Filigree’s Midnight Ride
1 The Smallest Dog in Boston
April 18, 1775, Boston, Massachusetts Filigree smelled danger and raced toward it. He flattened his ears against his head and stretched his short legs as far as he could. This was his chance. He leaped over a cobblestone as big as his head and dodged the wheels of a vegetable cart. He might be the smallest dog in
Boston, but he was ready to fight for freedom.
The street was wet and slippery with drizzle. Filigree dashed past a group of children throwing rotten eggs at British soldiers and laughing.
He rounded the corner onto Back Street. There he slid to a stop, panting. The fight had already begun.
It looked like every dog in Boston was
there. Jove, the huge Newfoundland, had cornered two British soldiers against a wall. Jove belonged to the patriot leader Samuel Adams. His head was as big as a pumpkin and his neck was as thick as a bull’s. Dark shaggy fur covered his powerful chest.
His pack of patriot dogs surrounded him. Scout the spaniel stood with his front paws on the taller soldier’s shoes. Rosie, a scruffy mutt, pulled on the smaller soldier’s coat. All the other dogs yowled and snapped.
For the last ten years, many of the people of Boston had been angry about England controlling them. They called themselves
patriots. But King George wouldn’t even let them have a say about the laws they had to follow. Or the taxes they had to pay. Nearly two years ago, the patriots had thrown boxes and boxes of British tea into Boston Harbor because of the taxes on it. Patriots called that the Boston Tea Party.
After that, Jove decided the patriot dogs should stand up to the British too. They stole the soldiers’ food, chased them when they were marching, and woke them up by howling in the middle of the night. Rosie once ran off with a whole leg of lamb meant for a general’s dinner. Scout carried secret
messages tied to his collar. Jove stood watch outside patriot meetings.
Filigree had been ready to do his part, even if he was only a five-pound Pomeranian. After all, he belonged to nine-year-old Frances Revere. She was the daughter of the patriot Paul Revere. And Filigree was a patriot now too. He had good reason to be.
“Reporting for duty, sir,” he’d told Jove the first time he’d seen him in North Square. But Jove had laughed. “You’re not even a real dog. More like a dormouse,” he’d said. “The
Redcoats won’t even know you’re there.”
The patriots called the British soldiers “Redcoats” or “Lobsterbacks” because red was the human name for the color of their uniforms.
“A little pup like you could never make a difference,” Jove had grunted.
His words had hit Filigree like a slap.
“Yes I can!” he’d barked. “And I’m not a pup!”
But Jove had just turned away. He’d started telling two sheepdogs how to pull tent pegs out of the ground to make the British army tents fall down.
Now, on Back Street, Rosie and Scout crouched low. They pulled their lips back to snarl at the soldiers.
Jove stepped forward and looked straight into the taller soldier’s eyes. In dog language, that was a challenge to a fight. The fur on Filigree’s back stood up.
The tall Redcoat raised the heavy wooden stock of his musket above Jove’s head. He was going to dash Jove’s brains out!
“No!” Filigree yapped. If anything happened to Jove, who would lead the patriot pack? The Redcoats weren’t allowed to hurt children, but they had killed dogs.
The needle-sharp bayonet on the end of the Redcoat’s gun caught the light of the setting sun. It glittered hard as silver ice.
Fear squeezed Filigree’s chest. But he couldn’t let the pack down. He charged toward Jove and the soldiers.
He took a running leap. He meant to land in front of the big dog and distract the Redcoat. But his jump didn’t carry him quite as far as he wanted. He flew right into Jove’s face.
Jove wasn’t expecting a flying dog to hit him on the muzzle. He jumped back in surprise. The Redcoats saw their chance and ran.
The shorter one called over his shoulder, “General Gage will hang your masters when he catches them at their next Sons of Liberty meeting!” General Gage was the leader of the British troops in Boston.
“Wait until tonight!” the tall Lobsterback joined in. “They’ll get what’s coming to them!”
Rosie, Scout, and the other dogs pelted after them. Jove didn’t follow. He was too
busy staring at Filigree in amazement.
The pack came panting back.
“They went inside a building,” Rosie said. “We couldn’t catch ’em.”
“But we sure showed those Lobsterbacks whose street this is!” Filigree barked.
Jove was still staring at him. Filigree stood as tall as he could. His nose was lined up with Jove’s knee. He wagged his tail in triumph. He had saved Jove! He waited for the big dog to thank him.
Jove growled and showed his sharp, sharp teeth. “Fool!” he barked. “You ruined everything!”