I urge caution; such matters spoken too loudly have a habit of reaching the wrong ears.
    I say nothing that can be interpreted as anti-establishment. Besides which, I said far worse in Court. Worthington stated. Forest paused as if he was considering his next statement with diligence. When he spoke, his words were whispered.    
    “If only that were true…possibly you know of those who would advocate we need change in the accepted order. Would you agree to such a statement?” Forest paused it was time for Worthington to think carefully before replying.
    “Then they must be cautioned, for such a statement, if overheard, would endanger that person and any that listened. Worthington admitted candidly.
    Of course it would, but have you never considered, albeit when alone and in the privacy of your own counsel how much better off this land would be under self-governance?
    I have pondered the possibility. Worthington confessed. In fact he had considered such events on more than one occasion. Until now he had kept silent and spoken to no one of his thoughts. But a man had to be blind or insane not to have seen the leaflets distributed by the separatists. King George was draining the enterprise from the colonies. Each year brought a new Bill, a new Act which took money back to England and restricted the colonists from expanding.
    You are not alone. There are many prominent people who ask the same questions. Some are prepared to speak out, others seek more progressive methods. All though are united in the same cause. Forest paused and inhaled deeply. This was the moment when he would discover if he had chosen well. Would you be prepared to join their struggle? There, the invitation had been made. Now he must wait, would Worthington be tempted or would he call out for the soldiers? Might the merchants next meal be his last, exposed as the traitor he was?
    “What you ask could cost those involved dear. You speak of treason, the
punishment for which is death. I should summon the guard to have you arrested but I am minded of what you have proposed” Worthington paused reflecting on what to say next. “However your words are intriguing enough to make me curious to hear more. If I were to show interest, I would need to know who these so called idealists are, to meet and discuss our mutual thoughts.”
    “That could be arranged…though they would seek to know in advance what your response might be if such a thing was to happen? Forest enquired anxiously.
    “It is too early to say, but certainly I would hear their arguments both for and against. More importantly, my discretion would be guaranteed” 
    “Mutual trust is the life blood of our cause. Of course I have to discuss this with others who will decide. You will be contacted when their decision is made. For now return home, await our word and I implore you Samuel, remain vigilant. There are those who would desire nothing less than to discover our group.” Forest declared his relief obvious. He nodded politely, turned and walked away. Worthington could not be sure, but as the merchant turned the corner he thought he heard a faint tune drifting upon the winter wind. Samuel had made a pact; he hoped he would live to see its outcome.

                                                 Chapter Three

The days that followed had been fraught with anguish and indecision. He spent most days wandering the streets, invariably drawn to where Jeremiah still swayed upon his rope. While at night he began to sleep fitfully, pondering his response in case he was summoned. Four days after the hanging, Samuel was accosted by a man who appeared vaguely familiar.
    “Aint pretty is he Lawyer? Will get worse afore he’s cut down, bastards want us all to learn from his mistakes.”  
    “What?” Samuel remembered. The man was the rope maker, the man he knew as Tar-face, only now he appeared calmer, more rational but no less frightening. “Oh yes. A terrible outcome, I did all I could. I could do no more.” 
    “So you say.” The man frowned and shook his head. “I reckon, many would follow an educated, brave man like you. No disrespect meant sir, but there’s much more you could do if you listened to your heart, not your head.”
    “Perhaps?” Samuel whispered as he experienced such clarity of thought, he was left breathless, it was if, suddenly the blight which had overshadowed him since Jones’s death had been removed and he knew what he must do. Fate had shown him which path to take, it might be dangerous, it might be adventurous but he knew his life would never be the same again.
    One week later Samuel Worthington stood beneath an old, gnarled, oak tree considering is he was a fool or not. The reason for his presence remained unclear, but he had done as commanded in the briefest of notes. Who delivered it, he neither knew nor cared. Forest, he suspected had some hand to play, perhaps not in the delivery, for Forest wasn’t the sort of man to skulk around town, but certainly in the note’s conception. The note had been simple and precise, ‘Be at the Woodsman Tavern at seven, of the evening of the fourteenth of this month.’
    The journey had taken longer than imagined; he had walked for reasons, which remained lost, even to him, but he was glad he had done so. Self-consciously he found a seat by the fire and waited for whatever happened next. An hour later he contemplated leaving, no one had approached and he tired of their games.  .
    “This is for you,” the tavern keeper whispered, placing a small glass of wine before him along with a scrap of paper. Drinking the wine, Samuel read the note, held secretively below the tabletop.
    Go to the old oak at the crossroads on the high road.” He paused as a man walked past before continuing. “Take the left fork and three miles further on you will come to Brookside House. Be there ‘afore nine this evening. You will be expected.
    “Is it far to the next crossroads on the high road?” He asked.
    “An hour, less if you have a horse.” Samuel thanked him, drank his drink and left almost immediately.
    The instructions were simple enough and he arrived before nine. Pausing within the tree line, Samuel considered his options once again. To continue meant he was more than interested, to falter and return would mean he was no better than the cowards that had hung his client. Decision made, that first faltering step set him apart from many others. Despite the fact that fear made his heart race, he had a fire in his belly which need quenching.   
    Brookside House was a fine building, more ornate than he had imagined from where he had first seen it. Built in the Queen Ann style, he thought it more suited to the Shires than the colonies. Ornate gates separated the house from the countryside, giving the impression of both strength and isolation.  Torches illuminated the driveway while candle-lit windows sparkled like fireflies in the gloom. Entering the grounds he walked cautiously up the drive, his progress hampered by lingering doubts. There was still time to turn and never speak of this again. That was what the lawyer in him advised, his heart, though, forced him on, to discover if he were man or coward.
    Standing upon the top step, in front of a pair of oak doors, it was obvious Forest had wealthy friends. Wealth brought position and influence. Many an intrigue had been born in such places as Samuel well knew, paradoxically many a treasonable plan had also been discovered simply because the establishment looked upon landed gentry as constantly at odds with those in power. Breathing deeply he wondered which would occur here, then he knocked and waited, until finally he heard the drawing of bolts from within, before a bewigged and liveried servant opened the door.
    My name is Worthington, I am expected, he said simply. 
    “Sir.” The servant was polite, not the least surprised by his late arrival. Closing the door, the servant asked, “Might I assist you with you topcoat?” As he laid Samuel’s hat and coat upon a hall table he added “The other guests await you in the white drawing room, if you would follow me sir.” Only then did the small sword worn about the man’s waist become apparent. Decoration or defence was yet another question Samuel hoped would be answered soon.
   “Mister Worthington, guest of Mister Forest, seeks an audience.” Samuel desired to laugh; the servant would have not been out of place in Britain at some grand house or palace. Here, his manner seemed a little ostentatious. 
    Samuel, my friend, Elijah Forest said pleasantly stepping forward to greet his friend. I was wondering if I had made a mistake.
    No. It was I who had misgivings, Samuel replied truthfully.
     “A wise man always questions his motives, yet you decided to come. I am glad. Forest led Samuel towards the group. “Allow me to introduce you to the others.” It was not unusual for Worthington to meet influential clients, or to stand in rooms which exuded opulence, but even he was in awe of the grandness of his surroundings. Portraits and landscapes adorned the walls, along with rich tapestries. Delicate tables with fine filigree legs supported silver candelabra; beneath his feet was a rug of such richness Samuel thought it would swallow him to his knees. Brookside House was clearly the home of a man who liked and appreciated the finer things in life.
    Gentlemen, may I name my particular friend, Mister Samuel Worthington.” Forest turned, smiling to his guest like the cat that had got the cream. It was this that drew Samuel back to reality. Twelve men acknowledged his arrival, some enthusiastically, some with muted reservation. Samuel accepted their uncertainties with due reverence and the merest of bows. 
    Mr Worthington, you are most welcome. Forest has spoken well of you, a particularly elegant gentleman said, greeting him warmly. “He informs us you are sympathetic to our cause.
    “Perhaps, perhaps not, that remains to be seen. However, if you ask, am I disgruntled by the manner in which the King treats these colonies, then yes, I do agree.
    Disgruntled, a strange choice of words, sir, one that portrays annoyance and nothing more, another guest stated solemnly.
    My dear Otis, words are so arbitrary. What you perceive as paltry, to another borders upon a sense of outrage. My apologies, Mr Worthington, may I name our punctilious friend, Mr James Otis.” Samuel inclined his head in greeting. The man Otis was known to him by reputation, they both practised law but Otis was better known for his outspoken articles in the broadsheets.   
    “A pleasure, sir, it was with a sense of alacrity that I read of your speech in Boston. It was inspired; the words they quoted were inspirational. No taxation without representation, exactly what I have thought myself.” 
    “I was particularly pleased with that, though it has become something of a rallying cry, I fear. Mr Otis answered. Samuel sensed unease, akin to shame that his words had become to mean so much.
   No, it was exactly what needed to be said. The King assumes we are fools, assumes he can continue fleecing us of all we have, yet allows us not a word in our defence.  It requires men of standing, men like your good self to speak out, to inform His Majesty that we are close to penury that, enough is enough.” Perhaps it was the ambience or the quality of the wine which made Worthington feel at ease and able to speak of matter she would normally remain silent about.
    “Forest, where have you been hiding your friend, for he is both wise and knowledgeable. Have we not said as much often, have we not attempted to make our views known?” Otis appeared overjoyed to have a new convert, someone new to speak with. “We tried to be heard, the Boston merchants attempted to boycott English goods which attracted ludicrous levies. We are all aware of the results.” The group nodded, as if it had been a personal attack upon each of them.
    Forgive Mr Otis; he is never short of things to say,” injected the elegant man who was obviously homeowner and host. 
    Is that not our reasons for being here?” Otis asked fervently. “To think radically about what we have endured and contemplate what can be done? My God, sir, as you well know we are being swamped with new Acts and Bills. This latest Stamp Act, brought in without consultation, will ruin a good many. It has doubled the cost of everything, yet we can do nothing about it. Our governor is nothing more than the Kings lackey who implements each new idea without a word of complaint. For pity’s sake, are we to do nothing while we are bled white? Mark my words it will only become worse!
    Take care, my friend,” their host warned. “We are aware of your feelings. But I implore you; allow our guest a moment to at least get comfortable ‘afore you abuse his senses with your views. For now, as time, I fear, is our enemy and as we have much to discuss, I suggest gentlemen we begin.” Gesturing towards the large mahogany table, around which were fourteen chairs, they took their places, Samuel sat opposite his host and accepted both cigar and wine when offered. Once all were ready, their host spoke. Gentlemen, I name Mr Worthington of Concorde. I am told that our guest is a notable lawyer of like mind.
    “You agree the British should be disposed from these shores once and for all? Samuel turned, noticing that the speaker was far younger and, if his clothing were anything to go by, of lesser financial standing than the others of the group. Something about him reminded Samuel of himself as Jones had swung on his rope. This youth was full of passion, spirit, the feeling that wrongs were to be righted. “Mark my words gentlemen, Britain will deal with insurrection in the only way she knows how, force of arms. We see it even now, the slightest murmurings of discontent bring redcoats to quell our words and deeds. Why do we see more than eight thousand troops on our shore if the King is not concerned? They fear losing the wealth we generate, more importantly, they fear losing this land to a more powerful adversary. I hear Britain is close to war with France, if that occurs we will be drawn into their fight. They will expect us to join them despite how they treat us. We should deal with them now, while we can. Rise up I say, throw them out and keep them out.            
    “Mr Penn, I do so urge caution. Your words will surely upset our guest. I fear, sir, some of our members are a trifle spurious of the King’s reasoning for sending us so many troopers. Armed revolt is not what we desire. What we seek, what we hope to achieve is to discover a way of convincing the King that he must treat us with the respect we deserve.
    “With the deepest respect My Lord, you are a fool.” Penn stood and for a moment Samuel wondered what their host’s response would be. In this brief exchange he had learnt much, that there were issues to be resolved, that not all shared the same goal, and that his host was of noble birth, all very revealing.
    “I concur with Penn, Kenardington. What you desire will never happen Samuel baulked, if this man was truly the Earl, then he had been drawn into a very distinguished group indeed. The ‘Sons of Liberty were spoken of in hushed tones. Word was they sought to break away from England and form a new country, self-sufficient and independent from their land of birth.
    It must,” the Earl countered. “Our future lies with, but not of Britain. The King must relinquish his strangle hold on our economy, without that freedom and the ability to govern ourselves, we will forever be paying vast amounts into the English coffers and receiving little in return.
    “You speak of mutiny at best, rebellion and treason at worst, sir. Samuel stood, his trepidation made his voice tremble. “I must caution against such action, for to continue might see us all face the hangman.”
    Your concerns are justified Mr Worthington, treason is indeed an ugly word. Throughout our history men have strived for change against tyrannical regimes. Such men have risked all in their efforts to gain for others the liberties we have come to expect, such actions are now defined in our very being. You must, as each of us has already done, examine your conscience and decide if it is treasonable to want to live without fear of reproach or exorbitant taxation. Is it treasonable to want the freedoms those intrepid pilgrims sought when they arrived in this land, seeking freedom from persecution? I swore an allegiance to our King, yet, even I am prepared to consider the unthinkable. We find ourselves restrained by unfair laws and taxes, governed by those with little idea of what is amiss, and shackled by an army which acts more like they, not our elected representatives are in control. No, sir, what I speak of is not treason, but liberty. Something we should speak of openly and not in secret.” The assembled men listened intently, nodding in agreement as the Earl finished.
    “Well said, my Lord, but all this talk is pointless unless we proceed with what has been previously discussed. The speaker, Samuel noticed, was a stylish man whom he recognised immediately. The colonies were small and talented silversmiths were few and far between. Our money flows into the coffers in London and each month my position becomes more untenable; commissions are decreasing to the point where it will not be worth working. I say the time has come; we should proceed with separation, issue our declaration and tell the fat German where to go.
     We have broached this question more than once and our deliberations always end the same; with no firm decisions,” the Earl interrupted. His tone implied that he grew tired of this subject. “We are not in a position to rise in open rebellion. To do so would invoke severe repercussions. My God, sir, militarily we are at a disadvantage. Our forces comprise militiamen, farm boys and tailors. Stout hearted and committed for sure but how long would they survive against seasoned troops; days, weeks, one battle? The British are everywhere, they can reinforce from north and south, they count their cannon in scores. Our brave men would be slaughtered, wasted on the fields where next years crops would feed on their blood. No, what we must do is use our intelligence, not our resources. Mr Worthington may be our best and possibly only chance of success.
    “Me? What, pray, can I do? He had not expected to become the object of sudden notoriety. To be used so candidly implied that he had been discussed long before his invitation had been issued.      .
    Travel, sir, you can move without raising suspicion. Take our hopes and dreams abroad, discover and recruit those who share our commitment to a new beginning,” Kenardington said easily.
    II can not. Samuel stammered. To leave Boston for countries he hardly knew was alien to him; he thought he would never leave these shores.
    You can and you must, sir, Kenardington insisted. You see, you are unknown, you would be ignored, able to go wherever you desired. We on the other hand would be watched, questions would be asked, our plans possibly discovered or betrayed. Our future is entrusted into your success; you will carry our message to others, that it is why we invited you here, only you can acquire travel documents safely.
    “You ask much,” Samuel replied. “The enormity of what you desire is mind staggering. If I were discovered, I could disclose your names to save my own, is that the risk you are prepared to take? 
    “Grant me the intelligence to judge character Samuel. From the moment Forest first mentioned your name, we have delved into your past. We know more of your character than perhaps you do yourself. Of all we know, the one thing you have in abundance is loyalty. If you accept our ordinance we are certain you would do all in your power to protect those here. No man can have such faith as from those whom he holds so dear. Our trust in you will be well rewarded. However, if you accept, there are certain arrangements that must be made.”
    “What arrangements?” It felt to Samuel he was on a slippery slope from which he could not escape, but must continue until the ride ended.
    “If we proceed, Samuel Worthington dies this night.” The statement left Samuel gasping for breath. Kenardington saw the fear and reassured him quickly
    “Have no fear, you will simply disappear, no harm will come to you. Forest will orchestrate some plausible explanation for your demise. As for your name, that is dead also, you must travel under a nom de plume. What would be a suitable name? That is for you to decide, for you will become that name, live with it, breath it. Upstairs you will find clothes and travel documents and a loyal servant to assist you. When you are ready you will be taken to a woodsman’s shed where you will remain for a day or two. When you receive instructions, you will join a ship which sails for England in one weeks’ time. You will be assisted every step of the way. Meanwhile, take this.” The Earl handed him a sealed note. “Inside is a draft on my bank in London. Draw that money, sir, then use it wisely.
    “While you await the ship, you will be told of those willing to assist our cause, another added. “Consign those names to memory; do not write them down for they will be of interest to the British and could see you hanged.”
    “Who are these names?” Samuel asked 
    “Men willing to aid and stand alongside us, men who will guide you to others equally so disposed. Nurture such men, recruit others obtain all we need, men, weapons, money, for if we do rise, we will be sure to lose a portion of the population.  Not all will share our view, half will side with the crown, of that we are sure. Add those men to the army already here and we will be hard pressed to win anything without further assistance. We must seek allies from beyond our borders, even those we have fought against before.” 
    France would be a useful place to begin, the Earl added. “Personally, I dislike the idea of seeking their aid, but I am sure they will join if we rise.
The likes of Spain, the Dutch, the Scots and Irish have all been persecuted look to them also. If they believe our cause just, they will join us in battle. If that is our destiny, we will need all the friends you can find.      
    Is that what you desire? Open rebellion?Worthington asked. “For if that is your quest…. I would have to question my ability to assist you. I am a man of the law, yet you openly ask me to contravene those principles I have sworn to protect. If that is the case, then I fear you have approached the wrong man. I am sorry…” Samuel rose, prepared to leave, but hesitated as Forest implored him to remain. The merchant’s words were passionate, calm, each chosen for their impact.  Elijah reminded him of why he had come and what had prompted his disgust.     
    “None of us would wish you to contravene your principles. Each of us has had to look deep into our souls to justify our presence. Be it trade or more personal reasons. But each and every one of us is here because we feel we can do more for our fellow colonists than by doing nothing. Only last week I witnessed in you a struggle as that youth, Jones, was hanged for nothing more than defending his family. Is that not what we are attempting ourselves? Are our neighbours not our family? More to the point, do you believe that boy was convicted in the name of justice? If so, then I want no part in legalised murder. Our King is supposed to be our protector, yet he is squeezing the very life out of us. He sees the colonies as a lucrative sponge which can be wrung out, sucked dry, then discarded. You said yourself that Jones had been dealt an unfair hand, that his fate was decreed long before sentence was passed.”
    “I did, and still believe that. But I fail to see what that has to do with this?” Worthington asked Forest.
    “Everything, Samuel, we are being suffocated beneath myriad laws and legislation. Even you must realise that boy was fighting for his liberty as much as we are. Perhaps we will suffer the same fate, but know this my friend our deaths will fuel another’s sense of injustice. From our ashes will spring hope for a better future.” Forest’s words brought a burst of applause from those gathered. Samuel was never more confused, but had to be sure before deciding.
    “You truly seek a peaceful resolution….not conflict?” Worthington needed to know.                  
    My dear fellow, Kenardington replied, of course, we do not desire any form of confrontation with our King, but he must be made to understand exactly how we feel. However, it would foolish not to prepare for the worst. If diplomacy fails and a struggle ensues, then so be it. We must be ready for all eventualities.     
    Im sorry, Worthington interrupted, how can you say that the King is to be respected, yet concede that conflict is inevitable.”
    “Look to your own misery, Samuel. You have seen how our people suffer and will continue so to do if change is not forthcoming. It is time King George heard our cries.” Forest implored, his passion was such that Samuel knew he had no recourse, no doubt as to where his loyalties lie.
    “I truly hope the King is guided in our favour,” the Earl stated. “But should events overtake us, if the King refuses to hear our pleas for clemency, what would you rather us do? Lie down and accept our fate? Or be prepared to fight for what we consider to be our birthright?” The Earl waited, head inclined in question as Samuel deliberated. There was so much to ponder, so many questions that needed answering. Questions, which Samuel had considered before, but always while alone in his home. Now he was being asked to choose and they sought his answer immediately. Was he being irrational? He knew what these men were saying was precisely what he had thought himself. They were just more willing to speak out whereas he had not, as yet.
   Fight, of course, Samuel finally replied. The die was cast; he had joined them.      
   “Good man. Bravo!” Kenardington was enthusiastic. “I knew you were the man for the job. If we have to fight we must win or die. The King will offer us no quarter, will not seek to parley. Our one chance is to take him to task, grab his manhood and squeeze until he cries out in fear at our capabilities. Samuel we need your strength, your forthrightness, your honesty. Can we count on you? Will you go into the world and find like-minded souls willing to render assistance?” There, the offer had been made and the Earl’s question hung unanswered for a moment. The silence was almost palatable as Worthington considered his response. One would condemn him as a traitor, the other a coward. Which could he best live with? Finally, he looked at the assembled men and said clearly….
    You can and I will.
    Then pour the wine. We have much to discuss before the night is out.
                                            *      *      *      *      *
    Samuel Worthington sailed from Boston just over a week later, under his new identity. He took with him the aspirations of men eager to discover an identity and freedom for a young embryonic nation. However, unknown to him, or the Earl, his departure wasn’t the secret he would have liked. He had been seen and identified; messages about his departure were carried swiftly to the offices of the Military Governor of the Colonies, from there a frigate would make haste across the ocean overhauling the slower vessel. His task might remain a secret but he would be observed once he arrived in Plymouth, for that was where his ship was due. Wherever Samuel Worthington went, agents would be close behind. Those he met would be investigated and reported on. The plan the Earl Kenardington had implemented was already doomed to failure. The ‘Sons of Liberty’ had underestimated the British, something that they would never do again.