* * *
Westmoore returned to the tavern but, before entering, he jumped up and down outside and worked up a good sweat. He walked into the tavern and found Whipple there, reading a book.
â€œOh!â€ he said. â€œOh, I just ranâˆ’â€
â€œGood morning my friend,â€ Whipple said, putting down the book.
â€œOh â€¦ uh â€¦ I just ran here,â€ Westmoore said, somewhat thrown.
â€œFantastic!â€ Whipple said.
â€œOkay, the constable, it was just me and him, so â€¦ we didnâ€™t have any way of getting back here,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œTake your time,â€ Whipple said. â€œTake your time. Let me get you a drink.â€
He called to the man who owned the place for ale.
â€œHe said we need to go,â€ Westmoore continued. He was not used to being interrupted like that. â€œWe need to go to Matchellâ€™s place now. We need to go now. He said weâ€™re running out of time and we need to go now.â€
â€œThatâ€™s ridiculous,â€ Whipple said.
â€œHe wouldnâ€™t send you!â€ Private North, standing in the corner said. â€œWhy would he send you of all people?â€
â€œWe didnâ€™t have time!â€ Westmoore said. â€œWe didnâ€™t have time! The constableâ€™s busy right now.â€
â€œDoing what?â€ Private North said.
â€œDoing what? Getting rumors!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œHe would never let you out of his sight!â€ Private North said.
â€œThere was a crime!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œWhat crime?â€ Private North said.
â€œI donâ€™t know!â€ Westmoore said. â€œHe just told me to run here and I did. I trust him.â€
â€œTell me more,â€ Whipple said with a smile.
â€œHeâ€™s a very lawful individual whoâ€™s very skilled at his craft,â€ Westmoore said. â€œAnd therefore I trust him with my life.â€
â€œHey, go to your room!â€ Private North said to him.
â€œHuh?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œGo to your room!â€ Private North said again.
â€œWhy?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œHe hasnâ€™t finished his drink yet,â€ Whipple said.
â€œYeah,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œBy all means,â€ Whipple said.
â€œWhy are you telling me to go to my room?â€ Westmoore asked Private North.
â€œBecause, youâ€™ve obviously done something like â€¦ probably killed the constable orâˆ’â€ Private North said.
â€œWhat!?!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œOr stolen something,â€ Private North went on.
â€œOh come on,â€ Sooleawa said, stepping into the room. â€œYouâ€™re too hard on him.â€
â€œCalm down, calm down,â€ Whipple said to Private North, whoâ€™s voice was very high-pitched in his excitement. â€œA fourth drink, please.â€
â€œCan we please start our adventure together to Matchellâ€™s place?â€ Westmoore asked Whipple.
â€œNo!â€ Private North said. â€œAbsolutely not!â€
â€œI told him Iâ€™d be there at two,â€ Whipple said as if it was a done deal.
â€œYouâ€™re not coming!â€ Private North said to Westmoore.
â€œWeâ€™re arriving early,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œYou are not coming!â€ Private North said again. â€œWe three discussed this and you are to stay away.â€
â€œThen let us walk slowly,â€ Westmoore said.
The door to the building opened and Constable Calhoun entered.
â€œOh constable, youâ€™re here,â€ Westmoore said. â€œI was just telling them of our plan.â€
â€œNo!â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œGood morning,â€ Richards said to the constable.
â€œHe wants to go to Matchellâ€™s!â€ Private North nearly shrieked. â€œHeâ€™s been trying to go to Matchellâ€™s. I told him â€˜No!â€™â€
He looked around.
â€œI told him â€˜No!â€™â€ he said, his voice a deeper bass again. â€œI said â€˜No.â€™â€
â€œVery good,â€ Constable Calhoun said. Then to Westmoore. â€œYou are not going. They are only going. Two people is enough. Heâ€™s going to be alarmed by more than two.â€
â€œWhat is going on?â€ Whipple said.
â€œHe said there was a crime,â€ Private North said. â€œWas there a crime?â€
â€œNo,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œI knew it!â€ Private North said.
â€œThe only crime is him existing!â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œMy friend,â€ Whipple said to Westmoore. â€œWhat are they saying?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know,â€ Westmoore said. â€œIâ€™ve done nothing but good on this trip.â€
â€œYou lied to me,â€ Private North said, his voice high-pitched again.
â€œAbout what?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œThere was no crime!â€ Private North cried. â€œâ€˜There was no time, I didnâ€™t run away from the constable.â€™â€
â€œThere was a crime, wasnâ€™t there constable,â€ Westmoore said calmly.
â€œYeah, you existing!â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œWhat?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œYouâ€™re a crime to humanity!â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œSir, where are your manacles?â€ Westmoore said. â€œArrest me!â€
â€œYou â€¦!â€ Constable Calhoun said, taking out his truncheon.
The front door of the tavern opened. A young boy was there.
â€œIâ€™m looking for Mr. Calhoun!â€ he called.
â€œThat would be I!â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œOh, here you are sir,â€ the boy said. â€œThese were sent on from Providence.â€
He handed over a pair of manacles to the constable.
â€œWhat did you say, now?â€ Constable Calhoun said to Westmoore.
â€œHereâ€™s the key,â€ the boy said, handing it over.
â€œThank you,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œGood day.â€
He reached into his boot and pulled out a penny, tossing it to the boy.
â€œBoy, you might want to fetch another!â€ Westmoore said with a laugh. â€œIâ€™ll have a feeling heâ€™ll lose these as well.â€
The boy took the penny and ran away. Constable Calhoun held his manacles out towards Westmoore.
â€œWhat did you say?â€ he asked the man.
â€œAnd under what grounds am I under arrest?â€ Westmoore asked.
â€œGive me a moment, friend,â€ Whipple said.
â€œFor â€¦â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œWhat have I done?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œYou have disobeyed your commanding officer,â€ Private North said.
â€œDisobeying the orders of an officer of the law,â€ Richards said.
â€œYou ran away from me when you knew you were supposed to stay by my side,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œYou are hindering an investigation. You ran away from an officer. You drew a knife on an officer.â€
â€œI donâ€™t recall,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œWhy donâ€™t we just take away his weaponry?â€ Private North said.
â€œThat would be a good idea, good, kind gentleman, sir,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
Westmoore shrugged his shoulders and took out a knife.
â€œThere is my only knife,â€ he said.
Constable Calhoun took the blade with some little satisfaction and tucked it away. He considered searching the man but realized it was a gesture of goodwill from the rogue.
Whipple asked why they were constantly fighting.
â€œI know that he is a criminal,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œI donâ€™t know you people very well,â€ Whipple said.
â€œI have seen himâˆ’â€ Constable Calhoun continued.
â€œHe keeps running away from him and doing things to hinder the investigation against the true enemy!â€ Private North said, his voice high-pitched again. â€œAnd I feel like that makes you an aid to the true enemy!â€
â€œAnd what has he done to put him under the charge of the state?â€ Sooleawa asked.
â€œThank you,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œWho is the true enemy?â€ Whipple asked.
â€œThe British!â€ Private North said.
â€œFair enough,â€ Whipple said. â€œFair enough.â€
â€œHe is a criminal,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œSince this venture has started, what have I done?â€ Westmoore asked.
â€œYou stole the manacles,â€ Private North said.
â€œHe was in jail for a few days, obviouslyâˆ’â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œAnd what does that prove?â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œObviously that he did something illegal,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œThat he was deemed to have done something illegal,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œI donâ€™t know what heâ€™s done, but heâ€™s been in the jail for three days and Mr. Stone has told me to keep a close eye on him,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œAnd I trust Mr. Stone to know what he has done.â€
â€œDoes that justify your behavior though?â€ Sooleawa asked. â€œYou have threatened this man on multiple occasions.â€
â€œHe threatened me first!â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œHe brought out a knife,â€ Private North said.
â€œHe brought out a knife,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œHe ran away,â€ Private North went on. â€œHe lied to an officer.â€
â€œYou pointed your bow and arrow at him,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œThat was the time he was threatening you,â€ Sooleawa said. â€œHe has not tried to do anything since.â€
â€œAll I know is you two were the only ones who were downstairs when I fell asleep,â€ Constable Calhoun said, pointing to Westmoore and Sooleawa.
â€œAre you insinuating that I might have stolen your belongings?â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œNo,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œI think that he stole my belongings because you two were the only ones.â€
â€œIn my society, we are not selfish and clinging to our own belongings; we share everything,â€ Sooleawa said.
* * *
Around half past one oâ€™clock, Whipple rented two horses and took Private North to Matchellâ€™s house.
â€œWould you kindly, sir, escort me to the forest around his property?â€ Constable Calhoun asked Westmoore.
â€œAre you going to kill me?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œNo!â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œI would also like to take this woman who knows about the wild.â€
He pointed at Sooleawa.
Constable Calhoun went into the woods with Westmoore, Richards, and Sooleawa.
* * *
Whipple and Private North arrived at Matchellâ€™s home. It was built in the classic Georgian style and was very large with probably a dozen rooms. Two chimneys graced the roof and there were numerous open windows on both floors. The basement windows were closed.
Private North left his musket tied to his horse and they went to the front door where Whipple knocked. They were greeted by an Indian in the clothing of a servant. He was a handsome man and merely glared at the two.
â€œWho are you?â€ he asked.
â€œGood afternoon, my friend,â€ Whipple said. â€œIâ€™m Ronald Whipple. I sent a message.â€
The man glared at him.
â€œCome with me,â€ he finally said.
He led them into the fine house. The passageway went through the building to the back doors, going under a set of stairs. The man led them to the right to a parlor. It was a comfortable room with several cushioned chairs and a sideboard with many liquors and wines atop it. There were shutters beside the open glass windows. A tiny set of shelves set in one corner held a few books and gewgaws. Over the fireplace was a large portrait of a dour-faced man dressed in the fashion of some decades before.
â€œYou wait here,â€ the Indian said.
He left them in the room and went up the stairs.
Whipple looked over the books while North tried to make himself invisible in the corner. Whipple found The Magnalia by Cotton Mather on the shelf and took it down, opening it and reading a little of it. It was dry and dark and he felt his mood darken after only reading a few lines. He noticed Private North watched him carefully and smiled, but the boy looked away quickly when he noticed Whipple looking at him. Whipple chuckled to himself.
After a few minutes, Arthur Matchell arrived. He was young, and appeared to be in his 20s, a relatively handsome man with reddish hair and a solid face. He wore fine clothing and carried a cane. He stood in the archway for a few moments, looking at them, before speaking.
â€œMr. Whipple, what can I do for you?â€ Matchell asked dryly.
Whipple opened his coat and put his hand in one pocket, showing off the gold pocket watch at the same time and smiled at Matchell.
â€œYou sent a note?â€ Matchell said.
â€œAbsolutely,â€ Whipple said. â€œItâ€™s a pleasure to meet you, sir.â€
â€œThank you,â€ Matchell said.
â€œRonald Whipple,â€ Whipple said.
â€œThis your boy?â€
â€œHe can go.â€
â€œOf course, of course. Please wait outside.â€
Matchell turned to the servant who had showed them in.
â€œWematin,â€ he said. â€œYou may take him to the kitchen.â€
â€œI will stay by the outside of the doorâˆ’â€ Private North said.
â€œYou will go where youâ€™re told, boy!â€ Matchell said angrily.
â€œI beg your pardon sir,â€ Whipple said. â€œI am happy to have the boy leave the room, but perhaps just outside.â€
â€œHe will be fine in the kitchen,â€ Matchell said.
â€œHeâ€™ll be fine outside,â€ Whipple said.
The two men stared at each other for a moment.
â€œVery well, sir,â€ Matchell said with a frown. â€œYou may wait by the horses, boy.â€
â€œWait, outside outside?â€ Private North said.
â€œGo on,â€ Whipple said.
â€œWematin, see him to the horses,â€ Matchell grunted.
Private North found himself tearing up a little bit and was shaking. The servant grabbed him by the arm and led him out of the house. He led him out the front door and gave him a shove, glared at the young man, and closed the door. Private North glared back at him through his tears of anger.
He took up his musket and moved close to the windows of the parlor to hear parts of their conversation. He mostly listened to it and, at one point, crept around the house to look at the buildings behind it. There was a small graveyard with an iron fence around it, kitchen, stables, carriage house, and barn. He saw one of the servants near the barn and horses in the corral behind the stables. He heard noise from the kitchen and peeked in. He saw an Indian woman preparing a meal of beef and vegetables. He crept back to the front of the house.
* * *
â€œI do apologize for that,â€ Whipple said. â€œI donâ€™t know him well enough to draw upon his trust. How are you today, my friend?â€
â€œWhat do you want, Mr. Whipple?â€ Matchell said with some venom in his voice.
â€œOf course,â€ Whipple said. â€œI apologize. I had a new investment opportunity for you. I just thought Iâ€™d see if you were interested.â€
â€œWhat is this investment opportunity, Mr. â€¦ Whipple?â€ Matchell said.
He sounded bored.
â€œWell, you see, gambling is a science, not a risk,â€ Whipple said. â€œIâ€™d like to start an organization of gamblers who go out and earn capital on a regular basis, using their skills. While I have the capital myself, I think it would be wise to reduce my risk and increase the chance of gains for the people around me.â€
â€œVery well, tell me of your plan,â€ Matchell said.
He offered the man a drink. Whipple described his made-up plan and tried to learn what he could of Matchell in return. The man was very closed-mouthed, however, and seemed anxious for Whipple to leave, as if heâ€™d had enough of him already. He didnâ€™t seem at all enthused about the plan. He noted early in the conversation he was not a gambler and preferred surety in life. Whipple tried to convince him it was sure, but Matchell seemed skeptical. Whipple even tried to do some card tricks in order to convince Matchell the cards could be controlled. It still didnâ€™t convince the man.
* * *
Constable Calhoun, Westmoore, Richards, and Sooleawa entered the woods around Matchellâ€™s home. They kept a good distance from the home mostly, deep enough in the woods they could not even see the grounds. They circled around the property and only got close enough once to see the outbuildings behind the house. They included a barn, stables, carriage house, kitchen, and small graveyard.
They went deeper into the woods and at one point came across a spot where there were several sunken places on the ground. Each was probably five to six feet long and two to three feet wide. Constable Calhoun found it suspicious and immediately dug one of the spots up.
â€œHas he gone mad?â€ Westmoore asked.
Moments later, Constable Calhoun dug up several human bones. He looked around and realized there were probably dozens of sunken spots in that part of the woods.
â€œOkay,â€ he muttered.
Richards started to examine the bones as Constable Calhoun dug up more of the spots and found more bones underneath. Sooleawa looked around for signs of a struggle but found none. Richards was unsure how old the bones were. As Constable Calhoun dug up a third set of bones, he found, on a fresher corpse, all of the meat and skin had been removed, cut away. He cursed. It looked like the corpse had been butchered. He also found one skeleton with an extra pair of arms attached at the shoulder in a way that made it look like it might have been functional. Richards examined the skeleton but was unsure if it was possible the arms had functioned before death.
Constable Calhoun counted at least 30 shallow graves.
Westmoore was very disturbed by the entire incident. He just stared at the three unearthed skeletons with horror.
â€œI think we need to cover them back up so that whomever buried them doesnâ€™t know that anyone found them,â€ Constable Calhoun said calmly. â€œThen weâ€™ll tell the rest and make a decision. I want to continue going around and see if we find anything else.â€
â€œCover those things up!â€ Westmoore said shakily.
Constable Calhoun shushed him.
â€œNow!â€ Westmoore said. â€œNow! Now! Now! Now! Now!â€
â€œCan you calm down?â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œItâ€™s all right,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œItâ€™s not!â€ Westmoore said. â€œLook at that.â€
â€œItâ€™s not, I know,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œLook!â€ Westmoore said.
Constable Calhoun pushed the dirt back over the strange skeletons
* * *
Matchell proved uninterested in Whippleâ€™s gambling idea so Whipple transitioned into a spiel about a piloted balloon service he was thinking about starting.
â€œI really think balloon travel is the wave of the future,â€ he said.
Matchell did not seem convinced or interested. It might have had something to do with his earlier display of support of his servant over another gentleman. He remained coldly polite to the man even as Whipple was unabashedly warm back to him. Matchell was not insulting but openly standoffish.
â€œI have other endeavors of more import than balloons,â€ he said.
â€œYou havenâ€™t seen my balloon,â€ Whipple said.
He tried to learn more about Matchell with small talk but Matchell seemed quite resistant to it. However, Whipple did learn Matchell was worried about his ships at sea. They were continuing their trade outside of America until the blockade could be lifted. He was hopeful the British would soon be ousted from Rhode Island as the Continental Army was on Rhode Island and would hopefully push them back before the end of the month.
They spoke until dinnertime but Matchell didnâ€™t extend any invitation for the man to stay. Whipple excused himself, telling Matchell he would visit him again soon. Matchell didnâ€™t seem terribly pleased at that prospect.
â€œPlease send word before you come,â€ Matchell said.
â€œOf course,â€ Whipple said. â€œJust as I did this time.â€
Matchell saw him out of the front door and closed it behind him.
* * *
The others had looked through the woods nearest to Matchellâ€™s house but had found nothing else out of the ordinary. They had reached the front of the house and could see the manor from the woods. They saw Private North, gun in hand, standing out front. They soon saw Whipple exit the house and so made their way to the road in the woods where they could meet the two.
â€œI want to light his house on fire,â€ Private North said.
â€œOh!â€ Whipple said.
â€œSo rude!â€ Private North said. â€œHe is a cad and inhospitable.â€
â€œI think he also might be insane,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œHe seemed nice to me,â€ Whipple said. â€œHe seemed very nice.â€
â€œWe found dead people!â€ Westmoore cried. â€œDead people!â€
â€œCalm down,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œGoodness.â€
â€œDead!â€ Westmoore said again.
â€œCalm down man!â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œWe need to talk somewhere private.â€
â€œIs this not private?â€ Private North said.
â€œDead. People,â€ Westmoore said. â€œDead people!â€
He looked at Whipple and Private North.
â€œDoes this not shock you two?â€ Westmoore said. â€œDead people? In the woods?â€
â€œThatâ€™s nonsense,â€ Whipple said. â€œIt canâ€™t be true.â€
â€œIt is true,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œIt is very true,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œI saw it,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œWho do I trust here?â€ Whipple said to himself.
â€œTheyâ€™re all saying the same thing!â€ Private North said.
â€œI need one person I trust to say it,â€ Whipple said. â€œThatâ€™s why I havenâ€™t decided.â€
â€œItâ€™s true,â€ Richards said. â€œWe saw.â€
â€œHm,â€ Whipple said. â€œMy goodness! You saw dead bodies!â€
â€œIâ€™m a man of medicine and they were, indeed, quite dead,â€ Richards said.
â€œWas it a battlefield?â€ Private North asked.
â€œNo, it looked like they had been dragged there,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œAnd experimented on!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œDragged there?â€ Whipple said.
â€œWhat does that mean?â€ Private North said.
â€œOne had four arms!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œNonsense!â€ Whipple said. â€œThis is nonsense!â€
â€œNo, there were four arms,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œYou tell him.â€
â€œItâ€™s true,â€ Richards said.
â€œAh,â€ Whipple said, seemingly convinced.
They discussed the bodies buried in the woods near his house. Constable Calhoun suggested they find out more about the travelers who had gone missing.
Westmoore, still feeling somewhat unhinged, took out a knife and started to crudely and thinly carve â€œDead Peopleâ€ on a tree with an arrow pointing in the direction of Matchellâ€™s house.
â€œHey!â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œI thought I took your knife. You said that was your only one! Hand it to Emory.â€
â€œIâ€™m not done yet,â€ Westmoore muttered.
â€œI did think it strange how insistent he was that the boy wait in the kitchen,â€ Whipple said.
â€œHe said to wait in the kitchen?â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œI thought it was just pleasantry at first,â€ Whipple said.
â€œPerhaps he wanted to use him,â€ Richards suggested.
Westmoore finished carving his barely visible sign but refused to give the knife to Constable Calhoun. Private North tried to get it but he batted the boyâ€™s hand away. Eventually, Private North snatched it out of his pocket.
â€œMy only other knife â€¦â€ Westmoore said.
They talked more about Matchell telling Private North to wait in the kitchen.
â€œThe bones looked like they were defleshed,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
Westmoore went pale.
â€œCan we not?â€ Westmoore said. â€œCan we not?â€
â€œIs this true?â€ Whipple said.
â€œItâ€™s true,â€ Richards assured him.
â€œHe wouldnâ€™t let me stay in the room for a second!â€ Private North wailed. â€œHe was so cruel!â€
â€œSurely boy, youâ€™ve been dismissed before,â€ Whipple said.
â€œDid you just call me boy?â€ Private North said.
â€œHow old are you?â€ Whipple asked.
â€œSeventeen,â€ Private North said.
â€œReally?â€ Sooleawa said.
Constable Calhoun again wanted to inquire about the missing travelers. Private North was of the opinion Matchell was rude to them until they died of it.
They returned to the tavern and Richards suggested they talk to the tavern owner. However, the man didnâ€™t know anything about any missing travelers nor had he have anyone disappear from his place. He noted the missing people stories going around were merely rumors. Richards asked if there was someone who would go to Providence for him to retrieve a musket and a medical bag from his shop. It was quite expensive but he was able to hire a mill-worker to go immediately and return late that night. It cost several shillings.
Constable Calhoun asked about missing travelers but none of the locals knew anything more than vague stories. Westmoore got upset, the more he heard the man talking about it. He went to bed right after he finished his meal, running up the steps and locking himself in.
Private North had fled to his room as soon as they got back. He returned in uniform well after the others had finished dinner. Sooleawa noticed it looked as if he had been crying. He got some bread and cold meat from the innkeeper for a late dinner. She got two beers and joined him.
â€œIs everything okay?â€ she asked the youth.
â€œYes,â€ Private North said. â€œIâ€™m eating.â€
â€œI know,â€ Sooleawa said. â€œBut you look upset.â€
â€œIâ€™m not upset,â€ Private North said.
â€œWell just tell me if you need someone to talk to.â€
â€œNo. Iâ€™m fine. Thank you.â€
She walked away.
â€œWait â€¦â€ the boy said too quietly for her to hear.
Whipple played cards with the locals, playing for half-pennies and quarter-pennies. He played just for fun and bought a round of ale for the table when he was done. He found it quite entertaining to play cards with the locals.
* * *
On Sunday, August 16, 1778, it was raining fairly heavily. They headed back to Providence. Westmoore seemed pleased, claiming the investigation was over.
â€œWe havenâ€™t found anything but bodies,â€ Private North said.
â€œThatâ€™s all we need,â€ Westmoore said. â€œLetâ€™s go.â€
â€œThat doesnâ€™t have anything to do with the British as far as Iâ€™m concerned,â€ Private North said, his voice deep again. â€œUnless it is!â€
â€œEven if heâ€™s not a loyalist, there were bodies,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œThose were American citizensâ€™ bodies,â€ Westmoore said. â€œHeâ€™s a loyalist. Yep.â€
â€œWait, did you take any of the bodies back to Stone?â€ Private North said.
â€œNo!â€ Westmoore said. â€œWhy!?!â€
â€œThatâ€™s the only evidence we have so far,â€ Private North said. â€œLetâ€™s take it back!â€
â€œNo no no no no!â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œI know where theyâ€™re buried,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œThe graves are still there!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œBut what if theyâ€™re not there anymore?â€ Private North said.
â€œI made sure to leave them exactly the same so that no one would think anything,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œUh-huh, uh-huh,â€ Westmoore said. â€œStone can go find them.â€
â€œBut Indians can smell differences,â€ Private North said. â€œAnd heâ€™s got lots of those.â€
â€œWhat?â€ Whipple said.
â€œYes, theyâ€™re so in tune with nature,â€ Private North said. â€œHe has Indian servants and theyâ€™re naturally trackers.â€
â€œTrue,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œThey notice even when a grain of sand is out of place,â€ Private North went on. â€œIs that not right?â€
â€œI notice everything,â€ Sooleawa confessed.
â€œPerhaps I should think of another business,â€ Whipple said.
They discussed returning to the graves. Private North wanted to return a body to Providence, though Constable Calhoun thought that would be difficult. He pointed out the corpses might not be able to be connected to Matchell. It was not evidence he was a loyalist either. Private North didnâ€™t want to return to Providence but Constable Calhoun wanted to investigate more there. Private North also brought up Joseph Curwen and wondered what his connection was to all of it and how he had lived for so long. Richards suggested investigating his properties.
â€œCan you just drop me off in Providence?â€ Westmoore asked.
â€œNo,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œPlease,â€ Westmoore said. â€œIâ€™d rather go to jail.â€
â€œWould you?â€ Private North said.
â€œYes,â€ he said. â€œPeople with four arms â€¦â€
They were unsure where Curwenâ€™s property was. Pawtuxet was down the bay several miles away but still held by the Americans. They set off for the town, arriving by midday, and investigated Joseph Curwen there. Whipple asked about hiring a balloon there but, of course, there were no balloons in Pawtuxet. Neither were they able to find out anything solid about Joseph Curwen except that he owned a farm. The records of Joseph Curwenâ€™s farm, however, were all missing. People were not talking about him either, almost as if they were afraid of the man, even after his death. Something very dark happened and people didnâ€™t want to talk about it. When Richards asked at the Pawtuxet Fort about the raid, he got no answers.
Whipple asked them who Curwen was and they explained that he had been an associate of Arthur Matchellâ€™s father and grandfather. He had lived nearly 100 years in the area as well. He was presumed dead.
As they supped in a local tavern and inn in Pawtuxet, Private North suggested doing more research at the newspaper as they had only gone back as far as 1771.
â€œHe probably has my Nightâ€™s Rose information ready!â€ Westmoore said, excited about something for the first time since he saw the horrible skeletons.
â€œIâ€™m sure he doesnâ€™t,â€ Private North said.
â€œHe said heâ€™d do it,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œNo, he didnâ€™t,â€ Private Smith insisted.
â€œHe said heâ€™d take time.â€
â€œHe said it would take time, he didnâ€™t say he would do it.â€
* * *
On Monday, August 17, 1778, they returned to Providence. The weather was hot and humid that day.
Westmoore went to the gaol first thing and told the other constables there were corpses in the woods and he had a tree heâ€™d written on showing where. He ranted and raved about corpses, monsters, and writing on trees. Constable Calhoun, whoâ€™d been keeping an eye on the man as usual, arrived moments later.
â€œItâ€™s okay,â€ he told his fellow constables. â€œHeâ€™s fine.â€
â€œTell them!â€ Westmoore shouted. â€œTell them! Tell them!â€
â€œSh!â€ Constable Calhoun said to the man.
â€œTell them!â€ Westmoore said. â€œBy not telling your fellow officers about a crime, you are obstructing justice!â€
â€œSh!â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œSorry officers. Weâ€™re currently in an investigation. I will update you on progress on a little while. Come with me!â€
â€œPlease!â€ Westmoore cried. â€œNo!â€
Constable Calhoun dragged the man out.
â€œI didnâ€™t want them to go stomping off to his property and making him suspicious,â€ he told the other man.
â€œWhy not?â€ Westmoore asked.
â€œBecause, we need to get proof,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œHeâ€™s rich and powerful.â€
â€œIf we arrest him, we can search his house,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œBut we donâ€™t have any grounds to arrest him!â€
â€œBodies are not grounds to arrest him?â€
â€œItâ€™s not on his property. Itâ€™s behind his property.â€
â€œIs it really?â€
Constable Calhoun found a physician in the town and showed him his papers, telling the man he needed his help. He said he wanted the man to examine some bodies they had found. The physician told him to bring the bodies to him. When he suggested the physician come with them, the man noted he was far too busy to leave Providence. Constable Calhoun tried to pay the man but that was not the issue. The man was too busy to go to Mill Cove and told him if he brought the corpses he wished examined, he would help as best he could.
* * *
â€œAll right, it looks like we have to go back,â€ Constable Calhoun said when he found the others.
â€œWhat?â€ Westmoore said. â€œNo!â€
â€œAnd I have to get a body,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œNo!â€ Westmoore said.
â€œWhat did I say?â€ Private North said.
He had advised bringing back one of the skeletons to begin with.
â€œI know,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œBut I didnâ€™t want to have to disturb them.â€
â€œNo one takes me seriously,â€ Private North said.
Westmoore, Richards, and Private North went to the newspaper again and Carter greeted the two. The only other article he had been able to find in their absence was an obituary for Arthur Matchell II in the Saturday, May 19, 1770, paper that read:
ARTHUR MATCHELL II
June 27, 1733 to May 14, 1770
On May 14, 1770, Arthur Matchell II of Providence succumbed to a fever and died
Born in England, Matchell was the only son of Arthur Matchell, originally of Ireland
but of Providence since 1729. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evette Matheiu
Matchell, in 1759 in France. He is survived by his only living son, Arthur Matchell III,
aged 19, who was presently being educated in France as a physician.
Matchell was a landowner and importer who also contributed to the town of Providence
on several occasions. He has been buried in the family plot on his property. It is said his
son is returning from Europe to take control of the family lands and business.
Carter also noted he had found several articles for Mr. Westmoore about the Nightâ€™s Rose.
â€œIâ€™ll take those,â€ Private North said.
â€œI want those,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œIâ€™ll take them,â€ Private North said.
â€œBut â€¦â€ Westmoore said.
â€œIâ€™ll take them,â€ Private North said in a deeper voice.
â€œI asked for them.â€
â€œYouâ€™re my charge. Let me look at them.â€
â€œIâ€™m not any more. They trust me.â€
Carter held out the papers and Private North grabbed him.
â€œI havenâ€™t gotten anything Iâ€™ve wanted this whole trip,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œWell, Iâ€™ll read them to you,â€ Private North said.
* * *
Constable Calhoun returned to the busy physician and asked if there was any medical procedure or phenomenon where a person could have two sets of arms. The man looked at him like he was crazy.
â€œUh â€¦ no,â€ he said. â€œThere have been certain oddities that have been reported where two children are born connected to each other, but they usually donâ€™t live very long.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll need your services anymore,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œThank you sir.â€
The doctor gave the man a look before he left as if he was confused by the entire situation.
* * *
Richards went back to the courthouse and looked for information on Matchell or Curwen but he was unsuccessful. The clerk told him someone had come looking for Matchell information earlier. There wasnâ€™t any information about Curwenâ€™s Pawtuxet farm.
* * *
Constable Calhoun looked for another Indian and found one. The manâ€™s name was John Corn and he was older, a descendant of those Indians sent to the â€œpraying townsâ€ established by the English in the mid-17th century. Constable Calhoun asked him if he knew the Indians who worked for Matchell.
â€œYeah,â€ the man said. â€œThey are survivors of the Wampanoag tribe. After King Philipâ€™s War, a hundred years ago, it was an uprising of my people against the English of New England, the tribe was almost completely wiped out. That what I heard. They say that old Matchell, he found â€˜em, up in the forest up there. Hired â€˜em on. Donâ€™t know if thereâ€™s any others left. I doubt it.â€
â€œDo you know why Matchell hired them?â€ Constable Calhoun asked.
â€œNope,â€ John Corn replied.
Constable Calhoun asked about attaching limbs to bodies but the man knew nothing about that. However, he was not Wampanoag but Narragansett and a Christian. He knew nothing about what the constable described. Constable Calhoun also asked him about the travelers who disappeared in the Mill Cove area but the man knew nothing. He knew nothing about Matchellâ€™s servants either.
Constable Calhoun spent several more hours asking about said travelers without learning anything new.
* * *
â€œCan I make a suggestion?â€ Richards said to Whipple.
â€œOf course!â€ Whipple said. â€œA fine businessman like yourself.â€
â€œYou should look in the library for any information about these four-armed corpses,â€ Richards said.
â€œI love going to the library,â€ Whipple said.
He went to the AthenÃ¦um and researched what he could about such things. He didnâ€™t find anything out about such things there, though he was certain he had searched everything there was to find there.
As he left the building, Constable Calhoun and Sooleawa found him and asked him if he could research the Wampanoag Indian tribe.
â€œIâ€™m not familiar with that,â€ Whipple said. â€œHow do you spell it?â€
Constable Calhoun struggled to spell it for him.
â€œSilly white men,â€ Sooleawa said.
She spelled it for them. Whipple said heâ€™d research it for them and returned to the AthenÃ¦um. He learned that the King Philipâ€™s War took place from 1675 to 1676 and the Wampanoag led it with King Philip, the leader of their nation. He led the uprising against the British and they did well at first but then the British came down hard on them, King Philip being eventually killed. After his death, his head was mounted on a pike in Fort Plymouth where it remained for more than 20 years. The Wampanoag were wiped out as a tribe.
He returned to the two who waited for him and told them what heâ€™d learned.
* * *
They met that evening at Richardsâ€™ Apothecary and everyone shared what they had learned. Constable Calhoun noted the Wampanoag were violent, especially against the British of 100 years before. That confused him because if Matchell were working for the British, the Wampanoag would not want to work for him. Then he turned to Sooleawa.
â€œYouâ€™re American Indian, right?â€ he asked.
â€œYes,â€ she said.
â€œBut you are of the same â€¦ not of the same tribe, but â€¦â€ he said.
â€œYouâ€™re trying to say Iâ€™m dark,â€ she replied.
â€œWhat if you â€¦ maybe we could get his help and see if you could get a job there and talk to the Indians there.â€
â€œIf Iâ€™m going to speak for you, you must be presentable!â€ Whipple said.
â€œI donâ€™t want to work for Matchell!â€ Sooleawa said. â€œHeâ€™s going to murder me! Heâ€™s going to sew arms to my hips and then chop my head off.â€
â€œWell maybe you can go in with him,â€ Constable Calhoun said, pointing to Whipple, â€œand go to the kitchen.â€
â€œIâ€™m not going to be left alone with Matchell, am I?â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œNo,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œNo. Heâ€™s going to be with Matchell.â€
â€œOkay,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œMake a dinner date again,â€ Constable Calhoun said to Whipple. â€œOr a tea date.â€
â€œOkay,â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œIf we keep sending you,â€ Richards said to Whipple. â€œIf we send you again with different people, will that not arouse suspicion?â€
They discussed him telling Matchell the boy didnâ€™t work out because he was rude so he got a new servant. Private North was unsure how it would help as he was sent away, but Constable Calhoun said she could talk to the servants. Private North talked of making Sooleawa look like a boy, though it would cost her hair.
â€œWhat?â€ Whipple said.
There was some talk of Sooleawa disguising herself as a boy. The others were unsure about that. Richards talked of sending Charlie. Private North continued to talk about dressing Sooleawa as a young boy. Constable Calhoun noted it would not matter if it was a woman or a man working for Whipple. They also discussed what Whipple would talk to the man about.
â€œI have an idea,â€ Richards said. â€œI could go so as not to arouse suspicion and inquire about selling his products in my shop.â€
â€œBrilliant!â€ Whipple said. â€œWhy did none of you think of this? Why did we have to think of this?â€
â€œAnd I could bring her along,â€ Richards went on.
â€œAs your servant,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œAs â€¦â€ Richards said.
â€œOf course!â€ Whipple said. â€œOf course! We each have a servant.â€
â€œLetâ€™s go,â€ Westmoore said.
â€œIâ€™ll send a boy and weâ€™ll visit him on the morrow,â€ Whipple said.
â€œYouâ€™re going too?â€ Constable Calhoun said.
They decided just Richards would go, taking Sooleawa as his servant.
* * *
On Tuesday, August 18, 1778, they sent Charlie, Richardsâ€™ apprentice, with a message to Matchell, noting Richards wanted to meet with the man around dinnertime to discuss business with him. He also sent his card.
They all traveled to Mill Cove that day.
Constable Calhoun, Whipple, Westmoore, and Private North all headed into the woods, this time equipped with shovels, while Richards and Sooleawa headed up to Matchellâ€™s house.
* * *
A red Indian answered the door when Richards knocked. He let the man and his â€œservantâ€ in taking them into the parlor. Matchell arrived a short time later.
â€œIâ€™m very busy,â€ he said to them. â€œWhat do you need?â€
â€œI would like to inquire about selling some of your fine product in my apothecary,â€ Richards said. â€œSpecifically the rum. Iâ€™ve heard excellent things.â€
â€œAs you know, my ships are all out at sea and Iâ€™m not importing anything right now,â€ Matchell said. â€œYou must have heard this in town.â€
â€œYou donâ€™t have any product to sell?â€ Richards said.
â€œCome with me,â€ Matchell said, glancing at the lengthening shadows outside. â€œLetâ€™s have some supper. Send your servant with Wematin. She will be fed and dealt with.â€
Sooleawa found herself led off by the Indian servant.
* * *
â€œYou know what?â€ Constable Calhoun said to Westmoore as they tromped through the woods. â€œIâ€™m starting to trust you more.â€
â€œWho cares?â€ Westmoore said.
â€œCould you keep an eye on the kitchen?â€ Constable Calhoun said.
Westmoore didnâ€™t seem to care though he was relieved not to be going with those who were going to exhume more bizarre corpses.
* * *
Sooleawa was led out of the back door of the house and to the nearby kitchen building. It was a small building constructed in the same style as the main house and obviously dedicated to baking, cooking, and the like. An Indian woman was in the one-room building, preparing a meal. She was quite unattractive and, as Wematin left, dropped a plate in front of Sooleawa with some food upon it. It appeared to be cornmeal, bread, and some kind of gravy. Then she went back to her work.
* * *
Richards had a very uncomfortable supper with Matchell, who didnâ€™t seem to want visitors. He was not rude but was very cold. He even mentioned at one point he was unaccustomed to visitors, yet he had had two in as few days and wasnâ€™t sure what Providenceâ€™s interest in him suddenly was.
â€œThere was some fop with his servant out here a few days ago,â€ Matchell said between bites. â€œTrying to get me interested in gambling and, of all things, balloons.â€
Richards, when he learned the man had no business interests, got talking about the war. Matchell actually sounded like a patriot from the way he talked. He was angry at the British, especially those holding Newport. He guessed they were damaging things in that town and Richards was able to get the man to open up a little bit more. Matchell mentioned the Redwood Library and AthenÃ¦um, which he noted probably had the largest collection of books in the United States.
â€œThe British are most likely stealing them or selling them off,â€ Matchell said.
He seemed quite upset about that.
* * *
Sooleawa sniffed the food sheâ€™d been given. It smelled like some kind of fish sauce or gravy. Unsure, she merely nibbled at the bread. The woman ignored her.
â€œHey maâ€™am,â€ Sooleawa said.
The woman glared at her.
â€œWhat?â€ she said.
â€œUh â€¦ how do you like working here?â€ Sooleawa said. â€œBecause Iâ€™m thinking about asking if heâ€™ll hire me.â€
â€œHe will not hire you!â€ the woman said.
â€œUh â€¦â€ Sooleawa said.
The woman walked over to the girl and got into her face.
â€œYou stay away from him!â€ she muttered. â€œI cut your throat!â€
She walked back over and went back to work like nothing happened.
â€œWant some bread?â€ Sooleawa said.
She spoke in her native tongue after that. The woman walked over to her again and told her, in her own tongue, not to filthy her ears in that speak. Then she warned her again to stay away from Matchell.
â€œLet me just ask you, is he a killer?â€ Sooleawa asked. â€œDoes he kill people?â€
The Indian woman walked over and got in her face again, picking up a rolling pin and brandishing at her.
â€œShut your mouth!â€ she growled at her. â€œYou are stupid. You know nothing. You know nothing.â€
Iâ€™m going to take that as a yes, Sooleawa thought.
She shoved the woman back. The woman glared at her as if challenging her and she drew a knife.
â€œStay away from me!â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m a hunter!â€
The Indian woman dropped the rolling pin and turned, walking over to another table. She reached behind it and drew out a very large war club of native manufacture. Sooleawa leapt up and ran out of the kitchen towards the house. When she reached the back door, she saw the woman came out of the kitchen behind her. She flung the door open and ran down the passage.
â€œHelp!â€ she yelled.
She ran into the dining room where she found Matchell and Richards. Matchell had just said something angrily and they both looked up at the girl.
â€œWhat is the matter with you, girl?â€ Matchell growled.
â€œYour servant is trying to kill me!â€ Sooleawa said.
â€œI-I apologize for her,â€ Richards said. â€œSheâ€™s a bit â€¦ uh â€¦â€
â€œNo!â€ Sooleawa said. â€œSheâ€™s coming after me with a war club!â€
She looked down the passage. There was no one there. She cursed.
â€œI apologize, Mr. Matchell, weâ€™ll be going now,â€ Richards said. â€œThank you for your hospitality.â€
â€œYouâ€™re quite welcome,â€ Matchell said. â€œI will see you to the door.â€
He let them out.
* * *
From where he watched, Westmoore had seen Sooleawa run from the kitchen and into the house, followed by another Indian woman with a club. The second woman stopped at the back door and closed it, going back to the kitchen. He thought he heard someone leave by the front of the house after that.
It was getting dark.
* * *
In the woods, Constable Calhoun, Private North, and Whipple found the spot with the graves and started to exhume the corpses. Whipple yelped when he saw the first one, an intact skeleton the flesh had been apparently cut off of. There was still a little rotted flesh on the body and it even still had some hair on its head. On seeing the butchered corpse, Private North started giggling like a hysterical schoolgirl. He continued laughing for almost half a minute. It was very disturbing to Whipple.
â€œCan you comfort him?â€ Constable Calhoun said to Whipple.
â€œYeah,â€ Private North said. â€œWhat? No! Iâ€™m fine!â€
But he looked at Whipple almost longingly.
â€œPlease,â€ Constable Calhoun said. â€œI need to exhume the bodies.â€
Whipple took out a deck of cards.
â€œWould you like to see a magic trick?â€ Whipple said.
â€œOkay â€¦â€ Private North said halfheartedly.
Whipple tried to do some card tricks. They werenâ€™t very good. Private North still encouraged him and calmed down considerably, despite how bad the tricks were.
Calhoun searched the dirt around the corpse but could find no evidence of anything that was buried with the person. He dug up several other corpses, some more fresh than others. He found some were strange. One had a skull attached to the rib cage. Another one had all the arms and legs removed; they were attached to the corpseâ€™s back. It was very disturbing. None of them had anything to identify them: no scraps of cloth, no buttons, nothing.
Both Whipple and Private North tried not to watch as the shadows lengthened and it began to get dark. Constable Calhoun lit the candle in the small lantern heâ€™d brought with him and closed the doors so it gave off little light.
â€œHey, itâ€™s getting dark, we need to cover these bodies back up,â€ he said.
â€œWe need to take some with us,â€ Private North said.
â€œNo,â€ Constable Calhoun said.
â€œI got the bag,â€ Private North said, brandishing a potato sack heâ€™d brought.
He picked up a stick and tried to pick up one of the more skeletal bits to put in the bag. Unfortunately, the ligaments were still intact and it would be hard to remove parts without smashing one of the skeletons.
* * *
Near the house, Westmoore saw most of the lights go out within. Shortly after dark, he saw lights appear in the basement windows.