General Farthing: My Life as a Spy | TeenInk

General Farthing: My Life as a Spy

May 19, 2009
By FreddyLevenson GOLD, Stamford, Connecticut
FreddyLevenson GOLD, Stamford, Connecticut
10 articles 1 photo 1 comment

“Good Evening, Mr. General” I was sitting across from General Farthing at the table. His face was as red as his coat as I kept a cool demeanor. “Are you a spy, or not?” He fumed as he slammed his hands on the table. “You know, Mr. General, you don’t have to get all angry about it. “ I was all suave, like I usually am. Mr. General Farthing gritted his teeth. “You’re avoiding the question… are you a spy or not?” his face was getting even redder in sharp contrast to the blue sky outside. “And what happens if I am a spy?” I quipped. Farthing gave an icy smile. “Then you die!!!”


I ran across Boston’s neck and to Faneuil Hall. I stopped in front of General Farthing, out of breath. General Farthing was not the type of man you would expect to see in the army. He was overweight and he had a permanently red face that got even redder when he was angry. He had angry eyes and the way he looked at you always made you think that you had done something wrong. He would be a good politician, but not a gene real. In my opinion, he was too forceful. I was gasping for air as I stopped inside the hall. “I (huff) have (huff) some (huff) information (huff) on (huff) the patriots.” I panted. “I (huff) want (huff) to (huff) defect.”
Farthing towered over me. “And how do I know you’re not a spy? “ He questioned of me.
“I swear to it,” I said, holding up my hand.

MARCH 5, 1770

Their coats were as red as the blood shining on their foreheads. There were 10 of them, standing with their guns out. Captain Preston stood between them, yet he was being slowly beaten back. He kept shouting. “Don’t fire, don’t fire” in all the commotion, there was a boy, no more than 7 years old. He was standing with his father. His father was tormenting a Corporal. Corporal Robert Farthing was standing tall, a vein in his forehead pulsing like the sun on a hot summer day. For a second, the boy thought he saw a small smile flash across his face. He raised his musket, aimed directly at the father and shot. The father was blown back and lay on the ground, his mouth opening and closing, but no sound coming out. For the boy, the entire hubbub vanished as he sat over the body of the man who was his father and cried.


I burst into the Cambridge residence, demanding to speak with the Virginia man in charge. What I found was not the stately home that it so looked from the outside. The home was bustling with people in military uniforms and everyone stopped to look at me. A man in a powdered wig and a military uniform quite unlike the others answered my call. He descended the stairs in quite a stately manner. “I want to join the army.” I shouted, a little bit louder than I would have liked. If anyone wasn’t looking at me talking to the Commander-in-Chief, they were looking at me now. “Whoa,” one of the officers, “You can’t just barge in here to talk to General Washington.”
“It’s important,” I pleaded,” I want to be a spy.”

MARCH 4, 1773

Clang! The hammer smashed against the white-hot piece of metal. Clang! I saw the strong arm of the village blacksmith rise and fall like a mesmerizing snake. Rise, fall, And Clang! Rise, fall, and clang. I didn’t know the blacksmith very well, yet I knew he had a reputation for being grumpy. No one knew him very well, for he was a famous recluse. But, on that morning, of that day, of that year, he somehow threw off his chains of the reputation. Now, I was there to commission a saddle for my horse, yet when he came to the anvil that served as a desk for his patrons. He looked kindly upon me. I’ve talked about the blacksmith’s reputation, but I haven’t talked about mine. I have a reputation for loss. Living with Mother, ten on this fateful day, 3 yeas before this, I lost my father to the hands of General Farthing. I was deathly afraid of death however, so whenever I saw it, I avoided it. We lived in the smallest house in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and we were not rich in the least. And the blacksmith knew all this. So did everyone in the town of Dorchester and the town of Boston, it would seem too. “Poor, Poor Samuel Smith, Lost his father on the fifth.” That was a rhyme that was repeated over and over and over. It seemed to be created just to annoy me. So, under the blacksmith’s kindly gaze, I thought of the rhyme, as if it would come out of his mouth at any second.
“Sam, what are you here for?” he asked, his voice softer than I remembered.
“Umm-m-m” I stammered, “I-I just came to g-get saddle for my horse.”
“Boy,” the blacksmith looked at me kindly, with a hint of pity in his gaze, “you got to stop being nervous. If you are, it won’t get you anywhere in life.”
So, the Blacksmith and me got around to talking, and I figured out that we weren’t all that different. I guess I was talking to him for a long while, because the next time I looked out the window, I saw the setting sun.
“Darn it!” I exclaimed, “Mother is going to be nervous. I’d better be getting home here.” I said my good buys to the man that would be my next father.

DECEMBER 31, 1775
“Smith!” boomed the booming voice of General Farthing, “Wake up call!” Not the most pleasant wake-up, I can say, but it’ll do. In fact, I wasn’t even asleep. I was writing a coded letter to the master of spies for General Washington’s army. So I got up, pocketed the letter, (I would give it to the post master later, saying it was to my “Mother”) and stood at attention to General Farthing. “Yes sir!” I yelled, appearing to be half-awake. “Stand at attention, Private!” Said, the Lusitanian. I saluted him, “”Yes sir!” And smiled. This was fun, knowing what he didn’t know. The yells were now coming from either side of me, from both the Plutonian and the general.
“Wipe that smirk off your face!” Screamed the luteniant.
“Stand up straighter,” howled the general. “
“Button up your coat all the way!” hollered the Luteniant
“Stop closing your eyes!” bellowed the General.
I asked General Washington in my head, what I had asked the Master of Spies in my letter.
“How long until I activate?”
I knew the question’s answer by heart.
“1 week.”

The vision of the Commander-in-chief in my head vanished and I was forced back to the dull routines of the British army.

MARCH 6, 1770

The funeral procession marched through the town to the dull beat of the rain pounding on the road in front of them. The sky was stormy and the occasional rumble of thunder was the only thing that broke the solemn silence. The sound of their feet mingled with the sound of the rain. The rain mingled with their stifled sobs. And so, the grim parade marched on, the people stopping only to look at the grey sky. It wove its way through the streets of Dorchester town, past the church, and finally stopped at the graveyard. In this graveyard, the wind and the rain wore the stones. All of them were, except for one. It stuck out of the ground, a bright white slab, like the sun on a cloudy day. It was there that the funeral march stopped. A small boy and his mother, holding hands, stood at the bright white stone. They stood and cried until their eyes were red.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1775

“Alright, ladies!” The booming voice of Captain Benjamin Babblesworth shouted, “Stop gossiping around! You’re in the army now!” We were on the common in Lexington and the people in our spy regiment were fooling around, but the captain was strict, and he wouldn’t let us go. “Alright!” He yelled, “Time to begin basic training. Step 1, Blending in. you will not be a good spy if you do not blend in. Step two, disguising your letters. You will write all of your letters in code, and address them too “Mother,” which is the master of spies. Step three. Don’t get caught. This one is pretty self explanatory. If you are caught, you do not reveal anything. Repeat, do not reveal anything. No matter how they entice you with promises of glory in the British army, do not reveal anything. You will be deployed in the next week. Good day, and good luck, for we are now going to start training for the army!”

APRIL 14, 1774
Clang! I entered the blacksmith’s shop to the usual clutter of noise. Clang! It had been over a year since that first encounter. I had gotten to know the blacksmith better, but it was still a little awkward between us. That is, until this day. I was there to get Mother a pan, for our last one had broken when we were making donkers over the fire. I walked up to the anvil and commissioned the blacksmith over. “Samuel Smith!” He exclaimed, “What have you been up to lately?”
“Oh, I was just running some errands for Ma,” I awkwardly replied.
“Don’t you know there’s a war going on?” he questioned
“All too well.” I muttered, “Mr. Goldensworth, the grocer, was killed at Bunker’s Hill.”
“Dangnabit!” He swore, “He was the best grocer around!”
“I know,” I sighed,

“I heard tell that they’re going to send a new general to these parts, “ the blacksmith had obviously made an inquiry, “I think his name is Farthing.”
“Farthing!” I yelled. A montage of horrible images flashed before my eyes. My mind screamed. The blacksmith must have seen the mortified look on my face, because he asked, “Some connection?” Then he remembered. Everyone knew. And I had sworn not to forget.

“Afraid of him, eh?” he chuckled, “Well everyone has their fears. I confess, I am no fearless man myself. I, however ashamed I am to admit it, am afraid of dying and death. “

“Aren’t we all?” I asked. “ By the way, I not only am afraid of Farthing, but I am afraid of war.”

“Come,” he beckoned to me, “I’ve got something to show you.”
I followed him and entered a dimly lit room where the only source of light was a raging fire pit in the middle of the room. There was a pair of tongs, and there was an anvil there too. The blacksmith took out a piece of metal.

“You want a pot?” he asked as he lowered the metal into the inferno. I nodded and watched the metal turn red, to white, then to blue. He took it out of the fire and placed it on the anvil, scorching hot. He took the hammer, and forced it down on the metal. Clang! The hammer went, as it slammed against the metal. He got into a rhythm, like I had seen done before. Clang! Clang! Clang! Then, suddenly, he stopped. He held out the hammer and the glove to me.
“Take it,” he urged, “And put on the glove.”
“I-I’m not..” I stammered
“Take it!” he urged, “No one ever got anywhere by saying ‘I’m not sure!’’
So I took the hammer. And the blacksmith taught me how to make a pot, all the while going, “Good job!” , or “You’re a natural!” or “No, you turn it like this.” By the end of the day, I had made the best pot that could be made by a 11 year old boy.
I looked out the window, and exclaimed, “Wow! It’s getting late. I’d better get home to Mother now.” So we said our goodbyes, and as I walked home, I thought about my father.

JANUARY1, 1776

The blast of revelry startled me out of sleep and into another dreary day in the British army, I woke up, and immediately went back into my sleeping bag. It was cold out there! I stayed in my sleeping bag, waiting out the day……….


I had made a friend in the blacksmith. He was someone to talk to, and he was someone who could be my friend. He helped me face my fears, and I helped him face his. He was nice to me It was nice while it lasted. But it all changed on this day. The last day I would stand for anything. I had come to his shop, so he could teach me to make a saddle and he was there to greet me. Him and General Farthing. The General had a gun held in his hand, and he was pointing at the blacksmith with hatred in his eyes.
“Give me your gold,” Farthing breathed in a cold, controlling voice, “Now.”
The blacksmith spotted me and motioned me to move out the door. But I stood there, rooted to the spot by fear.
“No,” The blacksmith retorted, “You did not earn it, and you will not get it.”
Farthing’s voice was turning its trademark red, “Now, give me the gold, we wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt, do we?”
“Stop bulling him!” I whispered, in a voice too weak to be heard. Farthing turned to me, and looked in surprise.
“Didn’t I kill your father?” he asked, his voice rising in volume even still. “Oh well, time to finish the job,” he pointed the musket at me and fired. At that exact moment, the blacksmith stepped into the middle of the rifle fire. He crumpled to the ground, while farthing turned and strode away. The blacksmith stirred, “Face your fears, for your father, and for me.” then, he died.


“Good Evening, Mr. General” I was sitting across from General Farthing at the table. His face was as red as his coat as I kept a cool demeanor. “Are you a spy, or not?” He fumed as he slammed his hands on the table. “You know, Mr. General, you don’t have to get all angry about it. “ I was all suave, like I usually am. Mr. General Farthing gritted his teeth. “You’re avoiding the question… are you a spy or not?” his face was getting even redder in sharp contrast to the blue sky outside. “And what happens if I am a spy?” I quipped. Farthing gave an icy smile. “Then you die!!!”

“You already tried before,” I shed my disguise and looked at General Farthing, who was so startled that his musket fell right out of his hands. I promptly took it and aimed it at him.
“Now, “ I calmly stated, “Come with me.” I escorted him down the hallway and out the oak front doors. I then spun him around. I aimed the gun at him, ready to fire, but then realized that by firing, I would be sinking to his level. So I left him standing there, wallowing in surprise, and walked off, quietly smirking

The author's comments:
A Historical Fiction piece about the siege of Boston. Enjoy!

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