THE RESCUE
Of John Hancock, Sam Adams, a Salmon, and a Trunk

It is supposed their object there was to seize on Messrs. Hancock and Adams, two of our deputies to the General Congress. They were alarmed just in time to escape. --Letter from a Gentleman of Rank in New England, April 25, 1775

WHILE THE COUNTRYSIDE began to stir, the man who had set these events in motion hobbled back toward Lexington, painfully encumbered by his silver spurs and heavy riding boots. It was about 3 o'clock in the morning when Paul Revere regained his freedom. The night had turned cold and raw and darker than before--the damp Stygian darkness that so often comes before a New England dawn.

As Paul Revere passed the low swamps that lay west of Lexington Green, he would have felt the dampness in his weary bones. He made slow progress in his high-topped boots on the muddy road, but his mind was racing far ahead. He wondered what Samuel Adams and John Hancock had done since he left them. Had they ended their interminable debate? Were they still debating? Did they act wisely on their warning?

Knowing Hancock and Adams, Paul Revere decided that he had better be sure. Before he reached the center of the town, he turned off the road, plunged into a muddy swamp, and waded across the wetlands to Lexington's burying ground. In the darkness, he picked his way across the broken slates and canted stones that marked the last resting place of the town's founders.

-174-

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