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Title: A Little Maid of Ticonderoga
Author: Curtis, Alice Turner
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Little Maid of Ticonderoga" ***

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A Little Maid of Ticonderoga

BY

ALICE TURNER CURTIS

AUTHOR OF

 "A LITTLE MAID OF PROVINCE TOWN"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF MASSACHUSETTS COLONY"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF NARRAGANSETT BAY"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF BUNKER HILL"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD CONNECTICUT"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD PHILADELPHIA"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD MAINE"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF OLD NEW YORK"
 "A LITTLE MAID OF VIRGINIA"

ILLUSTRATED BY WUANITA SMITH

THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY PHILADELPHIA

1929



COPYRIGHT 1917 BY THE PENN PUBLISHING COMPANY

A Little Maid of Ticonderoga



[Illustration: "MY NAME IS ETHAN ALLEN"]



Introduction


This is the story of a little girl whose home was among the Green
Mountains of Vermont, then known as "The Wilderness," at the beginning
of the American Revolution; and at the time when Ethan Allen and his
brave soldiers were on guard to defend their rights. Ethan Allen was
the friend of Faith, the heroine of the story, whose earnest wish to
be of help is fulfilled. She journeys from her Wilderness home across
Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga, and spends a winter with her aunt and
cousin near Fort Ticonderoga. Here she learns a secret about the fort
that is of importance later to Ethan Allen's "Green Mountain Boys."

There are two very interesting bears in this story. Like the earlier
volumes of this series, "A Little Maid of Province Town," "A Little
Maid of Massachusetts Colony," "A Little Maid of Narragansett Bay,"
and "A Little Maid of Bunker Hill"--the present volume introduces the
heroes of American history and tells of famous deeds and places of
which all American children should know.



Contents


     I.      ESTHER AND BRUIN                               9
    II.      FAITH MAKES A PROMISE                         22
   III.      MORE MISCHIEF                                 33
    IV.      A NEW PLAN                                    42
     V.      KASHAQUA                                      51
    VI.      THE JOURNEY                                   59
   VII.      NEW FRIENDS                                   70
  VIII.      THE SHOEMAKER'S DAUGHTER                      81
    IX.      LOUISE                                        90
     X.      THE MAJOR'S DAUGHTERS                        100
    XI.      A DAY OF ADVENTURE                           110
   XII.      SECRETS                                      119
  XIII.      LOUISE MAKES A PRESENT                       129
   XIV.      A BIRTHDAY                                   140
    XV.      NEW ADVENTURES                               150
   XVI.      LOUISE DISAPPEARS                            161
  XVII.      FAITH AGAIN VISITS THE FORT                  172
 XVIII.      HOME AGAIN                                   184
   XIX.      FAITH WRITES A LETTER                        194
    XX.      THE CAPTURE OF THE FORT                      208



A Little Maid of Ticonderoga



CHAPTER I

ESTHER AND BRUIN


Faith Carew was ten years old when Esther Eldridge came to visit her.
Faith lived in a big comfortable log cabin on one of the sloping
hillsides of the Green Mountains. Below the cabin was her father's
mill; and to Faith it always seemed as if the mill-stream had a gay
little song of its own. She always listened for it when she awoke each
morning.

"I wonder if Esther will hear what the brook sings?" thought Faith as
she drew on her moccasin slippers and dressed as quickly as she could,
for her mother had already called her twice, and Faith had just
reached the top of the stairs when the third call of, "Faith! Faith! I
shall not keep your porridge hot another instant," sounded from the
kitchen.

"I'm coming, mother dear," the little girl called back, and hurried
down the stairs, wondering to herself why grown people who could
always do exactly as they pleased should think it best to rise before
the sun was really up.

"Your father was off to the mill an hour ago," said Mrs. Carew,
setting a bowl of steaming porridge on the end of the table beside a
narrow window, "so you will have to eat your porridge alone."

Faith sat down at the table, looking out through the open window
toward the mill.

"I do hope Esther Eldridge and her father will come to-day," she said.
"Do you think they will, mother dear?"

"Yes, child; they will probably arrive before sunset. Your father
expected them yesterday. It will be a fine thing for you to have a
little girl for a companion. But she is a village child, and may not
be happy in the Wilderness," responded Mrs. Carew.

"Why, of course she will like being here! Just think, she has never
seen wheat ground into flour! And she can see that in our mill; and
she has always walked on real roads, and here she will not even see a
road; and I know many pleasant paths where we can walk, and I can
tell her the names of different trees and flowers. I'm sure she will
think the Wilderness a fine place," said Faith, nodding her head so
that her yellow curls seemed to dance about her face.

"I hope they make the journey from Brandon safely. Your father has
been told that the Indians have been troublesome to the settlers near
Lake Dunmore; and besides that, there are many bears coming out into
the clearings these fine autumn days. But Mr. Eldridge is a good shot,
and I am seeking trouble in naming Indians or bears. Finish your
breakfast, Faithie, and run to the garden and bring me in the ripest
of the pumpkins; for I must make some cakes for our company."

The Carews lived in a log house on a slope of cleared ground running
down to the mill-stream. There were no roads, only rough trails, and
they had no near neighbors. Faith's father had a large grant of land,
a "New Hampshire Grant," it was called, which ran toward the eastern
shore of Lake Champlain. Faith had no playmates, and when Mr.
Eldridge, of the town of Brandon, had sent word that he was coming to
see Mr. Carew on business and would bring his small daughter with
him, Faith had been overjoyed and had made many plans of what she
would do to entertain her visitor.

Faith finished her breakfast, and helped her mother clear the table
and wash the dishes, and then went up the slope to where a number of
fine pumpkins and squashes, growing among the corn, were ripening in
the early September sunshine. She looked about carefully, and selected
a yellow pumpkin. "This is about as large as my head," she said aloud,
"and I guess it is about the same color," and she ran back to the
house carrying the pumpkin, which Mrs. Carew set to bake in the brick
oven beside the fireplace.

"When it is baked may I fix the shell for a work-basket for Esther?"
asked Faith.

"Yes, indeed," answered Mrs. Carew smilingly. "Your Aunt Prissy was
greatly pleased with the one you gave her when she visited here last
autumn."

"I wish I could go to Ticonderoga and visit Aunt Prissy," said Faith.

"Why, so you shall some day. But 'tis a troublesome journey, since one
must be set across the strait," replied her mother. "But look, child!
Can it be that Mr. Eldridge has arrived at this early hour?"

"Yes, indeed. I see his little girl! Look, mother! Father has lifted
her down from the horse; and Mr. Eldridge is walking, too! Oh, mother!
See the fine hat she has on!" and Faith ran to the open door to get a
better look at the little girl who was walking so slowly up the path
to the log house.

In a moment the little girl looked up toward the open door and Faith
waved her hand.

"She didn't wave back, mother dear," exclaimed Faith, and then the
travelers were close at hand, and Mrs. Carew was greeting the tall,
grave-faced man and welcoming Esther.

"My little girl was so tired that we stopped for the night at your
neighbor Stanley's house, five miles east," said Mr. Eldridge; "and
that is why we are in good season this morning."

While Mr. Eldridge was speaking Esther held fast to her father's
hand, her large black eyes fixed on Mrs. Carew. Faith looked at her
admiringly, wishing that her own eyes were black, and that her feet
were small like Esther's, and that she had a hat with a wide scarlet
ribbon.

"Esther, this is Faith," she heard her mother say, "and she will try
and make you so happy here that you will wish to stay all winter."

The two little girls smiled shyly, and Esther let go her clasp on her
father's hand and followed Mrs. Carew into the pleasant kitchen. Faith
watched her eagerly; she wondered why Esther looked about the big room
with such a curious expression. "Almost as if she did not like it,"
thought Faith.

The little gray kitten came bouncing out from behind the big wood-box
and Esther gave a startled exclamation.

"It's just 'Bounce,'" said Faith, picking up the kitten and smoothing
its pretty head. "I named it 'Bounce' because it never seems to walk.
It just bounces along."

Esther smiled again, but she did not speak. Faith noticed that she was
very thin, and that her hands looked almost like little brown shadows.

"Are you tired?" she asked, suddenly remembering that she had heard
her father say that "Mr. Eldridge's little maid was not well, and he
thought the change would do her good."

Esther nodded. "Yes, I'm always tired," she answered, sitting down in
the low wooden rocker beside the light stand.

"For pity's sake, child, we must see to it that you are soon as strong
and well as Faith," said Mrs. Carew, untying the broad scarlet ribbon
and taking off Esther's hat. She smoothed back the dark hair with a
tender hand, remembering that Esther's own mother was not well, and
resolving to do her best for this delicate child.

"I think the pumpkin is cooked by this time, Faithie. I'll set it in
the window to cool and then you can take out the pulp and I'll make
the cakes," said Mrs. Carew.

Bounce jumped up in Esther's lap, and Faith sat down on the braided
rug beside her.

"I'm going to make the pumpkin shell into a work-basket for you," said
Faith. "Did you ever see a pumpkin-shell work-basket?"

Esther shook her head. She did not seem much interested. But she asked
eagerly: "Are the pumpkin cakes sweet?"

"Yes, indeed. You shall have one as soon as they are baked; may she
not, mother dear?"

"Why, yes; only if Esther is not well it may not be wise for her to
eat between meals," responded Mrs. Carew.

"Oh! But I eat cakes whenever I want them," declared Esther, "and I
love sweets. I had a fine cake when I left home and I ate it all
before we got to Lake Dunmore."

Mrs. Carew thought to herself that she did not wonder Esther was
always tired and not strong. Esther did not say that the "fine cake"
had been sent as a gift to Faith. But her face flushed a little, and
she added, "I meant to bring the cake as a present; but I was hungry."

"Of course you were," agreed Faith quickly. "Is not the pumpkin cool
enough to cut, mother dear?" asked Faith.

"Yes," replied her mother, setting the yellow pumpkin on the table.

"Come and see me do it, Esther," said Faith, and Esther, with a little
sigh, left the comfortable chair and came and leaned against the
table.

With a sharp knife Faith cut a circle about the stem of the pumpkin
and took it off, a little round, with the stem in the center. "That
will be the work-box cover," she explained, laying it carefully on a
wooden plate. Then she removed the seeds and the pulp, putting the
pulp in a big yellow bowl, and scraping the inside of the pumpkin
shell. "There! Now when it dries a bit 'twill be a fine work-box, and
it is for you, Esther," she said; but Esther was watching Mrs. Carew,
who was beating up eggs with the pumpkin pulp.

"Do you put spices in the cakes?" she questioned eagerly. "How long
before they will be baked?"

Faith stood holding the yellow pumpkin shell, and looking at her
visitor wonderingly.

"All she cares about is something to eat," thought Faith, a little
scornfully, setting the fine pumpkin shell on the table.

Esther's face brightened as she listened to Mrs. Carew's description
of pumpkin cakes, and of pumpkin pies sweetened with maple syrup.

"I think I must teach you to cook, Esther. I am sure you would soon
learn," said Mrs. Carew.

"I guess I wouldn't be strong enough," responded Esther in a listless
tone, going back to the rocking-chair, without even a glance at
Faith's present.

"Come, Esther, let's go down to the mill. I'll show you the big wheel,
and how father raises the water-gate," suggested Faith, who was
beginning to think that a visitor was not such a delightful thing,
after all.

Esther left her chair with a regretful sigh, and followed Faith
out-of-doors.

"Listen!" said Faith. "That rippling, singing noise is the brook."

Esther laughed. "You're funny," she said. "Why should I listen to a
noisy old mill-stream?"

"I thought perhaps you'd like to hear it. I do. Sometimes, just as I
go to sleep, I hear it singing about the stars, and about little foxes
who come down to drink, and about birds...." Faith stopped suddenly,
for Esther was laughing; and as Faith turned to look at her she
realized that Esther cared nothing about the music of the stream.

"I do believe you are silly," Esther responded. "Do you think your
mother will bake the cakes and pies while we are away?"

"Yes," replied Faith dully. Only that morning she had said to herself
how nice it would be to have a girl friend to talk with, but if Esther
thought she was "silly"--why, of course, she must not talk. "I'll let
her talk," resolved Faith.

For a few moments the two little girls walked on in silence, then
Esther said suddenly: "Does your mother ever let you boil down maple
molasses for candy?"

"Sometimes," replied Faith.

Esther slipped her little brown hand under Faith's arm. "Ask her to
let us make candy this afternoon. Do. Tell her it will keep me from
being lonesome. For my father will be going to Ticonderoga as soon as
dinner is over; he will be gone for days. Will you ask her, Faith?"

"Yes, I'll ask her," Faith answered.

"I know I'm going to have a fine visit," declared Esther, with more
interest than she had shown since her arrival. "Does your mother ever
bake little pies, in saucers, for you?"

"No," said Faith, still resolved to say no more than was necessary.

"Oh! Doesn't she? That's too bad. I wish I had asked her to. Then we
could play keep-house in the afternoon, and have the pies to eat. Will
your mother make pies again to-morrow?"

"I don't know," said Faith.

Esther did not care much about the mill. She hardly glanced at the big
water-wheel, and was eager to get back to the house. Several times
she reminded Faith of her promise about the maple candy. Faith had
expected that she and Esther would be the best of friends, but the
time before dinner seemed very long to both the children.

Soon after dinner Mr. Eldridge went on his way. He left his horse in
Mr. Carew's care, as he was to walk to the shore of Lake Champlain and
trust to good fortune to find a canoe or boat in which he could cross
the narrow strait to Ticonderoga. He would not return for a week, and
he seemed greatly pleased that his little daughter was so contented to
be left with her new friends.

"She is an only child, like your own little maid," he said to Mrs.
Carew, "and I am glad they are to be friends."

They all walked down the slope with him, and watched him striding off
along the rough path.

"He's going to fetch me some rock-candy," said Esther as they turned
back to the house.

Mrs. Carew stopped at the mill, and the two little girls went back to
the house.

"We'll make the maple candy now, shan't we?" said Esther, as they
reached the kitchen door. "See, the kettle is all clean, and I know
where the molasses jug is," and before Faith could remind her that she
had not yet asked permission, Esther was dragging the heavy jug from
the pantry.

"Oh, look out, Esther. You'll spill it," cautioned Faith, running to
help her.

"No, I won't. Here, help me turn it into the kettle and get it over
the fire before your mother comes back," urged Esther, and the two
girls lifted the jug and turned the maple syrup into the kettle.
"There, that will make a lot of candy," said Esther. "You stir up the
fire and put on more wood."

Faith obeyed. She hardly knew what else she could do, although she was
sure that her mother would not want them to use all the syrup for
candy. As she piled on the wood, she heard a scrambling noise at the
door, and a sudden scream from Esther: "Faith! Faith! A bear! A bear!"
and looking over her shoulder she saw a big brown bear coming in
through the kitchen door.



CHAPTER II

FAITH MAKES A PROMISE


For a second Faith was too frightened to move. Then pulling one of the
newly kindled sticks from the fire she hurled it at the big creature
and ran for the stairs, up which Esther was already hurrying.

The flaming brand halted the bear for a second only, but the little
girls had reached the upper floor before he was well into the kitchen,
and, sniffing the molasses, he turned toward the empty jug and the
full kettle.

"What shall we do? What shall we do?" sobbed Esther. "He will come up
here and eat us. I know he will."

"We must get out of the window and run to the mill," whispered Faith.
"We mustn't wait a minute, for mother dear may be on her way to the
house. Come," and she pushed Esther before her toward the window.
"Here, just take hold and swing yourself down," she said.

"I can't, oh, I can't," sobbed Esther.

"You must. I'll go first, then;" and in a moment Faith was swinging
from the windowsill, had dropped to the ground, and was speeding down
the path to the mill, while Esther, frightened and helpless, leaned
out screaming at the top of her voice.

Mrs. Carew was just leaving the mill when she saw Faith racing toward
her. "A bear! A bear in our kitchen," she called.

"Hugh!" called Mrs. Carew, and Mr. Carew came running from the mill to
hear the story.

"It's lucky I keep a musket at the mill," he said. "Here, you take
Faith into the mill and fasten the door on the inside. I'll attend to
the bear," and he was off, racing toward the house, while Mrs. Carew
hurried Faith into the mill and shut the heavy door.

"I do hope Esther will stay in the chamber until your father gets
there," said Mrs. Carew anxiously. "I do not believe the bear will
venture up the stairs."

"He was after the syrup," said Faith, "and if he tried the stairs
Esther could drop out of the window."

It was not long before they heard the loud report of the musket.

"Mayn't we open the door now, mother dear?" asked Faith.

"Not yet, Faithie. We'll wait a little," and Faith realized that her
mother's arm trembled as she drew the girl to her side.

There was silence for what seemed a very long time to Mrs. Carew and
Faith, and then they heard Mr. Carew calling; "All right, open the
door. Here is Esther safe and sound."

Esther, sobbing and trembling, clung to Mrs. Carew, and Faith held
tight to her father's hand while he told the story. The bear, with his
nose in the kettle of syrup, had not even heard Mr. Carew's approach,
and had been an easy mark.

"You'll find your kitchen in a sad state, Lucy," said Mr. Carew, as he
finished. "I have dragged the bear outside, and he will furnish us
some fine steaks, and a good skin for a rug; but your kettle of syrup
is all over the floor."

"Kettle of syrup?" questioned Mrs. Carew. "Why, there was no kettle of
syrup." Neither of the little girls offered any explanation. Mr. Carew
looked about the clearing to see if any other bear was in the
neighborhood, but it was evident that the creature had come alone.

"'Tis not often they are so bold," said Mr. Carew, as they neared the
cabin, "although last year an old bear and two cubs came down by the
mill, but they were off before I could get a shot at them."

Mrs. Carew looked about her kitchen with a little feeling of dismay.
The kettle had been overturned, and what syrup the bear had not eaten
was smeared over the hearth and floor. The little rocking-chair was
tipped over and broken, and everything was in disorder.

Esther looked into the kitchen, but Mrs. Carew cautioned her not
to enter. "You and Faith go to the front door and go into the
sitting-room," she said. "There is nothing that either of you can do
to help;" so Faith led the way and pushed open the heavy door which
led directly into a big comfortable room. The lower floor of the cabin
was divided into two rooms, the sitting-room and kitchen, and over
these were two comfortable chambers. The stairs led up from the
kitchen.

Faith thought the sitting-room a very fine place. There was a big
fireplace on one side of the room, and the walls were ceiled, or
paneled, with pine boards. On one side of the fireplace was a broad
wooden settle, covered with a number of fur robes, and several big
cushions. Between the two front windows stood a table of dark wood,
and on the table were two tall brass candlesticks. A small narrow
gilt-framed mirror hung over the table.

There were several strongly-made comfortable wooden chairs with
cushions. The floor was of pine, like the ceiled walls, and was now a
golden brown in color. There were several bearskin rugs on the floor,
for Mr. Carew, like all the men of the "Wilderness," was a hunter; and
when not busy in his mill or garden was off in the woods after deer,
or wild partridge, or larger game, as these fine skins proved.

"What a funny room," exclaimed Esther, with a little giggle. "Our
sitting-room has beautiful paper on the walls, and we have pictures,
and a fine carpet on the floor. What are you going to tell your mother
about that maple syrup?" she concluded sharply.

"I don't know," responded Faith.

"Well, don't tell her anything," suggested Esther.

"I guess that I shall have to tell her," said Faith.

"You mean about me? That I teased you to make candy? Well, if you do
that I'll get my father to take me home with him instead of staying
until he comes next month," declared Esther.

"I shan't tell anything about you," answered Faith.

Esther looked at her a little doubtfully.

"Of course I shan't," repeated Faith. "You are my company. No matter
what you did I wouldn't talk about it. Why, even the Indians treat
visitors politely, and give them the best they have, and that's what I
shall do," and Faith stood very straight and looked at Esther very
seriously.

"Truly? Truly? What is the 'best' you have? And when will you give it
to me?" demanded Esther, coming close to her and clasping her arm. "Is
it beads? Oh! I do hope it is beads! And you can't back out after what
you have said," and Esther jumped up and down in delight at the
thought of a possible string of fine beads.

For a moment it seemed as if Faith would burst into tears. She had
meant to tell Esther that she would do her best to be kind and polite
to her because Esther was a guest, and now Esther was demanding that
Faith should do exactly as she had promised and give her "the best she
had." And it happened that Faith's dearest possession was a string of
fine beads. Aunt Priscilla Scott, who lived in Ticonderoga, had
brought them as a gift on her last visit. They were beautiful blue
beads,--like the sky on a June day,--and Faith wore them only on
Sundays. They were in a pretty little wooden box in the sitting-room
closet.

Suddenly Esther let go of Faith's arm. "I knew you didn't mean it,"
she said scornfully.

Faith made no reply. She walked across the room and pushed a brass
knob set in one of the panels. The panel opened, and there was a
closet. The little wooden box that held the beads was on the middle
shelf. Faith took it up, closed the door, and turned toward Esther.

"Here! This is the best thing I have in all the world, the prettiest
and the dearest. And it is beads. Take them," and she thrust the box
into Esther's eager hands and ran out of the room. She forgot the dead
bear, the wasted syrup, the danger and fright of so short a time ago;
all she could think of was to get away from Esther Eldridge.

She ran across the clearing and along a narrow path that circled
behind the mill into the woods. She ran on and on until she could no
longer hear the sound of the brook, and the path began to grow rocky
and difficult. Then, tired and almost breathless, Faith sat down on a
big rock and looked about her. For a few moments she could think of
nothing but her lost beads, and of the disagreeable visitor. Then
gradually she realized that she had never before been so far along
this rough path. All about her rose huge, towering pines. Looking
ahead the path seemed to end in a dense thicket. She heard the rustle
of some little forest animal as it moved through the vines behind
her, and the call of birds near at hand. Faith began to recall the
happenings of the morning: the excitement of Esther's arrival, the
sudden appearance of the bear in the kitchen doorway, her terror lest
her mother should come before she could be warned; and then, again,
Esther and the loss of her beads. She began to cry. She felt very
tired and unhappy. She felt Esther was to blame for everything, even
for the appearance of the bear. Never before had a bear dared come to
the house. Faith leaned back against a friendly tree with a tired
little sigh. She would rest, and then go home, she thought, and closed
her eyes.

When she awoke, she thought she must still be dreaming; for, standing
a little way down the path, was a tall man leaning on a musket. He
wore a flannel blouse, and his homespun trousers were tucked into high
leathern gaiters.

The man smiled and nodded. "Do not be frightened, little maid," he
said in a friendly voice. "I did not want to leave you here in the
woods until I was sure that you could make your way home. Are you
Miller Carew's little girl?"

"Yes, sir," answered Faith, wondering who this tall, dark-eyed man,
who knew her father, could be, and then adding, "My name is Faith."

The tall man smiled again, and took off his leather cap.

"My name is Ethan Allen," he responded; "it may be that you have heard
your father speak of me."

"Yes, sir! You are a Green Mountain Boy; and you help the settlers to
keep their 'Grants,'" Faith replied quickly; for she had often heard
her father and mother speak of the trouble the settlers were having to
prove their titles to land taken under the "New Hampshire Grants," and
she remembered hearing her father say that Ethan Allen would help any
man defend his rights. She wished that she could tell him all about
Esther Eldridge and the blue beads, but she remembered her promise. "I
guess there are times when people don't have any rights," she decided,
and was quite unconscious that she had spoken aloud until she heard
her companion say very clearly:

"There can never be such a time as that. People would be slaves indeed
not to uphold their just and rightful claims. But why is a small maid
like yourself troubling about 'rights'?"

"I have company at my house----" began Faith.

"I see, I see!" interrupted Colonel Allen. "Of course you have to let
the guest do whatever she pleases," and he smiled and nodded, as if he
understood all about it. "And now we had best start toward your
father's mill, for it is well toward sunset."

"Sunset? Have I slept all the afternoon!" exclaimed Faith, jumping up.

As they walked down the path Ethan Allen asked Faith many questions
about the people who came along the trail from the settlements on
their way to Lake Champlain.

When they reached the clearing where the mill stood Faith's father and
mother came running to meet them. They welcomed Mr. Allen, and said
that they had been sadly worried about Faith. "But where is Esther?"
asked Mrs. Carew. "Is she not with you, Faith?"

"I left her in the sitting-room, hours ago!" answered the little girl.



CHAPTER III

MORE MISCHIEF


"'Hours ago,'" repeated Mrs. Carew. "Why, dear child, it is only an
hour since Esther came up from the mill with the dishes."

Faith looked so bewildered that her mother exclaimed: "Why, child!
Have you forgotten that you and Esther had your dinner at the mill?"

"But I did not have any dinner," declared Faith. "It was not dinner
time when I ran off and left Esther in the sitting-room. I----" and
then Faith stopped suddenly. She resolved that she would not tell her
mother that she had given Esther the blue beads,--not until Esther was
found.

"Well, I declare. Esther came into the kitchen just as I was preparing
dinner, and asked if you girls could not have a picnic dinner at the
mill, and I was well pleased to let you. I put some cold meat and
bread, a good half of pumpkin pie and some of the pumpkin cakes in a
basket, and gave her a pitcher of milk, and off she went. An hour ago
she came in to ask for a lunch and I gave her a good piece of molasses
cake. Your father was busy skinning the bear, and we gave but little
thought to you children. But when I called your name, and found
neither of you at the mill, I became alarmed. But where can Esther be
now?" concluded Mrs. Carew, looking anxiously about the clearing.

"Go back to the house with Faith and give the child something to eat.
Colonel Allen and I will search the mill again," said Mr. Carew.

"I'm tired," said Faith, as they reached the house, "and I don't like
Esther."

"Hush, Faithie. She is your guest. And if she has wandered into any
harm or danger I do not know what we can say to Mr. Eldridge,"
responded her mother; "but I do not understand about the food," she
added, half to herself, wondering if Esther could really have eaten it
all.

Faith looked about the kitchen. "It looks just the same. Just as if
the bear had not come in," she said.

Mrs. Carew brought her a bowl of milk and a plate of corn bread, and
another plate with two of the pumpkin cakes.

"I'll run back to the mill while you eat your supper, Faithie, and see
if Esther has been found. When I come back you must tell me what you
were turning syrup into the kettle for."

Faith was hungry, but as she ate her bread and milk she felt very
unhappy. She remembered her promise to Esther not to tell Mrs. Carew
about the syrup.

"I don't know what I shall do," she said aloud. "I guess I'll go and
rest on the settle until mother dear comes," so she opened the door
and entered the sitting-room. As she lay back among the cushions of
the settle she heard a faint noise from the further side of the room.
"I guess it's 'Bounce,'" she thought.

Then the noise came again: "Gr-r-r! Gr-rrr!" Faith sat up quickly. She
wondered if another bear had made its way into the house. The big
black bearskin rug in front of the table was moving; it was standing
up, and coming toward the settle.

"It's you, Esther Eldridge! You can't frighten me," said Faith, and
Esther dropped the rug from her shoulders and came running toward the
settle. Her black eyes were dancing, and she was laughing.

"Oh! I've had the greatest fun! I ate all your dinner, and I hid under
that bearskin and your mother and father hunted everywhere for me.
Where have you been?" concluded Esther, looking down at Faith. The
little girls did not notice that, just as Esther began speaking, Mrs.
Carew had opened the sitting-room door.

"I've been way off in the woods, and my mother has asked me to tell
her about the maple syrup," replied Faith accusingly.

"Well, Esther!"

Both the girls gave an exclamation of surprise at the sound of Mrs.
Carew's voice. "You may go to the mill and tell Mr. Carew that you are
safe, and then come directly back," she said a little sternly, and
stood by the door until Esther was on her way. Then she crossed over
to the settle and sat down beside Faith.

"I will not ask you about the syrup, Faithie dear," she said,
smoothing Faith's ruffled hair. "And you had best go up-stairs to bed.
I will have a talk with Esther, and then she will go to bed. It has
been a difficult day, has it not, child? But to-morrow I trust
everything will go pleasantly, without bears or trouble of any sort."

"But Esther will be here," said Faith.

"Never mind; I think Esther has made mischief enough to-day to last
all her visit," responded Mrs. Carew; and Faith, very tired, and
greatly comforted, went up to her pleasant chamber which Esther was to
share. She wondered to herself just what her mother would say to
Esther. But she did not stay long awake, and when Esther came
up-stairs shortly after, very quietly, and feeling rather ashamed of
herself after listening to Mrs. Carew, Faith was fast asleep.

But Esther did not go to sleep. She wondered to herself what her
father would say if Mrs. Carew told him of her mischief, and began to
wish that she had not deceived Mrs. Carew about the dinner. She could
feel her face flush in the darkness when she remembered what Mrs.
Carew had said to her about truthfulness. Esther's head ached, and she
felt as if she was going to be ill. Down-stairs she could hear the
murmur of voices. Ethan Allen would sleep on the settle, and be off at
an early hour the next morning. It seemed a long time before the
voices ceased, and she heard Mr. and Mrs. Carew come up the stairs.
Esther began to wish that she had not eaten the fine pumpkin pie and
all the cakes. It was nearly morning before she fell asleep, and she
was awake when Faith first opened her eyes.

"It's time to get up. It always is the minute I wake up," said Faith
sleepily.

Esther answered with a sudden moan: "I can't get up. I'm sick," she
whispered.

Faith sat up in bed and looked at Esther a little doubtfully. But
Esther's flushed face and the dark shadows under her eyes proved that
she spoke the truth.

"I'll tell mother. Don't cry, Esther. Mother will make you well before
you know it," said Faith, quickly slipping out of bed and running into
the little passage at the head of the stairs.

In a few moments Mrs. Carew was standing beside the bed. She said to
herself that she did not wonder that Esther was ill. But while Faith
dressed and got ready for breakfast Mrs. Carew smoothed out the
tumbled bed, freshened the pillows and comforted their little visitor.

"Run down and eat your porridge, Faithie, and then come back and sit
with Esther," said Mrs. Carew.

When Faith returned Mrs. Carew went down and brewed some bitter herbs
and brought the tea for Esther to drink. The little girl swallowed the
unpleasant drink, and shortly after was sound asleep. She had not
awakened at dinner time, and Mrs. Carew was sure that she would sleep
off her illness.

"The child must be taught not to crave sweet foods," she said, as she
told Faith to run down to the mill and amuse herself as she pleased.
"Only don't go out of sight of the mill, Faithie," she cautioned, and
Faith promised and ran happily off down the path. She was eager to ask
her father about Mr. Ethan Allen.

Mr. Carew was busy grinding wheat. There were few mills in the
Wilderness, and nearly every day until midwinter settlers were coming
and going from the mill, bringing bags of wheat or corn on horseback
over the rough trail and carrying back flour or meal. When Mr. Carew
had tied up the bag of meal and his customer had ridden away, he came
to where Faith was sitting close by the open door and sat down beside
her.

"Why do you call Mr. Allen a 'Green Mountain Boy'?" asked the little
girl, after she had answered his questions about Esther; "he is a big
man."

Mr. Carew smiled down at Faith's eager face, and then pointed to the
green wooded hills beyond the clearing. "It's because he, and other
men of these parts, are like those green hills,--strong, and
sufficient to themselves," he answered. "Every settler in the
Wilderness knows that Ethan Allen will help them protect their homes;
and no man knows this part of the country better than Colonel Allen."

"Why do you call him 'Colonel'?" asked Faith.

"Because the Bennington people have given him that title, and put him
in command of the men of the town that they may be of service to
defend it in case King George's men come over from New York," replied
her father; "but I do not know but the bears are as dangerous as the
'Yorkers.' Do you think Esther will be quite well to-morrow?"
concluded Mr. Carew.

Faith was quite sure that Esther would soon be as well as ever. She
did not want to talk about Esther. She wanted to hear more about her
friend Colonel Allen. "I heard him tell mother that he slept in a cave
one night on his way here," she said.

"Oh, yes; he can sleep anywhere. But you must talk of him no more
to-day, Faithie," answered Mr. Carew; "and here is 'Bounce' looking
for you," he added, as the little gray kitten jumped into Faith's lap.



CHAPTER IV

A NEW PLAN


Esther was much better the next morning, but she was not well enough
to come down-stairs for several days, and when her father appeared he
agreed with Mrs. Carew that the little girl was not fit to undertake
the journey on horseback along the rough trail to Brandon.

Mrs. Carew was able to assure him, however, that he need not be
anxious about his little daughter, and he decided to go directly home,
leaving Esther to regain health and strength in Mrs. Carew's charge.

"I will come for you the first Monday in October, three weeks from
to-day," he told Esther, "and you must mind Mrs. Carew in everything
she bids you."

Esther promised tearfully. She did not want to stay, but she resolved
to herself, as she watched her father ride away, that she would do
everything possible to please Mrs. Carew and make friends with Faith.
She could hardly bear to think of the first day of her visit.

As she lay on the settle comfortably bolstered up with the soft
pillows, and a little fire crackling on the hearth, Esther looked
about the sitting-room and began to think it a very pleasant place.
Faith brought all her treasures to entertain her little visitor. Chief
of these was a fine book called "Pilgrim's Progress," with many
pictures. There was a doll,--one that Faith's Aunt Priscilla had
brought her from New York. This doll was a very wonderful creature.
She wore a blue flounced satin dress, and the dress had real buttons,
buttons of gilt; and the doll wore a beautiful bonnet.

Faith watched Esther a little anxiously as she allowed her to take
Lady Amy, as the doll was named. But Esther was as careful as Faith
herself, and declared that she did not believe any little girl that
side of Bennington had such a beautiful doll.

"I think your Aunt Priscilla is the best aunt that ever was. She gave
you this lovely doll, and your blue beads----" Esther stopped
suddenly. She had lost the beads, and she did not want to tell Faith.
She had resolved to hunt for them as soon as possible, and give them
back. She was sure she could find them when she could run about again.

Faith did not look at Esther. She wished Esther had not reminded her
of the beads. But Esther had been so grateful for everything that Mrs.
Carew and Faith did for her that they had almost forgotten her
mischief, and were beginning to like their little visitor.

"Yes, my Aunt Prissy is lovely," said Faith. "She is a young aunt. Her
hair is yellow and her eyes are blue; she can run as fast as I can,"
and Faith smiled, remembering the good times she always had when Aunt
Prissy came for a visit to the log cabin. "When I go to visit her I
shall see the fort where the English soldiers are," she added.

"Colonel Ethan Allen could take the fort away from them if he wanted
to; my father said so," boasted Esther; and Faith was quite ready to
agree to this, for it seemed to her that the tall, dark-eyed colonel
could accomplish almost anything.

"How would you and Faithie like to have your supper here by the fire?"
asked Mrs Carew, coming in from the kitchen. "Faith can bring in the
light stand and use her own set of dishes. And I will make you a fine
dish of cream toast."

Both the little girls were delighted at the plan. And Faith ran to
the kitchen and, with her mother's help, brought in the stand and
put it down in front of the settle. She spread a white cloth over
it, and then turned to the closet, from which she had taken the
blue beads, and brought out her treasured tea-set. There was a
round-bodied, squatty teapot with a high handle, a small pitcher,
a round sugar-bowl, two cups and saucers, and two plates. The dishes
were of delicate cream-tinted china covered with crimson roses and
delicate buds and faint green leaves.

One by one Faith brought these treasures to the little table, smiling
with delight at Esther's exclamations of admiration.

"My grandmother who lives in Connecticut sent me these for my last
birthday present," said Faith. "My Grandmother Carew, whom I have
never seen. And they came from across the big salt ocean, from
England."

"To think that a little girl in a log cabin should have such lovely
things!" exclaimed Esther. "I have a silver mug with my name on it,"
she added.

Mrs. Carew brought them in the fine dish of cream toast, and filled
the china teapot with milk so they could play that it was a real
tea-party. There were baked apples to eat with the toast, and although
Esther longed for cake she did not speak of it, and, bolstered up with
cushions, and Faith sitting in a high-backed chair facing her, she
began really to enjoy herself.

"My father made this little table," said Faith, helping Esther to a
second cup of "tea," "and he made these chairs and the settle. He came
up here with Mr. Stanley years ago, and cut down trees and built this
house and the barn and the mill; then he went way back where my
grandmother lives and brought my mother here. Some day I am to go to
Connecticut and go to school."

"Why don't you come to Brandon and go to school?" suggested Esther.
"Oh, do! Faith, ask your mother to let you go home with me and go to
school this winter. That would be splendid!" And Esther sat up so
quickly that she nearly tipped over her cup and saucer.

"I guess I couldn't," replied Faith. "My mother would be lonesome."

But Esther thought it would be a fine idea; and while Faith carried
the dishes to the kitchen, washed them with the greatest care,
and replaced them on the closet shelf, Esther talked of all the
attractions of living in a village and going to school with other
little girls.

"I feel as well as ever," declared Esther as the two little girls went
to bed that night; "but I do wish your mother thought sweet things
would be good for me. At home I have all I want."

"Mother says that is the reason you are not well," answered Faith.
"Hear the brook, Esther! Doesn't it sound as if it was saying, 'Hurry
to bed! Hurry to bed!' And in the morning it is 'Time to get up! Time
to get up!'"

"You are the queerest girl I ever knew. The idea that a brook could
say anything," replied Esther; but her tone was friendly. "I suppose
it's because you live way off here in the woods. Now if you lived in a
village----"

"I don't want to live in a village if it will stop my hearing what the
brook says. And I can tell you what the robins say to the young
robins; and what little foxes tell their mothers; and I know how the
beavers build their homes under water," declared Faith, with a little
laugh at Esther's puzzled expression.

"Tell me about the beavers," said Esther, as they snuggled down in the
big feather-bed.

"Every house a beaver builds has two doors," began Faith, "and it has
an up-stairs and down-stairs. One of the doors to the beaver's house
opens on the land side, so that they can get out and get their
dinners; and the other opens under the water--way down deep, below
where ice freezes."

"How do you know?" questioned Esther, a little doubtfully.

"Father told me. And I have seen their houses over in the mill meadow,
where the brook is as wide as this whole clearing."

Before Faith had finished her story of how beavers could cut down
trees with their sharp teeth, and of the dams they built across
streams, Esther was fast asleep.

Faith lay awake thinking over all that Esther had said about school;
about seeing little girls and boys of her own age, and of games and
parties. Then with a little sigh of content she whispered to herself:
"I guess I'd be lonesome without father and mother and the brook."

Mrs. Carew had heard Esther's suggestion about Faith going to Brandon
to go to school, and after the little girls had gone to bed she spoke
of it to Faith's father, as they sat together before the fire.

"Perhaps we ought to send Faithie where she could go to school and be
with other children," said Mr. Carew, "but I hardly know how we could
spare her."

There was a little silence, for the father and mother knew that their
pleasant home on the slope of the hillside would be a very different
place without their little maid.

"But of course we would not think of Brandon," continued Faith's
father. "If we must let her go, why, her Aunt Priscilla will give her
a warm welcome and take good care of the child; and the school at
Ticonderoga is doubtless a good one."

"Esther seems sorry for her mischief, but I should not wish Faith to
be with her so far from home. Perhaps we had best send some word to
Priscilla by the next traveler who goes that way, and ask her if Faith
may go to her for the winter months," said Mrs. Carew.

So, while Faith described the beaver's home to the sleepy Esther, it
was settled that as soon as it could be arranged she should go to stay
with her Aunt Priscilla in the village of Ticonderoga, across Lake
Champlain, and go to school.

"If 'twere not that some stray Indians might happen along and make a
bonfire of our house and mill we might plan for a month's visit
ourselves," said Mr. Carew.

"We must not think of it," responded his wife. For the log cabin home
was very dear to her, and at that time the Indians, often incited by
the British in command of the forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point,
burned the homes of settlers who held their land through grants given
by the New Hampshire government.

"More settlers are coming into this region every year. We shall soon
have neighbors near at hand, and can have a school and church," said
Mr. Carew hopefully. "Colonel Allen is not journeying through the
wilderness for pleasure. He has some plan in mind to make this region
more secure for all of us. Well, tell Faithie, if she has aught to say
of going to Brandon, that she is soon to visit Aunt Priscilla. I doubt
not 'twill be best for the child."



CHAPTER V

KASHAQUA


Esther did not find the blue beads; and when her father came for her
she had not said a word to Faith about them.

Mr. Eldridge found his little daughter fully recovered from her
illness, and in better health than when she came to the Wilderness.
When she said good-bye Faith was really sorry to have her go, but she
wondered a little that Esther made no mention of the beads, for Esther
had been a model visitor since her illness. She had told Mrs. Carew
the full story of the attempt to make maple candy, which the bear had
interrupted, and she had claimed the pumpkin-shell work-box with
evident delight. All these things had made Faith confident that Esther
would return the beads before starting for home, and she was sadly
disappointed to have Esther depart without a word about them.

Esther had asked Mrs. Carew if Faith might not go to Brandon, and so
Mrs. Carew had told the little girls of the plan for Faith to go to
her Aunt Priscilla in Ticonderoga for the winter and attend school
there.

"Oh! But that's New York. Why, the 'Yorkers' want to take all the
Wilderness. I shouldn't want to go to school with 'Yorkers,'" Esther
had responded, a little scornfully.

For she had often heard her father and his friends talk of the
attempts made by the English officials of New York to drive the
settlers on the New Hampshire Grants from their homes.

"'Tis not the people of New York who would do us harm," Mrs. Carew had
answered. "And Faith will make friends, I hope, with many of her
schoolmates."

It was a beautiful October morning when Esther, seated in front of her
father on the big gray horse, with the pumpkin-shell work-box wrapped
in a safe bundle swinging from the front of the saddle, started for
Brandon. Their way for most of the journey led over a rough trail.
They would pass near the homes of many settlers, then over the lower
slopes of Mooselamoo Mountain, and skirt Lake Dunmore, and would then
find themselves on a smoother road for the remainder of their journey.

Faith walked beside the travelers to the edge of the wood and then the
two little girls said good-bye.

"I'll come again in the spring," Esther called back.

Faith stood watching them until the branches of the trees hid them
from sight. The maples seemed to be waving banners of scarlet leaves,
and the slopes of the Green Mountains were beautiful in the glory of
autumn foliage. The sun shone brightly, the sky was as blue as summer,
and as Faith turned to run swiftly along the path to the mill she
almost wished that she too was starting for a day's journey through
the woods. The path ran along beside the mill-stream.

It seemed to Faith that the brook was traveling beside her like a gay
companion, singing as it went. The little girl had had so few
companions, none except an occasional visitor, that she had made
friends with the birds and small woodland animals, and found
companionship in the rippling music of the stream. There was a fine
family of yellow-hammers just below the mill that Faith often visited,
and she was sure that they knew her quite well. She had watched them
build their nest in the early spring; had seen them bring food to the
young birds, and had sat close by the nest while the young birds made
their first efforts to fly. She knew where a fine silver-coated fox
made its home on the rocky hillside beyond the garden-slope, and had
told her father that "Silver-nose," as she had named the fox, knew
that she was his friend, and would lie quite still at the entrance to
its hole, while she would sit on a big rock not far distant.

But Faith was not thinking of these woodland friends as she ran along
toward the mill; she was thinking of what she had heard her father say
to Mr. Eldridge that morning. "Tell Colonel Allen the men of the
Wilderness will be ready whenever he gives the word," Mr. Carew had
said; and Mr. Eldridge had answered that it would not be long. Faith
wondered what her father had meant, and if Colonel Allen would again
visit the mill. She hoped he would, for he had seemed to know all
about the woodland creatures, and had told Faith a wonderful story
about the different months of the year. She thought of it now as she
felt the warmth of the October sunshine.

"October is stirring the fire now," she called to her father, who was
watching her from the door of the mill.

"What do you mean by that, child?" asked her father, smiling down at
Faith's tanned face and bright eyes.

"'Tis what Colonel Allen told me about the months. All twelve, every
one of the year, sit about the fire. And now and then one of them
stirs the fire, and that makes all the world warmer. July and August,
when it is their turn, make it blaze; but the other months do not care
so much about it. But once in a while each month takes its turn,"
answered Faith. "That's what Colonel Allen told me."

"'Tis a good story," said Mr. Carew. "Did your mother tell you that I
have sent word to your Aunt Priscilla about your going to her house as
soon as some trustworthy traveler going to Ticonderoga passes this
way?"

"Yes, father. But I am learning a good deal at home. Mother says I
read as well as she did when she was my age. And I can figure in
fractions, and write neatly. I do not care much about school,"
answered Faith; for to be away from her mother and father all winter
began to seem too great an undertaking.

"Yes, indeed; your mother tells me you learn quickly. But 'tis best
for you to become acquainted with children of your own age. And you
have never seen your cousins. Three boy cousins. Think of that. Why,
your Aunt Prissy says that Donald is nearly as tall as you are; and he
is but eight years old. And Hugh is six, and Philip four. Then there
are neighbor children close at hand. You will play games, and have
parties, and enjoy every day; besides going to school," responded her
father encouragingly.

Then he told her of his own pleasant school days in the far-off
Connecticut village where Grandmother Carew lived; and when Mrs. Carew
called them to dinner Faith had begun to think that it would really be
a fine thing to live with Aunt Priscilla and become acquainted with
her little cousins, and all the pleasant, well-behaved children that
her father described, with whom she would go to school and play games.

"It is nearly time for Kashaqua's yearly visit," said Mrs. Carew. "I
have knit a scarf for her of crimson yarn. She generally comes before
cold weather. Don't let her see your blue beads, Faith."

Faith did not make any answer. Kashaqua was an Indian woman who had
appeared at the cabin every fall and spring ever since the Carews had
settled there. When Faith was a tiny baby she had come, bringing a
fine beaver skin as a gift for the little girl. She always came alone,
and the family looked upon her as a friend, and always made a little
feast for her, and sent her on her way laden with gifts. Not all the
Indians of the Wilderness were friendly to settlers; and the Carews
were glad to feel that Kashaqua was well disposed toward them. She
often brought gifts of baskets, or of bright feathers or fine
moccasins for Faith.

"I hope she will come before I go to Aunt Prissy's," said Faith. "I
like Kashaqua."

"Kashaqua likes little girl."

Even Mr. Carew jumped at these words and the sudden appearance of the
Indian woman standing just inside the kitchen door. She seemed pleased
by their warm welcome, and sat down before the fire, while Faith
hastened to bring her a good share of their simple dinner. Faith sat
down on the floor beside her, greatly to Kashaqua's satisfaction, and
told her about Esther Eldridge's visit, about the bear coming into the
kitchen, and of how she had jumped from the window and run to the mill
to tell her father. Kashaqua grunted her approval now and then.

"And what do you think, Kashaqua! I am to go to my Aunt Priscilla
Scott, to Ticonderoga, and stay all winter," she concluded.

"Ticonderoga? When?" questioned Kashaqua, dipping a piece of corn
bread in the dish of maple syrup.

"I am to go just as soon as some one goes over the trail who will take
me," answered Faith.

"I take you. I go to Ticonderoga to-morrow. I take you," said
Kashaqua.



CHAPTER VI

THE JOURNEY


"Mother dear, mother dear! Did you hear what Kashaqua says: that she
will take me to Aunt Prissy's to-morrow?" said Faith.

The Indian woman had turned quickly, and her sharp little eyes were
fixed on Mrs. Carew's face.

"You 'fraid let little girl go with Kashaqua?" she said, a little
accusing note in her voice.

"No, indeed. Kashaqua would take good care of Faith. I know that. But
to-morrow----" Mrs. Carew spoke bravely, but both Faith's father and
mother were sadly troubled. To offend the Indian woman would mean to
make enemies of the tribe to which she belonged; and then neither
their lives nor their property would be safe; and she would never
forgive them if they doubted her by refusing to let Faith make the
journey to Ticonderoga in her care.

It was Faith who came to the rescue by declaring: "Oh, I'd rather go
with Kashaqua than anybody. Mother dear, you said Aunt Prissy would
see about my shoes and dresses. I don't have to wait to get ready,"
and Faith ran to her mother eager for her consent, thinking it would
be a fine thing to go on a day's journey through the woods with the
Indian woman, and quite forgetting for the moment that it meant a long
absence from home.

Nothing could have pleased Kashaqua more than Faith's pleading. The
half-angry expression faded from her face, and she nodded and smiled,
grunting her satisfaction, and taking from one of her baskets a pair
of fine doeskin moccasins, which she gave to Faith. "Present," she
said briefly.

"They are the prettiest pair I ever had!" said Faith, looking
admiringly at their fringed tops, and the pattern of a vine that ran
from the toes to insteps, stitched in with thread-like crimson and
blue thongs.

"It is a fine chance for Faith to go to her Aunt Priscilla," said Mr.
Carew. "Do you know where Philip Scott lives, across Champlain?"

"Me know. Not great ways from Fort," responded Kashaqua. "Me take
little girl safe to Scott's wigwam."

"That's right, Kashaqua," said Mr. Carew.

"Then me come back to mill and get meal an' get pie," said Kashaqua.

"Of course. I will make you the finest pie you ever tasted," said Mrs.
Carew, with a little sigh of relief. For she had wondered how long it
would be before they could get news that Kashaqua had kept her
promise, and that Faith had reached her aunt's house in safety.

In the surprise and excitement of this new decision neither Faith nor
her parents had much time to think about their separation. Although
Aunt Priscilla was to see that Faith was well provided with suitable
dresses, shoes, hat, and all that a little girl would need to wear to
school and to church, there was, nevertheless, a good deal to do to
prepare and put in order such things as she would take with her.
Beside that Mrs. Carew meant to give the squaw a well-filled luncheon
basket; so the remainder of the day went very quickly. Faith helped
her mother, and talked gaily with Kashaqua of the good time they would
have on the journey; while Kashaqua smoked and nodded, evidently quite
satisfied and happy.

When night came the Indian woman made her preparations to sleep
before the kitchen fire, and the Carews went up-stairs to bed. The
mother and father lay long awake that night. While they assured each
other that Faith would be perfectly safe, and that the Indian woman
would defend the little girl from all danger, they could not but feel
an uncertainty. "We can trust the strength and love that has protected
us always to go with our little maid," said Mr. Carew; "perhaps
Kashaqua is the safest person we could find."

"We must hope so; but I shall not draw a good breath until she is here
again, and tells me Faithie is safe with Priscilla," responded Mrs.
Carew.

The little household was awake at an early hour the next morning.
Faith was to wear the new moccasins. She wore her usual dress of brown
homespun linen. Faith had never had a hat, or a pair of leather shoes,
and only the simplest of linen and wool dresses. She had never before
been away from home, except for a day's visit at the house of some
neighboring settler. She knew that when she got to Aunt Prissy's she
would have a hat, probably like the one Esther Eldridge had worn,
ribbons to tie back her yellow curls, shining leather shoes, and many
things that she had never before seen. She had thought a good deal
about these things when planning for the journey, but now that the
time was so near when she must say good-bye to her mother and father
she forgot all about the good times in store, and wished with all her
heart that she were not going.

"Don't let Kashaqua see you cry, child," her father whispered, seeing
Faith's sad face; so she resolutely kept back her tears.

Breakfast was soon over. Kashaqua had stowed Faith's bundle of
clothing in one of her baskets and swung it over her shoulder. The
basket of luncheon also was secured by stout thongs and hung across
her back, and they were ready to start.

"Be a good child, Faithie, dear," whispered Mrs. Carew.

"I'll fetch you home when it is April's turn to stir the fire," said
her father smilingly, and Faith managed to smile back, and to say
good-bye bravely, as she trudged down the path holding tight to
Kashaqua's brown hand.

"I be back to-morrow night," Kashaqua called back, knowing that would
be a word of comfort to the white woman who was letting her only
child go from home.

Neither Faith nor Kashaqua spoke for some little time. At last Faith
stopped suddenly and stood still, evidently listening. "I can't hear
the brook," she said.

Kashaqua nodded, and the two walked on through the autumn woods. But
now Kashaqua began to talk. She told Faith stories of the wild animals
of the woods; of the traps she set along the streams to catch the
martens and otters; and of a bear cub that the children of her village
had tamed. But it had disappeared during the summer.

"The papooses catch birds and feed them," she continued, "tame birds
so they know their name, and come right to wigwam." Faith listened
eagerly, and began to think that an Indian village must be a very
pleasant place to live.

"Where is your village, Kashaqua?" she asked.

"You not know my village? Way back 'cross Mooselamoo," answered
Kashaqua.

"Perhaps I can go there some time," suggested Faith. But Kashaqua
shook her head.

For several hours they walked steadily on through the autumn woods.
They climbed several rocky ridges, crossed brooks, and carefully made
their way over a swampy stretch of ground. Faith was very tired when
Kashaqua finally swung the baskets and bundles from her shoulders and
declared that it was time to eat.

The trail had led them up a hill, and as Faith, with a little tired
sigh, seated herself on a moss-covered rock, she looked about with a
little exclamation of wonder. Close beside the trail was a rough
shelter made of the boughs of spruce and fir trees, and near at hand
was piled a quantity of wood ready for a fire. There was a clearing,
and the rough shelter was shaded by two fine oak trees.

"Does somebody live here?" asked Faith.

"Traveler's wigwam," explained Kashaqua, who was unpacking the lunch
basket with many grunts of satisfaction. "White men going down the
trail to big road to Shoreham sleep here," she added, holding up a
fine round molasses cake in one hand and a roasted chicken in the
other.

Faith was hungry as well as tired, and the two friends ate with good
appetite. Kashaqua repacked the basket with what remained of the food,
and with a pleasant nod to Faith declared she would "sleep a little,"
and curled herself up near the shelter.

Faith looked about the rough camp, and peered down the trail. She
decided she too would sleep a little, and stretched herself out close
beside Kashaqua, thinking that it was a wonderful thing to be so far
from home,--nearly in sight of Lake Champlain, Kashaqua had told her,
with an Indian woman for her guide and protector; and then her eyes
closed and she was sound asleep.

It seemed to Faith that she had not slept a minute before she awakened
suddenly, and found that Kashaqua had disappeared. But she heard a
queer scrambling sound behind her and sat up and looked around. For a
moment she was too frightened to speak, for a brown bear was clawing
the remainder of their luncheon from the basket, grunting and
sniffing, as if well pleased with what he found.

As Faith looked at him she was sure that this creature had dragged
Kashaqua off into the woods, and that he might turn and seize her as
soon as he had finished with the basket.

"Kashaqua! Kashaqua!" she called hopelessly. "What shall I do? What
shall I do?"

There was a rustle of leaves close behind her and the Indian woman
darted into the clearing. Without a word to Faith she ran straight to
where the bear was crouched over the basket. Faith could hardly
believe what she saw, for Kashaqua had seized the basket and pushed it
out of the bear's reach, and was now belaboring him with a stout piece
of wood that she had seized from the pile by the shelter. As she hit
the bear she called out strange words in the Indian tongue, whose
meaning Faith could not imagine, but which the bear seemed to
understand. The creature accepted the blows with a queer little
whimper which made Faith laugh in spite of her fear. And when Kashaqua
had quite finished with him he crept along beside her, looking up as
if pleading for forgiveness.

"Oh, Kashaqua! Is it the bear that your papooses tamed?" exclaimed
Faith, remembering the story told her on the way.

Kashaqua nodded, at the same time muttering words of reproach to the
bear.

"He like bad Indian, steal from friends," she explained to Faith. "His
name Nooski," she added.

Nooski was quite ready to make friends with Faith, but she was not
yet sure of his good-nature. It seemed to the little girl that the
bear understood every word Kashaqua uttered; and when they went on
their way down the trail Nooski followed, or kept close beside them.

It was still early in the afternoon when they reached level ground and
Faith had her first glimpse of the blue waters of Lake Champlain and
saw the heights of Ticonderoga on the opposite shore. For a moment she
forgot Nooski and Kashaqua, and stood looking at the sparkling waters
and listening to the same sound of "Chiming Waters" that had made the
early French settlers call the place "Carillon." She wondered if she
should ever see the inside of the fort of which she had heard so much,
and then heard Kashaqua calling her name.

"Canoe all ready, Faith." The Indian woman had drawn the birch-bark
canoe from its hiding-place in the underbrush, and the light craft now
rested on the waters of the lake. The baskets and bundles were in the
canoe, and Kashaqua, paddle in hand, stood waiting for her little
companion.

"Where's Nooski?" asked Faith, looking about for the young bear.

Kashaqua pointed toward the distant range of mountains which they had
left behind them. "He gone home," she said.

Kashaqua told her how to step into the canoe, and how to sit, and
cautioned her not to move. Faith felt as if the day had been a
wonderful dream. As Kashaqua with swift strokes of her paddle sent the
canoe over the water Faith sat silent, with eyes fixed on the looming
battlements of the fort, on the high mountain behind it, and thought
to herself that no other little girl had ever taken such a journey.

Kashaqua landed some distance below the fort; the canoe was again
safely hidden, and after a short walk across a field they reached a
broad, well-traveled road. "'Most to Philip Scott's house," grunted
Kashaqua. "You be glad?" and she looked down at the little girl with a
friendly smile.



CHAPTER VII

NEW FRIENDS


"An Indian woman and a little girl with yellow hair are coming across
the road, mother," declared Donald Scott, rushing into the
sitting-room, where his mother was busy with her sewing.

Mrs. Scott hastened to the front door. "Oh, Aunt Prissy," called
Faith, running as fast as her tired feet could carry her, and hardly
seeing the brown-haired little cousin standing by his mother's side.

Aunt Prissy welcomed her little niece, whom she had not expected to
see for weeks to come, and then turned to thank Kashaqua. But the
Indian woman had disappeared. The bundle containing Faith's clothing
lay on the door-step, but there was no trace of her companion. Long
afterward they discovered that Kashaqua had started directly back over
the trail, and had reached the Carews' cabin, with her message of
Faith's safe arrival at her aunt's house, early the next morning.

"Come in, dear child. You are indeed welcome. Your father's letter
reached me but yesterday," said Aunt Prissy, putting her arm about
Faith and leading her into the house. "I know you are tired, and you
shall lie down on the settle for a little, and then have your supper
and go straight to bed."

Faith was quite ready to agree. As she curled up on the broad sofa her
three little cousins came into the room. They came on tiptoe, very
quietly, Donald leading the two younger boys. Their mother had told
them that Cousin Faith was tired after her long journey, and that they
must just kiss her and run away.

Faith smiled up at the friendly little faces as they bent over to
welcome her. "I know I shan't be lonesome with such dear cousins," she
said, and the boys ran away to their play, quite sure that it was a
fine thing to have a girl cousin come from the Wilderness to visit
them.

Faith slept late the next morning, and awoke to hear the sound of rain
against the windows. It was a lonesome sound to a little girl so far
from her mother and father, and Faith was already thinking to herself
that this big house, with its shining yellow floors, its white window
curtains, and its nearness to a well-traveled road, was a very dreary
place compared to her cabin home, when her chamber door opened and in
came her Aunt Prissy, smiling and happy as if a rainy day was just
what she had been hoping for.

"We shall have a fine time to-day, Faithie dear," she declared, as she
filled the big blue wash-basin with warm water. "There is nothing like
a rainy day for a real good time. Your Uncle Philip and the boys are
waiting to eat breakfast with you, and I have a great deal to talk
over with you; so make haste and come down," and Aunt Prissy, with a
gay little nod, was gone, leaving Faith greatly cheered and wondering
what the "good time" would be.

Uncle Philip Scott was waiting at the foot of the stairs. "So here is
our little maid from the Wilderness! Well, it is a fine thing to have
a girl in the house," he declared, leading Faith into the dining-room
and giving her a seat at the table beside his own. "Did you have any
adventures coming over the trail?" he asked, after Faith had greeted
her little cousins.

Faith told them of "Nooski's" appearance, greatly to the delight of
her boy cousins, who asked if the Indian woman had told Faith the best
way to catch bear cubs and tame them.

"Come out to the shop, boys," said Mr. Scott as they finished
breakfast, "and help me repair the cart, and fix 'Ginger's' harness.
Perhaps Cousin Faith will come, too, later on in the morning."

"We'll see. Faithie and I have a good deal to do," responded Mrs.
Scott.

The boys ran off with their father, chattering gaily, but at the door
Donald turned and called back: "You'll come out to the shop, won't
you, Cousin Faith?"

"If Aunt Prissy says I may," answered Faith.

"Yes; she will come," added Aunt Prissy, with her ready smile.

It seemed to Faith that Aunt Prissy was always smiling. "I don't
believe she could be cross," thought the little girl.

She helped her aunt clear the table and wash the dishes, just as she
had helped her mother at home; and as they went back and forth in the
pleasant kitchen, with the dancing flames from the fireplace
brightening the walls and making the tins shine like silver, Faith
quite forgot that the rain was pouring down and that she was far from
home.

"I am going to begin a dress for you this very day. It is some
material I have in the house; a fine blue thibet, and I shall put
ruffles on the skirt. That will be your Sunday dress," said Aunt
Priscilla, "and your father wrote me you were to have the best shoes
that the shoemaker can make for you. We'll see about the shoes
to-morrow. Did you bring your blue beads, Faithie? But of course you
did. They will be nice to wear with your blue frock. And I mean you to
have a warm hood of quilted silk for Sunday wear."

Faith drew a long breath as her aunt finished. She wondered what Aunt
Prissy would say if she told her about giving the blue beads to Esther
Eldridge. But in the exciting prospect of so many new and beautiful
things she almost forgot the lost beads. She had brought "Lady Amy,"
carefully packed in the stout bundle, and Aunt Prissy declared that
the doll should have a dress and hood of the fine blue thibet.

"When shall I go to school, Aunt Prissy?" asked Faith.

"I think the school begins next week, and you shall be all ready. I
mean to make you a good dress of gray and scarlet homespun for school
wear," replied her aunt. "The schoolhouse is but a half-mile walk from
here; a fine new cabin, and you and Donald may go together. I declare,
the rain has stopped. 'Rain before seven, clear before eleven' is a
true saying."

Faith ran to the window and looked out. "Yes, indeed. The sky is blue
again," she said.

"You'd best run out to the shop a while now, Faithie. I'll call you
when 'tis time," said her aunt.

Faith opened the kitchen door to step out, but closed it quickly, and
looked around at her aunt with a startled face. "There's a little bear
right on the door-step," she whispered.

"A bear! Oh, I forgot. You have not seen 'Scotchie,' our dog," said
Aunt Prissy. "No wonder you thought he was a bear. But he is a fine
fellow, and a good friend. I often wish your dear father had just such
a dog," and she opened the door and called "Scotchie! Scotchie!"

The big black Newfoundland dog came slowly into the room.

"Put your hand on his head, Faith," said Aunt Prissy, "and I'll tell
him who you are, and that he is to take care of you. He went to school
with Donald all last spring, and we knew he would take care of him.
Here, 'Scotchie,' go to the shop with Faith," she concluded.

Faith started for the square building on the further side of the yard,
and the big dog marched along beside her. Donald and little Philip
came running to meet her.

"I'm going to make you a bow and some arrows, Cousin Faith," said
Donald, pushing open the shop door. "I have a fine piece of ash, just
right for a bow, and some deerskin thongs to string it with. I made
bows for Hugh and Philip."

The workshop seemed a very wonderful place to Faith, and she looked at
the forge, with its glowing coals, over which her Uncle Philip was
holding a bar of iron, at the long work-bench with its tools, and at
the small bench, evidently made for the use of her little cousins.

The boys were eager to show her all their treasures. They had a box
full of bright feathers, with which to tip their arrows.

"We'll show you how to make an arrow, Cousin Faith," said Donald.
"First of all, you must be sure the piece of wood is straight, and has
no knots," and Donald selected a narrow strip of wood and held it on a
level with his eyes, squinting at its length, just as he had seen his
father do. "This is a good straight piece. Here, you use my knife, and
whittle it down until it's about as big as your finger. And then I'll
show you how to finish it."

But before Faith had whittled the wood to the required size, they
heard the sound of a gaily whistled tune, and Donald ran toward the
door and called out: "Hallo, Nathan," and a tall, pleasant-faced boy
of about fifteen years appeared in the doorway. He took off his
coonskin cap as he entered.

"Good-morning, Mr. Scott," he said, and then turned smilingly to speak
to the boys.

"Faith, this is Nathan Beaman," said Donald, and the tall boy bowed
again, and Faith smiled and nodded.

"I've been up to the fort to sell a basket of eggs," explained Nathan,
turning again to Mr. Scott.

"You are a great friend of the English soldiers, are you not, Nathan?"
responded Mr. Scott.

"No, sir!" the boy answered quickly. "I go to the fort when my errands
take me. But I know well enough what those English soldiers are there
for; all the Shoreham folk know that. I wish the Green Mountain Boys
held Ticonderoga," he concluded.

Mr. Scott rested a friendly hand on the boy's shoulder.

"Best not say that aloud, my boy; but I am glad the redcoats have not
made you forget that American settlers have a right to defend their
homes."

"I hear there's a reward offered for the capture of Ethan Allen," said
the boy.

Mr. Scott laughed. "Yes, but he's in small danger. Colonel Allen may
capture the fort instead of being taken a prisoner," he answered.

Nathan now turned toward the children, and Donald showed him the bow
he was making for his cousin. "I'll string it for you," offered
Nathan; and Donald was delighted to have the older boy finish his
work, for he was quite sure that anything Nathan Beaman did was a
little better than the work of any other boy.

"Who wants to capture Colonel Allen?" Faith asked.

"The 'Yorkers.' The English," responded the boy carelessly; "but it
can't be done," he added. "Why, every man who holds a New Hampshire
Grant would defend him. And Colonel Allen isn't afraid of the whole
English army."

"I know him. He was at my father's house just a few weeks ago," said
Faith.

"Don't tell anybody," said Nathan. "Some of the people at the fort may
question you, but you mustn't let them know that you have ever seen
Colonel Allen."

Donald had been busy sorting out feathers for the new arrows, and now
showed Nathan a number of bright yellow tips, which the elder boy
declared would be just what were needed.

Nathan asked Faith many questions about her father's mill, and about
Ethan Allen's visit. And Faith told him of the big bear that had
entered their kitchen and eaten the syrup. When Mrs. Scott called them
to dinner she felt that she was well acquainted with the good-natured
boy, whom Mrs. Scott welcomed warmly.

"I believe Nathan knows as much about Fort Ticonderoga as the men who
built it," she said laughingly, "for the soldiers have let him play
about there since he was a little boy."

"And Nathan made his own boat, too. The boat he comes over from
Shoreham in," said Donald. For Nathan Beaman lived on the further side
of the strip of water which separated Ticonderoga from the New
Hampshire Grants.

That afternoon Faith and her aunt worked on the fine new blue dress.
The next day Mrs. Scott took her little niece to the shoemaker, who
measured her feet and promised to have the shoes ready at the end of a
week.

As they started for the shoemaker's Mrs. Scott said:

"The man who will make your shoes is a great friend of the English
soldiers. Your uncle thinks that he gathers up information about the
American settlers and tells the English officers. Do not let him
question you as to what your father thinks of American or English
rule. For I must leave you there a little while to do an errand at the
next house."

Faith began to think that it was rather a serious thing to live near
an English fort.



CHAPTER VIII

THE SHOEMAKER'S DAUGHTER


The shoemaker was the smallest man Faith had ever seen. She thought to
herself that she was glad he was not an American. When he stood up to
speak to Mrs. Scott Faith remembered a picture in one of her mother's
books of an orang-outang. For the shoemaker's hair was coarse and
black, and seemed to stand up all over his small head, and his face
was nearly covered by a stubbly black beard. His arms were long, and
he did not stand erect. His eyes were small and did not seem to see
the person to whom he was speaking.

But he greeted his customers pleasantly, and as Faith sat on a little
stool near his bench waiting for her aunt's return, he told her that
he had a little daughter about her own age, but that she was not very
well.

"Perhaps your aunt will let you come and see her some day?" he said.

"I'll ask her," replied Faith, and before they had time for any
further conversation the door opened and a tall man in a scarlet coat,
deerskin trousers and high boots entered the shop.

"Any news?" he asked sharply.

"No, captain. Nothing at all," replied the shoemaker.

"You're not worth your salt, Andy," declared the officer. "I'll wager
this small maid here would have quicker ears for news."

Faith wished that she could run away, but did not dare to move.

"Well, another summer we'll put the old fort in order and have a
garrison that will be worth while. Now, what about my riding boots?"
he added, and after a little talk the officer departed.

It was not long before Mrs. Scott called for her little niece and the
two started for home.

Faith told her aunt what the shoemaker had said about his little girl,
and noticed that Aunt Prissy's face was rather grave and troubled.

"Do I have to go, Aunt Prissy?" she asked.

"We'll see, my dear. But now we must hurry home, and sew on the new
dresses," replied Aunt Prissy, and for a few moments they walked on in
silence.

Faith could hear the musical sound of the falls, and was reminded of
the dancing mill-stream, of the silver fox and of her own dear
"Bounce." Every hour since her arrival at Aunt Prissy's had been so
filled with new and strange happenings that the little girl had not
had time to be lonely.

"What is the name of the shoemaker's little girl, Aunt Prissy?" she
asked, as they came in sight of home, with Donald and Philip, closely
followed by "Scotchie," coming to meet them.

"Her name is Louise Trent, and she is lame. She is older than you,
several years older," answered Aunt Prissy, "and I fear she is a
mischievous child. But the poor girl has not had a mother to care for
her for several years. She and her father live alone."

"Does she look like her father?" questioned Faith, resolving that if
such were the case she would not want Louise for a playmate.

"Oh, no. Louise would be pretty if she were a neat and well-behaved
child. She has soft black hair, black eyes, and is slenderly built.
Too slender, I fear, for health," replied Mrs. Scott, who often
thought of the shoemaker's motherless little girl, whose father
seemed to resent any effort to befriend her.

"Why, that sounds just the way Esther Eldridge looks. Only Esther
isn't lame," responded Faith; and, in answer to her aunt's questions,
Faith described Esther's visit to the cabin, omitting, however, the
fact that she had given Esther the blue beads.

Faith did not think to speak of the red-coated soldier until the
family were gathered about the supper-table that night. Then she
suddenly remembered what he had said, and repeated it to her uncle,
who was asking her about her visit to Mr. Trent's shop.

"So that's their plan. More soldiers to come another summer! 'Twas a
careless thing for an officer to repeat. But they are so sure that
none of us dare lift a hand to protect ourselves that they care not
who knows their plans. I'll see to it that Ethan Allen and the men at
Bennington get word of this," said Mr. Scott, and then asked Faith to
repeat again exactly what the officer had said.

In a few days both of Faith's new dresses were finished; and, greatly
to her delight, Aunt Prissy had made her a pretty cap of blue velvet,
with a partridge's wing on one side. She was trying on the cap before
the mirror in the sitting-room one afternoon when she heard a queer
noise on the porch and then in the front entry. Aunt Prissy was
up-stairs, and the boys were playing outdoors.

"I wonder what it is?" thought Faith, running toward the door. As she
opened it she nearly exclaimed in surprise, for there, leaning on a
crutch, was the queerest little figure she had ever imagined. A little
girl whose black hair straggled over her forehead, and whose big dark
eyes had a half-frightened expression, stood staring in at the
pleasant room. An old ragged shawl was pinned about her shoulders, and
beneath it Faith could see the frayed worn skirt of gray homespun. But
on her feet were a pair of fine leather shoes, well fitting and highly
polished.

"I brought your shoes," said this untidy visitor, swinging herself a
step forward nearer to Faith, and holding out a bundle. "Father
doesn't know I've come," she added, with a little smile of
satisfaction. "But I wanted to see you."

"Won't you sit down?" said Faith politely, pulling forward a big
cushioned chair.

Louise Trent sat down as if hardly knowing if she dared trust the
chair or not.

"Your aunt didn't let you come to see me, did she? I knew she
wouldn't," continued Louise. "What you got?" she questioned, looking
at the pretty cap with admiring eyes.

"It's new. And I never had one before," answered Faith.

"Well, I've never had one, and I never shall have. You wouldn't let me
try that one on, would you?" said Louise, looking at Faith with such a
longing expression in her dark eyes that Faith did not hesitate for a
moment.

"Of course I will," she answered quickly, and taking off the cap
placed it carefully on Louise's untidy black hair.

"If your hair was brushed back it would look nice on you," declared
Faith. "You wait, and I'll get my brush and fix your hair," and before
Louise could reply Faith was running up the stairs. She was back in a
moment with brush and comb, and Louise submitted to having her hair
put in order, and tied back with one of the new hair ribbons that Aunt
Prissy had given Faith. While Faith was thus occupied Louise looked
about the sitting-room, and asked questions.

"There," said Faith. "Now it looks nice on you. But what makes you
wear that old shawl?"

Louise's face clouded, and she raised her crutch as if to strike
Faith. "Don't you make fun of me. I have to wear it. I don't have
nothing like other girls," she exclaimed, and dropping the crutch, she
turned her face against the arm of the chair and began to sob
bitterly.

For a moment Faith looked at her in amazement, and then she knelt down
beside the big chair and began patting the shoulder under the ragged
shawl.

"Don't cry, Louise. Don't cry. Listen, I'll ask my aunt to make you a
cap just like mine. I know she will."

"No. She wouldn't want me to have a cap like yours," declared Louise.

"Isn't your father good to you?" questioned Faith. And this question
made Louise sit up straight and wipe her eyes on the corner of the old
shawl.

"Good to me! Of course he is. Didn't he make me these fine shoes?" she
answered, pointing to her feet. "But how could he make me a pretty
cap or a dress? And he doesn't want to ask anybody. But you needn't
think he ain't good to me!" she concluded, reaching after the crutch.

"Don't go yet, Louise. See, that's my doll over on the sofa. Her name
is 'Lady Amy,'" and Faith ran to the sofa and brought back her beloved
doll and set it down in Louise's lap.

"I never touched a doll before," said Louise, almost in a whisper.
"You're real good to let me hold her. Are you going to live here?"

"I'm going to school," replied Faith. "I've never been to school."

"Neither have I," said Louise. "I s'pose you know your letters, don't
you?"

"Oh, yes. Of course I do. I can read and write, and do fractions,"
answered Faith.

"I can't read," declared Louise.

Just then Mrs. Scott entered the room. If she was surprised to see the
shoemaker's daughter seated in her easy chair, wearing Faith's new cap
and holding "Lady Amy," she did not let the little girls know it, but
greeted Louise cordially, took Faith's new shoes from their wrapping
and said they were indeed a fine pair of shoes. Then she turned to
Louise, with the pleasant little smile that Faith so admired, and
said: "You are the first little girl who has come to see my little
niece, so I think it would be pleasant if you two girls had a taste of
my fruit cake that I make just for company," and she started toward
the dining-room and soon returned with a tray.

"Just bring the little table from the corner, Faithie, and set it in
front of Louise and 'Lady Amy,'" she said, and Faith hastened to obey.

Aunt Prissy set the tray on the table. "I'll come back in a little
while," she said, and left the girls to themselves.

The tray was very well filled. There was a plate of the rich dark
cake, and beside it two dainty china plates and two fringed napkins.
There was a plate of thin slices of bread and butter, a plate of
cookies, and two glasses filled with creamy milk.

"Isn't this lovely?" exclaimed Faith, drawing a chair near the table.
"It's just like a party, isn't it? I'm just as glad as I can be that
you brought my shoes home, Louise. We'll be real friends now, shan't
we?"



CHAPTER IX

LOUISE


"I must go home," said Louise, with a little sigh at having to end the
most pleasant visit she ever remembered. The two little girls had
finished the lunch, and had played happily with "Lady Amy." Mrs. Scott
had left them quite by themselves, and not even the small cousins had
come near the sitting-room.

As Louise spoke she took off the blue velvet cap, which she had worn
all the afternoon, and began to untie the hair ribbon.

"Oh, Louise! Don't take off that hair ribbon. I gave it to you. It's a
present," exclaimed Faith.

Louise shook her head. "Father won't let me keep it," she answered.
"He wouldn't like it if he knew that I had eaten anything in this
house. He is always telling me that if people offer to give me
anything I must never, never take it."

Before Faith could speak Aunt Prissy came into the room.

"Tell your father I will come in and pay him for Faith's shoes
to-morrow, Louise," she said pleasantly, "and you must come and see
Faith again."

"Yes'm. Thank you," responded Louise shyly, and nodding to Faith with
a look of smiling understanding, the crippled child made her way
quickly from the room.

"Aunt Prissy, I like Louise Trent. I don't believe she is a
mischievous girl. Just think, she never had a doll in her life! And
her father won't let her take presents!" Faith had so much to say that
she talked very rapidly.

"I see," responded her aunt, taking up the rumpled hair ribbon which
Louise had refused. "I am glad you were so kind to the poor child,"
she added, smiling down at her little niece. "Tell me all you can
about Louise. Perhaps there will be some way to make her life
happier."

So Faith told her aunt that Louise could not read. That she had never
before tasted fruit cake, and that she had no playmates, and had never
had a present. "Why do you suppose she came to see me, Aunt Prissy?"
she concluded.

"I cannot imagine. Unless it was because you are a stranger," replied
Aunt Prissy. "I have an idea that I can arrange with Mr. Trent so that
he will be willing for me to make Louise a dress, and get for her the
things she ought to have. For the shoemaker is no poorer than most of
his neighbors. How would you like to teach Louise to read?"

"I'd like to! Oh, Aunt Prissy, tell me your plan!" responded Faith
eagerly.

"Wait until I am sure it is a good plan, Faithie dear," her aunt
replied. "I'll go down and see Mr. Trent to-morrow. I blame myself
that I have not tried to be of use to that child."

"May I go with you?" urged Faith.

"Why, yes. You can visit Louise while I talk with her father, since he
asked you to come."

"Has the Witch gone?" called Donald, running into the room. "Didn't
you know that all the children call the Trent girl a witch?" he asked
his mother.

"No, Donald. But if they do they ought to be ashamed. She is a little
girl without any mother to care for her. And now she is your cousin's
friend, and we hope to see her here often. And you must always be
polite and kind to her," replied Mrs. Scott.

Donald looked a little doubtful and puzzled.

"You ought to be more kind to her than to any other child, because she
is lame," said Faith.

"All right. But what is a 'witch,' anyway?" responded Donald.

"It is a wicked word," answered his mother briefly. "See that you do
not use it again."

Faith's thoughts were now so filled with Louise that she nearly lost
her interest in the new dresses and shoes, and was eager for the next
day to come so that she could again see her new friend.

Faith had been taught to sew neatly, and she wondered if she could not
help make Louise a dress. "And perhaps Aunt Prissy will teach her how
to make cake," she thought; for never to taste of cake seemed to Faith
to be a real misfortune. For the first night since her arrival at her
aunt's home Faith went to sleep without a homesick longing for the
cabin in the Wilderness, and awoke the next morning thinking about all
that could be done for the friendless little girl who could not accept
a present.

"We will go to Mr. Trent's as soon as our morning work is finished,"
said Aunt Prissy, "and you shall wear your new shoes and cap. And I
have a blue cape which I made for you before you came. The morning is
chilly. You had best wear that."

"I don't look like Faith Carew, I am so fine," laughed the little
girl, looking down at her shoes, and touching the soft cloth of the
pretty blue cape.

As they walked along Faith told Aunt Prissy of her plans to teach
Louise to sew, as well as to read. "And perhaps you'll show her how to
make cake! Will you, Aunt Prissy?"

"Of course I will, if I can get the chance," replied her aunt.

The shoemaker greeted them pleasantly. Before Mrs. Scott could say
anything of her errand he began to apologize for his daughter's visit.

"She slipped off without my knowing it. It shan't happen again," he
said.

"But Faith will be very sorry if it doesn't happen again," replied
Aunt Prissy. "Can she not run in and see Louise while I settle with
you for the shoes?"

The shoemaker looked at her sharply for a moment, and then motioned
Faith to follow him, leading the way across the shop toward a door on
the further side of the room. The shop occupied the front room of the
shoemaker's house. The two back rooms, with the chambers above, was
where Louise and her father made their home.

Mr. Trent opened the door and said: "You'll find her in there," and
Faith stepped into the queerest room that she had ever seen, and the
door closed behind her. Louise was standing, half-hidden by a clumsy
wooden chair. The shawl was still pinned about her shoulders.

"This ain't much like your aunt's house, is it? I guess you won't ever
want to come again. And my father says I can't ever go to see you
again. He says I don't look fit," said Louise.

But Faith's eyes had brightened, and she was looking at the further
side of the room and smiling with delight. "Oh, Louise! Why didn't you
tell me that you had a gray kitten? And it looks just like 'Bounce,'"
and in a moment she had picked up the pretty kitten, and was sitting
beside Louise on a roughly made wooden seat, telling her of her own
kitten, while Louise eagerly described the cleverness of her own pet.

"What's its name?" asked Faith.

"Just 'kitten,'" answered Louise, as if surprised at the question.

"But it must have a real name," insisted Faith, and it was finally
decided that it should be named "Jump," the nearest approach to the
name of Faith's kitten that they could imagine.

The floor of the room was rough and uneven, and not very clean. There
was a table, the big chair and the wooden seat. Although the morning
was chilly there was no fire in the fireplace, although there was a
pile of wood in one corner. There was but one window, which looked
toward the lake.

"Come out in the kitchen, where it's warm," suggested Louise, after a
few moments, and Faith was glad to follow her.

"Don't you want to try on my new cape?" asked Faith, as they reached
the kitchen, a much pleasanter room than the one they had left.

Louise shook her head. "I daresn't," she replied. "Father may come in.
And he'd take my head off."

"You are coming to see me, Louise. Aunt Prissy is talking to your
father about it now," said Faith; but Louise was not to be convinced.

"He won't let me. You'll see," she answered mournfully. "_I_ know.
He'll think your aunt is 'Charity.' Why, he won't make shoes any more
for the minister because his wife brought me a dress; and I didn't
wear the dress, either."

But there was a surprise in store for Louise, for when Mrs. Scott and
Mr. Trent entered the kitchen the shoemaker was smiling; and it seemed
to Faith that he stood more erect, and did not look so much like the
picture of the orang-outang.

"Louise, Mrs. Scott and I have been making a bargain," he said. "I am
going to make shoes for her boys, and she is going to make dresses for
my girl. Exchange work; I believe that's right, isn't it, ma'am?" and
he turned to Mrs. Scott with a little bow.

"Yes, it is quite right. And I'll send you the bill for materials,"
said Aunt Prissy.

"Of course. Well, Louise, I warrant you're old enough to have proper
dresses. And Mrs. Scott will take you home to stay with her until you
are all fixed up as fine as this little maid," and the shoemaker
nodded to Faith.

"Do you mean I'm to stay up there?" asked Louise, pointing in the
direction of the Scotts' house. "I can't. Who'd take care of you,
father?"

Mr. Trent seemed to stand very straight indeed as Louise spoke, and
Faith was ashamed that she had ever thought he resembled the ugly
picture in her mother's book.

"She's a good child," he said as if whispering to himself; but he
easily convinced Louise that, for a few days, he could manage to take
care of himself; and at last Louise, happy and excited over this
change in her fortunes, hobbled off beside Mrs. Scott and Faith, while
her father stood in the shop doorway looking after them.

It was a very differently dressed little daughter who returned to him
at the end of the following week. She wore a neat brown wool dress,
with a collar and cuffs of scarlet cloth, a cape of brown, and a cap
of brown with a scarlet wing on one side. These, with her well-made,
well-fitting shoes, made Louise a very trim little figure in spite of
her lameness. Her hair, well brushed and neatly braided, was tied
back with a scarlet ribbon. A bundle containing underwear, aprons,
handkerchiefs, and hair ribbons of various colors, as well as a stout
cotton dress for Louise to wear indoors, arrived at the shoemaker's
house with the little girl.

Her father looked at her in amazement. "Why, Flibbertigibbet, you are
a pretty girl," he declared, and was even more amazed at the gay laugh
with which Louise answered him.

"I've learned a lot of things, father! I can make a cake, truly I can.
And I'm learning to read. I'm so glad Faith Carew is going to live in
Ticonderoga. Aren't you, father?"

Mr. Trent looked at his daughter again, and answered slowly: "Why,
yes, Flibbertigibbet, I believe I am."



CHAPTER X

THE MAJOR'S DAUGHTERS


The day that school began Faith returned home to find that a letter
from her mother and father had arrived. It was a long letter, telling
the little girl of all the happenings since her departure at the
pleasant cabin in the Wilderness. Her father had shot a deer, which
meant a good supply of fresh meat. Kashaqua had brought the good news
of Faith's arrival at her aunt's house; and, best of all, her father
wrote that before the heavy snows and severe winter cold began he
should make the trip to Ticonderoga to be sure that his little
daughter was well and happy.

But there was one sentence in her mother's letter that puzzled Faith.
"Your father will bring your blue beads," her mother had written, and
Faith could not understand it, for she was sure Esther had the beads.
She had looked in the box in the sitting-room closet after Esther's
departure, hoping that Esther might have put them back before
starting for home, but the box had been empty.

"Who brought my letter, Uncle Phil?" she questioned, but her uncle did
not seem to hear.

"Father got it from a man in a canoe when we were down at the shore.
The man hid----"

"Never mind, Hugh. You must not repeat what you see, even at home,"
said Mr. Scott.

So Faith asked no more questions. She knew that the Green Mountain
Boys sent messengers through the Wilderness; and that Americans all
through the Colonies were kept notified of what the English soldiers
stationed in those northern posts were doing or planning. She was sure
that some such messenger had brought her letter; and, while she
wondered if it might have been her friend Ethan Allen, she had learned
since her stay in her uncle's house that he did not like to be
questioned in regard to his visitors from across the lake.

"I'll begin a letter to mother dear this very night, so it will be all
ready when father comes," she said, thinking of all she longed to tell
her mother about Louise, the school and her pretty new dresses.

"So you did not bring your beads," said Aunt Prissy, as she read Mrs.
Carew's letter. "Did you forget them?"

Faith could feel her face flush as she replied: "No, Aunt Prissy." She
wished that she could tell her aunt just why she had felt obliged to
give them to Esther Eldridge, and how puzzled she was at her mother's
reference to the beads. Faith was already discovering that a secret
may be a very unpleasant possession.

As she thought of Esther, she recalled that her aunt had spoken of
Louise as "mischievous," and Faith was quite sure that Louise would
never have accepted the beads or have done any of the troublesome
things that had made the first days of Esther's visit so difficult.

"Louise isn't mischievous," she declared suddenly. "What made you
think she was, Aunt Prissy?"

Aunt Prissy was evidently surprised at this sudden change of subject,
but she replied pleasantly:

"I ought not to have said such a thing; but Louise has improved every
day since you became her friend. How does she get on in her learning
to read?"

For Faith stopped at the shoemaker's house every day on her way home
from school to teach Louise; and "Flibbertigibbet," as her father
generally called her, was making good progress.

"She learns so quickly," replied Faith, "and she is learning to write.
I do wish she would go to school, Aunt Prissy," for Louise had become
almost sullen at the suggestion.

Faith did not know that Louise had appeared at the schoolhouse several
years before, and had been so laughed at by some of the rough children
of the village that she had turned on them violently and they had not
dared come near her since. They had vented their spite, however, in
calling, "Witch! Witch! Fly home on your broomstick," as Louise
hobbled off toward home, vowing that never again would she go near a
school, and sobbing herself to sleep that night.

Aunt Prissy had heard something of the unfortunate affair, and was
glad that Louise, when next she appeared at school, would have some
little knowledge to start with and a friend to help her.

"Perhaps she will go next term, now that she has a girl friend to go
with her," responded Mrs. Scott.

Faith was making friends with two girls whose seats in the schoolroom
were next her own. Their names were Caroline and Catherine Young.
Faith was quite sure that they were two of the prettiest girls in the
world, and wondered how it was possible for any one to make such
beautiful dresses and such dainty white ruffled aprons as these two
little girls wore to school. The sisters were very nearly of an age,
and with their soft black curls and bright brown eyes, their flounced
and embroidered dresses with dainty collars of lace, they looked very
different from the more suitably dressed village children.

Caroline was eleven, and Catherine nine years old. But they were far
in advance of the other children of the school.

They lost no time in telling Faith that their father was an English
officer, stationed at Fort Ticonderoga; and this made Faith look at
them with even more interest. Both the sisters were rather scornful in
their manner toward the other school children. As Faith was a
newcomer, and a stranger, they were more cordial to her.

"You must come to the fort with us some day," Caroline suggested, when
the little girls had known each other for several weeks; and Faith
accepted the invitation with such eagerness that the sisters looked at
her approvingly. Their invitations to some of the other children had
been rudely refused, and the whispered "Tories" had not failed to
reach their ears.

"We like you," Caroline had continued in rather a condescending
manner, "and we have told our mother about you. Could you go to the
fort with us to-morrow? It's Saturday."

"Oh, yes; I'm sure I may. I have wanted to go to the fort ever since I
came. You are real good to ask me," Faith had responded gratefully, to
the evident satisfaction of the English girls who felt that this new
little girl knew the proper way to receive an invitation.

It was settled that they would call for Faith early on Saturday
afternoon.

"I may go, mayn't I, Aunt Prissy?" Faith asked, as she told her aunt
of the invitation, and was rather puzzled to find that Aunt Prissy
seemed a little doubtful as to the wisdom of permitting Faith visiting
the fort with her new friends.

"It is a mile distant, and while that is not too long a walk, I do not
like you to go so far from home with strangers," she said; but on
Faith's declaring that the sisters were the best behaved girls in
school, and that she had promised to go, Mrs. Scott gave her consent;
and Faith was ready and waiting when Caroline and Catherine arrived,
soon after dinner on Saturday.

"Is your father an officer?" asked Caroline, as the little girls
started off.

Faith walked between her new friends, and looked from one to the other
with admiring eyes.

"No, my father is a miller. And he owns a fine lot of land, too," she
answered smilingly.

"Our father is a major. He will go back to Albany in the spring, and
that is a much better place to live than this old frontier town," said
Catherine. "We shan't have to play with common children there."

Faith did not quite know what Catherine meant, so she made no
response, but began telling them of her own journey through the
wilderness and across the lake. But her companions did not seem much
interested.

"Your uncle is just a farmer, isn't he?" said Caroline.

"Yes, he is a farmer," Faith replied. She knew it was a fine thing to
be a good farmer, so she answered smilingly. But before the fort was
reached she began to feel that she did not like the sisters as well as
when they set out together. They kept asking her questions. Did her
mother have a silver service? and why did her aunt not have servants?
As they neared the fort Catherine ran to her sister's side and
whispered in her ear. After that they kept close together, walking a
little way ahead of Faith. At the entrance to the fort Faith was
somewhat alarmed to find a tall soldier, musket in hand. But he
saluted the little girls, and Faith followed her companions along the
narrow passageway. She wondered to herself what she had done to offend
them, for they responded very stiffly to whatever she had to say. The
narrow passage led into a large open square, surrounded by high walls.
Faith looked about with wondering eyes. There were big cannons, stacks
of musketry, and many strange things whose name or use she could not
imagine. There were little groups of soldiers in red coats strolling
about.

"Where is your father, Catherine?" she asked, and then looked about
half fearfully; for both her companions had vanished.

None of the soldiers seemed to notice Faith For a moment she looked
about with anxious eyes, and then decided that her friends must have
turned back to the entrance for some reason.

"And they probably think that I am right behind them," she thought,
running toward an arched passageway which she believed was the one by
which she had entered the fort. But it seemed much longer than when
she came in a moment before. She began running, expecting to see the
sisters at every step. Suddenly she found that she was facing a heavy
door at the end of the passage, and realized that she had mistaken her
way. But Faith was not frightened. "All I have to do is to run back,"
she thought, and turned to retrace her steps. But there were two
passageways opening behind her at right angles. For an instant she
hesitated, and then ran along the one to the right.

"I'm sure this is the way I came," she said aloud. But as she went on
the passageway seemed to curve and twist, and to go on and on in an
unfamiliar way. It grew more shadowy too. Faith found that she could
not see very far ahead of her, and looking back it seemed even darker.
She began to feel very tired.

"I'm sure Caroline and Catherine will come and find me," she thought,
leaning against the damp wall of the passage. "I'll just rest a
minute, and then I'll call so they will know which way to turn to find
me."



CHAPTER XI

A DAY OF ADVENTURE


"Caroline! Caroline!" called Faith, and the call echoed back to her
astonished ears from the shadowy passage. "I'd better go back! I'm
sure the other was the right way," she finally decided; and very
slowly she retraced her steps, stopping now and then to call the names
of the girls who had deserted her.

It seemed a long time to Faith before she was back to where the big
solid door had blocked the first passage. She was sure now that the
other way would lead her back to the square where she had last seen
her companions. But as she stood looking at the door she could see
that it was not closed. It swung a little, and Faith wondered to
herself if this door, after all, might not open near the entrance so
that she could find her way to the road, and so back to Aunt Prissy.

She could just reach a big iron ring that swung from the center of the
door; and she seized this and pulled with all her might. As the door
slowly opened, letting in the clear October sunlight, Faith heard
steps coming down the passage. The half-opened door nearly hid her
from sight, and she looked back expecting to see either Caroline or
Catherine, and, in the comfort of the hope of seeing them, quite ready
to accept any excuse they might offer. But before she could call out
she heard a voice, which was vaguely familiar, say: "I did leave that
door open. Lucky I came back," and Nathan Beaman, the Shoreham boy,
was close beside her.

When he saw a little girl still grasping the iron ring, he seemed too
surprised to speak.

"I'm lost!" Faith whispered. "I'm so glad you came. Major Young's
little girls asked me to come to the fort, and then ran away and left
me," and Faith told of her endeavors to find her companions.

"Lucky I came back," said Nathan again, but this time his voice had an
angry tone. "It was a mean trick. Those girls----" Then Nathan stopped
suddenly. "Well, they're Tories," he concluded.

"I was afraid it was night," said Faith.

"No, but you might have wandered about in these passageways until you
were tired out. Or you might have fallen from that door. Look out, but
hold close to the door," said Nathan.

Faith came to the doorway and found herself looking straight down the
face of a high cliff to the blue waters of the lake. Lifting her eyes
she could look across and see the distant wooded hills of the Green
Mountains, and could hear the "Chiming Waters" of the falls.

"It's lovely. But what do they have a door here for?" Faith asked.

And then Nathan explained what forts were for. That a door like that
gave the soldiers who held the fort a chance to look up and down the
lake in order to see the approach of an enemy by water. "And gives
them a chance to scramble down the cliff and get away if the enemy
captures the fort from the other side." Then he showed Faith the two
big cannon that commanded the lake and any approach by the cliff.

"But come on. I must take you home," he declared, moving as if to
close the door.

"Could we get out any other way than by going back through that
passage?" asked Faith, who thought that she never wanted to see the
two sisters again, and now feared they might be waiting for her.

"Certainly we could. That is, if you are a good climber," replied
Nathan. "I'll tell you something, that is, if you'll never tell," he
added.

"I won't," Faith declared earnestly.

"Well, I can go down that cliff and up, too, just as easily as I can
walk along that passage. And the soldiers don't pay much attention to
this part of the fort. There's a sentry at the other end of the
passage, but he doesn't mind how I get in and out. If you'll do just
as I say I'll take you down the cliff. My boat is hidden down by
Willow Point, and I'll paddle you alongshore. 'Twill be easier than
walking. That is, if you're not afraid," concluded Nathan.

"No, I'm not afraid," said Faith, thinking to herself that here was
another secret, and almost wishing that she had not agreed to listen
to it.

"Come on, then," said Nathan, stepping outside the door, and holding
tightly to the door-frame with one hand and reaching the other toward
Faith. "Hold tight to my hand and don't look down," he said. "Look to
the right as you step out, and you'll see a chance for your feet.
I've got a tight hold. You can't fall."

Faith clutched his hand and stepped out. There was room toward the
right for her to stand. She heard the big door clang behind her. "I
had to shut it," Nathan said, as he cautiously made his way a step
down the face of the cliff. Faith followed cautiously. She noticed
just how Nathan clung to the outstanding rocks, how slowly and
carefully he made each movement. She knew if she slipped that she
would push him as well as herself off into the lake.

"I mustn't slip! I mustn't," she said over and over to herself.

Nathan did not speak, except to tell her where to step. At last they
were safely down, standing on a narrow rocky ledge which hardly gave
them a foothold. Along this they crept to a thick growth of alder
bushes where a clumsy wooden punt was fastened.

Faith followed Nathan into the punt, and as he pushed the boat off
from the bushes she gave a long sigh of relief.

"That was great!" declared Nathan triumphantly. "Say, you're the
bravest girl I know. I've always wondered if I could bring anybody
down that cliff, and now I know I can. But you mustn't tell any one
how we got out of the fort. You won't, will you?" And Faith renewed
her promise not to tell.

Nathan paddled the boat out around the promontory on which the fort
was built. He kept close to the shore.

"Does Major Young stay at the fort?" questioned Faith.

"Not very long at a time. He comes and goes, like all spies," replied
Nathan scornfully. "I wish the Green Mountain Boys would take this
fort and send the English back where they belong. They keep stirring
the Indians up against the settlers, so that people don't know when
they are safe."

It was the last day of October, and the morning had been bright and
sunny. The sun still shone, but an east wind was ruffling the waters
of the lake, and Faith began to feel chilly.

"I'll warrant you don't know when this lake was discovered?" said
Nathan; and Faith was delighted to tell him that Samuel De Champlain
discovered and gave the lake his name in 1609.

"The Indians used to call it 'Pe-ton-boque,'" she added.

But when Nathan asked when the fort was built she could not answer,
and the boy told her of the brave Frenchmen who built Ticonderoga in
1756, bringing troops and supplies from Canada.

"The old fort has all sorts of provisions, and guns and powder that
the English have stored there. I wish the American troops had them. If
I were Ethan Allen or Seth Warner I'd make a try, anyway, for this
fort and for Crown Point, too," said Nathan.

The rising wind made it rather difficult for the boy to manage his
boat, and he finally landed some distance above the point where
Kashaqua had reached shore. Faith was sure that she could go over the
fields and find her way safely home, and Nathan was anxious to cross
the lake to Shoreham before the wind became any stronger. Faith felt
very grateful to him for bringing her from the fort.

"You'll be as brave as Colonel Allen when you grow up," she said, as
she stood on the shore and watched him paddle off against the wind.

He nodded laughingly. "So will you. Remember your promise," he called
back.

The wind seemed to blow the little girl before it as she hurried
across the rough field. She held tight to her velvet cap, and, for the
first time, wondered if she had torn or soiled the pretty new dress in
her scramble down the cliff. Her mind was so full of the happenings of
the afternoon that she did not look ahead to see where she was going,
and suddenly her foot slipped and she fell headlong into a mass of
thorn bushes, which seemed to seize her dress in a dozen places. By
the time Faith had fought her way clear her hands were scratched and
bleeding and her dress torn in ragged ugly tears that Faith was sure
could never be mended.

She began to cry bitterly. "It's all the fault of those hateful
girls," she sobbed aloud. "If they had not run off and left me I
should be safe at home. What will Aunt Prissy say?"

Faith reached the road without further mishap, and was soon walking up
the path. There was no one in sight; not even Scotchie was about. A
sudden resolve entered her mind. She would slip up-stairs, change her
dress, and not tell her aunt about the torn dress. "Perhaps I can mend
it, after all," she thought.

As she changed her dress hurriedly, she wondered where all the family
could be, for the house was very quiet. But she bathed her hands and
face, smoothed her ruffled hair, and then looked for a place to hide
the blue dress until she could find a chance to mend it. She peered
into the closet. A small hair-covered trunk stood in the far corner
and Faith lifted the top and thrust her dress in. At that moment she
heard Donald's voice, and then her aunt's, and she started to go
down-stairs to meet them.



CHAPTER XII

SECRETS


"Did you see all the fort, and the guns, and the soldiers?" asked
Donald eagerly, running to meet his cousin as she came slowly into the
sitting-room. "Why, your hand is all scratched!" he added in a
surprised tone.

Faith tried to cover the scratched hand with a fold of her skirt. Aunt
Prissy noticed that the little girl wore her every-day dress.

"Didn't you wear your blue dress, Faithie?" and without waiting for an
answer said: "Well, perhaps this one was just as well, for you might
have hurt your blue dress."

Faith sat down on the big sofa thinking to herself that she could
never be happy again. First, and worst of all, was the ruined dress.
Then the remembrance of the way she had been treated by Caroline and
Catherine; and, last of all, her _secrets_!--every one a little more
important and dreadful than the other. First the blue beads; then
Nathan's knowledge of a hidden entrance to Fort Ticonderoga; and then
the dress. She was so taken up with her unhappy thoughts that she did
not realize she had not answered Donald, or spoken to her aunt, until
Donald, who was standing directly in front of her, demanded: "What's
the matter, Cousin Faith? Does your tooth ache?"

Faith shook her head. "I'm tired. I didn't have a good time at all. I
don't like those girls," and, greatly to Donald's alarm, she put her
head on the arm of the sofa and began to cry.

In an instant she felt Aunt Prissy's arm about her, and heard the kind
voice say: "Never mind, dear child. Don't think about them."

After a little Aunt Prissy persuaded Faith to lie down and rest until
supper time.

"I'll sit here with my sewing and keep you company," said Aunt Prissy.
"It's an hour to candle-light."

Donald tiptoed out of the room, but was back in a moment standing in
the doorway and beckoning his mother; and Mrs. Scott went quietly
toward him, closing the door softly behind her.

"It's those girls. The ones Faith went with to the fort," Donald
explained in a whisper. "They're on the door-step."

Caroline and Catherine were standing, very neat and demure, at the
front door.

"Has your little girl got home?" inquired Catherine in her most polite
manner; "she ran off and left us," added Caroline.

"Faith is safe at home," responded Mrs. Scott in a pleasant voice.

"Why didn't you ask them to supper, mother? You said you were going
to," demanded Donald, as he watched the sisters walk down the path.

"Your cousin is too tired for company," said his mother, who had
planned a little festivity for Faith and her friends on their return,
but had quickly decided that her little niece would be better pleased
not to see the sisters again that day.

"All the more cake for us then," said Donald cheerfully, for he
had seen a fine cake on the dining-room table; "there comes the
shoemaker's girl," he added. "Shall you ask her to stay, mother?"

"Yes, indeed," and Mrs. Scott turned to give Louise a cordial welcome.

"Faith is resting on the sofa, but you may go right in, Louise. I know
she will be glad to see you," she said, smiling down at the dark-eyed
little girl. "When are you coming to make us another visit?"

"Father said I might stay all night if you asked me," responded
Louise, who now felt sure that Mrs. Scott was her friend.

"We shall be glad indeed to have you, my dear. Let me take your cap
and cape. And go in and cheer up Faithie, for I fear she has had an
unhappy time," said Mrs. Scott.

Louise's smile faded. She had never had a friend until Faith Carew
came to Ticonderoga, and the thought that any one had made Faith
unhappy made her ready to inflict instant punishment on the offenders.

"Oh, Louise! I'm so glad it's you!" exclaimed Faith, as she heard the
sound of Louise's crutch stubbing across the floor.

Louise sat down beside the crumpled little figure on the sofa.

"What did they do, Faith?" she demanded.

Faith told the story of the walk to the fort; of the disagreeable
manner of both Caroline and Catherine toward her, and of their
disappearance as soon as they were inside the fort. But she did not
tell of her efforts to find them, nor of Nathan Beaman's appearance.

"They are hateful things!" Louise declared, "but it won't be long
before they'll go to Albany with their father. Oh!" she ended a little
fearfully. "I ought not to have told that. It's a secret," she added
quickly.

"No, it isn't. They told me," answered Faith, "and if it were a secret
I shouldn't want to know it. I hate and despise secrets."

Louise looked at her friend with a little nod of comprehension.
"That's because you have a secret," she said.

"How did you know, Louise?" and Faith wondered if it were possible
Louise could know about the blue dress.

"I know," said Louise. "It's dreadful to know secrets. I can stay all
night. My father has gone to the fort. Oh!" and again she put her hand
over her mouth. "I ought not to have told that. He doesn't want any
one to know."

Faith leaned back against the sofa with a little sigh of
discouragement. It seemed to her there was nothing but secrets. She
wished she was with her mother and father in her pleasant cabin home,
where everybody knew about everything.

"Where's 'Lady Amy'?" asked Louise, quite sure that such a beautiful
doll would comfort any trouble. And her question made Faith remember
that Louise was a guest.

"I'll get her," she said, and in a few moments "Lady Amy" was sitting
on the sofa between the two little friends, and Faith was displaying
the new dresses that Aunt Prissy had helped her make for the doll.

"Father says he will buy me a doll," Louise announced, "and he's going
to get me a fine string of beads, too, when he goes away again;" for
the shoemaker went away frequently on mysterious business. Many of the
settlers were quite sure that he carried messages for the British
officers to other forts; but he came and went so stealthily that as
yet no proof was held against him.

"I have some blue beads. My father is going to bring them when he
comes to see me," said Faith. "I hope yours will be just like them."

Louise shook her head a little doubtfully. "I may never get them,
after all. Father forgets things," she said.

Before supper time Faith was in a much happier state of mind. She had
helped Louise with her reading lesson; they had played that the sofa
was a throne and Lady Amy a queen, and that they were Lady Amy's
daughters; and the unpleasantness of the early afternoon had quite
vanished when the candles were lighted, and supper on the table.

The supper seemed a feast to the shoemaker's daughter. Every time she
came to visit Faith Louise tasted some new dish, so daintily prepared
that she was at once eager to learn to make it. Faith was hungry, too,
and, as no reference was made to her trip to the fort, she enjoyed her
supper; and not until it was finished was she reminded of her
troubles.

"To-morrow Louise may go to church with us, and you may wear your blue
dress that you are so careful of," Aunt Prissy said.

Faith made no response. She did not know what to do or say. She was so
quiet that her aunt was sure her little niece was overtired, and soon
after supper sent the little girls off to bed.

"What is the matter, Faith?" questioned Louise, when they were safely
in the big chamber, with its high white bed, curtained windows, and
comfortable chairs, and which to Louise seemed the finest bedroom in
all the world.

Faith threw herself face down on the bed. "I don't know what to do! I
don't know what to do! I've spoiled my blue dress!" she sobbed. There!
That was one secret the less, she thought. And Louise would never
tell. "I can't go to church. I don't dare tell Aunt Prissy about the
dress. It was to be my best dress all winter," she added. "What shall
I do, Louise?"

Louise shook her head. That Faith Carew, who seemed to her to be the
most fortunate girl in all the world, should be in trouble was a far
more dreadful thing to Louise than any trouble of her own.

"Let me see the dress," she said; "perhaps it isn't very bad."

Faith opened the trunk and pulled out the blue dress, which only that
morning had been so fresh and dainty. Now it was rumpled, soiled and
torn. Faith's tears flowed afresh as she held it out for Louise to
see.

"I guess you'd better tell your aunt," Louise said soberly. "Tell her
now, this minute," she added quickly; "the sooner the better."

Faith looked at her in surprise. She wondered at herself that she had
hidden the dress, or even thought of not telling Aunt Prissy.

"I'll go now," she said, and, still holding the dress, walked out of
the room. She no longer felt afraid. As she went down the stairs she
thought over all Aunt Prissy's goodness toward her. "I'll tell her
that I can wear my other dress for best," she decided.

The boys were already in bed; Mr. Scott was attending to the evening
chores, and Aunt Prissy was alone in the sitting-room when Faith
appeared in the doorway.

"Aunt Prissy, look! I tore my dress coming home to-day, and I was
afraid to tell you! Oh, Aunt Prissy!" for her aunt had taken Faith and
the blue dress into her arms, and held the little girl closely as she
said:

"Why, dear child! How could you ever be afraid of me? About a dress,
indeed! A torn dress is nothing. Nothing at all."

"Louise, you are my very best friend," Faith declared happily, as she
came running into the room a few minutes later. "I am so glad you
made me tell."

Louise looked at Faith with shining eyes. She wished there was some
wonderful thing that she could do for Faith as a return for all the
happiness her friendship had brought into her life.

The clouds had lifted. Faith had disposed of one secret, and felt the
others would not matter very much. The two little friends snuggled
down in the big feather bed and were soon fast asleep.



CHAPTER XIII

LOUISE MAKES A PRESENT


The week following Faith's visit to the fort proved rather a difficult
one for her at school. Caroline and Catherine seemed to think they had
played a fine joke, and accused her of running home when they were
waiting for her. Faith had resolved not to quarrel with them, but
apparently the sisters meant to force her into trouble, if sneering
words and ridicule could do it.

"You're an American, so you don't dare talk back," sneered Catherine
one day when Faith made no reply to the assertion that Faith had meant
to run home from the fort alone.

"Americans are not afraid," replied Faith quickly.

Catherine jumped up and down with delight at having made Faith angry.

"Oh, yes they are. My father says so. Another summer the English
soldiers are going to take all the farms, and all you rebels will be
our servants," declared Catherine.

"Another summer the Green Mountain Boys will send the English soldiers
where they will behave themselves," declared Faith. "Ethan Allen is
braver than all the men in that fort."

"I don't care what you say. We're not going to play with you any more,
are we, Caroline?" said Catherine. "You play with that horrid little
lame girl."

"She isn't horrid. She is much better than you are. She wouldn't say
or do the things you do!" responded Faith, now too angry to care what
she said, "and she is my very best friend. I wouldn't play with you
anyway. You're only Tory children," and Faith walked off with her head
lifted very proudly, feeling she had won the battle; as indeed she
had, for the sisters looked after her in silent horror.

To be called "only" Tory children was a new point of view, and for
several days they let Faith wholly alone. Then one morning they
appeared at school with the news that it would be their last
appearance there.

"We're going to Albany, and never coming back to this rough common
place," Catherine said.

"I am glad of it," Faith replied sharply; "perhaps you will learn to
be polite in Albany."

Some of the other children overheard these remarks, and a little
titter of amusement and satisfaction followed Faith's words. For the
sisters had made no effort to be friendly with their schoolmates, and
not one was sorry to see the last of them.

Faith awoke each morning hoping that her father would come that day,
but it was toward the last of November before he appeared. There had
been several light falls of snow; the ground was frozen and ice formed
along the shores of the lake. The days were growing shorter, and Mrs.
Scott had decided that it was best for Faith to come straight home
from school at night, instead of stopping in to help Louise with her
lessons. But both the little girls were pleased with the new plan that
Mrs. Scott suggested, for Louise to come home with Faith on Tuesdays
and Fridays and stay all night. Louise was learning a good deal more
than to read and write. Mrs. Scott was teaching her to sew neatly, and
Faith had taught her to knit. She was always warmly welcomed by
Donald and the two younger boys, and these visits were the bright days
of the week for Louise.

At last, when Faith had begun to think her father might not come after
all, she returned from school one night to find him waiting for her.
It was difficult to tell which of the two, father or daughter, was the
happier in the joy of seeing each other. Mr. Carew had arrived in the
early afternoon, and Aunt Prissy was now busy preparing the evening
meal and Faith and her father had the sitting-room to themselves.
There was so much to say that Faith hardly knew where to begin, after
she had listened to all her father had to tell her of her mother.

"I would have come before, but I have been waiting for Kashaqua to
come and stay with your mother," said Mr. Carew. "She appeared last
night, and will stay until I return. And your mother could have no
better protector. Kashaqua is proud enough since we proved our
confidence in her by sending you here in her charge."

Faith told him about Louise, and was surprised to see her father's
face grave and troubled. For Mr. Carew had heard of the shoemaker, and
was sure that he was an English spy, and feared that his daughter's
friendship with Faith might get the Scotts into some trouble.

"She is my dearest friend. I tell her everything," went on Faith.

"I'm afraid her father is not a friend to the settlers about here,"
replied Mr. Carew. "Be careful, dear child, that you do not mention
any of the visitors who come to your uncle's house. Your friend would
mean no harm, but if she told her father great harm might come of it,"
for Mr. Scott was doing his best to help the Americans. Messengers
from Connecticut and Massachusetts with news for the settlers came to
his house, and Mr. Scott found ways to forward their important
communications to the men on the other side of Lake Champlain.

"Aunt Prissy likes Louise; we all do," pleaded Faith; so her father
said no more, thinking that perhaps he had been overanxious.

"Your mother sent your blue beads. I expect you would have been
scolded a little for being a careless child if you had been at home,
for she found them under the settle cushion the very day you left
home," said Mr. Carew, handing Faith two small packages. "The larger
package is one that came from Esther Eldridge a few weeks ago," he
added, in answer to Faith's questioning look.

"I wonder what it can be," said Faith; but before she opened Esther's
package she had taken the blue beads from the pretty box and put them
around her neck, touching them with loving fingers, and looking down
at them with delight. Then she unfastened the wrapping of the second
package.

"Here is a letter!" she exclaimed, and began reading it. As she read
her face brightened, and at last she laughed with delight. "Oh,
father! Read it! Esther says to let you and mother read it. And she
has sent me another string of beads!" And now Faith opened the other
box, a very pretty little box of shining yellow wood with "Faith" cut
on the top, and took out another string of blue beads, so nearly like
her own that it was difficult to tell them apart.

Mr. Carew read Esther's letter. She wrote that she had lost Faith's
beads, and had been afraid to tell her. "Now I am sending you another
string that my father got on purpose. I think you were fine not to say
a word to any one about how horrid I was to ask for your beads.
Please let your mother and father read this letter, so they will know
how polite you were to company."

"So it was Esther who lost the beads! Well, now what are you going to
do with two strings of beads?" said her father smilingly.

When Aunt Prissy came into the room Faith ran to show her Esther's
present and the letter, and told her of what had happened when she had
so rashly promised to give Esther anything she might ask for. "I am so
glad to have my own beads back again. And most of all I am glad not to
have the secret," she said, thinking to herself that life was much
happier when father and mother and Aunt Prissy could know everything
that she knew. Then, suddenly, Faith recalled the fort, and the
difficult climb down the cliff. "But that's not my secret. It's
something outside. Something that I ought not to tell," she thought,
with a little sense of satisfaction.

"But which string of beads did Esther send you? I can't tell them
apart," she heard Aunt Prissy say laughingly.

When the time came for Mr. Carew to start for home Faith was sure
that she wanted to go home with him. And it was only when her father
had promised to come after her early in March, "or as soon as March
stirs the fire, and gives a good warm day," he said, that Faith could
be reconciled and persuaded to let him go without her. She was glad
indeed that it was a Tuesday, and that Louise would come to stay all
night. Faith was eager to tell Louise the story of the blue beads, and
to show her those Esther had sent, and those that Aunt Prissy had
given her. Faith was sure that she herself could tell the beads apart,
and equally sure that no one else could do so.

Louise was waiting at the gate when Faith came from school. At the
first sight of her Faith was hardly sure that it was Louise; for the
little girl at the gate had on a beautiful fur coat. It was made of
otter skins, brown and soft. On her head was a cap of the same fur;
and, as Faith came close, she saw that Louise wore fur mittens.

"Oh, Louise! Your coat is splendid," she exclaimed. "And you look so
pretty in it; and the cap and mittens." And Faith looked at Louise,
smiling with delighted admiration.

Louise nodded happily. "My father sent to Albany for them. A man
brought them last night," she said. "You do truly like them?" she
questioned, a little anxiously.

"Of course! Any girl would think they were beautiful. Aunt Prissy will
be just as glad as I am," declared Faith. "What's in that big bundle?"
she added, as Louise lifted a big bundle from beside the gate.

But if Louise heard she made no reply, and when Faith offered to carry
the package she shook her head laughingly. Faith thought it might be
something that Louise wanted to work on that evening, and was so
intent on telling of her father's visit, the blue beads, and the
promised visit to her own dear home in March, that she did not really
give much thought to the package.

Aunt Prissy was at the window watching for the girls, with the three
little boys about her. They all came to the door, and Aunt Prissy
exclaimed, just as Faith had done, over the beauty of Louise's new
possessions. "But what is in that big bundle, Louise?" she asked, when
the little lame girl had taken off coat, cap and mittens, and stood
smiling up at her good friend.

"Once you said to me that a present was something that any one ought
to be very happy to receive," she said.

"Yes, I remember. And I know you are happy over your father's gift,"
replied Mrs. Scott.

Louise nodded, and began unwrapping the bundle.

"This is my present to Faith," she said, struggling to untie the heavy
string.

"Let me, Louise; let me," and Donald was down on his knees and in a
moment the bundle was opened, and Donald exclaimed:

"My! It's a coat exactly like Louise's."

"There's a cap too, and mittens," said Louise eagerly. "Do try it on."

Donald stood holding the coat; and Faith, as excited and happy as
Louise, slipped on the coat, put the cap on her head and held out her
hands for the mittens.

"Oh, Louise! They are lovely. I may keep them, mayn't I, Aunt Prissy?"
she asked, turning about for her aunt to see how nicely the coat
fitted.

Neither of the little girls noticed that Mrs. Scott looked grave and a
little troubled, for she was thinking that this was almost too fine a
present for her little niece to accept from the shoemaker's daughter.
But she knew that to refuse to let Faith accept it would not only make
both the girls very unhappy, but that Mr. Trent would forbid Louise
coming to the house, and so stop all her friendly efforts to help
Louise; so she added her thanks to those of Faith, and the two little
friends were as happy as it is possible to be over giving and
receiving a beautiful gift. Faith even forgot her blue beads in the
pleasure of possessing the pretty coat and cap.



CHAPTER XIV

A BIRTHDAY


"Can you skate, Cousin Faith?" asked Donald, on their way to school
one morning in late December. There had been a week of very cold
weather, and the ice of the lake glittered temptingly in the morning
sun.

"No, I never had any skates, and there wasn't a very good chance for
skating at home," answered Faith regretfully; for many of the school
children were eager for the sport, and told her of their good times on
the ice.

"Mother has a pair of skates for you; I heard her say so; and father
is going to teach you to skate," responded Donald. "I can skate," he
added, "and after you learn we'll have a fine time. Nat Beaman comes
across the lake on the ice in no time."

It was rather difficult for Faith to pay attention to her studies that
day. She wondered when Aunt Prissy would give her the skates, and
Uncle Phil teach her how to use them. And when the schoolmaster
announced that there would be no school for the remainder of the week
Faith felt that everything was planned just right for her. Now, she
thought, she could begin the very next day, if only the cold, clear
weather would continue.

The sun set clear and red that night, and the stars shone brightly.
Faith was sure the next day would be pleasant. Donald found a chance
to tell Faith that the skates were a "secret." "But I didn't know it
until just a few minutes ago," he explained, adding briefly: "I hate
secrets."

Faith agreed heartily. If the skates were a secret who could tell when
Aunt Prissy would give them to her? She went to bed a little
despondent, thinking to herself that as soon as she was clear of one
secret another seemed ready to interfere with her happiness. But she
was soon asleep, and woke up to find the sun shining in at her
windows, and Aunt Prissy starting the fire with a shovelful of coals
from the kitchen hearth. And what were those shining silver-like
objects swinging from the bed-post?

"Skates! My skates!" she exclaimed, sitting up in bed. "Oh, Aunt
Prissy! I did want them so to-day."

"They are your birthday present from your father and mother," said
Aunt Prissy, coming to the side of the bed, and leaning over to kiss
her little niece. "Eleven years old to-day! And you had forgotten all
about it!"

"Why, so I am! Why, so I did!" said Faith. "Well, I like secrets that
end this way. May I go skating right away, Aunt Prissy?"

"Breakfast first!" laughed Aunt Prissy, and was out of the room before
Faith had noticed that lying across the foot of her bed was a dress of
pretty plaided blue and brown wool. A slip of paper was pinned to it:
"For Faith to wear skating," she read.

"Lovely! Lovely!" exclaimed Faith, as she hastened to dress in front
of the blazing fire.

"Why, here are new stockings, too," she said, as she discovered a pair
of warm knit brown and blue stockings.

She came running into the dining-room, skates in hand, to be met by
her uncle and little cousins with birthday greetings. Donald had at
last finished the bow and arrows that he had promised her weeks
before, and now gave them to her; Hugh had made a "quiver," a little
case to hold the arrows, such as the Indians use, of birch bark, and
little Philip had a dish filled with molasses candy, which he had
helped to make.

It was a beautiful morning for Faith, and the broiled chicken and hot
corn cake gave the breakfast an added sense of festivity.

Soon after breakfast Mr. Scott, Donald and Faith were ready to start
for the lake. Donald took his sled along. "So we can draw Cousin Faith
home, if she gets tired," he explained, with quite an air of being
older and stronger than his cousin.

Aunt Prissy watched them start off, thinking to herself that Faith had
never looked so pretty as she did in the fur coat and cap, with her
skates swinging from her arm, the bright steel catching the rays of
sunlight.

They crossed the road, and went down the field to the shore. The hard
crust gave Faith and Donald a fine coast down the slope, and both the
children exclaimed with delight when Mr. Scott, running and sliding,
reached the shore almost as soon as they did.

Mr. Scott fastened on Faith's skates, and held up by her uncle on one
side and Donald on the other, Faith ventured out on the dark, shining
ice. After a few lurches and tumbles, she found that she could stand
alone, and in a short time could skate a little.

"Father, are those Indians?" asked Donald, pointing to a number of
dark figures coming swiftly down the lake from the direction of the
fort.

Mr. Scott looked, and answered quickly: "Yes. They have seen us; so we
will skate toward them. They will probably be friendly." But he told
Faith to sit down on the sled, and took fast hold of Donald's hand. In
a few moments the flying figures of the Indians were close at hand.
There were six of them, young braves, and evidently racing either for
sport, or bound on some errand of importance, for they sped straight
past the little group, with a friendly call of salutation.

"I wonder what that means," said Mr. Scott, turning to watch them. "It
may be they are on their way to Albany as messengers from the fort,"
he added, as if speaking to himself.

"What kind of a message, Uncle Philip?" asked Faith.

"Heaven knows, child. Perhaps for troops enough to crush the American
settlers, and drive them from their homes," replied Mr. Scott. For
news of the trouble in Boston, the blockade of the port, and the lack
of supplies, had reached the men of the Wilderness; and Mr. Scott knew
that the English were planning to send a larger body of troops to Fort
Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and the sight of these speeding Indians
made him wonder if they might not be English messengers.

"Couldn't we stop them, uncle?" asked Faith, so earnestly that her
uncle looked down at her in smiling surprise.

"Couldn't we? It will be dreadful to leave our homes," said Faith.

Mr. Scott swung the little girl gently around. "Look!" he said,
pointing down the lake. Already the Indians were but dark specks in
the distance. "If trouble comes there are brave Americans ready," he
said; "and now we had best be going toward home, or you will be too
tired to come out this afternoon."

Faith and Donald were surprised to find that it was dinner time. They
had a great deal to tell Aunt Prissy of their morning's adventures.

"Could a little girl do anything to help, Aunt Prissy, if the English
do try to drive us away?" Faith asked, as she helped her aunt clear
the dining-room table.

"Who knows?" responded Mrs. Scott, cheerfully. "A brave girl might be
of great service. But I do not believe the Tories will dare go much
farther. At all events, we will be ready for them. Run to the door,
Faithie; there comes Louise."

Louise was as pleased over Faith's presents as Faith herself, and
delighted at the prospect of going to the lake with Faith and Donald
that afternoon. Faith and Donald promised to draw her on the sled, and
Aunt Prissy was to be their companion.

"Mother can skate like a bird," Donald declared admiringly.

Louise was no longer the sullen, sad-faced child whom Faith had first
seen. She knew that she had friends; she was included in all the
pleasant happenings with Faith; her father seemed to take pride in her
appearance; and best of all, she thought, she was to begin school when
the spring term opened. To-day as they started off for the lake she
was as full of happiness as any child could be.

There were a number of children and young people on the ice, skating
and sliding. A number of boys had built a bonfire on the shore, where
they could warm their chilled toes and fingers.

Nathan Beaman was there, circling about in skilful curves, or darting
off with long swift strokes, greatly to the admiration of the other
children. He was quite ready to take the sled rope and give Louise a
fine ride up the lake toward the fort, and back to the fire, and to
guide Faith in her clumsy efforts to skate.

Faith and Louise were warming their fingers at the fire when they
heard loud voices and a commotion on the ice.

"What is it? Indians?" exclaimed Faith, looking around, for the
settlers never knew at what moment the Indians might become
mischievous.

"No! Soldiers. Soldiers from the fort," replied Aunt Prissy, drawing
the little girls away from the fire. "Perhaps they are only coming to
warm their fingers."

Two red-coated soldiers came swinging close to the shore. They were
talking loudly, and as they neared the fire they called out: "Clear
away from that fire. We'll have no fires built on this shore. 'Tis
too good a way to send messages across the lake."

With a couple of stout sticks they beat out the flame, kicking snow
over the coals, and extinguishing the last bit of fire.

Mrs. Scott had helped Louise toward the ice, but Faith had lingered a
moment. As one of the soldiers turned from the fire he found himself
facing a little fur-clad figure with flushed cheeks and angry eyes.

"That was our fire. You had no business to put it out," Faith
declared.

"Oh, ho! What's this?" laughed the soldier. "Do you own this lake? Or
perhaps you are our new captain?"

"It is a mean thing to spoil our fire," continued Faith; "we wouldn't
do you any harm."

"I'm not so sure about that," replied the soldier. "You have a pretty
fierce expression," and with another kick at the fire, and a
"good-bye, little rebel," to Faith, the two soldiers started back to
the fort. The skaters now, troubled and angry by the unfriendly
interference, were taking off their skates and starting for home.

"I wish American soldiers were in that fort," said Nat Beaman.

"Why don't you ask Colonel Allen to come and take it?" asked Faith
earnestly; she was quite sure that Ethan Allen could do anything he
attempted.

"Ask him yourself," responded Nathan laughingly.

"I guess I will," Faith thought to herself, as she followed Aunt
Prissy up the field toward home. "Perhaps that would be doing
something to help Americans."

The more Faith thought about this the stronger became her resolve to
ask Colonel Allen to take possession of Fort Ticonderoga. She was so
silent all the way home that her companions were sure she was
overtired. Louise had to return to her own home, and soon after supper
Faith was ready to go to bed.

"I've got a real secret now; even if I don't like secrets," she
thought to herself. For she realized that she could not tell any one
of her determination to find some way to ask Ethan Allen to capture
Ticonderoga and send the troublesome English soldiers back to their
own homes.



CHAPTER XV

NEW ADVENTURES


"It will be a good day to put a quilt in the frame," said Aunt Prissy,
the morning after Faith's birthday. "You and Donald can help me with
it right after breakfast; then while you children are off to the lake
I will mark the pattern."

"Can't I help mark the pattern?" asked Faith, who had sometimes helped
her mother, and thought it the most interesting part of the quilting.

The quilting-frame, four long strips of wood, was brought into the
sitting-room and rested on the backs of four stout wooden chairs,
forming a square. The frame was held firmly together at the corners by
clamps and screws, so that it could be changed and adjusted to fit the
quilt.

This quilt was a very pretty one, Faith thought, as she watched Aunt
Prissy fasten it to the frame with stout linen thread. It was made of
bits of bright woolen cloth. There were pieces of Faith's new dresses,
and of the dresses made for Louise, and they were neatly stitched
together in a diamond-shaped pattern. Faith had made a good many of
these, and so had Louise in the evenings as they sat with Aunt Prissy
before the open fire.

First of all Aunt Prissy had fastened the lining for the quilt to the
frame. Over this she spread an even layer of soft wool, and then over
this the bright patchwork was spread and fastened. And now it was
ready to mark the quilting pattern.

Aunt Prissy took a ball of firm twine and rubbed it well with white
chalk. The cord was fastened tightly across the surface of the quilt.

"Now," said Aunt Prissy, and Faith took the tight cord up and "snap"
it went when her fingers released their hold, leaving a straight white
mark across the quilt. Back and forth they stretched the cord and
"snapped" the line, until the quilt was marked in a checkerboard
pattern of white lines, which the quilters would follow with their
neat stitches.

"I believe I'll have a quilting bee to-morrow," said Aunt Prissy.
"When you and Donald start out you can go down and ask the minister's
wife, and be sure and say that we shall expect Mr. Fairbanks to tea.
Then ask Neighbor Willis and her husband, and Mrs. Tuttle. I think
that will be a pleasant number."

"May I help quilt?" asked Faith.

"Of course you may. Tell Mrs. Tuttle to bring her daughter. And now,
my dear, in what manner will you ask our friends to the quilting party
and to tea?" asked Aunt Prissy, looking down at her little niece with
her pretty smile.

"I shall rap at the minister's door first, of course; and when Mrs.
Fairbanks opens the door I shall make my best curtsy, like this:" and
Faith took a bit of her skirt in each hand, and bent in a very pretty
curtsy indeed; "and I shall say: 'Good-morning, Mrs. Fairbanks. My
Aunt Prissy will be very happy if you and the minister will come to
her quilting bee to-morrow afternoon and stay to tea.'"

Aunt Prissy nodded approvingly. "I think that will do very nicely
indeed. Now put on your things and run along. Donald is waiting."

Donald and "Scotchie" were at the door when Faith was ready to start.
The big dog barked his delight at being allowed to go with the
children.

"I'd like to harness him to the sled; he could draw us both,"
suggested Donald, but Faith was sure that "Scotchie" would upset the
sled; so her cousin gave up the project.

"We can go on the lake just below Mrs. Tuttle's house, and skate along
the shore home; can't we, Cousin Faith?" asked Donald, after they had
stopped at Mrs. Willis' house and that of the clergyman.

"Let's call and get Louise," suggested Faith.

"Oh, there won't be time. Look, there goes an English soldier into the
shoemaker's now. The boys all say that the shoemaker is an English
spy," answered Donald.

They were nearly in front of Mr. Trent's shop now, and Faith noticed
that the soldier was the one who had been on the lake the previous
day, and who had called her "a little rebel."

"Come to the back door, Donald. Just a moment, while I speak to
Louise. And make 'Scotchie' keep still," said Faith, turning into the
path leading to the back door.

"Scotchie" was barking fiercely as if he resented the sight of the
redcoat.

The soldier turned quickly. "Stop that dog before I put a bullet into
him," he called.

"He's afraid," Donald whispered to Faith, with a word to "Scotchie,"
and Faith ran up the path and entered the house.

Donald and "Scotchie" stood waiting, the dog growling now and then,
whenever the soldier moved about on the door-step. It was evident that
the shoemaker was not at home, for no answer came to the raps. In a
moment Louise appeared at the door and told the man that her father
was not at home.

"Send that boy with the dog about his business," said the soldier.

"'Tis the public road, sir; and 'tis not likely he'd mind what I might
say," responded Louise smilingly, as she closed the door.

Donald rested his mittened hand on "Scotchie's" head.

"You needn't be afraid. I won't let him hurt you," Donald called.

The soldier came down the path scowling.

"I've a great mind to kick the beast," he said.

"You'd better not," said Donald.

Evidently the man agreed, for he went past as quickly as possible.
Donald watched him with a little scornful smile. The boy was not old
enough to realize, as Faith did, the difference between these hired
soldiers of England, and the brave Americans who were ready to
undertake any sacrifice to secure the freedom of their country, but he
was a brave boy, and thought poorly of this soldier's courage.

Louise listened to Faith's hurried account of the proposed quilting
party.

"And you must come too, Louise," she concluded, "and come early."

Louise promised. She had never been to a quilting party, and was sure
that it would be a great experience. She could not go to the lake, for
she must not leave the house until her father returned.

When Faith rejoined Donald he told her of the soldier's evident fear
of the dog. "I don't see what made 'Scotchie' growl so," added Donald.

"I'm glad he did," responded Faith. "Come on; let's hurry, or we won't
have much time on the ice," so off they went across the field.

But as they reached the shore they looked at each other questioningly.
The lake seemed to be in the possession of the redcoats. At least
half the garrison of the fort were on the ice; skating, racing, and
evidently enjoying themselves.

"We had better go home," said Faith, and Donald made no objections.
The two children, disappointed of their morning's sport, went slowly
back toward home.

"That's the way they take everything," declared Faith, renewing her
promise to herself to try in some way to let Ethan Allen know how easy
it would be to drive the English from Ticonderoga.

"I am glad you did not venture on the ice," Aunt Prissy said when
Donald and Faith told their story. "The English become less friendly
every day. Well, we will not think of them when there is so much to do
as we have before us."

"I asked Louise to come to the quilting," said Faith.

"That's right; and I am going to send Donald to ask a number of your
schoolmates to come in the evening. The moon will be full to light
them home, and you children can have the kitchen to yourselves after
supper, and make molasses candy," said Aunt Prissy.

This seemed a very delightful idea to both Faith and Donald. The
thought of making candy reminded Faith of Esther Eldridge, and of the
bear's sudden appearance at the kitchen door. Mr. Carew had promised
Faith to ask Esther's father to bring her to visit Faith on her return
home, and Faith often thought of how much she and Esther would have to
tell each other.

That afternoon Faith helped her Aunt Prissy in preparing for the
quilting. Aunt Prissy was cooking a ham, and the brick oven held some
of the spiced cakes that the children liked so well. Donald cracked a
big dish full of hickory-nuts, while Faith rubbed the pewter plates
and pitchers until they shone like silver. The two younger boys ran in
and out of the kitchen, thinking a quilting party must be a great
affair.

Mr. Scott had been cutting wood at the edge of the forest, and did not
return until nearly dusk; and when he arrived there was a man with
him--evidently a traveler, for there was a pack on his back, and he
was tired. Faith heard her Aunt Prissy call the stranger by name, and
welcome him.

"Why, it is Esther's father. Of course it is!" she exclaimed suddenly.

Mr. Eldridge told her all about Esther, and promised that his little
daughter should again visit the Wilderness cabin. Faith wondered what
business it was that took Mr. Eldridge through the Wilderness and up
and down the lakes. Long afterward she discovered that he was one of
the trusted messengers of the American leaders, and through him the
American settlers along the lake shores and through the New Hampshire
Grants were kept informed of what the English were doing. She did not
know that he underwent constant danger.

The little boys went early to bed that night, but Faith was not
sleepy. The firelight in the sitting-room made dancing pictures on the
wall, as she sat in a small chair at the end of the sofa. The sound of
Aunt Prissy's knitting needles made her think of the silvery tinkle of
the mill-stream under the winter ice in her Wilderness home. Mr.
Eldridge and her uncle were talking quietly. She heard her uncle say
that: "Ticonderoga was the lock to the gate of the country," and Mr.
Eldridge respond that until Crown Point and Ticonderoga were taken by
the Americans that none of the colonies could be safe.

"If there were any way to get into Fort Ticonderoga," said Mr.
Eldridge. "They say there's a secret passageway."

Faith was all attention at this. She quite forgot that she was
listening to conversation not intended for her ears, as she heard her
uncle answer:

"There is such a door, but no way for an American to find it. If some
one could get entrance to the fort in that way, discover just the plan
of the place, and escape, it would be of the greatest service to the
Americans when the right time came to take the fort."

"Time for bed, Faithie," said Aunt Prissy, and, very reluctantly, the
little girl went up-stairs. She was thinking of all that her uncle and
Mr. Eldridge had said, and of the unguarded door opening on the cliff
at the fort. She wondered if she could make her way up that steep
cliff as easily as Nathan had declared he had so often done.

"Perhaps Nathan will help capture the fort," she thought. "Anyway he
could show the Green Mountain Boys the way. If I were at home I would
put a note in that cave near Lake Dunmore and tell Ethan Allen about
Nathan."

Only Ethan Allen and a few of his friends knew of this mountain cave,
and it was there messages were left for him by the men of the
Wilderness.



CHAPTER XVI

LOUISE DISAPPEARS


The guests for the quilting party arrived at an early hour in the
afternoon. All that morning Faith and Aunt Prissy were busy. Dishes
filled with red apples were brought up from the cellar; cakes were
made ready, and the house in order before dinner time.

Only one little girl, Jane Tuttle, had been asked to come in the early
afternoon. Jane was about Faith's age, and at school they were in the
same classes. She was not very tall, and was very fat. Jane was one of
the children whom Caroline and Catherine Young had taken especial
delight in teasing.

     "Jane, Jane! Fat and plain;
     With a button nose and turned-in toes,"

they would call after her, until the little girl dreaded the very
sight of them. When Faith had proved that she was not afraid of the
sisters Jane Tuttle became her steadfast admirer, and was greatly
pleased to come in the afternoon with her mother. But she was
surprised to find Louise Trent there before her, and evidently very
much at home. However, she was too kind-hearted a child not to be
pleasant and polite to the lame girl, and Louise was now as ready to
make friends as, before knowing Faith, she had been sullen and
unfriendly.

Each of the girls was encouraged to set a few neat stitches in the
quilt. Then, on the arrival of Mrs. Fairbanks and Mrs. Lewis, Aunt
Prissy told Faith that if she wanted to take the little girls to her
own room she might do so.

There was a glowing fire on the hearth, and Faith was pleased for Jane
to see her pleasant chamber, and to introduce "Lady Amy."

"I wish I had brought my doll," said Jane, as the little girls
gathered in front of the fire. "Mine is one my mother made for me."

"There, Louise! We could make you a doll!" exclaimed Faith, knowing
how much her friend had always wished for a doll of her own.

But Louise shook her head. "I guess I am too old for dolls; I'm
twelve," she said slowly, "and I don't have time to make dresses for
dolls now that I'm learning to read and write. You see," and she
turned to Jane, "I keep house for my father."

Jane looked at Louise, wondering to herself why she had ever imagined
that Louise Trent was a girl that she could not have for a friend.
Why, Louise was really pretty! thought fat little Jane, looking
admiringly at the smooth black hair, and the neat and pretty dress.
And so nearly grown-up, too. Twelve years old! Jane resolved to go and
see Louise, and to ask her to come for a visit.

"I shall always play with dolls," she heard Faith declare. "I'd like
to have a regiment of dolls, and play games with them. Wouldn't it be
fun to have dolls that we could make up names for, and then have them
do all sorts of things?"

Louise and Jane agreed that would be a fine game.

"We could dress up the pillows on your bed for dolls," suggested
Louise.

"Yes, and put my dresses on them," responded Faith eagerly, running to
the closet and bringing out the blue dress, a skirt and a small
shawl. It was not long before two "cushiony" figures, as large as
Jane, were seated on the bed.

"Let's put our coats and caps on them, Faith; and when the other girls
come this evening we'll make them think the pillows are company,"
suggested Louise.

Jane jumped about the room with delight as Faith and Louise adjusted
the caps and fur coats.

"We'll introduce them as Annie Snow and Mary White," said Faith. "It
will be fun to see what the girls will say."

Four little girls were expected, and several boy friends of Donald's.
Aunt Prissy wondered a little at Faith's eagerness to take the girls
directly up-stairs on their arrival, but she was greatly pleased to
see that Louise, Jane and Faith were evidently having a delightful
time.

It was nearly dusk when the little visitors arrived, and Faith's room
was rather dim and shadowy. The little girls coming in were rather
surprised to find that there were strangers, evidently just arrived,
sitting on Faith's bed.

"Girls, these are two of my best friends, Annie Snow and Mary White,"
said Faith, trying hard not to laugh, as her schoolmates bowed
politely and greeted the stout figures on the bed, who, apparently,
did not hear the introductions.

Jane, giggling with delight, circled around the newcomers; while
Louise seated herself on the bed and began talking to Annie Snow.
Faith endeavored to make the newcomers at ease, and it was not long
before she had to run down-stairs to help her aunt with the supper,
leaving Louise and Jane to carry on the game.

The children were to have their supper in the kitchen. The tables for
young and old had been spread before the arrival of any of the guests,
so there was but little for Aunt Prissy and Faith to do before calling
the guests to supper.

Louise was the last one to enter the kitchen, her face radiant with
fun and delight at the success of "Annie Snow" and "Mary White." She
found a chance to tell Faith that "Annie" and "Mary" had managed to
say that they didn't feel like eating supper, and that the girls had
not yet discovered the joke.

"We'll bring them down after supper," Faith whispered.

"Are your friends from the Wilderness?" asked Peggy Tibbetts, the
oldest girl of the party, as Faith sat down beside her.

"No," Faith answered slowly. "They are both coming down after supper,
and I know you will be surprised when I tell you that they live right
in this house."

Peggy Tibbetts was surprised. She looked almost frightened, and lost
no time in whispering this information to the other girls; so that
when Faith announced that she would run up-stairs and ask "Annie" and
"Mary" to come down there was an anxious silence.

Faith asked Jane to go with her, and in a few moments they returned
with the two clumsy "girls." In the brightly-lit kitchen the
dressed-up figures could no longer be mistaken, and the children were
greatly pleased and amused by "Annie" and "Mary," who were established
in straight-backed chairs, and urged to share in the supper.

There was so much laughter and merriment in the kitchen that Aunt
Prissy looked in for a moment. "Faithie dear, who are the little girls
in the corner?" she asked. To Louise and Jane this seemed a triumph
indeed, and when Aunt Prissy, entering into the spirit of the affair,
insisted upon being introduced to "Annie" and "Mary," and said she
was very glad to see them, the children danced about, greatly pleased
with this unexpected fun.

When the clock struck nine the grown people and children were all
ready to start for home. Louise was to stay all night with Faith.
As the children said their good-byes and stepped out into the
snow-trodden path they called back messages to "Annie" and "Mary."
The full moon shone down so brightly that the path could be plainly
seen, and in the distance the dark line of the forest, and the heights
of Ticonderoga.

"It's the best time I ever had in all my life," declared Jane, as she
trotted off holding fast to her mother's hand.

And Faith said the same as she bade Aunt Prissy good-night. "It's fun
to have parties, isn't it, Aunt Prissy," she said, "and all the girls
are so pleasant."

"That is what makes the good time, isn't it?" responded her aunt.

"I hope it won't storm to-morrow," Louise said, as the two girls
prepared for bed.

"What makes you think of a storm?" questioned Faith.

"There was a ring around the moon," said Louise; "that's one sign, and
the air felt like snow."

But Faith was too happy over the evening to think about weather signs.
She had, for that night, quite forgotten about the English soldiers
and her resolve to send a message to Ethan Allen.

Louise's predictions proved right; for when the morning came snow was
falling steadily, and great drifts were heaped up against the walls
and fences. A chill east wind came sweeping across the ice-bound lake,
and it was plain that there would be no more skating for many days.

For nearly a week trails and roads were impassable. Mr. Trent, knowing
that Louise was safe and happy with her friends, made no effort to
reach her; and the Scotts were glad to keep indoors, safe from the
fierce cold and wind.

Donald and Hugh dug a tunnel to the shop, and Mr. Scott kept a path
open to the barn, while indoors Aunt Prissy kept the two girls busy
and happy. She declared that she had been hoping for a day to dye some
recently woven blankets, and asked Faith what color she thought would
be best.

"But how can you make any color you like, Aunt Prissy?" asked Faith.

"Perhaps not 'any color I like,' but I have a good lot of colors to
choose from," replied Aunt Prissy. "People who live in the wilderness
need only to step outdoors to find almost anywhere some plant that
furnishes dye, and I gather my dye-plants and roots every summer, as I
am sure your own mother does."

"I know mother always gathers the dogwood roots to make a scarlet dye.
Kashaqua told her about that," answered Faith. "The Indians use it for
their feathers."

"And I am sure your mother dyed your brown dress with the shells of
the hickory-nut," said Aunt Prissy, "and the yellow root is what I
used to color the covers on the chair cushions in your room."

This was all new to Louise, and she listened eagerly, thinking to
herself that she would color the faded quilts on her own bed; and that
another summer she would gather a good supply of the roots and plants
of which Mrs. Scott spoke.

"The pokeweed berries will color a good red," continued Mrs. Scott;
"but for scarlet we must use the dogwood roots."

Then Mrs. Scott showed the little girls her bundles of dyestuffs, each
plant and root tied up and marked carefully with its name and use. A
large number of the dogwood roots were put into a huge iron kettle,
the kettle filled with water, and hung over the fire. When it had
boiled for several hours there would be a good scarlet dye in which
the new blankets would be dipped. Then they would be hung to dry in
the shed.

The next day the sun came out and shone brightly down on a white and
glistening world, and that afternoon Mr. Trent came to take Louise
home. He would not come in, but waited at the door until she was ready
to go. But he thanked Mrs. Scott for all her kindness to his little
daughter.

Faith was quite sure that Mr. Trent must be sorry to be a Tory instead
of a loyal American. "But I suppose he can't help it," she decided,
and always thought of her friend's father as unfortunate.

Faith and Louise always had so many things to talk about that they
seldom spoke of the redcoats; and when they did Louise seemed to
dislike them more than Faith herself.

Faith and Donald both had snow-shoes, and on their way to school, a
few days later, Faith stopped at the shoemaker's door. But there was
no response to her knock, and when she tried the door it would not
open. She wondered where Louise and her father could be, but not until
the next day did she hear that the shoemaker and Louise had left their
home, apparently not to return. They had gone with a number of English
families, on sledges, down the river, without a good-bye to the kind
friends who had grown to love the little lame girl.

"I know Louise couldn't help it," Faith declared, when Aunt Prissy
told her the news. "She will write to me, I know she will," but it was
a long time before any word came to her from her little friend. And
now Faith became more and more eager for March to come, that she might
once more see her father and mother, and make some attempt to send a
message to Ethan Allen.



CHAPTER XVII

FAITH AGAIN VISITS THE FORT


The night after hearing that Louise had gone Faith felt more nearly
homesick than at any time since her arrival at her aunt's house.
Everything seemed to remind her of her friend. Even "Lady Amy" made
her remember that Louise had never owned a doll of her own.

"And I had meant to give Louise one of my strings of blue beads just
as soon as I had asked Aunt Prissy," she thought, regretfully, holding
up the pretty beads, and recalling how much Louise had admired them.

"Aunt Prissy," she called, running down the stairs and into the
sitting-room, "may I not give Louise one of my bead necklaces?"

Aunt Prissy looked up in amazement.

"But how can you, Faithie, dear? We do not know where she is," she
answered.

"We shall know some time. Of course we shall. And when we do, may I? I
meant to ask you the day of the quilting," said Faith.

"Of course you may, child. I was sure that you would want to when
Esther sent the beads. I only hope you may have a chance to give them
to Louise at an early day," responded Aunt Prissy.

This decision proved a comfort to Faith. As the weeks went by, and no
news of the shoemaker and his little daughter was received, she would
often look at the string of blue beads which she meant to give her
friend. "I wish I had given them to her on my birthday," she thought
regretfully, "but she shall have them some time," for Faith was quite
sure that it could not be very long before Louise would find a way to
let them know where she was.

March came, "stirring the fire" vigorously from the day of its
arrival. The ice in the lake broke up rapidly, the snow melted, and by
the middle of the month Faith began to expect her father. Nathan
Beaman, in his clumsy boat, had crossed from Shoreham a number of
times. He often teasingly reminded Faith of her plan to ask Ethan
Allen to come and take possession of Fort Ticonderoga.

"You'd better hurry. The British will be sending men down from Canada
by early summer, and then 'twill be of no use for the Green Mountain
Boys to try to capture the fort," he said.

"How do you always know so much about what the English are going to
do?" asked Faith.

The children were all in the shop. Nathan was helping Donald in the
construction of a small boat, and Faith and the two younger boys had
been filling a basket with chips and shavings to carry into the house.

"Can't help knowing," answered Nathan. "I hear the men at the fort
talking about all their fine plans to own all this country every time
I go there."

"Nathan," and Faith lowered her voice so that the other children would
not hear, "you know I promised not to tell about the door at the
fort?"

Nathan nodded; he was looking at her sharply, and half feared that she
was about to tell him that she had broken the promise.

"Well, of course I shan't tell. But if my telling some American would
help send the soldiers away, mayn't I tell then?" and Faith's face was
very serious as she waited for his response.

"Yes. I meant you weren't to tell Louise Trent, or those Young girls,"
said Nathan. "And don't tell any one unless you are sure it will be of
some use. You see I may tell, if it comes to that."

Faith drew a long breath. "Thank you, Nathan," she said, in so serious
a tone that the boy laughed aloud.

"You are as grave about that old fort as my father and the Shoreham
men are. You ought to hear my father tell about the big fight here in
1758. He was a young man then, and the French held the fort, and the
English were after it."

Donald had stopped his work, and he and Hugh were listening eagerly.
"Tell us, tell us about it," said Donald.

"Father says there'll never be anything like it again. All the
Colonies sent men, and Lord Howe brought thousands of English
soldiers. England was our friend then," said Nathan. "They had
thousands of boats, and rafts to carry their big guns. They had big
flags, and music; and they didn't lurk or skulk about. Their boats
came right down the lake in fine shape; they landed, and marched
toward the fort. But the French were ready for them, and beat them
back. However, the next year the English and Americans drove the
French out."

"I guess the English are brave," Donald ventured, returning to his
work.

"Of course they are. Why, we're all English ourselves," declared
Nathan, "and that's why we won't stand being treated so unfairly. We
can't stand it."

"I'm not English. I'm an American," said Faith; "and when the
Americans take Ticonderoga that will be American too."

"That's the way to talk, little maid," said a gruff voice, and the
children turned quickly toward the door.

"I didn't mean to listen," and a tall man, dressed in deerskin jacket
and trousers, with moccasins, and wearing a fur cap, stepped into the
shop, resting his musket against the wall near the door. "Shouldn't
have dared come in if I had not heard I was in good company," he said
laughingly, his sharp eyes looking carefully about the shop.

Nathan, with a half-muttered word of good-bye to the children, had
started toward the door; but the newcomer's hand grasped his arm.

"Wait a minute!" he said, swinging the boy about. "I'm not so sure
about letting you start off so smart. You may head straight for the
fort, for all I know. What's your name?"

Nathan stood silent. His face flushed, but he looked the newcomer
steadily in the face.

"Let go of Nathan!" said Donald sturdily, clutching at the man's arm,
and kicking at his legs. "This isn't your shop. You let go of him."

"I guess I'd better," laughed the man, taking a firm hold of Donald
and looking at both his captives in evident amusement. "Well, Philip
Scott, what sort of a hornet's nest have you here?" he called out, and
Faith turned around to see her Uncle Philip standing in the doorway.
"I'll not let go these men until you promise to defend me," continued
the stranger.

"You are safe, Phelps," responded Mr. Scott, coming forward and, as
Nathan and Donald were released, giving the stranger a cordial
welcome. Nathan vanished without a word, but on Mr. Scott's saying
that he was the son of Mr. Beaman of Shoreham, the stranger was
reassured. It was evident he did not wish his arrival to become known
at the fort.

Faith heard the stranger say that he had come from Hartford, and that
he would cross to the New Hampshire Grants as soon as he could safely
do so.

"I'd like to look in at Fort Ticonderoga if I could without the
soldiers knowing it," she heard him say, and her uncle replied that it
would be impossible.

Faith was sure that this stranger was on some errand to the Green
Mountain Boys, for he spoke of Remember Baker, and Seth Warner.

"I'd like to take Colonel Allen a plan of the fort," she heard him
say, as she helped Aunt Prissy prepare an early dinner for their
visitor.

Faith wished that she was grown up. Then, she was sure, she would dare
to tell this stranger of the way up the cliff to the unguarded
entrance. "He could go up this evening, and then he could tell Colonel
Allen all about it," she thought, and before dinner was over she had
resolved to find a way to tell him. But after a talk with Mr. Scott
the visitor had declared he must get a few hours sleep. He said that
he had been on the trail since very early that morning, and must be
off again soon after sunset.

"Run in the sitting-room, Faithie, and fix a cushion for Mr. Phelps,"
said Aunt Prissy, and the little girl started obediently.

"I'll tell him now," she resolved, and as the tall man followed her
she said quickly: "I know how you can get into the fort and no one see
you. It's a secret. I'll show you. But Uncle Phil won't let me if you
tell him."

"I'll not tell him. You are a brave child. Tell me quickly," responded
the tall stranger.

"There's a canoe under the big willow at the bottom of the field----"
began Faith, but he interrupted.

"Yes! Yes! I know. I am to cross the lake in it. But how can I get
into the fort?"

"I could show you. I can't tell you," answered Faith.

"Then 'tis of small use. Harm might come to you, child," he answered,
stretching himself out on the long settle with a tired sigh.

Faith went slowly back to the kitchen. Here was the very chance she
had so long hoped for, and this stranger would not let her attempt it.

All that afternoon Faith was very quiet. She walked across the fields
to the shore and looked at the big willow tree where the canoe was
concealed. She looked off toward Mount Defiance, and Mount Hope,
rising clearly against the sky, as if standing sentinels for Fort
Ticonderoga.

"I'll try, anyway," she said to herself, as she turned toward home.

After supper she went early up-stairs. But she did not undress. She
knew that her uncle would not go to the lake shore with his visitor,
for that might attract the attention of some hunter or fisherman. It
would not be long before Mr. Phelps would start. There was no time to
lose. She put on her fur cap, and a knit jacket, and then peered out
of the window. The sky was clear, and the moon made it almost as light
as day. The sound of the falls came clearly through the quiet air.

"He could find his way up the cliff as plainly as if it were
daylight," thought Faith, as she turned from the window.

She opened her door and closed it silently behind her. Her cousins
were in bed, her uncle and aunt in the sitting-room with their
visitor. Faith would have to pass the sitting-room door and go through
the kitchen; the slightest noise would betray her. She had put on
her moccasins, the ones Kashaqua had given her, and she stepped
cautiously, without a sound. In a few moments she was safely
out-of-doors and running across the field. She crouched down in the
canoe and waited.

Faith did not hear or see the stranger as he came toward the
shore--not until he grasped the canoe to push it into the water.

"King of Britain!" he whispered under his breath, when Faith spoke his
name. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm going to show you the way into the fort. Yes! 'Twill take not
more than an hour or two. Then you can leave me here. 'Twill do me no
harm, and you will tell Colonel Allen about the fort," said Faith, in
a whisper.

The man slid the canoe into the water. "You are well-named, Faith," he
responded. "Well, 'tis a chance, and no man will harm a little maid,"
and with a stroke of his paddle he sent the canoe clear of the willows
and headed toward the fort.

"Keep close to the shore," whispered Faith, peering anxiously ahead.

Several hours later Faith stepped from the canoe, and said a whispered
good-bye to the stranger, and watched the canoe dart off straight
toward Shoreham. He had scaled the cliff, while Faith kept the canoe
close under the alder bushes, entered the door of the fort, and
skilfully made his way about the fortifications, determining the right
place for an attack and assuring himself that the fortress contained
valuable stores.

As Faith stepped from the canoe the man tried to thank her.

"Some day your Uncle Scott will hear of this, and be proud indeed of
so brave a child," he said, "and I shall tell Colonel Allen your name,
and of your courage. Be sure of that. You have helped the American
cause more than a regiment of soldiers."

Faith said over his words as she made her way across the fields. She
recalled her first visit to the fort. "I'm glad those girls ran off
that day," she thought, as she gently tried the back door. It was
securely fastened. A low warning growl from "Scotchie" made her fear
to lift a window. He would arouse the household. She stood on the
steps, shivering a little in the sharp March wind. "I must get in
without making a noise," she thought. But she could think of no way to
accomplish it.

In spite of her silence "Scotchie" realized that some one was outside.
He barked, growled, and once or twice threw himself against the door.
Then suddenly his growls stopped, and, before Faith had time to move,
the kitchen door opened slightly and she heard her uncle say, "Who's
there?" and knew that, musket in hand, he was awaiting her answer.



CHAPTER XVIII

HOME AGAIN


"Scotchie's" warning growl turned to a joyful greeting as Faith spoke
his name.

"Great Cæsar! Faith!" exclaimed her uncle, drawing her into the
kitchen. "What on earth are you doing out-of-doors at this time of
night?"

"You locked the door," whimpered Faith.

"But why did you not call out? We thought you went straight to bed,"
said her uncle.

"I went down to the shore----" began Faith, and then stopped suddenly.

"Well, go straight to bed, and tell your aunt about it in the morning.
She is fast asleep now."

Faith was glad to obey. She was too tired and sleepy to be greatly
troubled by what would happen in the morning. She had resolved that if
Aunt Prissy questioned her she would tell the truth. But she hoped
earnestly that in some way the secret could be kept even from her
aunt and uncle, until Mr. Phelps should tell them.

When she came down to breakfast it appeared that her uncle had only
told Aunt Prissy that Faith had run out after supper, and, instead of
calling and knocking until some one opened the door, had waited until
"Scotchie's" bark had brought him to the door.

Aunt Prissy was more surprised and alarmed at this news than Faith had
expected. She cautioned Faith never to go out without telling some one
of the family.

"Why, some wolf or wildcat might have been about; or a party of
Indians might have happened along and taken you off," she said. "And
we should never have known what had become of you."

Faith promised never again to leave the house without her aunt's
permission, and was glad indeed that she had escaped without telling
of her journey to the fort.

"Aunt Prissy! Do you know what day this is?" she asked, so soberly
that her aunt looked at her a little anxiously. "It is the very last
day of March; it has been a warm and pleasant month, and my father has
not come for me."

"And are you so anxious to say good-bye to us, Faithie? You know that
instead of your making a visit home your father has decided it is best
for you to stay; not come back unless for a visit, until another
autumn," responded Aunt Prissy.

"Yes, I know. But why does he not come?" persisted Faith.

"Perhaps to-day will bring him," Aunt Prissy answered hopefully.

Faith came and stood close beside Aunt Prissy's chair. She wanted to
say that she loved her cousins and uncle and Aunt Prissy very dearly;
to tell her that she had been happy; and that it had been a beautiful
visit; but that now she wanted to see her own dear mother more than
anything else. But how could she say all this so that Aunt Prissy
would understand?

Aunt Prissy put down her knitting and drew the little girl into her
lap.

"There! Now tell me all about it, dear," she said, resting her face
against Faith's yellow curls.

And Faith told her all that she had been thinking; all that she had
thought would be so difficult. And Aunt Prissy listened, saying, "Of
course," and "Yes, indeed," from time to time, and understanding even
more than Faith found words to tell.

"Why, Aunt Prissy, it's almost like having two homes," concluded
Faith.

Before Aunt Prissy could answer there was the sound of voices in the
kitchen, and Donald, closely followed by Mr. Carew, came into the
room.

"It's the very last day of March!" Faith reminded him.

"And I came near not getting here to-day," her father replied, as
Faith drew him to the big chair near the window, and climbed to a seat
on his knees. "I was held up on the trail by a tall fellow, from
Connecticut, as it proved. He was bound to make me own up that I was
an English spy. I told him my name, and my errand, and when I spoke
Faith's name, why, he was at once my best friend, told me of his visit
at this house, and could not say enough in praise of my little
daughter," responded Mr. Carew.

"The Americans seem to be gaining courage," said Aunt Prissy. "The men
of the Wilderness do not mean to let the other Colonies do all the
fighting, I'm sure."

"Indeed we'll do our part, Priscilla," her brother assured her.

Faith told her father of the disappearance of Mr. Trent and Louise; of
the quilting party, and of all the happenings since his November
visit. But she did not tell him of guiding the Connecticut man to the
pathway up the cliff to Fort Ticonderoga.

It was evident that Mr. Phelps had kept the secret for some purpose of
his own; so, much as she wanted her father to know, Faith resolved
that she would not tell him. This secret did not worry and trouble her
as the others had done. "I guess it's because this secret means
helping somebody, and the others were just--well, just mean secrets,"
Faith decided, as she thought it over.

The next morning Faith and her father were ready to start at an early
hour. Uncle Phil, Aunt Prissy, the boys and "Scotchie" walked with
them to the shore.

"You will come back when summer comes, won't you, Cousin Faith?" said
Donald. "You'll come for a visit even if you don't stay and go to
school."

"I will if I can," Faith promised, "and when Louise comes back give
her the blue beads, Aunt Prissy."

"Yes, indeed, dear child," responded her aunt, wondering to herself if
Louise and her father would ever again be seen in that vicinity. Then
there were messages for Faith's mother, and not until she was in the
canoe were the good-byes really said.

The little group stood on the shore watching the canoe for some
minutes, and then turned back toward the house. They were all very
quiet, but as they reached the road Donald called out: "There's
somebody on our door-step! Why, it is Louise! Yes, it is," and with a
gay call he was off, running swiftly toward the house while the others
hurried after him.

"Where is Faith?" Louise asked eagerly, when Mrs. Scott had welcomed
her, and they were in the big kitchen.

"She's gone home," said Donald, before his mother could answer. But
Mrs. Scott told the little girl of how much Faith had missed her, and
of the string of blue beads that she had left to be given to Louise.

It was evident that Louise was greatly disappointed to find that her
friend had gone. But she fastened the beads about her neck, and
touched them with loving fingers.

"Faith was my very first friend," she said. "My father says that we
have come back to stay," she added, "and perhaps Faith will come in
the summer?" There was such a pleading, questioning look in the girl's
dark eyes that Mrs. Scott felt a new tenderness and sympathy for her,
and put her arm about Louise as she answered:

"Perhaps she will. But you must come often and see me; for we shall
both miss her very much."

"Oh, may I, Mrs. Scott? I was afraid you wouldn't want me to come,"
and Louise's face brightened.

"Why, I am to help you with your studies, and Donald is to call for
you when you begin school. Faith arranged all that," responded Mrs.
Scott smilingly.

Faith was silent as the canoe went swiftly across the lake, and they
had nearly reached the shore before she began asking questions about
"Bounce," whom her father declared to be now a "grown-up cat," and
about all the familiar things about the house and mill.

"Listen, father!" she said, as they landed, and he drew the canoe to
its hiding-place in the alder bushes. "Hear the falls!" and for a
moment the two stood quietly hearkening to the "Chiming Waters."

Then Mr. Carew adjusted the pack, containing Faith's belongings,
picked up his musket, without which no woodsman dared travel in those
days, and they started up the trail.

Everywhere were evidences that spring was near at hand. Many trees
and shrubs were showing the delicate gray green of coming buds; and
now and then the fragrance of the wild arbutus was in the air. Birds
were busy; wood-thrushes and pewees were calling; now and then a
golden-throated warbler sounded his clear note. The air was soft and
warm for the season, and Faith was so happy in the thought of being
really on her way home that she forgot for a time that Mr. Phelps had
said that no American settler's home in the Wilderness could be safe
until Fort Ticonderoga was held by American soldiers.

"It's lovely to be going home, isn't it, father?" she said; and Mr.
Carew smiled down at his little daughter, and agreed with her that
nothing better could be desired.

     "We shall see with glad surprise
     Lilies spring, and verdure rise;
     And soon, amidst the wilds, we'll hear
     Murmuring waters falling clear,"--

sang Mr. Carew softly.

"Oh, that is mother's song," exclaimed Faith. "It just means home,
doesn't it?" And again her father was quite ready to agree.

They walked slowly up the rocky trail and when they reached the top of
the first ridge they stopped to rest and eat the excellent lunch that
Aunt Prissy had prepared for them. But Faith declared that she was not
tired. It seemed to her that she could run all the way if her father
would only permit. And when in the early afternoon she first heard the
sound of the mill-stream she did run, until, out of breath, she had to
rest on a moss-grown stump for her father to catch up with her.

And then, in a short time, they were standing on the edge of the
clearing. The brook was dancing and singing as if eager to welcome
Faith; the sun shone warmly down on mill and cabin and running down
the path came Mrs. Carew; while standing near the cabin was Kashaqua,
in her gayest feathers, grunting and smiling.

"Mother dear! Mother dear!" called Faith, as she ran forward and was
held close in her mother's arms.



CHAPTER XIX

FAITH WRITES A LETTER


Kashaqua was evidently delighted to see Faith safely at home once
more. She had brought a present for her little friend; and after Faith
had talked to her mother, and yet, as she declared, had "not begun to
tell her" all she had to tell, Kashaqua unrolled a soft bundle and
spread out the skin of a black bear cub. It was hardly larger than the
skin of a good-sized puppy; but the fur was so soft and glossy that
Faith and her mother exclaimed admiringly over its beauty, and Faith
said that she would take the greatest care of it. She questioned
Kashaqua about "Nooski," the tame bear which had followed them on
their journey to Ticonderoga.

"Gone!" replied Kashaqua, and had no more to tell of the wild creature
that she had tamed, and, suddenly, Kashaqua disappeared in her usual
silent fashion without a sign or word of farewell.

Faith was tired, and quite satisfied to rest on the big settle and
talk to her mother, while "Bounce," steady and well-behaved, curled up
on the hearth rug. Faith told her mother about Louise; about Caroline
and Catherine and their mischief, and of the quilting party. She told
her about Nathan Beaman, and of the skating on the lake, and how the
English soldiers had extinguished the fire and spoiled their fun. But
she did not tell her of the evening when she had guided Mr. Phelps up
the moonlit lake to the foot of the cliff, and told him how to make
his way into the fort. Some time, she resolved, her mother should know
all about it; but she still felt that she must keep it a secret.

Mrs. Carew asked many questions about the fort.

"There is more travel over the trails than ever before," she told the
little girl, "and we hardly know who are our friends. The English are
sending their spies everywhere. Be very cautious, Faithie, and say
nothing to any stranger that you have ever been near Fort Ticonderoga.
This part of the country will not be safe until American soldiers take
the place of the English in the fort."

"Oh, mother dear, I hope they will soon. I wish that I could help take
the fort."

"Who knows but you may help in some way, when the right time comes,"
her mother responded, smiling at her little daughter's eagerness.
"Now, I am going out to get something for you. Something that you will
like very much," she added, and left Faith alone.

Faith closed her eyes, wondering happily what it was that her mother
would bring. She thought of the caraway cookies, of the little round
pies made of the dried pumpkin, and then a noise at the door made her
open her eyes. For an instant she believed that she must be asleep and
dreaming, for Esther Eldridge was standing in the door--Esther grown
taller and stronger, with red cheeks and shining eyes.

"Yes, it's really Esther," Mrs. Carew called over the little girl's
shoulder, and Esther ran toward the settle as Faith started forward to
meet her.

"Isn't this a fine surprise?" Esther exclaimed. "I was so afraid you
would hear about our living here before you got home."

"Living here?" questioned Faith, looking so puzzled that both Mrs.
Carew and Esther laughed aloud.

"Yes! yes, indeed! My father and mother and I," answered Esther
delightedly.

"But where? I have been up-stairs, and all over the house and I didn't
see anybody, or anything," said Faith.

"Oh, we live in our own house--a house just like this; or it will
be just like this when it is all finished," and Esther told of her
father's decision to bring his family to the Wilderness to live. He
had purchased a grant of land adjoining that held by Mr. Carew soon
after Esther's visit in September. The timber for the cabin had been
cut early in the winter, and the cabin begun, and now it was nearly
finished. "We moved last week," said Esther, "and you can see our
house from your back door."

Faith forgot all about being tired and ran to the back door to look.
Yes, there it was; the big new cabin, near the path down which Ethan
Allen had led her home, when, angry at Esther, she had run off to the
woods.

"Isn't it splendid! Oh, Esther, it is the very best thing that ever
happened," Faith declared; "isn't it, mother dear?"

Mrs. Carew was quite ready to agree with her little daughter. "Good
neighbors was the only thing we really lacked," she agreed, "and
perhaps others will come when there is better protection for their
safety."

The two little friends had much to tell each other, and when Esther
started for home Faith walked with her as far as the mill. From the
mill the new cabin could be clearly seen.

"Do you remember asking me if I listened to the brook?" Esther asked
laughingly, as they stood looking at the dancing waters of the stream.
"Well, I know now just what you meant. It's company, isn't it?"

Then Faith told her of the "Chiming Waters" of Ticonderoga, and of
some of the old tales of the lake that her aunt and Nathan had
related.

"Did you see the English soldiers?" questioned Esther.

"Oh, yes." And Faith described the skating party on the lake that the
redcoats had interfered with. "I wish I could see Ethan Allen, as I
did that day in September, and tell him all about the fort and the
soldiers, and ask him to drive the English away. My father says that
Colonel Allen could drive them away," said Faith.

"Of course he could! My father says so, too," agreed Esther. "Would it
not be a fine thing for us to send him a letter, Faith, and ask him?"

"Oh, Esther! That's just what I thought of. But we ought to do it
right away, for more soldiers are coming to the fort, Nathan Beaman
says, and then it won't be so easy," responded Faith.

The two little girls talked earnestly. They both knew of the cave on
the rocky slope near Lake Dunmore, and that messages were sometimes
left there for the settlers. But Lake Dunmore was a long distance
away.

"It would take all day to go and get back," said Esther, "and our
mothers would never let us go; you know they wouldn't."

"One of us ought to go to-morrow," answered Faith, "but how can we
plan it?"

"I know! I know!" declared Esther. "I'll ask your mother if you may
come for a visit, and then you'll go home at night. Some time you
can tell her all about it," concluded Esther as she noticed Faith's
serious and doubtful expression.

"And what will you do? Don't you mean to go with me?" asked Faith.

"Oh, yes! I'll tell my mother I am going to spend the day with you.
Then we'll start off in good season, and we'll get home before our
mothers miss us," said Esther.

"Faith! Faith!" and Mrs. Carew's voice sounded through the clear air.

"I must run back now. I'll write the letter to-night and be over near
your house as early as I can in the morning," said Faith.

"Hide behind the big pine," said Esther, and the two friends, greatly
excited over their project, separated and ran toward their respective
homes.

It was not easy for Faith to write the letter, for she would have to
ask her mother for the quill pen, and the bottle of ink, made from the
juice of the pokeberry. But in the early evening, while her mother was
busy, Faith secured the quill and ink and a sheet of the treasured
paper and wrote her letter:

     "Dear Mr. Colonel Ethan Allen," she wrote. "Will you please send
     the English soldiers away from Fort Ticonderoga? Nathan Beaman,
     who lives at Shoreham, will show you how to get in. Please send
     them soon, or more will come.

          "Respectfully your friend,

                "FAITH CAREW."

She had time to fold and seal the letter with the big stick of red
wax, softening the wax before the sitting-room fire. A moment later
and her mother came in, saying she had best go to bed and get a good
night's rest.

"May I spend to-morrow, all day, with Esther?" asked Faith, as her
mother went up-stairs with her, and feeling her face flush with the
consciousness of not telling her mother all the truth.

"Your very first day at home, dear child! Why, I should be running
over to Mrs. Eldridge's every hour to make sure that you were really
within reach," responded her mother.

"Oh, mother, you wouldn't!" said Faith, so earnestly that Mrs. Carew
smiled reassuringly and said:

"Well, perhaps not every hour. But if you want to spend the day with
Esther you may. 'Tis not as if you were going back to Aunt Prissy in a
week."

"And you won't come to Mrs. Eldridge's at all, will you, mother dear?"
pleaded Faith. "I'll be safe, and I'll come home early."

"You shall do as you like, dear child. I know you will do nothing but
what will please me," and Mrs. Carew leaned over to kiss Faith
good-night.

"Oh, dear," Faith whispered to herself guiltily, as her mother went
down the stairs. "Here is another secret, the biggest of all. But I
can't tell mother."

The song of the brook seemed louder than ever before to the little
girl that night, as she lay watching the April stars shine through her
window. She remembered that her mother had said that perhaps a little
girl could help. "Mother dear is sure to be glad when she knows that
Colonel Allen had to be told about Nathan," thought Faith; and then
the brook's song grew softer and softer and she was fast asleep.

Faith was down-stairs the next morning almost as soon as her father
and mother. She had on her brown dress and her moccasins, and the
letter was safely hidden in her pocket. She could hardly keep still
long enough to eat her breakfast.

"Esther wanted me to come early, mother dear, and I promised,"
she urged; so her mother bade her be off, and stood in the door
and watched the little girl run down the slope, feeling a little
disappointed that Faith should be so eager to be with Esther instead
of remaining at home.

But early as it was Faith found Esther waiting for her.

"Did you bring anything to eat?" asked Esther.

"I never thought of it!" replied Faith, "and I don't believe I could,
anyway."

"Well, I thought of it. I have a fine square of corn cake, a piece of
cold venison, and a square of molasses cake," said Esther, holding up
a small basket. "Now, creep along on the edge of the trail until we
are well up the ridge. Then we can walk as we please."

Faith obeyed. She thought to herself how fortunate it was that Esther
had come to live in the Wilderness, and that she was ready to help
carry the message.

"Isn't it lovely in the woods!" said Esther, as they reached the
summit of the ridge, and turned to look back down the winding trail.
"Father said this morning that the spring was early, and 'tis surely
warm as summer."

As they rested for a little while on a bank of firm green moss Faith
told Esther of "Nooski's" sudden appearance when she and Kashaqua
were on their journey to the lake.

"Goodness!" exclaimed Esther, peering anxiously into the underbrush.
"I hope we shan't see any bears to-day, not even a tame one."

The sun was high in the April skies when the two little girls came in
sight of Lake Dunmore. The trail led near the lake; and Esther was
very sure that she knew just where to look for the cave.

"It's near a big pine tree, and you can only see rocks. Father showed
me when we came from Brandon," she said.

The little girls were very tired and hungry, and Faith suggested that
they should eat their luncheon and rest before searching for the cave.

"I wish I had brought more corn bread," said Esther, when they had
finished the last morsel of the food.

"It's lucky you brought as much as you did," responded Faith. "We'd
better begin looking for the cave now."

It was hard work climbing up the rocky hillside, and it did not
seem such an easy matter to locate the cave as Esther had expected.
They peered under rocks, and climbed over ledges, and were nearly
discouraged when a sudden noise made Faith grasp Esther's arm with a
whispered "Hush"; for almost in front of them, apparently coming
directly out of the hillside, appeared the head and shoulders of a
man. But they were too near to conceal themselves or to try and run
away.

"Great Cæsar's Ghost!" exclaimed the man, crawling out from the cave.
"Two little maids! Where did you come from?"

Faith's hold on Esther's arm tightened. "Don't tell. Don't answer his
questions," she whispered, remembering her mother's caution about
strangers, and thinking perhaps this might be an English spy who had
discovered the cave.

"Where are the others?" asked the man.

Esther looked questioningly at Faith, but neither of them spoke.

The man's stern face softened as he looked at the two little figures.
He realized they must be the children of some settler in the
Wilderness--perhaps children who had wandered too far from home and
lost their way.

"You need not be afraid to speak," he said smilingly. "Perhaps I know
your fathers. Tell me your names."

Faith was quite sure that this was a question which could be safely
answered, so both the little girls spoke their names, and instantly
the man responded by saying:

"Then you," and he nodded to Faith, "are Miller Carew's daughter. I
know your father well. Tell him Seth Warner has been in Salisbury and
is now starting back to Bennington. But how come you this distance
from home?"

Both Faith and Esther knew that Seth Warner was a friend of the
settlers, and before he had finished speaking Faith was quite ready
to tell him their errand and to give the note for Colonel Allen into
his hands.

He listened in evident amazement to the story of their morning's
journey, for he well knew the dangers of the wilderness trail.

"I will go with you to within sight of your homes," insisted their
new friend, "and I shall not forget to tell Colonel Allen of your
courage."

"Will he come soon and take the fort?" asked Faith.

"More quickly for your help than without it, little maid. But go not
so far from home again," Mr. Warner answered, with a kindly smile.

It was sunset, and Mr. Carew was starting to bring Faith home from her
visit to Esther, when he saw his little daughter coming down the path.
She walked so slowly that her father hastened to meet her.

"I'm so tired, father," she said. "Couldn't you carry me home?"

"Of course I can," and he lifted her in his arms and, anxious and
worried by her pale face and evident fatigue, hurried toward the
house.



CHAPTER XX

THE CAPTURE OF THE FORT


It was noon the next day when Faith awoke; and although she was quite
ready to dress and go down-stairs, her mother thought it best for her
to stay in bed.

Faith wondered to herself if Esther's feet ached as hers did; and,
more than this, she was anxious to know if their parents had any idea
of where she and Esther had spent the previous day.

"There will be so much for me to tell mother," she thought, a little
uneasily, hoping that soon she would again have no secrets to conceal.

When Faith came down-stairs she found Esther waiting to see her;
and, in response to Faith's questioning look, she nodded and smiled
reassuringly. Esther had brought over her English grammar, for it had
been decided that the two little girls were to study together two
hours each day; one day at Faith's house, and the next at Esther's.

"It's all right; our mothers don't know. But what made you so tired?"
said Esther, as soon as the girls were alone.

Faith shook her head. "I don't know. I do hope we can tell all about
it soon. I've a great mind to tell mother now."

"You mustn't. Don't you remember? Mr. Warner said that soon he would
tell our fathers, and they would be proud of us. But if we tell them
now they won't be proud; they will be vexed, and maybe punish us. Wait
until Colonel Allen tells them that you helped him. Then 'twill be all
right," advised Esther, and Faith agreed, a little doubtfully.

It was difficult for the two little girls to fix their minds on their
lessons that day, and for many days to come. They both watched the
trail, each day expecting to see some messenger who would bring news
that Colonel Allen was in possession of Fort Ticonderoga; but April
passed, and Esther declared that she did not believe the Americans
wanted the fort.

"I am going to tell my mother everything. All about our going to Lake
Dunmore, and my letter, and something else," declared Faith.

It was one day early in May, and she and Esther were coming up from
Beaver meadow, where they had been watching the little creatures,
who Were very active and did not seem to fear the two little figures
at the edge of the woods. The beavers were building a dam; they had
dragged trees to the side of the stream, and it seemed a very
wonderful thing to Esther when she saw the beavers sink one end of
these stakes, while others raised and fastened the other end, twisting
in the small branches of the trees, and plastering mud over all with
their feet and tails. She was thinking to herself that there were more
strange things to see in the Wilderness in one day than in a whole
year in a village, when she felt Faith seize her arm and say
laughingly:

"You haven't heard a word. Now, listen! I am going to tell my mother."

The little girls were now in sight of the clearing, and, before Esther
could answer, Faith stopped suddenly and exclaimed:

"Look, Esther! There's a man just leaving the mill, and running up the
trail as fast as he can go. A stranger."

Quite forgetting beavers and secrets the two little girls ran toward
the house. "There's my father," said Esther as they reached the door.

Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge were both in the kitchen of the Carew house, and
none of the elder people appeared to notice the two girls.

Mr. Carew was loading his musket, and Faith's mother was packing a
knapsack with provisions.

"Here are the children," said Mrs. Eldridge, as she turned toward the
door; and then Esther saw that her father was waiting for Mr. Carew.

"Faithie dear, your father is going to Castleton," said Mrs. Carew,
fastening the knapsack, and in a moment Faith was held close in her
father's arms, and then the two men were off, striding down the trail.

"Are they going to take Ticonderoga?" Faith questioned eagerly.

The two women looked at her in surprise, but Mrs. Carew answered
quickly:

"Of course they are. Americans are guarding the trail, so we are safe
enough at present. But neither of you girls must go beyond the
clearing."

"When shall we know about the fort, mother? When will we know?" asked
Faith.

"Soon, I hope, child. But talk not of it now," responded her mother.

But after a little Mrs. Eldridge told them that a messenger had come
from Bennington, summoning the settlers to Castleton to meet Colonel
Allen. Faith and Esther listened to the story of the far-off battle
of Lexington, in Massachusetts, the news of which had determined the
Green Mountain Boys to make an immediate attack on the fort. These men
were the settlers of the New Hampshire Grants, living long distances
apart, and obliged to travel over rough trails, through deep forests,
across rivers and mountains.

There were no smooth roads or fleet horses to help them on their way;
there was little time for preparation when Allen's summons came; they
had no uniforms, no strains of music; but no truer soldiers ever faced
danger than the Green Mountain Boys.

That night Faith told her mother the story of her adventure in the
fort, when Nathan had rescued her and taken her down the cliff. She
told of the evening in March when she had guided Mr. Phelps along the
moonlit shore of the lake and told him of the entrance to the fort;
and last of all she described her journey with Esther over the trail
to Lake Dunmore, and the letter to Ethan Allen which she had given to
Seth Warner.

Mrs. Carew listened in amazement; but she had no word of blame for
Faith. She realized the dangers the child had so unknowingly faced
with a sense that her little girl had been guarded by a protection
greater than any by which she could have surrounded her; and she
wondered, too, if it were not possible that Faith might not really
have helped in the great undertaking for which her father was ready to
give all that he had to give.

"Mother dear, I despise secrets," Faith whispered, as she finished the
story, "and I mean never to have another one."

Three days later Mr. Carew came swinging across the clearing. He waved
his cap in the air as Faith came running to meet him.

"Ticonderoga is ours," he called, "and the English prisoners are on
their way to Hartford. And so it was you, little maid, who helped
Phelps to a plan of the fort, and told Ethan Allen of young Beaman!"

"Did it help, father? Did it help?" Faith asked eagerly.

"Help? Indeed it did. Young Beaman led the way to the fort, and we
were in without firing a shot. And Colonel Allen and his men hold the
fort," replied Mr. Carew.

He could stay for but a few hours, as he was carrying the news to the
settlements. It was several days before he was at home again, and told
them more fully of Allen's triumph, and of the capture of Crown Point
by Seth Warner and his followers.

Toward the last of May Aunt Prissy, accompanied by Nathan Beaman,
arrived at the log cabin, and Faith heard the story of Louise's
arrival at Ticonderoga.

"Her father has been taken a prisoner to Hartford, and Louise will
stay with me," Aunt Prissy said. "I will adopt her for my own daughter
if her father consents."

"I do hope he will," said Faith, glad indeed to know that her friend
was safe.

"And so my little Faith did help take the fort after all, thanks to
Nathan," said Aunt Prissy, smiling down at her little niece.

"'Twas Faith who really helped, for she told Colonel Allen about me,"
Nathan added handsomely.

All this made Faith a very happy little girl; but when, a few weeks
later, a messenger brought her a letter from Ethan Allen himself, she
felt that no other little girl in all the American Colonies could be
as proud as Faith Carew. She confessed to her mother that, after all,
some secrets were worth keeping. Colonel Allen invited her to make a
visit to the fort, and it was arranged that her father should take her
to Ticonderoga and that she should stay for a few days with Aunt
Prissy.

So once again she went over the trail and crossed the lake, and on a
pleasant June morning with her father and Aunt Prissy, she stood again
at the entrance to Fort Ticonderoga. This time she was not left alone,
as on her first visit, a frightened deserted child. For it was Colonel
Allen himself, tall and handsome, who met the little party at the
entrance and escorted them about the fortifications.

"'Faith,'" he said kindly, as he bade them good-bye, "'tis indeed the
best of names for a little American girl; a name that I shall ever
remember."

Faith was very quiet as they walked toward home. She was thinking to
herself of all the happy experiences of the past weeks; and not until
she saw Louise waiting for her at Aunt Prissy's gate did her face lose
its serious expression. She ran ahead of the others and called out:
"Louise! Louise! You will be Aunt Prissy's little girl, won't you?
Because then you'll really be an American."

Louise nodded happily.

"Yes; and father is going to be an American, too. Didn't Aunt Prissy
tell you?" she responded; "and it's all because you were my friend,
Faith," she added more soberly, as the two girls entered the house,
and stood hand in hand at the door where, but a few months ago, Louise
had entered a ragged, unhappy child.

"We'll always be friends, shan't we!" said Faith, and Louise earnestly
responded:

"Always."



The stories in this series are:

 A LITTLE MAID OF PROVINCE TOWN
 A LITTLE MAID OF MASSACHUSETTS COLONY
 A LITTLE MAID OF NARRAGANSETT BAY
 A LITTLE MAID OF BUNKER HILL
 A LITTLE MAID OF TICONDEROGA
 A LITTLE MAID OF OLD CONNECTICUT
 A LITTLE MAID OF OLD MAINE
 A LITTLE MAID OF OLD NEW YORK
 A LITTLE MAID OF OLD PHILADELPHIA
 A LITTLE MAID OF VIRGINIA
 A LITTLE MAID OF MARYLAND
 A LITTLE MAID OF MOHAWK VALLEY
 A LITTLE MAID OF MONMOUTH
 A LITTLE MAID OF NANTUCKET
 A LITTLE MAID OF VERMONT



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:

Minor changes have been made to correct typesetters' errors;
otherwise, every effort has been made to remain true to the author's
words and intent.





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