Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 1
Author: Richardson, Major (John), 1796-1852
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 1" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



and the distributed proofers. HTML version by Al Haines.



WACOUSTA;

   or,

THE PROPHECY.

Volume One of Three


by

John Richardson



Preface

It is well known to every man conversant with the earlier history of
this country that, shortly subsequent to the cession of the Canadas to
England by France, Ponteac, the great head of the Indian race of that
period, had formed a federation of the various tribes, threatening
extermination to the British posts established along the Western
frontier. These were nine in number, and the following stratagem was
resorted to by the artful chief to effect their reduction. Investing
one fort with his warriors, so as to cut off all communication with the
others, and to leave no hope of succor, his practice was to offer terms
of surrender, which never were kept in the honorable spirit in which
the far more noble and generous Tecumseh always acted with his enemies,
and thus, in turn, seven of these outposts fell victims to their
confidence in his truth.

Detroit and Michilimackinac, or Mackinaw as it is now called, remained,
and all the ingenuity of the chieftain was directed to the possession
of these strongholds. The following plan, well worthy of his invention,
was at length determined upon. During a temporary truce, and while
Ponteac was holding forth proposals for an ultimate and durable peace,
a game of lacrosse was arranged by him to take place simultaneously on
the common or clearing on which rested the forts of Michilimackinac and
Detroit. The better to accomplish their object, the guns of the
warriors had been cut short and given to their women, who were
instructed to conceal them under their blankets, and during the game,
and seemingly without design, to approach the drawbridge of the fort.
This precaution taken, the players were to approach and throw over
their ball, permission to regain which they presumed would not be
denied. On approaching the drawbridge they were with fierce yells to
make a general rush, and, securing the arms concealed by the women, to
massacre the unprepared garrison.

The day was fixed; the game commenced, and was proceeded with in the
manner previously arranged. The ball was dexterously hurled into the
fort, and permission asked to recover it. It was granted. The
drawbridge was lowered, and the Indians dashed forward for the
accomplishment of their work of blood. How different the results in the
two garrisons! At Detroit, Ponteac and his warriors had scarcely
crossed the drawbridge when, to their astonishment and disappointment,
they beheld the guns of the ramparts depressed--the artillerymen with
lighted matches at their posts and covering the little garrison,
composed of a few companies of the 42nd Highlanders, who were also
under arms, and so distributed as to take the enemy most at an
advantage. Suddenly they withdrew and without other indication of their
purpose than what had been expressed in their manner, and carried off
the missing ball. Their design had been discovered and made known by
means of significant warnings to the Governor by an Indian woman who
owed a debt of gratitude to his family, and was resolved, at all
hazards, to save them.

On the same day the same artifice was resorted to at Michilimackinac,
and with the most complete success. There was no guardian angel there
to warn them of danger, and all fell beneath the rifle, the tomahawk,
the war-club, and the knife, one or two of the traders--a Mr. Henry
among the rest--alone excepted.

It was not long after this event when the head of the military
authorities in the Colony, apprised of the fate of these captured
posts, and made acquainted with the perilous condition of Fort Detroit,
which was then reduced to the last extremity, sought an officer who
would volunteer the charge of supplies from Albany to Buffalo, and
thence across the lake to Detroit, which, if possible, he was to
relieve. That volunteer was promptly found in my maternal grandfather,
Mr. Erskine, from Strabane, in the North of Ireland, then an officer in
the Commissariat Department. The difficulty of the undertaking will be
obvious to those who understand the danger attending a journey through
the Western wilderness, beset as it was by the warriors of Ponteac,
ever on the lookout to prevent succor to the garrison, and yet the duty
was successfully accomplished. He left Albany with provisions and
ammunition sufficient to fill several Schnectady boats--I think
seven--and yet conducted his charge with such prudence and foresight,
that notwithstanding the vigilance of Ponteac, he finally and after
long watching succeeded, under cover of a dark and stormy night, in
throwing into the fort the supplies of which the remnant of the
gallant "Black Watch," as the 42nd was originally named, and a company
of whom, while out reconnoitering, had been massacred at a spot in the
vicinity of the town, thereafter called the Bloody Run, stood so
greatly in need. This important service rendered, Mr. Erskine, in
compliance with the instructions he had received, returned to Albany,
where he reported the success of the expedition.

The colonial authorities were not regardless of his interests. When the
Ponteac confederacy had been dissolved, and quiet and security restored
in that remote region, large tracts of land were granted to Mr.
Erskine, and other privileges accorded which eventually gave him the
command of nearly a hundred thousand dollars--enormous sum to have been
realized at that early period of the country. But it was not destined
that he should retain this. The great bulk of his capital was expended
on almost the first commercial shipping that ever skimmed the surface
of Lakes Huron and Erie. Shortly prior to the Revolution, he was
possessed of seven vessels of different tonnage, and the trade in which
he had embarked, and of which he was the head, was rapidly increasing
his already large fortune, when one of those autumnal hurricanes, which
even to this day continue to desolate the waters of the treacherous
lake last named, suddenly arose and buried beneath its engulfing waves
not less than six of these schooners laden with such riches, chiefly
furs, of the West as then were most an object of barter.

Mr. Erskine, who had married the daughter of one of the earliest
settlers from France, and of a family well known in history, a lady who
had been in Detroit during the siege of the British garrison by
Ponteac, now abandoned speculation, and contenting himself with the
remnant of his fortune, established himself near the banks of the
river, within a short distance of the Bloody Run. Here he continued
throughout the Revolution. Early, however, in the present century, he
quitted Detroit and repaired to the Canadian shore, where on a property
nearly opposite, which he obtained in exchange, and which in honor of
his native country he named Strabane--known as such to this day--he
passed the autumn of his days. The last time I beheld him was a day or
two subsequent to the affair of the Thames, when General Harrison and
Colonel Johnson were temporary inmates of his dwelling.

My father, of a younger branch of the Annandale family, the head of
which was attainted in the Scottish rebellion of 1745, was an officer
of Simcoe's well-known Rangers, in which regiment, and about the same
period, the present Lord Hardinge commenced his services in this
country. Being quartered at Fort Erie, he met and married at the house
of one of the earliest Canadian merchants a daughter of Mr. Erskine,
then on a visit to her sister, and by her had eight children, of whom I
am the oldest and only survivor. Having a few years after his marriage
been ordered to St. Joseph's, near Michilimackinac, my father thought
it expedient to leave me with Mr. Erskine at Detroit, where I received
the first rudiments of my education. But here I did not remain long,
for it was during the period of the stay of the detachment of Simcoe's
Rangers at St. Joseph that Mr. Erskine repaired with his family to the
Canadian shore, where on the more elevated and conspicuous part of his
grounds which are situated nearly opposite the foot of Hog Island, so
repeatedly alluded to in "Wacousta," he had caused a flag-staff to be
erected, from which each Sabbath day proudly floated the colors under
which he had served, and which he never could bring himself to disown.

It was at Strabane that the old lady, with whom I was a great favorite,
used to enchain my young interest by detailing various facts connected
with the siege she so well remembered, and infused into me a longing to
grow up to manhood that I might write a book about it. The details of
the Ponteac plan for the capture of the two forts were what she most
enlarged upon, and although a long lapse of years of absence from the
scene, and ten thousand incidents of a higher and more immediate
importance might have been supposed to weaken the recollections of so
early a period of life, the impression has ever vividly remained. Hence
the first appearance of "Wacousta" in London in 1832, more than a
quarter of a century later. The story is founded solely on the artifice
of Ponteac to possess himself of those two last British forts. All else
is imaginary.

It is not a little curious that I, only a few years subsequent to the
narration by old Mrs. Erskine of the daring and cunning feats of
Ponteac, and his vain attempt to secure the fort of Detroit, should
myself have entered it in arms. But it was so. I had ever hated school
with a most bitter hatred, and I gladly availed myself of an offer from
General Brock to obtain for me a commission in the King's service.
Meanwhile I did duty as a cadet with the gallant 41st regiment, to
which the English edition of "Wacousta" was inscribed, and was one of
the guard of honor who took possession of the fort. The duty of a
sentinel over the British colors, which had just been hoisted was
assigned to me, and I certainly felt not a little proud of the
distinction.

Five times within half a century had the flag of that fortress been
changed. First the lily of France, then the red cross of England, and
next the stars and stripes of America had floated over its ramparts;
and then again the red cross, and lastly the stars. On my return to
this country a few years since, I visited those scenes of stirring
excitement in which my boyhood had been passed, but I looked in vain
for the ancient fortifications which had given a classical interest to
that region. The unsparing hand of utilitarianism had passed over them,
destroying almost every vestige of the past. Where had risen the only
fortress in America at all worthy to give antiquity to the scene,
streets had been laid out and made, and houses had been built, leaving
not a trace of its existence save the well that formerly supplied the
closely besieged garrison with water; and this, half imbedded in the
herbage of an enclosure of a dwelling house of mean appearance, was
rather to be guessed at than seen; while at the opposite extremity of
the city, where had been conspicuous for years the Bloody Run,
cultivation and improvement had nearly obliterated every trace of the
past.

Two objections have been urged against "Wacousta" as a consistent
tale--the one as involving an improbability, the other a geographical
error. It has been assumed that the startling feat accomplished by that
man of deep revenge, who is not alone in his bitter hatred and contempt
for the base among those who, like spaniels, crawl and kiss the dust at
the instigation of their superiors, and yet arrogate to themselves a
claim to be considered gentlemen and men of honor and independence--it
has, I repeat, been assumed that the feat attributed to him in
connection with the flag-staff of the fort was impossible. No one who
has ever seen these erections on the small forts of that day would
pronounce the same criticism. Never very lofty, they were ascended at
least one-third of their height by means of small projections nailed to
them for footholds for the artillerymen, frequently compelled to clear
the flag lines entangled at the truck; therefore a strong and active
man, such as Wacousta is described to have been, might very well have
been supposed, in his strong anxiety for revenge and escape with his
victim, to have doubled his strength and activity on so important an
occasion, rendering that easy of attainment by himself which an
ordinary and unexcited man might deem impossible. I myself have knocked
down a gate, almost without feeling the resistance, in order to escape
the stilettos of assassins.

The second objection is to the narrowness attributed in the tale to the
river St. Clair. This was done in the license usually accorded to a
writer of fiction, in order to give greater effect to the scene
represented as having occurred there, and, of course, in no way
intended as a geographical description of the river, nor was it
necessary. In the same spirit and for the same purpose it has been
continued.

It will be seen that at the termination of the tragedy enacted at the
bridge, by which the Bloody Run was in those days crossed, that the
wretched wife of the condemned soldier pronounced a curse that could
not, of course, well be fulfilled in the course of the tale. Some few
years ago I published in Canada--I might as well have done so in
Kamschatka--the continuation, which was to have been dedicated to the
last King of England, but which, after the death of that monarch, was
inscribed to Sir John Harvey, whose letter, as making honorable mention
of a gallant and beloved brother, I feel it a duty to the memory of the
latter to subjoin.

   GOVERNMENT HOUSE, FREDERICTON, N.B.,

   Major Richardson, Montreal.

   November 26th, 1839.

   "Dear Sir;--I am favored with your very interesting
   communication of the 2nd instant, by which I learn
   that you are the brother of two youths whose gallantry
   and merits--and with regard to one of them, his
   sufferings--during the late war, excited my warmest
   admiration and sympathy. I beg you to believe that I
   am far from insensible to the affecting proofs which
   you have made known to me of this grateful recollection
   of any little service I may have had it in my power
   to render them; and I will add that the desire which
   I felt to serve the father will be found to extend
   itself to the son, if your nephew should ever find
   himself under circumstances to require from me any
   service which it may be within my power to render him."

   "With regard to your very flattering proposition to
   inscribe your present work to me, I can only say that,
   independent of the respect to which the author of so
   very charming a production as 'Wacousta' is entitled,
   the interesting facts and circumstances so unexpectedly
   brought to my knowledge and recollection would ensure
   a ready acquiescence on my part."

   "I remain, dear sir your very faithful servant"

   "(Signed)   J. HARVEY. "

The "Prophecy Fulfilled," which, however, has never been seen out of
the small country in which it appeared--Detroit, perhaps, alone
excepted--embraces and indeed is intimately connected with the
Beauchamp tragedy, which took place at or near Weisiger's Hotel, in
Frankfort, Kentucky, where I had been many years before confined as a
prisoner of war. While connecting it with the "Prophecy Fulfilled," and
making it subservient to the end I had in view, I had not read or even
heard of the existence of a work of the same character, which had
already appeared from the pen of an American author. Indeed, I have
reason to believe that the "Prophecy Fulfilled," although not published
until after a lapse of years, was the first written. No similarity of
treatment of the subject exists between the two versions, and this, be
it remembered, I remark without in the slightest degree impugning the
merit of the production of my fellow-laborer in the same field.

THE AUTHOR.

New York City, January 1st, 1851.



CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY

As we are about to introduce our readers to scenes with which the
European is little familiarised, some few cursory remarks, illustrative
of the general features of the country into which we have shifted our
labours, may not be deemed misplaced at the opening of this volume.

Without entering into minute geographical detail, it may be necessary
merely to point out the outline of such portions of the vast continent
of America as still acknowledge allegiance to the English crown, in
order that the reader, understanding the localities, may enter with
deeper interest into the incidents of a tale connected with a ground
hitherto untouched by the wand of the modern novelist.

All who have ever taken the trouble to inform themselves of the
features of a country so little interesting to the majority of
Englishmen in their individual character must be aware,--and for the
information of those who are not, we state,--that that portion of the
northern continent of America which is known as the United States is
divided from the Canadas by a continuous chain of lakes and rivers,
commencing at the ocean into which they empty themselves, and extending
in a north-western direction to the remotest parts of these wild
regions, which have never yet been pressed by other footsteps than
those of the native hunters of the soil. First we have the magnificent
St. Lawrence, fed from the lesser and tributary streams, rolling her
sweet and silver waters into the foggy seas of the Newfoundland.--But
perhaps it will better tend to impress our readers with a panoramic
picture of the country in which our scene of action is more immediately
laid, by commencing at those extreme and remote points of our Canadian
possessions to which their attention will be especially directed in the
course of our narrative.

The most distant of the north-western settlements of America is
Michilimackinac, a name given by the Indians, and preserved by the
Americans, who possess the fort even to this hour. It is situated at
the head of the Lakes Michigan and Huron, and adjacent to the Island of
St. Joseph's, where, since the existence of the United States as an
independent republic, an English garrison has been maintained, with a
view of keeping the original fortress in check. From the lakes above
mentioned we descend into the River Sinclair, which, in turn,
disembogues itself into the lake of the same name. This again renders
tribute to the Detroit, a broad majestic river, not less than a mile in
breadth at its source, and progressively widening towards its mouth
until it is finally lost in the beautiful Lake Erie, computed at about
one hundred and sixty miles in circumference. From the embouchure of
this latter lake commences the Chippawa, better known in Europe from
the celebrity of its stupendous falls of Niagara, which form an
impassable barrier to the seaman, and, for a short space, sever the
otherwise uninterrupted chain connecting the remote fortresses we have
described with the Atlantic. At a distance of a few miles from the
falls, the Chippawa finally empties itself into the Ontario, the most
splendid of the gorgeous American lakes, on the bright bosom of which,
during the late war, frigates, seventy-fours, and even a ship of one
hundred and twelve guns, manned by a crew of one thousand men,
reflected the proud pennants of England! At the opposite extremity of
this magnificent and sea-like lake, which is upwards of two hundred
miles in circumference, the far-famed St. Lawrence takes her source;
and after passing through a vast tract of country, whose elevated banks
bear every trace of fertility and cultivation, connects itself with the
Lake Champlain, celebrated, as well as Erie, for a signal defeat of our
flotilla during the late contest with the Americans. Pushing her bold
waters through this somewhat inferior lake, the St. Lawrence pursues
her course seaward with impetuosity, until arrested near La Chine by
rock-studded shallows, which produce those strong currents and eddies,
the dangers of which are so beautifully expressed in the Canadian Boat
Song,--a composition that has rendered the "rapids" almost as familiar
to the imagination of the European as the falls of Niagara themselves.
Beyond La Chine the St. Lawrence gradually unfolds herself into greater
majesty and expanse, and rolling past the busy commercial town of
Montreal, is once more increased in volume by the insignificant lake of
St. Peter's, nearly opposite to the settlement of Three Rivers, midway
between Montreal and Quebec. From thence she pursues her course unfed,
except by a few inferior streams, and gradually widens as she rolls
past the capital of the Canadas, whose tall and precipitous
battlements, bristled with cannon, and frowning defiance from the
clouds in which they appear half imbedded, might be taken by the
imaginative enthusiast for the strong tower of the Spirit of those
stupendous scenes. From this point the St. Lawrence increases in
expanse, until, at length, after traversing a country where the traces
of civilisation become gradually less and less visible, she finally
merges in the gulf, from the centre of which the shores on either hand
are often invisible to the naked eye; and in this manner is it
imperceptibly lost in that misty ocean, so dangerous to mariners from
its deceptive and almost perpetual fogs.

In following the links of this extensive chain of lakes and rivers, it
must be borne in recollection, that, proceeding seaward from
Michilimackinac and its contiguous district, all that tract of country
which lies to the right constitutes what is now known as the United
States of America, and all on the left the two provinces of Upper and
Lower Canada, tributary to the English government, subject to the
English laws, and garrisoned by English troops. The several forts and
harbours established along the left bank of the St. Lawrence, and
throughout that portion of our possessions which is known as Lower
Canada, are necessarily, from the improved condition and more numerous
population of that province, on a larger scale and of better
appointment; but in Upper Canada, where the traces of civilisation are
less evident throughout, and become gradually more faint as we advance
westward, the fortresses and harbours bear the same proportion In
strength and extent to the scantiness of the population they are
erected to protect. Even at the present day, along that line of remote
country we have selected for the theatre of our labours, the garrisons
are both few in number and weak in strength, and evidence of
cultivation is seldom to be found at any distance in the interior; so
that all beyond a certain extent of clearing, continued along the banks
of the lakes and rivers, is thick, impervious, rayless forest, the
limits of which have never yet been explored, perhaps, by the natives
themselves.

Such being the general features of the country even at the present day,
it will readily be comprehended how much more wild and desolate was the
character they exhibited as far back as the middle of the last century,
about which period our story commences. At that epoch, it will be borne
in mind, what we have described as being the United States were then
the British colonies of America dependent on the mother-country; while
the Canadas, on the contrary, were, or had very recently been, under
the dominion of France, from whom they had been wrested after a long
struggle, greatly advanced in favour of England by the glorious battle
fought on the plains of Abraham, near Quebec, and celebrated for the
defeat of Montcalm and the death of Wolfe.

The several attempts made to repossess themselves of the strong hold of
Quebec having, in every instance, been met by discomfiture and
disappointment, the French, in despair, relinquished the contest, and,
by treaty, ceded their claims to the Canadas,--an event that was
hastened by the capitulation of the garrison of Montreal, commanded by
the Marquis de Vaudreuil, to the victorious arms of General Amherst.
Still, though conquered as a people, many of the leading men in the
country, actuated by that jealousy for which they were remarkable,
contrived to oppose obstacles to the quiet possession of a conquest by
those whom they seemed to look upon as their hereditary enemies; and in
furtherance of this object, paid agents, men of artful and intriguing
character, were dispersed among the numerous tribes of savages, with a
view of exciting them to acts of hostility against their conquerors.
The long and uninterrupted possession, by the French, of those
countries immediately bordering on the hunting grounds and haunts of
the natives, with whom they carried on an extensive traffic in furs,
had established a communionship of interest between themselves and
those savage and warlike people, which failed not to turn to account
the vindictive views of the former. The whole of the province of Upper
Canada at that time possessed but a scanty population, protected in its
most flourishing and defensive points by stockade forts; the chief
object of which was to secure the garrisons, consisting each of a few
companies, from any sudden surprise on the part of the natives, who,
although apparently inclining to acknowledge the change of neighbours,
and professing amity, were, it was well known, too much in the interest
of their old friends the French, and even the French Canadians
themselves, not to be regarded with the most cautious distrust.

These stockade forts were never, at any one period, nearer to each
other than from one hundred and fifty to two hundred miles, so that, in
the event of surprise or alarm, there was little prospect of obtaining
assistance from without. Each garrison, therefore, was almost wholly
dependent on its own resources; and, when surrounded unexpectedly by
numerous bands of hostile Indians, had no other alternative than to
hold out to the death. Capitulation was out of the question; for,
although the wile and artifice of the natives might induce them to
promise mercy, the moment their enemies were in their power promises
and treaties were alike broken, and indiscriminate massacre ensued.
Communication by water was, except during a period of profound peace,
almost impracticable; for, although of late years the lakes of Canada
have been covered with vessels of war, many of them, as we have already
remarked, of vast magnitude, and been the theatres of conflicts that
would not have disgraced the salt waters of ocean itself, at the period
to which our story refers the flag of England was seen to wave only on
the solitary mast of some ill-armed and ill-manned gunboat, employed
rather for the purpose of conveying despatches from fort to fort, than
with any serious view to acts either of aggression or defence.

In proportion as the colonies of America, now the United States, pushed
their course of civilisation westward, in the same degree did the
numerous tribes of Indians, who had hitherto dwelt more seaward, retire
upon those of their own countrymen, who, buried in vast and
impenetrable forests, had seldom yet seen the face of the European
stranger; so that, in the end, all the more central parts of those
stupendous wilds became doubly peopled. Hitherto, however, that
civilisation had not been carried beyond the state of New York; and all
those countries which have, since the American revolution, been added
to the Union under the names of Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan,
&c., were, at the period embraced by our story, inhospitable and
unproductive woods, subject only to the dominion of the native, and as
yet unshorn by the axe of the cultivator. A few portions only of the
opposite shores of Michigan were occupied by emigrants from the
Canadas, who, finding no one to oppose or molest them, selected the
most fertile spots along the banks of the river; and of the existence
of these infant settlements, the English colonists, who had never
ventured so far, were not even aware until after the conquest of Canada
by the mother-country. This particular district was the centre around
which the numerous warriors, who had been driven westward by the
colonists, had finally assembled; and rude villages and encampments
rose far and near for a circuit of many miles around this infant
settlement and fort of the Canadians, to both of which they had given
the name of Detroit, after the river on whose elevated banks they
stood. Proceeding westward from this point, and along the tract of
country that diverged from the banks of the Lakes Huron, Sinclair, and
Michigan, all traces of that partial civilisation were again lost in
impervious wilds, tenanted only by the fiercest of the Indian tribes,
whose homes were principally along the banks of that greatest of
American waters, the Lake Superior, and in the country surrounding the
isolated fort of Michilimackinac, the last and most remote of the
European fortresses in Canada.

When at a later period the Canadas were ceded to us by France, those
parts of the opposite frontier which we have just described became also
tributary to the English crown, and were, by the peculiar difficulties
that existed to communication with the more central and populous
districts, rendered especially favourable to the exercise of hostile
intrigue by the numerous active French emissaries every where dispersed
among the Indian tribes. During the first few years of the conquest,
the inhabitants of Canada, who were all either European French, or
immediate descendants of that nation, were, as might naturally be
expected, more than restive under their new governors, and many of the
most impatient spirits of the country sought every opportunity of
sowing the seeds of distrust and jealousy in the hearts of the natives.
By these people it was artfully suggested to the Indians, that their
new oppressors were of the race of those who had driven them from the
sea, and were progressively advancing on their territories until scarce
a hunting ground or a village would be left to them. They described
them, moreover, as being the hereditary enemies of their great father,
the King of France, with whose governors they had buried the hatchet
for ever, and smoked the calumet of perpetual peace. Fired by these
wily suggestions, the high and jealous spirit of the Indian chiefs took
the alarm, and they beheld with impatience the "Red Coat," or
"Saganaw," [Footnote: This word thus pronounced by themselves, in
reference to the English soldiery, is, in all probability, derived from
the original English settlers in Saganaw Bay.] usurping, as they deemed
it, those possessions which had so recently acknowledged the supremacy
of the pale flag of their ancient ally. The cause of the Indians, and
that of the Canadians, became, in some degree, identified as one, and
each felt it was the interest, and it may be said the natural instinct,
of both, to hold communionship of purpose, and to indulge the same
jealousies and fears. Such was the state of things in 1763, the period
at which our story commences,--an epoch fruitful in designs of
hostility and treachery on the part of the Indians, who, too crafty and
too politic to manifest their feelings by overt acts declaratory of the
hatred carefully instilled into their breasts, sought every opportunity
to compass the destruction of the English, wherever they were most
vulnerable to the effects of stratagem. Several inferior forts situated
on the Ohio had already fallen into their hands, when they summoned all
their address and cunning to accomplish the fall of the two important
though remote posts of Detroit and Michilimackinac. For a length of
time they were baffled by the activity and vigilance of the respective
governors of these forts, who had had too much fatal experience in the
fate of their companions not to be perpetually on the alert against
their guile; but when they had at length, in some degree, succeeded in
lulling the suspicions of the English, they determined on a scheme,
suggested by a leading chief, a man of more than ordinary character,
which promised fair to rid them altogether of a race they so cordially
detested. We will not, however, mar the interest of our tale, by
anticipating, at this early stage, either the nature or the success of
a stratagem which forms the essential groundwork of our story.

While giving, for the information of the many, what, we trust, will not
be considered a too compendious outline of the Canadas, and the events
connected with them, we are led to remark, that, powerful as was the
feeling of hostility cherished by the French Canadians towards the
English when the yoke of early conquest yet hung heavily on them, this
feeling eventually died away under the mild influence of a government
that preserved to them the exercise of all their customary privileges,
and abolished all invidious distinctions between the descendants of
France and those of the mother-country. So universally, too, has this
system of conciliation been pursued, we believe we may with safety
aver, of all the numerous colonies that have succumbed to the genius
and power of England, there are none whose inhabitants entertain
stronger feelings of attachment and loyalty to her than those of
Canada; and whatever may be the transient differences,--differences
growing entirely out of circumstances and interests of a local
character, and in no way tending to impeach the acknowledged fidelity
of the mass of French Canadians,--whatever, we repeat, may be the
ephemeral differences that occasionally spring up between the governors
of those provinces and individual members of the Houses of Assembly,
they must, in no way, be construed into a general feeling of
disaffection towards the English crown.

In proportion also as the Canadians have felt and acknowledged the
beneficent effects arising from a change of rulers, so have the Indian
tribes been gradually weaned from their first fierce principle of
hostility, until they have subsequently become as much distinguished by
their attachment to, as they were three quarters of a century ago
remarkable for their untameable aversion for, every thing that bore the
English name, or assumed the English character. Indeed, the hatred
which they bore to the original colonists has been continued to their
descendants, the subjects of the United States; and the same spirit of
union subsisted between the natives and British troops, and people of
Canada, during the late American war, that at an earlier period of the
history of that country prevailed so powerfully to the disadvantage of
England.

And now we have explained a course of events which were in some measure
necessary to the full understanding of the country by the majority of
our readers, we shall, in furtherance of the same object, proceed to
sketch a few of the most prominent scenes more immediately before us.

The fort of Detroit, as it was originally constructed by the French,
stands in the middle of a common, or description of small prairie,
bounded by woods, which, though now partially thinned in their
outskirts, were at that period untouched by the hand of civilisation.
Erected at a distance of about half a mile from the banks of the river,
which at that particular point are high and precipitous, it stood then
just far enough from the woods that swept round it in a semicircular
form to be secure from the rifle of the Indian; while from its
batteries it commanded a range of country on every hand, which no enemy
unsupported by cannon could traverse with impunity. Immediately in the
rear, and on the skirt of the wood, the French had constructed a sort
of bomb-proof, possibly intended to serve as a cover to the workmen
originally employed in clearing the woods, but long since suffered to
fall into decay. Without the fortification rose a strong and triple
line of pickets, each of about two feet and a half in circumference,
and so fitted into each other as to leave no other interstices than
those which were perforated for the discharge of musketry. They were
formed of the hardest and most knotted pines that could be procured;
the sharp points of which were seasoned by fire until they acquired
nearly the durability and consistency of iron. Beyond these firmly
imbedded pickets was a ditch, encircling the fort, of about twenty feet
in width, and of proportionate depth, the only communication over which
to and from the garrison was by means of a drawbridge, protected by a
strong chevaux-de-frise. The only gate with which the fortress was
provided faced the river; on the more immediate banks of which, and to
the left of the fort, rose the yet infant and straggling village that
bore the name of both. Numerous farm-houses, however, almost joining
each other, contributed to form a continuity of many miles along the
borders of the river, both on the right and on the left; while the
opposite shores of Canada, distinctly seen in the distance, presented,
as far as the eye could reach, the same enlivening character of
fertility. The banks, covered with verdure on either shore, were more
or less undulating at intervals; but in general they were high without
being abrupt, and picturesque without being bold, presenting, in their
partial cultivation, a striking contrast to the dark, tall, and
frowning forests bounding every point of the perspective.

At a distance of about five miles on the left of the town the course of
the river was interrupted by a small and thickly wooded island, along
whose sandy beach occasionally rose the low cabin or wigwam which the
birch canoe, carefully upturned and left to dry upon the sands,
attested to be the temporary habitation of the wandering Indian. That
branch of the river which swept by the shores of Canada was (as at this
day) the only navigable one for vessels of burden, while that on the
opposite coast abounded in shallows and bars, affording passage merely
to the light barks of the natives, which seemed literally to skim the
very surface of its waves. Midway, between that point of the continent
which immediately faced the eastern extremity of the island we have
just named and the town of Detroit, flowed a small tributary river, the
approaches to which, on either hand, were over a slightly sloping
ground, the view of which could be entirely commanded from the fort.
The depth of this river, now nearly dried up, at that period varied
from three to ten or twelve feet; and over this, at a distance of about
twenty yards from the Detroit, into which it emptied itself, rose,
communicating with the high road, a bridge, which will more than once
be noticed in the course of our tale. Even to the present hour it
retains the name given to it during these disastrous times; and there
are few modern Canadians, or even Americans, who traverse the "Bloody
Bridge," especially at the still hours of advanced night, without
recalling to memory the tragic events of those days, (handed down as
they have been by their fathers, who were eye-witnesses of the
transaction,) and peopling the surrounding gloom with the shades of
those whose life-blood erst crimsoned the once pure waters of that now
nearly exhausted stream; and whose mangled and headless corpses were
slowly borne by its tranquil current into the bosom of the parent
river, where all traces of them finally disappeared.

These are the minuter features of the scene we have brought more
immediately under the province of our pen. What Detroit was in 1763 it
nearly is at the present day, with this difference, however, that many
of those points which were then in a great degree isolated and rude are
now redolent with the beneficent effects of improved cultivation; and
in the immediate vicinity of that memorable bridge, where formerly
stood merely the occasional encampment of the Indian warrior, are now
to be seen flourishing farms and crops, and other marks of agricultural
industry. Of the fort of Detroit itself we will give the following
brief history:--It was, as we have already stated, erected by the
French while in the occupancy of the country by which it is more
immediately environed; subsequently, and at the final cession of the
Canadas, it was delivered over to England, with whom it remained until
the acknowledgement of the independence of the colonists by the
mother-country, when it hoisted the colours of the republic; the
British garrison marching out, and crossing over into Canada, followed
by such of the loyalists as still retained their attachment to the
English crown. At the commencement of the late war with America it was
the first and more immediate theatre of conflict, and was remarkable,
as well as Michilimackinac, for being one of the first posts of the
Americans that fell into our hands. The gallant daring, and promptness
of decision, for which the lamented general, Sir Isaac Brock, was so
eminently distinguished, achieved the conquest almost as soon as the
American declaration of war had been made known in Canada; and on this
occasion we ourselves had the good fortune to be selected as part of
the guard of honour, whose duty it was to lower the flag of America,
and substitute that of England in its place. On the approach, however,
of an overwhelming army of the enemy in the autumn of the ensuing year
it was abandoned by our troops, after having been dismantled and
reduced, in its more combustible parts, to ashes. The Americans, who
have erected new fortifications on the site of the old, still retain
possession of a post to which they attach considerable importance, from
the circumstance of its being a key to the more western portions of the
Union.



CHAPTER II.

It was during the midnight watch, late in September, 1763, that the
English garrison of Detroit, in North America, was thrown into the
utmost consternation by the sudden and mysterious introduction of a
stranger within its walls. The circumstance at this moment was
particularly remarkable; for the period was so fearful and pregnant
with events of danger, the fort being assailed on every side by a
powerful and vindictive foe, that a caution and vigilance of no common
kind were unceasingly exercised by the prudent governor for the safety
of those committed to his charge. A long series of hostilities had been
pursued by the North-American Indians against the subjects of England,
within the few years that had succeeded to the final subjection of the
Canadas to her victorious arms; and many and sanguinary were the
conflicts in which the devoted soldiery were made to succumb to the
cunning and numbers of their savage enemies. In those lone regions,
both officers and men, in their respective ranks, were, by a
communionship of suffering, isolation, and peculiarity of duty, drawn
towards each other with feelings of almost fraternal affection; and the
fates of those who fell were lamented with sincerity of soul, and
avenged, when opportunity offered, with a determination prompted
equally by indignation and despair. This sentiment of union, existing
even between men and officers of different corps, was, with occasional
exceptions, of course doubly strengthened among those who fought under
the same colours, and acknowledged the same head; and, as it often
happened in Canada, during this interesting period, that a single
regiment was distributed into two or three fortresses, each so far
removed from the other that communication could with the utmost
facility be cut off, the anxiety and uncertainty of these detachments
became proportioned to the danger with which they knew themselves to be
more immediately beset. The garrison of Detroit, at the date above
named, consisted of a third of the ---- regiment, the remainder of
which occupied the forts of Michilimackinac and Niagara, and to each
division of this regiment was attached an officer's command of
artillery. It is true that no immediate overt act of hostility had for
some time been perpetrated by the Indians, who were assembled in force
around the former garrison; but the experienced officer to whom the
command had been intrusted was too sensible of the craftiness of the
surrounding hordes to be deceived, by any outward semblance of amity,
into neglect of those measures of precaution which were so
indispensable to the surety of his trust.

In this he pursued a line of policy happily adapted to the delicate
nature of his position. Unwilling to excite the anger or wound the
pride of the chiefs, by any outward manifestation of distrust, he
affected to confide in the sincerity of their professions, and, by
inducing his officers to mix occasionally in their councils, and his
men in the amusements of the inferior warriors, contrived to impress
the conviction that he reposed altogether on their faith. But, although
these acts were in some degree coerced by the necessity of the times,
and a perfect knowledge of all the misery that must accrue to them in
the event of their provoking the Indians into acts of open hostility,
the prudent governor took such precautions as were deemed efficient to
defeat any treacherous attempt at violation of the tacit treaty on the
part of the natives. The officers never ventured out, unless escorted
by a portion of their men, who, although appearing to be dispersed
among the warriors, still kept sufficiently together to be enabled, in
a moment of emergency, to afford succour not only to each other but to
their superiors. On these occasions, as a further security against
surprise, the troops left within were instructed to be in readiness, at
a moment's warning, to render assistance, if necessary, to their
companions, who seldom, on any occasion, ventured out of reach of the
cannon of the fort, the gate of which was hermetically closed, while
numerous supernumerary sentinels were posted along the ramparts, with a
view to give the alarm if any thing extraordinary was observed to occur
without.

Painful and harassing as were the precautions it was found necessary to
adopt on these occasions, and little desirous as were the garrison to
mingle with the natives on such terms, still the plan was pursued by
the Governor from the policy already named: nay, it was absolutely
essential to the future interests of England that the Indians should be
won over by acts of confidence and kindness; and so little disposition
had hitherto been manifested by the English to conciliate, that every
thing was to be apprehended from the untameable rancour with which
these people were but too well disposed to repay a neglect at once
galling to their pride and injurious to their interests.

Such, for a term of many months, had been the trying and painful duty
that had devolved on the governor of Detroit; when, in the summer of
1763, the whole of the western tribes of Indians, as if actuated by one
common impulse, suddenly threw off the mask, and commenced a series of
the most savage trespasses upon the English settlers in the vicinity of
the several garrisons, who were cut off in detail, without mercy, and
without reference to either age or sex. On the first alarm the weak
bodies of troops, as a last measure of security, shut themselves up in
their respective forts, where they were as incapable of rendering
assistance to others as of receiving it themselves. In this emergency
the prudence and forethought of the governor of Detroit were eminently
conspicuous; for, having long foreseen the possibility of such a
crisis, he had caused a plentiful supply of all that was necessary to
the subsistence and defence of the garrison to be provided at an
earlier period, so that, if foiled in their attempts at stratagem,
there was little chance that the Indians would speedily reduce them by
famine. To guard against the former, a vigilant watch was constantly
kept by the garrison both day and night, while the sentinels, doubled
in number, were constantly on the alert. Strict attention, moreover,
was paid to such parts of the ramparts as were considered most
assailable by a cunning and midnight enemy; and, in order to prevent
any imprudence on the part of the garrison, all egress or ingress was
prohibited that had not the immediate sanction of the chief. With this
view the keys of the gate were given in trust to the officer of the
guard; to whom, however, it was interdicted to use them unless by
direct and positive order of the Governor. In addition to this
precaution, the sentinels on duty at the gate had strict private
instructions not to suffer any one to pass either in or out unless
conducted by the governor in person; and this restriction extended even
to the officer of the guard.

Such being the cautious discipline established in the fort, the
appearance of a stranger within its walls at the still hour of midnight
could not fail to be regarded as an extraordinary event, and to excite
an apprehension which could scarcely have been surpassed had a numerous
and armed band of savages suddenly appeared among them. The first
intimation of this fact was given by the violent ringing of an alarm
bell; a rope communicating with which was suspended in the Governor's
apartments, for the purpose of arousing the slumbering soldiers in any
case of pressing emergency. Soon afterwards the Governor himself was
seen to issue from his rooms into the open area of the parade, clad in
his dressing-gown, and bearing a lamp in one hand and a naked sword in
the other. His countenance was pale; and his features, violently
agitated, betrayed a source of alarm which those who were familiar with
his usual haughtiness of manner were ill able to comprehend.

"Which way did he go?--why stand ye here?--follow--pursue him
quickly--let him not escape, on your lives!"

These sentences, hurriedly and impatiently uttered, were addressed to
the two sentinels who, stationed in front of his apartments, had, on
the first sound of alarm from the portentous bell, lowered their
muskets to the charge, and now stood immovable in that position.

"Who does your honour mane?" replied one of the men, startled, yet
bringing his arms to the recover, in salutation of his chief.

"Why, the man--the stranger--the fellow who has just passed you."

"Not a living soul has passed us since our watch commenced, your
honour," observed the second sentinel; "and we have now been here
upwards of an hour."

"Impossible, sirs: ye have been asleep on your posts, or ye must have
seen him. He passed this way, and could not have escaped your
observation had ye been attentive to your duty."

"Well, sure, and your honour knows bist," rejoined the first sentinel;
"but so hilp me St. Patrick, as I have sirved man and boy in your
honour's rigimint this twilve years, not even the fitch of a man has
passed me this blissed night. And here's my comrade, Jack Halford, who
will take his Bible oath to the same, with all due difirince to your
honour."

The pithy reply to this eloquent attempt at exculpation was a brief
"Silence, sirrah, walk about!"

The men brought their muskets once more, and in silence, to the
shoulder, and, in obedience to the command of their chief, resumed the
limited walk allotted to them; crossing each other at regular intervals
in the semicircular course that enfiladed, as it were, the only
entrance to the Governor's apartments.

Meanwhile every thing was bustle and commotion among the garrison, who,
roused from sleep by the appalling sound of the alarm bell at that late
hour, were hastily arming. Throughout the obscurity might be seen the
flitting forms of men, whose already fully accoutred persons proclaimed
them to be of the guard; while in the lofty barracks, numerous lights
flashing to and fro, and moving with rapidity, attested the alacrity
with which the troops off duty were equipping themselves for some
service of more than ordinary interest. So noiseless, too, was this
preparation, as far as speech was concerned, that the occasional
opening and shutting of pans, and ringing of ramrods to ascertain the
efficiency of the muskets, might be heard distinctly in the stillness
of the night at a distance of many furlongs.

HE, however, who had touched the secret spring of all this picturesque
movement, whatever might be his gratification and approval of the
promptitude with which the summons to arms had been answered by his
brave troops, was far from being wholly satisfied with the scene he had
conjured up. Recovered from the first and irrepressible agitation which
had driven him to sound the tocsin of alarm, he felt how derogatory to
his military dignity and proverbial coolness of character it might be
considered, to have awakened a whole garrison from their slumbers, when
a few files of the guard would have answered his purpose equally well.
Besides, so much time had been suffered to elapse, that the stranger
might have escaped; and if so, how many might be disposed to ridicule
his alarm, and consider it as emanating from an imagination disturbed
by sleep, rather than caused by the actual presence of one endowed like
themselves with the faculties of speech and motion. For a moment he
hesitated whether he should not countermand the summons to arms which
had been so precipitately given; but when he recollected the harrowing
threat that had been breathed in his ear by his midnight visiter,--when
he reflected, moreover, that even now it was probable he was lurking
within the precincts of the fort with a view to the destruction of all
that it contained,--when, in short, he thought of the imminent danger
that must attend them should he be suffered to escape,--he felt the
necessity of precaution, and determined on his measures, even at the
risk of manifesting a prudence which might be construed unfavourably.
On re-entering his apartments, he found his orderly, who, roused by the
midnight tumult, stood waiting to receive the commands of his chief.

"Desire Major Blackwater to come to me immediately."

The mandate was quickly obeyed. In a few seconds a short, thick-set,
and elderly officer made his appearance in a grey military undress
frock.

"Blackwater, we have traitors within the fort. Let diligent search be
made in every part of the barracks for a stranger, an enemy, who has
managed to procure admittance among us: let every nook and cranny,
every empty cask, be examined forthwith; and cause a number of
additional sentinels to be stationed along the ramparts, in order to
intercept his escape."

"Good Heaven, is it possible?" said the Major, wiping the perspiration
from his brows, though the night was unusually chilly for the season of
the year:--"how could he contrive to enter a place so vigilantly
guarded?"

"Ask me not HOW, Blackwater," returned the Governor seriously; "let it
suffice that he has been in this very room, and that ten minutes since
he stood where you now stand."

The Major looked aghast.--"God bless me, how singular! How could the
savage contrive to obtain admission? or was he in reality an Indian?"

"No more questions, MAJOR Blackwater. Hasten to distribute the men, and
let diligent search be made every where; and recollect, neither officer
nor man courts his pillow until dawn."

The "Major" emphatically prefixed to his name was a sufficient hint to
the stout officer that the doubts thus familiarly expressed were here
to cease, and that he was now addressed in the language of authority by
his superior, who expected a direct and prompt compliance with his
orders. He therefore slightly touched his hat in salutation, and
withdrew to make the dispositions that had been enjoined by his Colonel.

On regaining the parade, he caused the men, already forming into
companies and answering to the roll-call of their respective
non-commissioned officers, to be wheeled into square, and then in a low
but distinct voice stated the cause of alarm; and, having communicated
the orders of the Governor, finished by recommending to each the
exercise of the most scrutinising vigilance; as on the discovery of the
individual in question, and the means by which he had contrived to
procure admission, the safety of the whole garrison, it was evident,
must depend.

The soldiers now dispersed in small parties throughout the interior of
the fort, while a select body were conducted to the ramparts by the
officers themselves, and distributed between the sentinels already
posted there, in such numbers, and at such distances, that it appeared
impossible any thing wearing the human form could pass them
unperceived, even in the obscurity that reigned around.

When this duty was accomplished, the officers proceeded to the posts of
the several sentinels who had been planted since the last relief, to
ascertain if any or either of them had observed aught to justify the
belief that an enemy had succeeded in scaling the works. To all their
enquiries, however, they received a negative reply, accompanied by a
declaration, more or less positive with each, that such had been their
vigilance during the watch, had any person come within their beat,
detection must have been inevitable. The first question was put to the
sentinel stationed at the gate of the fort, at which point the whole of
the officers of the garrison were, with one or two exceptions, now
assembled. The man at first evinced a good deal of confusion; but this
might arise from the singular fact of the alarm that had been given,
and the equally singular circumstance of his being thus closely
interrogated by the collective body of his officers: he, however,
persisted in declaring that he had been in no wise inattentive to his
duty, and that no cause for alarm or suspicion had occurred near his
post. The officers then, in order to save time, separated into two
parties, pursuing opposite circuits, and arranging to meet at that
point of the ramparts which was immediately in the rear, and
overlooking the centre of the semicircular sweep of wild forest we have
described as circumventing the fort.

"Well, Blessington, I know not what you think of this sort of work,"
observed Sir Everard Valletort, a young lieutenant of the ----
regiment, recently arrived from England, and one of the party who now
traversed the rampart to the right; "but confound me if I would not
rather be a barber's apprentice in London, upon nothing, and find
myself, than continue a life of this kind much longer. It positively
quite knocks me up; for what with early risings, and watchings (I had
almost added prayings), I am but the shadow of my former self."

"Hist, Valletort, hist! speak lower," said Captain Blessington, the
senior officer present, "or our search must be in vain. Poor fellow!"
he pursued, laughing low and good humouredly at the picture of miseries
thus solemnly enumerated by his subaltern;--"how much, in truth, are
you to be pitied, who have so recently basked in all the sunshine of
enjoyment at home. For our parts, we have lived so long amid these
savage scenes, that we have almost forgotten what luxury, or even
comfort, means. Doubt not, my friend, that in time you will, like us,
be reconciled to the change."

"Confound me for an idiot, then, if I give myself time," replied Sir
Everard affectedly. "It was only five minutes before that cursed alarm
bell was sounded in my ears, that I had made up my mind fully to resign
or exchange the instant I could do so with credit to myself; and, I am
sure, to be called out of a warm bed at this unseasonable hour offers
little inducement for me to change my opinion."

"Resign or exchange with credit to yourself!" sullenly observed a stout
tall officer of about fifty, whose spleen might well be accounted for
in his rank of "Ensign" Delme. "Methinks there can be little credit in
exchanging or resigning, when one's companions are left behind, and in
a post of danger."

"By Jasus, and ye may say that with your own pritty mouth," remarked
another veteran, who answered to the name of Lieutenant Murphy; "for it
isn't now, while we are surrounded and bediviled by the savages, that
any man of the ---- rigimint should be after talking of bating a
retrate."

"I scarcely understand you, gentlemen," warmly and quickly retorted Sir
Everard, who, with all his dandyism and effeminacy of manner, was of a
high and resolute spirit. "Do either of you fancy that I want courage
to face a positive danger, because I may not happen to have any
particular vulgar predilection for early rising?"

"Nonsense, Valletort, nonsense," interrupted, in accents of almost
feminine sweetness, his friend Lieutenant Charles de Haldimar, the
youngest son of the Governor: "Murphy is an eternal echo of the
opinions of those who look forward to promotion; and as for Delme--do
you not see the drift of his observation? Should you retire, as you
have threatened, of course another lieutenant will be appointed in your
stead; but, should you chance to lose your scalp during the struggle
with the savages, the step goes in the regiment, and he, being the
senior ensign, obtains promotion in consequence."

"Ah!" observed Captain Blessington, "this is indeed the greatest curse
attached to the profession of a soldier. Even among those who most
esteem, and are drawn towards each other as well by fellowship in
pleasure as companionship in danger, this vile and debasing
principle--this insatiable desire for personal advancement--is certain
to intrude itself; since we feel that over the mangled bodies of our
dearest friends and companions, we can alone hope to attain preferment
and distinction."

A moment or two of silence ensued, in the course of which each
individual appeared to be bringing home to his own heart the
application of the remark just uttered; and which, however they might
seek to disguise the truth from themselves, was too forcible to find
contradiction from the secret monitor within. And yet of those
assembled there was not one, perhaps, who would not, in the hour of
glory and of danger, have generously interposed his own frame between
that of his companion and the steel or bullet of an enemy. Such are the
contradictory elements which compose a soldier's life.

This conversation, interrupted only by occasional questioning of the
sentinels whom they passed in their circuit, was carried on in an
audible whisper, which the close approximation of the parties to each
other, and the profound stillness of the night, enabled them to hear
with distinctness.

"Nay, nay, De Haldimar," at length observed Sir Everard, in reply to
the observation of his friend, "do not imagine I intend to gratify Mr.
Delme by any such exhibition as that of a scalpless head; but, if such
be his hope, I trust that the hour which sees my love-locks dangling at
the top of an Indian pole may also let daylight into his own carcass
from a rifle bullet or a tomahawk."

"And yit, Captin, it sames to me," observed Lieutenant Murphy, in
allusion to the remark of Blessington rather than in reply to the last
speaker,--"it sames to me, I say, that promotion in ony way is all fair
and honourable in times of hardship like thase; and though we may drop
a tare over our suparior when the luck of war, in the shape of a
tommyhawk, knocks him over, still there can be no rason why we
shouldn't stip into his shoes the viry nixt instant; and it's that, we
all know, that we fight for. And the divil a bitter chance any man of
us all has of promotion thin yoursilf, Captin: for it'll be mighty
strange if our fat Major doesn't git riddlid like a cullinder through
and through with the bullits from the Ingians' rifles before we have
quite done with this business, and thin you will have the rigimintal
majority, Captin; and it may be that one Liftinint Murphy, who is now
the sanior of his rank, may come in for the vacant captincy."

"And Delme for the lieutenancy," said Charles de Haldimar
significantly. "Well, Murphy, I am happy to find that you, at least,
have hit on another than Sir Everard Valletort: one, in fact, who will
render the promotion more general than it would otherwise have been.
Seriously, I should be sorry if any thing happened to our worthy Major,
who, with all his bustling and grotesque manner, is as good an officer
and as brave a soldier as any his Majesty's army in Canada can boast.
For my part, I say, perish all promotion for ever, if it is only to be
obtained over the dead bodies of those with whom I have lived so long
and shared so many dangers!"

"Nobly uttered, Charles," said Captain Blessington: "the sentiment is,
indeed, one well worthy of our present position; and God knows we are
few enough in number already, without looking forward to each other's
death as a means of our own more immediate personal advancement. With
you, therefore, I repeat, perish all my hopes of promotion, if it is
only to be obtained over the corpses of my companions! And let those
who are most sanguine in their expectations beware lest they prove the
first to be cut off, and that even before they have yet enjoyed the
advantages of the promotion they so eagerly covet."

This observation, uttered without acrimony, had yet enough of delicate
reproach in it to satisfy Lieutenant Murphy that the speaker was far
from approving the expression of such selfish anticipations at a moment
like the present, when danger, in its most mysterious guise, lurked
around, and threatened the safety of all most dear to them.

The conversation now dropped, and the party pursued their course in
silence. They had just passed the last sentinel posted in their line of
circuit, and were within a few yards of the immediate rear of the
fortress, when a sharp "Hist!" and sudden halt of their leader, Captain
Blessington, threw them all into an attitude of the most profound
attention.

"Did you hear?" he asked in a subdued whisper, after a few seconds of
silence, in which he had vainly sought to catch a repetition of the
sound.

"Assuredly," he pursued, finding that no one answered, "I distinctly
heard a human groan."

"Where?--in what direction?" asked Sir Everard and De Haldimar in the
same breath.

"Immediately opposite to us on the common. But see, here are the
remainder of the party stationary, and listening also."

They now stole gently forward a few paces, and were soon at the side of
their companions, all of whom were straining their necks and bending
their heads in the attitude of men listening attentively.

"Have you heard any thing, Erskine?" asked Captain Blessington in the
same low whisper, and addressing the officer who led the opposite party.

"Not a sound ourselves, but here is Sir Everard's black servant, Sambo,
who has just riveted our attention, by declaring that he distinctly
heard a groan towards the skirt of the common."

"He is right," hastily rejoined Blessington; "I heard it also."

Again a death-like silence ensued, during which the eyes of the party
were strained eagerly in the direction of the common. The night was
clear and starry, yet the dark shadow of the broad belt of forest threw
all that part of the waste which came within its immediate range into
impenetrable obscurity.

"Do you see any thing?" whispered Valletort to his friend, who stood
next him: "look--look!" and he pointed with his finger.

"Nothing," returned De Haldimar, after an anxious gaze of a minute,
"but that dilapidated old bomb-proof."

"See you not something dark, and slightly moving immediately in a line
with the left angle of the bomb-proof?"

De Haldimar looked again.--"I do begin to fancy I see something," he
replied; "but so confusedly and indistinctly, that I know not whether
it be not merely an illusion of my imagination. Perhaps it is a stray
Indian dog devouring the carcass of the wolf you shot yesterday."

"Be it dog or devil, here is for a trial of his vulnerability.--Sambo,
quick, my rifle."

The young negro handed to his master one of those long heavy rifles,
which the Indians usually make choice of for killing the buffalo, elk,
and other animals whose wildness renders them difficult of approach. He
then, unbidden, and as if tutored to the task, placed himself in a
stiff upright position in front of his master, with every nerve and
muscle braced to the most inflexible steadiness. The young officer next
threw the rifle on the right shoulder of the boy for a rest, and
prepared to take his aim on the object that had first attracted his
attention.

"Make haste, massa,--him go directly,--Sambo see him get up."

All was breathless attention among the group of officers; and when the
sharp ticking sound produced by the cocking of the rifle of their
companion fell on their ears, they bent their gaze upon the point
towards which the murderous weapon was levelled with the most aching
and intense interest.

"Quick, quick, massa,--him quite up," again whispered the boy.

The words had scarcely passed his lips, when the crack of the rifle,
followed by a bright blaze of light, sounded throughout the stillness
of the night with exciting sharpness. For an instant all was hushed;
but scarcely had the distant woods ceased to reverberate the
spirit-stirring echoes, when the anxious group of officers were
surprised and startled by a sudden flash, the report of a second rifle
from the common, and the whizzing of a bullet past their ears. This was
instantly succeeded by a fierce, wild, and prolonged cry, expressive at
once of triumph and revenge. It was that peculiar cry which an Indian
utters when the reeking scalp has been wrested from his murdered victim.

"Missed him, as I am a sinner," exclaimed Sir Everard, springing to his
feet, and knocking the butt of his rifle on the ground with a movement
of impatience. "Sambo, you young scoundrel, it was all your fault,--you
moved your shoulder as I pulled the trigger. Thank Heaven, however, the
aim of the Indian appears to have been no better, although the sharp
whistling of his ball proves his piece to have been well levelled for a
random shot."

"His aim has been too true," faintly pronounced the voice of one
somewhat in the rear of his companions. "The ball of the villain has
found a lodgment in my breast. God bless ye all, my boys; may your
fates be more lucky than mine!" While he yet spoke, Lieutenant Murphy
sank into the arms of Blessington and De Haldimar, who had flown to him
at the first intimation of his wound, and was in the next instant a
corpse.



CHAPTER III.

"To your companies, gentlemen, to your companies on the instant. There
is treason in the fort, and we had need of all our diligence and
caution. Captain de Haldimar is missing, and the gate has been found
unlocked. Quick, gentlemen, quick; even now the savages may be around
us, though unseen."

"Captain de Haldimar missing!--the gate unlocked!" exclaimed a number
of voices. "Impossible!--surely we are not betrayed by our own men."

"The sentinel has been relieved, and is now in irons," resumed the
communicator of this startling piece of intelligence. It was the
adjutant of the regiment.

"Away, gentlemen, to your posts immediately," said Captain Blessington,
who, aided by De Haldimar, hastened to deposit the stiffening body of
the unfortunate Murphy, which they still supported, upon the rampart.
Then addressing the adjutant, "Mr. Lawson, let a couple of files be
sent immediately to remove the body of their officer."

"That shot which I heard from the common, as I approached, was not
fired at random, then, I find," observed the adjutant, as they all now
hastily descended to join their men.--"Who has fallen?"

"Murphy, of the grenadiers," was the reply of one near him.

"Poor fellow! our work commences badly," resumed Mr. Lawson: "Murphy
killed, and Captain de Haldimar missing. We had few officers enough to
spare before, and their loss will be severely felt; I greatly fear,
too, these casualties may have a tendency to discourage the men."

"Nothing more easy than to supply their place, by promoting some of our
oldest sergeants," observed Ensign Delme, who, as well as the ill-fated
Murphy, had risen from the ranks. "If they behave themselves well, the
King will confirm their appointments."

"But my poor brother, what of him, Lawson? what have you learnt
connected with his disappearance?" asked Charles de Haldimar with deep
emotion.

"Nothing satisfactory, I am sorry to say," returned the adjutant; "in
fact, the whole affair is a mystery which no one can unravel; even at
this moment the sentinel, Frank Halloway, who is strongly suspected of
being privy to his disappearance, is undergoing a private examination
by your father the governor."

"Frank Halloway!" repeated the youth with a start of astonishment;
"surely Halloway could never prove a traitor,--and especially to my
brother, whose life he once saved at the peril of his own."

The officers had now gained the parade, when the "Fall in, gentlemen,
fall in," quickly pronounced by Major Blackwater, prevented all further
questioning on the part of the younger De Haldimar.

The scene, though circumscribed in limit, was picturesque in effect,
and might have been happily illustrated by the pencil of the painter.
The immediate area of the parade was filled with armed men, distributed
into three divisions, and forming, with their respective ranks facing
outwards, as many sides of a hollow square, the mode of defence
invariably adopted by the Governor in all cases of sudden alarm. The
vacant space, which communicated with the powder magazine, was left
open to the movements of three three-pounders, which were to support
each face in the event of its being broken by numbers. Close to these,
and within the square, stood the number of gunners necessary to the
duty of the field-pieces, each of which was commanded by a bombardier.
At the foot of the ramparts, outside the square, and immediately
opposite to their several embrasures, were stationed the gunners
required for the batteries, under a non-commissioned officer also, and
the whole under the direction of a superior officer of that arm, who
now walked to and fro, conversing in a low voice with Major Blackwater.
One gunner at each of these divisions of the artillery held in his hand
a blazing torch, reflecting with picturesque yet gloomy effect the
bright bayonets and equipment of the soldiers, and the anxious
countenances of the women and invalids, who, bending eagerly through
the windows of the surrounding barracks, appeared to await the issue of
these preparations with an anxiety increased by the very consciousness
of having no other parts than those of spectators to play in the scene
that was momentarily expected.

In a few minutes from the falling in of the officers with their
respective companies, the clank of irons was heard in the direction of
the guard-room, and several forms were seen slowly advancing into the
area already occupied as we have described. This party was preceded by
the Adjutant Lawson, who, advancing towards Major Blackwater,
communicated a message, that was followed by the command of the latter
officer for the three divisions to face inwards. The officer of
artillery also gave the word to his men to form lines of single files
immediately in the rear of their respective guns, leaving space enough
for the entrance of the approaching party, which consisted of half a
dozen files of the guard, under a non-commissioned officer, and one
whose manacled limbs, rather than his unaccoutred uniform, attested him
to be not merely a prisoner, but a prisoner confined for some serious
and flagrant offence.

This party now advanced through the vacant quarter of the square, and
took their stations immediately in the centre. Here the countenances of
each, and particularly that of the prisoner, who was, if we may so term
it, the centre of that centre, were thrown into strong relief by the
bright glare of the torches as they were occasionally waved in air, to
disencumber them of their dross, so that the features of the prisoner
stood revealed to those around as plainly as if it had been noonday.
Not a sound, not a murmur, escaped from the ranks: but, though the
etiquette and strict laws of military discipline chained all speech,
the workings of the inward mind remained unchecked; and as they
recognised in the prisoner Frank Halloway, one of the bravest and
boldest in the field, and, as all had hitherto imagined, one of the
most devoted to his duty, an irrepressible thrill of amazement and
dismay crept throughout the frames, and for a moment blanched the
cheeks of those especially who belonged to the same company. On being
summoned from their fruitless search after the stranger, to fall in
without delay, it had been whispered among the men that treason had
crept into the fort, and a traitor, partly detected in his crime, had
been arrested and thrown into irons; but the idea of Frank Halloway
being that traitor was the last that could have entered into their
thoughts, and yet they now beheld him covered with every mark of
ignominy, and about to answer his high offence, in all human
probability, with his life.

With the officers the reputation of Halloway for courage and fidelity
stood no less high; but, while they secretly lamented the circumstance
of his defalcation, they could not disguise from themselves the almost
certainty of his guilt, for each, as he now gazed upon the prisoner,
recollected the confusion and hesitation of manner he had evinced when
questioned by them preparatory to their ascending to the ramparts.

Once more the suspense of the moment was interrupted by the entrance of
other forms into the area. They were those of the Adjutant, followed by
a drummer, bearing his instrument, and the Governor's orderly, charged
with pens, ink, paper, and a book which, from its peculiar form and
colour, every one present knew to be a copy of the Articles of War. A
variety of contending emotions passed through the breasts of many, as
they witnessed the silent progress of these preparations, rendered
painfully interesting by the peculiarity of their position, and the
wildness of the hour at which they thus found themselves assembled
together. The prisoner himself was unmoved: he stood proud, calm, and
fearless amid the guard, of whom he had so recently formed one; and
though his countenance was pale, as much, perhaps, from a sense of the
ignominious character in which he appeared as from more private
considerations, still there was nothing to denote either the abjectness
of fear or the consciousness of merited disgrace. Once or twice a low
sobbing, that proceeded at intervals from one of the barrack windows,
caught his ear, and he turned his glance in that direction with a
restless anxiety, which he exerted himself in the instant afterwards to
repress; but this was the only mark of emotion he betrayed.

The above dispositions having been hastily made, the adjutant and his
assistants once more retired. After the lapse of a minute, a tall
martial-looking man, habited in a blue military frock, and of handsome,
though stern, haughty, and inflexible features, entered the area. He
was followed by Major Blackwater, the captain of artillery, and
Adjutant Lawson.

"Are the garrison all present, Mr. Lawson? are the officers all
present?"

"All except those of the guard, sir," replied the Adjutant, touching
his hat with a submission that was scrupulously exacted on all
occasions of duty by his superior.

The Governor passed his hand for a moment over his brows. It seemed to
those around him as if the mention of that guard had called up
recollections which gave him pain; and it might be so, for his eldest
son, Captain Frederick de Haldimar, had commanded the guard. Whither he
had disappeared, or in what manner, no one knew.

"Are the artillery all present, Captain Wentworth?" again demanded the
Governor, after a moment of silence, and in his wonted firm
authoritative voice.

"All present, sir," rejoined the officer, following the example of the
Adjutant, and saluting his chief.

"Then let a drum-head court-martial be assembled immediately, Mr.
Lawson, and without reference to the roster let the senior officers be
selected."

The Adjutant went round to the respective divisions, and in a low voice
warned Captain Blessington, and the four senior subalterns, for that
duty. One by one the officers, as they were severally called upon, left
their places in the square, and sheathing their swords, stepped into
that part of the area appointed as their temporary court. They were now
all assembled, and Captain Blessington, the senior of his rank in the
garrison, was preparing to administer the customary oaths, when the
prisoner Halloway advanced a pace or two in front of his escort, and
removing his cap, in a clear, firm, but respectful voice, thus
addressed the Governor:--

"Colonel de Haldimar, that I am no traitor, as I have already told you,
the Almighty God, before whom I swore allegiance to his Majesty, can
bear me witness. Appearances, I own, are against me; but, so far from
being a traitor, I would have shed my last drop of blood in defence of
the garrison and your family.--Colonel de Haldimar," he pursued, after
a momentary pause, in which he seemed to be struggling to subdue the
emotion which rose, despite of himself, to his throat, "I repeat, I am
no traitor, and I scorn the imputation--but here is my best answer to
the charge. This wound, (and he unbuttoned his jacket, opened his
shirt, and disclosed a deep scar upon his white chest,) this wound I
received in defence of my captain's life at Quebec. Had I not loved
him, I should not so have exposed myself, neither but for that should I
now stand in the situation of shame and danger, in which my comrades
behold me."

Every heart was touched by this appeal--this bold and manly appeal to
the consideration of the Governor. The officers, especially, who were
fully conversant with the general merit of Halloway, were deeply
affected, and Charles de Haldimar--the young, the generous, the feeling
Charles de Haldimar,--even shed tears.

"What mean you, prisoner?" interrogated the Governor, after a short
pause, during which he appeared to be weighing and deducing inferences
from the expressions just uttered. "What mean you, by stating, but for
that (alluding to your regard for Captain de Haldimar) you would not
now be in this situation of shame and danger?"

The prisoner hesitated a moment; and then rejoined, but in a tone that
had less of firmness in it than before,--"Colonel de Haldimar, I am not
at liberty to state my meaning; for, though a private soldier, I
respect my word, and have pledged myself to secrecy."

"You respect your word, and have pledged yourself to secrecy! What mean
you, man, by this rhodomontade? To whom can you have pledged yourself,
and for what, unless it be to some secret enemy without the walls?
Gentlemen, proceed to your duty: it is evident that the man is a
traitor, even from his own admission.--On my life," he pursued, more
hurriedly, and speaking in an under tone, as if to himself, "the fellow
has been bribed by, and is connected with--." The name escaped not his
lips; for, aware of the emotion he was betraying, he suddenly checked
himself, and assumed his wonted stern and authoritative bearing.

Once more the prisoner addressed the Governor in the same clear firm
voice in which he had opened his appeal.

"Colonel de Haldimar, I have no connection with any living soul without
the fort; and again I repeat, I am no traitor, but a true and loyal
British soldier, as my services in this war, and my comrades, can well
attest. Still, I seek not to shun that death which I have braved a
dozen times at least in the ---- regiment. All that I ask is, that I
may not be tried--that I may not have the shame of hearing sentence
pronounced against me YET; but if nothing should occur before eight
o'clock to vindicate my character from this disgrace, I will offer up
no further prayer for mercy. In the name of that life, therefore, which
I once preserved to Captain de Haldimar, at the price of my own blood,
I entreat a respite from trial until then."

"In the name of God and all his angels, let mercy reach your soul, and
grant his prayer!"

Every ear was startled--every heart touched by the plaintive,
melancholy, silver tones of the voice that faintly pronounced the last
appeal, and all recognised it for that of the young, interesting, and
attached wife of the prisoner. Again the latter turned his gaze towards
the window whence the sounds proceeded, and by the glare of the torches
a tear was distinctly seen by many coursing down his manly cheek. The
weakness was momentary. In the next instant he closed his shirt and
coat, and resuming his cap, stepped back once more amid his guard,
where he remained stationary, with the air of one who, having nothing
further to hope, has resolved to endure the worst that can happen with
resignation and fortitude.

After the lapse of a few moments, again devoted to much apparent deep
thought and conjecture, the Governor once more, and rather hurriedly,
resumed,--

"In the event, prisoner, of this delay in your trial being granted,
will you pledge yourself to disclose the secret to which you have
alluded? Recollect, there is nothing but that which can save your
memory from being consigned to infamy for ever; for who, among your
comrades, will believe the idle denial of your treachery, when there is
the most direct proof against you? If your secret die with you,
moreover, every honest man will consider it as having been one so
infamous and injurious to your character, that you were ashamed to
reveal it."

These suggestions of the Colonel were not without their effect; for, in
the sudden swelling of the prisoner's chest, as allusion was made to
the disgrace that would attach to his memory, there was evidence of a
high and generous spirit, to whom obloquy was far more hateful than
even death itself.

"I do promise," he at length replied, stepping forward, and uncovering
himself as before,--"if no one appear to justify my conduct at the hour
I have named, a full disclosure of all I know touching this affair
shall be made. And may God, of his infinite mercy, grant, for Captain
de Haldimar's sake, as well as mine, I may not then be wholly deserted!"

There was something so peculiarly solemn and impressive in the manner
in which the unhappy man now expressed himself, that a feeling of the
utmost awe crept into the bosoms of the surrounding throng; and more
than one veteran of the grenadiers, the company to which Halloway
belonged, was heard to relieve his chest of the long pent-up sigh that
struggled for release.

"Enough, prisoner," rejoined the Governor; "on this condition do I
grant your request; but recollect,--your disclosure ensures no hope of
pardon, unless, indeed, you have the fullest proof to offer in your
defence. Do you perfectly understand me?"

"I do," replied the soldier firmly; and again he placed his cap on his
head, and retired a step or two back among the guard.

"Mr. Lawson, let the prisoner be removed, and conducted to one of the
private cells. Who is the subaltern of the guard?"

"Ensign Fortescue," was the answer.

"Then let Ensign Fortescue keep the key of the cell himself. Tell him,
moreover, I shall hold him individually responsible for his charge."

Once more the prisoner was marched out of the area; and, as the
clanking sound of his chains became gradually fainter in the distance,
the same voice that had before interrupted the proceedings, pronounced
a "God be praised!--God be praised!" with such melody of sorrow in its
intonations that no one could listen to it unmoved. Both officers and
men were more or less affected, and all hoped--they scarcely knew why
or what--but all hoped something favourable would occur to save the
life of the brave and unhappy Frank Halloway.

Of the first interruption by the wife of the prisoner the Governor had
taken no notice; but on this repetition of the expression of her
feelings he briefly summoned, in the absence of the Adjutant, the
sergeant-major of the regiment to his side.

"Sergeant-major Bletson, I desire that, in future, on all occasions of
this kind, the women of the regiment may be kept out of the way. Look
to it, sir!"

The sergeant-major, who had stood erect as his own halbert, which he
held before him in a saluting position, during this brief admonition of
his colonel, acknowledged, by a certain air of deferential respect and
dropping of the eyes, unaccompanied by speech of any kind, that he felt
the reproof, and would, in future, take care to avoid all similar cause
for complaint. He then stalked stiffly away, and resumed, in a few
hasty strides, his position in rear of the troops.

"Hard-hearted man!" pursued the same voice: "if my prayers of gratitude
to Heaven give offence, may the hour never come when my lips shall
pronounce their bitterest curse upon your severity!"

There was something so painfully wild--so solemnly prophetic--in these
sounds of sorrow as they fell faintly upon the ear, and especially
under the extraordinary circumstances of the night, that they might
have been taken for the warnings of some supernatural agency. During
their utterance, not even the breathing of human life was to be heard
in the ranks. In the next instant, however, Sergeant-major Bletson was
seen repairing, with long and hasty strides, to the barrack whence the
voice proceeded, and the interruption was heard no more.

Meanwhile the officers, who had been summoned from the ranks for the
purpose of forming the court-martial, still lingered in the centre of
the square, apparently waiting for the order of their superior, before
they should resume their respective stations. As the quick and
comprehensive glance of Colonel de Haldimar now embraced the group, he
at once became sensible of the absence of one of the seniors, all of
whom he had desired should be selected for the court-martial.

"Mr. Lawson," he remarked, somewhat sternly, as the Adjutant now
returned from delivering over his prisoner to Ensign Fortescue, "I
thought I understood from your report the officers were all present!"

"I believe, sir, my report will be found perfectly correct," returned
the Adjutant, in a tone which, without being disrespectful, marked his
offended sense of the implication.

"And Lieutenant Murphy--"

"Is here, sir," said the Adjutant, pointing to a couple of files of the
guard, who were bearing a heavy burden, and following into the square.
"Lieutenant Murphy," he pursued, "has been shot on the ramparts; and I
have, as directed by Captain Blessington, caused the body to be brought
here, that I may receive your orders respecting the interment." As he
spoke, he removed a long military grey cloak, which completely
enshrouded the corpse, and disclosed, by the light of the still
brightly flaming torches of the gunners, the features of the
unfortunate Murphy.

"How did he meet his death?" enquired the governor; without, however,
manifesting the slightest surprise, or appearing at all moved at the
discovery.

"By a rifle shot fired from the common, near the old bomb proof,"
observed Captain Blessington, as the adjutant looked to him for the
particular explanation he could not render himself.

"Ah! this reminds me," pursued the austere commandant,--"there was a
shot fired also from the ramparts. By whom, and at what?"

"By me, sir," said Lieutenant Valletort, coming forward from the ranks,
"and at what I conceived to be an Indian, lurking as a spy upon the
common."

"Then, Lieutenant Sir Everard Valletort, no repetition of these
firings, if you please; and let it be borne in mind by all, that
although, from the peculiar nature of the service in which we are
engaged, I so far depart from the established regulations of the army
as to permit my officers to arm themselves with rifles, they are to be
used only as occasion may require in the hour of conflict, and not for
the purpose of throwing a whole garrison into alarm by trials of skill
and dexterity upon shadows at this unseasonable hour."

"I was not aware, sir," returned Sir Everard proudly, and secretly
galled at being thus addressed before the men, "it could be deemed a
military crime to destroy an enemy at whatever hour he might present
himself, and especially on such an occasion as the present. As for my
firing at a shadow, those who heard the yell that followed the second
shot, can determine that it came from no shadow, but from a fierce and
vindictive enemy. The cry denoted even something more than the ordinary
defiance of an Indian: it seemed to express a fiendish sentiment of
personal triumph and revenge."

The governor started involuntarily. "Do you imagine, Sir Everard
Valletort, the aim of your rifle was true--that you hit him?"

This question was asked so hurriedly, and in a tone so different from
that in which he had hitherto spoken, that the officers around
simultaneously raised their eyes to those of their colonel with an
expression of undissembled surprise. He observed it, and instantly
resumed his habitual sternness of look and manner.

"I rather fear not, sir," replied Sir Everard, who had principally
remarked the emotion; "but may I hope (and this was said with
emphasis), in the evident disappointment you experience at my want of
success, my offence may be overlooked?"

The governor fixed his penetrating eyes on the speaker, as if he would
have read his inmost mind; and then calmly, and even impressively,
observed,--

"Sir Everard Valletort, I do overlook the offence, and hope you may as
easily forgive yourself. It were well, however, that your indiscretion,
which can only find its excuse in your being so young an officer, had
not been altogether without some good result. Had you killed or
disabled the--the savage, there might have been a decent palliative
offered; but what must be your feelings, sir, when you reflect, the
death of yon officer," and he pointed to the corpse of the unhappy
Murphy, "is, in a great degree, attributable to yourself? Had you not
provoked the anger of the savage, and given a direction to his aim by
the impotent and wanton discharge of your own rifle, this accident
would never have happened."

This severe reproving of an officer, who had acted from the most
praiseworthy of motives, and who could not possibly have anticipated
the unfortunate catastrophe that had occurred, was considered
especially harsh and unkind by every one present; and a low and almost
inaudible murmur passed through the company to which Sir Everard was
attached. For a minute or two that officer also appeared deeply pained,
not more from the reproof itself than from the new light in which the
observation of his chief had taught him to view, for the first time,
the causes that had led to the fall of Murphy. Finding, however, that
the governor had no further remark to address to him, he once more
returned to his station in the ranks.

"Mr. Lawson," resumed the commandant, turning to the adjutant, "let
this victim be carried to the spot on which he fell, and there
interred. I know no better grave for a soldier than beneath the sod
that has been moistened with his blood. Recollect," he continued, as
the adjutant once more led the party out of the area,--"no firing, Mr.
Lawson. The duty must be silently performed, and without the risk of
provoking a forest of arrows, or a shower of bullets from the savages.
Major Blackwater," he pursued, as soon as the corpse had been removed,
"let the men pile their arms even as they now stand, and remain ready
to fall in at a minute's notice. Should any thing extraordinary happen
before the morning, you will, of course, apprise me." He then strode
out of the area with the same haughty and measured step that had
characterised his entrance.

"Our colonel does not appear to be in one of his most amiable moods
to-night," observed Captain Blessington, as the officers, after having
disposed of their respective companies, now proceeded along the
ramparts to assist at the last funeral offices of their unhappy
associate. "He was disposed to be severe, and must have put you, in
some measure, out of conceit with your favourite rifle, Valletort."

"True," rejoined the Baronet, who had already rallied from the
momentary depression of his spirits, "he hit me devilish hard, I
confess, and was disposed to display more of the commanding officer
than quite suits my ideas of the service. His words were as caustic as
his looks; and could both have pierced me to the quick, there was no
inclination on his part wanting. By my soul I could .... but I forgive
him. He is the father of my friend: and for that reason will I chew the
cud of my mortification, nor suffer, if possible, a sense of his
unkindness to rankle at my heart. At all events, Blessington, my mind
is made up, and resign or exchange I certainly shall the instant I can
find a decent loop-hole to creep out of."

Sir Everard fancied the ear of his captain was alone listening to these
expressions of his feeling, or in all probability he would not have
uttered them. As he concluded the last sentence, however, he felt his
arm gently grasped by one who walked a pace or two silently in their
rear. He turned, and recognised Charles de Haldimar.

"I am sure, Valletort, you will believe how much pained I have been at
the severity of my father; but, indeed, there was nothing personally
offensive intended. Blessington can tell you as well as myself it is
his manner altogether. Nay, that although he is the first in seniority
after Blackwater, the governor treats him with the same distance and
hauteur he would use towards the youngest ensign in the service. Such
are the effects of his long military habits, and his ideas of the
absolutism of command. Am I not right, Blessington?"

"Quite right, Charles. Sir Everard may satisfy himself his is no
solitary instance of the stern severity of your father. Still, I
confess, notwithstanding the rigidity of manner which he seems, on all
occasions, to think so indispensable to the maintenance of authority in
a commanding officer, I never knew him so inclined to find fault as he
is to-night."

"Perhaps," observed Valletort, good humouredly, "his conscience is
rather restless; and he is willing to get rid of it and his spleen
together. I would wager my rifle against the worthless scalp of the
rascal I fired at to-night, that this same stranger, whose asserted
appearance has called us from our comfortable beds, is but the creation
of his disturbed dreams. Indeed, how is it possible any thing formed of
flesh and blood could have escaped us with the vigilant watch that has
been kept on the ramparts? The old gentleman certainly had that
illusion strongly impressed on his mind when he so sapiently spoke of
my firing at a shadow."

"But the gate," interrupted Charles de Haldimar, with something of mild
reproach in his tones,--"you forget, Valletort, the gate was found
unlocked, and that my brother is missing. HE, at least, was flesh and
blood, as you say, and yet he has disappeared. What more probable,
therefore, than that this stranger is at once the cause and the agent
of his abduction?"

"Impossible, Charles," observed Captain Blessington; "Frederick was in
the midst of his guard. How, therefore, could he be conveyed away
without the alarm being given? Numbers only could have succeeded in so
desperate an enterprise; and yet there is no evidence, or even
suspicion, of more than one individual having been here."

"It is a singular affair altogether," returned Sir Everard, musingly.
"Of two things, however, I am satisfied. The first is, that the
stranger, whoever he may be, and if he really has been here, is no
Indian; the second, that he is personally known to the governor, who
has been, or I mistake much, more alarmed at his individual presence
than if Ponteac and his whole band had suddenly broken in upon us. Did
you remark his emotion, when I dwelt on the peculiar character of
personal triumph and revenge which the cry of the lurking villain
outside seemed to express? and did you notice the eagerness with which
he enquired if I thought I had hit him? Depend upon it, there is more
in all this than is dreamt of in our philosophy."

"And it was your undisguised perception of that emotion," remarked
Captain Blessington, "that drew down his severity upon your own head.
It was, however, too palpable not to be noticed by all; and I dare say
conjecture is as busily and as vaguely at work among our companions as
it is with us. The clue to the mystery, in a great degree, now dwells
with Frank Halloway; and to him we must look for its elucidation. His
disclosure will be one, I apprehend, full of ignominy to himself, but
of the highest interest and importance to us all. And yet I know not
how to believe the man the traitor he appears."

"Did you remark that last harrowing exclamation of his wife?" observed
Charles de Haldimar, in a tone of unspeakable melancholy. "How
fearfully prophetic it sounded in my ears. I know not how it is," he
pursued, "but I wish I had not heard those sounds; for since that
moment I have had a sad strange presentiment of evil at my heart.
Heaven grant my poor brother may make his appearance, as I still trust
he will, at the hour Halloway seems to expect, for if not, the latter
most assuredly dies. I know my father well; and, if convicted by a
court martial, no human power can alter the destiny that awaits Frank
Halloway."

"Rally, my dear Charles, rally," said Sir Everard, affecting a
confidence he did not feel himself; "indulge not in these idle and
superstitious fancies. I pity Halloway from my soul, and feel the
deepest interest in his pretty and unhappy wife; but that is no reason
why one should attach importance to the incoherent expressions wrung
from her in the agony of grief."

"It is kind of you, Valletort, to endeavour to cheer my spirits, when,
if the truth were confessed, you acknowledge the influence of the same
feelings. I thank you for the attempt, but time alone can show how far
I shall have reason, or otherwise, to lament the occurrences of this
night."

They had now reached that part of the ramparts whence the shot from Sir
Everard's rifle had been fired. Several men were occupied in digging a
grave in the precise spot on which the unfortunate Murphy had stood
when he received his death-wound; and into this, when completed, the
body, enshrouded in the cloak already alluded to, was deposited by his
companions.



CHAPTER IV.

While the adjutant was yet reading, in a low and solemn voice, the
service for the dead, a fierce and distant yell, as if from a legion of
devils, burst suddenly from the forest, and brought the hands of the
startled officers instinctively to their swords. This appalling cry
lasted, without interruption, for many minutes, and was then as
abruptly checked as it had been unexpectedly delivered. A considerable
pause succeeded, and then again it rose with even more startling
vehemence than before. By one unaccustomed to those devilish sounds, no
distinction could have been made in the two several yells that had been
thus savagely pealed forth; but those to whom practice and long
experience in the warlike habits and customs of the Indians had
rendered their shouts familiar, at once divined, or fancied they
divined, the cause. The first was, to their conception, a yell
expressive at once of vengeance and disappointment in pursuit,--perhaps
of some prisoner who had escaped from their toils; the second, of
triumph and success,--in all probability, indicative of the recapture
of that prisoner. For many minutes afterwards the officers continued to
listen, with the most aching attention, for a repetition of the cry, or
even fainter sounds, that might denote either a nearer approach to the
fort, or the final departure of the Indians. After the second yell,
however, the woods, in the heart of which it appeared to have been
uttered, were buried in as profound a silence as if they had never yet
echoed back the voice of man; and all at length became satisfied that
the Indians, having accomplished some particular purpose, had retired
once more to their distant encampments for the night. Captain Erskine
was the first who broke the almost breathless silence that prevailed
among themselves.

"On my life De Haldimar is a prisoner with the Indians. He has been
attempting his escape,--has been detected,--followed, and again fallen
into their hands. I know their infernal yells but too well. The last
expressed their savage joy at the capture of a prisoner; and there is
no one of us missing but De Haldimar."

"Not a doubt of it," said Captain Blessington; "the cry was certainly
what you describe it, and Heaven only knows what will be the fate of
our poor friend."

No other officer spoke, for all were oppressed by the weight of their
own feelings, and sought rather to give indulgence to speculation in
secret, than to share their impressions with their companions. Charles
de Haldimar stood a little in the rear, leaning his head upon his hand
against the box of the sentry, (who was silently, though anxiously,
pacing his walk,) and in an attitude expressive of the deepest
dejection and sorrow.

"I suppose I must finish Lawson's work, although I am but a poor hand
at this sort of thing," resumed Captain Erskine, taking up the prayer
book the adjutant had, in hastening on the first alarm to get the men
under arms, carelessly thrown on the grave of the now unconscious
Murphy.

He then commenced the service at the point where Mr. Lawson had so
abruptly broken off, and went through the remainder of the prayers. A
very few minutes sufficed for the performance of this solemn duty,
which was effected by the faint dim light of the at length dawning day,
and the men in attendance proceeded to fill up the grave of their
officer.

Gradually the mists, that had fallen during the latter hours of the
night, began to ascend from the common, and disperse themselves in air,
conveying the appearance of a rolling sheet of vapour retiring Back
upon itself, and disclosing objects in succession, until the eye could
embrace all that came within its extent of vision. As the officers yet
lingered near the rude grave of their companion, watching with
abstracted air the languid and almost mechanical action of their jaded
men, as they emptied shovel after shovel of the damp earth over the
body of its new tenant, they were suddenly startled by an expression of
exultation from Sir Everard Valletort.

"By Jupiter, I have pinked him," he exclaimed triumphantly. "I knew my
rifle could not err; and as for my sight, I have carried away too many
prizes in target-shooting to have been deceived in that. How delighted
the old governor will be, Charles, to hear this. No more lecturing, I
am sure, for the next six months at least;" and the young officer
rubbed his hands together, at the success of his shot, with as much
satisfaction and unconcern for the future, as if he had been in his own
native England; in the midst of a prize-ring.

Roused by the observation of his friend, De Haldimar quitted his
position near the sentry box, and advanced to the outer edge of the
rampart. To him, as to his companions, the outline of the old bomb
proof was now distinctly visible, but it was sometime before they could
discover, in the direction in which Valletort pointed, a dark speck
upon the common; and this so indistinctly, they could scarcely
distinguish it with the naked eye.

"Your sight is quite equal to your aim, Sir Everard," remarked
Lieutenant Johnstone, one of Erskine's subalterns, "and both are
decidedly superior to mine; yet I used to be thought a good rifleman
too, and have credit for an eye no less keen than that of an Indian.
You have the advantage of me, however; for I honestly admit I never
could have picked off yon fellow in the dark as you have done."

As the dawn increased, the dark shadow of a human form, stretched at
its length upon the ground, became perceptible; and the officers, with
one unanimous voice, bore loud testimony to the skill and dexterity of
him who had, under such extreme disadvantages, accomplished the death
of their skulking enemy.

"Bravo, Valletort," said Charles de Haldimar, recovering his spirits,
as much from the idea, now occurring to him, that this might indeed be
the stranger whose appearance had so greatly disturbed his father, as
from the gratification he felt in the praises bestowed on his friend.
"Bravo, my dear fellow;" then approaching, and in a half whisper, "when
next I write to Clara, I shall request her, with my cousin's
assistance, to prepare a chaplet of bays, wherewith I shall myself
crown you as their proxy. But what is the matter now, Valletort? Why
stand you there gazing upon the common, as if the victim of your
murderous aim was rising from his bloody couch, to reproach you with
his death? Tell me, shall I write to Clara for the prize, or will you
receive it from her own hands?"

"Bid her rather pour her curses on my head; and to those, De Haldimar,
add your own," exclaimed Sir Everard, at length raising himself from
the statue-like position he had assumed. "Almighty God," he pursued, in
the same tone of deep agony, "what have I done? Where, where shall I
hide myself?"

As he spoke he turned away from his companions, and covering his eyes
with his hand, with quick and unequal steps, even like those of a
drunken man, walked, or rather ran, along the rampart, as if fearful of
being overtaken.

The whole group of officers, and Charles de Haldimar in particular,
were struck with dismay at the language and action of Sir Everard; and
for a moment they fancied that fatigue, and watching, and excitement,
had partially affected his brain. But when, after the lapse of a minute
or two, they again looked out upon the common, the secret of his
agitation was too faithfully and too painfully explained.

What had at first the dusky and dingy hue of a half-naked Indian, was
now perceived, by the bright beams of light just gathering in the east,
to be the gay and striking uniform of a British officer. Doubt as to
who that officer was there could be none, for the white sword-belt
suspended over the right shoulder, and thrown into strong relief by the
field of scarlet on which it reposed, denoted the wearer of this
distinguishing badge of duty to be one of the guard.

To comprehend effectually the feelings of the officers, it would be
necessary that one should have been not merely a soldier, but a soldier
under the same circumstances. Surrounded on every hand by a fierce and
cruel enemy--prepared at every moment to witness scenes of barbarity
and bloodshed in their most appalling shapes--isolated from all society
beyond the gates of their own fortress, and by consequence reposing on
and regarding each other as vital links in the chain of their wild and
adventurous existence,--it can easily be understood with what sincere
and unaffected grief they lamented the sudden cutting off even of those
who least assimilated in spirit and character with themselves. Such, in
a great degree, had been the case in the instance of the officer over
whose grave they were now met to render the last offices of
companionship, if not of friendship. Indeed Murphy--a rude, vulgar, and
illiterate, though brave Irishman--having risen from the ranks, the
coarseness of which he had never been able to shake off, was little
calculated, either by habits or education, to awaken feelings, except
of the most ordinary description, in his favour; and he and Ensign
Delme were the only exceptions to those disinterested and tacit
friendships that had grown up out of circumstances in common among the
majority. If, therefore, they could regret the loss of such a companion
as Murphy, how deep and heartfelt must have been the sorrow they
experienced when they beheld the brave, generous, manly, amiable, and
highly-talented Frederick de Haldimar--the pride of the garrison, and
the idol of his family--lying extended, a cold, senseless corpse, slain
by the hand of the bosom friend of his own brother!--Notwithstanding
the stern severity and distance of the governor, whom few
circumstances, however critical or exciting, could surprise into
relaxation of his habitual stateliness, it would have been difficult to
name two young men more universally liked and esteemed by their brother
officers than were the De Haldimars--the first for the qualities
already named--the second, for those retiring, mild, winning manners,
and gentle affections, added to extreme and almost feminine beauty of
countenance for which he was remarkable. Alas, what a gloomy picture
was now exhibited to the minds of all!--Frederick de Haldimar a corpse,
and slain by the hand of Sir Everard Valletort! What but disunion could
follow this melancholy catastrophe? and how could Charles de Haldimar,
even if his bland nature should survive the shock, ever bear to look
again upon the man who had, however innocently or unintentionally,
deprived him of a brother whom he adored?

These were the impressions that passed through the minds of the
compassionating officers, as they directed their glance alternately
from the common to the pale and marble-like features of the younger De
Haldimar, who, with parted lips and stupid gaze, continued to fix his
eyes upon the inanimate form of his ill-fated brother, as if the very
faculty of life itself had been for a period suspended. At length,
however, while his companions watched in silence the mining workings of
that grief which they feared to interrupt by ill-timed observations,
even of condolence, the death-like hue, which had hitherto suffused the
usually blooming cheek of the young officer, was succeeded by a flush
of the deepest dye, while his eyes, swollen by the tide of blood now
rushing violently to his face, appeared to be bursting from their
sockets. The shock was more than his delicate frame, exhausted as it
was by watching and fatigue, could bear. He tottered, reeled, pressed
his hand upon his head, and before any one could render him assistance,
fell senseless on the ramparts.

During the interval between Sir Everard Valletort's exclamation, and
the fall of Charles de Haldimar, the men employed at the grave had
performed their duty, and were gazing with mingled astonishment and
concern, both on the body of their murdered officer, and on the dumb
scene acting around them. Two of these were now despatched for a
litter, with which they speedily re-appeared. On this Charles de
Haldimar, already delirious with the fever of intense excitement, was
carefully placed, and, followed by Captain Blessington and Lieutenant
Johnstone, borne to his apartment in the small range of buildings
constituting the officers' barracks. Captain Erskine undertook the
disagreeable office of communicating these distressing events to the
governor; and the remainder of the officers once more hastened to join
or linger near their respective companies, in readiness for the order
which it was expected would be given to despatch a numerous party of
the garrison to secure the body of Captain de Haldimar.



CHAPTER V.

The sun was just rising above the horizon, in all that peculiar
softness of splendour which characterises the early days of autumn in
America, as Captain Erskine led his company across the drawbridge that
communicated with the fort. It was the first time it had been lowered
since the investment of the garrison by the Indians; and as the dull
and rusty chains performed their service with a harsh and grating
sound, it seemed as if an earnest were given of melancholy boding.
Although the distance to be traversed was small, the risk the party
incurred was great; for it was probable the savages, ever on the alert,
would not suffer them to effect their object unmolested. It was perhaps
singular, and certainly contradictory, that an officer of the
acknowledged prudence and forethought ascribed to the
governor--qualities which in a great degree neutralised his excessive
severity in the eyes of his troops--should have hazarded the chance of
having his garrison enfeebled by the destruction of a part, if not of
the whole, of the company appointed to this dangerous duty; but with
all his severity, Colonel de Haldimar was not without strong affection
for his children. The feelings of the father, therefore, in a great
degree triumphed over the prudence of the commander; and to shield the
corpse of his son from the indignities which he well knew would be
inflicted on it by Indian barbarity, he had been induced to accede to
the earnest prayer of Captain Erskine, that he might be permitted to
lead out his company for the purpose of securing the body. Every means
were, however, taken to cover the advance, and ensure the retreat of
the detachment. The remainder of the troops were distributed along the
rear of the ramparts, with instructions to lie flat on their faces
until summoned by their officers from that position; which was to be
done only in the event of close pursuit from the savages. Artillerymen
were also stationed at the several guns that flanked the rear of the
fort, and necessarily commanded both the common and the outskirt of the
forest, with orders to fire with grape-shot at a given signal. Captain
Erskine's instructions were, moreover, if attacked, to retreat back
under the guns of the fort slowly and in good order, and without
turning his back upon the enemy.

Thus confident of support, the party, after traversing the drawbridge
with fixed bayonets, inclined to the right, and following the winding
of the ditch by which it was surrounded, made the semi-circuit of the
rampart until they gained the immediate centre of the rear, and in a
direct line with the bomb-proof. Here their mode of advance was
altered, to guard more effectually against the enemy with whom they
might possibly have to contend. The front and rear ranks of the
company, consisting in all of ninety men, were so placed as to leave
space in the event of attack, of a portion of each wheeling inwards so
as to present in an instant three equal faces of a square. As the rear
was sufficiently covered by the cannon of the fort to defeat any
attempt to turn their flanks, the manoeuvre was one that enabled them
to present a fuller front in whatever other quarter they might be
attacked; and had this additional advantage, that in the advance by
single files a narrower front was given to the aim of the Indians, who,
unless they fired in an oblique direction, could only, of necessity,
bring down two men (the leading files) at a time.

In this order, and anxiously overlooked by their comrades, whose eyes
alone peered from above the surface of the rampart on which they lay
prostrate, the detachment crossed the common; one rank headed by
Captain Erskine, the other by Lieutenant Johnstone. They had now
approached within a few yards of the unfortunate victim, when Captain
Erskine commanded a halt of his party; and two files were detached from
the rear of each rank, to place the body on a litter with which they
had provided themselves. He and Johnstone also moved in the same
direction in advance of the men, prepared to render assistance if
required. The corpse lay on its face, and in no way despoiled of any of
its glittering habiliments; a circumstance that too well confirmed the
fact of De Haldimar's death having been accomplished by the ball from
Sir Everard Valletort's rifle. It appeared, however, the ill-fated
officer had struggled much in the agonies of death; for the left leg
was drawn Up into an unnatural state of contraction, and the right
hand, closely compressed, grasped a quantity of grass and soil, which
had evidently been torn up in a paroxysm of suffering and despair.

The men placed the litter at the side of the body, which they now
proceeded to raise. As they were in the act of depositing it on this
temporary bier, the plumed hat fell from the head, and disclosed, to
the astonishment of all, the scalpless crown completely saturated in
its own clotted blood and oozing brains.

An exclamation of horror and disgust escaped at the same moment from
the lips of the two officers, and the men started back from their
charge as if a basilisk had suddenly appeared before them. Captain
Erskine pursued:--"What the devil is the meaning of all this,
Johnstone?"

"What, indeed!" rejoined his lieutenant, with a shrug of the shoulders,
that was intended to express his inability to form any opinion on the
subject.

"Unless it should prove," continued Erskine, "as I sincerely trust it
may, that poor Valletort is not, after all, the murderer of his friend.
It must be so. De Haldimar has been slain by the same Indian who killed
Murphy.--Do you recollect his scalp cry? He was in the act of
despoiling his victim of this trophy of success, when Sir Everard
fired. Examine the body well, Mitchell, and discover where the wound
lies."

The old soldier to whom this order was addressed now prepared, with the
assistance of his comrades, to turn the body upon its back, when
suddenly the air was rent with terrific yells, that seemed to be
uttered in their very ears, and in the next instant more than a hundred
dark and hideous savages sprang simultaneously to their feet within the
bomb-proof, while every tree along the skirt of the forest gave back
the towering form of a warrior. Each of these, in addition to his
rifle, was armed with all those destructive implements of warfare which
render the Indians of America so formidable and so terrible an enemy.

"Stand to your arms, men," shouted Captain Erskine, recovering from his
first and unavoidable, though but momentary, surprise. "First and
fourth sections, on your right and left backwards wheel:--Quick, men,
within the square, for your lives." As he spoke, he and Lieutenant
Johnstone sprang hastily back, and in time to obtain admittance within
the troops, who had rapidly executed the manoeuvre commanded. Not so
with Mitchell and his companions. On the first alarm they had quitted
the body of the mutilated officer, and flown to secure their arms, but
even while in the act of stooping to take them up, they had been
grappled by a powerful and vindictive foe; and the first thing they
beheld on regaining their upright position was a dusky Indian at the
side, and a gleaming tomahawk flashing rapidly round the head of each.

"Fire not, on your lives," exclaimed Captain Erskine hastily, as he saw
several of the men in front levelling, in the excitement of the moment,
their muskets at the threatening savages. "Prepare for attack," he
pursued; and in the next instant each man dropped on his right knee,
and a barrier of bristling bayonets seemed to rise from the very bowels
of the earth. Attracted by the novelty of the sight, the bold and
daring warriors, although still retaining their firm grasp of the
unhappy soldiers, were for a moment diverted from their bloody purpose,
and temporarily suspended the quick and rotatory motion of their
weapons. Captain Erskine took advantage of this pause to seize the
halbert of one of his sergeants, to the extreme point of which he
hastily attached a white pocket handkerchief, that was loosely thrust
into the breast of his uniform; this he waved on high three several
times, and then relinquishing the halbert, dropped also on his knee
within the square.

"The dog of a Saganaw asks for mercy," said a voice from within the
bomb-proof, and speaking in the dialect of the Ottawas. "His pale flag
bespeaks the quailing of his heart, and his attitude denotes the
timidity of the hind. His warriors are like himself, and even now upon
their knees they call upon their Manitou to preserve them from the
vengeance of the red-skins. But mercy is not for dogs like these. Now
is the time to make our tomahawks warm in their blood; and every head
that we count shall be a scalp upon our war poles."

As he ceased, one universal and portentous yell burst from the
fiend-like band; and again the weapons of death were fiercely
brandished around the heads of the stupified soldiers who had fallen
into their power.

"What can they be about?" anxiously exclaimed Captain Erskine, in the
midst of this deafening clamour, to his subaltern.--"Quiet, man; damn
you, quiet, or I'll cut you down," he pursued, addressing one of his
soldiers, whose impatience caused him to bring his musket half up to
the shoulder. And again he turned his head in the direction of the
fort:--"Thank God, here it comes at last,--I feared my signal had not
been noticed."

While he yet spoke, the loud roaring of a cannon from the ramparts was
heard, and a shower of grape-shot passed over the heads of the
detachment, and was seen tearing up the earth around the bomb-proof,
and scattering fragments of stone and wood into the air. The men
simultaneously and unbidden gave three cheers.

In an instant the scene was changed. As if moved by some mechanical
impulse, the fierce band that lined the bomb-proof sank below the
surface, and were no longer visible, while the warriors in the forest
again sought shelter behind the trees. The captured soldiers were also
liberated without injury, so sudden and startling had been the terror
produced in the savages by the lightning flash that announced its heavy
messengers of destruction. Discharge after discharge succeeded without
intermission; but the guns had been levelled so high, to prevent injury
to their own men, they had little other effect than to keep the Indians
from the attack. The rush of bullets through the close forest, and the
crashing of trees and branches as they fell with startling force upon
each other, were, with the peals of artillery, the only noises now to
be heard; for not a yell, not a word was uttered by the Indians after
the first discharge; and but for the certainty that existed in every
mind, it might have been supposed the whole of them had retired.

"Now is your time," cried Captain Erskine; "bring in the litter to the
rear, and stoop as much as possible to avoid the shot."

The poor half-strangled fellows, however, instead of obeying the order
of their captain, looked round in every direction for the enemy by whom
they had been so rudely handled, and who had glided from them almost as
imperceptibly and swiftly as they had first approached. It seemed as if
they apprehended that any attempt to remove the body would be visited
by those fierce devils with the same appalling and ferocious
threatenings.

"Why stand ye there, ye dolts," continued their captain, "looking
around as if ye were bewitched? Bring the litter in to the
rear.--Mitchell, you old fool, are you grown a coward in your age? Are
you not ashamed to set such an example to your comrades?"

The doubt thus implied of the courage of his men, who, in fact, were
merely stupified with the scene they had gone through, had, as Captain
Erskine expected, the desired effect. They now bent themselves to the
litter, on which they had previously deposited their muskets, and with
a self-possession that contrasted singularly with their recent air of
wild astonishment, bore it to the rear at the risk of being cut in two
at every moment by the fire from the fort.

One fierce yell, instinctively proffered by several of the lurking band
in the forest, marked their disappointment and rage at the escape of
their victims; but all attempt at uncovering themselves, so as to be
enabled to fire, was prevented by the additional showers of grape which
that yell immediately brought upon them.

The position in which Captain Erskine now found himself was highly
critical. Before him, and on either flank, was a multitude of savages,
who only awaited the cessation of the fire from the fort to commence
their fierce and impetuous attack. That that fire could not long be
sustained was evident, since ammunition could ill be spared for the
present inefficient purpose, where supplies of all kinds were so
difficult to be obtained; and, if he should attempt a retreat, the
upright position of his men exposed them to the risk of being swept
away by the ponderous metal, that already fanned their cheeks with the
air it so rapidly divided. Suddenly, however, the fire from the
batteries was discontinued, and this he knew to be a signal for
himself. He gave an order in a low voice, and the detachment quitted
their recumbent and defensive position, still remaining formed in
square. At the same instant, a gun flashed from the fort; but not as
before was heard the rushing sound of the destructive shot crushing the
trees in its resistless course. The Indians took courage at this
circumstance, for they deemed the bullets of their enemies were
expended; and that they were merely discharging their powder to keep up
the apprehension originally produced. Again they showed themselves,
like so many demons, from behind their lurking places; and yells and
shouts of the most terrific and threatening character once more rent
the air, and echoed through the woods. Their cries of anticipated
triumph were, however, but of short duration. Presently, a hissing
noise was heard in the air; and close to the bomb-proof, and at the
very skirt of the forest, they beheld a huge globe of iron fall
perpendicularly to the earth, to the outer part of which was attached
what they supposed to be a reed, that spat forth innumerable sparks of
fire, without however, seeming to threaten the slightest injury.
Attracted by the novel sight, a dozen warriors sprang to the spot, and
fastened their gaze upon it with all the childish wonder and curiosity
of men in a savage state. One, more eager and restless than his
fellows, stooped over it to feel with his hand of what it was composed.
At that moment it burst, and limbs, and head, and entrails, were seen
flying in the air, with the fragments of the shell, and prostrate and
struggling forms lay writhing on every hand in the last, fierce agonies
of death.

A yell of despair and a shout of triumph burst at the same moment from
the adverse parties. Taking advantage of the terror produced, by this
catastrophe, in the savages, Captain Erskine caused the men bearing the
corpse to retreat, with all possible expedition, under the ramparts of
the fort. He waited until they got nearly half way, and then threw
forward the wheeling sections, that had covered this movement, once
more into single file, in which order he commenced his retreat. Step by
step, and almost imperceptibly, the men paced backwards, ready, at a
moment's notice, to reform the square. Partly recovered from the terror
and surprise produced by the bursting of the shell, the Indians were
quick in perceiving this movement: filled with rage at having been so
long baulked of their aim, they threw themselves once more impetuously
from their cover; and, with stimulating yells, at length opened their
fire. Several of Captain Erskine's men were wounded by this discharge;
when, again, and furiously the cannon opened from the fort. It was then
that the superiority of the artillery was made manifest. Both right and
left of the retreating files the ponderous shot flew heavily past,
carrying death and terror to the Indians; while not a man of those who
intervened was scathed or touched in its progress. The warriors in the
forest were once more compelled to shelter themselves behind the trees;
but in the bomb-proof, where they were more secure, they were also more
bold. From this a galling fire, mingled with the most hideous yells,
was now kept up; and the detachment, in their slow retreat, suffered
considerably. Several men had been killed; and, about twenty, including
Lieutenant Johnstone, wounded, when again, one of those murderous
globes fell, hissing in the very centre of the bomb-proof. In an
instant, the Indian fire was discontinued; and their dark and pliant
forms were seen hurrying with almost incredible rapidity over the
dilapidated walls, and flying into the very heart of the forest, so
that when the shell exploded, a few seconds afterwards, not a warrior
was to be seen. From this moment the attack was not renewed, and
Captain Erskine made good his retreat without farther molestation.

"Well, old buffers!" exclaimed one of the leading files, as the
detachment, preceded by its dead and wounded, now moved along the moat
in the direction of the draw-bridge, "how did you like the grip of them
black savages?--I say, Mitchell, old Nick will scarcely know the face
of you, it's so much altered by fright.--Did you see," turning to the
man in his rear, "how harum-scarum he looked, when the captain called
out to him to come off?"

"Hold your clapper, you spooney, and be damned to you!" exclaimed the
angry veteran.--"Had the Ingian fastened his paw upon your ugly neck as
he did upon mine, all the pitiful life your mother ever put into you
would have been spirited away from very fear; so you needn't brag."

"Sure, and if any of ye had a grain of spunk, ye would have fired, and
freed a fellow from the clutch of them hell thieves," muttered another
of the men at the litter. "All the time, the devil had me by the
throat, swinging his tommyhawk about my head, I saw ye dancing up and
down in the heavens, instead of being on your marrow bones on the
common."

"And didn't I want to do it?" rejoined the first speaker. "Ask Tom
Winkler here, if the captain didn't swear he'd cut the soul out of my
body if I even offered so much as to touch the trigger of my musket."

"Faith, and lucky he did," replied his covering man (for the ranks had
again joined), "since but for that, there wouldn't be at this moment so
much as a hair of the scalp of one of you left."

"And how so, Mr. Wiseacre?" rejoined his comrade.

"How so! Because the first shot that we fired would have set the devils
upon them in right earnest--and then their top-knots wouldn't have been
worth a brass farthing. They would have been scalped before they could
say Jack Robinson."

"It was a hell of a risk," resumed another of the litter men, "to give
four men a chance of having their skull pieces cracked open like so
many egg-shells, and all to get possession of a dead officer."

"And sure, you beast," remarked a different voice in a tone of anger,
"the dead body of the brave captain was worth a dozen such rotten
carcasses with all the life in them. What matter would it be if ye had
all been scalped?" Then with a significant half glance to the rear,
which was brought up by their commander, on whose arm leaned the
slightly wounded Johnstone, "Take care the captain doesn't hear ye
prating after that fashion, Will Burford."

"By Jasus," said a good-humoured, quaint looking Irishman, who had been
fixing his eyes on the litter during this pithy and characteristic
colloquy; "it sames to me, my boys, that ye have caught the wrong cow
by the horns, and that all your pains has been for nothing at all, at
all. By the holy pope, ye are all wrong; it's like bringing salt butter
to Cork, or coals to your Newcastle, as ye call it. Who the divil ever
heard of the officer wearing ammunition shoes?"

The men all turned their gaze on that part of the vestment of the
corpse to which their attention had been directed by this remark, when
it was at once perceived, although it had hitherto escaped the
observation even of the officers, that, not only the shoes were those
usually worn by the soldiers, and termed ammunition or store shoes, but
also, the trowsers were of the description of coarse grey, peculiar to
that class.

"By the piper that played before Moses, and ye're right, Dick Doherty,"
exclaimed another Irishman; "sure, and it isn't the officer at all!
Just look at the great black fist of him too, and never call me Phil
Shehan, if it ever was made for the handling of an officer's spit."

"Well said, Shehan," observed the man who had so warmly reproved Will
Burford, and who had formerly been servant to De Haldimar; "the
captain's hand is as white and as soft as my cross-belt, or, what's
saying a great deal more, as Miss Clara's herself, heaven bless her
sweet countenance! and Lieutenant Valletort's nigger's couldn't well be
much blacker nor this."

"What a set of hignoramuses ye must be," grunted old Mitchell, "not to
see that the captain's hand is only covered with dirt; and as for the
ammunition shoes and trowsers, why you know our officers wear any thing
since we have been cooped up in this here fort."

"Yes, by the holy poker," (and here we must beg to refer the reader to
the soldier's vocabulary for any terms that may be, in the course of
this dialogue, incomprehensible to him or her,)--"Yes, by the holy
poker, off duty, if they like it," returned Phil Shehan; "but it isn't
even the colonel's own born son that dare to do so while officer of the
guard."

"Ye are right, comrade," said Burford; "there would soon be hell and
tommy to pay if he did."

At this point of their conversation, one of the leading men at the
litter, in turning to look at its subject, stumbled over the root of a
stump that lay in his way, and fell violently forward. The sudden
action destroyed the equilibrium of the corpse, which rolled off its
temporary bier upon the earth, and disclosed, for the first time, a
face begrimmed with masses of clotted blood, which had streamed forth
from the scalped brain during the night.

"It's the divil himself," said Phil Shehan, making the sign of the
cross, half in jest, half in earnest: "for it isn't the captin at all,
and who but the divil could have managed to clap on his rigimintals?"

"No, it's an Ingian," remarked Dick Burford, sagaciously; "it's an
Ingian that has killed the captain, and dressed himself in his clothes.
I thought he smelt strong, when I helped to pick him up."

"And that's the reason why the bloody heathens wouldn't let us carry
him off," said another of the litter men. "I thought they wouldn't ha'
made such a rout about the officer, when they had his scalp already in
their pouch-belts."

"What a set of prating fools ye are," interrupted the leading sergeant;
"who ever saw an Ingian with light hair? and sure this hair in the neck
is that of a Christian."

At that moment Captain Erskine, attracted by the sudden halt produced
by the falling of the body, came quickly up to the front.

"What is the meaning of all this, Cassidy?" he sternly demanded of the
sergeant; "why is this halt without my orders, and how comes the body
here?"

"Carter stumbled against a root, sir, and the body rolled over upon the
ground."

"And was the body to roll back again?" angrily rejoined his
captain.--"What mean ye, fellows, by standing there; quick, replace it
upon the litter, and mind this does not occur again."

"They say, sir," said the sergeant, respectfully, as the men proceeded
to their duty, "that it is not Captain de Haldimar after all, but an
Ingian."

"Not Captain de Haldimar! are ye all mad? and have the Indians, in
reality, turned your brains with fear?"

What, however, was his own surprise, and that of Lieutenant Johnstone,
when, on a closer examination of the corpse, which the men had now
placed with its face uppermost, they discovered the bewildering fact
that it was not, indeed, Captain de Haldimar who lay before them, but a
stranger, dressed in the uniform of that officer.

There was no time to solve, or even to dwell on the singular mystery;
for the Indians, though now retired, might be expected to rally and
renew the attack. Once more, therefore, the detachment moved forward;
the officers dropping as before to the rear, to watch any movements of
the enemy should he re-appear. Nothing, however, occurred to interrupt
their march; and in a few minutes the heavy clanking sound of the
chains of the drawbridge, as it was again raised by its strong pullies,
and the dull creaking sound of the rusty bolts and locks that secured
the ponderous gate, announced the detachment was once more safely
within the fort.

While the wounded men were being conveyed to the hospital, a group,
comprising almost all the officers of the garrison, hastened to meet
Captain Erskine and Lieutenant Johnstone. Congratulations on the escape
of the one, and compliments, rather than condolences, on the accident
of the other, which the arm en echarpe denoted to be slight, were
hastily and warmly proffered. These felicitations were the genuine
ebullitions of the hearts of men who really felt a pride, unmixed with
jealousy, in the conduct of their fellows; and so cool and excellent
had been the manner in which Captain Erskine had accomplished his
object, that it had claimed the undivided admiration of all who had
been spectators of the affair, and had, with the aid of their
telescopes, been enabled to follow the minutest movements of the
detachment.

"By heaven!" he at length replied, his chest swelling with gratified
pride at the warm and generous approval of his companions, "this more
than repays me for every risk. Yet, to be sincere, the credit is not
mine, but Wentworth's. But for you, my dear fellow," grasping and
shaking the hand of that officer, "we should have rendered but a
Flemish account of ourselves. How beautifully those guns covered our
retreat! and the first mortar that sent the howling devils flying in
air like so many Will-o'the-wisps, who placed that, Wentworth?"

"I did," replied the officer, with a quickness that denoted a natural
feeling of exultation; "but Bombardier Kitson's was the most effective.
It was his shell that drove the Indians finally out of the bomb-proof,
and left the coast clear for your retreat."

"Then Kitson, and his gunners also, merit our best thanks," pursued
Captain Erskine, whose spirits, now that his detachment was in safety,
were more than usually exhilarated by the exciting events of the last
hour; "and what will be more acceptable, perhaps, they shall each have
a glass of my best old Jamaica before they sleep,--and such stuff is
not to be met with every day in this wilderness of a country. But,
confound my stupid head! where are Charles de Haldimar and Sir Everard
Valletort?"

"Poor Charles is in a high fever, and confined to his bed," remarked
Captain Blessington, who now came up adding his congratulations in a
low tone, that marked the despondency of his heart; "and Sir Everard I
have just left on the rampart with the company, looking, as he well
may, the very image of despair."

"Run to them, Sumners, my dear boy," said Erskine, hastily addressing
himself to a young ensign who stood near him; "run quickly, and relieve
them of their error. Say it is not De Haldimar who has been killed,
therefore they need not make themselves any longer uneasy on that
score."

The officers gave a start of surprise. Sumners, however, hastened to
acquit himself of the pleasing task assigned him, without waiting to
hear the explanation of the singular declaration.

"Not De Haldimar!" eagerly and anxiously exclaimed Captain Blessington;
"who then have you brought to us in his uniform, which I clearly
distinguished from the rampart as you passed? Surely you would not
tamper with us at such a moment, Erskine?"

"Who it is, I know not more than Adam," rejoined the other; "unless,
indeed, it be the devil himself. All I do know, is, it is not our
friend De Haldimar; although, as you observe, he most certainly wears
his uniform. But you shall see and judge for yourselves, gentlemen.
Sergeant Cassidy," he enquired of that individual, who now came to ask
if the detachment was to be dismissed, "where have you placed the
litter?"

"Under the piazza of the guard-room, Sir," answered the sergeant.

These words had scarcely been uttered, when a general and hasty
movement of the officers, anxious to satisfy themselves by personal
observation it was not indeed De Haldimar who had fallen, took place in
the direction alluded to, and in the next moment they were at the side
of the litter.

A blanket had been thrown upon the corpse to conceal the loathsome
disfigurement of the face, over which masses of thick coagulated blood
were laid in patches and streaks, that set all recognition at defiance.
The formation of the head alone, which was round and short, denoted it
to be not De Haldimar's. Not a feature was left undefiled; and even the
eyes were so covered, it was impossible to say whether their lids were
closed or open. More than one officer's cheek paled with the sickness
that rose to his heart as he gazed on the hideous spectacle; yet, as
the curiosity of all was strongly excited to know who the murdered man
really was who had been so unaccountably inducted in the uniform of
their lost companion, they were resolved to satisfy themselves without
further delay. A basin of warm water and a sponge were procured from
the guard-room of Ensign Fortescue, who now joined them, and with these
Captain Blessington proceeded to remove the disguise.

In the course of this lavation, it was discovered the extraordinary
flow of blood and brains had been produced by the infliction of a deep
wound on the back of the head, by the sharp and ponderous tomahawk of
an Indian. It was the only blow that had been given; and the
circumstance of the deceased having been found lying on his face,
accounted for the quantity of gore, that, trickling downwards, had so
completely disguised every feature. As the coat of thick encrusted
matter gave way beneath the frequent application of the moistening
sponge, the pallid hue of the countenance denoted the murdered man to
be a white. All doubt, however, was soon at an end. The ammunition
shoes, the grey trowsers, the coarse linen, and the stiff leathern
stock encircling the neck, attested the sufferer to be a soldier of the
garrison; but it was not until the face had been completely denuded of
its unsightly covering, and every feature fully exposed, that that
soldier was at length recognised to be Harry Donellan, the trusty and
attached servant of Captain de Haldimar.

While yet the officers stood apart, gazing at the corpse, and forming a
variety of conjectures, as vague as they were unsatisfactory, in regard
to their new mystery, Sir Everard Valletort, pale and breathless with
the speed he had used, suddenly appeared among them.

"God of heaven! can it be true--and is it really not De Haldimar whom I
have shot?" wildly asked the agitated young man. "Who is this,
Erskine?" he continued, glancing at the litter. "Explain, for pity's
sake, and quickly."

"Compose yourself, my dear Valletort," replied the officer addressed.
"You see this is not De Haldimar, but his servant Donellan. Neither has
the latter met his death from your rifle; there is no mark of a bullet
about him. It was an Indian tomahawk that did his business; and I will
stake my head against a hickory nut the blow came from the same rascal
at whom you fired, and who gave back the shot and the scalp halloo."

This opinion was unanimously expressed by the remainder of the
officers. Sir Everard was almost as much overpowered by his joy, as he
had previously been overwhelmed by his despair, and he grasped and
shook the hand of Captain Erskine, who had thus been the means of
relieving his conscience, with an energy of gratitude and feeling that
almost drew tears from the eyes of that blunt but gallant officer.

"Thank God, thank God!" he fervently exclaimed: "I have not then even
the death of poor Donellan to answer for;" and hastening from the
guard-room, he pursued his course hurriedly and delightedly to the
barrack-room of his friend.



CHAPTER VI.

The hour fixed for the trial of the prisoner Halloway had now arrived,
and the officers composing the court were all met in the mess-room of
the garrison, surrounding a long table covered with green cloth, over
which were distributed pens, ink, and paper for taking minutes of the
evidence, and such notes of the proceedings as the several members
might deem necessary in the course of the trial. Captain Blessington
presided; and next him, on either hand, were the first in seniority,
the two junior occupying the lowest places. The demeanour of the
several officers, serious and befitting the duty they were met to
perform, was rendered more especially solemn from the presence of the
governor, who sat a little to the right of the president, and without
the circle, remained covered, and with his arms folded across his
chest. At a signal given by the president to the orderly in waiting,
that individual disappeared from the room, and soon afterwards Frank
Halloway, strongly ironed, as on the preceding night, was ushered in by
several files of the guard, under Ensign Fortescue himself.

The prisoner having been stationed a few paces on the left of the
president, that officer stood up to administer the customary oath. His
example was followed by the rest of the court, who now rose, and
extending each his right hand upon the prayer book, repeated, after the
president, the form of words prescribed by military law. They then,
after successively touching the sacred volume with their lips, once
more resumed their seats at the table.

The prosecutor was the Adjutant Lawson, who now handed over to the
president a paper, from which the latter officer read, in a clear and
distinct voice, the following charges, viz.--

"1st. For having on the night of the --th September 1763, while on duty
at the gate of the Fortress of Detroit, either admitted a stranger into
the garrison himself, or suffered him to obtain admission, without
giving the alarm, or using the means necessary to ensure his
apprehension, such conduct being treasonable, and in breach of the
articles of war.

"2d. For having been accessary to the abduction of Captain Frederick de
Haldimar and private Harry Donellan, the disappearance of whom from the
garrison can only be attributed to a secret understanding existing
between the prisoner and the enemy without the walls, such conduct
being treasonable, and in breach of the articles of war."

"Private Frank Halloway," continued Captain Blessington, after having
perused these two short but important charges, "you have heard what has
been preferred against you; what say you, therefore? Are you guilty, or
not guilty?"

"Not guilty," firmly and somewhat exultingly replied the prisoner,
laying his hand at the same time on his swelling heart.

"Stay, sir," sternly observed the governor, addressing the president;
"you have not read ALL the charges."

Captain Blessington took up the paper from the table, on which he had
carelessly thrown it, after reading the accusations above detailed, and
perceived, for the first time, that a portion had been doubled back.
His eye now glanced over a third charge, which had previously escaped
his attention.

"Prisoner," he pursued, after the lapse of a minute, "there is a third
charge against you, viz. for having, on the night of the --th Sept.
1763, suffered Captain De Haldimar to unclose the gate of the fortress,
and, accompanied by his servant, private Harry Donellan, to pass your
post without the sanction of the governor, such conduct being in direct
violation of a standing order of the garrison, and punishable with
death."

The prisoner started. "What!" he exclaimed, his cheek paling for the
first time with momentary apprehension; "is this voluntary confession
of my own to be turned into a charge that threatens my life? Colonel de
Haldimar, is the explanation which I gave you only this very hour, and
in private, to be made the public instrument of my condemnation? Am I
to die because I had not firmness to resist the prayer of my captain
and of your son, Colonel de Haldimar?"

The president looked towards the governor, but a significant motion of
the head was the only reply; he proceeded,--

"Prisoner Halloway, what plead you to this charge? Guilty, or not
guilty?"

"I see plainly," said Halloway, after the pause of a minute, during
which he appeared to be summoning all his energies to his aid; "I see
plainly that it is useless to strive against my fate. Captain de
Haldimar is not here, and I must die. Still I shall not have the
disgrace of dying as a traitor, though I own I have violated the orders
of the garrison."

"Prisoner," interrupted Captain Blessington, "whatever you may have to
urge, you had better reserve for your defence. Meanwhile, what answer
do you make to the last charge preferred?--Are you guilty, or not
guilty?"

"Guilty," said Halloway, in a tone of mingled pride and sorrow, "guilty
of having listened to the earnest prayer of my captain, and suffered
him, in violation of my orders, to pass my post. Of the other charges I
am innocent."

The court listened with the most profound attention and interest to the
words of the prisoner, and they glanced at each other in a manner that
marked their sense of the truth they attached to his declaration.

"Halloway, prisoner," resumed Captain Blessington, mildly, yet
impressively; "recollect the severe penalty which the third charge, no
less than the others, entails, and recall your admission. Be advised by
me," he pursued, observing his hesitation. "Withdraw your plea, then,
and substitute that of not guilty to the whole."

"Captain Blessington," returned the prisoner with deep emotion, "I feel
all the kindness of your motive; and if any thing can console me in my
present situation, it is the circumstance of having presiding at my
trial an officer so universally beloved by the whole corps. Still," and
again his voice acquired its wonted firmness, and his cheek glowed with
honest pride, "still, I say, I scorn to retract my words. Of the two
first charges I am as innocent as the babe unborn. To the last I plead
guilty; and vain would it be to say otherwise, since the gate was found
open while I was on duty, and I know the penalty attached to the
disobedience of orders."

After some further but ineffectual remonstrance on the part of the
president, the pleas of the prisoner were recorded, and the examination
commenced. Governor de Haldimar was the first witness.

That officer, having been sworn, stated, that on the preceding night he
had been intruded upon in his apartment by a stranger, who could have
obtained admission only through the gate of the fortress, by which also
he must have made good his escape. That it was evident the prisoner had
been in correspondence with their enemies; since, on proceeding to
examine the gate it had been found unlocked, while the confusion
manifested by him on being accused, satisfied all who were present of
the enormity of his guilt. Search had been made every where for the
keys, but without success.

The second charge was supported by presumptive evidence alone; for
although the governor swore to the disappearance of his son, and the
murder of his servant, and dwelt emphatically on the fact of their
having been forcibly carried off with the connivance of the prisoner,
still there was no other proof of this, than the deductions drawn from
the circumstances already detailed. To meet this difficulty, however,
the third charge had been framed.

In proof of this the governor stated, that the prisoner, on being
interrogated by him immediately subsequent to his being relieved from
his post, had evinced such confusion and hesitation, as to leave no
doubt whatever of his guilt; that, influenced by the half promise of
communication, which the court had heard as well as himself, he had
suffered the trial of the prisoner to be delayed until the present
hour, strongly hoping he might then be induced to reveal the share he
had borne in these unworthy and treasonable practices; that, with a
view to obtain this disclosure, so essential to the safety of the
garrison, he had, conjointly with Major Blackwater, visited the cell of
the prisoner, to whom he related the fact of the murder of Donellan, in
the disguise of his master's uniform, conjuring him, at the same time,
if he regarded his own life, and the safety of those who were most dear
to him, to give a clue to the solution of this mysterious circumstance,
and disclose the nature and extent of his connection with the enemy
without; that the prisoner however resolutely denied, as before, the
guilt imputed to him, but having had time to concoct a plausible story,
stated, (doubtless with a view to shield himself from the severe
punishment he well knew to be attached to his offence,) that Captain de
Haldimar himself had removed the keys from the guard-room, opened the
gate of the fortress, and accompanied by his servant, dressed in a
coloured coat, had sallied forth upon the common. "And this,"
emphatically pursued the governor, "the prisoner admits he permitted,
although well aware that, by an order of long standing for the security
of the garrison, such a fragrant dereliction of his duty subjected him
to the punishment of death."

Major Blackwater was the next witness examined. His testimony went to
prove the fact of the gate having been found open, and the confusion
manifested by the prisoner. It also substantiated that part of the
governor's evidence on the third charge, which related to the
confession recently made by Halloway, on which that charge had been
framed.

The sergeant of the guard, and the governor's orderly having severally
corroborated the first portions of Major Blackwater's evidence, the
examination on the part of the prosecution terminated; when the
president called on the prisoner Halloway for his defence. The latter,
in a clear, firm, and collected tone, and in terms that surprised his
auditory, thus addressed the Court:--

"Mr. President, and gentlemen,--Although, standing before you in the
capacity of a private soldier, and, oh! bitter and humiliating
reflection, in that most wretched and disgraceful of all situations, a
suspected traitor, I am not indeed what I seem to be. It is not for me
here to enter into the history of my past life; neither will I tarnish
the hitherto unsullied reputation of my family by disclosing my true
name. Suffice it to observe, I am a gentleman by birth; and although,
of late years, I have known all the hardships and privations attendant
on my fallen fortunes, I was once used to bask in the luxuries of
affluence, and to look upon those who now preside in judgment over me
as my equals. A marriage of affection,--a marriage with one who had
nothing but her own virtues and her own beauty to recommend her, drew
upon me the displeasure of my family, and the little I possessed,
independently of the pleasure of my relations, was soon dissipated. My
proud soul scorned all thought of supplication to those who had
originally spurned my wife from their presence; and yet my heart bled
for the privations of her who, alike respectable in family, was, both
from sex and the natural delicacy, of her frame, so far less
constituted to bear up against the frowns of adversity than myself. Our
extremity had now become great,--too great for human endurance; when,
through the medium of the public prints, I became acquainted with the
glorious action that had been fought in this country by the army under
General Wolfe. A new light burst suddenly upon my mind, and visions of
after prosperity constantly presented themselves to my view. The field
of honour was open before me, and there was a probability I might, by
good conduct, so far merit the approbation of my superiors, as to
obtain, in course of time, that rank among themselves to which by birth
and education I was so justly entitled to aspire. Without waiting to
consult my Ellen, whose opposition I feared to encounter until
opposition would be fruitless, I hastened to Lieutenant Walgrave, the
recruiting officer of the regiment,--tendered my services,--was
accepted and approved,--received the bounty money,--and became
definitively a soldier, under the assumed name of Frank Halloway.

"It would be tedious and impertinent, gentlemen," resumed the prisoner,
after a short pause, "to dwell on the humiliations of spirit to which
both my wife and myself were subjected at our first introduction to our
new associates, who, although invariably kind to us, were,
nevertheless, ill suited, both by education and habit, to awaken any
thing like congeniality of feeling or similarity of pursuit. Still we
endeavoured, as much as possible, to lessen the distance that existed
between us; and from the first moment of our joining the regiment,
determined to adopt the phraseology and manners of those with whom an
adverse destiny had so singularly connected us. In this we succeeded;
for no one, up to the present moment, has imagined either my wife or
myself to be other than the simple and unpretending Frank and Ellen
Halloway.

"On joining the regiment in this country," pursued the prisoner, after
another pause, marked by much emotion, "I had the good fortune to be
appointed to the grenadier company. Gentlemen, you all know the amiable
qualities of Captain de Haldimar. But although, unlike yourselves, I
have learnt to admire that officer only at a distance, my devotion to
his interests has been proportioned to the kindness with which I have
ever been treated by him; and may I not add, after this avowal of my
former condition, my most fervent desire has all along been to seize
the first favourable opportunity of performing some action that would
eventually elevate me to a position in which I might, without blushing
for the absence of the ennobling qualities of birth and condition, avow
myself his friend, and solicit that distinction from my equal which was
partially extended to me by my superior? The opportunity I sought was
not long wanting. At the memorable affair with the French general,
Levi, at Quebec, in which our regiment bore so conspicuous a part, I
had the good fortune to save the life of my captain. A band of Indians,
as you all, gentlemen, must recollect, had approached our right flank
unperceived, and while busily engaged with the French in front, we were
compelled to divide our fire between them and our new and fierce
assailants. The leader of that band was a French officer, who seemed
particularly to direct his attempts against the life of Captain de
Haldimar. He was a man of powerful proportions and gigantic stature--"

"Hold!" said the governor, starting suddenly from the seat in which he
had listened with evident impatience to this long outline of the
prisoner's history. "Gentlemen," addressing the court, "that is the
very stranger who was in my apartment last night,--the being with whom
the prisoner is evidently in treacherous correspondence, and all this
absurd tale is but a blind to deceive your judgment, and mitigate his
own punishment. Who is there to prove the man he has just described was
the same who aimed at Captain de Haldimar's life at Quebec?"

A flush of deep indignation overspread the features of the prisoner,
whose high spirit, now he had avowed his true origin, could ill brook
the affront thus put upon his veracity.

"Colonel de Haldimar!" he proudly replied, while his chains clanked
with the energy and force with which he drew up his person into an
attitude of striking dignity; "for once I sink the private soldier, and
address you in the character of the gentleman and your equal. I have a
soul, Sir, notwithstanding my fallen fortunes, as keenly alive to
honour as your own; and not even to save my wretched life, would I be
guilty of the baseness you now attribute to me. You have asked," he
pursued, in a more solemn tone, "what proof I have to show this
individual to be the same who attempted the life of Captain de
Haldimar. To Captain de Haldimar himself, should Providence have spared
his days, I shall leave the melancholy task of bearing witness to all I
here advance, when I shall be no more. Nay, Sir," and his look partook
at once of mingled scorn and despondency, "well do I know the fate that
awaits me; for in these proceedings--in that third charge--I plainly
read my death-warrant. But what, save my poor and wretched wife, have I
to regret? Colonel de Haldimar," he continued, with a vehemence meant
to check the growing weakness which the thought of his unfortunate
companion called up to his heart, "I saved the life of your son, even
by your own admission, no matter whose the arm that threatened his
existence; and in every other action in which I have been engaged,
honourable mention has ever been made of my conduct. Now, Sir, I ask
what has been my reward? So far from attending to the repeated
recommendations of my captain for promotion, even in a subordinate
rank, have you once deemed it necessary to acknowledge my services by
even a recognition of them in any way whatever?"

"Mr. President, Captain Blessington," interrupted the governor,
haughtily, "are we met here to listen to such language from a private
soldier? You will do well, Sir, to exercise your prerogative, and stay
such impertinent matter, which can have no reference whatever to the
defence of the prisoner."

"Prisoner," resumed the president, who, as well as the other members of
the court, had listened with the most profound and absorbing interest
to the singular disclosure of him whom they still only knew as Frank
Halloway, "this language cannot be permitted; you must confine yourself
to your defence."

"Pardon me, gentlemen," returned Halloway, in his usual firm but
respectful tone of voice; "pardon me, if, standing on the brink of the
grave as I do, I have so far forgotten the rules of military discipline
as to sink for a moment the soldier in the gentleman; but to be taxed
with an unworthy fabrication, and to be treated with contumely when
avowing the secret of my condition, was more than human pride and human
feeling could tolerate."

"Confine yourself, prisoner, to your defence," again remarked Captain
Blessington, perceiving the restlessness with which the governor
listened to these bold and additional observations of Halloway.

Again the governor interposed:--"What possible connexion can there be
between this man's life, and the crime with which he stands charged?
Captain Blessington, this is trifling with the court, who are assembled
to try the prisoner for his treason, and not to waste their time in
listening to a history utterly foreign to the subject."

"The history of my past life--Colonel de Haldimar," proudly returned
the prisoner, "although tedious and uninteresting to you, is of the
utmost importance to myself; for on that do I ground the most essential
part of my defence. There is nothing but circumstantial evidence
against me on the two first charges; and as those alone can reflect
dishonour on my memory, it is for the wisdom of this court to determine
whether that evidence is to be credited in opposition to the solemn
declaration of him, who, in admitting one charge, equally affecting his
life with the others, repudiates as foul those only which would attaint
his honour. Gentlemen," he pursued, addressing the court, "it is for
you to determine whether my defence is to be continued or not; yet,
whatever be my fate, I would fain remove all injurious impression from
the minds of my judges; and this can only be done by a simple detail of
circumstances, which may, by the unprejudiced, be as simply believed."

Here the prisoner paused: when, after some low and earnest conversation
among the members of the court, two or three slips of written paper
were passed to the President. He glanced his eye hurriedly over them,
and then directed Halloway to proceed with his defence.

"I have stated," pursued the interesting soldier, "that the officer who
led the band of Indians was a man of gigantic stature, and of
apparently great strength. My attention was particularly directed to
him from this circumstance, and as I was on the extreme flank of the
grenadiers, and close to Captain de Haldimar, had every opportunity of
observing his movements principally pointed at that officer. He first
discharged a carbine, the ball of which killed a man of the company at
his (Captain de Haldimar's) side; and then, with evident rage at having
been defeated in his aim, he took a pistol from his belt, and advancing
with rapid strides to within a few paces of his intended victim,
presented it in the most deliberate manner. At that moment, gentlemen,
(and it was but the work of a moment,) a thousand confused and almost
inexplicable feelings rose to my heart. The occasion I had long sought
was at length within my reach; but even the personal considerations,
which had hitherto influenced my mind, were sunk in the anxious desire
I entertained to preserve the life of an officer so universally
beloved, and so every way worthy of the sacrifice. While yet the pistol
remained levelled, I sprang before Captain de Haldimar, received the
ball in my breast, and had just strength sufficient to fire my musket
at this formidable enemy when I sank senseless to the earth.

"It will not be difficult for you, gentlemen, who have feeling minds,
to understand the pleasurable pride with which, on being conveyed to
Captain de Haldimar's own apartments in Quebec, I found myself almost
overwhelmed by the touching marks of gratitude showered on me by his
amiable relatives. Miss Clara de Haldimar, in particular, like a
ministering angel, visited my couch of suffering at almost every hour,
and always provided with some little delicacy, suitable to my
condition, of which I had long since tutored myself to forget even the
use. But what principally afforded me pleasure, was to remark the
consolations which she tendered to my poor drooping Ellen, who, already
more than half subdued by the melancholy change in our condition in
life, frequently spent hours together in silent grief at the side of my
couch, and watching every change in my countenance with all the intense
anxiety of one who feels the last stay on earth is about to be severed
for ever. Ah! how I then longed to disclose to this kind and
compassionating being the true position of her on whom she lavished her
attention, and to make her known, not as the inferior honored by her
notice, but as the equal alike worthy of her friendship and deserving
of her esteem; but the wide, wide barrier that divided the wife of the
private soldier from the daughter and sister of the commissioned
officer sealed my lips, and our true condition continued unrevealed.

"Gentlemen," resumed Halloway, after a short pause, "if I dwell on
these circumstances, it is with a view to show how vile are the charges
preferred against me. Is it likely, with all the incentives to good
conduct I have named, I should have proved a traitor to my country?
And, even if so, what to gain, I would ask; and by what means was a
correspondence with the enemy to be maintained by one in my humble
station? As for the second charge, how infamous, how injurious is it to
my reputation, how unworthy to be entertained! From the moment of my
recovery from that severe wound, every mark of favour that could be
bestowed on persons in our situation had been extended to my wife and
myself, by the family of Colonel de Haldimar; and my captain, knowing
me merely as the simple and low born Frank Halloway, although still the
preserver of his life, has been unceasing in his exertions to obtain
such promotion as he thought my conduct generally, independently of my
devotedness to his person, might claim. How these applications were
met, gentlemen, I have already stated; but notwithstanding Colonel de
Haldimar has never deemed me worthy of the promotion solicited, that
circumstance could in no way weaken my regard and attachment for him
who had so often demanded it. How then, in the name of heaven, can a
charge so improbable, so extravagant, as that of having been
instrumental in the abduction of Captain de Haldimar, be entertained?
and who is there among you, gentlemen, who will for one moment believe
I could harbour a thought so absurd as that of lending myself to the
destruction of one for whom I once cheerfully offered up the sacrifice
of my blood? And now," pursued the prisoner, after another short pause,
"I come to the third charge,--that charge which most affects my life,
but impugns neither my honour nor my fidelity. That God, before whom I
know I shall shortly appear, can attest the sincerity of my statement,
and before him do I now solemnly declare what I am about to relate is
true.

"Soon after the commencement of my watch last night, I heard a voice
distinctly on the outside of the rampart, near my post, calling in a
low and subdued tone on the name of Captain de Haldimar. The accents,
hastily and anxiously uttered, were apparently those of a female. For a
moment I continued irresolute how to act, and hesitated whether or not
I should alarm the garrison; but, at length, presuming it was some
young female of the village with whom my captain was acquainted, it
occurred to me the most prudent course would be to apprize that officer
himself. While I yet hesitated whether to leave my post for a moment
for the purpose, a man crossed the parade a few yards in my front; it
was Captain de Haldimar's servant, Donellan, then in the act of
carrying some things from his master's apartment to the guard-room. I
called to him, to say the sentinel at the gate wished to see the
captain of the guard immediately. In the course of a few minutes he
came up to my post, when I told him what I had heard. At that moment,
the voice again repeated his name, when he abruptly left me and turned
to the left of the gate, evidently on his way to the rampart. Soon
afterwards I heard Captain de Haldimar immediately above me, sharply
calling out 'Hist, hist!' as if the person on the outside, despairing
of success, was in the act of retreating. A moment or two of silence
succeeded, when a low conversation ensued between the parties. The
distance was so great I could only distinguish inarticulate sounds; yet
it seemed to me as if they spoke not in English, but in the language of
the Ottawa Indians, a tongue with which, as you are well aware,
gentlemen, Captain de Haldimar is familiar. This had continued about
ten minutes, when I again heard footsteps hastily descending the
rampart, and moving in the direction of the guard-house. Soon
afterwards Captain de Haldimar re-appeared at my post, accompanied by
his servant Donellan; the former had the keys of the gate in his hand,
and he told me that he must pass to the skirt of the forest on some
business of the last importance to the safety of the garrison.

"At first I peremptorily refused, stating the severe penalty attached
to the infringement of an order, the observation of which had so
especially been insisted upon by the governor, whose permission,
however, I ventured respectfully to urge might, without difficulty, be
obtained, if the business was really of the importance he described it.
Captain de Haldimar, however, declared he well knew the governor would
not accord that permission, unless he was positively acquainted with
the nature and extent of the danger to be apprehended; and of these, he
said, he was not himself sufficiently aware. All argument of this
nature proving ineffectual, he attempted to enforce his authority, not
only in his capacity of officer of the guard, but also as my captain,
ordering me, on pain of confinement, not to interfere with or attempt
to impede his departure. This, however, produced no better result; for
I knew that, in this instance, I was amenable to the order of the
governor alone, and I again firmly refused to violate my duty.

"Finding himself thwarted in his attempt to enforce my obedience,
Captain de Haldimar, who seemed much agitated and annoyed by what he
termed my obstinacy, now descended to entreaty; and in the name of that
life which I had preserved to him, and of that deep gratitude which he
had ever since borne to me, conjured me not to prevent his departure.
'Halloway,' he urged, 'your life, my life, my father's life,--the life
of my sister Clara perhaps, who nursed you in illness, and who has ever
treated your wife with attention and kindness,--all these depend upon
your compliance with my request. 'Hear me,' he pursued, following up
the impression which he clearly perceived he had produced in me by this
singular and touching language: 'I promise to be back within the hour;
there is no danger attending my departure, and here will I be before
you are relieved from your post; no one can know I have been absent,
and your secret will remain with Donellan and myself. Do you think,' he
concluded, 'I would encourage a soldier of my regiment to disobey a
standing order of the garrison, unless there was some very
extraordinary reason for my so doing? But there is no time to be lost
in parley. Halloway! I entreat you to offer no further opposition to my
departure. I pledge myself to be back before you are relieved.'"

"Gentlemen," impressively continued the prisoner, after a pause, during
which each member of the court seemed to breathe for the first time, so
deeply had the attention of all been riveted by the latter part of this
singular declaration, "how, under these circumstances, could I be
expected to act? Assured by Captain de Haldimar, in the most solemn
manner, that the existence of those most dear to his heart hung on my
compliance with his request, how could I refuse to him, whose life I
had saved, and whose character I so much esteemed, a boon so earnestly,
nay, so imploringly solicited? I acceded to his prayer, intimating, at
the same time, if he returned not before another sentinel should
relieve me, the discovery of my breach of duty must be made, and my
punishment inevitable. His last words, however, were to assure me he
should return at the hour he had named, and when I closed the gate upon
him it was under the firm impression his absence would only prove of
the temporary nature he had stated.--Gentlemen," abruptly concluded
Halloway, "I have nothing further to add; if I have failed in my duty
as a soldier, I have, at least, fulfilled that of a man; and although
the violation of the first entail upon me the punishment of death, the
motives which impelled me to that violation will not, I trust, be
utterly lost sight of by those by whom my punishment is to be awarded."

The candid, fearless, and manly tone in which Halloway had delivered
this long and singular statement, however little the governor appeared
to be affected by it, evidently made a deep impression on the court,
who had listened with undiverted attention to the close. Some
conversation again ensued, in a low tone, among several members, when
two slips of written paper were passed up, as before, to the president.
These elicited the following interrogatories:--

"You have stated, prisoner, that Captain de Haldimar left the fort
accompanied by his servant Donellan. How were they respectively
dressed?"

"Captain de Haldimar in his uniform; Donellan, as far as I could
observe, in his regimental clothing also, with this difference, that he
wore his servant's round glazed hat and his grey great coat."

"How then do you account for the extraordinary circumstance of Donellan
having been found murdered in his master's clothes? Was any allusion
made to a change of dress before they left the fort?"

"Not the slightest," returned the prisoner; "nor can I in any way
account for this mysterious fact. When they quitted the garrison, each
wore the dress I have described."

"In what manner did Captain de Haldimar and Donellan effect their
passage across the ditch?" continued the president, after glancing at
the second slip of paper. "The draw-bridge was evidently not lowered,
and there were no other means at hand to enable him to effect his
object with promptitude. How do you explain this, prisoner?"

When this question was put, the whole body of officers, and the
governor especially, turned their eyes simultaneously on Halloway, for
on his hesitation or promptness in replying seemed to attach much of
the credit they were disposed to accord his statement. Halloway
observed it, and coloured. His reply, however, was free, unfaltering,
and unstudied.

"A rope with which Donellan had provided himself, was secured to one of
the iron hooks that support the pullies immediately above the gate.
With this they swung themselves in succession to the opposite bank."

The members of the court looked at each other, apparently glad that an
answer so confirmatory of the truth of the prisoner's statement, had
been thus readily given.

"Were they to have returned in the same manner?" pursued the president,
framing his interrogatory from the contents of another slip of paper,
which, at the suggestion of the governor, had been passed to him by the
prosecutor, Mr. Lawson.

"They were," firmly replied the prisoner. "At least I presumed they
were, for, I believe in the hurry of Captain de Haldimar's departure,
he never once made any direct allusion to the manner of his return; nor
did it occur to me until this moment how they were to regain possession
of the rope, without assistance from within."

"Of course," observed Colonel de Haldimar, addressing the president,
"the rope still remains. Mr. Lawson, examine the gate, and report
accordingly."

The adjutant hastened to acquit himself of this laconic order, and soon
afterwards returned, stating not only that there was no rope, but that
the hook alluded to had disappeared altogether.

For a moment the cheek of the prisoner paled; but it was evidently less
from any fear connected with his individual existence, than from the
shame he felt at having been detected in a supposed falsehood. He
however speedily recovered his self-possession, and exhibited the same
character of unconcern by which his general bearing throughout the
trial had been distinguished.

On this announcement of the adjutant, the governor betrayed a movement
of impatience, that was meant to convey his utter disbelief of the
whole of the prisoner's statement, and his look seemed to express to
the court it should also arrive, and without hesitation, at the same
conclusion. Even all authoritative as he was, however, he felt that
military etiquette and strict discipline prevented his interfering
further in this advanced state of the proceedings.

"Prisoner," again remarked Captain Blessington, "your statement in
regard to the means employed by Captain de Haldimar in effecting his
departure, is, you must admit, unsupported by appearances. How happens
it the rope is no longer where you say it was placed? No one could have
removed it but yourself. Have you done so? and if so, can you produce
it, or say where it is to be found?"

"Captain Blessington," replied Halloway, proudly, yet respectfully, "I
have already invoked that great Being, before whose tribunal I am so
shortly to appear, in testimony of the truth of my assertion; and
again, in his presence, do I repeat, every word I have uttered is true.
I did not remove the rope, neither do I know what is become of it. I
admit its disappearance is extraordinary, but a moment's reflection
must satisfy the court I would not have devised a tale, the falsehood
of which could at once have been detected on an examination such as
that which has just been instituted. When Mr. Lawson left this room
just now, I fully expected he would have found the rope lying as it had
been left. What has become of it, I repeat, I know not; but in the
manner I have stated did Captain de Haldimar and Donellan cross the
ditch. I have nothing further to add," he concluded once more, drawing
up his fine tall person, the native elegance of which could not be
wholly disguised even in the dress of a private soldier; "nothing
further to disclose. Yet do I repel with scorn the injurious
insinuation against my fidelity, suggested in these doubts. I am
prepared to meet my death as best may become a soldier, and, let me
add, as best may become a proud and well born gentleman; but humanity
and common justice should at least be accorded to my memory. I am an
unfortunate man, but no traitor."

The members were visibly impressed by the last sentences of the
prisoner. No further question however was asked, and he was again
removed by the escort, who had been wondering spectators of the scene,
to the cell he had so recently occupied. The room was then cleared of
the witnesses and strangers, the latter comprising nearly the whole of
the officers off duty, when the court proceeded to deliberate on the
evidence, and pass sentence on the accused.



CHAPTER VII.

Although the young and sensitive De Haldimar had found physical relief
in the summary means resorted to by the surgeon, the moral wound at his
heart not only remained unsoothed, but was rendered more acutely
painful by the wretched reflections, which, now that he had full
leisure to review the past, and anticipate the future in all the gloom
attached to both, so violently assailed him. From the moment when his
brother's strange and mysterious disappearance had been communicated by
the adjutant in the manner we have already seen, his spirits had been
deeply and fearfully depressed. Still he had every reason to expect,
from the well-known character of Halloway, the strong hope expressed by
the latter might be realised; and that, at the hour appointed for
trial, his brother would be present to explain the cause of his
mysterious absence, justify the conduct of his subordinate, and
exonerate him from the treachery with which he now stood charged. Yet,
powerful as this hope was, it was unavoidably qualified by dispiriting
doubt; for a nature affectionate and bland, as that of Charles de
Haldimar, could not but harbour distrust, while a shadow of
uncertainty, in regard to the fate of a brother so tenderly loved,
remained. He had forced himself to believe as much as possible what he
wished, and the effort had, to a certain extent succeeded; but there
had been something so solemn and so impressive in the scene that had
passed when the prisoner was first brought up for trial, something so
fearfully prophetic in the wild language of his unhappy wife, he had
found it impossible to resist the influence of the almost superstitious
awe they had awakened in his heart.

What the feelings of the young officer were subsequently, when in the
person of the murdered man on the common, the victim of Sir Everard
Valletort's aim, he recognised that brother, whose disappearance had
occasioned him so much inquietude, we shall not attempt to describe:
their nature is best shown in the effect they produced--the almost
overwhelming agony of body and mind, which had borne him, like a
stricken plant, unresisting to the earth. But now that, in the calm and
solitude of his chamber, he had leisure to review the fearful events
conspiring to produce this extremity, his anguish of spirit was even
deeper than when the first rude shock of conviction had flashed upon
his understanding. A tide of suffering, that overpowered, without
rendering him sensible of its positive and abstract character, had, in
the first instance, oppressed his faculties, and obscured his
perception; but now, slow, sure, stinging, and gradually succeeding
each other, came every bitter thought and reflection of which that tide
was composed; and the generous heart of Charles de Haldimar was a prey
to feelings that would have wrung the soul, and wounded the
sensibilities of one far less gentle and susceptible than himself.

Between Sir Everard Valletort and Charles de Haldimar, who, it has
already been remarked, were lieutenants in Captain Blessington's
company, a sentiment of friendship had been suffered to spring up
almost from the moment of Sir Everard's joining. The young men were
nearly of the same age; and although the one was all gentleness, the
other all spirit and vivacity, not a shade of disunion had at any
period intervened to interrupt the almost brotherly attachment
subsisting between them, and each felt the disposition of the other was
the one most assimilated to his own. In fact, Sir Everard was far from
being the ephemeral character he was often willing to appear. Under a
semblance of affectation, and much assumed levity of manner, never,
however, personally offensive, he concealed a brave, generous, warm,
and manly heart, and talents becoming the rank he held in society, such
as would not have reflected discredit on one numbering twice his years.
He had entered the army, as most young men of rank usually did at that
period, rather for the agremens it held forth, than with any serious
view to advancement in it as a profession. Still he entertained the
praiseworthy desire of being something more than what is, among
military men, emphatically termed a feather-bed soldier; and, contrary
to the wishes of his fashionable mother, who would have preferred
seeing him exhibit his uniform in the drawing-rooms of London, had
purchased the step into his present corps from a cavalry regiment at
home. Not that we mean, however, to assert he was not a feather-bed
soldier in its more literal sense: no man that ever glittered in gold
and scarlet was fonder of a feather-bed than the young baronet; and, in
fact, his own observations, recorded in the early part of this volume,
sufficiently prove his predilection for an indulgence which, we take
it, in no way impugned his character as a soldier. Sir Everard would
have fought twenty battles in the course of the month, if necessary,
and yet not complained of the fatigue or severity of his service,
provided only he had been suffered to press his downy couch to what is
termed a decent hour in the day. But he had an innate and, perhaps, it
may be, an instinctive horror of drills and early rising; a pastime in
which the martinets and disciplinarians of the last century were very
much given to indulge. He frequently upheld an opinion that must have
been little less than treason in the eyes of a commander so strict as
Colonel de Haldimar, that an officer who rose at eight, with all his
faculties refreshed and invigorated, might evince as much of the true
bearing of the soldier in the field, as he who, having quitted his
couch at dawn, naturally felt the necessity of repose at a moment when
activity and exertion were most required.

We need scarcely state, Sir Everard's theories on this important
subject were seldom reduced to practice; for, even long before the
Indians had broken out into open acts of hostility, when such
precautions were rendered indispensable, Colonel de Haldimar had never
suffered either officer or man to linger on his pillow after the first
faint dawn had appeared. This was a system to which Sir Everard could
never reconcile himself. He had quitted England with a view to active
service abroad, it is true, but he had never taken "active service" in
its present literal sense, and, as he frequently declared to his
companions, he preferred giving an Indian warrior a chance for his
scalp any hour after breakfast, to rising at daybreak, when, from very
stupefaction, he seldom knew whether he stood on his head or his heels.
"If the men must be drilled," he urged, "with a view to their health
and discipline, why not place them under the direction of the adjutant
or the officer of the day, whoever he might chance to be, and not
unnecessarily disturb a body of gentlemen from their comfortable
slumbers at that unconscionable hour?" Poor Sir Everard! this was the
only grievance of which he complained, and he complained bitterly.
Scarcely a morning passed without his inveighing loudly against the
barbarity of such a custom; threatening at the same time, amid the
laughter of his companions, to quit the service in disgust at what he
called so ungentlemanly and gothic a habit. All he waited for, he
protested, was to have an opportunity of bearing away the spoils of
some Indian chief, that, on his return to England, he might afford his
lady mother an opportunity of judging with her own eyes of the sort of
enemy he had relinquished the comforts of home to contend against, and
exhibiting to her very dear friends the barbarous proofs of the prowess
of her son. Though these observations were usually made half in jest
half in earnest, there was no reason to doubt the young and lively
baronet was, in truth, heartily tired of a service which seemed to
offer nothing but privations and annoyances, unmixed with even the
chances of obtaining those trophies to which he alluded; and, but for
two motives, there is every probability he would have seriously availed
himself of the earliest opportunity of retiring. The first of these was
his growing friendship for the amiable and gentle Charles de Haldimar;
the second the secret, and scarcely to himself acknowledged, interest
which had been created in his heart for his sister Clara; whom he only
knew from the glowing descriptions of his friend, and the strong
resemblance she was said to bear to him by the other officers.

Clara de Haldimar was the constant theme of her younger brother's
praise. Her image was ever uppermost in his thoughts--her name ever
hovering on his lips; and when alone with his friend Valletort, it was
his delight to dwell on the worth and accomplishments of his amiable
and beloved sister. Then, indeed, would his usually calm blue eye
sparkle with the animation of his subject, while his colouring cheek
marked all the warmth and sincerity with which he bore attestation to
her gentleness and her goodness. The heart of Charles de Haldimar,
soldier as he was, was pure, generous, and unsophisticated as that of
the sister whom he so constantly eulogized; and, while listening to his
eloquent praises, Sir Everard learnt to feel an interest in a being
whom all had declared to be the counterpart of her brother, as well in
personal attraction as in singleness of nature. With all his affected
levity, and notwithstanding his early initiation into fashionable
life--that matter-of-fact life which strikes at the existence of our
earlier and dearer illusions--there was a dash of romance in the
character of the young baronet which tended much to increase the
pleasure he always took in the warm descriptions of his friend. The
very circumstance of her being personally unknown to him, was, with Sir
Everard, an additional motive for interest in Miss de Haldimar.

Imagination and mystery generally work their way together; and as there
was a shade of mystery attached to Sir Everard's very ignorance of the
person of one whom he admired and esteemed from report alone,
imagination was not slow to improve the opportunity, and to endow the
object with characteristics, which perhaps a more intimate knowledge of
the party might have led him to qualify. In this manner, in early
youth, are the silken and willing fetters of the generous and the
enthusiastic forged. We invest some object, whose praises, whispered
secretly in the ear, have glided imperceptibly to the heart, with all
the attributes supplied by our own vivid and readily according
imaginations; and so accustomed do we become to linger on the picture,
we adore the semblance with an ardour which the original often fails to
excite. When, however, the high standard of our fancy's fair creation
is attained, we worship as something sacred that which was to our
hearts a source of pure and absorbing interest, hallowed by the very
secrecy in which such interest was indulged. Even where it fails, so
unwilling are we to lose sight of the illusion to which our thoughts
have fondly clung, so loth to destroy the identity of the semblance
with its original, that we throw a veil over that reason which is then
so little in unison with our wishes, and forgive much in consideration
of the very mystery which first gave a direction to our interest, and
subsequently chained our preference. How is it to be lamented, that
illusions so dear, and images so fanciful, should find their level with
time; or that intercourse with the world, which should be the means
rather of promoting than marring human happiness, should leave on the
heart so little vestige of those impressions which characterize the
fervency of youth; and which, dispassionately considered, constitute
the only true felicity of riper life! It is then that man, in all the
vigour and capacity of his intellectual nature, feels the sentiment of
love upon him in all its ennobling force. It is then that his impetuous
feelings, untinged by the romance which imposes its check upon the more
youthful, like the wild flow of the mighty torrent, seeks a channel
wherein they may empty themselves; and were he to follow the guidance
of those feelings, of which in that riper life he seems ashamed as of a
weakness unworthy his sex, in the warm and glowing bosom of Nature's
divinity--WOMAN--would he pour forth the swollen tide of his affection;
and acknowledge, in the fullness of his expanding heart, the vast
bounty of Providence, who had bestowed on him so invaluable--so
unspeakably invaluable, a blessing.--But no; in the pursuit of
ambition, in the acquisition of wealth, in the thirst after power, and
the craving after distinction, nay, nineteen times out of twenty, in
the most frivolous occupations, the most unsatisfactory amusements, do
the great mass of the maturer man sink those feelings; divested of
which, we become mere plodders on the earth, mere creatures of
materialism: nor is it until after age and infirmity have overtaken
them, they look back with regret to that real and substantial, but
unenjoyed happiness, which the occupied heart and the soul's communion
alone can bestow. Then indeed, when too late, are they ready to
acknowledge the futility of those pursuits, the inadequacy of those
mere ephemeral pleasures, to which in the full meridian of their
manhood they sacrificed, as a thing unworthy of their dignity, the
mysterious charm of woman's influence and woman's beauty.

We do not mean to say Clara de Haldimar would have fallen short of the
high estimate formed of her worth by the friend of her brother; neither
is it to be understood, Sir Everard suffered this fair vision of his
fancy to lead him into the wild and labyrinthian paths of boyish
romance; but certain it is, the floating illusions, conjured up by his
imagination, exercised a mysterious influence over his heart, that
hourly acquired a deeper and less equivocal character. It might have
been curiosity in the first instance, or that mere repose of the fancy
upon an object of its own creation, which was natural to a young man
placed like himself for the moment out of the pale of all female
society. It has been remarked, and justly, there is nothing so
dangerous to the peace of the human heart as solitude. It is in
solitude, our thoughts, taking their colouring from our feelings,
invest themselves with the power of multiplying ideal beauty, until we
become in a measure tenants of a world of our own creation, from which
we never descend, without loathing and disgust, into the dull and
matter-of-fact routine of actual existence. Hence the misery of the
imaginative man!--hence his little sympathy with the mass, who, tame
and soulless, look upon life and the things of life, not through the
refining medium of ideality, but through the grossly magnifying optics
of mere sense and materialism.

But, though we could, and perhaps may, at some future period, write
volumes on this subject, we return for the present from a digression
into which we have been insensibly led by the temporary excitement of
our own feelings.

Whatever were the impressions of the young baronet, and however he
might have been inclined to suffer the fair image of the gentle Clara,
such as he was perhaps wont to paint it, to exercise its spell upon his
fancy, certain it is, he never expressed to her brother more than that
esteem and interest which it was but natural he should accord to the
sister of his friend. Neither had Charles de Haldimar, even amid all
his warmth of commendation, ever made the slightest allusion to his
sister, that could be construed into a desire she should awaken any
unusual or extraordinary sentiment of preference. Much and fervently as
he desired such an event, there was an innate sense of decorum, and it
may be secret pride, that caused him to abstain from any observation
having the remotest tendency to compromise the spotless delicacy of his
adored sister; and such he would have considered any expression of his
own hopes and wishes, where no declaration of preference had been
previously made. There was another motive for this reserve on the part
of the young officer. The baronet was an only child, and would, on
attaining his majority, of which he wanted only a few months, become
the possessor of a large fortune. His sister Clara, on the contrary,
had little beyond her own fair fame and the beauty transmitted to her
by the mother she had lost. Colonel de Haldimar was a younger son, and
had made his way through life with his sword, and an unblemished
reputation alone,--advantages he had shared with his children, for the
two eldest of whom his interest and long services had procured
commissions in his own regiment.

But even while Charles de Haldimar abstained from all expression of his
hopes, he had fully made up his mind that Sir Everard and his sister
were so formed for each other, it was next to an impossibility they
could meet without loving. In one of his letters to the latter, he had
alluded to his friend in terms of so high and earnest panegyric, that
Clara had acknowledged, in reply, she was prepared to find in the young
baronet one whom she should regard with partiality, if it were only on
account of the friendship subsisting between him and her brother. This
admission, however, was communicated in confidence, and the young
officer had religiously preserved his sister's secret.

These and fifty other recollections now crowded on the mind of the
sufferer, only to render the intensity of his anguish more complete;
among the bitterest of which was the certainty that the mysterious
events of the past night had raised up an insuperable barrier to this
union; for how could Clara de Haldimar become the wife of him whose
hands were, however innocently, stained with the life-blood of her
brother! To dwell on this, and the loss of that brother, was little
short of madness, and yet De Haldimar could think of nothing else; nor
for a period could the loud booming of the cannon from the ramparts,
every report of which shook his chamber to its very foundations, call
off his attention from a subject which, while it pained, engrossed
every faculty and absorbed every thought. At length, towards the close,
he called faintly to the old and faithful soldier, who, at the foot of
the bed, stood watching every change of his master's countenance, to
know the cause of the cannonade. On being informed the batteries in the
rear were covering the retreat of Captain Erskine, who, in his attempt
to obtain the body, had been surprised by the Indians, a new direction
was temporarily given to his thoughts, and he now manifested the utmost
impatience to know the result.

In a few minutes Morrison, who, in defiance of the surgeon's strict
order not on any account to quit the room, had flown to obtain some
intelligence which he trusted might remove the anxiety of his suffering
master, again made his appearance, stating the corpse was already
secured, and close under the guns of the fort, beneath which the
detachment, though hotly assailed from the forest, were also fast
retreating.

"And is it really my brother, Morrison? Are you quite certain that it
is Captain de Haldimar?" asked the young officer, in the eager accents
of one who, with the fullest conviction on his mind, yet grasps at the
faintest shadow of a consoling doubt. "Tell me that it is not my
brother, and half of what I possess in the world shall be yours."

The old soldier brushed a tear from his eye. "God bless you, Mr. de
Haldimar, I would give half my grey hairs to be able to do so; but it
is, indeed, too truly the captain who has been killed. I saw the very
wings of his regimentals as he lay on his face on the litter."

Charles de Haldimar groaned aloud. "Oh God! oh God! would I had never
lived to see this day." Then springing suddenly up in his
bed.--"Morrison, where are my clothes? I insist on seeing my
slaughtered brother myself."

"Good Heaven, sir, consider," said the old man approaching the bed, and
attempting to replace the covering which had been spurned to its very
foot,--"consider you are in a burning fever, and the slightest cold may
kill you altogether. The doctor's orders are, you were on no account to
get up."

The effort made by the unfortunate youth was momentary. Faint from the
blood he had lost, and giddy from the excitement of his feelings, he
sank back exhausted on his pillow, and wept like a child.

Old Morrison shed tears also; for his heart bled for the sufferings of
one whom he had nursed and played with even in early infancy, and whom,
although his master, he regarded with the affection he would have borne
to his own child. As he had justly observed, he would have willingly
given half his remaining years to be able to remove the source of the
sorrow which so deeply oppressed him.

When this violent paroxysm had somewhat subsided, De Haldimar became
more composed; but his was rather that composure which grows out of the
apathy produced by overwhelming grief, than the result of any relief
afforded to his suffering heart by the tears he had shed. He had
continued some time in this faint and apparently tranquil state, when
confused sounds in the barrack-yard, followed by the raising of the
heavy drawbridge, announced the return of the detachment. Again he
started up in his bed and demanded his clothes, declaring his intention
to go out and receive the corpse of his murdered brother. All
opposition on the part of the faithful Morrison was now likely to prove
fruitless, when suddenly the door opened, and an officer burst
hurriedly into the room.

"Courage! courage! my dear De Haldimar; I am the bearer of good news.
Your brother is not the person who has been slain."

Again De Haldimar sank back upon his pillow, overcome by a variety of
conflicting emotions. A moment afterwards, and he exclaimed
reproachfully, yet almost gasping with the eagerness of his manner,--

"For God's sake, Sumners--in the name of common humanity, do not trifle
with my feelings. If you would seek to lull me with false hopes, you
are wrong. I am prepared to hear and bear the worst at present; but to
be undeceived again would break my heart."

"I swear to you by every thing I have been taught to revere as sacred,"
solemnly returned Ensign Sumners, deeply touched by the affliction he
witnessed, "what I state is strictly true. Captain Erskine himself sent
me to tell you."

"What, is he only wounded then?" and a glow of mingled hope and
satisfaction was visible even through the flush of previous excitement
on the cheek of the sufferer. "Quick, Morrison, give me my
clothes.--Where is my brother, Sumners?" and again he raised up his
debilitated frame with the intention of quitting his couch.

"De Haldimar, my dear De Haldimar, compose yourself, and listen to me.
Your brother is still missing, and we are as much in the dark about his
fate as ever. All that is certain is, we have no positive knowledge of
his death; but surely that is a thousand times preferable to the horrid
apprehensions under which we have all hitherto laboured."

"What mean you, Sumners? or am I so bewildered by my sufferings as not
to comprehend you clearly?--Nay, nay, forgive me; but I am almost
heart-broken at this loss, and scarcely know what I say. But what is it
you mean? I saw my unhappy brother lying on the common with my own
eyes. Poor Valletort, himself--" here a rush of bitter recollections
flashed on the memory of the young man, and the tears coursed each
other rapidly down his cheek. His emotion lasted for a few moments, and
he pursued,--"Poor Valletort himself saw him, for he was nearly as much
overwhelmed with affliction as I was; and even Morrison beheld him
also, not ten minutes since, under the very walls of the fort; nay,
distinguished the wings of his uniform: and yet you would persuade me
my brother, instead of being brought in a corpse, is still missing and
alive. This is little better than trifling with my wretchedness,
Sumners," and again he sank back exhausted on his pillow.

"I can easily forgive your doubts, De Haldimar," returned the
sympathizing Sumners, taking the hand of his companion, and pressing it
gently in his own; "for, in truth, there is a great deal of mystery
attached to the whole affair. I have not seen the body myself; but I
distinctly heard Captain Erskine state it certainly was not your
brother, and he requested me to apprise both Sir Everard Valletort and
yourself of the fact."

"Who is the murdered man, then? and how comes he to be clad in the
uniform of one of our officers? Pshaw! it is too absurd to be credited.
Erskine is mistaken--he must be mistaken--it can be no other than my
poor brother Frederick. Sumners, I am sick, faint, with this cruel
uncertainty: go, my dear fellow, at once, and examine the body; then
return to me, and satisfy my doubts, if possible."

"Most willingly, if you desire it," returned Sumners, moving towards
the door; "but believe me, De Haldimar, you may make your mind tranquil
on the subject;--Erskine spoke with certainty."

"Have you seen Valletort?" asked De Haldimar, while an involuntary
shudder pervaded his fame.

"I have. He flew on the instant to make further enquiries; and was in
the act of going to examine the body of the murdered man when I came
here.--But here he is himself, and his countenance is the harbinger of
any thing but a denial of my intelligence."

"Oh, Charles, what a weight of misery has been removed from my heart!"
exclaimed that officer, now rushing to the bedside of his friend, and
seizing his extended hand,--"Your brother, let us hope, still lives."

"Almighty God, I thank thee!" fervently ejaculated De Haldimar; and
then, overcome with joy, surprise, and gratitude, he again sank back
upon his pillow, sobbing and weeping violently.

Sumners had, with delicate tact, retired the moment Sir Everard made
his appearance; for he, as well as the whole body of officers, was
aware of the close friendship that subsisted between the young men, and
he felt, at such a moment, the presence of a third person must be a
sort of violation of the sacredness of their interview.

For some minutes the young baronet stood watching in silence, and with
his friend's hand closely clasped in his own, the course of those tears
which seemed to afford so much relief to the overcharged heart of the
sufferer. At length they passed gradually away; and a smile, expressive
of the altered state of his feelings, for the first time animated the
flushed but handsome features of the younger De Haldimar.

We shall not attempt to paint all that passed between the friends
during the first interesting moments of an interview which neither had
expected to enjoy again, or the delight and satisfaction with which
they congratulated themselves on the futility of those fears, which, if
realised, must have embittered every future moment of their lives with
the most harrowing recollections. Sir Everard, particularly, felt, and
was not slow to express, his joy on this occasion; for, as he gazed
upon the countenance of his friend, he was more than ever inclined to
confess an interest in the sister he was said so much to resemble.

With that facility with which in youth the generous and susceptible are
prone to exchange their tears for smiles, as some powerful motive for
the reaction may prompt, the invalid had already, and for the moment,
lost sight of the painful past in the pleasurable present, so that his
actual excitement was strongly in contrast with the melancholy he had
so recently exhibited. Never had Charles de Haldimar appeared so
eminently handsome; and yet his beauty resembled that of a frail and
delicate woman, rather than that of one called to the manly and arduous
profession of a soldier. It was that delicate and Medor-like beauty
which might have won the heart and fascinated the sense of a second
Angelica. The light brown hair flowing in thick and natural waves over
a high white forehead; the rich bloom of the transparent and downy
cheek; the large, blue, long, dark-lashed eye, in which a shade of
languor harmonised with the soft but animated expression of the whole
countenance,--the dimpled mouth,--the small, clear, and even
teeth,--all these now characterised Charles de Haldimar; and if to
these we add a voice rich, full, and melodious, and a smile sweet and
fascinating, we shall be at no loss to account for the readiness with
which Sir Everard suffered his imagination to draw on the brother for
those attributes he ascribed to the sister.

It was while this impression was strong upon his fancy, he took
occasion to remark, in reply to an observation of De Haldimar's,
alluding to the despair with which his sister would have been seized,
had she known one brother had fallen by the hand of the friend of the
other.

"The grief of my own heart, Charles, on this occasion, would have been
little inferior to her own. The truth is, my feelings during the last
three hours have let me into a secret, of the existence of which I was,
in a great degree, ignorant until then: I scarcely know how to express
myself, for the communication is so truly absurd and romantic you will
not credit it." He paused, hesitated, and then, as if determined to
anticipate the ridicule he seemed to feel would be attached to his
confession, with a forced half laugh pursued: "The fact is, Charles, I
have been so much used to listen to your warm and eloquent praises of
your sister, I have absolutely, I will not say fallen in love with
(that would be going too far), but conceived so strong an interest in
her, that my most ardent desire would be to find favour in her eyes.
What say you, my friend? are you inclined to forward my suit; and if
so, is there any chance for me, think you, with herself?"

The breast of Charles de Haldimar, who had listened with deep and
increasing attention to this avowal, swelled high with pleasurable
excitement, and raising himself up in his bed with one hand, while he
grasped one of Sir Everard's with the other, he exclaimed with a
transport of affection too forcible to be controlled,--

"Oh, Valletort, Valletort! this is, indeed, all that was wanting to
complete my happiness. My sister Clara I adore with all the affection
of my nature; I love her better than my own life, which is wrapped up
in hers. She is an angel in disposition,--all that is dear, tender, and
affectionate,--all that is gentle and lovely in woman; one whose
welfare is dearer far to me than my own, and without whose presence I
could not live. Valletort, that prize,--that treasure, that dearer half
of myself, is yours,--yours for ever. I have long wished you should
love, each other, and I felt, when you met, you would. If I have
hitherto forborne from expressing this fondest wish of my heart, it has
been from delicacy--from a natural fear of compromising the purity of
my adored Clara. Now, however, you have confessed yourself interested,
by a description that falls far short of the true peril of that dear
girl, I can no longer disguise my gratification and delight.
Valletort," he concluded, impressively, "there is no other man on earth
to whom I would say so much; but you were formed for each other, and
you will, you must, be the husband of my sister."

If the youthful and affectionate De Haldimar was happy, Sir Everard was
no less so; for already, with the enthusiasm of a young man of twenty,
he painted to himself the entire fruition of those dreams of happiness
that had so long been familiarised to his imagination. One doubt alone
crossed his mind.

"But if your sister should have decided differently, Charles," he at
length remarked, as he gently quitted the embrace of his friend: "who
knows if her heart may not already throb for another; and even if not,
it is possible she may judge me far less flatteringly than you do."

"Valletort, your fears are groundless. Having admitted thus far, I will
even go farther, and add, you have been the subject of one of my
letters to Clara, who, in her turn, 'confesses a strong interest in one
of whom she has heard so much.' She writes playfully, of course, but it
is quite evident to me she is prepared to like you."

"Indeed! But, Charles, liking is many degrees removed you know from
loving; besides, I understand there are two or three handsome and
accomplished fellows among the garrison of Michilimackinac, and your
sister's visit to her cousin may not have been paid altogether with
impunity."

"Think not thus meanly of Clara's understanding, Valletort. There must
be something more than mere beauty and accomplishment to fix the heart
of my sister. The dark eyed and elegant Baynton, and the musical and
sonnetteering Middleton, to whom you, doubtless, allude, are very
excellent fellows in their way; but handsome and accomplished as they
are, they are not exactly the men to please Clara de Haldimar."

"But, my dear Charles, you forget also any little merit of my own is
doubly enhanced in your eyes, by the sincerity of the friendship
subsisting between us; your sister may think very differently."

"Psha, Valletort! these difficulties are all of your own creation,"
returned his friend, impatiently; "I know the heart of Clara is
disengaged. What would you more?"

"Enough, De Haldimar; I will no longer doubt my own prospects. If she
but approve me, my whole life shall be devoted to the happiness of your
sister."

A single knock was now heard at the door of the apartment; it was
opened, and a sergeant appeared at the entrance.

"The company are under arms for punishment parade, Lieutenant
Valletort," said the man, touching his cap.

In an instant, the visionary prospects of the young men gave place to
the stern realities connected with that announcement of punishment. The
treason of Halloway,--the absence of Frederick de Haldimar,--the
dangers by which they were beset,--and the little present probability
of a re-union with those who were most dear to them,--all these
recollections now flashed across their minds with the rapidity of
thought; and the conversation that had so recently passed between them
seemed to leave no other impression than what is produced from some
visionary speculation of the moment.



CHAPTER VIII.

As the bells of the fort tolled the tenth hour of morning, the groups
of dispersed soldiery, warned by the rolling of the assembly drum, once
more fell into their respective ranks in the order described in the
opening of this volume, Soon afterwards the prisoner Halloway was
reconducted into the square by a strong escort, who took their stations
as before in the immediate centre, where the former stood principally
conspicuous to the observation of his comrades. His countenance was
paler, and had less, perhaps, of the indifference he had previously
manifested; but to supply this there was a certain subdued air of calm
dignity, and a composure that sprang, doubtless, from the consciousness
of the new character in which he now appeared before his superiors.
Colonel de Haldimar almost immediately followed, and with him were the
principal staff of the garrison, all of whom, with the exception of the
sick and wounded and their attendants, were present to a man. The
former took from the hands of the governor, Lawson, a large packet,
consisting of several sheets of folded paper closely written upon.
These were the proceedings of the court martial.

After enumerating the several charges, and detailing the evidence of
the witnesses examined, the adjutant came at length to the finding and
sentence of the court, which were as follows:--


"The court having duly considered the evidence adduced against the
prisoner private Frank Halloway, together with what he has urged in his
defence, are of opinion,--"

"That with regard to the first charge, it is not proved."

"That with regard to the second charge, it is not proved."

"That with regard to the third charge, even by his own voluntary
confession, the prisoner is guilty."

"The court having found the prisoner private Frank Halloway guilty of
the third charge preferred against him, which is hi direct violation of
a standing order of the garrison, entailing capital punishment, do
hereby sentence him, the said prisoner, private Frank Halloway, to be
shot to death at such time and place as the officer commanding may deem
fit to appoint."

Although the utmost order pervaded the ranks, every breath had been
suspended, every ear stretched during the reading of the sentence; and
now that it came arrayed in terror and in blood, every glance was
turned in pity on its unhappy victim. But Halloway heard it with the
ears of one who has made up his mind to suffer; and the faint half
smile that played upon his lip spoke more in scorn than in sorrow.
Colonel de Haldimar pursued:--

"The court having found it imperatively incumbent on them to award the
punishment of death to the prisoner, private Frank Halloway, at the
same time gladly avail themselves of their privilege by strongly
recommending him to mercy. The court cannot, in justice to the
character of the prisoner, refrain from expressing their unanimous
conviction, that notwithstanding the mysterious circumstances which
have led to his confinement and trial, he is entirely innocent of the
treachery ascribed to him. The court have founded this conviction on
the excellent character, both on duty and in the field, hitherto borne
by the prisoner,--his well-known attachment to the officer with whose
abduction be stands charged,--and the manly, open, and (as the court
are satisfied) correct history given of his former life. It is,
moreover, the impression of the court, that, as stated by the prisoner,
his guilt on the third charge has been the result only of his
attachment for Captain de Haldimar. And for this, and the reasons above
assigned, do they strongly recommend the prisoner to mercy."

   (Signed)

   NOEL BLESSINGTON,
      Captain and President.

   Sentence approved and confirmed.

   CHARLES DE HALDIMAR,
      Colonel Commandant.


While these concluding remarks of the court were being read, the
prisoner manifested the deepest emotion. If a smile of scorn had
previously played upon his lip, it was because he fancied the court,
before whom he had sought to vindicate his fame, had judged him with a
severity not inferior to his colonel's; but now that, in the presence
of his companions, he heard the flattering attestation of his services,
coupled even as it was with the sentence that condemned him to die,
tears of gratitude and pleasure rose despite of himself to his eyes;
and it required all his self-command to enable him to abstain from
giving expression to his feelings towards those who had so generously
interpreted the motives of his dereliction from duty. But when the
melancholy and startling fact of the approval and confirmation of the
sentence met his ear, without the slightest allusion to that mercy
which had been so urgently recommended, he again overcame his weakness,
and exhibited his wonted air of calm and unconcern.

"Let the prisoner be removed, Mr. Lawson," ordered the governor, whose
stern and somewhat dissatisfied expression of countenance was the only
comment on the recommendation for mercy.

The order was promptly executed. Once more Halloway left the square,
and was reconducted to the cell he had occupied since the preceding
night.

"Major Blackwater," pursued the governor, "let a detachment consisting
of one half the garrison be got in readiness to leave the fort within
the hour. Captain Wentworth, three pieces of field artillery will be
required. Let them be got ready also." He then retired from the area
with the forbidding dignity and stately haughtiness of manner that was
habitual to him; while the officers, who had just received his
commands, prepared to fulfil the respective duties assigned them.

Since the first alarm of the garrison no opportunity had hitherto been
afforded the officers to snatch the slightest refreshment. Advantage
was now taken of the short interval allowed by the governor, and they
all repaired to the mess-room, where their breakfast had long since
been provided.

"Well, Blessington," remarked Captain Erskine, as he filled his plate
for the third time from a large haunch of smoke-dried venison, for
which his recent skirmish with the Indians had given him an unusual
relish, "so it appears your recommendation of poor Halloway to mercy is
little likely to be attended to. Did you remark how displeased the
colonel looked as he bungled through it? One might almost be tempted to
think he had an interest in the man's death, so determined does he
appear to carry his point."

Although several of his companions, perhaps, felt and thought the same,
still there was no one who would have ventured to avow his real
sentiments in so unqualified a manner. Indeed such an observation
proceeding from the lips of any other officer would have excited the
utmost surprise; but Captain Erskine, a brave, bold, frank, and
somewhat thoughtless soldier, was one of those beings who are
privileged to say any thing. His opinions were usually expressed
without ceremony; and his speech was not the most circumspect NOW, as
since his return to the fort he had swallowed, fasting, two or three
glasses of a favourite spirit, which, without intoxicating, had greatly
excited him.

"I remarked enough," said Captain Blessington, who sat leaning his head
on one hand, while with the other he occasionally, and almost
mechanically, raised a cup filled with a liquid of a pale blood colour
to his lips,--"quite enough to make me regret from my very soul I
should have been his principal judge. Poor Halloway, I pity him much;
for, on my honour, I believe him to be the gentleman he represents
himself."

"A finer fellow does not live," remarked the last remaining officer of
the grenadiers. "But surely Colonel de Haldimar cannot mean to carry
the sentence into effect. The recommendation of a court, couched in
such terms as these, ought alone to have some weight with him."

"It is quite clear, from the fact of his having been remanded to his
cell, the execution of the poor fellow will be deferred at least,"
observed one of Captain Erskine's subalterns. "If the governor had
intended he should suffer immediately, he would have had him shot the
moment after his sentence was read. But what is the meaning and object
of this new sortie? and whither are we now going? Do you know, Captain
Erskine, our company is again ordered for this duty?"

"Know it, Leslie! of course I do; and for that reason am I paying my
court to the more substantial part of the breakfast. Come, Blessington,
my dear fellow, you have quite lost your appetite, and we may have
sharp work before we get back. Follow my example: throw that nasty
blood-thickening sassafras away, and lay a foundation from this
venison. None sweeter is to be found in the forests of America. A few
slices of that, and then a glass each of my best Jamaica, and we shall
have strength to go through the expedition, if its object be the
capture of the bold Ponteac himself."

"I presume the object is rather to seek for Captain de Haldimar," said
Lieutenant Boyce, the officer of grenadiers; "but in that case why not
send out his own company?"

"Because the Colonel prefers trusting to cooler heads and more
experienced arms," good-humouredly observed Captain Erskine.
"Blessington is our senior, and his men are all old stagers. My lads,
too, have had their mettle up already this morning, and there is
nothing like that to prepare men for a dash of enterprise. It is with
them as with blood horses, the more you put them on their speed the
less anxious are they to quit the course. Well, Johnstone, my brave
Scot, ready for another skirmish?" he asked, as that officer now
entered to satisfy the cravings of an appetite little inferior to that
of his captain.

"With 'Nunquam non paratus' for my motto," gaily returned the young
man, "it were odd, indeed, if a mere scratch like this should prevent
me from establishing my claim to it by following wherever my gallant
captain leads."

"Most courteously spoken, and little in the spirit of a man yet
smarting under the infliction of a rifle wound, it must be confessed,"
remarked Lieutenant Leslie. "But, Johnstone, you should bear in mind a
too close adherence to that motto has been, in some degree, fatal to
your family."

"No reflections, Leslie, if you please," returned his brother
subaltern, slightly reddening. "If the head of our family was
unfortunate enough to be considered a traitor to England, he was not
so, at least, to Scotland; and Scotland was the land of his birth. But
let his political errors be forgotten. Though the winged spur no longer
adorn the booted heel of an Earl of Annandale, the time may not be far
distant when some liberal and popular monarch of England shall restore
a title forfeited neither through cowardice nor dishonour, but from an
erroneous sense of duty."

"That is to say," muttered Ensign Delme, looking round for approval as
he spoke, "that our present king is neither liberal nor popular. Well,
Mr. Johnstone, were such an observation to reach the ears of Colonel de
Haldimar you would stand a very fair chance of being brought to a court
martial."

"That is to say nothing of the kind, sir," somewhat fiercely retorted
the young Scot; "but any thing I do say you are at liberty to repeat to
Colonel de Haldimar, or whom you will. I cannot understand, Leslie, why
you should have made any allusion to the misfortunes of my family at
this particular moment, and in this public manner. I trust it was not
with a view to offend me;" and he fixed his large black eyes upon his
brother subaltern, as if he would have read every thought of his mind.

"Upon my honour, Johnstone, I meant nothing of the kind," frankly
returned Leslie. "I merely meant to hint that as you had had your share
of service this morning, you might, at least, have suffered me to
borrow your spurs, while you reposed for the present on your laurels."

"There are my gay and gallant Scots," exclaimed Captain Erskine, as he
swallowed off a glass of the old Jamaica which lay before him, and with
which he usually neutralised the acidities of a meat breakfast,
"Settled like gentlemen and lads of spirit as ye are," he pursued, as
the young men cordially shook each other's hand across the table. "What
an enviable command is mine, to have a company of brave fellows who
would face the devil himself were it necessary; and two hot and
impatient subs., who are ready to cut each other's throat for the
pleasure of accompanying me against a set of savages that are little
better than so many devils. Come, Johnstone, you know the Colonel
allows us but one sub. at a time, in consequence of our scarcity of
officers, therefore it is but fair Leslie should have his turn. It will
not be long, I dare say, before we shall have another brush with the
rascals."

"In my opinion," observed Captain Blessington, who had been a silent
and thoughtful witness of what was passing around him, "neither Leslie
nor Johnstone would evince so much anxiety, were they aware of the
true-nature of the duty for which our companies have been ordered.
Depend upon it, it is no search after Captain de Haldimar in which we
are about to be engaged; for much as the colonel loves his son, he
would on no account compromise the safety of the garrison, by sending a
party into the forest, where poor De Haldimar, if alive, is at all
likely to be found."

"Faith you are right, Blessington; the governor is not one to run these
sort of risks on every occasion. My chief surprise, indeed, is, that he
suffered me to venture even upon the common; but if we are not designed
for some hostile expedition, why leave the fort at all?"

"The question will need no answer, if Halloway be found to accompany
us."

"Psha! why should Halloway be taken out for the purpose? If he be shot
at all, he will be shot on the ramparts, in the presence of, and as an
example to, the whole garrison. Still, on reflection, I cannot but
think it impossible the sentence should be carried into full effect,
after the strong, nay, the almost unprecedented recommendation to mercy
recorded on the face of the proceedings."

Captain Blessington shook his head despondingly. "What think you,
Erskine, of the policy of making an example, which may be witnessed by
the enemy as well as the garrison? It is evident, from his demeanour
throughout, nothing will convince the colonel that Halloway is not a
traitor, and he may think it advisable to strike terror in the minds of
the savages, by an execution which will have the effect of showing the
treason of the soldier to have been discovered."

In this opinion many of the officers now concurred; and as the fate of
the unfortunate Halloway began to assume a character of almost
certainty, even the spirit of the gallant Erskine, the least subdued by
the recent distressing events, was overclouded; and all sank, as if by
one consent, into silent communion with their thoughts, as they almost
mechanically completed the meal, at which habit rather than appetite
still continued them. Before any of them had yet risen from the table,
a loud and piercing scream met their ears from without; and so quick
and universal was the movement it produced, that its echo had scarcely
yet died away in distance, when the whole of the breakfast party had
issued from the room, and were already spectators of the cause.

The barracks of the officers, consisting of a range of low buildings,
occupied the two contiguous sides of a square, and in the front of
these ran a narrow and covered piazza, somewhat similar to those
attached to the guardhouses in England, which description of building
the barracks themselves most resembled. On the other two faces of the
square stood several block-houses, a style of structure which, from
their adaptation to purposes of defence as well as of accommodation,
were every where at that period in use in America, and are even now
continued along the more exposed parts of the frontier. These, capable
of containing each a company of men, were, as their name implies,
formed of huge masses of roughly-shapen timber, fitted into each other
at the extremities by rude incisions from the axe, and filled in with
smaller wedges of wood. The upper part of these block-houses projected
on every side several feet beyond the ground floor, and over the whole
was a sheathing of planks, which, as well as those covering the
barracks of the officers, were painted of a brick-red colour. Unlike
the latter, they rose considerably above the surface of the ramparts;
and, in addition to the small window to be seen on each side of each
story of the block-house, were numerous smaller square holes,
perforated for the discharge of musketry. Between both these barracks
and the ramparts there was just space sufficient to admit of the
passage of artillery of a heavy calibre; and at each of the four
angles, composing the lines of the fort, was an opening of several feet
in extent, not only to afford the gunners room to work their batteries,
but to enable them to reach their posts with greater expedition in the
event of any sudden emergency. On the right, on entering the fort over
the drawbridge, were the block-houses of the men; and immediately in
front, and on the left, the barracks of the officers, terminated at the
outer extremity by the guard-house, and at the inner by the quarters of
the commanding officer.

As the officers now issued from the mess-room nearly opposite to the
gate, they observed, at that part of the barracks which ran at right
angles with it, and immediately in front of the apartment of the
younger De Haldimar, whence he had apparently just issued, the
governor, struggling, though gently, to disengage himself from a
female, who, with disordered hair and dress, lay almost prostrate upon
the piazza, and clasping his booted leg with an energy evidently
borrowed from the most rooted despair. The quick eye of the haughty man
had already rested on the group of officers drawn by the scream of the
supplicant. Numbers, too, of the men, attracted by the same cause, were
collected in front of their respective block-houses, and looking from
the windows of the rooms in which they were also breakfasting,
preparatory to the expedition. Vexed and irritated beyond measure, at
being thus made a conspicuous object of observation to his inferiors,
the unbending governor made a violent and successful effort to
disengage his leg; and then, without uttering a word, or otherwise
noticing the unhappy being who lay extended at his feet, he stalked
across the parade to his apartments at the opposite angle, without
appearing to manifest the slightest consciousness of the scene that had
awakened such universal attention.

Several of the officers, among whom was Captain Blessington, now
hastened to the assistance of the female, whom all had recognised, from
the first, to be the interesting and unhappy wife of Halloway. Many of
the comrades of the latter, who had been pained and pitying spectators
of the scene, also advanced for the same purpose; but, on perceiving
their object anticipated by their superiors, they withdrew to the
blocks-houses, whence they had issued. Never was grief more forcibly
depicted, than in the whole appearance of this unfortunate woman; never
did anguish assume a character more fitted to touch the soul, or to
command respect. Her long fair hair, that had hitherto been hid under
the coarse mob-cap, usually worn by the wives of the soldiers, was now
divested of all fastening, and lay shadowing a white and polished
bosom, which, in her violent struggles to detain the governor, had
burst from its rude but modest confinement, and was now displayed in
all the dazzling delicacy of youth and sex. If the officers gazed for a
moment with excited look upon charms that had long been strangers to
their sight, and of an order they had little deemed to find in Ellen
Halloway, it was but the involuntary tribute rendered by nature unto
beauty. The depth and sacredness of that sorrow, which had left the
wretched woman unconscious of her exposure, in the instant afterwards
imposed a check upon admiration, which each felt to be a violation of
the first principles of human delicacy, and the feeling was repressed
almost in the moment that gave it birth.

They were immediately in front of the room occupied by Charles de
Haldimar, in the piazza of which were a few old chairs, on which the
officers were in the habit of throwing themselves during the heat of
the day. On one of these Captain Blessington, assisted by the officer
of grenadiers, now seated the suffering and sobbing wife of Halloway.
His first care was to repair the disorder of her dress; and never was
the same office performed by man with greater delicacy, or absence of
levity by those who witnessed it. This was the first moment of her
consciousness. The inviolability of modesty for a moment rose paramount
even to the desolation of her heart, and putting rudely aside the hand
that reposed unavoidably upon her person, the poor woman started from
her seat, and looked wildly about her, as if endeavouring to identify
those by whom she was surrounded. But when she observed the pitying
gaze of the officers fixed upon her, in earnestness and commiseration,
and heard the benevolent accents of the ever kind Blessington exhorting
her to composure, her weeping became more violent, and her sobs more
convulsive. Captain Blessington threw an arm round her waist to prevent
her from falling; and then motioning to two or three women of the
company to which her husband was attached, who stood at a little
distance, in front of one of the block-houses, prepared to deliver her
over to their charge.

"No, no, not yet!" burst at length from the lips of the agonised woman,
as she shrank from the rude but well-intentioned touch of the
sympathising assistants, who had promptly answered the signal; then, as
if obeying some new direction of her feelings, some new impulse of her
grief, she liberated herself from the slight grasp of Captain
Blessington, turned suddenly round, and, before any one could
anticipate the movement, entered an opening on the piazza, raised the
latch of a door situated at its extremity, and was, in the next
instant, in the apartment of the younger De Haldimar.

The scene that met the eyes of the officers, who now followed close
after her, was one well calculated to make an impression on the hearts
even of the most insensible. In the despair and recklessness of her
extreme sorrow, the young wife of Halloway had already thrown herself
upon her knees at the bedside of the sick officer; and, with her hands
upraised and firmly clasped together, was now supplicating him in
tones, contrasting singularly in their gentleness with the depth of the
sorrow that had rendered her thus regardless of appearances, and
insensible to observation.

"Oh, Mr. de Haldimar!" she implored, "in the name of God and of our
blessed Saviour, if you would save me from madness, intercede for my
unhappy husband, and preserve him from the horrid fate that awaits him.
You are too good, too gentle, too amiable, to reject the prayer of a
heart-broken woman. Moreover, Mr. de Haldimar," she proceeded, with
deeper energy, while she caught and pressed, between her own white and
bloodless hands, one nearly as delicate that lay extended near her,
"consider all my dear but unfortunate husband has done for your family.
Think of the blood he once spilt in the defence of your brother's life;
that brother, through whom alone, oh God! he is now condemned to die.
Call to mind the days and nights of anguish I passed near his couch of
suffering, when yet writhing beneath the wound aimed at the life of
Captain de Haldimar. Almighty Providence!" she pursued, in the same
impassioned yet plaintive voice, "why is not Miss Clara here to plead
the cause of the innocent, and to touch the stubborn heart of her
merciless father? She would, indeed, move heaven and earth to save the
life of him to whom she so often vowed eternal gratitude and
acknowledgment. Ah, she little dreams of his danger now; or, if prayer
and intercession could avail, my husband should yet live, and this
terrible struggle at my heart would be no more."

Overcome by her emotion, the unfortunate woman suffered her aching head
to droop upon the edge of the bed, and her sobbing became so painfully
violent, that all who heard her expected, at every moment, some fatal
termination to her immoderate grief. Charles de Haldimar was little
less affected; and his sorrow was the more bitter, as he had just
proved the utter inefficacy of any thing in the shape of appeal to his
inflexible father.

"Mrs. Halloway, my dear Mrs. Halloway, compose yourself," said Captain
Blessington, now approaching, and endeavouring to raise her gently from
the floor, on which she still knelt, while her hands even more firmly
grasped that of De Haldimar. "You are ill, very ill, and the
consequences of this dreadful excitement may be fatal. Be advised by
me, and retire. I have desired my room to be prepared for you, and
Sergeant Wilmot's wife shall remain with you as long as you may require
it."

"No, no, no!" she again exclaimed with energy; "what care I for my own
wretched life--my beloved and unhappy husband is to die. Oh God! to die
without guilt--to be cut off in his youth--to be shot as a traitor--and
that simply for obeying the wishes of the officer whom he loved!--the
son of the man who now spurns all supplication from his presence. It is
inhuman--it is unjust--and Heaven will punish the hard-hearted man who
murders him--yes, murders him! for such a punishment for such an
offence is nothing less than murder." Again she wept bitterly, and as
Captain Blessington still essayed to soothe and raise her:--"No, no! I
will not leave this spot," she continued; "I will not quit the side of
Mr. de Haldimar, until he pledges himself to intercede for my poor
husband. It is his duty to save the life of him who saved his brother's
life; and God and human justice are with my appeal. Oh, tell me, then,
Mr. de Haldimar,--if you would save my wretched heart from
breaking,--tell me you will intercede for, and obtain the pardon of, my
husband!"

As she concluded this last sentence in passionate appeal, she had risen
from her knees; and, conscious only of the importance of the boon
solicited, now threw herself upon the breast of the highly pained and
agitated young officer. Her long and beautiful hair fell floating over
his face, and mingled with his own, while her arms were wildly clasped
around him, in all the energy of frantic and hopeless adjuration.

"Almighty God!" exclaimed the agitated young man, as he made a feeble
and fruitless effort to raise the form of the unhappy woman; "what
shall I say to impart comfort to this suffering being? Oh, Mrs.
Halloway," he pursued, "I would willingly give all I possess in this
world to be the means of saving your unfortunate husband,--and as much
for his own sake as for yours would I do this; but, alas! I have not
the power. Do not think I speak without conviction. My father has just
been with me, and I have pleaded the cause of your husband with an
earnestness I should scarcely have used had my own life been at stake.
But all my entreaties have been in vain. He is obstinate in the belief
my brother's strange absence, and Donellan's death, are attributable
only to the treason of Halloway. Still there is a hope. A detachment is
to leave the fort within the hour, and Halloway is to accompany them.
It may be, my father intends this measure only with a view to terrify
him into a confession of guilt; and that he deems it politic to make
him undergo all the fearful preliminaries without carrying the sentence
itself into effect."

The unfortunate woman said no more. When she raised her heaving chest
from that of the young officer, her eyes, though red and shrunk to half
their usual size with weeping, were tearless; but on her countenance
there was an expression of wild woe, infinitely more distressing to
behold, in consequence of the almost unnatural check so suddenly
imposed upon her feelings. She tottered, rather than walked, through
the group of officers, who gave way on either hand to let her pass; and
rejecting all assistance from the women who had followed into the room,
and who now, in obedience to another signal from Captain Blessington,
hastened to her support, finally gained the door, and quitted the
apartment.



CHAPTER IX.

The sun was high in the meridian, as the second detachment, commanded
by Colonel de Haldimar in person, issued from the fort of Detroit. It
was that soft and hazy season, peculiar to the bland and beautiful
autumns of Canada, when the golden light of Heaven seems as if
transmitted through a veil of tissue, and all of animate and inanimate
nature, expanding and fructifying beneath its fostering influence,
breathes the most delicious languor and voluptuous repose. It was one
of those still, calm, warm, and genial days, which in those regions
come under the vulgar designation of the Indian summer; a season that
is ever hailed by the Canadian with a satisfaction proportioned to the
extreme sultriness of the summer, and the equally oppressive rigour of
the winter, by which it is immediately preceded and followed. It is
then that Nature, who seems from the creation to have bestowed all of
grandeur and sublimity on the stupendous Americas, looks gladly and
complacently on her work; and, staying the course of parching suns and
desolating frosts, loves to luxuriate for a period in the broad and
teeming bosom of her gigantic offspring. It is then that the
forest-leaves, alike free from the influence of the howling hurricane
of summer, and the paralysing and unfathomable snows of winter, cleave,
tame and stirless in their varying tints, to the parent branch; while
the broad rivers and majestic lakes exhibit a surface resembling rather
the incrustation of the polished mirror than the resistless, viewless
particles of which the golden element is composed. It is then that,
casting its satisfied glance across those magnificent rivers, the eye
beholds, as if reflected from a mirror (so similar in production and
appearance are the contiguous shores), both the fertility of cultivated
and the rudeness of uncultivated nature, that every where surround and
diversify the view. The tall and sloping banks, covered with verdure to
the very sands, that unite with the waters lying motionless at their
base; the continuous chain of neat farm-houses (we speak principally of
Detroit and its opposite shores); the luxuriant and bending orchards,
teeming with fruits of every kind and of every colour; the ripe and
yellow corn vying in hue with the soft atmosphere, which reflects and
gives full effect to its abundance and its richness,--these, with the
intervening waters unruffled, save by the lazy skiff, or the light bark
canoe urged with the rapidity of thought along its surface by the
slight and elegantly ornamented paddle of the Indian; or by the sudden
leaping of the large salmon, the unwieldy sturgeon, the bearded
cat-fish, or the delicately flavoured maskinonge, and fifty other
tenants of their bosom;--all these contribute to form the foreground of
a picture bounded in perspective by no less interesting, though perhaps
ruder marks of the magnificence of that great architect--Nature, on
which the eye never lingers without calm; while feelings, at once
voluptuous and tender, creep insensibly over the heart, and raise the
mind in adoration to the one great and sole Cause by which the
stupendous whole has been produced.

Such a day as that we have just described was the ---- of September,
1763, when the chief portion of the English garrison of Detroit issued
forth from the fortifications in which they had so long been cooped up,
and in the presumed execution of a duty undeniably the most trying and
painful that ever fell to the lot of soldier to perform. The heavy dull
movement of the guns, as they traversed the drawbridge resembled in
that confined atmosphere the rumbling of low and distant thunder; and
as they shook the rude and hollow sounding planks, over which they were
slowly dragged, called up to every heart the sad recollection of the
service for which they had been required. Even the tramp of the men, as
they moved heavily and measuredly across the yielding bridge, seemed to
wear the character of the reluctance with which they proceeded on so
hateful a duty; and more than one individual, as he momentarily turned
his eye upon the ramparts, where many of his comrades were grouped
together watching the departure of the detachment, testified by the
significant and mournful movement of his head how much he envied their
exemption from the task.

The direct military road runs in a straight line from the fort to the
banks of the Detroit, and the eastern extremity of the town. Here it is
intersected by the highway running parallel with the river, and
branching off at right angles on either hand; the right, leading in the
direction of the more populous states; the left, through the town, and
thence towards the more remote and western parts, where European
influence has yet been but partially extended. The only difference
between its present and former character is, that what is now a
flourishing commercial town was then a mere village; while the adjacent
country, at present teeming with every mark of vegetation, bore no
other evidence of fertility than what was afforded by a few scattered
farm-houses, many of which skirted various parts of the forest. Along
this road the detachment now wended its slow and solemn course, and
with a mournful pageantry of preparation that gave fearful earnest of
the tragedy expected to be enacted.

In front, and dragged by the hands of the gunners, moved two of the
three three-pounders, that had been ordered for the duty. Behind these
came Captain Blessington's company, and in their rear, the prisoner
Halloway, divested of his uniform, and clad in a white cotton jacket,
and cap of the same material. Six rank and file of the grenadiers
followed, under the command of a corporal, and behind these again, came
eight men of the same company; four of whom bore on their shoulders a
coffin, covered with a coarse black pall that had perhaps already
assisted at fifty interments; while the other four carried, in addition
to their own, the muskets of their burdened comrades. After these,
marched a solitary drummer-boy; whose tall bear-skin cap attested him
to be of the grenadiers also, while his muffled instrument marked the
duty for which he had been selected. Like his comrades, none of whom
exhibited their scarlet uniforms, he wore the collar of his great coat
closely buttoned beneath his chin, which was only partially visible
above the stiff leathern stock that encircled his neck. Although his
features were half buried in his huge cap and the high collar of his
coat, there was an air of delicacy about his person that seemed to
render him unsuited to such an office; and more than once was Captain
Erskine, who followed immediately behind him at the head of his
company, compelled to call sharply to the urchin, threatening him with
a week's drill unless he mended his feeble and unequal pace, and kept
from under the feet of his men. The remaining gun brought up the rear
of the detachment, who marched with fixed bayonets and two balls in
each musket; the whole presenting a front of sections, that completely
filled up the road along which they passed. Colonel de Haldimar,
Captain Wentworth, and the Adjutant Lawson followed in the extreme rear.

An event so singular as that of the appearance of the English without
their fort, beset as they were by a host of fierce and dangerous
enemies, was not likely to pass unnoticed by a single individual in the
little village of Detroit. We have already observed, that most of the
colonist settlers had been cruelly massacred at the very onset of
hostilities. Not so, however, with the Canadians, who, from their
anterior relations with the natives, and the mutual and tacit good
understanding that subsisted between both parties, were suffered to
continue in quiet and unmolested possession of their homes, where they
preserved an avowed neutrality, never otherwise infringed than by the
assistance secretly and occasionally rendered to the English troops,
whose gold they were glad to receive in exchange for the necessaries of
life.

Every dwelling of the infant town had commenced giving up its tenants,
from the moment when the head of the detachment was seen traversing the
drawbridge; so that, by the time it reached the highway, and took its
direction to the left, the whole population of Detroit were already
assembled in groups, and giving expression to their several
conjectures, with a vivacity of language and energy of gesticulation
that would not have disgraced the parent land itself. As the troops
drew nearer, however, they all sank at once into a silence, as much the
result of certain unacknowledged and undefined fears, as of the respect
the English had ever been accustomed to exact. The men removed their
short dingy clay pipes from their mouths with one hand, and uncovered
themselves with the other, while the women made their hasty reverence
with the air of people who seek to propitiate by an act of civility;
even the very children scraped and bowed, as if they feared the
omission might be fatal to them, and, clinging to the hands and dress
of their parents, looked up occasionally to their countenances to
discover whether the apprehensions of their own fluttering and timid
hearts were likely to be realised. Still there was sufficient of
curiosity with all to render them attentive spectators of the passing
troop. Hitherto, it had been imagined, the object of the English was an
attack on the encampments of their enemies; but when the gaze of each
adult inhabitant fell on the unaccoutred form of the lone soldier, who,
calm though pale, now moved among his comrades in the ignominious garb
of death, they could no longer doubt its true destination.

The aged made the sign of the cross, and mumbled over a short prayer
for the repose of his soul, while the more youthful indulged in
half-breathed ejaculations of pity and concern that so fine and
interesting a man should be doomed to so dreadful a fate.

At the farther extremity of the town, and at a bend in the road, which
branched off more immediately towards the river, stood a small public
house, whose creaking sign bore three ill executed fleurs-de-lis,
apologetic emblems of the arms of France. The building itself was
little more than a rude log hut, along the front of which ran a plank,
supported by two stumps of trees, and serving as a temporary
accommodation both for the traveller and the inmate. On this bench
three persons, apparently attracted by the beauty of the day and the
mildness of the autumnal sun, were now seated, two of whom were
leisurely puffing their pipes, while the third, a female, was employed
in carding wool, a quantity of which lay in a basket at her feet, while
she warbled, in a low tone, one of the simple airs of her native land.
The elder of the two men, whose age might be about fifty, offered
nothing particularly remarkable in his appearance: he was dressed in
one of those thick coats made of the common white blanket, which, even
to this day, are so generally worn by the Canadians, while his hair,
cut square upon the forehead, and tied into a club of nearly a foot
long, fell into the cape, or hood, attached to it: his face was ruddy
and shining as that of any rival Boniface among the race of the
hereditary enemies of his forefathers; and his thick short neck, and
round fat person, attested he was no more an enemy to the good things
of this world than themselves, while he was as little oppressed by its
cares: his nether garments were of a coarse blue homespun, and his feet
were protected by that rudest of all rude coverings, the Canadian
shoe-pack. This was composed of a single piece of stiff brown leather,
curved and puckered round the sides and front, where it was met by a
tongue of softer material, which helped to confine it in that position,
and to form the shoe. A bandana handkerchief fell from his neck upon
his chest; the covering of which was so imperfectly drawn, as to
disclose a quantity of long, coarse, black, and grisly hair.

His companion was habited in a still more extraordinary manner. His
lower limbs were cased, up to the mid-thigh, in leathern leggings, the
seam of which was on the outside, leaving a margin, or border, of about
an inch wide, which had been slit into innumerable small fringes,
giving them an air of elegance and lightness: a garter of leather,
curiously wrought, with the stained quills of the porcupine, encircled
each leg, immediately under the knee, where it was tied in a bow, and
then suffered to hang pendant half way down the limb; to the fringes of
the leggings, moreover, were attached numerous dark-coloured horny
substances, emitting, as they rattled against each other, at the
slightest movement of the wearer, a tinkling sound, resembling that
produced by a number of small thin delicate brass bells; these were the
tender hoofs of the wild deer, dried, scraped, and otherwise prepared
for this ornamental purpose. Upon his large feet he wore mocassins,
made of the same pliant material with his leggings, and differing in
shape from the foot-gear of his companion in this particular only, that
they had no tongue introduced into the front: they were puckered
together by a strong sinew of the deer, until they met along the instep
in a seam concealed by the same ornamental quill-work that decorated
the garters: a sort of flap, fringed like the leggings, was folded back
from the ankle, upon the sides of the foot, and the whole was confined
by a strong though neat leathern thong, made of smoked deer-skin also,
which, after passing once or twice under the foot, was then tightly
drawn several times round the ankle, where it was finally secured. Two
strips of leather, about an inch and a half in width, attached to the
outer side of each legging, were made fast at their opposite
extremities to a strong girdle, encircling the loins, and supporting a
piece of coarse blue cloth, which, after passing completely under the
body, fell in short flaps both before and behind. The remainder of the
dress consisted of a cotton shirt, figured and sprigged on a dark
ground, that fell unconfined over the person; a close deer-skin
hunting-coat, fringed also at its edges; and a coarse common felt hat,
in the string of which (for there was no band) were twisted a number of
variegated feathers, furnished by the most beautiful and rare of the
American autumnal birds. Outside this hunting-coat, and across the
right shoulder, was flung an ornamented belt, to which were appended,
on the left side, and in a line with the elbow, a shot-pouch, made of
the untanned hide of some wild animal, and a flask for powder, formed
of the horn of the buffalo; on which, highly polished for this purpose,
were inscribed, with singular accuracy of proportion, a variety of
figures, both of men, and birds, and beasts, and fishes; two or three
small horn measures for powder, and a long thin wire, intended to serve
as a pricker for the rifle that reclined against the outside of the
hut, were also attached to this belt by strips of deer-skin of about
six inches in length. Into another broad leathern belt, that confined
the hunting coat, was thrust a tomahawk, the glittering head of which
was uppermost, and unsheathed: while at the opposite side, and half
supporting the powder-horn, the huge handle of a knife, whose blade was
buried in a strong leathern sheath, was distinctly visible.

The form and face of this individual were in perfect keeping with the
style of his costume, and the formidable character of his equipment.
His stature was considerably beyond that of the ordinary race of men,
and his athletic and muscular limbs united the extremes of strength and
activity in a singular degree. His features, marked and prominent, wore
a cast of habitual thought, strangely tinctured with ferocity; and the
general expression of his otherwise not unhandsome countenance was
repellent and disdainful. At the first glance he might have been taken
for one of the swarthy natives of the soil; but though time and
constant exposure to scorching suns had given to his complexion a dusky
hue, still there were wanting the quick, black, penetrating eye; the
high cheek-bone; the straight, coarse, shining, black hair; the small
bony hand and foot; and the placidly proud and serious air, by which
the former is distinguished. His own eye was of a deep bluish grey; his
hair short, dark, and wavy; his hands large and muscular; and so far
from exhibiting any of the self-command of the Indian, the constant
play of his features betrayed each passing thought with the same
rapidity with which it was conceived. But if any doubt could have
existed in the mind of him who beheld this strangely accoutred figure,
it would have been instantly dispelled by a glance at his lower limbs.
We have already stated the upper part of his leggings terminated about
mid-thigh; from this to the hip, that portion of the limb was
completely bare, and disclosed, at each movement of the garment that
was suffered to fall loosely over it, not the swarthy and
copper-coloured flesh of the Indian, but the pale though sun-burnt skin
of one of a more temperate clime. His age might be about forty-five.

At the moment when the English detachment approached the bend in the
road, these two individuals were conversing earnestly together, pausing
only to puff at intervals thick and wreathing volumes of smoke from
their pipes, which were filled with a mixture of tobacco and
odoriferous herbs. Presently, however, sounds that appeared familiar to
his ear arrested the attention of the wildly accoutred being we have
last described. It was the heavy roll of the artillery carriages
already advancing along the road, and somewhat in the rear of the hut.
To dash his pipe to the ground, seize and cock and raise his rifle to
his shoulder, and throw himself forward in the eager attitude of one
waiting until the object of his aim should appear in sight, was but the
work of a moment. Startled by the suddenness of the action, his male
companion moved a few paces also from his seat, to discover the cause
of this singular movement. The female, on the contrary, stirred not,
but ceasing for a moment the occupation in which she had been engaged,
fixed her dark and brilliant eyes upon the tall and picturesque form of
the rifleman, whose active and athletic limbs, thrown into powerful
relief by the distention of each nerve and muscle, appeared to engross
her whole admiration and interest, without any reference to the cause
that had produced this abrupt and hostile change in his movements. It
was evident that, unlike the other inhabitants of the town, this group
had been taken by surprise, and were utterly unprepared to expect any
thing in the shape of interruption.

For upwards of a minute, during which the march of the men became
audible even to the ears of the female, the formidable warrior, for
such his garb denoted him to be, continued motionless in the attitude
he had at first assumed--his right cheek reposing on the ornamented
stock of his rifle, and his quick and steady eye fixed in one
undeviating line with the sight near the breech, and that which
surmounted the extreme end of the deadly weapon. No sooner, however,
had the head of the advancing column come within sight, than the
trigger was pulled, and the small and ragged bullet sped hissing from
the grooved and delicate barrel. A triumphant cry was next pealed from
the lips of the warrior,--a cry produced by the quickly repeated
application and removal of one hand to and from the mouth, while the
other suffered the butt end of the now harmless weapon to fall loosely
upon the earth. He then slowly and deliberately withdrew within the
cover of the hut.

This daring action, which had been viewed by the leading troops with
astonishment not unmingled with alarm, occasioned a temporary confusion
in the ranks, for all believed they had fallen into an ambuscade of the
Indians. A halt was instantly commanded by Captain Blessington, in
order to give time to the governor to come up from the rear, while he
proceeded with one of the leading sections to reconnoitre the front of
the hut. To his infinite surprise, however, he found neither enemy, nor
evidence that an enemy had been there. The only individuals visible
were the Canadian already alluded to, and the dark-eyed female. Both
were seated on the bench;--the one smoking his pipe with a well assumed
appearance of unconcern--the other carding her wool, but with a hand
that by a close observer might be seen to tremble in its office, and a
cheek that was paler considerably than at the moment when we first
placed her before the imagination of the reader. Both, however, started
with unaffected surprise on seeing Captain Blessington and his little
force turn the corner of the house from the main road; and certain
looks of recognition passed between all parties, that proved them to be
no strangers to each other.

"Ah, monsieur," said the Canadian, in a mingled dialect, neither French
nor English, but partaking in some degree of the idiom of both, while
he attempted an ease and freedom of manner that was too miserably
affected to pass current with the mild but observant officer whom he
addressed, "how much surprise I am, and glad to see you. It is a long
times since you came out of de fort. I hope de governeur and de officir
be all very well. I was tinking to go to-day to see if you want any
ting. I have got some nice rum of the Jamaique for Capitaine Erskine.
Will you please to try some?" While speaking, the voluble host of the
Fleur de lis had risen from his seat, laid aside his pipe, and now
stood with his hands thrust into the pockets of his blanket coat.

"It is, indeed, a long time since we have been here, master Francois,"
somewhat sarcastically and drily replied Captain Blessington; "and you
have not visited us quite so often latterly yourself, though well aware
we were in want of fresh provisions. I give you all due credit,
however, for your intention of coming to-day, but you see we have
anticipated you. Still this is not the point. Where is the Indian who
fired at us just now? and how is it we find you leagued with our
enemies?"

"What, sir, is it you say?" asked the Canadian, holding up his hands
with feigned astonishment "Me league myself with de savage. Upon my
honour I did not see nobody fire, or I should tell you. I love de
English too well to do dem harms."

"Come, come, Francois, no nonsense. If I cannot make you confess, there
is one not far from me who will. You know Colonel de Haldimar too well
to imagine he will be trifled with in this manner: if he detects you in
a falsehood, he will certainly cause you to be hanged up at the first
tree. Take my advice, therefore, and say where you have secreted this
Indian; and recollect, if we fall into an ambuscade, your life will be
forfeited at the first shot we hear fired."

At this moment the governor, followed by his adjutant, came rapidly up
to the spot. Captain Blessington communicated the ill success of his
queries, when the former cast on the terrified Canadian one of those
severe and searching looks which he so well knew how to assume.

"Where is the rascal who fired at us, sirrah? tell me instantly, or you
have not five minutes to live."

The heart of mine host of the Fleur de lis quailed within him at this
formidable threat; and the usually ruddy hue of his countenance had now
given place to an ashy paleness. Still, as he had positively denied all
knowledge of the matter on which he was questioned, he appeared to feel
his safety lay in adhering to his original statement. Again, therefore,
he assured the governor, on his honour (laying his hand upon his heart
as he spoke), that what he had already stated was the fact.

"Your honour--you pitiful trading scoundrel--how dare you talk to me of
your honour? Come, sir, confess at once where you have secreted this
fellow, or prepare to die."

"If I may be so bold, your Honour," said one of Captain Blessington's
men, "the Frenchman lies. When the Ingian fired among us, this fellow
was peeping under his shoulder and watching us also. If I had not seen
him too often at the fort to be mistaken in his person, I should have
known him, at all events, by his blanket coat and red handkerchief."

This blunt statement of the soldier, confirmed as it was the instant
afterwards by one of his comrades, was damning proof against the
Canadian, even if the fact of the rifle being discharged from the front
of the hut had not already satisfied all parties of the falsehood of
his assertion.

"Come forward, a couple of files, and seize this villain," resumed the
governor with his wonted sternness of manner. "Mr. Lawson, see if his
hut does not afford a rope strong enough to hang the traitor from one
of his own apple trees."

Both parties proceeded at the same moment to execute the two distinct
orders of their chief. The Canadian was now firmly secured in the grasp
of the two men who had given evidence against him, when, seeing all the
horror of the summary and dreadful fate that awaited him, he confessed
the individual who had fired had been sitting with him the instant
previously, but that he knew no more of him than of any other savage
occasionally calling at the Fleur de lis. He added, that on discharging
the rifle he had bounded across the palings of the orchard, and fled in
the direction of the forest. He denied, on interrogation, all knowledge
or belief of an enemy waiting in ambush; stating, moreover, even the
individual in question had not been aware of the sortie of the
detachment until apprised of their near approach by the heavy sound of
the gun-carriages.

"Here are undeniable proofs of the man's villany, sir," said the
adjutant, returning from the hut and exhibiting objects of new and
fearful interest to the governor. "This hat and rope I found secreted
in one of the bed-rooms of the auberge. The first is evidently
Donellan's; and from the hook attached to the latter, I apprehend it to
be the same stated to have been used by Captain de Haldimar in crossing
the ditch."

The governor took the hat and rope from the hands of his subordinate,
examined them attentively, and after a few moments of deep musing,
during which his countenance underwent several rapid though scarcely
perceptible changes, turned suddenly and eagerly to the soldier who had
first convicted the Canadian in his falsehood, and demanded if he had
seen enough of the man who had fired to be able to give even a general
description of his person.

"Why yes, your Honour, I think I can; for the fellow stood long enough
after firing his piece, for a painter to have taken him off from head
to foot. He was a taller and larger man by far than our biggest
grenadier, and that is poor Harry Donellan, as your Honour knows. But
as for his dress, though I could see it all, I scarcely can tell how to
describe it. All I know is, he was covered with smoked deer-skin, in
some such fashion as the great chief Ponteac, only, instead of having
his head bare and shaved, he wore a strange outlandish sort of a hat,
covered over with wild birds' feathers in front."

"Enough," interrupted the governor, motioning the man to silence; then,
in an undertone to himself,--"By Heaven, the very same." A shade of
disappointment, not unmingled with suppressed alarm, passed rapidly
across his brow; it was but momentary. "Captain Blessington," he
ordered quickly and impatiently, "search the hut and grounds for this
lurking Indian, who is, no doubt, secreted in the neighbourhood. Quick,
quick, sir; there is no time to be lost." Then in an angry and
intimidating tone to the Canadian, who had already dropped on his
knees, supplicating mercy, and vociferating his innocence in the same
breath,--"So, you infernal scoundrel, this is the manner in which you
have repaid our confidence. Where is my son, sir? or have you already
murdered him, as you did his servant? Tell me, you villain, what have
you to say to these proofs of your treachery? But stay, I shall take
another and fitter opportunity to question you. Mr. Lawson, secure this
traitor properly, and let him be conveyed to the centre of the
detachment."

The mandate was promptly obeyed; and, in despite of his own unceasing
prayers and protestations of innocence, and the tears and entreaties of
his dark-eyed daughter Babette, who had thrown herself on her knees at
his side, the stout arms of mine host of the Fleur de lis were soon
firmly secured behind his back with the strong rope that had been found
under such suspicious circumstances in his possession. Before he was
marched off, however, two of the men who had been sent in pursuit,
returned from the orchard, stating that further search was now
fruitless. They had penetrated through a small thicket at the extremity
of the grounds, and had distinctly seen a man answering the description
given by their comrades, in full flight towards the forest skirting the
heights in front.

The governor was evidently far from being satisfied with the result of
a search too late instituted to leave even a prospect of success.
"Where are the Indians principally encamped, sirrah?" he sternly
demanded of his captive; "answer me truly, or I will carry off this
wench as well, and if a single hair of a man of mine be even singed by
a shot from a skulking enemy, you may expect to see her bayoneted
before your eyes."

"Ah, my God! Monsieur le Gouverneur," exclaimed the affrighted
aubergiste, "as I am an honest man, I shall tell de truth, but spare my
child. They are all in de forest, and half a mile from de little river
dat runs between dis and de Pork Island."

"Hog Island, I suppose you mean."

"Yes sir, de Hog Island is de one I means."

"Conduct him to the centre, and let him be confronted with the
prisoner," directed the governor, addressing his adjutant; "Captain
Blessington, your men may resume their stations in the ranks."

The order was obeyed; and notwithstanding the tears and supplications
of the now highly excited Babette, who flung herself upon his neck, and
was only removed by force, the terrified Canadian was borne off from
his premises by the troops.



CHAPTER X.

While this scene was enacting in front of the Fleur de lis, one of a
far more touching and painful nature was passing in the very heart of
the detachment itself. At the moment when the halt was ordered by
Captain Blessington, a rumour ran through the ranks that they had
reached the spot destined for the execution of their ill-fated comrade.
Those only in the immediate front were aware of the true cause; but
although the report of the rifle had been distinctly heard by all, it
had been attributed by those in the rear to the accidental discharge of
one of their own muskets. A low murmur, expressive of the opinion
generally entertained, passed gradually from rear to front, until it at
length reached the ears of the delicate drummer boy who marched behind
the coffin. His face was still buried in the collar of his coat; and
what was left uncovered of his features by the cap, was in some degree
hidden by the forward drooping of his head upon his chest. Hitherto he
had moved almost mechanically along, tottering and embarrassing himself
at every step under the cumbrous drum that was suspended from a belt
round his neck over the left thigh; but now there was a certain
indescribable drawing up of the frame, and tension of the whole person,
denoting a concentration of all the moral and physical energies,--a
sudden working up, as it were, of the intellectual and corporeal being
to some determined and momentous purpose.

At the first halt of the detachment, the weary supporters of the coffin
had deposited their rude and sombre burden upon the earth, preparatory
to its being resumed by those appointed to relieve them. The dull sound
emitted by the hollow fabric, as it touched the ground, caught the ear
of him for whom it was destined, and he turned to gaze upon the sad and
lonely tenement so shortly to become his final resting place. There was
an air of calm composure and dignified sorrow upon his brow, that
infused respect into the hearts of all who beheld him; and even the men
selected to do the duty of executioners sought to evade his glance, as
his steady eye wandered from right to left of the fatal rank. His
attention, however, was principally directed towards the coffin, which
lay before him; on this he gazed fixedly for upwards of a minute. He
then turned his eyes in the direction of the fort, shuddered, heaved a
profound sigh, and looking up to heaven with the apparent fervour that
became his situation, seemed to pray for a moment or two inwardly and
devoutly. The thick and almost suffocating breathing of one immediately
beyond the coffin, was now distinctly heard by all. Halloway started
from his attitude of devotion, gazed earnestly on the form whence it
proceeded, and then wildly extending his arms, suffered a smile of
satisfaction to illumine his pale features. All eyes were now turned
upon the drummer boy, who, evidently labouring under convulsive
excitement of feeling, suddenly dashed his cap and instrument to the
earth, and flew as fast as his tottering and uncertain steps would
admit across the coffin, and into the arms extended to receive him.

"My Ellen! oh, my own devoted, but too unhappy Ellen!" passionately
exclaimed the soldier, as he clasped the slight and agitated form of
his disguised wife to his throbbing heart. "This, this, indeed, is joy
even in death. I thought I could have died more happily without you,
but nature tugs powerfully at my heart; and to see you once more, to
feel you once more HERE" (and he pressed her wildly to his chest) "is
indeed a bliss that robs my approaching fate of half its terror."

"Oh Reginald! my dearly beloved Reginald! my murdered husband!"
shrieked the unhappy woman; "your Ellen will not survive you. Her heart
is already broken, though she cannot weep; but the same grave shall
contain us both. Reginald, do you believe me? I swear it; the same
grave shall contain us both."

Exhausted with the fatigue and excitement she had undergone, the
faithful and affectionate creature now lay, without sense or motion, in
the arms of her wretched husband. Halloway bore her, unopposed, a pace
or two in advance, and deposited her unconscious form on the fatal
coffin.

No language of ours can render justice to the trying character of the
scene. All who witnessed it were painfully affected, and over the
bronzed cheek of many a veteran coursed a tear, that, like that of
Sterne's recording angel, might have blotted out a catalogue of sins.
Although each was prepared to expect a reprimand from the governor, for
suffering the prisoner to quit his station in the ranks, humanity and
nature pleaded too powerfully in his behalf, and neither officer nor
man attempted to interfere, unless with a view to render assistance.
Captain Erskine, in particular, was deeply pained, and would have given
any thing to recall the harsh language he had used towards the supposed
idle and inattentive drummer boy. Taking from a pocket in his uniform a
small flask of brandy, which he had provided against casualties, the
compassionating officer slightly raised the head of the pale and
unconscious woman with one hand, while with the other he introduced a
few drops between her parted lips. Halloway knelt at the opposite side
of the coffin; one hand searching, but in vain, the suspended pulse of
his inanimate wife; the other, unbuttoning the breast of the drum-boy's
jacket, which, with every other part of the equipment, she wore beneath
the loose great coat so effectually accomplishing her disguise.

Such was the position of the chief actors in this truly distressing
drama, at the moment when Colonel de Haldimar came up with his new
prisoner, to mark what effect would be produced on Halloway by his
unexpected appearance. His own surprise and disappointment may be
easily conceived, when, in the form of the recumbent being who seemed
to engross universal attention, he recognised, by the fair and
streaming hair, and half exposed bosom, the unfortunate being whom,
only two hours previously, he had spurned from his feet in the costume
of her own sex, and reduced, by the violence of her grief, to almost
infantine debility. Question succeeded question to those around, but
without eliciting any clue to the means by which this mysterious
disguise had been effected. No one had been aware, until the truth was
so singularly and suddenly revealed, the supposed drummer was any other
than one of the lads attached to the grenadiers; and as for the other
facts, they spoke too plainly to the comprehension of the governor to
need explanation. Once more, however, the detachment was called to
order. Halloway struck his hand violently upon his brow, kissed the wan
lips of his still unconscious wife, breathing, as he did so, a half
murmured hope she might indeed be the corpse she appeared. He then
raised himself from the earth with a light and elastic vet firm
movement, and resumed the place he had previously occupied, where, to
his surprise, he beheld a second victim bound, and, apparently, devoted
to the same death. When the eyes of the two unhappy men met, the
governor closely watched the expression of the countenance of each; but
although the Canadian started on beholding the soldier, it might be
merely because he saw the latter arrayed in the garb of death, and
followed by the most unequivocal demonstrations of a doom to which he
himself was, in all probability, devoted. As for Halloway, his look
betrayed neither consciousness nor recognition; and though too proud to
express complaint or to give vent to the feelings of his heart, his
whole soul appeared to be absorbed in the unhappy partner of his
luckless destiny. Presently he saw her borne, and in the same state of
insensibility, in the arms of Captain Erskine and Lieutenant Leslie,
towards the hut of his fellow prisoner, and he heard the former officer
enjoin the weeping girl, Babette, to whose charge they delivered her
over, to pay every attention to her her situation might require. The
detachment then proceeded.

The narrow but deep and rapid river alluded to by the Canadian, as
running midway between the town and Hog Island, derived its source far
within the forest, and formed the bed of one of those wild, dark, and
thickly wooded ravines so common in America. As it neared the Detroit,
however, the abruptness of its banks was so considerably lessened, as
to render the approach to it on the town side over an almost
imperceptible slope. Within a few yards of its mouth, as we have
already observed in our introductory chapter, a rude but strong wooden
bridge, over which lay the high road, had been constructed by the
French; and from the centre of this, all the circuit of intermediate
clearing, even to the very skirt of the forest, was distinctly
commanded by the naked eye. To the right, on approaching it from the
town, lay the adjacent shores of Canada, washed by the broad waters of
the Detroit, on which it was thrown into strong relief, and which, at
the distance of about a mile in front, was seen to diverge into two
distinct channels, pursuing each a separate course, until they again
met at the western extremity of Hog Island. On the left, and in the
front, rose a succession of slightly undulating hills, which, at a
distance of little more than half a mile, terminated in an elevation
considerably above the immediate level of the Detroit side of the
ravine. That, again, was crowned with thick and overhanging forest,
taking its circular sweep, as we have elsewhere shown, around the fort.
The intermediate ground was studded over with rude stumps of trees, and
bore, in various directions, distinct proofs of the spoliation wrought
among the infant possessions of the murdered English settlers. The view
to the rear was less open; the town being partially hidden by the
fruit-laden orchards that lined the intervening high road, and hung
principally on its left. This was not the case with the fort. Between
these orchards and the distant forest lay a line of open country, fully
commanded by its cannon, even to the ravine we have described, and in a
sweep that embraced every thing from the bridge itself to the forest,
in which all traces of its source was lost.

When the detachment had arrived within twenty yards of the bridge, they
were made to file off to the left, until the last gun had come up. They
were then fronted; the rear section of Captain Erskine's company
resting on the road, and the left flank, covered by the two first guns
pointed obliquely, both in front and rear, to guard against surprise,
in the event of any of the Indians stealing round to the cover of the
orchards. The route by which they had approached this spot was upwards
of two miles in extent; but, as they now filed off into the open
ground, the leading sections observed, in a direct line over the
cleared country, and at the distance of little more than three quarters
of a mile, the dark ramparts of the fortress that contained their
comrades, and could even distinguish the uniforms of the officers and
men drawn up in line along the works, where they were evidently
assembled to witness the execution of the sentence on Halloway.

Such a sight as that of the English so far from their fort, was not
likely to escape the notice of the Indians. Their encampment, as the
Canadian had truly stated, lay within the forest, and beyond the
elevated ground already alluded to; and to have crossed the ravine, or
ventured out of reach of the cannon of the fort, would have been to
have sealed the destruction of the detachment. But the officer to whom
their security was entrusted, although he had his own particular views
for venturing thus far, knew also at what point to stop; and such was
the confidence of his men in his skill and prudence, they would have
fearlessly followed wherever he might have chosen to lead. Still, even
amid all the solemnity of preparation attendant on the duty they were
out to perform, there was a natural and secret apprehensiveness about
each, that caused him to cast his eyes frequently and fixedly on that
part of the forest which was known to afford cover to their merciless
foes. At times they fancied they beheld the dark and flitting forms of
men gliding from tree to tree along the skirt of the wood; but when
they gazed again, nothing of the kind was to be seen, and the illusion
was at once ascribed to the heavy state of the atmosphere, and the
action of their own precautionary instincts.

Meanwhile the solemn tragedy of death was preparing in mournful
silence. On the centre of the bridge, and visible to those even within
the fort, was placed the coffin of Halloway, and at twelve paces in
front were drawn up the six rank and file on whom had devolved, by lot,
the cruel duty of the day. With calm and fearless eye the prisoner
surveyed the preparations for his approaching end; and whatever might
be the inward workings of his mind, there was not among the assembled
soldiery one individual whose countenance betrayed so little of sorrow
and emotion as his own. With a firm step, when summoned, he moved
towards the fatal coffin, dashing his cap to the earth as he advanced,
and baring his chest with the characteristic contempt of death of the
soldier. When he had reached the centre of the bridge, he turned facing
his comrades, and knelt upon the coffin. Captain Blessington, who,
permitted by the governor, had followed him with a sad heart and heavy
step, now drew a Prayer-book from his pocket, and read from it in a low
voice. He then closed the volume, listened to something the prisoner
earnestly communicated to him, received a small packet which he drew
from the bosom of his shirt, shook him long and cordially by the hand,
and then hastily resumed his post at the head of the detachment.

The principal inhabitants of the village, led by curiosity, had
followed at a distance to witness the execution of the condemned
soldier: and above the heads of the line, and crowning the slope, were
collected groups of both sexes and of all ages, that gave a still more
imposing character to the scene. Every eye was now turned upon the
firing party, who only awaited the signal to execute their melancholy
office, when suddenly, in the direction of the forest, and upon the
extreme height, there burst the tremendous and deafening yells of
upwards of a thousand savages. For an instant Halloway was forgotten in
the instinctive sense of individual danger, and all gazed eagerly to
ascertain the movements of their enemy. Presently a man, naked to the
waist, his body and face besmeared with streaks of black and red paint,
and his whole attitude expressing despair and horror, was seen flying
down the height with a rapidity proportioned to the extreme peril in
which he stood. At about fifty paces in his rear followed a dozen
bounding, screaming Indians, armed with uplifted tomahawks, whose
anxiety in pursuit lent them a speed that even surpassed the efforts of
flight itself. It was evident the object of the pursued was to reach
the detachment, that of the pursuers to prevent him. The struggle was
maintained for a few moments with equality, but in the end the latter
were triumphant, and at each step the distance that separated them
became less. At the first alarm, the detachment, with the exception of
the firing party, who still occupied their ground, had been thrown into
square, and, with a gun planted in each angle, awaited the attack
momentarily expected. But although the heights were now alive with the
dusky forms of naked warriors, who, from the skirt of the forest,
watched the exertions of their fellows, the pursuit of the wretched
fugitive was confined to these alone. Foremost of the latter, and
distinguished by his violent exertions and fiendish cries, was the tall
and wildly attired warrior of the Fleur de lis. At every bound he took
he increased the space that divided him from his companions, and
lessened that which kept him from his panting and nearly exhausted
victim. Already were they descending the nearest of the undulating
hills, and both now became conspicuous objects to all around; but
principally the pursuer, whose gigantic frame and extraordinary speed
riveted every eye, even while the interest of all was excited for the
wretched fugitive alone.

At that moment Halloway, who had been gazing on the scene with an
astonishment little inferior to that of his comrades, sprang suddenly
to his feet upon the coffin, and waving his hand in the direction of
the pursuing enemy, shouted aloud in a voice of mingled joy and
triumph,--

"Ha! Almighty God, I thank thee! Here, here comes one who alone has the
power to snatch me from my impending doom."

"By Heaven, the traitor confesses, and presumes to triumph in his
guilt," exclaimed the voice of one, who, while closely attending to
every movement of the Indians, was also vigilantly watching the effect
likely to be produced on the prisoner by this unexpected interruption.
"Corporal, do your duty."

"Stay, stay--one moment stay!" implored Halloway with uplifted hands.

"Do your duty, sir," fiercely repeated the governor.

"Oh stop--for God's sake, stop! Another moment and he will be here, and
I--"

He said no more--a dozen bullets penetrated his body--one passed
directly through his heart. He leaped several feet in the air, and then
fell heavily, a lifeless bleeding corpse, across the coffin.

Meanwhile the pursuit of the fugitive was continued, but by the warrior
of the Fleur de lis alone. Aware of their inefficiency to keep pace
with this singular being, his companions had relinquished the chace,
and now stood resting on the brow of the hill where the wretched
Halloway had first recognised his supposed deliverer, watching eagerly,
though within musket shot of the detachment, the result of a race on
which so much apparently depended. Neither party, however, attempted to
interfere with the other, for all eyes were now turned on the flying
man and his pursuer with an interest that denoted the extraordinary
efforts of the one to evade and the other to attain the accomplishment
of his object. Although the exertions of the former had been
stupendous, such was the eagerness and determination of the latter,
that at each step he gained perceptibly on his victim. The immediate
course taken was in a direct line for the ravine, which it evidently
was the object of the fugitive to clear at its nearest point. Already
had he approached within a few paces of its brink, and every eye was
fastened on the point where it was expected the doubtful leap would be
taken, when suddenly, as if despairing to accomplish it at a bound, he
turned to the left, and winding along its bank, renewed his efforts in
the direction of the bridge. This movement occasioned a change in the
position of the parties which was favourable to the pursued. Hitherto
they had been so immediately on a line with each other, it was
impossible for the detachment to bring a musket to bear upon the
warrior, without endangering him whose life they were anxious to
preserve. For a moment or two his body was fairly exposed, and a dozen
muskets were discharged at intervals from the square, but all without
success. Recovering his lost ground, he soon brought the pursued again
in a line between himself and the detachment, edging rapidly nearer to
him as he advanced, and uttering terrific yells, that were echoed back
from his companions on the brow of the hill. It was evident, however,
his object was the recapture, not the destruction, of the flying man,
for more than once did he brandish his menacing tomahawk in rapid
sweeps around his head, as if preparing to dart it, and as often did he
check the movement. The scene at each succeeding moment became more
critical and intensely interesting. The strength of the pursued was now
nearly exhausted, while that of his formidable enemy seemed to suffer
no diminution. Leap after leap he took with fearful superiority,
sideling as he advanced. Already had he closed upon his victim, while
with a springing effort a large and bony hand was extended to secure
his shoulder in his grasp. The effort was fatal to him; for in reaching
too far he lost his balance, and fell heavily upon the sward. A shout
of exultation burst from the English troops, and numerous voices now
encouraged the pursued to renew his exertions. The advice was not lost;
and although only a few seconds had elapsed between the fall and
recovery of his pursuer, the wretched fugitive had already greatly
increased the distance that separated them. A cry of savage rage and
disappointment burst from the lips of the gigantic warrior; and
concentrating all his remaining strength and speed into one final
effort, he bounded and leapt like a deer of the forest whence he came.
The opportunity for recapture, however, had been lost in his fall, for
already the pursued was within a few feet of the high road, and on the
point of turning the extremity of the bridge. One only resource was now
left: the warrior suddenly checked himself in his course, and remained
stationary; then raising and dropping his glittering weapon several
times in a balancing position, he waited until the pursued had gained
the highest point of the open bridge. At that moment the glittering
steel, aimed with singular accuracy and precision, ran whistling
through the air, and with such velocity of movement as to be almost
invisible to the eyes of those who attempted to follow it in its
threatening course. All expected to see it enter into the brain against
which it had been directed; but the fugitive had marked the movement in
time to save himself by stooping low to the earth, while the weapon,
passing over him, entered with a deadly and crashing sound into the
brain of the weltering corpse. This danger passed, he sprang once more
to his feet, nor paused again in his flight, until, faint and
exhausted, he sank without motion under the very bayonets of the firing
party.

A new direction was now given to the interest of the assembled and
distinct crowds that had witnessed these startling incidents. Scarcely
had the wretched man gained the protection of the soldiery, when a
shriek divided the air, so wild, so piercing, and so unearthly, that
even the warrior of the Fleur de lis seemed to lose sight of his
victim, in the harrowing interest produced by that dreadful scream. All
turned their eyes for a moment in the quarter whence it proceeded; when
presently, from behind the groups of Canadians crowning the slope, was
seen flying, with the rapidity of thought, one who resembled rather a
spectre than a being of earth;--it was the wife of Halloway. Her long
fair hair was wild and streaming--her feet, and legs, and arms were
naked--and one solitary and scanty garment displayed rather than
concealed the symmetry of her delicate person. She flew to the fatal
bridge, threw herself on the body of her bleeding husband, and
imprinting her warm kisses on his bloody lips, for a moment or two
presented the image of one whose reason has fled for ever. Suddenly she
started from the earth; her face, her hands, and her garment so
saturated with the blood of her husband, that a feeling of horror crept
throughout the veins of all who beheld her. She stood upon the coffin,
and across the corpse--raised her eyes and hands imploringly to
Heaven--and then, in accents wilder even than her words, uttered an
imprecation that sounded like the prophetic warning of some unholy
spirit.

"Inhuman murderer!" she exclaimed, in tones that almost paralysed the
ears on which it fell, "if there be a God of justice and of truth, he
will avenge this devilish deed. Yes, Colonel de Haldimar, a prophetic
voice whispers to my soul, that even as I have seen perish before my
eyes all I loved on earth, without mercy and without hope, so even
shall you witness the destruction of your accursed race.
Here--here--here," and she pointed downwards, with singular energy of
action, to the corpse of her husband, "here shall their blood flow till
every vestige of his own is washed away; and oh, if there be spared one
branch of thy detested family, may it only be that they may be reserved
for some death too horrible to be conceived!"

Overcome by the frantic energy with which she had uttered these
appalling words, she sank backwards, and fell, uttering another shriek,
into the arms of the warrior of the Fleur de lis.

"Hear you this, Colonel de Haldimar?" shouted the latter in a fierce
and powerful voice, and in the purest English accent; "hear you the
curse and prophecy of this heart-broken woman? You have slain her
husband, but she has found another. Ay, she shall be my bride, if only
for her detestation of yourself. When next you see us here," he
thundered, "tremble for your race. Ha, ha, ha! no doubt this is another
victim of your cold and calculating guile; but it shall be the last. By
Heaven, my very heart leaps upward in anticipation of thy coming hour.
Woman, thy hatred to this man has made me love thee; yes, thou shall be
my bride, and with my plans of vengeance will I woo thee. By this kiss
I swear it."

As he spoke, he bent his face over that of the pale and inanimate
woman, and pressed his lips to hers, yet red and moist with blood spots
from the wounds of her husband. Then wresting, with a violent effort,
his reeking tomahawk from the cranched brain of the unfortunate
soldier, and before any one could recover sufficiently from the effect
of the scene altogether to think even of interfering, he bore off his
prize in triumph, and fled, with nearly the same expedition he had
previously manifested, in the direction of the forest.



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Wacousta : a tale of the Pontiac conspiracy — Volume 1" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home