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Madness or Death: The Nickerbocker's Tale - Part 1-1 - Loyalist or Patriot?

Max_Writer

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Monday, August 3, 2015

 

(After playing the original Call of Cthulhu scenario “Madness or Death: The Nickerbocker’s Tale†Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. with David Sabbagh, Tabitha Jean Harris, Kyle Matheson, Kimber Nissa Campbell, Hannah Lewis, and Bo Lewis.)

 

The American Revolution began on April 19, 1775, with the “shot heard round the world†when armed colonists and British soldiers clashed at Lexington and Concord. The second Continental Congress met on May 10 of that year and declared themselves a government with a Declaration of Independence being adopted on July 4, 1776. The British soon landed troops in the new world and the War of Independence began in earnest.

 

In the area of Providence, Rhode Island, numerous forts and other defenses were thrown up to defend the state against the British. Most of it proved ineffective, unfortunately, as a British fleet sailed into the bay and occupied nearby Newport on Dec. 7, 1776. They had been on the island of Rhode Island ever since. The British had also bombarded the nearby town of Bristol in October 1775 and, in May 1778, 500 British and Hessian troops marched through the town and burned 30 barracks and houses, taking prisoners back to Newport.

 

On Feb. 6, 1778, the United States and France signed the French Alliance. A French fleet arrived in the area of Newport in late July and Continental troops moved onto Rhode Island on August 9. However, the French Fleet was lured away by a British fleet the next day and had not been seen since. A stalemate of sorts was happening on Rhode Island as both sides tried to get more troops for a final push.

 

* * *

 

On Friday, August 14, 1778, several residents of Providence were summoned to the office of Zuriel Stone, a Patriot who worked closely with the local government and who even had connections to the Continental Congress. Stone was a local lawyer and landowner in the town with farms to the north. He was a heavyset, balding man who sweated constantly and didn’t wear a wig but powdered his hair. He was well-known in Providence as an excellent lawyer and fervent Patriot.

 

Present in the stuffy little office were four men.

 

Rutherford Richards was an apothecary in Providence. He had grown up in the Delaware Colony, the son of Cornish immigrants. He went against his parents’ wishes to stay on the family farm, coming to Providence to study pharmacy and then open his own shop. Richards was 28 years old and of average height and weight. He wore a mustache and goatee, his red hair unfashionably short. He didn’t wear a wig. He had a single apprentice.

 

Aladar Calhoun was a constable in Providence. He was 37 years old and a very large man, well over six feet tall. He had salt-and-pepper hair, pulled back in a pony tail. He was clean-shaven, but still had a five-o’clock shadow despite how often he shaved. He wore the clothing of a constable and carried a truncheon. A pistol was tucked into his belt.

 

Mason Westmoore was born in Providence; he was some 31 years old with shoulder-length dirty brown hair sun-bleached on his crown. He was clean-shaven and wore a dusty overcoat with fine clothing underneath, all in black.

 

Unknown to any of the rest, Westmoore was actually a criminal. He had been caught and jailed for a minor offense but, during the investigation of his case, Zuriel Stone had actually found out the man was also a local criminal known only as “The Night Rose†who had robbed the richest in Providence for the last 10 years, leaving a rose to indicate who had stolen their most prized possessions. Zuriel had made a deal with the man: do him a favor and he would have the charges against him dropped, destroy the evidence against him, and never mention to a living soul his secret. Westmoore had to do that and then leave Providence, never to return. Westmoore hinted to the man that he might not stop his life of crime but Stone didn’t seem to care, so long as he left Rhode Island.

 

“Go to Massachusetts, rob the Puritans,†Stone actually told him. “I don’t give a damn about them.â€

 

Calhoun knew the man had been arrested as he had been in the gaol for several days before.

 

Emory North was a soldier of the First Rhode Island Regiment. Only 17 years old, he looked even younger. He was clean shaven and his hair cropped short, apparently by himself. He was somewhat soft and feminine-looking, hardly a soldier at all, though he wore the uniform of the Continental Army and carried a musket. He had grown up on a farm near Providence and had been very close to his brother Jonas who had been killed in the clash at Lexington and Concord at the beginning of the war. In the summer of 1777, Emory had left his parent’s house without telling them and joined the First Rhode Island Regiment. He wanted to kill the British and get revenge for his brother. He also had a secret.

 

“Good morning, gentlemen,†Stone said. “I’ve gathered you here today because a duly-decided committee of local men suspects one of our own of possible treasonous actions. I need you men to investigate it.â€

 

“Ha!†Westmoore said.

 

“That means you too, Westmoore!†Stone said. “Arthur Matchell III is an importer and owner of several ships, as well as a landowner just east of Providence.â€

 

Stone went to a large map of Rhode Island on the wall and showed them a place upon it across the Seakonk River from the town near Mill Cove.

 

“However, recent rumors say that in the last months, either he or his servants have been in communication with the British holding Newport,†he went on. “Matchell is very wealthy and fairly-well-thought-of in Providence, meaning we cannot merely try him. We have no physical evidence. I’m asking you to do your patriotic duty and investigate Matchell, preferably without his knowledge. If you can find any incriminating evidence, hard evidence, against him, it must be brought to me. I’ll take it to the committee and we’ll use some of the local militia and the 1st Regiment,†he looked at Private North, “your regiment young man, to arrest the man.

 

“I’ve got things to do,†Westmoore said. “I can’t do this. I’m not a very good judge of character.â€

 

“Mr. Westmoore, you owe the Town of Providence and you will pay off your debt or I will have you sent to jail,†Stone said with a frown.

 

“Aw,†Westmoore said.

 

“Matchell lives east of Providence across the Seakonk River in a large home and grounds surrounded by woods,†Stone said. “The Georgian house was constructed by his grandfather. When his grandfather, the original Arthur Matchell, died, the home was given over to his only son and when he died to the present owner got it. It’s said that Matchell was studying abroad when his own father died only a few years ago. He was studying to be a physician though I don’t know if he’s actually a doctor. He has not opened an office or hospice in the area.

 

“The Matchells are thought to come from Ireland originally. He has only a very few servants and they are exclusively American Indians. The house and grounds consist of the house, stables, a carriage house, and a barn. There are some fields nearby that Matchell rents out to local farmers. He also has some interest and ownership of some of the mills on Mills Cove.

 

“Despite the British blockade since December 1776, Matchell does not seem to have any money problems and I’m unsure where his money comes from. He owns four ships: the Candle, the Spirit, the Shadow, and the Mermaid. The first two are brigs and the latter two are barques. None of Matchell’s ships were in Providence when the blockade began … almost as if he knew it was going to happen. No one knows the ships’ whereabouts.â€

 

He also provided each of them documentation noting they were working for the Town of Providence and the State of Rhode Island and for citizens of the United States to cooperate with them.

 

There was a knock at the door and a pretty native woman in doeskin clothing let herself into the office. Stone looked at the clock on the mantelpiece and frowned at her.

 

Sooleawa was a 21-year-old Narragansett woman with dark eyes and long, straight hair. She had sharp features and high cheekbones. She strutted into the room wearing doeskin leather clothing, pants, and leather moccasins. She had a somewhat abrasive personality, but most people started to like her quickly after meeting her because of her natural aptitude in everything she attempted. She carried a bow and arrow. She was in Providence trying to gain entry into Rhode Island College but they had a policy against admitting women or Indians. She had contacted Stone some days before and he told her he would put in a good word for her at the college if she did a favor for him.

 

“You’re late!†Stone said to her.

 

He handed her the same documentation he’d handed the rest and told her he was a very busy man but the others could explain what she would need to know.

 

“Do any of you have any questions?†he asked.

 

No one did and he dismissed them. He stopped Constable Calhoun on the way out however.

 

“Make sure that Mr. Westmoore helps you finish the job,†Stone said to him.

 

“I will,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

They all left the hot little office but found it almost nearly as warm outside on Water Street.

 

“Constable, where shall we …?†Private North said in a high-pitched voice, then cleared his throat. “Where shall we go constable? Should we go talk to this traitorous loyalist directly, or is there a roundabout way that you think we should … just tell me what to do! I’ll do it. I’ll get this … Brit.â€

 

“I think we should investigate the boats,†Constable Calhoun said. “Maybe that’s how he’s getting information to the British.â€

 

“Gentlemen, would someone like to inform me of what’s going on?†Sooleawa said.

 

“Yes,†Private North said.

 

Westmoore backed out of the group and turned to walk away. Constable Calhoun reached over and grabbed the scruff of his coat.

 

“No!†the officer said.

 

“Aw!†Westmoore said.

 

“No!†Constable Calhoun said again.

 

“Let me go, you ox!†Westmoore said.

 

“What did you say to me?â€

 

“I think I saw Mr. Malcol over there …â€

 

“Yeah yeah yeah. Tell it to someone who cares.â€

 

“I have been convicted unlawfully!â€

 

“Of what?†Sooleawa said.

 

“Nothing,†Westmoore said.

 

Constable Calhoun looked over all of them.

 

“I’m Constable Calhoun,†he said.

 

“Obviously,†Westmoore said, rolling his eyes.

 

“You can call me Constable Calhoun,†Calhoun went on.

 

“No,†Westmoore said.

 

“I’m Private North,†Private North said. “I’m in the army.â€

 

“Rutherford Richards the Apothecary,†Richards said.

 

“Mason,†Westmoore said.

 

“Mason?†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Mason,†Westmoore said.

 

“Sooleawa,†Sooleawa said.

 

The white men had some trouble pronouncing her name.

 

“Shall we to the bay?†Private North said.

 

“Onward to the bay,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

They talked to Sooleawa a few moments, telling her they were investigating a man named Arthur Matchell who might be giving information to the British, and might be a loyalist spy. They needed evidence to convict him.

 

“He’s probably innocent like me!†Westmoore said. “‘Cause these people, they just blame people for crimes.â€

 

Richards had heard of Matchell, as a matter of fact. He had heard Matchell imported everything from fine silks to rum to slaves. He exported corn and other local products. All of the Matchells were fairly free with their money and had donated money to various projects in both Providence and nearby Massachusetts, especially the mills in the area. Sooleawa had heard about the mills but had also heard Matchell didn’t come into town very often as he was a recluse. He also didn’t often have guests at his house either. Constable Calhoun knew all of his ships were solid vessels doing good trade before the war began, mostly with the West Indies. Westmoore had heard of the man as well and knew he was fairly young, in his 20s, though no one was really certain how old. He’d also heard his servants sometimes entered Providence and purchased supplies. They were red Indians and very quiet and polite.

 

Calhoun asked if anyone knew about the man and all of them but Westmoore shared their information with the others.

 

“What time does your store close?†Westmoore asked Richards, taking out a little notebook and the stub of a pencil.

 

“Shut up, you!†Constable Calhoun said.

 

Constable Calhoun tried to snatch the notebook out of the man’s hand but didn’t get a good grip. Westmoore pulled it away and tucked it into his coat.

 

* * *

 

Ronald Whipple was a local rich gentleman and dilettante of only 20 years. He was part of the rich Whipple family who owned a great deal of farmland in the vicinity of Providence and the lands west of the town. He was of average height and had middling length red hair he pulled back and tied. He didn’t usually powder his hair.

 

He entered the office of Zuriel Stone as the man had asked Whipple to do a favor for him. He was late for the meeting, having come from the Providence Athenæum as he had a great love of libraries. When he arrived, Stone told him he’d already made arrangements with several people to investigate a possible loyalist without directly confronting him. He gave the man the name Arthur Matchell whom Whipple recognized as a wealthy importer who lived in the area. Stone also told Whipple he wanted him to be discreet. He pointed out the window of his office at a group standing in the street talking. He recognized one of the local constables and a local apothecary.

 

“Oh yes, and that man?†Stone said, pointing at Westmoore. “Keep an eye on him. Don’t let him not help you.â€

 

Whipple exited the office.

 

* * *

 

The group of five walked down to the docks followed at some little distance by Whipple. They spread out and questioned some of the people they met in the bay about Matchell and his ships. Sooleawa learned when the first Matchell came to Providence, he was already quite rich. He soon built his house in the countryside east of the Seakonk River and was only rarely seen in Providence after that. Constable Calhoun learned Matchell’s grandfather and his father were both known to have dealings with Joseph Curwen, a resident of Providence until 1771. Westmoore learned Joseph Curwen, though thought of as a philanthropist and even part of those who helped rebuild the great bridge, was also thought to be a criminal. His farm in Pawtuxet was raided in 1771 and he was killed. Constable Calhoun also heard that latter rumor, as he was keeping a sharp eye on Westmoore.

 

Westmoore noticed Whipple observing from a short distance away and noted the man’s fine clothing and gold pocket watch. He walked over to Whipple.

 

“Good morning sir!†he said to him.

 

“Good morrow to thee,†Whipple said carefully.

 

“As finely dressed as you are, there will always be a good morrow to you,†Westmoore said.

 

Whipple just looked the man up and down. Constable Calhoun saw the two talking and slowly walked in their direction.

 

“Help! Help! I’m being robbed!†Whipple suddenly shouted, holding up his hands.

 

Sooleawa ran at the two men and tried to kick Westmoore in the side but the blow didn’t harm or inconvenience the man in any way. Constable Calhoun picked up his pace and grabbed Westmoore by the back of his collar again.

 

“What in seven hells!?!†Westmoore cursed, raising his hands.

 

“Behave!†Constable Calhoun said to the man.

 

“I didn’t do anything!†Westmoore protested.

 

“Sorry about that sir,†Constable Calhoun said to Whipple.

 

“Oh, it’s fine,†Whipple said.

 

“But I didn’t do anything!†Westmoore protested again. “Let me go. Let me go!â€

 

“Shut up!†Constable Calhoun said to him.

 

“He looked at me with malice in his eyes!†Whipple said.

 

Westmoore broke free of Constable Calhoun’s grip and then drew out a small knife.

 

“Don’t touch me again,†he said calmly.

 

Sooleawa stepped back and took her bow from where it hung over her body and nocked an arrow on the string, pointing it at Westmoore. Private North, who had also walked over, tried to grab the knife from Westmoore but the man jerked his hand out of the way.

 

“I was seized without right!†he said. “I did nothing wrong.â€

 

“He said you were robbing him,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“He lied,†Westmoore replied.

 

“He looked at me with malice in his eyes!†Whipple said again.

 

“And now you’re threatening an officer!†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Would you put the knife down, please?†Sooleawa said.

 

“No,†Westmoore said.

 

“Put it away!†Sooleawa said.

 

“No,†Westmoore said. “None of you trust me.â€

 

Constable Calhoun took out his truncheon and tried to strike the knife from Westmoore’s hand but the man pulled the hand back out of the way. Constable Calhoun cursed.

 

“You put your weapons down,†Sooleawa said to both of the men. “Then I’ll put mine down because I’m the one to be most trusted with a weapon. Put your weapons away and we can get on with our day.â€

 

A few locals were gathering around the altercation.

 

“Friends please, it’s not worth all this harm,†Whipple said. “Sir, you can just take my money.â€

 

He removed a small wallet and dropped it to the ground in front of Westmoore.

 

“Don’t do that!†Sooleawa said. “No!â€

 

“All right,†Westmoore said.

 

He stooped to pick up the wallet and found it filled with Continental currency. He knew that the script was not worth nearly what was written the paper but figured he might be able to get something for it.

 

“Next time you threaten me, you won’t get out so lucky,†Constable Calhoun growled.

 

“Something wrong constable?†a large sailor asked the man.

 

He stood there with another large sailor, glaring at Westmoore.

 

“No, I’ve got it under control,†Constable Calhoun said. “Thank you gentlemen.â€

 

They wandered away after glaring at Westmoore. Constable Calhoun also glared at the man. Westmoore took out the wallet and looked at the nearly worthless money within, counting it. The bills totaled $100, though were worth, obviously, much less. Whipple asked him and them all if they knew anything about Matchell. Westmoore deferred to the others.

 

“Why do you want to know about Matchell?†Constable Calhoun asked.

 

“I’m a wealthy investor and I heard he has a new venture,†Whipple lied.

 

“Wealthy you say?†Westmoore said.

 

“Well … I was,†Whipple said.

 

“Shut up, you!†Constable Calhoun barked at Westmoore.

 

“I don’t know why, but I’ve got a good feeling about this fellow,†Sooleawa said of Whipple. “Trust him.â€

 

“Why?†Westmoore said.

 

“I said I don’t know!†Sooleawa said.

 

“Are you assigned to this case too?†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Is there a case?†Whipple said. “Is there something I need to know?â€

 

“We have reason to suspect that Mr. Matchell is a traitor,†Richards said carefully.

 

“Holy God,†Whipple said, seemingly surprised.

 

“I’ll kill every single last one of them English …†Private North muttered.

 

“Calm down, boy,†Constable Calhoun said to him.

 

“Such language from such a man of your station,†Richards said to Whipple.

 

“Pardon my outburst,†Whipple said.

 

“Are you okay?†Sooleawa said to Private North.

 

“They killed my brother,†Private North told her.

 

“My brother is still alive and happy,†Sooleawa said.

 

“I was very surprised,†Whipple went on. “But, it would be very important knowledge to have. It would affect my investments.â€

 

“I don’t think we should jump to conclusions about Mr. Matchell like all of you seem to do with me!†Westmoore said.

 

“You drew a knife on me!†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“You did,†Sooleawa said.

 

“Because you grabbed me!†Westmoore said.

 

“By the scruff,†Constable Calhoun said. “I wasn’t even touching you.â€

 

“You have my wallet right now,†Whipple said calmly. “He did rob me.â€

 

“But she had a bow pointed at me!†Westmoore said.

 

“You’re right, I did,†Sooleawa said.

 

“I … he gave that to me,†Westmoore said of Whipple’s wallet.

 

“You people are too savage too control yourselves,†Sooleawa said.

 

“Are we continuing this investigation or …†Westmoore said.

 

“Yes,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“It’s been a long day,†Westmoore said.

 

“It’s been minutes,†Private North said.

 

“It’s been a long day,†Westmoore said again. “It’s not even lunch and I’ve had a bow and a club pointed at me.â€

 

“Well, that’s your own fault,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

Constable Calhoun and Sooleawa both related what they had learned. Westmoore wrote down in his little notebook what they were saying, mostly noting Matchell was rich. Richards asked about the man he’d had a relationship with: Joseph Curwen. They didn’t know anything much of the man. They discussed what to do next and Westmoore noted he was not comfortable going to the courthouse, though he suggested going to the Providence Gazette and Country Journal. Constable Calhoun asked Private North to watch Westmoore and make sure he didn’t do anything else illegal. He said he was going to the courthouse.

 

“I’d probably do better on my own,†Westmoore said.

 

“No,†Private North said, poking him with his musket.

 

“This one’s a clever one,†Sooleawa said.

 

They decided to meet at Richards’ apothecary shop in a few hours.

 

* * *

 

Sooleawa continued to ask around for rumors about Matchell and Curwen. It took her several hours to learn some interesting facts. Joseph Curwen came to Providence in 1692 from Massachusetts. In 1713, he donated funds to rebuild the great bridge in Providence. In 1738, supposedly the “famous wit†Dr. Checkley called on Joseph Curwen at his home and left very disturbed. In 1746, John Merritt, an elderly and learned Englishman, visited him. After seeing Curwen’s farmhouse library in Pawtuxet, Merritt wanted no more to do with him. In 1758, two regiments of Royal soldiers passed through Providence. While they were stopped there, some of their troops disappeared without a trace. Curwen was suspected of being involved. In 1761, he had a new home on the site of his old one on Stamper’s Hill west of Town Street built and donated funds to the city. In 1763, he married Eliza Tillinghast and in 1765, they had a little girl. By 1770, it was obvious to many important figures in Providence that he was involved in illegal acts. On April 12, 1771, a raid was initiated on Joseph Curwen’s Pawtuxet farm. In the aftermath, he was never seen again. She could not learn any of the details of the raid, however.

 

* * *

 

Rutherford Richards asked around for more information about Matchell and learned no one was certain how the eldest Arthur Matchell died. Rumor had it he was on a trip to Europe to bring his son home when something happened at sea. His son returned the following year to take possession of his father’s estate. He further learned no one was certain how Arthur Matchell II died exactly either. Rumor had it the man succumbed to a fever in 1770. He had a son who was being educated in Europe as a physician. The youth, the current Arthur Matchell, was said to have rushed home when he got word of his father’s sickness, but was too late by several weeks.

 

* * *

 

Constable Calhoun went to the courthouse and found a clerk working in a small office of land records. He started to examine the records of Providence and the surrounding area without much luck. The clerk offered to help him after an hour or so and searched for files and information on Matchell. He was able to learn some information for the constable. Records proved Arthur Matchell purchased land east of the Seakonk River in June 1729 covering several dozen acres in the forest east of the river. Possession of the Arthur Matchell land was transferred to Arthur Matchell II in 1754 after the death of Arthur Matchell. Possession of the land was then transferred to Arthur Matchell III in 1770 after the death of Arthur Matchell II.

 

* * *

 

Ronald Whipple went to the Providence Athenæum, a library founded in 1753 and only accessible by members, who were usually quite wealthy. He searched the books and documents but didn’t find anything that seemed terribly pertinent to Matchell. He did talk to another man who was also browsing the shelves.

 

“It’s such a shame,†the man told him. “Did you know that Newport also has an Athenæum that’s older than ours? And it was actually a lending library! Isn’t that amazing? Unfortunately the British are occupying Newport now. There’s over 1,700 books there. I bet the Brits are stealing them, stealing us blind. Those bastards!â€

 

“Terrible,†Whipple said.

 

* * *

 

Westmoore and Private North went to the Shakespeare’s Head, a three story building on Gaol Street. The place housed a printing shop and bookshop as well as a Providence Gazette and Country Journal, the weekly newspaper of Providence. When they showed their credentials, they were able to talk to John Carter, the owner. He was more than willing to talk to them and asked what they needed.

 

The two men looked at him and then at each other. Private North nudged Westmoore.

 

“Gentlemen, is there something I can help you with?†Carter said.

 

“Ask them the stuff they told you to ask,†Private North said quietly to Westmoore.

 

“Oh, I’m leading here, am I?†Westmoore said.

 

“I’m …†Private North said.

 

“What do you know of the Night’s Rose?†Westmoore asked.

 

“The Night’s Rose?†Carter replied. “That criminal?â€

 

“No,†Private North said.

 

“We’ve had a few−†Carter started to say.

 

“No,†Private North said again. “No. No. No. No. That is not the mission.â€

 

“I’m … curious,†Westmoore said.

 

“We’re supposed to be finding out about the mission that you were told, that you were obligated with,†Private North said. “Ask about … the information you are supposed to be.â€

 

“We have plenty of time,†Westmoore said.

 

“We don’t,†Private North said. “We’re … we’re looking for information about Arthur Matchell and … what … what him and his people might be doing.â€

 

“Oh,†Carter said. “Well, you’re more than welcome to … I have a room where I keep old newspapers. If you wish to search through them, you’re more than welcome to.â€

 

“I would but do you personally have any information about him?†Private North said. “Do you know anything about him?â€

 

“Matchell?†Carter said. “He’s a rich gentleman that lives outside of town, isn’t he? He’s never really been much in the news. He’s never … not since I’ve been here. I’ve been running the paper since 1768. If anything happened before that, I wouldn’t know. But … it doesn’t ring a bell. But I could help you look through some of the old newspapers if you’d like.â€

 

They went into the room and started to search through the newspapers. As they did so, they made small talk.

 

“Don’t you read the paper, sir?†Carter asked Westmoore.

 

“Of course I do,†Westmoore said.

 

“All of the information on the Night’s Rose is here,†Carter said.

 

“I want a collection of it,†Westmoore said.

 

“Oh my goodness.â€

 

“For my own uses. There’s a lot, right?â€

 

“There’ve been quite a few articles in the last 10 years.â€

 

“I’m pretty sure−†Private North started to say.

 

“As a matter of fact, you know what’s interesting?†Carter said. “When I first began here was almost the same time he started making his robberies.â€

 

“Maybe you’re the Night’s Rose!†Westmoore said with a laugh.

 

“Well, no one’s seen us together in a room at the same time!†Carter said.

 

The two men laughed.

 

“Please sir, this man is under my charge!†Private North said.

 

“Oh, of course, of course,†Carter said. “Let’s look.â€

 

They searched the old newspapers for several hours and only Carter found something connected to Matchell. In a paper dated Saturday, June 10, 1775, was an article:

 


New Ship in Providence
A new ship owned by Arthur Matchell III arrived in Providence this week, bearing a cargo
of goods from the East Indies.

 

Arthur Matchell III purchased the Mermaid some weeks ago from a shipwright in Boston
and she arrived for the first time on Thursday, bearing large cargo in her holds. The barque
is a trim ship with three masts and a crew of men hired in Boston and locally.

 

The Mermaid is the fourth of Matchell’s ships, the others including the brigs Candle and
Spirit and the barque Shadow. The businessman has certainly increased his own value and
the value of everyone in Providence.

 


When Westmoore asked for a copy of the article, Carter was happy to comply.

 

“And can I have a copy of all of your Night’s Rose articles?†Westmoore asked.

 

“Uh …†Carter said.

 

“Please,†Private North said.

 

“That’ll take some time,†Carter said.

 

“No,†Private North said.

 

“I’ll come back,†Westmoore said.

 

“That is unnecessary,†Private North said.

 

“I’ll come back,†Westmoore said again.

 

They had only searched back until about 1771 through the old newspapers. Carter told them he would continue to look through the old newspapers and Private North thanked him.

 

“If you have the time,†Private North said.

 

“I’ll make the time,†Carter said.

 

“Thank you for your help,†Westmoore said.

 

“You’re welcome,†Carter replied. “You’re very welcome.â€

 

“What do you think of the Night’s Rose?†Westmoore said.

 

“Uh, we will be going now!†Private North said.

 

“Well, hopefully he will be captured soon,†Carter said.

 

“Oh,†Westmoore said.

 

“What is your obsession−?†Private North started to say, his voice high pitched. He cleared his throat. “What is your obsession with the Night’s Rose?â€

 

They left the building.

 

“I think he’s a charming individual,†Westmoore said.

 

“The thief?†Private North said.

 

“He’s misunderstood,†Westmoore went on.

 

“Because you’re a criminal, so you think another criminal is admirable,†Private North said.

 

“I think all criminals who aren’t me are pretty ridiculous,†Westmoore said.

 

“But you think the Night’s Rose is not ridiculous?†Private North said.

 

“Yes,†Westmoore said.

 

He shrugged his shoulders.

 

* * *

 

They all met at Richards’ apothecary shop, arriving in ones and twos. The shop was small and a young apprentice greeted them as they entered. There was also a room in the back that Richards used for cleaning wounds or pulling teeth.

 

“Charlie, can you watch the shop for a little bit?†Richards said to his apprentice once everyone had arrived.

 

“Yes sir!†Charlie said enthusiastically. “Yes sir!â€

 

Richards took them up to his rooms above the shop. There were two rooms there, a living room and a small bedroom. The windows were all wide open to stave off the August heat.

 

Westmoore took out his knife and started to play with it, spinning it around his hand and fingers. Richards adjusted his jacket and revealed a flintlock pistol in his belt.

 

“How’d that one do?†Constable Calhoun asked Private North.

 

“He just kept asking a bunch of questions about that Night Rose …†Private North said, his voice starting high pitched but quickly taking a more bass tone

 

“The Night’s Rose?†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“He just kept asking for newspaper articles and would not stay focused so, I’m sorry, I didn’t get as much information as we could have,†Private North said.

 

“He asked about the Night’s Rose?â€

 

“Yes. He’s a thief. He said all thieves were stupid except for him and the Night’s Rose.â€

 

“The Rose is the most despicable human being I have ever heard of.â€

 

“Well, he’s the only person he respects.â€

 

Westmoore was not paying attention. Private North told them he’d only found a single article about Matchell’s ship in 1775, a vessel called the Mermaid. He noted Westmoore was not being helpful and wouldn’t listen.

 

“I’ll keep an eye on him,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

He took out his double-barrel pistol and polished it with a rag. Sooleawa rolled her eyes.

 

Richards told them what he had learned of the deaths of Arthur Matchell I and Arthur Matchell II. Constable Calhoun shared what he’d learned at the courthouse. Sooleawa mentioned what she’d learned about Joseph Curwen. Private North noted that the man must have been very old when he died in 1771.

 

“Uncannily old,†he said.

 

He continued to watch Whipple, though the rich gentleman didn’t notice.

 

“Did you learn anything at the library, Mr. Whipple?†Richards asked.

 

“I read a lovely little novel about a duck,†Whipple quipped. “But no, nothing relevant.â€

 

“A duck?†Constable Calhoun asked.

 

“You know what a duck is, right?†Whipple said.

 

“Yes!†Constable Calhoun replied.

 

“What did he do?†Westmoore, still distracted by his knife, said.

 

“He went on an adventure,†Whipple continued the joke.

 

“What kind of adventure?†Sooleawa asked.

 

“It wasn’t that exciting of an adventure,†Whipple said.

 

Richards fed them cold meat and bread for lunch.

 

“Well, I think we’ve found all we can about Mr. Matchell,†Westmoore said as he finished his meal. “I guess this is where we part ways.â€

 

“No!†Constable Calhoun said. “I think after lunch, we should try to pay Mr. Matchell a visit.â€

 

“Why didn’t we start there!?!†Whipple said.

 

“I disagree,†Richards said.

 

“Is he around?†Whipple said.

 

“I think we should ask around Mill Cove,†Richards said.

 

“I got friends in Mill Cove,†Westmoore said.

 

“I do agree that not all of us should go trouncing around in front of Matchell,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Aren’t we supposed to not alert him and his people?†Private North said, his voice going from a falsetto to bass.

 

“I won’t alert him, if you let me go alone,†Westmoore said. “I can be sneaky.â€

 

There was some talk of Constable Calhoun asking around the neighborhood. Westmoore pointed out if Matchell was a loyalist, it would alert him. They realized the best to visit him would be Whipple. Westmoore noted he could go to Mill Cove but Constable Calhoun pointed out he was not going out of his sight.

 

“Don’t you have faith in me?†Westmoore asked.

 

“No,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Hm,†Westmoore said.

 

“I will visit him on the morrow,†Whipple proclaimed.

 

Constable Calhoun suggested he use Matchell’s imports as an excuse.

 

“Would you like me to go with you as a page, as an escort, just in case anything goes wrong?†Private North asked.

 

“Do we think he’s that dangerous?†Whipple said.

 

“We don’t know,†Private North said.

 

“You’d have to not be wearing your militia uniform,†Richards pointed out.

 

“That is correct,†Private North said.

 

Sooleawa asked Westmoore if he was good at hiding and the man said he was. She suggested the two of them follow along to help out if need be. Richards suggested to Private North, as they were relatively the same size, he could bring a suit of clothing for the other man to wear as Whipple’s servant. Private North agreed and got a suit of clothing from the man.

 

They traveled to Mill Cove that afternoon. They were able to take a boat across the Seakonk to the area where the mills stood and a small community existed. A small tavern near the Ten Mile River was the only meeting place of people in the area. There was not even a church nearby. They also noted several mills along the river. No battery or troops were stationed in the immediate area.

 

They learned where Matchell’s farmlands stood south of the woods that held his house. They asked the locals about the man and found they knew very little, actually. Westmoore asked Constable Calhoun to let him go a little way away because he would be able to learn more from the people if the other man were not around. Constable Calhoun was willing to do so, but tried to keep within earshot.

 

Westmoore hushed one man he talked to.

 

“There’s a constable right there,†he whispered to the man.

 

“Who cares?†the man replied. “Constable! Come over! I’ll buy you an ale!â€

 

Constable Calhoun walked over to join them.

 

The man told them Matchell rarely came to the area of the mills though he owned two of them. Sometimes his Indian servants came to inspect the mills or do business there. He also noted Matchell’s house was avoided by the locals as there was an unfriendliness about the man. Constable Calhoun asked which mills belonged to Matchell and the man was happy to point them out.

 

* * *

 

Sooleawa and Richards learned Matchell was rumored to be a doctor though he had never practiced in the area as far as anyone knew. She also learned Matchell’s father and grandfather were both physicians - and somewhat strange. Rumor had it they haunted the graveyards in the area after a death. There was rumor they might have been resurrectionists.

 

* * *

 

Private North also asked about Matchell and heard the rumors of his being a doctor who didn’t practice medicine. He also learned Matchell’s servants were both Indians and very quiet and surly. A man told him they were sometimes seen about at night.

 

“Has anyone seen what they’re doing at night?†Private North asked.

 

“They were passing through, heading south,†a man told him. “It was always on nights of a new moon.â€

 

He learned that was only in the last few months. The man told him they might have been traveling to Warren or Bristol, both of which lay south of the area.

 

* * *

 

Around dinnertime, Whipple hired a boy to take a note to Matchell, noting he would visit the man upon the morrow. They were able to rent rooms at a small local tavern. The man who owned it actually had enough rooms for each of them to have one. Private North got a room on the second floor on the front, next to Westmoore’s room. Whipple and Constable Calhoun had rooms in the back. Richards and Sooleawa had rooms on the ground floor.

 

“You’re not leaving him alone, are you?†Richards asked Constable Calhoun.

 

He pointed at Westmoore.

 

“Oh no, I don’t want to leave him alone,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“I don’t want to sleep with another man,†Westmoore said.

 

“I’ll stay with him,†Sooleawa said.

 

It was quite inappropriate.

 

Constable Calhoun got a room on the second floor next to Westmoore’s room, which he made sure was on the second floor.

 

“I can’t sleep with someone else in the room,†Westmoore said.

 

“That’s unfortunate,†Richards said.

 

“In my community, we all sleep side by side,†Sooleawa said. “The children have to watch their parents make love.â€

 

“That is quite all right,†Constable Calhoun said. “I will handle the situation. You do not have to share a room with that one.â€

 

He had a plan to use his manacles on the man.

 

“Are you ready to turn in?†he asked Westmoore after dinner.

 

“No,†Westmoore said quietly.

 

The others went to their rooms. Westmoore, Constable Calhoun, Sooleawa, and Richards stayed in the tavern room. Westmoore talked to the locals some more and learned travelers had a habit of disappearing in the area of Mills Cove and the woods north of the mills, wherein Matchell had his home. Richards turned in before the other three. Westmoore stayed up after everyone else had left besides Constable Calhoun and Sooleawa.

 

“I’m not going anywhere until you do,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

He fell asleep sitting in his chair minutes later, snoring loudly. Sooleawa, across the room, closed her eyes though Westmoore was unsure if she was actually asleep or was faking it.

 

Westmoore got up and quietly searched Constable Calhoun. He thought the man woke once but then the constable started snoring again. He found the man had a double-barrel pistol, a set of manacles with large locks upon them, and a truncheon. The manacles were hooked securely on the man’s belt but it only took Westmoore a few minutes to quietly remove them. Constable Calhoun didn’t even skip a beat in his snoring. He considered stealing the man’s boots but decided against it.

 

Westmoore, realizing that Sooleawa was also asleep, slipped out of the tavern and walked to the fields a mile or so north. He found a place where a few trees and tall grass grew and dug a shallow hole with his knife. He buried the manacles there and then stood for a bit, thinking about running away. However, they knew his name and he guessed that Stone would put up wanted posters for him and spread the word as to who he really was.

 

If I go back and I go to my room and go to sleep, maybe they’ll trust me, he thought.

 

He trekked back to the inn and crept into the tavern. Constable Calhoun and Sooleawa were both exactly where he’d left them so he slipped up the stairs to his room, closed and locked the door, took off his shoes, and lay down in bed.

 

* * *

 

Sooleawa woke up and saw Westmoore was gone. She slipped outside to look for the man but saw no sign of him nearby. She decided to wait for him.

 

* * *

 

Constable Calhoun woke up, a crick in his neck aching terribly. Westmoore and the Indian woman were gone and he realized his manacles were missing as well. He stomped upstairs to Westmoore’s room and pounded on the door. Moments later, Sooleawa ran up the steps.

 

“What are you doing?†she asked.

 

“This no-good thief stole my manacles!†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Stole your manacles?†Sooleawa said. “How do you know?â€

 

“Because he’s the only one who would steal my manacles!†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Is he in his room?â€

 

“I don’t know. He won’t answer his door!â€

 

Another door opened and Whipple leaned out.

 

“Would you kindly keep it down?†he said, closing the door behind him.

 

“I’ll do the best I can,†Constable Calhoun said. “If you hear screams, don’t mind them.â€

 

Moments later, Richards came up the stairs. Another door opened and Private North peeked out, knife in hand.

 

“Constable, do you require my assistance?†Private North said, his voice very high pitched with excitement.

 

Whipple poked his head out again. Then closed his door once more.

 

“I think I’ll be okay,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“What?†Westmoore called from within.

 

“See, he’s in his room,†Sooleawa said. “How could he have taken your manacles?â€

 

“Because he wasn’t in his room when I fell asleep,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“What?†Sooleawa said.

 

“Because he wasn’t in his room when I fell asleep,†the constable repeated. “You’re a dirty thief!â€

 

“Why did you fall asleep watching him?†Private North said. He cleared his throat again.

 

“I am 37 years old!†Constable Calhoun said. “I am not used to all this excitement!â€

 

Whipple opened his door again.

 

“You’re 37?†he said before shutting it once more.

 

Constable Calhoun drew his pistol and banged on the door with the butt of it.

 

“By the sounds outside my door, I think I’ll leave it locked!†Westmoore called.

 

“I don’t blame you,†Sooleawa said.

 

“Where are my manacles?†Constable Calhoun called.

 

“What manacles?†Westmoore replied.

 

“Where’s my manacles?†Constable Calhoun called again.

 

“What manacles?†Westmoore said.

 

“I know you know where my manacles are!†Constable Calhoun said. “Where are they?â€

 

“Would you like me to knock the door down sir?†Private North said.

 

“I can do it,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

Another man came up the steps. It was the owner of the house.

 

“What’s going on here?†he said.

 

“This dirty thief stole my manacles!†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“This constable won’t stop banging on the door while we’re trying to sleep,†Sooleawa said.

 

The man knocked.

 

“Open the door!†he said. “There’s a constable of the law here.â€

 

Westmoore opened the door.

 

“There you are, constable, search his room,†the man said.

 

Constable Calhoun searched the room but found no manacles. He examined Westmoore’s boots carefully and saw they were wet with dew and fresh mud. He turned to Westmoore.

 

“Boots on,†he said. “Let’s go. Let’s go find my manacles.â€

 

“I don’t know what manacles you mean,†Westmoore said calmly.

 

“Don’t play dumb, even though I know you’re dumb,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“My intelligence is not insulted by a constable of the law who fell asleep watching their charge,†Westmoore said.

 

“Constable, please, it’s the middle of the night,†Sooleawa said.

 

“All right then,†Constable Calhoun said. “Do you mind staying here one minute?â€

 

He left the room, returning moments later with a blanket and a pillow. He lay both down on the floor near the door.

 

“You’re being punished,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“What have I done wrong?†Westmoore asked.

 

“I’m sorry sir, I believe you are right,†Sooleawa said. “They’ve been wrongfully accusing you all along.â€

 

“Uh-huh,†Westmoore said.

 

He looked at Calhoun again.

 

“Are you intimidated by the mud on my boots, constable?†he asked.

 

“Oh, I’m not intimidated,†Constable Calhoun said. “I just know.â€

 

“But do you think it is evidence that I have stolen your manacles?†Westmoore said.

 

“Considering the fact that you know you’re not supposed to leave,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“Well, I’ll have you know that I almost ran away while you were asleep. But I didn’t.â€

 

“Oh, so that’s supposed to make me feel better?â€

 

“I’m here.â€

 

“Go to sleep.â€

 

Constable Calhoun closed the door to his room and bolted it, looked at Westmoore, and lay down on the floor in front of the aperture. Westmoore waited until the constable had fallen asleep, which he did quickly once again, snoring loudly. He considered trying to move the man or steal his shoes and throw them out the window but, in the end, decided to simply get a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed.

 

* * *

 

Saturday, August 15, 1778, was a relatively clear day.

 

Whipple woke at a reasonable hour, had some tea, breakfast, a nice pipe, and read the week-old paper, the last much to his disappointment.

 

Constable Calhoun woke up before Westmoore and waited for him to get up before they both went down to the tavern. Calhoun hired a boy to return to Providence with a letter and return with another set of manacles.

 

Whipple planned to visit Matchell around two o’clock.

 

“Wear something fancy,†Whipple said to Private North, who was supposed to go with him.

 

The private was already wearing the clothing he had borrowed from Richards the day before.

 

“If you want me to wear something fancier than what he gave me, you’re going to have to give it to me,†Private North said, pointing to Richards.

 

“Do you have nothing nice to wear?†Whipple said.

 

“I am a soldier,†Private North said. “I have my uniform.â€

 

“To the tailor!†Whipple said.

 

“Mr. Whipple!†Westmoore called. “Mr. Whipple! I’m dressed nice. Allow me to accompany you.â€

 

“No,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

A tear ran down Whipple’s face and he slowly pulled out another wallet, thinking he was again being robbed.

 

“N-No,†Westmoore said. “Allow me to accompany you.â€

 

“No,†Constable Calhoun said again.

 

“Don’t worry,†Sooleawa said. “I’ll go with him too. I’ll keep an eye on him.â€

 

“The soldier’s coming,†Westmoore protested.

 

“If everyone accompanies him, it will raise suspicions,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“That will definitely raise suspicion,†Richards agreed.

 

“Only the soldier and Whipple,†Constable Calhoun said.

 

“But I would be his employee, so it wouldn’t be strange,†Private North said.

 

“Mr. Whipple,†Westmoore said again. “May I assist you?â€

 

“No,†Constable Calhoun said. “I say that only those two go.â€

 

There was talk of others going but Whipple noted he would allow only one of them to accompany him. He noted the others could pick. Westmoore continued to try to convince Whipple to take him. Constable Calhoun told Private North to wash his dirty face and the youth did so, but made a poor job of it. When Constable Calhoun saw it, he threw a handkerchief at the boy, who stuck it into his pocket. Constable Calhoun told him to use it to wash his face better.

 

“If you accompany me, you must be presentable,†Whipple said.

 

Private North cleaned his face and looked even younger than he had before. Whipple used some powder he had with him to powder the boy’s hair a little bit. He looked presentable, if awkward.

 

“Allow me to accompany you, sir,†Westmoore said again.

 

“You!†Constable Calhoun said to him. “You’re coming with me.â€

 

“What?†Westmoore said.

 

Calhoun took Westmoore and visited the mills that belonged to Matchell but found nothing suspicious there. They also learned nothing odd had been spotted in Matchell’s woods. Westmoore snuck away from Constable Calhoun and the man was terribly upset about losing him.

 

* * *


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