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American History Stories, Volume II by  Mara L. Pratt

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THE BOSTON BOYS

[17] Here is a story about the Boston Boys, which is a match for the one you have just read about the Boston girls.

On Boston Common the boys used to skate and coast and build forts, just as other boys do to-day. Perhaps their skates weren't quite so elegant as those the Boston boys have now, and very likely their sleds were clumsy, homemade affairs, not at all like the beautiful double-runners and the toboggans you boys are so proud of; nevertheless those little lads then had just as jolly times, coasting down the same hills and skating the same ponds.

The English had, by this time, become so convinced that the colonists were preparing for war, that they sent over a large detachment of red-coated soldiers. These soldiers made headquarters in Boston, and soon became generally disagreeable to the people.

The boys had been watching eagerly the freezing of the ice on the pond on the common.

"To-morrow," thought they, "the ice will be strong enough to bear; and then, hurrah for the skating!"

Eagerly the boys hastened to the pond in the morning, their skates over their shoulders, their faces bright with the thought of the pleasure before them; but what do you suppose the cowardly soldiers had done during the night? Having nothing else to do, they had broken the ice all over [18] the pond—and just to bother these little boys. Don't you think those great, strong soldiers must have had very mean hearts to go to work to plague little boys in that manner?

I am inclined to think these boys were pretty angry when they learned who had done this cowardly act, and very likely they scolded furiously about it.

Again and again the soldiers did the same thing. At last, one day when the boys were building a fort, some of these soldiers came idling along and knocked down the fort with their guns.

The boys, now angry through and through, determined no longer to bear this mean treatment.

"Let us go to General Gage," said one of the boys, "and tell him how the soldiers are treating us; and if he is any kind of man, he will put a stop to it."

And go they did at once. With eyes ablaze with anger, they marched into the presence of the great English general.


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GENERAL GAGE

After they had laid their wrongs before him, he said, "Have your fathers been teaching you, too, to rebel, and did they send you here to show their feelings?"

"Nobody sent us, sir," answered the leader; "but your soldiers have insulted us, thrown down our forts, broken the ice on our pond, spoiled our coasts, and we will not stand it."

General Gage could not help laughing at the earnestness of these plucky little fellows. He promised that the [19] soldiers should not bother them any more; then turning to an officer near by, he said, "Even the children here draw in the love of liberty with the very air they breathe."


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