“You are the wife of Sergeant Benjamin Stone of the Third Virginia Regiment?”
He glances at Benjamin, who nods.
“How did you come to be here?”
“On horseback, from home, to bring food, medicine, and clothes to my husband and brothers. While I was in York, two days gone, Congressman Benjamin Harrison gave me a message and bade me deliver it in haste to His Excellency. I wish to present it to him now.”
He folds his arms on his chest as he gazes down at me. “You’ve come here unannounced and claim you have a message for the commander in chief. Tell me, why should I believe you and grant you an audience with the general?”
I see I must prove myself again and I feel my face grow hot as my anger flares. Benjamin starts to speak on my behalf but I place a hand on his arm to check him as I address the officer.
“I may ask you, sir, why I must answer the same questions over and over. Mr. Harrison bid me deliver his message to General Washington—and no other. I do not know who you are but I should trust you because you wear a uniform?”
The officer opens his mouth to retort, but I cut him off.
“The message is genuine, sent—and carried here—in good faith. Why would I do anything treacherous that would endanger my loved ones? I vow I shall burn the dispatch if I cannot fulfill my promise to Mr. Harrison and any consequences will lie with His Excellency’s gatekeeper, not with me.” I raise my chin. “Do you not think the commander in chief should read and evaluate the message for himself?”
He stares at me for a long moment before he retreats to the office. As soon as the door shuts behind him, Benjamin runs a hand over his face and stifles a laugh. “You don’t know who that is, do you?”
“No. How could I?”
“Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton keeps close counsel with His Excellency and it actually is up to him whether you gain admittance.”
I exhale slowly. “Oh. I suppose I could make apology.”
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