“Home, sir. I was just—”“Sergeant,” Abigail said, stepping forward. Both soldiers appearedstartled that she would even think of intruding. “Please, sir. The corporal iscorrect. This is my brother, Benjamin Lovell, and he was indeed on his wayhome. We live on School Street, but a few doors from Corporal Lumley’s billet.”Her brother nodded slowly, wary of the sword which was still pointedat his neck. Incredulous, the sergeant touched the steel tip to Benjamin’sskin, just above the Adam’s apple.
A voice to Abigail’s left, and then, as the crowd parted,an officer approached, causing Munroe and Lumley to stiffen. “No need for
.”Reluctantly, Munroe lowered his arm, holding the sword at his side.“Of course, Colonel Cleaveland.” Lumley seemed to comprehend thedelicacy of the moment, and he looked up from the hat in his hands. “Andyou might be … Mistress Abigail Lovell?” he said. Several of the people inthe crowd snickered.“Yes, I am Abigail Lovell. And our father is the headmaster at theLatin School, and, well, he’s quick to employ discipline with his ferule. Latefor dinner customarily brings two whacks, one for each palm.” She gazedabout at the crowd, drawing them into the conspiracy. “But, of course, youunderstand this all really has to do with fishing.”Munroe looked as though he’d heard enough prattle, but ColonelCleaveland seemed mildly interested. “How so, Miss?” he asked. “Well, sir.On such a spring evening young men must needs go fishing down to theharbor, but my brother will not be allowed to venture forth until he has eatena proper supper.” There were more snickers:
.“Or perhaps if the tide’s out,” she offered. “They might row across theBack Bay to go digging in the clam beds.”And there were consenting murmurs and nods.
Aye. In beds
. Thecolonel studied the crowd, his gaze deliberate, suspicious. Taller than theother two soldiers, he was a different cut of Brit. Blond hair smoothed back and tied in a neat queue with a fine ribbon. Deep blue eyes, a clean-shaven jaw. “This is not about fishing, young lady,” he announced for everyone’s benefit. “But order. These two soldiers patrol the streets of Boston in aneffort to maintain order.”“But, sir—” she began.“Do not confuse the issue,” he said, looking at her now, and his eyes